Nanoparticles Annihilate Prostate Cancer
The group weblog for students in Physiology for Bioengineers (VTPP 434 and 435) at Texas A&M University
When we were discussing lungs in class, a question was asked pertaining to yoga. Researchers have been conducting research on trying to pinpoint the benefits of yoga. One of the many benefits of yoga, is that the lung capacity increases. According to research from Khon Kaen University, young and healthy Thais who participated in 18 short yoga sessions showed significant improvements in their lung function.
"This research suggests that short-term yoga exercise improves respiratory breathing capacity by increasing chest wall expansion and forced expiratory lung volumes," said lead researcher Raoyrin Chanavirut. "These findings may benefit people suffering from illnesses that affect breathing, including asthma."
This study was done using Hatha Yoga, one of the many different types of yoga. Their experiment, which took 58 people, around 20 years of age, to participate in a 6-week study. Half the volunteers performed 5 positions of Hatha Yoga, during 20 - minutes session, for only 3 times a week. The rest of the people went about their lives as usual.
The results were as such:
Everyone knows that yawns are contagious, but what is the reason behind the respiratory phenomenon. Yawning has been seen in many other vertebrates besides humans, and even the contagious characteristic of yawns is seen in other animals, such as monkeys. Many people believed that an increase in CO2 levels or a decrease in oxygen levels within the body would trigger a yawn, however in the article below, the author cites research claiming this is not the case. However, it is true that we yawn when we are tired, hungry, or just waking up. So why do we do this? Well, no one knows for sure, but some scientists speculate that this is an important part in changing emotional or physiological states. For example, when you wake up in the morning, and yawn and stretch, this is probably an important part in rearranging internal organs, and changing self perception, playing an important role in the change from tired and lethargic to aware and awake. Also, support for this hypothesis is found when professional athletes yawn before a big event. I know I always yawn when I workout, excessively. This could possibly be a mechanism for the body to change to a more aware state, or trigger attentiveness. Hope you enjoyed a good yawn while reading this article; maybe now you'll be slightly more attentive and aware while studying.
I saw this and thought it was interesting, especially in regards to the discussions we had in class about the mechanics of a neonate’s first breath. Studies were done to observe the breathing of a babies delivered by cesarean-section. The results showed that the initial breathing is comparable to a baby delivered vaginally.
This article presents the idea that muscle fatigue caused by acidosis is more limited than previously thought; and the level of inorganic phosphate (Pi) may be the main cause of muscle fatigue. I found this very interesting.
Research published in a 2003 edition of Circulation suggests that such inhibition may well be possible. One of the chief caspases—enzymes involved in cell apoptosis—in the mouse-model of dilated cardiomyopathy has been identified in pregnant mice (pregnant mice are particularly helpful in the study of DCM because the normal volume/pressure overloading characteristics that they experience due to pregnancy roughly model the overloading characteristics present in DCM). The inhibition of this caspase has important implications for the cell apoptosis allegedly responsible for DCM:
“Caspase inhibitors may block and possibly reverse the death program. Caspase inhibitors may also inhibit the cleavage of multiple intramyocyte substrates, including sarcomeric components, degradation of which may cause contractile dysfunction.”
Their research has already shown caspase inhibitors to be effective in blocking cell apoptosis (and thereby blocking heart failure) in pregnant mice. If this model carries over into human physiology, these findings could be hope for the many sufferers of this fatal disease.
For more information, see the referenced Circulation article from the American Heart Association, Inc. .
The United Sates has given one billion dollars in contracts to five drug companies to develop a flu vaccine. These contracts have been given to companies over seas in hopes that they can develop the vaccine more quickly. The companies are: GlaxoSmithKline PLC in Britain, MedImmune Inc., Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics in Switzerland, DynPort Vaccine Co. and Solvay Pharmaceuticals in
St. Jude Children's
"Research group Datamonitor believes the flu vaccine market could exceed $3 billion by 2010 in the top seven markets alone, against an estimated $1.6 billion worldwide in 2005."
Helicobacter Pylori is a spiral shaped bacterium that lives in the stomach and duodenum of the human body – having a notably unique way to adapt to the harsh environment of the stomach (this bacteria was presented in student lecture). Being across the stomach lining from the normal immune response, the body really has no real effective way of combating it. It is transmitted orally and believed to be in about 80-90 percent of the population of the underdeveloped world asymptomatically.
Just recently, scientists have found that the protein decay-accelerating factor (DAF) acts as a receptor for the aforementioned bacteria to the epithelial cells of the stomach. When H. Pylori binds to the inner lining of the stomach, an immune response occurs and the morphology and behavior of the epithelial cells are altered. This can, therefore, increase acid production of the parietal cells and – if allowed to continue – can result in peptic ulcer disease. This important finding opens up an entire branch of drug research that can be explored. Instead of simply blocking the protein pumps or the histamine receptors, a drug could theoretically be manufactured to prevent the interaction between DAF and H. Pylori. If this were somehow blocked, the risk of peptic ulcer disease could be decreased by a new set of these more specific and efficient drugs.
As I was looking around on the web for something about the GI tract, I ran across this article that was published in the Scientific American a couple years ago. Having just completed the device design project and the kidney/liver being major focuses of study this semester, I decided to read into it.
This article discusses exciting new techniques being used in tissue engineering. For some time now, skilled researchers have been able to grow skin and other membranous tissues in the lab with much success. However, trying to physically create a normal, functioning internal organ (like a kidney) outside of the body has had many obstacles that haven’t allowed for much progress. Apparently, the sheer size of these organs have created problems with supplying the growing tissue with adequate nutrients for normal metabolic needs. Therefore, in order to be able to grow these organs on the typical tissue scaffolding, there must be some kind of vascular support to the tissues. A novel technique has been proposed by researchers from MIT and Harvard to create a microscopic device to deliver nutrients to the tissue. Nano-scale networks in silicone sheets act as scaffolding in which some kind of microporous membrane takes form (much like the materials that the ICMO teams worked with). These networks have been combined with the normal tissue engineering processes and much success has followed. In fact, these artificially created livers have successfully worked in rats for an entire week – and that’s just for starters. These positive results have implications that could more directly focus this field of research for the decades to come and solve the organ shortage with an exclamation point.
This post is mainly for the males because it pertains to erectile dysfunction among the college population. So apparently, erectile dysfunction does not primarily occur when men are old or even middle-aged. It can also occur at a young age and is caused by a few factors which are very pertinent to college aged individuals. As the article explains, through their survey, the researchers were able to determine that erectile dysfunction is partly associated with consumption of alcohol and other drugs. Depression and anxiety are also factors that associated with erectile dysfunction among this age group. It was also determined through their sample population that about 1 in 4 young males have a sexual problem. Another interesting thing that the article mentioned is that taking ED medication does not do much good to increase performance if you are already at your maximum erectile potential. Although this excess of drug use and other problems may or may not pertain to anyone in our class, it is interesting to see how a “college lifestyle” can affect sexual performance at such a young age.