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How Medical Implants Have Progressed Over Time

Spine technology is among the most advanced for medical implants. The past decade has seen a rapid progression of new technologies in the field, with medical devices for treating back pain also improving significantly. Advances in spine surgery can be attributed to one major factor: integrating new technologies. Let’s look at how the spine sector has evolved over the years.

First Implanted Spine Device: 1930s

The augmentation of the spinal cord with surgical implants to produce sensory or motor potentials was reported as early as World War I. Despite this early work, technical innovation in the field did not occur until the 1970s. This change of pace is due to the slow development of surgical techniques and implant materials. It was still primarily considered necessary to surgically address spinal stenosis during that time.

Spinal Surgery Advances in 21st Century

In the first decade of the 21st century, spinal surgery has witnessed a rapid progression due to many factors. For one thing, it is now possible to perform procedures with minimally invasive techniques such as percutaneous endoscopic decompression (PED). This means that surgical intervention can now be performed via less risky, faster methods.

  1. The advent of technology has significantly changed the landscape of spine surgery: The evolution of technology has also been instrumental in this development. Advancements in implant materials and manufacturing mean that high-quality parts can now be sourced more easily. This makes spine surgeries faster and safer while still delivering consistent results.
  2. One of the most significant medical device innovations in recent years has been the addition of artificial disc replacement systems to surgical procedures. In countries like India, artificial discs have been implanted in more than half a million patients since 2005.
  3. The advent of these systems has changed the way spine surgeries are performed. For one thing, they provide a viable option for patients who previously would have been considered not suitable for surgery. Artificial discs can also be used to treat more than one issue at a time, significantly reducing the number of spinal surgeries needed to achieve successful treatment outcomes.
  4. In addition, advancements in neurostimulation devices have made it possible to obtain better results with less invasive surgery than ever before. This is particularly true in treating chronic back pain, where minimally invasive approaches can help achieve satisfactory outcomes even in cases of severe nerve damage.
  5. Significant advancements have been made in spinal surgery technology in the past few decades. This means that patients can now recover from their problems faster and with fewer complications than ever before. At the same time, with the development of surgical devices like artificial discs, there has been a steady rise in the number of minimally invasive procedures for treating spinal disorders across the world.
  6. Spinal surgery is one area where medical device innovation has played an essential role over recent years: Patients now have more options for treating spine conditions.  Every reliable medical device manufacturer constantly introduces innovative products that make surgery faster and easier. The range of options available has improved considerably, with better patient outcomes achieved in the process.
  7. Neurostimulation and artificial disc replacement technologies have helped improve the quality of life for many: With better technology, patients can now achieve treatment outcomes faster than ever before. This means that they can be more prepared for the likelihood of surgery being required in the first place, which is beneficial in itself.

With medical devices such as artificial discs and neurostimulation helping improve spine surgery and spinal procedures, there has been a steady rise in the number of people using these products across the globe.

Types of medical implants for spine

The backbone of modern medical implants for the spine is a system known as the interbody fusion device market. In recent years, this equipment has gone from strength to strength, thanks in no small part to the introduction of new implant materials that help to make surgery safer and faster. This trend is expected to continue.

Several treatment options are available for spinal implants. Patients may choose to have implants placed in the back or abdomen or have metal devices implanted in either location. Different materials can be used for spinal implants.

For those who have problems with the spine, it can now be possible to treat their issue in a way that addresses the problem itself and minimizes the possibility of future problems. Every reliable medical spine implants manufacturer is currently offering implants for back pain to ensure that people who need them receive high-quality products. This is particularly important when it comes to addressing chronic back pain issues. In addition, these manufacturers have also been able to make their products more durable and thus less likely to fail or fracture over time.

Artificial Disc Replacement Technology – Benefits and Risks

There have been several developments in artificial discs to treat spinal disorders in recent years. Advantages for the user include fewer complications, faster recovery, and improved functional capacity. On the other hand, there are some disadvantages to consider as well:

  • The use of artificial discs means that patients can make quicker progress than surgery alone. At best, they will be able to resume most of their activities almost immediately after surgery has been performed. However, this is dependent on the individual user and their spinal condition.
  • The use of artificial discs means that surgery can be performed more frequently than would have been the case with conventional surgical techniques. This can help reduce the overall cost of treatment, although it can also increase the risk of complications.
  • The use of artificial discs means that patients may need a second operation for implantation later. This can be particularly problematic in cases where there has been a loss of function as a result of surgery or where there has been a partial loss of function due to nerve damage as a result of surgery or injury.

Conclusion

In recent years, the medical device industry has seen a steady rise in the number of devices being used for spinal surgery. This has been driven by the introduction of new-generation implant materials, which have helped to improve patient outcomes and make spinal surgery safer overall. Stay informed about implants and surgical devices for back pain with our articles.




Emerging Peptide Areas and Technologies

Peptides naturally occur in huge quantities, and some of these peptides are great therapeutic beginning points. Because it contains a wide variety of bacteria that might lead to the discovery of novel peptides from protein segments, degradation byproducts, or signaling molecules, the gut microbiome has drawn considerable attention in metabolic research. For this reason, we are certain that further microbiome research will greatly enhance future applications of peptide therapies in metabolic illness treatment.

