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Monday, 01 Feb, 2010

Health & Fitness

Cord Blood Improves the Condition of a Child with Severe Cerebral Palsy

Chloe Levine seemed perfectly healthy when she was born. But when their little girl was 9 month old, the couple noticed that she couldn't even hold her bottle, as she held her left hand in a tight fist. Parents were told Chloe had suffered a stroke in utero and as a result had a severe Cerebral Palsy.

The disease affected the right side of her body. Later, the condition also manifested itself in a speech impairment. The fact that Chloe was never to have a normal life broke her mother's heart. The couple refused to accept the condition of their daughter. Fortunately, they had preserved stem cells from the girl's umbilical cord when she was born.

When she was 2 years old, Chloe went through a re-infusion of these banked cells. The procedure lasted for about 15 minutes. The therapy was expected to have a benefic effect on the state of the patient, as the stem cells have been used in medicine for several decades, especially in blood and immune diseases, as well as in treating cancer. The cells used in most cases are from the bone marrow, reports They can reinforce the person's immune system, enabling her to fight even a very severe disease.

But the stem sells from the cord are even "smarter", according to David Zitlow, vice president of corporate communications at Cord Blood Registry. These cells are much younger and aren't affected by various outside factors, such as viruses. Thus they're much more effective. Besides, the cells are from the patient's own blood, so the organism doesn't reject them. Once the umbilical cells get into the body, they stick to the exact affected spot and help the injured cells or tissue repair itself.

According to the doctors, the first improvements of the Chloe's state are to be seen in 3 to 6 months after the infusion. Her right hand soon relaxed and even her speech improved. "Now she has a normal life", her mother Jenny says, "she can drive her toy tractor now, and it was pretty difficult for her before. She even rides a bike, a scooter." Scientists aren't able to say whether the effect of the infusion would last for babies like Chloe, but there are still chances.

Soon studies will show whether infused stem cord cells had the benefic effect on kids like Chloe, or it was due to other factors. Researchers are currently trying to find out the effect of such infusions in several brain injuries, congenital hydrocephalus, type I diabetes, neurological and cardiovascular diseases, as well as various implications of lack of oxygen in the prenatal period (which nay lead to developmental delays and neurological and motor impairments).

Monday, 01 Feb, 2010


Mother for the Third Time, Despite Risking Her Life

Stacey Harold from Kentucky has already become famous for being the tiniest mother in the world. The birth of her third child really proves that miracles do happen.

The 35 year old Mrs. Harold is just 2ft 2 inches high and suffers from a severe illness, Osteogenesis Imperfecta, which makes her bones very fragile and her lungs underdeveloped, thus forcing her to use a wheelchair. Besides, her body didn't grow.

But this didn't stop Stacey from realizing her greatest life dream, i.e. having a happy family. After she married her 5ft 4in husband Will in 2004, the couple was anxious to have children. Although doctors warned her that she wouldn't probably survive a pregnancy and her family litteraly begged her not to do this, Stacey and Will decided to have their first daughter, Kateri, who was born after a cesarean section in 2006.

The girl inherited her mother's disease, but Stacey has always said that children were miracles in her life. After 8 months, the happy couple realized they were going to become parents for the second time, reports DailyMail. Again, despite all the warnings and arguments, Stacey decided to go through this, as she strongly believed God was with her.

Their second daughter was born healthy in 2008. Stacey admitted that being pregnant was "uncomfortable", because it made her unable to do almost anything by herself and forced her to stay in bed for weeks. Even if the couple didn't intend to have more than 2 children, recently the third baby was born. This time it was a boy, also born after a cesarean surgery.

Tuesday, 12 Jan, 2010

Current Events

Quitting Smoking Can Prevent a Serious Visual Impairment in Time

It is well known that quitting smoking can reduce the risks of several types of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. It was proven that the healing process starts already in 20 minutes after you stop smoking. What is even more surprising is that people, who stop smoking at the age of 65, after long years of tobacco use, still decrease the risk to die from heart disease by about 50 percent.

In addition, a recent study revealed that by stopping smoking, aged women can decrease their chances of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Even though it doesn't lead to total blindness, the disease causes a serious visual impairment. ADM is the main cause of sight loss among Americans aged 60 and up. The illness leads to the formation of a blemish on the portion of the eye, responsible for the central vision. As a result, the person finds it difficult to read, drive, perform detailed work or even recognize the faces of those around.

The long-term study performed at the University of California, Los Angeles, aimed at figuring out the effects of smoking on the elderly women. Among around 2,000 women, participating in the study, 75 percent were smokers. The researchers compared the retina photos of the participants at the beginning of the study, when the women were around 78 years old, with the retina photos taken 5 years later, looking for signs of AMD, reports Health News. The study showed 11 per cent higher rate of AMD among smoking elderly women, compared to nonsmokers.

The basic conclusion of the study is that, it is never too late to give up smoking, even at an older age. The eyes can benefit enormously from quitting smoking even though the person is at a venerable age and has smoked for many years.

Wednesday, 06 Jan, 2010


Less Indochinese Tigers in China

Tigers around the world are threatened by habitat loss, black market trade in skins, bones and other parts of their bodies, according to Scientific American. It looks like a bit of justice was made in regard to this issue, when a few countrymen, proved to have killed and eaten the last Indochinese tiger of the Yellow Country, were condemned to several years in prison and fined.The legally-protected rare animal was shot by a villager of Mengla, Yunnan province, named Kang Wannian.

After killing the tiger, Kang and his four crime associates, ate the animal. The man claims he killed the tiger in self-defense, while hunting an exotic frog in the National Nature Reserve of Xishuangbanna together with another man, Gao Zuqiao. Kang also said it was dark and the two left the place immediately after realizing the killed animal was a tiger, Xinhua News Agency reports.

It looks like the current preservation laws are not quite effective against human greed. Kang killed the last Indochinese tiger of China, last officially noticed in the country in 2007. As a result, the killer was convicted to 10 years of jail for killing the rare Indochinese tiger, besides the 2 years prison sentence for a firearm possession and a fine of 14 642 US dollars. His crime associates were also proven guilty of “covering up and concealing criminal gains” and condemned to 3 to 4 years in prison. Fortunately, Indochinese tigers (also known as Corbett's tiger or Panthera tigris corbetti ) still exist on the planet, in Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand and Vietnam.

Nevertheless, their numbers are estimated to under 1,000, let alone the fact that they are in a permanent danger because of illegal hunting and progressive habitat loss.