Haphephobia

Hey guys,

So I’ve decided to add in a new aspect to my blogs, and that is to write about rare or less commonly known disorders. I’ll keep these type of blogs more short and snappy, just to give you a basic overview of different disorders you may not have heard about before. Hopefully, you will find this interesting!

HAPHEPHOBIA:

Other names for it: chiraptophobia, aphenphosmphobia, thixophobia

What is it: the fear of being touched – causes significant distress and anxiety

Symptoms: panic attacks, increased heart rate and sweating, feeling anxious or depressed when thinking about being touched, crying etc..

Causes:  run in the family, caused after witnessing a traumatic event, especially if they were young at the time

Medication: beta-blockers and antidepressants can help with the symptoms of anxiety and panic

Treatment: cognitive behaviour therapy (person is taught new behaviours) , exposure therapy (gradually expose the person to their fear) , virtual reality exposure therapy (controlled exposure to phobia)

Coping mechanisms: breathing exercises, mindfulness, exercise, self-care

 

Thank you for reading this weeks blog, if you liked it feel free to ask any questions down below!

Thanks,

Rohini

Sources used:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320763.php?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=weekly

https://www.healthtopia.net/disease/mental-health/phobia/haphephobia-fear-being-touched

Cause of Schizophrenia found in Type of Brain Cell

What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is described as “a severe long-term mental health condition” or type of psychosis that stops the individual from distinguishing their thoughts from reality. People with schizophrenia tend to experience hallucinations, delusions and muddled thoughts, and are treated with medication and therapy.

The Cause of Schizophrenia

A study lead by Dr Goldman, neurologist at the University of Rochester Medical Centre, was published in the journal Cell and suggests that the dysfunction of the brains glial cells (neutrons that make up supportive tissue in the brain) could be the cause of symptoms of childhood-onset schizophrenia; this type of schizophrenia is a rare form started in children before their 13th birthday.

During the metal development of the brain, glial cells form from  a type of pluripotent stem cell called ‘glial progenitor cells’. Genetic mutations in these glial progenitor cells stop the proper functioning of the glial cells, thus causing schizophrenia.

The Model on Mice

Dr Goldman implanted human glial cells into a rodent’s brain that had been formed from progenitor cells of human patients with childhood-onset schizophrenia. This showed that the glial cells from the schizophrenia patients were clearly abnormal – the signalling between the neutrons was damaged and there were many underdeveloped cells. In addition to this, the mice with cells from schizophrenia patients displayed higher levels of anxiety and fear, sleep disorders and deficient sensory-motor coordination – these traits are all symptoms of schizophrenia.

Dr Goldman said that he hopes this important discovery will help to discover new potential treatments to schizophrenia. For example, substances that will fix the chemical imbalances triggered by dysfunctional glial cells. He said:

“The findings of this study argue that glial cell dysfunction may be the basis of childhood-onset schizophrenia […] The inability of these cells to do their job, which is to help nerve cells build and maintain healthy and effective communication networks, appears to be a primary contributor to the disease.”

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog this week, I hope you found it an interesting read! If you liked it please leave a rating and comment down below your thoughts!

Thanks,

Rohini

Sources used:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318545.php?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=weekly

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Schizophrenia/Pages/Introduction.aspx

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/labs-at-nimh/research-areas/clinics-and-labs/chp/childhood-onset-schizophrenia-study.shtml

http://discovermagazine.com/2015/jan-feb/11-schizophrenia-study-finds-new-genetic-links

New Cystic Fibrosis Treatment

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic diseases that prohibits people from being able to breath over time.  At the moment, there is no cure for the disease (although there are many treatments) but a new potential form of treatment has been found to work significantly better than the others.

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The research was done by an international team of researchers from the George Washington (GW) University in Washington, D.C., in collaboration with the University of Perugia and the University of Rome (both in Italy) who discovered a drug that could potentially treat the progression of cystic fibrosis – THYMOSIN ALPHA 1 (Ta1) – also known as ‘Zadaxin’ which is already used in treating many viral infections and disorders such as HIV.

This drug has been known to have a role in immunity and reduces inflammation as well as being able to correct genetic defects. As a result, during the study the researchers found that the Ta1 corrected the defects in the tissue of mice and improved the activity of Cystic Fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) that is associated with balancing he levels of salt and water in the lungs.

Allan L. Goldstein, Ph.D., study co-author and Professor Emeritus in Residence of biochemistry and molecular medicine at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences said this:

“Right now there are multiple treatments for cystic fibrosis, and while these have improved life expectancy dramatically, there is still only a lifespan of about 40 years for patients. No one treatment can stand alone. We developed a single treatment that can potentially correct the genetic defect that causes cystic fibrosis and decrease the inflammation that happens as a result.”

