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Reprogramming Autoimmune Disease

Posted: April 12, 2010 at 8:19 am

Greater understanding of the immune system means a greater ability to reprogram its components - such as errant immune cells that cause autoimmune diseases. From EurekAlert!: a study "describes a unique therapeutic 'nanovaccine' that successfully reverses [type 1] diabetes (T1D) in a mouse model of the disease. In addition to providing new insight into diabetes, the research also reveals an aspect of the pathogenesis of the autoimmune response that may provide a therapeutic strategy for multiple autoimmune disorders. ... [Researchers] wanted to find a way to counteract the harmful autoimmune response without compromising general immunity. They discovered that our bodies have a built-in mechanism that tries to stop the progression of autoimmune diseases like T1D. Essentially, there is an internal tug-of-war between aggressive T-cells that want to cause the disease and weaker T cells that want to stop it from occurring ... The researchers also developed [a] nanotechnology-based 'vaccine' that selectively boosted the weak white blood T cells, enabling them to effectively counter the damage caused by their overactive T cell relatives. ... their nanovaccine blunted T1D progression in prediabetic mice and restored normal blood sugar in diabetic mice. ... If the paradigm on which this nanovaccine is based holds true in other chronic autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and others, [nanovaccines] might find general applicability in autoimmunity."

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Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko

Printing New Tissue Directly Onto the Body

Posted: April 12, 2010 at 8:19 am

This seems like a logical next step for tissue printing technologies: "researchers have rigged up a device that can spray skin cells directly onto burn victims, quickly protecting and healing their wounds as an alternative to skin grafts. They have mounted the device, which has so far only been tested on mice, in a frame that can be wheeled over a patient in a hospital bed. ... A laser can take a reading of the wound's size and shape so that a layer of healing skin cells can be precisely applied. ... We literally print the cells directly onto the wound. We can put specific cells where they need to go. ... [Researchers] dissolved human skin cells from pieces of skin, separating and purifying the various cell types such as fibroblasts and keratinocytes. They put them in a nutritious solution to make them multiply and then used a system similar to a multicolor office inkjet printer to apply first a layer of fibroblasts and then a layer of keratinocytes, which form the protective outer layer of skin. ... The sprayed cells also incorporated themselves into surrounding skin, hair follicles and sebaceous glands, probably because immature cells called stem cells were mixed in with the sprayed cells."

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Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko

Longevity Meme Newsletter, April 12 2010

Posted: April 12, 2010 at 8:19 am

Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko

CSC news roundup 2010-04-11

Posted: April 12, 2010 at 8:19 am

Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko

The FIH have appointed a (former?) supporter of AIDS denialism as Chief Executive

Posted: April 12, 2010 at 8:17 am

The Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health (FIH) have been in the news recently for all the wrong reasons.  £300,000 has apparently gone missing from their accounts, the police are now investigating, and it is claimed their 2006 Smallwood report was funded by shamed politician, Dame Shirley Porter.  They have now appointed a former writer for an AIDS denialist publication as their new Chief Executive.

According to the Daily Mail report linked to above, the disappearance of £300,000 from the charities accounts is the explanation as to why their most recent financial report has not been filed with the charities commission.  While officially no members of the FIH staff have been suspended there has been a shakeup in the upper echelons of the organisation, with the most notable changes being that former Finance Director and acting Chief Executive, George Gray, is no longer with the charity, having been replaced by a new Chief Executive, Boo Armstrong.  Ms Armstrong used to write articles extolling the virtues of alternative approaches to health in Continuum, a magazine with an editorial position denying the link between HIV and AIDS as described by science.  The FIH have been aware of these articles since at least  the summer of 2009.

Ms Armstrong’s appointment is reflective of how wider society has treated alternative medicine in the past, with minimal scrutiny and an assumption of benefit.  She has been awarded money from UnLtd, the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs, for pushing alternative medicine and has long been funded by the FIH before she was officially placed on their payroll.  She has also had a position on the National Clinical Audit Advisory Group (NCAAG) for some time, where her profile lauds her charity work.  She was also behind a market research, rather than scientific, project measuring the impact of alternative health in Northern Ireland.  This was instigated by former Northern Ireland Secretary, Peter Hain, who believes that homeopathy and a restrictive diet* cured his son’s eczema and felt that this justified spending £200,000 of taxpayers money on a weak report.  At not point did any of the above investigate her articles for Continuum or even her personal views on various forms of quackery, for example she thinks that osteopaths should be considered equivalent to doctors.

