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Progress Towards Understanding Memory

Posted: June 30, 2010 at 8:18 am


Understanding the physical basis of human memory will enable therapies to both enhance youthful memory and reverse its decline with age. From ScienceDaily, an example of present investigations into the biology of memory: "We found one of the key proteins involved in the process of memory and learning. This protein is present in the part of the brain in which memories are stored. We have found that in order for any memory to be laid down this protein, called the M3-muscarinic receptor, has to be activated. We have also determined that this protein undergoes a very specific change during the formation of a memory - and that this change is an essential part of memory formation. In this regard our study reveals at least one of the molecular mechanisms that are operating in the brain when we form a memory and as such this represents a major break through in our understanding of how we lay down memories. This finding is not only interesting in its own right but has important clinical implications. One of the major symptoms of Alzheimer's disease is memory loss. Our study identifies one of the key processes involved in memory and learning and we state in the paper that drugs designed to target the protein identified in our study would be of benefit in treating Alzheimer's disease."

View the Article Under Discussion: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100628101450.htm

Read More Longevity Meme Commentary: http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/

More on Ovaries and Longevity in Mice

Posted: at 8:18 am


Another study to show that transplanting young ovaries into old mice extends life quite significantly: "successful ovarian transplants increased the lifespan of the mice by more than 40% ... All the mice in both experiments that had received transplants resumed the normal reproductive behaviour of young mice. They showed interest in male mice, mated and some had pups. Normally, old mice stay in the corner of the cage and don't move much, but the activity of mice that had had ovarian transplants was transformed into that of younger mice and they resumed quick movements. Furthermore, the lifespan of the mice who received young ovaries was much longer than that of the control mice: the mice that had received two ovaries lived for an average of 915 days, and the mice that had received one ovary, for an average of 877 days. The newest of our data show the life span of mice that received transplants of young ovaries was increased by more than 40%. ... The average normal lifespan for this particular breed of mice [is] 548 days. ... it was not known why the ovarian transplant increased the lifespan of the mice, but it might be because the transplants were prompting the continuation of normal hormonal functions."

View the Article Under Discussion: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-06/esoh-otr062810.php

Read More Longevity Meme Commentary: http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/

More Decellularized Lungs Demonstrated

Posted: at 8:18 am


Following on from a demonstration of decellularized rat lungs, another team has produced similar work: "Researchers have been able to create tiny mouse lungs in the lab that are able to breathe. The lungs were created with stem cells and attached to a ventilator. ... They used a technique called decellularization, similar to the method used to create a beating mouse heart in a different lab at the University of Minnesota in 2008. In the cancer center, they took a mouse lung and stripped away all its cells. Then, injected the natural framework with stem cells. At first they used fetal mouse lung cells, but this year they had another breakthrough using adult stem cells called 'induced pluriopotent stem cells.' ... That's basically a cell that we can take from anybody and re-program to act like an embryonic stem cell ... The hope is one day human lungs could be re-created for transplant with a greater chance of success. Right now, there is no tissue matching for lung transplants. ... The beauty of that is that you can then create a tissue for an organ that's transplantable that is derived from the patient and therefore would not be recognized as foreign by the immune system and not rejected. By adding the ventilator to make the lungs breathe, the stem cells are further trained to act like lung cells. It's a huge success considering lungs are such complicated organs with some 60 different kinds of cells."

View the Article Under Discussion: http://wcco.com/health/lungs.stem.cells.2.1774895.html

Read More Longevity Meme Commentary: http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/

The State of Mitochondrial Medicine

Posted: at 8:18 am


A review paper: "Mitochondrial disorders can no longer be ignored in most medical disciplines. Such disorders include specific and widespread organ involvement, with tissue degeneration or tumor formation. Primary or secondary actors, mitochondrial dysfunctions also play a role in the aging process. Despite progresses made in identification of their molecular bases, nearly everything remains to be done as regards therapy. Research dealing with mitochondrial physiology and pathology has [greater than 20 years] of history around the world. We are involved, as are many other laboratories, in the challenge of finding ways to fight these diseases. However, our main limitation is the scarcety of animal models required for both understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying the diseases and evaluating therapeutic strategies. This is especially true for diseases due to mutations in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), since an authentic genetic model of mtDNA mutations is technically a very difficult task due to both the inability of manipulating the mitochondrial genome of living mammalian cells and to its multicopy nature. This has led researchers in the field to consider the prospect of gene therapy approaches that can roughly be divided into three groups: (1) import of wild-type copies or relevant sections of DNA or RNA into mitochondria, (2) manipulation of mitochondrial genetic content, and (3) rescue of a defect by expression of an engineered gene product from the nucleus (allotopic or xenotropic expression)."

