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How parents-to-be can prepare themselves

Pregnancy, the period between conception and childbirth, can be a testing time for parents-to-be, especially for expecting women, but with proper mental and physical preparation this trying time can turn into a beautiful experience for both of them.

According to Parents India Magazine, Ferdinand Lamaze, a French obstetrician, encourages both parents to address their fears and emotions regarding childbirth so that they can work together as a team while dealing with the impending labour pains.
Lamaze insists that pregnant women should keep a check on their diet, consume adequate nutrition and let go of their worries and stress by having a positive attitude towards childbirth.

Women should also realise the importance of breastfeeding and what is the correct technique to nurse a baby, Lamaze added.

Lamaze offers classes to expecting parents on how to happily handle pregnancy and also prepares them for post-partum.

‘Chameleon-like’ breast cancer cells may lead to brain tumours

A new study has explained why getting rid of breast cancer cells does not ensure that the disease won’t spread to the brain.

City of Hope researchers have found that breast cancer cells disguise themselves as neurons, allowing them to hide from the immune system, cross the blood-brain barrier and begin to form ultimately-deadly brain tumours years after initial diagnosis.

Rahul Jandial, a City of Hope neurosurgeon who led the study, wanted to explore how breast cancer cells cross the blood-brain barrier, a separation of the blood circulating in the body from fluid in the brain, without being destroyed by the immune system.

Jandial said that his team wondered how a malignant breast cancer cell swimming in the bloodstream crossed into the brain and how it would survive in a completely new, foreign habitat.

Jandial and his team’s hypothesis: Given that the brain is rich in many brain-specific types of chemicals and proteins, perhaps breast cancer cells exploit these resources by assuming similar properties.

These cancer cells could potentially deceive the immune system by blending in with the neurons, neurotransmitters, other types of proteins, cells and chemicals.

Taking samples from brain tumors resulting from breast cancer, Jandial and his team found that the breast cancer cells were using the brain’s most abundant chemical as a fuel source.

This chemical, GABA, is a neurotransmitter used for communication between neurons.

When compared to cells from non-metastatic breast cancer, the metastasized cells expressed a receptor for GABA, as well as for a protein that draws the transmitter into cells. This allowed the cancer cells to essentially masquerade as neurons.

Jandial added that breast cancer cells can be cellular chameleons (or masquerade as neurons) and spread to the brain.

Vitamin D supplements help reduce pain in patients with FMS

Researcher have revealed that vitamin D supplements can reduce pain and may be a cost-effective alternative or adjunct for patients with fibromyalgia syndrome.

Patients with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) typically have widespread chronic pain and fatigue. Individuals diagnosed with the disease may also experience sleep disorders, morning stiffness, poor concentration, and occasionally mild-to-severe mental symptoms such as anxiety or depression.

There is no cure, and no treatment will address all of the symptoms, but some symptoms may be alleviated by physical therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, temporary drug therapy (such as amitriptyline, duloxetine, or pregabaline) and multimodal therapies.

Researchers hypothesized that vitamin D supplementation would reduce the degree of chronic pain experienced by FMS patients with low levels of calcifediol and also might improve other symptoms.

“Low blood levels of calcifediol are especially common in patients with severe pain and fibromyalgia. But although the role of calcifediol in the perception of chronic pain is a widely discussed subject, we lack clear evidence of the role of vitamin D supplementation in fibromyalgia patients,” lead investigator Florian Wepner, MD, of the Department of Orthopaedic Pain Management, Spine Unit, Orthopaedic Hospital, Speising, Vienna, Austria, said.

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