Adenomyosis is a gynecological disease that can cause infertility and chronic pelvic pain. While there are some medications that can be used to alleviate symptoms, the only definitive treatment for the disease is a hysterectomy. But now, researchers at Michigan State University have created a mouse model that can help researchers understand processes in the disease’s development. This is significant, because most women with the disease require some type of surgery, and a treatment that allows a woman to avoid a hysterectomy would be ideal.
Until now, there hasn’t been a reliable animal model for this disease, and it will be interesting to see how the development of this new mouse model can help researchers discover a cure for adenomyosis. For women suffering with infertility issues due to the disease, this could be life-changing!
According to the CDC, infertility affects approximately 11% of women. That’s over 1 in 10 women that will experience some degree of infertility! There are many causes, and while some women receive a diagnosis (like adenomyosis), others may not. We still have a lot to learn about infertility, but rest assured, researchers are working hard to figure it out.
Regeneration is one of Wolverine’s best-known abilities. But attempting to replicate this ability in humans seems like something out of science fiction- and not too probable. Mice, however, are apparently another story! Cancer researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital inadvertently discovered a unique ability in one of their mouse models- regeneration!
Quite often, mouse littermates look identical. So to distinguish between mice that carried a gene called Lin28a and control mice, researchers clipped a small piece of tissue from the edge of the ears of the study mice. But in one particular strain of mice, they found that the ear tissue was quickly regenerating, making their identification system useless. When attempting other identification methods, including clipping hair from their backs as identifying markers, they found that the hair grew back much faster than expected.
By studying these abilities, researchers attempted to use drugs to activate the metabolic processes that were responsible for these healing powers- and they succeeded!
So will researchers be able to duplicate this in humans? Well, nowhere in the near future. But the information learned about the role of metabolism in regenerative capabilities could prompt some interesting new research. Read more here:
The Alzheimer’s Society is working to identify drugs that are already on the market and used to treat other conditions that might have the potential to treat or cure dementia. A drug called Liraglutide, which is currently used to help patients manage their diabetes, will soon enter clinical trials in human patients with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Studies in mice showed that the drug might be able to reverse damage caused by Alzheimer’s in patients in the later stages of the disease. While many drugs and treatments aim at preventing medical problems, this is one drug that could benefit patients currently suffering from Alzheimer’s. The drug helps reduce plaque build-up in the brain, and patients will be recruited for clinical trials in only a few weeks. Pretty awesome!
Estimates show that about 12% of women in the general population will develop breast cancer, but 60% of women who have inherited a mutation at BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes (genes that are a type of tumor suppressor) will develop breast cancer. Got your attention?
BRCA1 and BRCA2 are human genes that produce proteins that suppress tumors and repair damaged DNA. A mutation at one of these genes means that DNA damage isn’t repaired correctly, and cells are more likely to continue to develop alterations that can lead to cancer.
Genetic testing can give you a better idea of your risk. If you have a mutation at one of these genes, you have the benefit of knowing how to be proactive! Your doctor will set up regular screenings (mammograms, breast exams, ultrasounds) to be able to catch any problems early on. Certain drugs, diet changes and lifestyle changes can greatly reduce the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. And there are plenty of clinical trials out there for those with known mutations at these genes- researchers are working to gather as much information as possible so the implications of mutated BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes can be understood. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/BRCA
Most doctors recommend that during pregnancy, you should limit yourself to only one or two cups of coffee or caffeinated beverages a day. But recently, a study in mice showed that caffeine exposure during pregnancy negatively affected fetal brain development. Researchers found that mouse pups exposed to caffeine (at a dose equivalent to 3-4 cups of coffee/day for a human) showed a significant delay in migration of important neurons- similar to the effects seen in cocaine and amphetamine exposures. Long-term effects were also seen- these pups performed badly on memory tests and were more susceptible to seizures as they aged.
There are no studies to date showing evidence that caffeine exposure harms fetal growth, but this is possibly because 1) it is difficult to differentiate between the effects of caffeine versus other variables in pregnant women, and 2) women aren’t going to volunteer to consume high doses of a drug and then undergo invasive testing on their babies. Environmental factors throughout the child’s life- as well as genetic factors- also need to be considered, so it is extremely difficult to conclusively prove long-term effects in humans.
That being said, maybe expectant moms should listen to the mice and limit caffeine exposure- your kids may thank you for it later!
Alzheimer’s Disease affects almost 40 million people worldwide, and the numbers are climbing. For those who have gone through the experience of having a loved one with Alzheimer’s, you know that it can make you feel helpless. But what if a patient’s FAT could not only provide a treatment for the disease, but also possibly prevent it? When we hear “stem cells,” we think of controversial stem cells derived from fetal tissue- but did you know that adult stem cells can be derived from bone marrow or fat? Adult stem cells don’t differentiate quite as well as fetal stem cells, but studies are showing that they can be extremely useful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. In a recent research study in Alzheimer’s mouse models, not only was the ability to learn and remember greatly improved after treatment with fat-derived stem cells, but there were significant differences in the pathology of these animals, suggesting a great potential to not only stop but to prevent the disease. Follow the link to check out the research study, performed by Bio Stem Cell Technology Institute, showing that stem cells derived from human fat can cause REGENERATION in the brains of mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease!
Over the last few years, I have had to watch numerous family members and friends deal with some difficult medical issues. Breast cancer. Infertility. Alzheimer’s. What do you do? How can you help? For me, the best way to be supportive has been to learn all I can about the disease in question so I can help arm my friends with knowledge. I’ve found that there is SO MUCH information out there, but very little of it is decipherable to the general public! I have developed a fascination with biomedical research, and over the last few years I have learned about some of the amazing contributions that researchers all over the world are making in regards to medical progress. I hope to be able to use this blog to analyze and explain some of the new and exciting advances in medicine that are made possible through research. If I can help you with your journey, or possibly provide you with information that can help your family members or friends, then I will consider this blog to be a success. Thank you for visiting my website. Please, in order to make this information available to as many people as I can, “Like” my page on Facebook and share my posts if you think they can help someone else!