View the Article Under Discussion: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20571866

Read More Longevity Meme Commentary: http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/

The Youth Pill

Posted: at 8:18 am


A new popular science book on the manipulation of metabolism to slow aging, the author inspired by the Longevity Dividend initiative: "No scientific advances inspire more media hype than ones in gerontology, the study of aging. Even the crustiest editors have been known to turn giddy when new light is shed on the topic and take to blowing raspberries at the Reaper with headlines suggesting immortality elixirs are just around the corner. Biologists aren't so easily wowed, though, and before the mid-1990s they generally saw gerontology as a dismal bog where once-promising peers sank out of sight, or worse, re-emerged clutching beakers of snake oil. ... Studying the details of this inexorable, chaotic decay seemed a waste of time to most life scientists. ... Then in 1988 a miracle happened - the University of Colorado's Thomas Johnson reported that a gene mutation in nematodes could more than double their life spans. Five years later, Cynthia Kenyon at the University of California, San Francisco, nailed a similar worm 'gerontogene' dubbed daf-2. These flabbergasting discoveries revealed that not everything about aging is intractable chaos - worms, at least, apparently possessed gene-encoded modules poised to oppose the ravages of advancing age when activated by a single mutation. Optimists soon speculated that similar modules exist in mammals."

View the Article Under Discussion: http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/57510/

Read More Longevity Meme Commentary: http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/

Cell Transplants for Macular Degeneration

Posted: at 8:17 am


From the MIT Technology Review: "Rats genetically engineered to lose their sight can be protected from blindness by injections of human neural stem cells ... a startup in Palo Alto, CA, plans to use the positive results to file for approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to begin human trials. The company is already testing the cells in children with a rare, fatal brain disorder called Batten's disease. ... The company's cells are isolated from human fetal tissue and then grown in culture. To determine whether these cells can protect against retinal degeneration, scientists studied rats that were genetically engineered to progressively lose their photoreceptors - cells in the retina that convert light into neural signals. These animals are commonly used to model macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa, two major causes of blindness that result from cell loss in the retina. Researchers injected about 100,000 cells into the animals' eyes when the rats were 21 days old. ... the cells migrate over time, forming a layer between the photoreceptors and a layer of tissue called the retinal pigment epithelium, cells which nourish and support the photoreceptors. ... the cells protected vision in the part of the retina in which they were implanted."

View the Article Under Discussion: http://www.technologyreview.com/biomedicine/25647/?a=f

Read More Longevity Meme Commentary: http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/

Progress in Viral Cancer Therapy

Posted: at 8:17 am


Scientific American looks at the state of viral cancer therapies: "The adapted virus that immunized hundreds of millions of people against smallpox has now been enlisted in the war on cancer. Vaccinia poxvirus joins a herpesvirus and a host of other pathogens on a growing list of engineered viruses entering late-stage human testing against cancer. ... After a decade of development of so-called oncolytic viruses, the newest strains hold the most promise yet ... In a two-pronged attack, these viruses specifically target tumor cells while delivering a cargo of immune-boosting genes. In contrast, viruses that cause cancer, such as the human papillomavirus that is responsible for most cases of cervical cancer, disrupt a cell's genome, thereby triggering out-of-control growth. When the engineered viruses recognize and infect cancer cells, they replicate and sometimes destroy their hosts. Several of the viruses also release the gene for granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) an immune system protein. The GM-CSF attracts a swarm of white blood cells and other immune system operatives that mount a further attack on the tumor. ... The vaccinia virus has been developed by the biotechnology company Jennerex ... Later this year, the company plans to launch a phase III clinical trial in advanced liver cancer patients, in which the virus will be added to standard antibody treatment."

View the Article Under Discussion: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=tumor-virus-vaccines

Read More Longevity Meme Commentary: http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/

Amniotic Membrane Used to Repair Cartilage

Posted: at 8:17 am


A novel methodology in regenerative medicine: "The objective was to evaluate the utility of cryo-preserved human amniotic membrane (HAM) as a support for repairing human articular cartilage injuries, which have a very limited capacity for self-healing ... The results [show] that cryo-preserved HAM is useful as a scaffold for growing human chondrocytes in cell therapy and for repairing human cartilage injuries. ... It provides a more regular surface and fills in the cavities and fissures ... The authors cultivated the chondrocytes (cells that form part of the cartilaginous tissue), isolated from human articular cartilage, on the amniotic membrane over a period of three and four weeks. The amniotic membranes were used to develop 44 repair models of arthritic human articular cartilage in vitro, which was assessed between four and 16 weeks later. The HAM also bonds well with the native cartilage. ... In some models, we could not differentiate between where the native tissue stopped and the neo-synthesised tissue began. ... This tissue had a fibrous appearance and high cellular density (cellularity), which in some cases was greater than that of the actual native cartilage."

