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New drug to protect against Alzheimer: Study

“Such observations imply that Alzheimer’s pathology can be tolerated by the brain to some extent due to compensatory mechanisms operating at the cellular and synaptic levels,”

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New York, Sep 10 : Researchers have discovered a new drug which may protect against memory loss, nerve damage and other symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

Preclinical research published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics found that the drug — called BPN14770 — deters the effects of amyloid beta, a hallmark protein of Alzheimer’s that is toxic to nerve cells.

BPN14770, under development by Tetra Therapeutics, could help activate these mechanisms that support nerve health and prevent dementia, even with the progression of Alzheimer’s.

“Such observations imply that Alzheimer’s pathology can be tolerated by the brain to some extent due to compensatory mechanisms operating at the cellular and synaptic levels,” said study researcher Ying Xu, Associate Professor at University at Buffalo.

“Our new research suggests that BPN14770 may be capable of activating multiple biological mechanisms that protect the brain from memory deficits, neuronal damage and biochemical impairments,” Xu added.

The research conducted in mice, discovered that BPN14770 inhibits the activity of phosphodiesterase?4D (PDE4D), an enzyme that plays a key role in memory formation, learning, neuroinflammation and traumatic brain injury.

PDE4D lowers cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) — a messenger molecule that signals physiological changes such as cell division, change, migration and death — in the body, leading to physical alterations in the brain.

cAMP has numerous beneficial functions, including improved memory. By inhibiting PDE4D, BPN14770 increases cAMP signalling in the brain, which ultimately protects against the toxic effects of amyloid beta.

“The role of PDE4D in modulating brain pathways involved in memory formation and cognition, and the ability of our PDE4D inhibitor to selectively enhance this process, has been well studied,” said Mark E. Gurney from Tetra Therapeutics.

“We are very excited by our colleagues’ findings, which now suggest a second protective mechanism of action for BPN14770 against the progressive neurological damage associated with Alzheimer’s disease,” Gurney said.

“Developing effective drugs for memory deficits associated with Alzheimer’s disease has been challenging,” said M. O’Donnell, Professor at University at Buffalo.

“BPN14770 works by a novel mechanism to increase cyclic AMP signalling in the brain, which has been shown to improve memory. The collaborative project has led to clinical trials that will begin to test its effectiveness,” O’Donnell said.

Cities

Rare tumour removed from woman’s heart at AMU medical college

The surgery intervention was planned by former AMU Pro Vice Chancellor and cardiothoracic surgeon, Prof M H Beg.

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Aligarh, Sep 20 : Specialists at the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College of Aligarh Muslim University successfully removed a rare tumour from the heart of a 60-year-old female patient. In the past two years the JNMC has successfully conducted 200 cardiac surgeries.

Harpyari, a resident of Mendu, Hathras, experienced chest pain and breathing difficulty during exertion. She consulted several doctors before reaching the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College (JNMC) of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), where she was advised immediate surgery after the diagnosis showed a rare tumour pressing her heart on the left-side chambers.

Harpyari underwent the surgery with a 30-minute stoppage of heartbeats while a cardiopulmonary bypass machine kept her alive, said Dr Mohd Azam Haseen, Chairman, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, who performed the surgery with a team comprising of Dr Sumit Pratap Singh and Dr M Ghazanfar.

“The tumour was removed successfully and the patient’s heart was reconstructed,” said Dr Sumit Singh adding that Harpyari has been discharged and asked to meet the doctors for follow up.

“We knew from the planning and diagnosis stage that the life-threatening tumour could significantly reduce blood flow through the heart,” said Haseen and his team members.

The surgery intervention was planned by former AMU Pro Vice Chancellor and cardiothoracic surgeon, Prof M H Beg.

Dr Nadeem Raza provided anaesthesia to the patient before the surgery; while Dr Sabir Ali Khan, Dr Shekhar, Dr Shabbah, Dr Noha and Dr Ahmad Ammar were the clinical perfusionists.

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Health

Here comes a device to regrow hair on bald head

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New York, Sep 20 : There is good news for people experiencing hair loss as researchers have developed a wearable device that harnesses energy from the wearer and delivers gentle electric pulses to stimulate dormant hair follicles and regrow hair.

Because the devices are powered by the movement of the wearer, they do not require a bulky battery pack or complicated electronics.

In fact, they are so low-profile that they could be discreetly worn underneath the crown of an everyday baseball cap.

“I think this will be a very practical solution to hair regeneration,” said one of the researchers Xudong Wang, Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US.

In side-by-side tests on hairless mice, the devices stimulated hair growth just as effectively as two different compounds found in baldness medicines, said the study published in the journal ACS Nano.

Based on devices that gather energy from a body’s day-to-day motion, the hair growth technology stimulates the skin with gentle, low-frequency electric pulses, which coax dormant follicles to reactivate hair production.

The devices do not cause hair follicles to sprout anew in smooth skin. Instead they reactivate hair-producing structures that have gone dormant.

That means they could be used as an intervention for people in the early stages of pattern baldness, but they would not bestow cascading tresses to someone who has been as bald as a billiard ball for several years.

Explaining the hair-growth technology, the researchers said that small devices called nanogenerators passively gather energy from day-to-day movements and then transmit low-frequency pulses of electricity to the skin. That gentle electric stimulation causes dormant follicles to “wake up.”

“Electric stimulations can help many different body functions,” Wang said.

“But before our work there was no really good solution for low-profile devices that provide gentle but effective stimulations,” Wang said.

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Entertainment

Rahul Bose to pledge for organ donation after death

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New Delhi, Sep 20 : Actor-director and sportsperson Rahul Bose will soon be signing up for “deceased organ donation” and would be pledging “every square inch” of his body for donation after death.

Bose, in a conversation with IANS, made the announcement and said that he is happy to “pledge everything” from bone, tissue, cornea, and every single part human beings can benefit from.

“I’ll pledge every square inch of my body,” said the 52-year-old actor.

“The Japanese Wife” actor is a panelist at an upcoming discussion organised by CII’s Indian Women Network and Yi (Young Indians) Delhi Chapters on September 24 in New Delhi. According to Bose, he will be formally signing up for donation of his organs on the date.

He already supports the causes of equalizing development through children’s education and preventing child sexual abuse through his foundations.

“It’s very simple for me, I take any way by which I can help human beings lead a better life… I’ve dedicated the last 14 years of my life to these causes, and supporting many other causes in a smaller way. So, if I can help other human beings (by donating organs), why wouldn’t I?”

“If you’re going to die, (and post that) if your body can be used to benefit 8-9 other human beings in terms of organs, what would be greater good karma.”

The event, happening in partnership with MOHAN (Multi Organ Harvesting Aid Network) Foundation is backed by industry and commerce body CII, which gives the actor some hope about the mainstreaming of organ donation in India.

“It’s so unpopular right now… In India, there’s one organ donor per 1 million people, whereas in Spain, there are 49 per 10 lakh people.”

Does he encourage more and more people to donate their organs?

“I would encourage other people to find out more about it, allay their fears, superstitions and irrational beliefs. Only when you’re satisfied, they definitely should.”

Bose was recently in news for a Rs 442 bill he was given at a Chandigarh hotel for just two bananas.

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