However, more recently, Ms Armstrong and the FIH are becoming unstuck, quite apart from any police investigation.  Thanks to the tenacious David Colquhoun, the recent attempts by an FIH backed organisation to set up an Integrated Medicine course with the University of Buckingham has failed. In particular Ms Armstrong was rejected as a teacher because she was “not qualified to do so academically”.  The FIH have also been reported to the Charities Commission by Republic, a pro-republican pressure group, due to alleged political interference by the Charity and Prince Charles in the appointment of Professor Ernst.

Appointing a supporter of an AIDS denialist magazine as Chief Executive of a charity advocating alternative medicine is not a wise move given the long track record of denialism, unconventional treatment and unethical trials with respect to AIDS in the alternative health movement.  It is especially unwise given that the FIH are no longer operating with minimal scrutiny, both the police and skeptical bloggers, journalists and campaigning organisations taking a close look at them.

The FIH and Ms Armstrong were asked to reply to questions regarding their investigations of the content of Ms Armstrong’s articles and whether Ms Armstrong has retracted her views.  They did not respond.

*specifically a gluten and dairy restricted diet, (there is no indication that Peter Hain’s son was tested by a registered medical practitioner for gluten or dairy allergies).

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

29 Debates About the "Right Way" to Blog

Posted: April 12, 2010 at 8:16 am

ProBlogger collected 29 Debates Bloggers Have about Blogging. Some of my responses are listed below, see ProBlogger's site for the complete list. Please share your thoughts in the comments.

RSS Feeds - Full vs Partial Feeds
- My opinion: Full feed.

Comment Sections – Comments vs No Comments
- Comments always open.

Post Frequency – Post More vs Post Less
- Short posts daily.
How Many Blogs? – Focus upon One Single Blog vs Having Many Smaller Blogs.
- I have 3-4 blogs.

Domain Names – long vs short, hyphens vs non hypens, .com vs other extensions (like .net, .org), local vs global domain extensions
- Short names, free domain names by

Hosting – hosted vs self hosted
- Hosted by

Post Titles – descriptive vs keywords
- I use natural language post titles - descriptive.

Content – Link content vs Original content
- Mostly links and comments, I wish I had more time to write lomg-form original content.

Design – Professional Design vs Templates
- I modify the templates to create my "own" designs. It's quite enjoyable actually.

Ownership – Use Social Media vs Build Your own properties
- I think your blog should be your "home" on the web.

Post Length – Long in Depth Posts vs Short, Sharp Posts
- Again, I wish I had the time to write long posts but I don't.

Topic – Niche vs Broad Topics
- Niche topic blogs work better.

Blogger Name – Anonymous blogging vs Using Your Name
- Using your name is a much better approach for medical bloggers.

Subscribers – RSS is Best vs Email is Best
- I like RSS better.

SEO – Writing for Search Engines vs Writing for Humans
- I write for humans only.

Personal Blogging – Sticking to Topic vs Injecting Personality and Personal details
- I try to write objectively from a scientific perspective. Personal stories are probably better suited for a paper diary.

Comment Moderation – Highly Regulated and Moderated vs Anything Goes
- I moderate all comments and delete all self-promotional and possibly offensive material.

Social Media vs Search – focus upon social media rather than search engines as traffic sources
- If you write quality content, Google will find you.

LinkBait – Anything goes (e.g.. Personal Attacks) vs Strong Boundaries Around What is and Isn’t Acceptable
- I don't use link baits and I have never posted anything even close to a personal attack on my blogs.

Bloggers Participation in Comments – Respond to Every Single Comment vs Let Readers Talk to Each Other and Don’t Interact
- I don't feel compelled to respond to every single comment. Let readers interact.

This Google video shows that it takes about 2 minutes to start a blog on Creating a web site has never been easier.

29 Debates Bloggers Have about Blogging. ProBlogger, 2010.

Posted at Clinical Cases and Images. Stay updated and subscribe, follow on Twitter and Buzz, and connect on Facebook.

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

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