Clinical Research

Across the entire world, women have a greater life expectancy than men. But why? Was this always the case?

According to a new study led by University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology researchers, significant differences in life expectancies between the sexes first emerged as recently as the turn of the 20th century. As infectious disease prevention, improved diets and other positive health behaviors were adopted by people born during the 1800s and early 1900s, death rates plummeted, but women began reaping the longevity benefits at a much faster rate.

The Phase IIb pivotal study of P2B001 for the treatment of early stage Parkinson's Disease has been announced as a success. 

P2B001 is a combination of low dose pramipexole and low dose rasagiline administered as a proprietary sustained release formulation. The study, titled A Phase IIb, Twelve Week, Multi-Center, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel Group Study, To Determine the Safety, Tolerability and Efficacy of Two Doses of Once Daily P2B001 in Subjects with Early Parkinson's Disease, showed that it met primary and secondary clinical endpoints for both dose combinations. Specifically, the results showed:

For the first time gene therapy for cystic fibrosis has shown a significant benefit in lung function compared with placebo, in a phase 2 randomized trial. The technique replaces the defective gene response for cystic fibrosis by using inhaled molecules of DNA to deliver a normal working copy of the gene to lung cells.

“Patients who received the gene therapy showed a significant, if modest, benefit in tests of lung function compared with the placebo group and there were no safety concerns,” said senior author Professor Eric Alton from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London. “Whilst the effect was inconsistent, with some patients responding better than others, the results are encouraging.”

When a new type of drug or therapy is discovered, double-blind randomized controlled trials (DBRCTs) are the gold standard for evaluating them. These trials, which have been used for years, were designed to determine the true efficacy of a treatment free from patient or doctor bias, but they do not factor in the effects that patient behaviors, such as diet and lifestyle choices, can have on the tested treatment.

I saw this in today’s Daily Mail:

Landmark discovery about the brain 'will have scientists rewriting textbooks' - and could help treat conditions such as autism and Alzheimer's

and here is a copy of the University of Virginia press release for your interest:

Researchers Find Textbook-Altering Link Between Brain, Immune System

One day you feel a strange stinging, biting or crawling sensation beneath your skin, which just won't go away. Then fibres begin to protrude from the skin or you may see red or blue lines below the surface of your skin. Eventually sores erupt all over your body, including in places you can't reach such as the middle of your back. You go to the doctor - and - after doing tests to rule out many other similar conditions, he finds that you fit the symptoms of a very rare condition, popularly called "Morgellons". He or she then tells you that this is not a real disease, but rather is a delusional condition. There is nothing physical causing this. It's just something going on in your mind which leads to all these symptoms.

At the 2015 American Urological Association annual meeting in New Orleans, Dr. Jonathan Harper will present the findings of an FDA-registered "first in humans" trial to non-surgically propel and expel kidney stones from the body.

Harper and colleagues in the Department of Urology and Applied Physics Laboratory at the University of Washington have invented a new way to facilitate kidney stone passage or dislodge large obstructing stones, using ultrasound.

 Ultrasound technologies have been successfully used for many years on the International Space Station (ISS), primarily to perform imaging of the astronauts' eyes, bones, and internal organs.

By Marsha Lewis, Inside Science  – The statistics are shocking. Almost half of all Americans live with one or more risk factors for a heart attack.

Now, bioengineers at the Christman Lab at the University of California, San Diego have created a material that could repair and even reverse the damage done by a heart attack.

"A heart attack is a single event where the blood supply is blocked to that downstream tissue," said Karen Christman, a bioengineer at UCSD. When the tissue is deprived of the blood it needs, it becomes damaged.

Scientists have discovered a way to regrow bone tissue using the protein signals produced by stem cells, which improves on older therapies by providing a sustainable source for fresh tissue and reducing the risk of tumor formation that can arise with stem cell transplants.

The authors of the new study say they are the first to extract the necessary bone-producing growth factors from stem cells and to show that these proteins are sufficient to create new bone. The stem cell-based approach was as effective as the current standard treatment in terms of the amount of bone created and could help treat victims who have experienced major trauma to a limb, like soldiers wounded in combat or casualties of a natural disaster. 

Interventional treatments such as surgery provide good functional outcomes and a high cure rate for patients with lower-grade arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) of the brain, according to a new study. These findings contrast with a recent trial reporting better outcomes without surgery or other interventions for AVMs.