A team of scientists from Georgia Institute of Technology have created a new way to treat cancer by luring the harmful cells into areas of the body that can kill the cancer of make it easier to operate on. The scientists have devised nonofibres which mimic the way in which cancer cells travel and have had promising studies on animals where hard to operate on brain tumours have been significantly shrunk.

Cancer Research UK has championed the idea, but reiterated that the research was still in its early days.

The team have been working with difficult to treat brain cancers called glioblastomas and hope that the nanofibre technology will help. Research professor Ravi Bellamkonda told the press, “The cancer cells normally latch on to these natural structures and ride them like a monorail to other parts of the brain.

“By providing an attractive alternative fibre, we can efficiently move the tumours along a different path to a destination that we choose.”

The team’s animal studies have shown that the technology can be used to divert the cancer cells away from the brain and into an implanted toxic gel inside the patient. The study showed that the size of the tumour decreased by 93% after the test.

Dr Emma Smith, from Cancer Research UK talked about the new treatment saying, “This fascinating, cutting-edge approach could lead to new ways of stopping tumours growing without damaging healthy tissue, which is particularly important for people with brain tumours.” But reiterated, “it’s still in its infancy and so far has only been tested in rats, so there is a long way to go before we know if it will be safe and effective as a cancer treatment.”

glioblastoma tumour

The Avian or bird flu can be transmitted from livestock to wild birds and also to pet birds, and vice-versa. The virus spreads through infected birds, via their saliva, nasal secretions, faeces, and feed. Birds become infected when they are in contact with contaminated excrements or secretions, or tainted surfaces. Domesticated poultry becomes infected via direct contact with infected waterfowl, other infected livestock, or tainted surfaces of cages and other farming equipment and installations.

Although there are a number of strains of avian flu, it is the H5N1 strain is the one that causes the most concern, and humans do not become easily infected with the H5N1 virus strain. However, some highly pathogenic strains have caused severe respiratory diseases in humans. At the moment it is very hard for a human to become infected with bird flu, and extremely rare for one human to pass avian influenza onto another human.

The main area for concern is the seasonal human influenza and there are measures each individual can take to minimize the spread of flu. Always regularly wash your hands with warm water and soap before and after using the toilet, and before preparing meals. Wash your hands after coughing. If you are ill, stay away from public places and avoid contact with people and make sure you are up-to-date with your vaccinations, especially seasonal flu and pneumococcal vaccines.

Keeping your skin healthy

The skin on our bodies is remarkable; it is the largest organ on our body and it performs a key role in protecting our bodies from infections, excessive loss of water from our bodies and helps to insulate us and keep or temperature regulated. Because it is so important to us, it’s really quite surprising that we abuse it so much by sunbathing and smoking. Thankfully our skin will carry on regenerating itself and do so about every twenty seven days, but even so proper care and treatment is essential to maintaining the health and vitality of this crucial protection.

This occurs when the collagen, a protein that helps skin strength, gradually degrades with age, leading to wrinkles. Smoking causes this to happen sooner and also causes the tiny blood vessels in the skin to tighten, which reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that the skin cells receive.  Alcohol is another demon in the pack as this makes your body and skin dehydrated, so if you are drinking alcohol drink plenty of water and stick to sensible amounts.

One of the biggest problem areas for our skin is sunbathing and excessive exposure should always be avoided. Not only does exposure to UV increase a person’s risk of getting cancer it can and does lead to ageing through affecting the elastin which means that it appears leathery with blotchy pigmentation. Many Britons are unaware that sun protection can keep the skin looking younger, look after your skin, it is looking after you.

Picture: UrbaneWomenMag

What is Croup?

Croup usually affects younger children between the ages of six months and three years old and causes inflammation of the windpipe, the airways to the lungs and the larynx. It can cause the sufferer to have a hoarse voice and is characterised by a distinctive barking cough; it can also cause problems with the respiratory system and make breathing hard.

Croup can be easily diagnosed by your local GP and is usually treated at home, although if your child’s symptoms are severe and they are finding it hard to breathe it is recommended that you take them to your nearest A&E department.

Croup is commonly caused by a viral infection; up to 80% of cases are triggered by the parainfluenza virus, but in some cases croup can be caused by an allergic reaction.

In the majority of cases, croup will get better in a matter of days without any special treatment, but it is recommended that you sit your child upright and comfort them if they are distressed as crying can cause the symptoms to worsen.

In more severe cases, the patient may be treated with steroids to reduce the inflammation in the throat.

Croup tends to affect more boys than girls, and it is possible that a child can experience coup more than once during their childhood.

Croup is spread in much the same way as a common cold, unless the condition is caused by an allergic reaction and is therefore hard to prevent. The best defence against the condition is to have good hygiene practises such and washing your hands and wiping down surfaces with a multi-surface cleaner.

Child’s routine vaccinations also help protect against croup including the MMR jab and the 5-in-1 vaccine.

In a recent study which was carried out by the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine has unsurprisingly revealed something that many parents have tried to tell their offspring time and again, that smoking the drug marijuana has serious implications for them in later life. It is well known that the problem usually starts in youth and it is then when the brain is developing. Clearly it is in adolescence which is the period of development when marijuana use can take its biggest toll.

Marijuana is also an addictive drug and the longer that a person uses the drug, the more difficult it becomes to come off it. This of course is controversial, but the so is smoking cigarettes which are also addictive. People with an addiction do not have control over what they are doing, taking or using, their addiction may reach a point at which it is harmful.