Hopefully, this finding will enable Cystic Fibrosis to be tackled more efficiently, and maybe even work towards a potential cure.

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Thank you for reading this blog, if you enjoyed reading about the potential new treatment for Cystic Fibrosis please leave a rating and comment down below what you would like to read next!

Thanks,

Rohini

Sources used:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/316837.php

https://www.cff.org/What-is-CF/About-Cystic-Fibrosis/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cystic-fibrosis/home/ovc-20211890

https://cysticfibrosisnewstoday.com/cystic-fibrosis-overview/

 

Acne Could Be Caused by Skin Bacteria

A new study from the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) claims that acne could be caused due to imbalances in skin bacteria as opposed to by a specific strain of bacteria.

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Acne is a skin disease that usually occurs during puberty. It is inflammatory and results in the appearance of blackheads (black and on surface of skin) , whiteheads (small and under the skin) and more types of pimples. About three-quarters of 11 – 30 year-olds get acne at some point and it can even be linked to the genes. Usually the most affected areas of the body due to acne include the face, neck, chest, shoulders and back due to there being more sebaceous glands in these areas (the areas are more oily which clogs the pores).

Propionibacterium acnes or, P. acnes for short, is a bacterium that contributes heavily to acne development, however it is not the only bacterium that does this as P.acnes is abundant in individuals with and without acne. The bacterium formed the basis of the study by studying the skin follicles of 38 people with acne and 34 people without acne through DNA shotgun sequencing (‘Shotgun sequencing involves randomly breaking up DNA sequences into lots of small pieces and then reassembling the sequence by looking for regions of overlap’). Through this search, it was found that the difference between people with acne and without acne was in the strains of P. acnes. Whats more, ‘adults with acne had higher levels of virulence-related genes in P. acnes, the team reports. These included genes linked to the production of bacterial toxins that promote inflammation and poor skin health.’

Dr Li,  the study leader, said this:

“This study suggests that the makeup of the bacteria in the follicles can reflect, as well as influence, the skin condition in acne or healthy skin,”

From these findings, the researchers hope to encourage the use of personalised ace treatment based on specific conditions and intensities of acne and the imbalance of the skin bacteria. The team believe that for accurate and successful treatments to be brought out to the public, it is very important to fully understand the bacteria related to acne. One possible method of treatment could be through the use of probiotics that target the harmful bacteria and encourage the produce of beneficial bacteria to restore the balance between skin bacteria. This way, there will be no need to kill all the bacteria on the skin as the beneficial ones can provide a guide of the type of bacteria that is wanted on the skin.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, if you enjoyed it please feel free to leave a rating and comment any questions down below!

Thanks,

Rohini

Sources used:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/316803.php

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/107146.php

http://www.yourgenome.org/facts/what-is-shotgun-sequencing

 

Study Findings bring us One Step Closer to a Cure for the Zika Virus

Study Findings bring us One Step Closer to a Cure for the Zika Virus

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The zika virus is a mosquito-borne virus that can pass from pregnant women to the fetus, causing birth defects such as microcephaly (baby’s head is smaller and Guillain-Barré syndrome.. There are currently no vaccines or medicine to treat it but researchers claim they have reached a step closer towards a cure by mapping a protein that helps the zika virus to replicate and spread.

The symptoms of the zika virus last for about 2-7 days and include:

  • mild fever
  • skin rash
  • eye inflammation
  • headache
  • muscle and joint pain

These symptoms are often so mild that people can barely notice them.

The study was led by Indiana University (IU) in Bloomington in collaboration with Texas A&M University in College Station, and they were able to map an important protein in the Zika virus (non structural protein 5 or NS5) that helps the virus to replicate and spread. As a result of this, Professor Cheng Kao and his team are already working with partners to find compounds that can target the NS5 protein in the zika virus. Already, drugs approved to treat diseases like hepatitis have the potential to be used in tacking the zika virus.

Finally, I would like to end on a quote from the head professor in the study Prof. Cheng Kao:

“Mapping this protein provides us [with] the ability to reproduce a key part of the Zika virus in a lab. This means we can quickly analyze existing drugs and other compounds that can disrupt the spread of the virus. Drugs to target the Zika virus will almost certainly involve this protein.”

 

Hopefully, this outstanding discovery will lead us to a cure to the deadly virus that had more than 1 million cases reported in the latest World Heath Organization (WHO) and Pan American Health Organization update.

Thank you for reading my blog, I hope you enjoyed it! If you have any questions or comment feel free to leave them down below!

