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First human kidney tissue capable of producing urine developed

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Kidney glomeruli
A stunning medical breakthrough has seen human kidney tissue capable of producing urine grown in the lab. This image shows a nephron, the microscopic structural and functional unit of the kidney. (PC- University of Manchester)

London, Feb 10: In a first for medical science, scientists have successfully produced human kidney tissue within a living organism that is able to produce urine, a significant milestone in the development of treatment for kidney disease.

Using stem cells, scientists from the University of Manchester, created mini-kidneys that were implanted into mice. Tests revealed they were able to filter and excrete waste.

In the study, published in the journal Stem Cell Reports, kidney glomeruli — a constituent microscopic parts of the organ — were generated from human embryonic stem cells grown in plastic laboratory culture dishes.

These were combined with a gel like substance, which acted as natural connective tissue — and then injected as a tiny clump under the skin of mice.

After three months, an examination of the tissue revealed that nephrons — the microscopic structural and functional units of the kidney — had formed.

The new structures contained most of the constituent parts present in human nephrons — including proximal tubules, distal tubules, Bowman’s capsule and Loop of Henle.

Tiny human blood vessels — known as capillaries — had developed inside the mice which nourished the new kidney structures.

“We have proved beyond any doubt these structures function as kidney cells by filtering blood and producing urine — though we can’t yet say what percentage of function exists,” said Sue Kimber, Professor at the varsity.

“What is particularly exciting is that the structures are made of human cells which developed an excellent capillary blood supply, becoming linked to the vasculature of the mouse,”

“Though this structure was formed from several hundred glomeruli, and humans have about a million in their kidneys — this is clearly a major advance,” Kimber said.

However, the mini-kidneys lack a large artery, and without that, the organ’s function will only be a fraction of normal.

Thus, researchers are working with surgeons to put in an artery that will bring more blood the new kidney.

The results may help create working human kidneys for transplant in people with kidney disease.

Annually, 2.6 million people worldwide receive dialysis or kidney transplantation for end-stage kidney disease (ESKD), while around 2.2 million people with kidney disease die prematurely, unable to access treatment.

Kidney transplants are in short supply and an adult on long-term dialysis has an average life expectancy of barely a decade.

Therapies that prevent the progression of chronic kidney disease to end-stage kidney disease are therefore, urgently needed, the researchers said.

IANS

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All you need to know about Nipah Virus

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Nipah Virus

New Delhi, May 21: Nipah Virus is an emerging infectious zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans. It was first reported in Malaysia in 1998.

It is spread by fruit bats and can be transferred from a human through close contact, body fluids, saliva and cough.

Nipah Virus first appeared in domestic pigs and has been found among several species of domestic animals including dogs, cats, goats, horses and sheep.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans. The natural host of the virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus.

At present, there is no vaccine for either humans or animals. The primary treatment for human cases is intensive supportive care.

NiV infection in humans has a wide range of clinical presentations, from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory syndrome and fatal encephalitis.

Generally, the human infection presents as an encephalitic syndrome marked by fever, headache, drowsiness, disorientation, mental confusion, coma, and potentially death.

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Exercise 4-5 times daily to delay ageing

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New York, May 21: Want to stay young for long? If so, start exercising four to five times a day as it may help keep your heart stay healthy and slow down ageing, according to researchers.

Research showed that different sizes of arteries are affected differently by varying amounts of exercise.

While exercising for about two to three days a week for about 30 minutes may be sufficient to minimise stiffening of middle-sized arteries, exercising for about four to five days a week is required to keep the larger central arteries youthful.

The study would help “develop exercise programmes to keep the heart youthful and even turn back time on older hearts and blood vessels”, said one of the study authors, Benjamin Levine from the University of Texas.

With age, arteries — which transport blood in and out of the heart — become prone to stiffening, increasing the risk of heart diseases.

For the study, published in The Journal of Physiology, the team examined 102 people over 60 years old, with a consistent lifelong exercise history.

The participants were divided into four groups depending on their exercise history — Sedentary: less than 2 exercise sessions per week; Casual Exercisers: 2-3 exercise sessions per week; Committed Exercisers: 4-5 exercise sessions per week and Masters Athletes: 6-7 exercise sessions per week.

A lifelong history of casual exercise (two-three times a week) resulted in more youthful middle-sized arteries, which supply oxygenated blood to the head and neck.

However, committed exercisers (4-5 times per week) also had more youthful large central arteries, which provide blood to the chest and abdomen, in addition to healthier middle-sized ones.

Larger arteries need more frequent exercise to slow down ageing, the researchers said.

The findings will help see “if we can reverse the ageing of a heart and blood vessels by using the right amount of exercise at the right time”, Levine explained.

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Nipah virus claims six lives in Kerala

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Kozhikode, May 21: According to the health department of Kerala, at least six people lost their lives due to Nipah virus.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday informed that the state government is closely monitoring the outbreak of Nipah virus in the region and taking every possible step to prevent its further spread.

CM Pinarayi Vijayan has informed that Government is closely monitoring the spread of the Nipah virus. The health department is doing everything possible to save the lives of the infected & prevent the advance of the virus,” the CMO Tweeted.

Meanwhile, the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J.P Nadda directed to constitute a team of highly efficient doctors to probe into the matter.

Following this, a high-level team of doctors from the national capital has also been rushed by the Union health ministry to take stock of the situation in state’s northern districts.

Earlier in a day, the health department held emergency meetings in Kozhikode on Monday under Minister of Health and Family Welfare JP Nadda along with Secretary Health over the deaths.

Nipah virus is spread by fruit bats and causes severe disease in both animals and humans. It can be transferred from a human through close contact, body fluids, saliva and cough.

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