View the Article Under Discussion: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-06/f-sf-amu062310.php

Read More Longevity Meme Commentary: http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/

The Risks that Come With Excess Body Fat

Posted: at 8:17 am


Another reason why you really don't want to live a lifestyle that makes you overweight: "For individuals 65 years of age and older, obesity, excess body fat around the waist and gaining weight after the age of 50 are associated with an increased risk of diabetes. ... Adiposity [body fat] is a well-recognized risk factor for type 2 diabetes among young and middle-aged adults, however, the relationships between different measures of body composition and diabetes in older adults [65 years of age or older] are not well described ... [researchers] examined the relationship between measures of overall body fat, fat distribution, changes in these measures, and diabetes risk among 4,193 men and women 65 years of age and older. ... The researchers found that BMI at baseline, BMI at 50 years of age, weight, fat mass, waist circumference, waist-hip ratio, and waist-height ratio were all strongly related to the risk of diabetes. ... For each measure, there was a graded increase in the risk of diabetes with increasing quintiles of adiposity. Participants in the highest category of adiposity had an approximately 2- to 6-fold increased risk of developing diabetes compared with those in the lowest category."

View the Article Under Discussion: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-06/jaaj-owg061710.php

Read More Longevity Meme Commentary: http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/

Inflammation, Genetics, and Longevity

Posted: at 8:17 am


A review paper from Italian researchers who have been working on understanding inflammaging for a number of years: "Ageing is an inexorable intrinsic process that affects all cells, tissues, organs and individuals. Due to a diminished homeostasis and increased organism frailty, ageing causes a reduction of the response to environmental stimuli and, in general, is associated to an increased predisposition to illness and death. Actually, it is characterized by a state of reduced ability to maintain health and general homeodynamics of the organism. A large part of the ageing phenotype is explained by an imbalance between inflammatory and anti-inflammatory networks, which results in the low grade chronic pro-inflammatory status of ageing, 'inflamm-ageing'. It is strictly linked to immunosenescence, and on the whole they are the major contributory factors to the increased frequency of morbidity and mortality among elderly. Inflamm-ageing is compatible with longevity; even if centenarians have an increased level of inflammatory mediators in comparison to old subjects and they are very frail, they also have high level of anti-inflammatory cytokines together with protective genotypes. Actually, data on case control studies performed in Italian centenarians suggest that a pro-inflammatory genotype is unfavourable to reach extreme longevity in good health and likely favours the onset of age-related diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and Alzheimer's disease."

View the Article Under Discussion: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20549353

Read More Longevity Meme Commentary: http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/

Hair Trigger: How a Cell’s Primary Cilium Functions as a Molecular Antenna

Posted: at 8:17 am


It turns out that not all the hairlike cilia projecting from the surfaces of many cells in the human body are equal--there are the myriad ones for sweeping, swimming and other functions, and then there is the until recently mysterious primary cilium.

Nearly all human cells contain these numerous microscopic projections. The more abundant variety of cilia are motile; they act like oars, paddling in coordinated waves to help propel cells through fluid, or to sweep material across cellular surfaces (as in the respiratory system, where millions of cilia lining the airways help to expel mucus, dead cells and other bodily debris). By contrast, cells also contain a single, nonmotile cilium known as the primary cilium. Its presence on cells has been known for more than a century, but many believed it was a functionless evolutionary remnant.

[More]

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Cell - Biology - Cell biology - Cilium - Human body

A genome story: 10th anniversary commentary by Francis Collins

Posted: June 29, 2010 at 8:16 am


For those of you who like stories with simple plots and tidy endings, I must confess the tale of the Human Genome Project isn't one of those. The story didn't reach its conclusion when we unveiled the first draft of the human genetic blueprint at the White House on June 26, 2000. Nor did it end on April 14, 2003, with the completion of a finished, reference sequence. [More]

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Human Genome Project - White House - Biology - genetic - Francis Collins

California Health Institute Interviews Jeffrey Janus – CEO of Lifeline Cell Technology

Posted: at 8:16 am


Jeffrey Janus serves as director and senior vice president of operations of new CHI member International Stem Cell Corp. and president and chief executive officer of Lifeline Cell Technology, one of the company’s subsidiaries. International Stem Cell Corp. (ISCO.OB) is a publicly traded stem cell therapy company with research and manufacturing facilities in Oceanside, Calif., and Walkersville, Md. The company’s technology revolves around its discovery of a proprietary and unique class of stem cells called human parthenogenetic stem cells (hpSC). These cells have distinct medical, practical and ethical advantages over embryonic and adult stem cells. They allow immune-matched stem cells and therapeutic cells to be “banked” and available immediately for millions of patients who are in critical need and cannot wait to derive cells from their own bodies. In addition to Lifeline Cell Technology, the company has another subsidiary called Lifeline Skin Care.

