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Man-made womb lining may better reveal menstrual problems

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Man-made womb

London, April 12: Scientists have succeeded in growing a man-made womb lining in the lab — or organoids — paving the way for new insights into the early stages of pregnancy and menstrual problems such as endometriosis.

The organoids were cultured in a dish from cells taken using tissue from the endometrium — the mucosal lining of the uterus — reproducing the endometrial gene patterns and maintaining the organoids for several months.

The findings, detailed in the journal Nature Cell Biology, may help understand the early stages of pregnancy and conditions such as endometriosis — a painful condition that affects 176 million women worldwide.

The organoids also respond to female sex hormones and early pregnancy signals, secreting what are collectively known as ‘uterine milk’ proteins that nourish the embryo during the first months of pregnancy, the researchers said.

“These organoids provide a major step forward in investigating the changes that occur during the menstrual cycle and events during early pregnancy when the placenta is established,” said lead author Margherita Turco from the University of Cambridge.

There’s increasing evidence that complications of pregnancy, such as restricted growth of the foetus, stillbirth and pre-eclampsia — which appear later in pregnancy — have their origins around the time of implantation, when the placenta begins to develop.

Research in animal species such as mice and sheep has shown that factors secreted by the endometrial glands are critical for enabling a developing fertilised egg (known as the ‘conceptus’) to implant into the wall of the uterus.

The conceptus sends signals to the endometrial glands that then stimulate the development of the placenta.

In this way, the conceptus is able to stimulate its own development through a ‘dialogue’ with the mother; if it fails, the result is loss of the pregnancy or severe growth restriction of the foetus, the researchers explained.

The study will also help researchers to model and understand diseases of the endometrium, including cancer of the uterus and endometriosis.

IANS

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Can drinking too much water harm you?

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Water

Toronto, May 23: Do you drink too much water? Beware, overhydration — excess fluid accumulation — can lead to dangerously low sodium levels or in the blood or result in brain swelling, researchers say.

Hyponatremia, a life-threatening condition of brain swelling, is more common in elderly patients and can cause cognitive problems and seizures.

“(Hyponatremia) occurs in common pathological conditions, including brain injury, sepsis, cardiac failure and in the use of drugs, such as MDMA (ecstasy),” said Charles Bourque from the McGill University in Canada.

While it was yet uncertain how hyponatremia develops, the study found that a defect in the hydration sensing mechanism of the brain could be the culprit.

The researchers said that brain’s hydration sensing neurons could not detect overhydration in the same way that they detect dehydration.

Overhydration activates Trpv4 — a calcium channel that can be found in glial cells, that act to surround hydration sensing neurons.

It is cellular gatekeeper implicated in maintaining the balance of water in the body.

“Our study shows that it is in fact glial cells that first detect the overhydrated state and then transfer this information to turn off the electrical activity of the [hydration sensing] neurons,” Bourque explained.

“Our specific data will be important for people studying hydromineral and fluid electrolyte homeostasis, and clinicians who treat patients faced with hyponatremia,” he noted.

The results, published in the journal Cell Reports, showed that overhydration is first identified by the Trpv4 channel which triggers the release of a type of amino acid known, taurine, which acts as a trip wire to inhibit hydration sensing neurons.

“Preclinical models of hyponatremia will be used to examine if the mechanism we report is affected in this condition with the long-term objective of designing new treatments or diagnostic tools,” Bourque added.

IANS

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An egg a day may keep heart diseases away

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Eggs

Beijing, May 22: If you thought eating eggs is bad for your heart due to their high cholesterol content, think again. A large study has now shown that people who consume an egg every day could significantly reduce their risk of cardiovascular diseases.

“The present study finds that there is an association between moderate level of egg consumption (up to one egg/day) and a lower cardiac event rate,” the study authors said.

The researchers pointed out that eggs are a prominent source of dietary cholesterol, but they also contain high-quality protein, many vitamins and bioactive components such as phospholipids and carotenoids.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death and disability worldwide mostly due to ischaemic heart disease and stroke (including both haemorrhagic and ischaemic stroke).

For the study, published in the journal Heart, Chenxi Qin from Peking University Health Science Centre in Beijing, and colleagues set out to examine the associations between egg consumption and cardiovascular disease, ischaemic heart disease, major coronary events, haemorrhagic stroke and ischaemic stroke.

They used data from the China Kadoorie Biobank (CKB) study, an ongoing prospective study of around half a million (512,891) adults aged 30 to 79 from 10 different geographical areas in China.

The researchers focused on 416,213 participants who were free of prior cancer, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes.

Analysis of the results showed that compared with people not consuming eggs, daily egg consumption was associated with a lower risk of CVD overall.

In particular, daily egg consumers (up to one egg per day) had a 26 per cent lower risk of haemorrhagic stroke, a 28 per cent lower risk of haemorrhagic stroke death and an 18 per cent lower risk of CVD death.

In addition, there was a 12 per cent reduction in risk of ischaemic heart disease observed for people consuming eggs daily, when compared with the ‘never/rarely’ consumption category — about 2.03 eggs per week.

This was an observational study, so no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect, but the authors said their study had a large sample size and took into account established and potential risk factors for CVD.

IANS

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Delhi govt planning free dialysis at pvt hospitals: Jain

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Dialysis

New Delhi, May 21 : The Delhi government is planning to make the dialysis procedure free at private hospitals and dialysis centres on a public-private-partnership basis, subject to conditions, Health Minister Satyendar Jain said today.

Jain said only those private hospitals and standalone centres which have more than 10 dialysis machines and are empanelled under the Delhi Government Employees Health Scheme or the Central Government Health Scheme would be eligible to become a partner in the project.

Delhi government through the Delhi Arogya Kosh will pay them Rs 1,274 per dialysis.

Delhi residents who have been living in the city for the past three years and having an annual income of less than Rs 3 lakh shall be eligible to avail the facility, Jain said.

The government is also installing dialysis machines at its own hospitals.

“We have installed 15 machines out of the 75 machines that we intend to install at various hospitals,” he said.

Jain said the idea behind providing the facility at private hospitals or dialysis centres is to cut the travel time for patients, who otherwise may have to go long distance to avail that facility at a government hospital.

“This would be like a reverse referral facility where patients would be referred to an empanelled hospital or centre nearby their home,” he said.

Jain said the government was in an “expansion mode” as far as health services were concerned.

“Five of our hospitals have already earned NABH entry-level accreditation – Pt Madan Mohan Malviya Hospital, Shri Dada Dev Matri Avum Shishu Chikitsalaya, Acharya Shree Bhikshu Hospital, Guru Gobind Singh Hospital and Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital,” he said.

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