However, scientists must go beyond typical peptide methods for new peptide medication development. Multifunctional peptides, such as those with dual or triple agonism, are one of the field’s burgeoning new technologies. Based on genetics data, this strategy makes reasonable. As a result, it’s clear that animals with just one deleted gene have no discernible phenotype. Even though the GPCR sector has seen a lot of industrial effort and various specific agonists and antagonists have been identified in clinical research, only a small number of ligands have led to authorized medications. These findings relate to biological system redundancy and support the use of multitarget therapy development strategies. Another benefit of using a polypharmacology strategy is the ability to treat distinct patient groups in a more tailored and personalized manner.

Antimicrobial peptide therapeutic candidates with other biological properties, such as immune activation and wound healing, are now being developed as multifunctional peptides. Similarly, the GLP-1 agonist area, which is a well-established pharmacological class with a number of medicines, is seeing an increase in the use of multifunctional peptides, which are proving to be a commercial success. The emergence of GLP-1 dual and even triple agonists for a more diverse and individualized treatment of T2DM and/or obesity is obvious when looking across clinical and preclinical pipelines. The emphasis on increased patient convenience and compliance, in addition to versatile peptides, shows that clinical research is also pursuing options for less frequent dosing or even oral delivery of GLP-based medications.

Because medication candidates have a greater chance of success when targeting two different receptors at the same time, creating multifunctional peptides might be more difficult. The translation of in vitro effects to in vivo effects is complicated by the possibility of skewed signaling caused by new ligands that target two or more receptors. It’s also possible that translating findings from animal models to human scenarios entails a higher risk for multifunctional peptides than single receptor peptides due to the increased uncertainty caused by several target options. Bispecific antibodies for cancer therapy face comparable hurdles in the antibody sector. There are many reasons why multifunctional peptides are more likely to emerge from existing paradigms, such as GLP-1 research. These are more likely than wholly new peptide combinations.

Only a few oral peptide medications are available; the majority are injectables. Orally bioavailable peptides, on the other hand, are projected to witness growth in the market since they are more convenient for patients. Degradation of molecules in both the gastrointestinal tract and while traversing the intestinal mucosa through active transport or passive diffusion are issues associated with oral peptide production. The use of chemical strategies in the development of peptides for oral administration includes the stabilizing of secondary structures such as stapled peptides, building hydrophobic faces, cyclization, N-methylation, and the establishment of intramolecular hydrogen bonds, which have been previously mentioned as chemical strategies. Peptide medication research is being carried out by several biotechnology firms. You can purchase peptides online if you have a license and if you intend on using them for research purposes only.




Everything You Need To Know About Targeted Sequencing

The things that we know about the human DNA at present are so advanced when compared to just a few decades back that one has to wonder what are the implications of such advancement to everyday life. When we talk about the mapping of the human genome and the DNA, it seems to be a lot like science fiction than what we experience in real life and targeted sequencing is such a foreign concept. In truth, each person is made up of a unique DNA sequence and that makes us essentially different from each other. This knowledge has also led to the idea of individual differences and how certain diseases and illnesses can be present in several individuals but their symptoms and how the body reacts to them are different for each one. There are many instances in history when the approach to the treatment of disease had been one-size-fits-all, and time again, we have witnessed that this cannot be an effective means of treatment.

Even with the development of new medicines, controlled trials often provide the information in which the effects of the drug are observed, and although the average or the normal responses are given more weight, some people may indeed have different responses from those that are expected of the drug. It can be said that the next best thing in the approach to medical treatment and therapy involves a targeted treatment and intervention plan that looks into the individual DNA of the person. As such, whole DNA sequencing for this purpose has not been viable as it is not a practical option, it is too costly and takes a lot of time that most patients, healthcare providers, and hospitals do not have. A revolutionary method has been developed to take DNA sequencing to a new level, and it is called targeted sequencing. Read on to find out more about what it is and how it can help improve the lives of ordinary people like us.

What is Targeted Sequencing?

Targeted sequencing is part of the new sequencing technology that has been developed in the past two decades, specifically it is part of what is called the Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) which is a method that can sequence millions of DNA molecules at the same time. When it was first used in 2005, it has become the most important DNA sequencing methodology and has made significant contributions to research, industry, and health care. It has also made precision medicine more attainable as the clinical team is now able to sequence the DNA of a patient based on his or her whole genome or a specific gene panel to be able to develop treatment options that are specific to the genetic profile of the patient. With this new sequencing technology, all of these are achievable such that it is cheaper and faster. Since the 1990s, scientists have been trying to develop technologies that will significantly improve DNA sequencing, and with NGS this has become a reality. At present, the NGS technology can do its job in sequencing a whole human genome in two days and with a very low cost at that.

How Does Targeted Sequencing Work?

Targeted sequencing or as it is often called resequencing involves sequencing only a part of the whole genome or those areas of interest that have been found to be related to specific illnesses and diseases without having to sequence the entirety of the individual’s genome. But before the targeted sequencing can be done, the genome has to go through a series of procedures called a pre-sequencing DNA preparation called target enrichment. This procedure is done to identify the target region or area of the DNA sequence and it is amplified or captured of which will be the specific region that the targeted sequencing will occur. In this way, the targeted sequencing procedure can focus on which part of the whole genome it has to work with efficiently and effectively.

How Important is Targeted Sequencing?

Aside from being the most efficient DNA sequencing method, targeted sequencing can provide researchers and physicians with a method for examining the DNA profile of a patient faster and cheaper than other methods. It can provide results in a matter of days and we all know that when it comes to illnesses and diseases, a faster response is more appropriate. Although whole-genome sequencing is not without its merits, it is more suited for research and exploratory studies where time and financial resources are not an issue. Targeted sequencing is more useful to the applications of scientific findings to the improvement of human life. Thus, it can be said that the applications of such cannot be underestimated and that it can lead to the improvement in how we develop and design treatment and therapies for conditions and situations like cancer, cardiovascular diseases, organ transplant screening, childbearing, inherited disease testing among others. It is also useful in industrial applications like food safety, environmental science, and animal health. Thus, it can be said that the future applications of targeted sequencing are limitless.