Thanks,

Rohini

 

Sources used:

https://www.cdc.gov/zika/about/index.html

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/316617.php

http://www.mrmr.biz/important-zika-virus-developments-2016/

All about HIV


What is HIV?

HIV (or human immunodeficiency virus) is a lentivirus that destroys a type of white blood cell in the immune system called a T-helper cell, and replicates itself inside these cells. As this happens, the infected persons immune system gradually breaks down, result in them finding it harder and harder to fight off infection and diseases. HIV can be found in semen, blood, vaginal and anal fluids, and breast milk, and cannot be transmitted through sweat, saliva or urine.

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Early effects of HIV

Signs and symptoms of HIV usually begin to appear in 2-6 weeks and last for 1-2 weeks in the form of flu-like symptoms due to the body and immune system producing antibodies in an attempt to fight off the infection. This is known as seroconversion and tends to consist of symptoms like:

  • fever
  • skin rash
  • sore throat
  • swollen glands
  • joint/ muscle pain

After the seroconversion period is over, a person may not experience any symptoms of HIV for a few years.

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How HIV affects the immune system

As mentioned earlier, HIV infects cells by merging with the host T cells, entering the host cell and multiplying. If someone does not receive treatment for HIV, they could severely damage their immune system and result in it not being able to defend itself at all thus causing even the most minor infection to become life-threatening. They are also more likely to pass the virus onto others and even develop AIDS.

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Confections associated with HIV

People who have HIV are more likely to develop coinfections – diseases that can both have an effect on HIV and be affected by HIV. Some of the most common coinfections to HIV include:

  • tuberculosis
  • hepatitis
  • pneumonia

Side effects of HIV

The most common side effects experienced by people with HIV include:

  • headache
  • tiredness
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • rash
  • high blood sugar levels
  • high cholesterol

Other possible side effects of HIV include:

  • anaemia
  • hepatitis
  • poor kidney function
  • glucose intolerance
  • inflamed pancreas

Treatment of HIV

HIV can be treated via antiretroviral treatment. This has proven to be a very effective form of medication and has significantly improved the life expectancy of many people with HIV. People who are receiving treatment usually take a combination of three different drugs at the same time – this is because the HIV can adapt quickly to combination therapy and become resistant to a single type of antiretroviral therapy.

However, a person taking these drugs may experience metabolic effects or conditions such as:

  • fat redistribution
  • insulin resistance
  • osteoporosis

Thank you for takin the time to read my blog, if you like it please feel free to leave a comment or any questions down below!

Thanks,

Rohini

Sources used:

https://www.avert.org/about-hiv-aids/what-hiv-aids

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/316373.php

http://www.dispatchreview.com/patient-zero/8895/

http://www.technology.org/2015/05/15/infographic-the-effects-of-hiv-on-the-body/

 

Unhealthy Diet Could Raise Breast Cancer Risk In Early Adulthood

In previous studies, it had been discovered that a diet low in vegetables and high in carbohydrates snd red/processed meats was likely to cause chronic inflammation (long term inflammation) which in turn could lead to some kinds of cancer. However, it has now been found that this inflammation could actually increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer prior to menopause.

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Some background to breast cancer

Breast cancer starts when cells in the breast begin to grow out of control.This can result in a tumor growing, and should this tumor be malignant (cancerous), it can spread to surrounding tissues. In females in the UK, breast cancer is the most common cancer, but thankfully about 65% of women diagnosed with breast cancer in England and Wales survive their disease for twenty years or more. 

For the study, researchers analyzed data from 45,204 women including information about their diet (mostly during their teenage, early adulthood years). Using a technique that associates food intake with markers of inflammation in the blood, theresearchers allocated an inflammatory score to each woman’s diet. The women were then divided into five groups based on their inflammatory score. This found that:

Women with the highest inflammatory diet score during early adulthood were found to have a 41 percent increased risk of premenopausal breast cancer, compared with those who had the lowest inflammatory diet score.

However, this study cannot be used as absolute proof as there are a number of limitations to it. For example, the people who had to state there adolescent diet may have recollected inaccurately, and the researchers did not have access to the women’s measurements of inflammatory blood markers during adolescence or early adulthood. Though, the study still manages to highlight the important of a healthful diet, especially in younger teenage/ early adulthood years of life.

Here is a quote from Karin B. Michels, Ph.D, one of the researchers who worked on this finding:

“Our study suggests that a habitual adolescent/early adulthood diet that promotes chronic inflammation may be another factor that impacts an individual woman’s risk. During adolescence and early adulthood, when the mammary gland is rapidly developing and is therefore particularly susceptible to lifestyle factors, it is important to consume a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes and to avoid soda consumption and a high intake of sugar, refined carbohydrates, and red and processed meats.”

