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Category Archives: Diseases
I bet you know that heart disease is common. I bet you even know it's deadly. But I have two questions for you:
- Did you know it's the number one killer worldwide?
- Did you know that almost all of it is entirely preventable?
It's true. Not only does cardiovascular disease kill millions of people worldwide each year, it's also almost entirely preventable.
The truth is, most people don't want to change their life. They have the power to change their life, to make themselves far less susceptible to cardiovascular disease, and they simply don't do it.
There are several reasons why people don't make those lifestyle changes. Let's look a little more closely at each one.
Lack of information
The truth is, plenty of people don't know the risk they are at, much less how to minimize those risks. Consider that in 2015, 82% of the 17 million premature deaths were in low- and middle-income countries, and 37% of those deaths were the result of cardiovascular disease.
Out of the 17 million premature deaths (under the age of 70) due to noncommunicable diseases in 2015, 82% are in low- and middle-income countries, and 37% are caused by CVDs. The truth is, many of those people simply haven't had access to the information because the medical education infrastructure simply isn't there. We have to believe that at least some of those people would make the necessary lifestyle changes if they knew they needed to make them.
Time, energy, and cost
While in the long-term it is quite obviously more expensive to not take care of yourself, many of us live in the short-term, day-to-day. Exercising, eating well, and taking care of our personal health can take time, energy, and cost not all of us are convinced we have. In the middle of a long week, our day may consist of getting up, driving to work, being stressed all day at work with the exception of a smoke break or two, then drive-through dinner on the way home before crashing after a long, hard day. While long-term that lifestyle is not at all sustainable, there are plenty of Americans who can't imagine living another way. This especially true as fast food is subsidized in ways that much healthier options often aren't, and both rural and urban food deserts can also contribute to difficulties in eating well.
Lack of motivation
Of course, some people know they could live healthier, and can afford the time, energy, and cost, and still choose not to make those lifestyle choices. This is likely the category most unhealthy Americans fall into, to be quite frank.
So what lifestyle changes would it take?
The truth is, it wouldn't take much to make a major dent in those risk factors. The following factors, referred to as “life's simple 7” by the American Heart Association, decrease the risk of heart disease by 80%, stroke by 50%, and cancer by 30%. So why wouldn't you make these seven changes?
Those simple seven?
- Manage blood pressure
- Control cholesterol
- Reduce blood sugar
- Get active
- Eat better
- Lose weight
- Stop smoking
None of those are hard steps to take, and each of them can help make the other steps easier. For instance, quitting smoking makes it easier to exercise, and exercising regularly makes it easier to lose weight. Losing weight has been shown to help with blood pressure, and also makes exercising easier. Eating better makes exercising easier and has been proven to help you lose weight. Reducing your blood sugar makes it easier to exercise, and helps you lose weight. These seven steps each make the other steps easier, so it really isn't nearly as big a step as you might at first think.
Yet most Americans fail at this simple checklist. Roughly one American dies every forty seconds from cardiovascular disease—that's more than 800,000 people each year! Put another way: Roughly the population of Charlotte, North Carolina dies each and every single year from cardiovascular diseases just in the United States.
So why don't we prevent heart disease? I don't know. But I bet we could all do a little better getting the information out there and helping people make healthier lifestyle choices.
Life-Saving Stem Cells - Discover, Learn, ShareNearly everyone inside and outside of the medical and scientific community agrees that stem cell research represents one of the most exciting and promising frontiers for treating people with a myriad of diseases and conditions. Stem cell research and treatments represent perhaps mankind's greatest opportunity to fulfill that ancient call to "heal the sick," relieve suffering and improve the quality of life for untold millions of people.
This website provides scientific facts and concise information for those of us who are not scientists, researchers or medical professionals. You will learn answers toquestions like ..."Who is benefitting from stem cell research and therapies today?" and "What types of stem cells are working?" In addition, basic questions such as"What is a stem cell?""Why do we need stem cell research?" are answered.
The video patient profiles featured on this site emphasize ADULT stem cell advances with the goal of informing and the hope of inspiring you to take action. These real-life stories represent a small sampling of people and the many diseases and conditions now being helped by adult stem cells naturally found in the human body. Stem Cell Research Facts illustrates how current adult treatments and therapies directly impact the lives of patients and their families today - as opposed to debating themerits of other types of stem cell research.
We invite you to discover, learn and share the incredible possibilites of stem cell research. We welcome your feedback and encourage you to return for the latest developments in the world of stem cell research. Thank you!
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Adult Stem Cells - Therapies and Treatments
Are there stem cell therapies available for eye diseases?
To our knowledge, no stem cell therapy has received Health Canada or U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for treatment of eye diseases at this time. Patients who are researching their options may come across companies with Web sites or materials that say otherwise and offer fee-based stem cell treatments for curing this disease. Many of these claims are not supported by sound scientific evidence and patients considering these therapies are encouraged to review some of the links below before making crucial decisions about their treatment plan.
For the latest developments read our blog entrieshere.
For more about stem cell clinical trials for eye diseasesclick here.(for printed version: http://goo.gl/2i14w)
There is currently no therapy for curing neurodegenerative eye diseases so the idea of transplanting stem cells to regenerate damaged cells holds great appeal. Stem cells have an unparalleled regenerative capacity and the flexibility to grow into hundreds of different types of cells. In theory, this means that they could be harnessed to produce an inexhaustible source of transplantable cells to repair the eye. This would be a tremendous boon in situations such as corneal transplants, where the demand overtakes the availability of donor tissue from cadavers. Other proposed strategies aim to take advantage of the properties of stem cells and their products to protect the many neurons in the eye responsible for vision.