Janus is trained in biochemistry and business management and has more than 20 years experience focused on cell-based businesses. He is a member of the team that discovered parthenogenesis and is published in the stem cell field. After joining International Stem Cell Corp., (ISCO) Janus subsequently founded Lifeline Cell Technology to meet a growing need for media and human cells in pharmaceutical drug screening, consumer product testing and basic research at universities and government laboratories and to provide revenue and operational infrastructure for ISCO. The CHI Blog recently caught up with Janus to find out the latest on the company.

Q: How did your company get started? A: We started this company based on the work of Elena Revazova, M.D., Ph.D., a scientist well known in Russia who had a dream of curing diabetes using embryonic stem cells. She came to the United States to work and her talent and expertise in growing human cells was discovered by ISCO’s founders, who decided to form a company around her knowledge and skill. At the time, U.S. President [George W.] Bush was restricting the use of embryonic stem cells on ethical grounds, and there were also patent issues around embryonic stem cells, as there still are. We recognized that the ethical issue was important, but medially the most important problem with stem cell therapy was likely to be immune rejection. We realized we could address these issues by developing the technology called parthenogenesis and mitigate delays from funding and restrictions by working in Russia. So Dr. Revazova went back to Russia, and we set up a collaboration in Moscow to begin her work with parthenogenesis. Today our company has all of the intellectual property rights to parthenogenesis, a very powerful technology. We have also recently brought in Andrey Semechkin, Ph.D. as our CEO. Dr. Semechkin is a well-known scientist in the field of systems analysis and an accomplished businessman.

Q: How does parthenogenesis work? A: It’s the derivation of stem cells from an unfertilized human egg. The ethical issue surrounding work with embryonic stem cells is caused by the fact that embryonic stem cells are derived from a fertilized embryo, which has the potential to be a human being. However, if you do not fertilize the egg and yet you can derive stem cells from it that are functional, you’re not destroying a viable human embryo—and that’s exactly what Dr. Revazova did. We perfected parthenogenesis and brought it back to the United States. As a result, we have been able to overcome the ethical issue surrounding using embryonic stem cells with parthenogenesis.

Q: What are your technology’s other advantages? A: Parthenogenesis makes embryonic stem cells (or what we call parthenogenetic stem cells) that can be immune matched to millions of people. Using embryonic stem cells, the way they are currently made, is sort of like trying to do a bone marrow transplant between one person and another picked at random without making sure you have a match. If someone needs to have a bone marrow transplant, they usually go to brothers or sisters first and try to do an immune match. For a different set of reasons a similar situation exists with blood transfusions, although type O blood can be given to almost everyone. Our cells are similar in that the parthenogenic stem cells can be immune matched to many people, and that’s the unique quality of our cells.

Q: What are the biggest opportunities for your business going forward? A: We are creating a bank of hpSC that are “pluripotent” and carry common immune types that will match a large percent of the U.S. population, and this is a huge opportunity. These will be clinical grade and will be made in our new manufacturing facility located in Oceanside, Calif. Our biggest opportunity is the potential ability of our stem cells to be universally utilized for therapy. Scientists across the world are working on embryonic stem cells and figuring out ways to make therapeutic cells such as liver cells or nerve cells for a whole host of diseases. Eventually these therapies will need a cell or process that will minimize immune rejection. Our cells can be immune matched to millions of persons and are thus a solution for this need. So in a way, much of the work that’s going on right now across the world with embryonic stem cells accrues to our benefit. In addition, we are focused in four distinct areas—diabetes, liver disease, retinal and corneal disease, and nerve disease. We are currently growing cells to cure corneal blindness and have actually grown cornea tissue. We’re working with the University of California, Irvine to grow cells with a retina for macular degeneration. We have grown cells that are very similar to liver cells that are also related to a cell type called beta cells, which may be useful for diabetes. Collaborations with companies and universities present strong opportunities, and we’ve collaborated with Novocell in San Diego to further our work with diabetes, and we’re collaborating with UC San Francisco to test our liver cells derived from our parthenogenic stem cells and with researchers in Germany to study nerve cells generated from our stem cells.