What Will the Future Be for Targeted Sequencing?

It is only recently that targeted sequencing has become more accessible to scientists and practitioners as more and more laboratories are making it available for the public. In the past, you can only have access to such technology if you were a researcher or a scholar in a top-notch university that has the right funding and resources. With the new technologies and laboratories to perform targeted sequencing, the future looks bright for its medical and industrial applications. Thus, targeted sequencing can be used to understand how a disease develops over time and being able to develop a therapy that is guided by the DNA information of the patient. Moreover, since it only requires a target or focused region to sequence, the information derived from the sequencing will not require a massive database for storing data. The current direction of targeted sequencing will probably lead it into clinical diagnostics, translational research, and industrial applications. Most of all, precision medicine is the area in which targeted sequencing will be the most useful and trail-blazing.




How the Mathematics Behind Molecular Interactions Could Help Streamline Pharmaceutical Development

Science and mathematics are inextricably linked. Often, expertise in one requires experience in the other.

In the case of pharmaceutical development, fundamental mathematical equations underlie even the most complex molecular interactions. By studying the mathematical basis of the relationships between molecules, researchers can predict how changes might affect different reactions between molecules.

Binding Sites

Many pharmaceutical advancements rely on molecular interactions at binding sites. Macromolecules, such as the proteins that make up much of the human molecular catalog, have binding sites which allow the protein to attach to and interact with another molecule. Molecular binding creates a change within the protein that can cause it—and the cell—to function differently.

In some situations, proteins and other molecules don’t bind as they should. This can occur for a number of reasons, but continued binding issues can inhibit normal protein and cell function, leading to disease. For example, if the brain’s proteins don’t bind correctly with serotonin, neurotransmitters cannot function correctly, often resulting in anxiety and depression. This is just one example; protein binding happens constantly and is a key aspect of many diseases such as cancer and neurodegenerative disease.

Remedying Flawed Molecular Interactions

Medications and medicine rely on the binding process to do their job. Therefore, they are tasked with binding to proteins at specific binding sites that lack natural binding opportunities.

Of course, there are many disease mechanisms, but all hinge on faulty molecular interactions.

There are three main criteria for all molecular binding interactions, including:

  • Bond strength
  • Link rigidity
  • Size of linkage array

If one of the above is compromised, it can lead to diseased or disordered cell processes. Luckily, scientists have uncovered ways to change or manipulate these factors to control what occurs between two molecules or predict how molecular interactions will change with altered binding.

Experimenting With Binding Properties

Historically, experiments to see how medications bind to a protein were performed primarily in a lab setting. This meant trying different families of chemical compounds until one could properly bind to the protein and then identifying which of several analogous compounds most effectively addressed the disease or disorder at hand.

Now, scientists at the University of Minnesota have developed a computational model that takes some of the guesswork—and time—out of this process. Rather than running back-to-back experiments on hundreds or thousands of compounds, scientists can use a mathematical framework to predict how the molecules might interact. This streamlines the testing process, allowing scientists to make model predictions and then test valid candidates in real-time lab experiments. Though this framework does not eliminate the need for lab experiments by any means, it does allow researchers to change test parameters and develop a better understanding of which molecules will bind effectively to the desired binding sites.

Moving Forward

Researchers hope to use new computational models and mathematical frameworks to create a web-based app accessible to the scientific community. Researchers around the world could utilize these frameworks to test and develop pharmaceutical medications and other types of therapies for many diseases. This could provide huge breakthroughs in treatments for a wide range of conditions such as cancer, autoimmune disease, and neurological diseases.

Sources:

https://www.news-medical.net/news/20200103/Novel-study-on-molecular-interactions-could-make-it-easier-to-develop-new-medicines.aspx (Jan 2020)




Kevin Dalby, UT Austin Professor, Discusses DNA Testing — A Promising Weapon in the War on Cancer

Dr. Kevin Dalby

The fruits of the Human Genome Project are showing promise in diagnosing and treating cancer. Modern oncology is in the midst of radical change, with DNA testing methods designed to help patients live longer through early cancer detection and treatment. Dr. Kevin Dalby explains some of the ways in which DNA testing is proving to be a promising weapon in the war on cancer.

Predictive Genetic Testing

This type of testing looks for any inherited gene mutation that could put someone at a higher risk of getting some cancer types. People who have a family history of cancer can see if they have the gene mutation that would, in turn, increase their risk of getting cancer themselves.

By identifying the gene mutation early, they can potentially lower their particular risk to that cancer.

In addition, people who have been diagnosed with cancer can benefit from this testing, too. DNA testing could show if the patient also has a high risk of contracting other cancers as well.

Targeted Therapy

DNA testing can help healthcare providers determine whether some targeted drugs could help patients treat certain cancers. In many cancers, a cell mutation leads to a specific form of protein found in a tumor’s tissue.

Most tumors that contain this type of mutation tend to grow more rapidly, are more prone to spread, and could be resistant to standard chemotherapy. In these cases, therapy that specifically targets the protein that has changed could prove to be very effective.

DNA testing helps healthcare providers detect mutations that could “code” the specific proteins, which in turn would identify the tumor that could be susceptible to a particularly targeted cancer therapy.

