|The Future of Medicine Through Bioengineering - Ayden Jacob|
Dr. Rémi Rabasa-Lhoret from the IRCM and Dr. Laurent Legault from the Montreal Children's Hospital, conducted the first pediatric outpatient study to compare three alternative treatments for type 1 diabetes. "The dual-hormone artificial pancreas has the potential to reduce hypoglycemia more than the other strategies, but the relative benefits provided by glucagon had not yet been assessed in outpatient settings," says Dr. Rabasa-Lhoret, endocrinologist and clinical researcher at the IRCM. "Demonstrating the effectiveness of the artificial pancreas among children in an uncontrolled environment is an important step in making this technology available to the general public in the near future." "During our study, we also found that no participant using the dual-hormone system experienced a nocturnal hypoglycaemia event requiring treatment," explains Ahmad Haidar, PhD. "This is significant when considering that hypoglycaemic events occurred on 16 per cent of nights with conventional pump therapy, and 4 per cent of nights with the single-hormone artificial pancreas."
Aaron T. Becker, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Houston, explains that the utilization of mini-robots can be used to treat hydrocephalus and other conditions in the future. This future-field type of surgery would allow surgeons to avoid current treatments that require cutting through the skull to implant pressure-relieving shunts. Becker was first author of the paper, "Toward Tissue Penetration by MRI-powered Millirobots Using a Self-Assembled Gauss Gun," working with collaborators Ouajdi Felfoul, Harvard Medical School postdoctoral fellow at Boston Children's Hospital, and Pierre E. Dupont, visiting professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School. "Hydrocephalus, among other conditions, is a candidate for correction by our millirobots because the ventricles are fluid-filled and connect to the spinal canal," Becker said. "Our noninvasive approach would eventually require simply a hypodermic needle or lumbar puncture to introduce the components into the spinal canal, and the components could be steered out of the body afterwards."
Leading scientists from the University of Sheffield and University of Copenhagen have identified a possible key to preventing secondary cancers in breast cancer patients, after discovering an enzyme which enhances the spread of the disease. Dr Gartland said: "This is important progress in the fight against breast cancer metastasis and these findings could lead to new treatments to stop secondary breast tumors growing in the bone, increasing the chances of survival for thousands of patients.We are really excited about our results that show breast cancer tumors send out signals to destroy the bone before cancer cells get there in order to prepare the bone for the cancer cells' arrival. The next step is to find out exactly how the tumor secreted LOX interacts with bone cells to be able to develop new drugs to stop the formation of the bone lesions and cancer metastasis. This could also have implications for how we treat other bone diseases too."
Down Syndrome and Fragile X are the two most prominent neurological disorders which negatively impact intellectual capacity. "This study proposes a potential therapeutic approach for treating brain disorders associated with dysregulated expression of the Dscam protein, which is seen in both Down syndrome and Fragile X syndrome," said senior study author Bing Ye X syndrome," said senior study author Bing Ye. "This study proposes a potential therapeutic approach for treating brain disorders associated with dysregulated expression of the Dscam protein, which is seen in both Down syndrome and Fragile X syndrome," said senior study author Bing Ye
"Both too much and too little water in the brain can be life-threatening. Water transport is essential to sustain brain volume and function because it affects the concentration of signal molecules in the brain," explains Dr. Francesca Ciccolini, who leads a research group at the Interdisciplinary Center for Neurosciences. "The GABAA receptors are extremely important in medicine in their biological function as inhibitory regulators of neuronal activity," explains Francesca Ciccolini. "Modulators of GABAA receptors are commonly used as medications in a broad spectrum of medical treatments, for example to induce sedation and muscle relaxation, to prevent seizures, to reduce anxiety and to counteract symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Hence our results also point to the risk of therapies that involve the use of GABAA receptor modulators and thus have potential side effects on the basic regulation of water exchange within the brain." . "Our findings offer up new possibilities for regulating the water content in the human brain," explains Ciccolini.
"This is the first epigenetic modification of a gene that seems to be protective against neuronal disease," says lead author Corey McMillan, PhD, research assistant professor of Neurology in the Frontotemporal Degeneration Center in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The ability to turn down genes which are known to be responsible for ALS in about 30% of patients may work to protect the brain from further erosion. " Expansions in the offending gene, C9orf72, have been linked with TAR DNA binding protein (TDP-43) which is the pathological source that causes ALS and FTD." "Understanding the role of C9orf72 has the possibility to be truly translational and improve the lives of patients suffering from these devastating diseases," says senior author, Edward Lee, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Neuropathology in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Penn.
"Discovering that amyloid begins to accumulate so early in life is unprecedented," said lead investigator Changiz Geula, research professor at the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease Center at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "This is very significant. We know that amyloid, when present for long periods of time, is bad for you." "This points to why these neurons die early," Geula said. "The small clumps of amyloid may be a key reason. The lifelong accumulation of amyloid in these neurons likely contributes to the vulnerability of these cells to pathology in aging and loss in Alzheimer's." "It's also possible that the clumps get so large, the degradation machinery in the cell can't get rid of them, and they clog it up," Geula said.
An interesting brain imaging study suggests that cerebral blood flow recovery in the brain may be used as a a potential biomarker to determine the prognosis and outcomes of patients with concussions. "To our knowledge, this study provides the first prospective evidence of reduced CBF and subsequent recovery following concussion in a homogenous sample of collegiate football athletes and also demonstrates the potential of quantified CBF as an objective biomarker for concussion," the study concludes.
The ability to identify the traits of individual neurons can pave the way for our future understanding of how entire regions of the brain operate. A new method for identifying the characteristics of neurons in the prefrontal cortex has been identified by scientists from NYU. "We have established a method to find functional groupings of neurons based on co-fluctuation of their responses," says Roozbeh Kiani, an assistant professor in NYU's Center for Neural Science and one of the study's authors. "In doing so, we show that PFC neurons are organized into spatially contiguous maps, much like their counterparts in sensory cortices. The widely accepted notion that orderly spatial maps are restricted to sensory cortices, therefore, needs revision. "Our methodology is closely related to the techniques that led to the discovery of functional networks in brain imaging studies," adds William Newsome, a professor of neurobiology at Stanford University and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. "There is, however, a crucial difference. We extend the methodology to cellular scale and demonstrate that it can be used for identifying networks at a neuronal level. By suggesting a potential neural substrate for functional networks in macro-scale brain imaging we bridge a critical gap in our knowledge."