Q: Tell us a little bit about your subsidiaries. A: One unique thing about our company is that we are a research-oriented biotech company that actually has income. One of our subsidiaries, Lifeline Cell Technology, is growing very nicely (with a 150 percent increase in sales over the last year) by selling research products to grow human cells and study human disease. Lifeline has more than 70 products and will be releasing more than a dozen more in 2010. Lifeline Skin Care was created in 2009 based on our discovery that derivatives from our parthenogenetic stem cell technology have proven to be beneficial to human skin. Lifeline Skin Care is developing several products and is beginning early-stage clinical trials with these skin products. We anticipate that these skin care products will help to generate income and fund our continuing stem cell therapeutic research.

Q: What are your company’s greatest accomplishments so far? A. We have successfully created 10 human parthenogenetic stem cell lines, one which carries the most common immune type in the United States and matches over a hundred million persons across the world. We are a fast-growing company with more than 12 scientists working in various areas of therapy and product development. Our stem cells have proven to be able to create cells that may be useful in therapy, including liver-like cells, corneal cells, retinal cells, nerve cells and cell types that may ultimately be useful in the treatment of diabetes. We have set up collaborations with major universities and researchers across the world. The amazing thing about our company is that we have developed into a company that has manufacturing, products, sales, quality control, therapeutic research, and an accounting department in such a short time. We have all the workings of a fully functional product manufacturing and therapeutic research company. It amazes me that we are making sales, whereas most companies our size are basic research and development companies. We know how to make human cells and freeze, store and manipulate them so that they are clinical grade. I think our technology, our knowledge of cell culture and our ability to manufacture are three very strong reasons that we have been successful.

CHI-Advancing California biomedical research and innovation
SOURCE: http://californiahealthcareinstitute.blogspot.com/2010/02/executive-spotlight-jeffrey-janus.html

Nuts as Natural Cholesterol Busters

Posted: June 27, 2010 at 8:15 am


Nuts can generally lower your chances of suffering from cardiovascular maladies if eaten regularly throughout the week.

In the endless battle against heart disease and bad cholesterol, one type of food is standing out from the crowd of ‘would be’ super foods in terms of performance: nuts.

Several studies in the US and around the world have already attributed the power of nuts to lower LDL (or “bad cholesterol”) and generally improve a person’s cardiovascular profile.   According to a more recent investigation of the health benefits of nuts, headed by Loma Linda University researchers, consuming more than two ounces of nuts everyday for a few weeks produced long-lasting, positive effects.

The study involved more than five hundred respondents (males and females), none of which were taking any medications to control their blood pressure or cholesterol levels.  After approximately two months of natural “nut therapy”, the findings are as follows:

  • 5.1% total cholesterol reduction
  • 7.4% LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol reduction
  • 10.2% reduction of triglycerides
  • 8.3% improvement of bad cholesterol & good cholesterol ratios

Who will benefit the most from eating nuts?  The researchers have pointed out three key groups that will benefit the most, based on the respondent profiles and the results of the actual study:

  • Individuals who are generally slim or of normal weight
  • Individuals who already have a high level of “bad cholesterol” or LDL cholesterol
  • Individuals whose main diet is composed mainly of high-fat foods

As can be seen from the three profiles, nearly everyone can benefit from consuming nuts on a regular basis.  And there are even more reasons to love this health food: according to Joan Sabate MD, one of the key researchers of the Loma Linda University study, nuts are packed with essential nutrients such as protein and fiber, which makes it an ideal snack.

If you like the idea of lowering your LDL cholesterol, you will not be stuck with oatmeal-based snacks anymore – you have a potent, alternative choice in the form of nuts.  All nuts will provide the same heart-healthy benefits.  So whether you love pecans or macadamias, your heart is still getting much needed help from the natural compounds found in nuts.

More reasons to love nuts

Need more reasons to start munching on nuts more often? Here they are:
1. Eating at least 1 ounce of nuts everyday can reduce your risk for developing coronary heart problems by a whopping forty percent.  That is almost half the total risk for this devastating group of cardiovascular diseases.

2. As early as 2004, the US Food and Drug Administration has already recognized the efficacy at which walnuts can lower blood cholesterol levels.  According to studies, walnuts contain lots of omega-3 fatty acids.  In addition to the heart-healthy fatty acid, walnuts also come with a healthy dose of fiber and vitamin E, which can help reduce cell damage due to free radicals.