Tumor Detection

Dr. Kevin Dalby points out that it’s not always easy to detect a tumor. One way that DNA testing can help this is by identifying circulating tumor DNA, or ctDNA.

When a tumor increases in size, it kills off the cells, replacing them with new ones. The cells that are dead break down, with their contents being released into a person’s bloodstream.

DNA testing can help detect ctDNA in a person’s bloodstream, indicating that a tumor is present somewhere — or is in development. ctDNA stands out because it doesn’t match precisely with a person’s regular DNA. This allows healthcare providers to detect a genetic difference between the two types of DNA and hopefully detect the tumor.

ctDNA can also help doctors determine the treatment that could be most effective for that specific tumor. If ctDNA decreases over time, it could also suggest that the tumor is getting smaller and the treatment is working.

About Dr. Kevin Dalby

Kevin Dalby is a UT Austin professor of chemical biology and medicinal chemistry, currently working on cancer drug discovery. At the College of Pharmacy at The University of Texas, he examines the mechanisms of nature and cancer to develop new treatments and teach and motivate students to conduct research. Dalby is optimistic about the future of cancer treatments.




Virtual Reality and Its Practical Application in Modern Medicine

IT technologies are actively developing and opening up a wide range of opportunities for the entertainment industry. Virtual Reality is perhaps the most sparkling example. And although this technology is currently used primarily for entertainment, it has broad prospects for use in the development of medicine. Together with experts from the Healthcare IT industry, we reviewed the latest VR trends in medicine.

History of VR with its start from gaming

The announcement of Microsoft’s Project X-Ray prototype caused a flurry of emotions among gamers around the world. The first game was released in the form of a demo, where users wearing VR glasses and holding a special manipulator in their hands were supposed to destroy hostile robots breaking through the walls.

In March 2020, Valve Corporation released Half-Life: Alyx for VR, which has seriously altered ideas about the future of VR technology. In this game, together with realistic graphics, producers introduced a drawing function – this feature has become a small breakthrough.

The history of VR in games dates back to 1990. At that time, no one could have imagined that this technology would be applied anywhere outside gaming. Today, VR and AR are applied in education, scientific and military research, sports, transport, and medicine. The last option will be discussed here.

VR in studying medicine

A significant event in the world of medicine was a surgical operation, during which a cancerous tumor was removed. The operation was performed at the Royal London Hospital and was observed by 13,000 students. The surgeon used Google Glass and streamed the event on the Internet with a one-minute delay.

Why this event was so remarkable:

  1. The audience watched the operation through the eyes of the surgeon.
  2. Viewers could ask questions online.
  3. The broadcast of the operation could be viewed on any device.

The surgeon received questions during the operation – they were displayed as text off to one side, and he could answer them vocally without stopping the process.

Although students could enjoy a full view, they still were passive viewers in the process. This was the main reason why 3D simulations, not only accurately reproducing all details but also intended for students to practice their skills, started appearing.

Medical Simulation Corp offers a product called Simantha that educates future cardiologists. The product is a 3D manikin with a cardiovascular system, which is designed for training for all operations known to cardiological surgeons. Students can inject contrast agents, study the insides of the heart, see the patient’s reaction to certain medical manipulations, etc.

There are more traditional teaching methods as well. HumanSim offers a simulator for learning the basics of communication with patients, first aid (including that in tactical conditions), lung ventilation, etc. Here users can create unique simulations on their own.

Advantages of learning with 3D simulators

An artificial manikin doesn’t provide the same experience of interacting with a patient as simulations do. The virtual simulator reproduces all the anatomical features of the human body, while standard manikins are not able to contain and display all the necessary information. In the case of using a 3D model, a student can even assess the consequences of their mistake, for example, if a blood vessel is damaged. Stanford University has a simulator that even allows for the tactile sensations of conducting an operation.

By polishing up their surgical skills, future doctors gain experience that will allow them to work more delicately and accurately. This will help to improve the qualifications of graduates, and from a practical perspective, this will reduce the number of errors and post-surgery complications. Such simulators are especially useful for microsurgeons and telesurgeons.

Caring for patients

VR technologies can be useful not only for training future doctors but also for managing various mental disorders. For example, using VR, phantom-limb pains and various forms of phobias can be treated. According to experiments carried out at the Chalmers University of Technology, thanks to the use of VR technologies, it was possible to reduce phantom pain by up to 22% through restructuring the neural networks of the patients’ brains. By simulating the presence of a hand, this technology relieved patients of the obsessive thoughts of a missing limb.

VR can also be used in the treatment of autistic people by helping them practice behaving in a society where patients are not ready to act. Provided that technologies are rapidly developing and becoming more accessible, there is hope that, in the near future, we will receive a qualitatively new level of medical care in all areas.

Finally, VR technology may soon be used for diagnosing and monitoring Alzheimer’s disease. About two years ago, scientists from Cambridge University and University College London conducted research where they used VR headsets to detect Alzheimer’s disease in its early stages. Those who participated in the experiment (both with mild cognitive impairment that often develops into Alzheimer’s disease and without it) were asked to walk within an artificial environment. The technology helped to detect navigation problems in those participants who previously tested positive for MCI. Such a method for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease may soon prove itself to be better than the tests we have today.

Conclusion

VR is a promising technology in healthcare. The simulated environments that it creates are already used for transferring valuable knowledge in the field of surgery, and it soon might prove itself helpful for diagnosing and monitoring various diseases. This, in turn, leads to significant improvement of the quality of patients’ lives, lifts medicine up to a new level, and opens the potential for the development of innovative healthcare software solutions.




