Rabu, 23 Oktober 2013

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

Growing your hair using foreskins


A novel approach to hair growth employs discarded infant foreskins.

A new experiment to regrow hair by cloning follicles and using discarded infant foreskins to graft them has shown some early success in lab mice, researchers said.

The process generated new human hair in five of the seven animals on which it was tested, according to the study published in the Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences.

The approach goes beyond the current strategies of transplanting hair from one part of the scalp to another, or using medication to slow hair loss or stimulate the growth of existing hair, said lead researcher Angela Christiano, professor of genetics and development at Columbia University Medical Centre.

"Our method, in contrast, has the potential to actually grow new follicles using a patient's own cells," she said.

Researchers hope the technique – once it is tested more throughly and expanded into human trials – could be useful for women with hair loss, men in the early stages of male pattern baldness, and burn victims who need both skin and follicles.

The breakthrough came when researchers tried a new way to foster growth via the dermal papilla cells, which give rise to hair follicles.

In the past, these papilla would not thrive in 2D cultures in a lab dish.

So taking inspiration from experiments on lab rats, whose papillae can be readily transplanted, they cloned human papillae in a 3D tissue culture.

The tissue came from discarded infant foreskins obtained through circumcision procedures at Columbia University Medical Centre.

Infant foreskin was chosen "because it would challenge the human dermal papillae not just to contribute to hair follicles within the skin, but rather, to fully reprogram the recipient epidermis to a follicular fate," said the study.

When scientists grafted the newly grown human skin tissue complete with donated human papillae, they saw hair growth in five of seven lab animals.

The hair matched the human donor DNA and lasted at least six weeks.

Co-author Colin Jahoda, professor of stem cell sciences at Durham University, England, said the team is hopeful that clinical trials could begin soon.

"We also think that this study is an important step toward the goal of creating a replacement skin that contains hair follicles for use with, for example, burn patients," he said. — AFP Relaxnews

Six ways to boost fertility through nutrition


Establish a healthy eating pattern for the best result.

For women hoping to conceive, experts advise watching your weight and following a Mediterranean-style diet to boost your odds of having a baby.

As fertility experts shared their research at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in Boston, Massachussetts this week, Loyola University dietitian Brooke Schantz offered essential diet tips to increase your chances of having a baby.

"Establishing a healthy eating pattern and weight is a good first step for women who are looking to conceive," she said. "Not only will a healthy diet and lifestyle potentially help with fertility, but it also may influence fetal well-being and reduce the risk of complications during pregnancy."

Thirty percent of infertility is due to being either overweight or underweight, according to the National Infertility Association in the United States. Reducing extra weight by even 5% can enhance fertility, experts say.

For women looking to conceive, Schantz recommends the following:

– Reduce intake of foods with trans and saturated fats while increasing intake of monounsaturated fats, such as avocados and olive oil

– Lower intake of animal protein and add more vegetable protein to your diet

– Add more fiber to your diet by consuming whole grains, vegetables, and fruit

– Incorporate more vegetarian sources of iron such as legumes, tofu, nuts, seeds, and whole grains

– Consume high-fat dairy instead of low-fat dairy. A Harvard University study showed that women who ate more than two portions a day of low-fat dairy foods were 85% more likely to be infertile due to ovulatory disorders than those who only ate it less than once a week.

– Take a regular women's multivitamin

But men aren't left out of the equation. "Men who are looking to have a baby also have a responsibility to maintain a healthy body weight and consume a balanced diet, because male obesity may affect fertility by altering testosterone and other hormone levels," Schantz said.

Approximately 40% of infertility issues are attributed to men, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. — AFP Relaxnews

Sleep helps brain stay fit by clearing waste


Research shows what the brain does when one is sleeping.

Like a janitor sweeping the halls after the lights go out, major changes occur in the brain during sleep to flush out waste and ward off disease, researchers said.

The research in the journal Science offers new answers to explain why people spend a third of their lives asleep and may help in treating dementia and other neurological disorders.

In lab experiments on mice, researchers observed how cellular waste was flushed out via the brain's blood vessels into the body's circulatory system and eventually the liver.

These waste products included amyloid beta, a protein that when accumulated is a driver of Alzheimer's disease.

In order to help remove the waste, cerebral spinal fluid is pumped through brain tissue.

The process is sped along during sleep because the brain's cells shrink by about 60%, allowing the fluid to move faster and more freely through the brain.

The whole operation takes place in what researchers call the glymphatic system, which appears to be nearly 10 times more active during sleep than while awake.

"The brain only has limited energy at its disposal," said lead author Maiken Nedergaard of the University of Rochester Medical Centre.

"You can think of it like having a house party. You can either entertain the guests or clean up the house, but you can't really do both at the same time."

Co-authors of the study, which was funded by the US National Institutes of Health, came from Oregon Health and Science University and New York University. — AFP Relaxnews

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