Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Health Orbit News

My junk mailbox has been delivering news from an oufit called HealthOrbit, Inc. I have no idea why it started showing up but occassionally I read it and every once in a while discover some story worth following up.
Today I found three:

Apparently some researchers at the University of Michigan are starting clinical trials of rosiglitazone, a diabetes drug, for the treatment of endometriosis. Endometriosis is a chronic, incurable condition that is associated with pain and infertility. It occurs when the lining of the uterus, the endomtrium, grows outside of the uterus. All of the current treatments for endometriosis render a woman infertile. The researchers hope the drug will shrink endometrial growths and reduce pain without causing infertility.
Read the Health Orbit brief here.

Autoimmune Disorders
A particular cytokine (molecule that recruits T & B cells of the immune system) called TSLB plays the key role in the runaway immune attack characteristic of autoimmune disorders like lupus, MS, rheumatoid arthritis - and allergies. Controlling it maybe the key to mimizing the damage the immune system does in these conditions. Read the Health Orbit brief here.

The Brain's Braking System
The Journal of Neuroscience published an MRI study of a "high speed connection" in the human brain that controls our ability to start and stop actions. Disruption of this "braking system" may be responsible for numerous diseases - among them Parkinson's and obsessive compulsive disorders.

Parkinson's symptoms include an inability to move, but also includes an inability to control motion smoothly. Actions become jerky and shaky. Although no doubt an overly simplistic view, I think one could think of the braking system being stuck in the ON position at times in conditions like Parkinson's that are characterized by frozen motion.

However for OCDs like Tourette's that are characterized by behavior and thoughts that cannot be stopped, the braking system might be stuck in the OFF position at time. The brakes simply fail to stop the action. But with OCDs, the brakes don't fail for all actions across the board. With OCDs only some actions are uncontrollable, famously those involving grooming actions (like handwashing); other behaviors are completely controllable. It would be interesting to know which connections are faulty for particular OCD symptoms.
Read the Health Orbit brief here.

1 comment:

Rose Connors said...

Holly, The sage grouse lek was in or near Malheur, off route 205, I believe. You really should go. It was worth it completely. They are beautiful animals and put on a great show.