New Discovery Shows Human Cells Can Write RNA Sequences into DNA

Cells contain machinery that duplicates DNA into a new set that goes into a newly formed cell. That same class of machines, called polymerases, also build RNA messages, which are like notes copied from the central DNA repository of recipes, so they can be read more efficiently into proteins. But polymerases were thought to only work in one direction DNA into DNA or RNA. This prevents RNA messages from being rewritten back into the master recipe book of genomic DNA. Now, Thomas Jefferson University researchers provide the first evidence that RNA segments can be written back into DNA, which potentially challenges the central dogma in biology and could have wide implications affecting many fields of biology.

“This work opens the door to many other studies that will help us understand the significance of having a mechanism for converting RNA messages into DNA in our own cells,” says Richard Pomerantz, Ph.D., associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Thomas Jefferson University. “The reality that a human polymerase can do this with high efficiency, raises many questions.” For example, this finding suggests that RNA messages can be used as templates for repairing or re-writing genomic DNA.

The work was published June 11th in the journal Science Advances.

Together with first author Gurushankar Chandramouly and other collaborators, Dr. Pomerantz’s team started by investigating one very unusual polymerase, called polymerase theta. Of the 14 DNA polymerases in mammalian cells, only three do the bulk of the work of duplicating the entire genome to prepare for cell division. The remaining 11 are mostly involved in detecting and making repairs when there’s a break or error in the DNA strands. Polymerase theta repairs DNA, but is very error-prone and makes many errors or mutations. The researchers, therefore, noticed that some of polymerase theta’s “bad” qualities were ones it shared with another cellular machine, albeit one more common in viruses—the reverse transcriptase. Like Pol theta, HIV reverse transcriptase acts as a DNA polymerase, but can also bind RNA and read RNA back into a DNA strand.

In a series of elegant experiments, the researchers tested polymerase theta against the reverse transcriptase from HIV, which is one of the best-studied of its kind. They showed that polymerase theta was capable of converting RNA messages into DNA, which it did as well as HIV reverse transcriptase, and that it actually did a better job than when duplicating DNA to DNA. Polymerase theta was more efficient and introduced fewer errors when using an RNA template to write new DNA messages, than when duplicating DNA into DNA, suggesting that this function could be its primary purpose in the cell.

The group collaborated with Dr. Xiaojiang S. Chen’s lab at USC and used X-ray crystallography to define the structure and found that this molecule was able to change shape in order to accommodate the more bulky RNA molecule—a feat unique among polymerases.

“Our research suggests that polymerase theta’s main function is to act as a reverse transcriptase,” says Dr. Pomerantz. “In healthy cells, the purpose of this molecule may be toward RNA-mediated DNA repair. In unhealthy cells, such as cancer cells, polymerase theta is highly expressed and promotes cancer cell growth and drug resistance. It will be exciting to further understand how polymerase theta’s activity on RNA contributes to DNA repair and cancer cell proliferation.”

More information: Polθ reverse transcribes RNA and promotes RNA-templated DNA repair, Science Advances (2021). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abf1771

Journal information: Science Advances

Provided by Thomas Jefferson University

Source: phys.org




Visual Sclerotherapy Treatment: Answering the Hard Questions

Did you know that over 324,000 sclerotherapy procedures were done in the USA in 2017 alone? These figures show that visual sclerotherapy treatment for spider veins is a popular method for treating this venous condition. This treatment method is minimally invasive and entails injecting chemicals into the affected veins. The method diminishes spider veins’ appearance and reduces the pain or side effects damaged veins cause.

But when is this medical procedure necessary? What can you expect after undergoing it? This post answers these and other hard questions you might have regarding this method.

When is Sclerotherapy Necessary?

Visual sclerotherapy treatment is used to treat spider veins. It’s also effective for treating other conditions like varicose veins. Additionally, it treats hemorrhoids when other treatment options fail. This condition occurs when blood vessels around the rectum swell and start irritating patients.

This method also treats deformed lymph vessels that carry lymphatic fluid or lymph, helping the immune system fight infections. It’s also beneficial for hydroceles, an unhealthy development of fluid in a body cavity. The procedure is ideal for cosmetic purposes to enhance spider veins’ appearance. Additionally, it’s effective for relieving symptoms like burning, night cramps, swelling, and aching.

Which Areas Can Sclerotherapy Treat?

Spider veins and varicose veins can develop on any body part. However, they usually affect the legs and feet. The veins the condition affects become discolored, raised, swell, and can become uncomfortable. Spider veins are smaller and closer to the skin. They appear red, blue, or purple. So, visual sclerotherapy treatment for spider veins can treat damaged veins and spider veins in the following body areas:

  • Thighs
  • Calves
  • Ankles
  • Feet
  • Face
  • Anus

How Does Sclerotherapy Work?

Visual sclerotherapy treatment for spider veins depends on several factors like the severity of the patient’s condition. The procedure can last anywhere between 15 and 60 minutes. The surgeon gets you to lie on your back with raised legs if spider veins are on your legs. Additionally, the vein specialist may use an ultrasound scan as part of the treatment, but all that depends on the condition’s severity.

The doctor starts the procedure by cleaning the skin surrounding the affected area requiring treatment. They inject the affected region using a fine needle with a sclerosing agent. These agents or solutions usually include polidocanol, sodium tetradecyl sulfate, and hypertonic saline. These solutions shut the injected veins’ walls. The shutting redirects blood to healthy veins. Gradually, the body absorbs the affected veins, making them less visible and more comfortable. The number of treatment sessions you need depends on the treated vein’s size.