Of course many of us can use substances or become engaged in activities without any significant problems. Some people, however, may experience damaging psychological as well as physical effects should this, what is at this stage is a habit, becomes an addiction. This is very often referred to as being dependent and this can lead to becoming tolerant to this, leading to the person needing more regular amounts of whatever they are addicted to; withdrawal from this now becomes difficult and unpleasant. So the parental just say no, is still the best advice.

Picture: Dave H

Whether you have short or long hair, you’ll need to use a hairbrush at some point to keep your locks under control and in good condition. It can be pretty confusing to be faced with several different types of hairbrush in the shop though, from ones that look normal to things with no handle and bristles all over the place.

A paddle hair brush is one which is wide and flat looking. They’re good for any type of hair, but are best used to detangle tough hair and to smooth it out, as they cause the hair cuticles to lie flat.

A radial or round hair brush is one which has a cylindrical shape with bristles all around the head of the brush. There are several different types of these brushes made from different materials including timber and ceramic, with either natural or nylon bristles. They are great for getting curls in your hair using a hairdryer. Some have vent holes on the barrel to allow the heat to circulate more easily, creating more volume.

If you have very thick and coarse hair, you’ll want a basic crush with wide spaced nylon bristles; ones with dense bristles have trouble moving through the hair. One with balls on the ends of the bristles make sure that they are gentle on your hair.

Picture: Wolfgang Lonien

One of the great success stories over the last few years has been the dramatic improvement in the rate of survival for men who are diagnosed with testicular cancer. Now around 96% of men who contract the cancer survive it, completely cured of the disease, forty years ago fewer than 70% survived.

The success has been put down to breakthrough research at Cancer Research UK that developed the drug cisplatin and it is this that is used for this cancer as well as some other such as bladder, lung and ovarian cancers. It is a chemotherapy drug and is a clear success and a shining example of what research can do. Cancer Research UK hopes to bring forward the day when they are able to beat all types of cancer.

Each year around 2,300 new cases of testicular cancer are diagnosed in the UK and it is unlike many other cancers which strike at a relatively young age and it is the most common cancer in men aged 15 to 49. The symptoms of the disease are usually detected by feeling a small pea sized lump on the testicle in the early stages of the problem, not all lumps are cancer but they should always be checked out.

Everyone learns differently with differing results, and revision is, by definition, a re-learning process.  Information that has already been taught is read, checked or used again in a way that helps it sink in to the brain.

Note taking

Many students develop some form of individual note taking which can be adapted for revision. As you read, make a summary that captures the content of a paragraph with a couple of words that are meaningful to you.  This process is about summarising the information sensibly, so if the paragraph contains lots of useful information, you will find yourself using several short lines of notes.

Hand drawn spider diagrams or mind maps can be very useful here if a student is a visual learner.

Reading out loud and recording information

Many students learn better when they hear information, rather than seeing it written down.  If this is the case for you, read sections of your text book into a voice recorder and play it back, or even summarise the text out loud or into the recorder. In fact, if you choose this method, it’s best not to just read word for word because it’s easy to fall into a trance without taking in information; better to listen passively and perhaps take notes.

Good essays rely on good understanding

These methods can also work during contact time with teachers and lecturers.  At university, many courses have lectures as a core learning style and teach degree essay examples.  Students who learn best by listening are at an advantage here.  However, those who can take notes should not be disadvantaged at all.

Picture: LOLitsLloyd

Food Poisoning is a common illness and is caused by eating contaminated food; it usually lasts for 1 to 3 days after eating the contaminated food. Most people get better without any medication by simply resting, drinking lots of water and eating easily digestible food.

The symptoms of food poisoning include:

•    Nausea
•    Vomiting
•    Diarrhoea
•    Stomach pain

There are certain foods that are more vulnerable to contamination and are the most common for causing food poisoning, these are:

•    Poultry and raw meat
•    Ready to eat foods such as sliced meats, pre-packed sandwiches and soft cheeses
•    Dairy products such as milk and eggs

Treating food poisoning

Most people who suffer from food poisoning recover in a few days without medication. Here are some of the things you can do to relieve the symptoms:

•    Drink plenty of water
•    Eat easily digestible food until the symptoms are gone
•    Rest, your body will recover quicker if you take some time off

Food poisoning can sometimes have more serious effects on a person, especially if they have a weakened immune system or are more vulnerable to infections. You should contact your GP if you have any of the following symptoms:

•    Vomiting for more than two days
•    Not being able to keep liquids down for 24 hours at a time
•    Diarrhoea that lasts for more than three days
•    A high temperature or fever

Constipation can affect people of all ages and is a common condition that means that you are unable to pass stools (poo) and have trouble emptying your bowel completely. Most people only experience constipation for a few days, but for some it can be a long-term condition that causes discomfit and pain.

The causes of constipation

It is often difficult to identify the cause of constipation and there are many different factors involved, such as:

•    Not consuming enough fibre in your diet
•    A change to your daily routine, i.e. changing your eating habits
•    Not drinking enough fluids
•    Ignoring the urge to go to the toilet
•    Anxiety or depression
•    Medication side effects

Treating constipation

Most people can treat constipation themselves by making simple changes to their diet such as eating more fibre and drinking fluids regularly. An oral laxative may also be used to help empty the bowel, and although an effective treatment it can still take up to 2 months to re-establish a regular bowel movement.

If these changes do not help and the condition persists then contact your local GP.

Picture: Alexander Ekman