Fiber on the other hand, encourages a healthy digestive process by helping ’sweep away’ the solid waste.  Getting enough fiber everyday is becoming a problem in modern society because many modern diets are high in fat and animal protein but low in roughage.  Eating walnuts and other nuts packed with fiber can help reduce the problems associated with low-fiber diets.

3. What about peanuts?  Peanuts are not really nuts; they come from plants that are part of the legume family.  Fortunately, peanuts have the same chemical compounds as most nuts.  So when you are eating peanuts (a type of legume) you are still getting the advantages of eating ‘true nuts’.

4. According to studies on pistachios, the nut can slightly reduce the LDL cholesterol in the body and raise the good cholesterol level.  I’m actually snacking on some pistachios right now as I’m writing this article!

5. Plan to get pregnant anytime soon?  If you do, eating nuts gives you access to a healthy source of folic acid. Folic acid is an important compound that prevents fetuses from developing physical and neurological abnormalities.

6. According to a study performed by researchers from the Physician’s Health Study, people who ate nuts at least twice a week are at less risk of dying from heart attacks than those who did not.

7. Peanuts contain the heart-healthy compound resveratrol which has been linked to the decreased incidence of heart disease in French society.  Though you get less resveratrol with peanuts, consuming peanuts regularly can supply you enough of the compound to ward off heart problems.

Tips for healthy munching

While nuts offer a lot of health benefits, it still has calories and some amount of fat.  Here are some tips for healthy munching:

1. Avoid eating salted nuts; the sodium used for flavor enhancement can raise your blood pressure.  Go for plain or unsalted commercial nuts.  Salt doesn’t really add much depth to a nut’s natural flavor.

2. If you are eating more nuts, you have to reduce your intake of other snack foods like potato chips and sodas.  (As an added note, if you like soda with your snacks, try substituting it with water or natural fruit juices).

3. If you like fresh greens, chop some nuts and add them to your salads. The texture and crunchiness of nuts will greatly improve your salad.  Also, you are getting even more fiber from eating fresh greens!

Sources:
aolhealth.com
heartdisease.about.com
cholesterol.about.com
cholesterol.about.com
http://www.vegan.org.nz
http://www.healthcastle.com

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Secondhand Smoke May Increase Psychological Stress, UK Study Says

Posted: at 8:15 am


Exposure to secondhand smoke produces psychological stress and predisposes individuals to a higher risk of being hospitalized due to psychiatric illnesses.

In a study performed by researchers from the University College London, it was found that individuals who were exposed to secondhand smoke were more likely to suffer from psychological distress than people who were not exposed. The risk of psychological distress from secondhand smoke exposure is a staggering 50% – a significant risk percentage.

In addition to psychological stress, it was also found that people who regularly inhaled other people’s smoke were 3 times more likely to be admitted to a psychiatric facility in less than 7 years.  Smokers on the other hand, are four times more likely to be hospitalized due to psychological distress and other psychiatric problems.

The dangers of passive smoking

The researchers were able to measure the degree of a person’s exposure to nicotine by marking and measuring the compound cotinine, which is the chemical byproduct of nicotine after it has been metabolized/processed by the body.  The compound cotinine can be found in a person’s saliva.  The UK study tracked more than 5,000 smokers and 2,000+ non-smokers; all respondents of the study had no prior history of mental illnesses.

Within six years of the study, forty-one individuals from both the groups were admitted to a psychiatric facility.  More than fourteen percent of all the subjects of the UK study reported some degree of psychological stress.  After filters were applied, the researchers stated that despite differences in social circumstance, the risk factors still applied to both smoker and non-smokers. The study made use of a general questionnaire, which allowed the researchers to measure the exposure of secondhand smoke.

Based on the study, “passive smoking” or mere exposure to secondhand smoke increases  a person’s risk for psychological stress by more sixty percent. Prior to the more recent UK study, earlier animal studies showed that tobacco can alter an animal’s mood, which suggested a link between tobacco use and clinical depression in humans.

Tobacco: a poor stress reliever

This study shows that tobacco use is not a good coping strategy – instead of providing stress relief, it actually produces psychological stress. In a study published by the Journal of Pediatric Psychology (Oxford University Press) it was found that younger individuals are more prone to using tobacco as a coping strategy against stress.  It was found that smoking did not provide any significant stress relief to the respondents.