How Many Sessions Are Enough?

It’s difficult to fix the number of sessions one needs to recover from spider veins. The reason is that the number of sessions differs among patients based on their desired results or expectations and how many veins require treatment. Averagely, one may need between three and four sessions to enjoy the best results. It’s also recommended for patients with spider veins to undergo regular checkups to ensure new ones don’t develop with time.

What Should You Expect After the Procedure?

Visual sclerotherapy treatment is the best remedy for spider veins and smaller varicose veins. Most patients start seeing improvements after just a few weeks. Those battling larger varicose veins can wait for up to several months before they register any significant results. Thus, they also need to undergo several sessions to enjoy optimal results.

Different studies have shown that 83% of those who undergo visual sclerotherapy treatment for spider veins experience decreased pain. However, it’s important to set reasonable expectations before undergoing this procedure. The reason is that the procedure doesn’t guarantee 100% elimination of these veins.

However, it minimizes their appearance so that they don’t become an unsightly sight to behold. The procedure also doesn’t guarantee zero side effects. So, be hopeful but also realistic to avoid unnecessary disappointments.

How Much Does Sclerotherapy Cost?

This medical procedure will cost you some money. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery placed the average cost of a sclerotherapy procedure in 2017 at $369. However, the actual cost depends on other factors that vary among patients. For example, the number and size of veins requiring treatment affect the price. Your geographical location also determines how much you will spend on the procedure.

It’s also worth noting that this procedure is for cosmetic purposes. Therefore, insurance doesn’t cover it. But if you suffer medical symptoms resulting from spider or varicose veins, your insurer will pay for it.

That is it. This post has answered all the fundamental hard questions you had about this procedure. It’s up to you to use this information to make a smart decision.




Cellular Aging Process REVERSED for 1st Time in History

Human chromosome with shining telomeres,

Source: RT.com

Researchers in Israel claim to have partially reversed cellular aging using a somewhat controversial treatment. While only a small study, it improves our understanding of the aging process in humans.

The shortening of telomeres, the caps at the end of each of our chromosomes, is one of the main underlying mechanisms behind aging. Cell division whittles down these telomeres each time it occurs, leaving each new chromosome slightly shorter than its predecessor.

This, in turn, increases the risk of mutation down the line, which can often lead to age-related diseases like certain types of cancer.

Scientists in Israel, led by Shair Efrati, a physician from the Faculty of Medicine and Sagol School of Neuroscience at Tel Aviv University, claim they can now partially reverse this process by extending the length of these telomeres using hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT).

They placed 26 volunteers aged 64 and older in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber for five 90-minute sessions every week for three months, taking regular samples throughout the process.

At the end of the study, the researchers were pleasantly surprised to find some of the patients’ telomeres had extended by up to 20 percent.

The aging process isn’t the direct result of shrinking telomeres but keeping the lid on chromosomes means better cellular performance into old age. Staving off telomere shrinkage can be helped by plenty of quality sleep, exercise, and good food but applying hyperbaric oxygen therapy appears to also promote healthier telomeres in the body.

However, the researchers acknowledge that their study was based on small sample size, needs to be replicated, and that the technique has been attempted before without success.

Furthermore, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) can be a somewhat controversial topic, however, as there have been extraordinary and poorly-evidenced claims that it can treat conditions ranging from aseptic bone necrosis, global brain ischaemia to autism.

Efrati describes the full knowledge and understanding of telomere shortening as “the ‘Holy Grail’ of the biology of aging.”

In order to ‘turn back time’ on the aging process altogether, we would need to recover some of the bits of genetic code lost during cell division. This does happen in certain tissues that line our gut, via an enzyme called telomerase, another avenue of extensive research.

However, reactivation of telomerase is a technique employed by certain cancers to replicate, so scientists must also proceed with caution while exploring that particular avenue.

The aging process extends far beyond shortening telomeres, so humanity is still some way off discovering the fountain of youth, but early indications are that HBOT can improve health in old age.




Tel Aviv University Study Finds Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatments Reverse Aging Process

By AMERICAN FRIENDS OF TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY | EurekAlert

First clinical trial reverses two biological processes associated with aging in human cells

The researchers found that a unique protocol of treatments with high-pressure oxygen in a pressure chamber can reverse two major processes associated with aging and its illnesses: the shortening of telomeres (protective regions located at both ends of every chromosome) and the accumulation of old and malfunctioning cells in the body. Focusing on immune cells containing DNA obtained from the participants’ blood, the study discovered a lengthening of up to 38% of the telomeres, as well as a decrease of up to 37% in the presence of senescent cells.

The study was led by Professor Shai Efrati of the Sackler School of Medicine and the Sagol School of Neuroscience at TAU and Founder and Director of the Sagol Center of Hyperbaric Medicine at the Shamir Medical Center; and Dr. Amir Hadanny, Chief Medical Research Officer of the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research at the Shamir Medical Center. The clinical trial was conducted as part of a comprehensive Israeli research program that targets aging as a reversible condition.

The paper was published in Aging on November 18, 2020.

“For many years our team has been engaged in hyperbaric research and therapy – treatments based on protocols of exposure to high-pressure oxygen at various concentrations inside a pressure chamber,” Professor Efrati explains. “Our achievements over the years included the improvement of brain functions damaged by age, stroke or brain injury.

“In the current study we wished to examine the impact of HBOT on healthy and independent aging adults, and to discover whether such treatments can slow down, stop or even reverse the normal aging process at the cellular level.”