Hopefully, this finding will strengthen the understanding that the choices you make when you are younger can heavily affect your future.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, I hope you enjoyed reading it. Feel free to leave a comment down below if you have any questions!

Thanks,

Rohini

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All about cancer

What is it?

 

Normally, the human body forms new cells as you need them, replacing old cells that die, but sometimes this process can go wrong. New cells grow even when they aren’t needed, and old cells stay present even when they should have died. These extra cells can form a mass called a tumor which can be either benign or malignant. Benign tumors are not cancerous:  they can often be removed from the body and the cells from the benign tumor don’t spread to other parts of the body. However, malignant tumors are cancerous and are made up of cells that grow out of control. Cells in these tumours can invade nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body.

Types of cancerImage result for types of cancer

Cancer is not just one disease but many diseases. There are more than 100 different types of cancer including breast cancer, skin cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, and lymphoma. Most cancers are named for where they start. For example, lung cancer starts in the lung, and breast cancer starts in the breast. The spread of cancer from one part of the body to another is called metastasis.

 Symptoms and Treatment

Symptoms and treatment depend on the cancer type and how advanced it is. Treatment plans may include surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy, hormone therapy, immunotherapy and stem cell transplantation. 

Symptoms of cancer include:

  • lump in breast
  • coughing (more than three weeks)
  • chest pain
  • breathlessness
  • changes in bowl habits (blood in still, persistent bloating, diarrhoea or constipation for no obvious reason etc.)
  • blood in urine, between periods, when you cough or vomit
  • irregular shaped moles (more than one colour, bigger than 7mm diameter etc.)
  • unexplained weight loss

Statistics

  • 356,860 new cases of cancer in 2014, UK
  • 163,444 deaths from cancer in 2014, UK – this is more than 450 deaths everyday
  • 50% of patients survive cancer for 10 or more years (2010-11, England and Wales)
  • Out of all cancer cases in the UK, 42% are preventable
  • Every four minutes, someone in the UK dies from cancer
  • Cancer survival is higher in women than men
  • 1 in 2 people in the UK born after 1960 will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetime
  • Smoking is the largest preventable cause of cancer each year in the UK

Treatment Research

  • September 8, 2009 – Proton Therapy for Cancer is discovered
  • March 22, 2011 – Some male survivors of childhood cancer who were thought to be      sterile are able to conceive children due to new surgical procedures
  • April 19, 2011 – Scientists explore ways to use chemicals produced by animals, plants and microbes to find a new drug to treat cancer
  • January 19, 2012 – clinical trial shows that using chemotherapy alongside radiation therapy provides a near doubling of survival time in patients with a certain type of brain tumor
  • March 15, 2012 – genetically engineered T cells are being studied for the treatment of a variety of cancers
  • June 24, 2013 – Drugs that block the MEK protein have shown promise in several cancers.
  • December 9, 2013 – modified T cells are effective in treating blood-borne cancers
  • December 7, 2015 – some cancer treatments damage the hart, so scientists and researchers are working to find ways to prevent and manage this
  • June 17, 2016 – early-stage cancer trials support the use of immunotherapy and precision as effective treatment for cancer
  • November 22, 2016 – scientists design a machine to measure the mass of a single cancer cell and predict how that cell will respond to drug treatment

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It is a known fact that cancer is one of the leading causes of disease and deaths world wide, and whats worse, the number of cancer cases are expected to rise by approximately 70% over the next 20 years. Although cancer has not been overcome yet, I am sure that with the ever-growing discoveries and new techniques to combat it we will find a cure to cancer very soon. Only recently it has been proposed that it is possible to produce new drugs and therapies that will transform the treatment of metastatic cancers (when the cancerous cells escape the primary tumour and migrate through the blood to form secondary tumours in other parts of the body). This discovery could prove to be revolutionary as most deaths to cancer are due to metastasis and being able to stop them from migrating will not only reduce the problemof secondary tumours forming but also save many lives.

Thank you for reading my blog, I hope you have found the information provided interesting and that your understanding of cancer is hopefully a bit clearer. If you have any questions or any comments about cancer please write them down below!

Sources

http://www.webmd.com/cancer/

https://medlineplus.gov/cancer.html

https://pancreaticcanceraction.org/about-pancreatic-cancer/diagnosis/faq/difference-benign-malignant-tumour/

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cancer/Pages/Symptoms.aspx

http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics

https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/research

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/315512.php