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Biological pacemaker’cells through Gene therapy

biological pacemaker'cellsLos Angeles : In order to deliver a steady heartbeat using a gene therapy researchers have succeeded by  turning ordinary cardiac muscle cells into specialized ones, which may become an alternative to implanted electronic pacemakers.
A recent research study appears in the journal Science Translational Medicine involved pigs having heart block condition that makes their hearts beat slowly. The injected human gene into heart’s pumping chambers, the researchers were able to convert heart muscle cells into a type of cell that emits electrical impulses to drive the beating heart.
This will herald a new era of gene therapy where genes may be used to correct a deficiency disorder and also convert one type of cell into another to treat disease.
This procedure will help people with heart rhythm disorders unable to use a pacemaker because of device-related complications . Even the fetuses where a pacemaker can not be implanted and risk severe heart failure resulting in stillbirth. The researchers hope to develop an injection-based treatment to deliver the gene therapy to these developing babies.In times to come the procedure might also be used in a broader patient population as an alternative to the pacemaker. Even though the infection percentage because of pacemakers is 2% or less, this may eliminate that as well.
Instead of implantation with a metallic device needed regular replacement and can fail or become infected, patients may someday be able to undergo a single gene injection and be cured of the slow heart rhythm forever.

Asthma drug may suppress child growth
Inhalers containing corticosteroid drugs prescribed as a first line of treatment in adults and children with chronic asthma may suppress growth in children, according to recent scientific studies.
The researchers who conducted the review and published it in The Cochrane Library journal found that children’s growth slowed in the first year of treatment, although the effects were minimized by using lower doses.
Yet their potential effect on children’s growth is a source of worry for parents and doctors – a factor which prompted the Cochrane reviewers to analyze the evidence more closely.
The evidence gathered by the experts suggested that children treated daily with inhaled corticosteroids may grow approximately half a centimeter less during the first year of treatment however it becomes less pronounced in subsequent years. The study finds cumulative benefits of the drug are more than the harmful affects.
According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), some 235 million people worldwide suffer from asthma, a chronic disease which inflames and narrows the air passages of the lungs. The disease is common among children.
“However, the effect seems… small and non-cumulative and many may consider this a risk worth taking compared to the alternative, which is poorly controlled and therefore potentially life threatening asthma.”    

kids should be encouraged to play outside: study
For Children to be physically fit it is imperative that they play outside after school rather than staying indoors a new study shows.
The study reinforces the fact that outdoors activities are necessary for children to be more active and energetic. The study was conducted at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan on 306 urban youths between 9 and 17 years old.
Kids who reported being outside during most or all of their after-school hours got almost 20 more minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise per day compared with those who spent most or all of their time indoors, the researchers found. That was after taking into account children’s age, sex and weight and the time of year.
It’s important for students to be outside because when they’re in outdoor spaces, they tend to move more in a moderate-to-vigorous way. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children get at least one hour of moderate-to-vigorous exercise every day however in an article in the in the Journal of Pediatrics very few kids living in developed countries meet those guidelines.
The change in the lifestyle of kids is attributed mainly to the factors like the pervasiveness of videogames and computers as well as changes in the built environment, which includes parks and other green spaces.
The law and order situation in Pakistan and fast disappearing parks is one of the major factors where kids are unable to get involved in outdoor activities.
Looking at the time children spend in school, schools should also emphasize on increasing outdoor activities but then the schools hardly have any grounds or space to provide outdoor activity options to the students.
There were no weight differences between children who spent their time indoors and outdoors, the study found.
Pakistan schools as well as building designs and amenities completely lack provision for outdoor activities which is one of the reason why youth suffer more from diseases than the average.   

July 21, 2014

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