The researchers exposed 35 healthy individuals aged 64 or over to a series of 60 hyperbaric sessions over a period of 90 days. Each participant provided blood samples before, during and at the end of the treatments as well as some time after the series of treatments concluded. The researchers then analyzed various immune cells in the blood and compared the results.

The findings indicated that the treatments actually reversed the aging process in two of its major aspects: The telomeres at the ends of the chromosomes grew longer instead of shorter, at a rate of 20%-38% for the different cell types; and the percentage of senescent cells in the overall cell population was reduced significantly – by 11%-37% depending on cell type.

“Today telomere shortening is considered the ‘Holy Grail’ of the biology of aging,” Professor Efrati says. “Researchers around the world are trying to develop pharmacological and environmental interventions that enable telomere elongation. Our HBOT protocol was able to achieve this, proving that the aging process can in fact be reversed at the basic cellular-molecular level.”

[Read more here]

Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield, Massachusetts and New England (USA) & “virtually” the world. He can also be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty@gmail.

 




How Can Technology Improve Healthcare?

Technology permeates all spheres of human life. It promotes the flow of ideas, knowledge, and services around the globe. Technology changes the way people travel, shop, do business, and communicate. Moreover, technology is making massive inroads into the healthcare industry. It offers new opportunities for both patients and doctors and continuously improves the quality of countless people’s lives. To deliver exceptional outcomes in the future, we need to unleash the power of technology and start to reap the benefits. Presently, lots of people who lead a healthy life and do their best to stay in good shape also rely on technology. Litslink.com has created an exhaustive list of health benefits modern technology presents us with. You can familiarize yourself with this list right now and figure out how you can avail yourself of health and wellness technologies. And then you can go on reading our article and learn about the major breakthroughs in the medical space that were inspired by technology.

# 1 Digitization of Medical Files

The significance of recording the history of a patient’s illnesses is unquestionable. Still, apart from patient history, there are tons of other medical documents that are critical to improving overall efficiency and quality of healthcare. Technology made it possible to replace outdated paper-based medical records with convenient Electronic Health Records (EHRs). EHRs made it possible to significantly improve care for patients, make the treatment process more transparent, reduce medical errors, make a diagnosis more effectively, and help maximize healthcare providers’ overall productivity.

# 2 Nanomedicine

Nanomedicine is probably the most effective technology being developed. It involves the manipulation of atoms and molecules at the atomic level of 1 to 100 nanometers. A nanometer is extremely small considering that the period in the sentence is 1 million nanometers in length. Nanomedicine is particularly promising for diagnosing, treating, and preventing various diseases more accurately. Nanomedicine is a also huge step towards battling impenetrable diseases like cancer.

# 3 3D Printing Technology

Since its creation, 3D printing has developed immensely. Now the technology allows for easier reconstruction of prototypes. People are developing cheaper, more effective prosthetics and polypills so far cheaper than before. This has changed the way we look at organ transplants and tissue repair.

# 4 Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is making the biggest splash in healthcare, and it’s projected to do so even more. It has several applications in the healthcare space from clinical work to image analysis. AI could actually save many countries’ healthcare economy over a hundred and fifty billion dollars. Since it represents an obvious money saving potential, thousands of enterprises start investing in the AI technology.

# 5 Healthcare Blockchain Technology

By now you’re more than likely heard of Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency turning pizza delivery boys into millionaires. Stories like that have sparked a gold rush in the development and use of blockchain. However, what is blockchain? Blockchain is an independent database that exists over several locations owned by a specific community. The plan for the healthcare industry is to create a massive independent database that centralizes the EMRs, mentioned earlier on our list. As confusing as that may sound this is big news for the healthcare industry.

# 6 Virtual Healthcare

Virtual healthcare, also known as telemedicine, creates remote communication between doctors and patients. Video apps coupled with wearable technology allow healthcare providers to monitor patients and provide emergency assistance. Virtual healthcare technology dramatically increases convenience and cuts travel times. Virtual technology will undoubtedly be a necessity if the predicted physician shortage comes to fruition.

# 7 Robotics Technology

Robotic surgery may maybe the first and recent renovation to be implemented. The use of robotics significantly increases surgery success rates and minimizes the impact on patients through minimally invasive procedures. This technology coupled with artificial technology is also a powerful tool to solve the staffing issue and combat the shortage.

# 8 Virtual Reality Technology

Virtual reality is already massive in the entertainment industry and even in the military for training purposes. Healthcare is the next industry to take on virtual reality. Virtual reality is the immersive sensory tech that has created uses for both doctors and patients. For physicians, hospitals have begun using VR to train staff in simulations that have deficient risk factor. As for patients, it has been found that VR has rehabilitation and therapeutic benefits. VR is a cost effective practice. So hospitals have begun its widespread implementation.

Conclusion

We live in the world of innovation, disruption, and change. How we provide care is also rapidly evolving. The healthcare industry is among the leading industries to embrace the influx of technology innovations in recent years. From data analytics, helping connect patients to the right physicians, to artificial intelligence assistants who can handle massive workloads of data… The future is bright in healthcare technology and isn’t as far off as previously thought. Look out for the aforementioned technologies being put to use in your hospital soon!




16-Yo Teen Develops Armor That ‘Blocks’ Radiation During Cancer Treatments, Reducing Exposure By 16%

Image Credit: Truth Theory

By Mandy Froelich | Truth Theory

Meet Macinley Butson, a young inventor who has received international recognition for her efforts to protect women from excess radiation during breast cancer treatments. Thanks to her ingenuity, the copper SMART armor has the potential to save countless lives.