Sources:
reuters.com
archpsyc.ama-assn.org
jpepsy.oxfordjournals.org

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Vaccines Derived from Patients’ Tumor Cells Are Individualizing Cancer Treatment

Posted: June 26, 2010 at 8:16 am


The first discovery of a cancer gene marker--the BRAF oncogene for melanoma and colorectal malignancies--back in 2002 changed the way many researchers thought about cancer treatment. Rather than approach the disease based on what region of the body it stemmed from, scientists began to identify cancers in terms of their genetic signatures. Researchers now recognize more than 200 kinds of cancer--all genetically unique. [More]

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Cancer - Health - Conditions and Diseases - Colorectal cancer - Management of cancer

International Stem Cell Corporation (ISCO.OB) Announces New Patent Issuance Under License Agreement

Posted: June 25, 2010 at 8:15 am


International Stem Cell Corporation (OTCBB:ISCO), http://www.intlstemcell.com, a California-based biotechnology company focused on therapeutic and research products, congratulates Advanced Cell Technology, Inc. (ACT) on the issuance of its recent patent, U.S. Patent Number 7,736,896, covering a method for producing retinal pigment epithelial cells.

As licensee of the retinal cell technology covered by this ACT patent, ISCO looks forward to building on this discovery, either independently or in collaboration with ACT, with the goal of advancing the search for treatment of such diseases as Macular Degeneration and Retinitis Pigmentosa, leading causes of blindness in adults, both in the US and the World.

In addition to its licensed interest in the ACT patent, ISCO is developing its own proprietary technology for creating and implanting retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells that may be usable either in conjunction with its licensed technology from ACT or independently.

'This is just one more example of the remarkable advancement in science toward the treatment of life's more dreaded diseases, and we are proud to be one of the leading pioneers in that effort,' said Kenneth Aldrich, Chairman of ISCO.

ABOUT INTERNATIONAL STEM CELL CORPORATION (ISCO.OB):

International Stem Cell Corporation is a California-based biotechnology company focused on therapeutic and research products. ISCO's core technology, parthenogenesis, results in creation of pluripotent human stem cells (hpSCs) from unfertilized oocytes (eggs). hpSCs avoid ethical issues associated with the use or destruction of viable human embryos. ISCO scientists have created the first parthenogenic, homozygous stem cell line that can be a source of therapeutic cells with minimal immune rejection after transplantation into hundreds of millions of individuals of differing sexes, ages and racial groups. This offers the potential to create the first true stem cell bank, UniStemCell(TM), while avoiding the ethical issue of using fertilized eggs. ISCO also produces and markets specialized cells and growth media for therapeutic research worldwide through its subsidiary Lifeline Cell Technology. More information is available at ISCO's website, http://www.internationalstemcell.com.

To subscribe to receive ongoing corporate communications please click on the following link: http://www.b2i.us/irpass.asp?BzID=1468&to=ea&s=0.

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

Statements pertaining to anticipated technological developments and therapeutic applications, and other opportunities for the company and its subsidiary, along with other statements about the future expectations, beliefs, goals, plans, or prospects expressed by management constitute forward-looking statements. Any statements that are not historical fact (including, but not limited to statements that contain words such as "will," "believes," "plans," "anticipates," "expects," "estimates,") should also be considered to be forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, risks inherent in the development and/or commercialization of potential products, uncertainty in the results of clinical trials or regulatory approvals, need and ability to obtain future capital, application of capital resources among competing uses, and maintenance of intellectual property rights. Actual results may differ materially from the results anticipated in these forward-looking statements and as such should be evaluated together with the many uncertainties that affect the company's business, particularly those mentioned in the cautionary statements found in the company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings. The company disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

Key Words: Stem Cells, Biotechnology, Parthenogenesis

International Stem Cell Corporation
Kenneth C. Aldrich, Chairman
760-940-6383
kaldrich@intlstemcell.com
or
Brian Lundstrom, President
760-640-6383
bl@intlstemcell.com

Cancer Therapy Goes Viral: Progress Is Made Tackling Tumors with Viruses

Posted: June 24, 2010 at 8:18 am


The adapted virus that immunized hundreds of millions of people against smallpox has now been enlisted in the war on cancer. Vaccinia poxvirus joins a herpesvirus and a host of other pathogens on a growing list of engineered viruses entering late-stage human testing against cancer. [More]

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Cancer - Smallpox - Virus - Vaccinia - Health

International Stem Cell Corporation Names Charles J. Casamento to Board of Directors

Posted: June 23, 2010 at 8:16 am


International Stem Cell Corporation (OTCBB:ISCO), http://www.intlstemcell.com, a California-based biotechnology company focused on therapeutic and research products, announced today that Charles J. Casamento was elected to the Board of Directors, on June 21, 2010.

