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Brain stem cells can be awakened

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       HEALTH TIPS WEEKLY - Thursday, June 12, 2008 
             "News That Keeps You Healthy"   
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         Ethex-brand morphine tablets are recalled

WASHINGTON,- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced
the voluntary recall of Ethex-brand morphine sulfate tablets
because of a health risk. The FDA said the Ethex Corp. of 
St. Louis recalled Lot No. 91762 of the 60-milligram ex-
tended release tablets after discovering a tablet with twice
the appropriate thickness. Such oversized tablets might 
contain as much as two times the labeled level of active 
morphine sulfate, the company said. The tablets -- imprinted
with "60" on one side and an "E" on the reverse side -- were
distributed April 16-27. The company said many patients for 
whom the medication is prescribed are likely to be highly 
debilitated with reduced strength or energy and, as such, 
might be less likely to determine a tablet is overweight or
oversized. Customers with questions can contact the company 
at 800-321-1705.

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         New ulcer-producing bacterium identified

GHENT, Belgium, -- Belgian scientists have isolated and 
named a new bacterium that is believed to also cause stomach
ulcers, along with Helicobacter pylori. Although Helicob-
acter pylori commonly cause ulcers, some biopsies have also 
indicated a similar, but unidentified, bacterium. Numerous 
research papers have described failed attempts to culture 
the microbe in the laboratory since it was first observed in
1990. Now, scientists from Belgium's Ghent University say 
they have succeeded. Genetic analysis revealed it is a new 
species related to H. pylori. Its name -- Helicobacter suis 
-- comes from the Latin for "of the pig". H. suis has been 
associated with stomach ulcers in pigs, which may cause 
sudden death and a big problem for farmers. "The economic 
losses for the pork industry and the risk of the bacteria 
infecting humans justify the need for further research," 
said scientist Margo Baele. "Data shows that people in close
contact with pigs have a higher risk of infection; this 
suggests H. suis is a zoonotic agent, capable of being tran-
smitted from animals to humans." The research appears in 
the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary 
Microbiology.
  
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         Computer model may predict disease timing

BOSTON, -- U.S. and Canadian health scientists say they've 
created a weather model that might help predict the timing 
and intensity of infectious diseases. Tuffs University 
Associate Professor Elena Naumova and Professor Ian MacNeill
of the University of Western Ontario said they have created 
a model that takes into account weather conditions and other
factors that affect the number of people who will fall ill 
during an outbreak. With the model they show the risk of 
weather-sensitive diseases might increase with climate vari-
ability or even gradual climate change. The scientists said
their model takes into consideration outdoor temperature, 
base level of a disease in a community before an outbreak, 
the number of people infected throughout the course of the 
outbreak and incubation time of a given disease. "It is this
last factor that affects what we call the lag time," said 
Naumova. "Infected individuals go on to infect others, and 
current models may be underestimating the number of cases 
in an outbreak by failing to account for lag time." The 
research appeared in the journal Environmetrics.


           New synthetic molecule kills cancer

JERUSALEM, -- Israeli scientists say they have created a 
synthetic molecule that holds promise for a new family of 
anti-cancer drugs. Professor Shimon Gatt and researcher Arie
Dagan of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem designed the 
synthetic molecules that reduce and even eliminate the 
growth of human malignant tissues in mice. The molecules 
developed by Dagan and Gatt impact the metabolism of various
sphingolipids and consequently those of cancer cells. Sphin-
golipids are a family of complex lipid molecules that are 
involved in signaling pathways that mediate cell growth, 
differentiation and death. The scientists say their synth-
etic compound reduced considerably the sizes of pancreatic, 
prostate and breast tumors with little or no effects on 
normal cells and tissues. The researchers see that as a 
precursor to the development of a new generation of anti-
cancer drugs that induce, selectively, apoptosis only to 
tumor cells. Such drugs are expected to be highly effective,
while inducing fewer side effects than current anti-cancer 
drugs. For their work, Dagan and Gatt were received the Kaye
Award for Innovation last week during the 71st meeting of 
the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's board of governors.
        
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        Study: Brain stem cells can be awakened

BOSTON, -- U.S. scientists say they've identified specific 
molecules in the human brain that can awaken and sedate 
brain stem cells. The scientists at the Schepens Eye Resear-
ch Institute say such brain stem cells, when activated, can 
transform into neurons and repair damaged brain tissue.
Earlier research by the same scientists had demonstrated 
that neural stem cells exist in every part of the brain, but
are mostly kept silent by chemical signals from support 
cells known as astrocytes. The findings from both papers 
should have a far-reaching impact, said Harvard Medical 
School Assistant Professor Dr. Dong Feng Chen, who led the 
study. Chen said tapping the brain¹s dormant, but intrinsic,
ability to regenerate itself is the best hope for people 
suffering from brain-ravaging diseases such as Parkinson's 
or Alzheimer's disease or traumatic brain and spinal cord 
injuries. The researchers' latest findings appear in the 
early online edition of the Proceedings of the National 
Academy of Science.


--------------- Health Tip Video of the Week ---------------

Health Tip: Understanding Cholesterol - current rating 3.2

You know its bad... You know its got something to do with...
your heart?


Health Tip: Maximize Memory

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