Sunday, June 13, 2010

Turn Research into Reality for 1000's of girls with Rett Syndrome

Turn Research into Reality for 1000's of girls with Rett Syndrome

Pepsi Refresh Everything.

copy and paste this link in new vindow and sign up and vote or click on the title to directly go to the site. Share it with others too.

Thanks, Regards, Prayers,

Rajni Khajuria

Friday, June 11, 2010

Slightly Early Births Linked to Autism, Dyslexia

By Kate Kelland

LONDON (Reuters) Jun 09 - Babies born just 1 or 2 weeks before their 40-week gestation due date are more likely to develop learning difficulties such as autism or dyslexia, according to a British study published on Tuesday.

The findings show that even babies born at 39 weeks have an increased risk of a developing a learning disability compared with babies born a week later.

Scientists in Scotland, analyzing the birth history of more than 400,000 schoolchildren, found that while babies born at 40 weeks have a 4% risk of learning difficulties, those born at 37 to 39 weeks of gestation have a 5.1% risk.

"There was an increasing risk of special educational needs as the gestation date fell, so as deliveries got earlier, the risk went up," said Jill Pell, an expert in public health and health policy Glasgow University, who led the study.

"Even being just a week early put the risk up."

It is already known that a baby born prematurely is more likely to have learning difficulties. But the risks for babies born in the 24 to 40 week range had not previously been studied.

Pell found that although the risk of educational difficulties was much higher in preterm than in early term babies, the absolute numbers of children with difficulties in the 37 to 39 week group were higher, because many more babies are born at this time than before 37 weeks.

In her study, early term births accounted for 5.5% percent of cases of learning disabilities, while preterm deliveries accounted for only 3.6% of cases.

According to the World Health Organization, more and more women worldwide are delivering by cesarean section and a "significant proportion" of these surgical procedures are performed without any clear medical need.

Rates of autism have also been rising, but Pell said it would be "a leap too far" to link her findings directly to rates of autism, since autism was only one of a range of learning difficulties considered.

Pell, whose study was published online June 8th in Public Library of Science (PLoS) Medicine, acknowledged that cesarean sections were not the only factor behind early-term births. But she said doctors and women should include the risks of learning difficulties when considering a cesarean.

"It is now normal policy (in cesarean section) to deliver women a week early," she said in a telephone interview. "But if you make a decision...for an elective pre-term delivery, then it has to be a balance, weighing up the risks and potential benefits.

"What this study shows is that special education needs are another factor that need to be considered."

PLoS Medicine 2010.

Source: Medscape

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Utah scientist makes breakthrough in mental illness research

By Jennifer Stagg

SALT LAKE CITY -- It is heartbreaking to see someone you love suffer from mental illness. Now a famous Utah scientist says he's made a big breakthrough in the research to find a cure.
Doctors have traditionally treated mental illness with drugs to alter the brain's chemistry, but the University of Utah's Nobel Prize-winning geneticist Dr. Mario Capecchi tried a new approach on a lab mouse. He treated the animal for the illness the same way you would many other illnesses -- by treating its immune system.

Capecchi says compulsive behavior doesn't just affect people. In fact, he had a lab mouse who was suffering from the condition trichotillomania, where one pulls their own hair out. Scientists say it was the mouse that led to the ground-breaking discovery as they found a way to cure him.
"There's a direct correlation, in essence, between the immune system and behavior," Capecchi says.
He says scientists have known for years that there is a connection between behavior and the immune system, but they didn't quite understand it. Now he and his team have discovered it all has to do with a tiny cell called microglia.
Microglia were believed to be "scavenger cells" that would clean up damage in the brain, but Capecchi says the cells are much more powerful than they were letting on.
"What we're saying is microglia are much more sophisticated and are actually controlling behavior, and they have to do it by interacting the nerve cells in your brain," Capecchi says.

They found people and animals afflicted with behavior disorders have deformed microglia cells. So, instead of treating mental illness the way doctors traditionally have -- with medication to alter brain chemistry -- they tried a new approach by treating the immune system.
The researchers used a procedure on the mouse that's commonly practiced on cancer patients -- a bone marrow transplant.
"That cured the disease permanently, " Capecchi says. "All the hair grew back, all the lesions were healed, and the mouse no longer removes the body hair."
Capecchi says this new discovery could lead to cures for mental disorders from autism to schizophrenia.
"The book is just opened, and so there are many, many possibilities; and hopefully not only will we pursue it, but also hopefully it will interest other researchers, other investigators, to pursue similar experiments, " Capecchi says.

What are... microglia?
Microglia are immune system cells that originate in bone marrow and migrate from blood to the brain acting as the first and main form of active immune defense in the central nervous system (CNS) defending the brain and spinal cord, constantly excavating the CNS and attacking and engulfing infectious agents.