Mr. Casamento is currently Executive Director and Principal of The Sage Group, a healthcare advisory group specializing in mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships between biotechnology companies and pharmaceutical companies. During his career, Mr. Casamento has served as a director on the boards of eight public biotechnology/pharmaceutical companies. He was the president and CEO of Osteologix, Inc., a public biopharmaceutical company developing products for treating osteoporosis, from 2004 through 2007. From 1999 through 2004, he served as chairman of the board, president and CEO of Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Mr. Casamento formerly served as RiboGene, Inc.'s president, CEO and chairman of the board from 1993 through 1999 until it merged with Cypros to form Questcor. He was co-founder, president and CEO of Interneuron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Indevus), a biopharmaceutical company, from 1989 until 1993. Mr. Casamento has also held senior management positions at Genzyme Corporation, where he was senior vice president, pharmaceuticals and biochemicals; American Hospital Supply, where he was vice president of business development and strategic planning for the Critical Care Division; Johnson & Johnson, Hoffmann-LaRoche, Inc. and Sandoz Inc. Mr. Casamento also serves on the Boards of Directors of CORTEX Pharmaceuticals, SuperGen, Inc. and VIVUS, Inc. He holds a bachelor's degree in Pharmacy from Fordham University and an M.B.A. from Iona College and was originally licensed to practice pharmacy in the states of New York and New Jersey.

'Mr. Casamento is a vital addition to our Board and brings to International Stem Cell Corporation expertise in areas that will help guide our company through growth, including corporate governance, business development, strategic planning, financing, mergers and acquisitions, product development, clinical trials and corporate and research and development collaboration activities,' said Kenneth Aldrich, Chairman.

ABOUT INTERNATIONAL STEM CELL CORPORATION (ISCO.OB):

International Stem Cell Corporation is a California-based biotechnology company focused on therapeutic and research products. ISCO's core technology, parthenogenesis, results in creation of pluripotent human stem cells from unfertilized oocytes (eggs). hpSCs avoid ethical issues associated with the use or destruction of viable human embryos. ISCO scientists have created the first parthenogenic, homozygous stem cell line that can be a source of therapeutic cells with minimal immune rejection after transplantation into hundreds of millions of individuals of differing sexes, ages and racial groups. This offers the potential to create the first true stem cell bank, UniStemCell(TM), while avoiding the ethical issue of using fertilized eggs. ISCO also produces and markets specialized cells and growth media for therapeutic research worldwide through its subsidiary Lifeline Cell Technology. More information is available at ISCO's website, http://www.internationalstemcell.com.

To subscribe to receive ongoing corporate communications please click on the following link: http://www.b2i.us/irpass.asp?BzID=1468&to=ea&s=0.

FORWARD-LOOKING

Statements pertaining to anticipated technological developments and therapeutic applications, and other opportunities for the company and its subsidiary, along with other statements about the future expectations, beliefs, goals, plans, or prospects expressed by management constitute forward-looking statements. Any statements that are not historical fact (including, but not limited to statements that contain words such as 'will,' 'believes,' 'plans,' 'anticipates,' 'expects,' 'estimates') should also be considered to be forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, risks inherent in the development and/or commercialization of potential products, uncertainty in the results of clinical trials or regulatory approvals, need and ability to obtain future capital, application of capital resources among competing uses, and maintenance of intellectual property rights. Actual results may differ materially from the results anticipated in these forward-looking statements and as such should be evaluated together with the many uncertainties that affect the company's business, particularly those mentioned in the cautionary statements found in the company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings. The company disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

Key Words: Stem Cells, Biotechnology, Parthenogenesis

International Stem Cell Corporation
Kenneth C. Aldrich, Chairman
760-940-6383
kaldrich@intlstemcell.com
or
Brian Lundstrom, President
760-640-6383
bl@intlstemcell.com

The Open Letter on Brain Preservation

Posted: June 22, 2010 at 8:17 am


Every year something on the order of 50 million people die, and the fine structure of the brain that houses their minds is allowed to decay, destroying them forever. It does not have to be this way: the technology exists to plastinate and store the newly deceased, preserving the data of the mind until such time as medical technology can work a restoration. "The Open Letter on Brain Preservation seeks to raise awareness regarding the science, ethics and legality surrounding the emerging scientific process of chemical, whole-brain preservation. ... We, the undersigned, hereby publicly profess our human right to undergo a high-quality elective chemical brain preservation procedure immediately upon our physical death, and demand that such a procedure be made legal and accessible within the existing medical system in our countries of residence. We further demand that if medical evidence exists that an individual's brain is being substantially damaged by Alzheimer's, tumors, or other disease processes that elective brain preservation be available prior to that individual's natural death."

View the Article Under Discussion: http://brainpreservation.org/index.php?path=letter

Read More Longevity Meme Commentary: http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/

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