Butson has always been fascinated by science. Only after her father, who works in medical physics, discussed his experience with ineffective cancer treatments did Macinley consider how she could add to the field. Knowing first-hand the loss of a relative due to cancer, she decided to conduct her own investigation on the subject.

As GoodNewsNetwork reports, Butson tried to begin her research by reading scientific journals. However, making sense of the medical jargon turned out to be a challenge. So, Butson turned to ‘YouTube University’ to discover videos that taught her how to read scientific journals.

As she became familiar with the process, Butson found a key piece of information: copper has been shown to be dramatically more effective at protecting skin from radiation compared to lead. One day, during class at her high school in Wollongong, New South Wales, Butson had a “eureka” moment.

She and her 10th-grade class members were watching a film on medieval wars when she spotted the scaled patterns of armor. Equipped with fresh inspiration, she began designing an “armor” made out of copper.  To learn how to weave together tiny scales, Butson once again returned to YouTube.

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The Ethical Minefield of ‘Mind Reading’ by Recording Brain Activity

By reading brain activity with an EEG machine, scientists have been able to reconstruct faces with almost perfect accuracy. (Craig Chivers/CBC)

By CBC NEWS

In a small room tucked away at the University of Toronto, Professor Dan Nemrodov is pulling thoughts right out of people’s brains.

He straps a hat with electrodes on someone’s head and then shows them pictures of faces. By reading brain activity with an electroencephalography (EEG) machine, he’s then able to reconstruct faces with almost perfect accuracy.

Student participants wearing the cap look at a collection of faces for two hours. At the same time, the EEG software recognizes patterns relating to certain facial features found in the photos. Machine-learning algorithms are then used to recreate the images based on the EEG data, in some cases within 98-per-cent accuracy.

Nemrodov and his colleague, Professor Adrian Nestor say this is a big thing.

“Ultimately we are involved in a form of mind-reading,” he says.

The technology has huge ramifications for medicine, law, government, and business. But the ethical questions are just as huge. Here are some key questions:

What can be the benefits of this research?

If developed, it can help patients with serious neurological damage. People who are incapacitated to the point that they cannot express themselves or ask a question.

According to clinical ethicist Prof. Kerry Bowman and his students at the University of Toronto, this technology can get inside someone’s mind and provide a link of communication. It may give that person a chance to exercise their autonomy, especially in regard to informed consent to either continue treatment or stop.

In a courtroom, it may end up being used to acquit or convict those accused of a crime. Like lie detector tests and DNA analysis, brain scanning our memories may become a legal tool to help prove innocence or guilt.

It may even change our relationship with animals. If, as student Nipa Chauhan points out, we know what they understand and feel, we may act differently toward them.

So what’s the flipside?

A lot. Let’s start with the concept of memory. Our memories are never “pure” — nor are they ever completed.

And our brain often fills in the blank spots with biases and personal reflections. Researchers like Adrian Nestor and his colleague Dan Nemrodov agree it’s still a bit like archaeology-digging beneath the layers to find the raw information. They haven’t found it yet, but they believe it’s just a matter of time.

That, according to Bowman and his students, raises the thorny issue of freedom, especially freedom of thought.

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Robotic Implants Spur Tissue Regeneration Inside the Body

Image via kkolosov / Fotolia

Source: Boston Children’s Hospital | Science Daily

An implant, a programmable medical robot can gradually lengthen tubular organs by applying traction forces — stimulating tissue growth in stunted organs without interfering with organ function or causing apparent discomfort, report researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital.

The robotic system, described today in Science Robotics, induced cell proliferation and lengthened part of the esophagus in a large animal by about 75 percent, while the animal remained awake and mobile. The researchers say the system could treat long-gap esophageal atresia, a rare birth defect in which part of the esophagus is missing, and could also be used to lengthen the small intestine in short bowel syndrome.

The most effective current operation for long-gap esophageal atresia, called the Foker process, uses sutures anchored on the patient’s back to gradually pull on the esophagus. To prevent the esophagus from tearing, patients must be paralyzed in a medically induced coma and placed on mechanical ventilation in the intensive care unit for one to four weeks. The long period of immobilization can also cause medical complications such as bone fractures and blood clots.

“This project demonstrates proof-of-concept that miniature robots can induce organ growth inside a living being for repair or replacement, while avoiding the sedation and paralysis currently required for the most difficult cases of esophageal atresia,” says Russell Jennings, MD, surgical director of the Esophageal and Airway Treatment Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, and a co-investigator on the study. “The potential uses of such robots are yet to be fully explored, but they will certainly be applied to many organs in the near future.”

The motorized robotic device is attached only to the esophagus, so it would allow a patient to move freely. Covered by a smooth, biocompatible, waterproof “skin,” it includes two attachment rings, placed around the esophagus and sewn into place with sutures. A programmable control unit outside the body applies adjustable traction forces to the rings, slowly and steadily pulling the tissue in the desired direction.

The device was tested in the esophagi of pigs (five received the implant and three served as controls). The distance between the two rings (pulling the esophagus in opposite directions) was increased by small, 2.5-millimeter increments each day for 8 to 9 days. The animals were able to eat normally even with the device applying traction to its esophagus, and showed no sign of discomfort.

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Are Ancient Potions Better Than Modern Drugs?

Source: DNews

Much ancient medicine was so effective, that it could serve as a useful alternative to drugs we use today! Here are some examples:

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