There are countless research teams around the globe working to develop stem cell therapies for eye diseases. Their common goals are identifying the best stem cell contenders, understanding the environmental cues that can coax them into becoming photoreceptor neurons, and developing the large scale lab methods required for ramping up the cell production. Researchers agree that one of the biggest challenges will be to figure out how get the transplanted cells to make the right links with other neurons in the eye. These connections are an essential part of restoring the transmission of visual information to the brain.
One of the most important research contributions to date has come from Canadian researchers who identified retinal stem cells, first in the mouse and a few years later in humans. This discovery kindled hope in the research community that retinal damage, long considered permanent, might be reversible. The proof of principle for this concept came from experiments with mice and chicks, where transplanted retinal stem cells could integrate and make a variety of retinal cells, especially photoreceptor neurons.
Stem cell research for eye diseases is moving along a number of different routes and some of the successful stops along the way have been translated into early Phase 1 and 2 clinical studies. These are small trials designed to carefully test the safety of using stem cells to replace or protect cells within the eye. The advances to date in both pre-clinical and clinical studies are quite remarkable, and are providing the basis for a realistic future where stem cell therapies will be a viable option for restoring damaged vision.
Japan has approved the worlds first human tests using induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to treat age-related macular degeneration. Find out morehere.
Before basic stem cell research can be translated into the clinic for patients, it must first be rigorously tested and validated. For eye diseases, this involves transplanting stem cells and their products into animal models to test if vision can be improved. Stem cells from a wide variety of sources are being considered, both from inside the eye (limbal and retinal stem cells) and outside the eye (embryonic, induced pluripotent stem cells or iPS cells, bone marrow and neural stem cells). One of the challenges researchers are finding is getting the transplanted stem cells to take. Some regions of the eye are more hospitable to transplants and successes have come relatively quickly, as in the case of grafting corneal tissue generated from limbal or embryonic stem cells. The retina, on the other hand, is not so welcoming to incoming cells. Researchers are working hard to overcome this by identifying the normal signals within the eye that work on stem cells to promote tissue repair. They are also developing new delivery methods (for example, biodegradable gels seeded with stem cells) that are able to promote more continuous integration of the transplanted cells into the eye.
The road to finding a stem cell therapy for eye diseases is paved with many challenges that will take time to overcome. But the wealth of information generated from labs around the globe is converging to help with the transition from basic research to the clinic. The results are very promising and in time may point to a viable stem cell therapy that accomplishes more than any of the current therapies by supplying an endless source of transplant material to restore vision in patients with injuries and diseases of the eye.
In nature, the master stem cell is the embryonic stem cell because it can make an entire human being. In 2006, scientists devised a method for turning human embryonic stem cells into the outer layer of the retina, called the RPE. This is the crucial layer that absorbs light. Scientists were able to transplant this layer just under the retina in mouse models of macular degeneration. Improved vision in the mice proved that the transplanted cells were able to rescue damaged photoreceptor neurons. Moving forward, researchers are tweaking protocols and adding factors that guide more precisely the way to making RPE cells. This process involves careful screening of any unwanted cells that could cause tumours. In a landmark trial in 2012, human embryonic stem cell-derived RPE were transplanted into two people with different forms of macular degeneration. The researchers are guarding their excitement, however, because although both patients have shown a degree of improvement in vision, it is still uncertain whether the transplanted stem cells are responsible and if they may yet be rejected.
Limbal stem cells are also being investigated for their ability to regenerate corneal tissue in people whose eyes have been badly burned. Provided that one of the eyes is undamaged, a sample of the patients limbal stem cells can be harvested, grown in the laboratory and transplanted back into the patients burned eye. A recent trial tested this approach in over 100 patients and the before and after pictures were remarkable: the cloudy corneas scarred by acid burns became clear, transparent corneas. So far, the effects appear to be long-lasting (up to 10 years) and this bodes well for the future of using this therapy to regenerate damaged corneas.
Technological advances are paving the way for studies with retinal stem cells. An implantable device has been developed that can be loaded with human retinal stem cells, genetically modified to make a factor that protects neurons and supports their survival. The device can be implanted into the back of the eye where it releases a continuous supply of the protective factor. A big advantage of this method is that graft rejection is minimized because the genetically modified cells are trapped in the device and do not come into contact with the immune system. Early clinical trials in patients with various eye diseases have shown that the device is well tolerated and appears to slow the rate of vision loss. Other trials are testing for adverse effects, rejection or shifting from the site of implantation. This method points to a pot
entially safe way of delivering stem cells that could make protective factors to treat diseases such as glaucoma or AMD.
Readers may wish to peruse the recommended sites and articles below for more information about eye disease and the possible applications of stem cells to treat these conditions.
AMD Alliance International(www.amdalliance.org) CNIB(www.cnib.ca) The Foundation Fighting Blindness (Canada)(www.ffb.ca) Foundation Fighting Blindness(www.blindness.org) The London Project (UK)(www.thelondonproject.org) National Eye Institute(www.nei.nih.gov) Vision Action Plan(www.who.int/blindness/Vision2020_report.pdf)
Originally posted here:
Eye Diseases | Canadian Stem Cell Foundation