Posts Categorized: News & Information

Natural Molecule Can Reverse Autoimmune Disease Response

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[10/14/14] Researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA, reported the results of a new study investigating a natural molecule that can be used as a potential treatment to reverse autoimmune response and disease progression. The research team discovered that NAD+, a natural molecule present in living cells, plants, and food have the ability to change the immune response of ‘destructive’ autoimmune cells into ‘protective’ cells. NAD+ can also restore tissues that have been damaged by autoimmunity, in turn reversing autoimmune disease progression. Using autoimmune encephalomyelitis, a preclinical model for human multiple sclerosis, the team found that NAD+ blocks acute or chronic inflammation by modulating the differentiation of CD4+ T immune cells. Mice that received the immune cells with… Read more..

Does virus caught by mom cause diabetes in fetus?

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[10/6/14] The incidence of type 1 childhood diabetes has been increasing rapidly worldwide. If blood sugar levels aren’t well-controlled, juvenile diabetes can affect nearly every organ of a child’s body. And while long-term complications of the disease develop gradually, they may become disabling and even life-threatening. The exact cause of juvenile diabetes has eluded scientists, but a new study from Tel Aviv University suggests a likely trigger before birth. In a recent paper published in Diabetic Medicine, Prof. Zvi Laron, Professor Emeritus of Pediatric Endocrinology at TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Director of the Endocrinology and Diabetes Research Unit at Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel, and Head of the WHO Collaborating Center for the Study of Diabetes in Youth,… Read more..

Gluten timing in babies does not prevent celiac disease

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[10/4/14] Two studies give disappointing news for parents looking for a way to prevent celiac disease in babies at higher risk for it because of family history. Neither breast-feeding nor timing the start of gluten-containing foods makes a difference in whether a child develops the problem, researchers found. There is no early window of opportunity to help sensitize a baby to gluten, and delaying its start until 1 year of age just briefly postpones the onset of symptoms, the studies found. “We don’t have a recipe to prevent it right now,” said Dr. Alessio Fasano, director of the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital. He helped lead one of the studies, which are in this week’s New… Read more..

British scientists say diabetes could be cured

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[9/29/14] Scientists say diabetes could be cured after compelling evidence revealed that juvenile-onset or type-1 diabetes and type-2 diabetes are both caused by the formation of toxic clumps of a hormone called amylin, stopping the cells producing insulin. Professor Garth Cooper, from The University of Manchester with his University of Auckland-based research team, led the study. The discovery could change the lives of millions of people who are suffering from the disease. “As well as producing insulin, cells in the pancreas also produce another hormone called amylin. Insulin and amylin normally work together to regulate the body’s response to food intake. If they are no longer produced, then levels of sugar in the blood rise resulting in diabetes and causing damage… Read more..

Math model designed to replace invasive kidney biopsy for lupus patients

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[9/24/14] In a new study, researchers developed a math model that can predict the progression from nephritis – kidney inflammation – to interstitial fibrosis, scarring in the kidney that current treatments cannot reverse. A kidney biopsy is the only existing way to reach a definitive diagnosis of the damage and its extent. The model could also be used to monitor the effectiveness of experimental treatments for inflammation and fibrosis. This fibrosis can follow development of lupus nephritis, which occurs in about 60 percent of lupus patients, according to the National Institutes of Health. Inflammation is linked to the most common type of lupus, called systemic lupus erythematosus. The cause of lupus is unknown and it cannot be cured. The research is published… Read more..

Specialized Psychotherapy Shown to Help Those with Rheumatoid Arthritis

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[9/17/14] New research from Wayne State and Duke universities suggests a non-pharmaceutical approach can help individuals cope with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA is a serious autoimmune disease that affects one to two percent of adults, a painful condition that can cause disability and joint disfigurement. The disease causes serious stress and can disrupt work, family life, and marital functioning. While many pharmacological advances help some RA patients, residual pain and disability is common. And some patients avoid newer medications due to their high cost or side effects. Because of this, researchers are looking at psychosocial interventions such as cognitive-behavioral and emotional processing approaches. A new paper by a team of researchers from Wayne State University and collaborators from Duke University Medical Center discussed two… Read more..

Scientists identify how immune cells use two critical receptors to clear dead cells from the body

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[9/8/14] In most of the tissues of the body, specialized immune cells are entrusted with the task of engulfing the billions of dead cells that are generated every day. When these garbage disposals don’t do their job, dead cells and their waste products rapidly pile up, destroying healthy tissue and leading to autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Now, Salk scientists have discovered how two critical receptors on these garbage-eating cells identify and engulf dead cells in very different environments, as detailed today in Nature Immunology.

 “To target these receptors as treatments for autoimmune disease and cancer, it’s important to know exactly which receptor is doing what. And this discovery tells us that,” says senior author of the… Read more..

Scientists say diabetes could be cured: Disease is caused when chunks of the hormone amylin clump together.

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[8/27/14] Editor’s note: This press release received little play in US media. Hope it is not a case of “not discovered here”. A cure for diabetes is a step closer after scientists found what they believe is the root cause of the disease. Scientists say diabetes could be cured after compelling evidence revealed that juvenile-onset or type-1 diabetes and type-2 diabetes are both caused by the formation of toxic clumps of a hormone called amylin, stopping the cells producing insulin. Professor Garth Cooper, from The University of Manchester with his University of Auckland-based research team, led the study. The discovery could change the lives of millions of people who are suffering from the disease. “As well as producing insulin, cells in the… Read more..

Salk scientists find control signal for immune system that could help treat autoimmune diseases

From left: Xudong Li, Professor Ye Zheng, Yuqiong Liang
Credit: Salk Institute for Biological Studies

[8/18/14] When faced with pathogens, the immune system summons a swarm of cells made up of soldiers and peacekeepers. The peacekeeping cells tell the soldier cells to halt fighting when invaders are cleared. Without this cease-fire signal, the soldiers, known as killer T cells, continue their frenzied attack and turn on the body, causing inflammation and autoimmune disorders such as allergies, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes. Now, scientists at the Salk Institute have discovered a key control mechanism on the peacekeeping cells that determine if they send a halt signal to the killer T cells. The new research, published today in Cell, could help develop treatments for autoimmune disorders as well as some types of cancer…. Read more..

Why Getting ‘High on Life’ May be Good for Immunity

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[8/9/14] We all like things that make us “high on life” — that feel-good rush after exercising, a good belly laugh, playful activities with friends, meditation, a good massage, or a loved one’s touch. These are examples of things that release endorphins, the body’s chemicals that give us a natural high. But endorphins do more than make us feel good; endorphins are necessary for proper immune function. In fact, some studies suggest people with chronic illness suffer from low endorphins. If you have an autoimmune disease, chronic pain, or chronic illness, boosting your endorphins could help you better manage your health. We are an endorphin-deprived society, with our emphasis on being busy. Not only does this result in less happiness,… Read more..