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For people who suffer from various psychiatric and neurological conditions, brain stimulation has become an increasingly important treatment option in the recent decades.

Deep Brain Stimulation

Deep Brain Stimulation

Brain simulation techniques can be divided into two broad categories, invasive and noninvasive. Both of them work by targeting specific sites in the brain to adjust the overall brain activity. Among the most well-known invasive techniques is the deep brain stimulation (DBS) which requires a brain surgery and is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This process is typically used for treated Parkinson's disease and this process requires an electrode to be inserted in the brain. Among the noninvasive techniques is the transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) which can be administered from outside the head. This treatment is currently approved for treating depression.

Brain stimulation has resulted in dramatic benefits to patients with such disorders, which has motivated researchers to test if it can be useful in treated patients suffering from other diseases. The problem is that doctors have been unable to pinpoint which are the ideal sites to administer simulation in a given patient for a given condition.

A new study led by investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) suggest that brain networks which consists of the interconnected pathways that link brain circuits to one another can assist in selection of ideal spot for brain stimulation therapies.

Michael D. Fox, MD, PhD, First author of the study, an investigator in the Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation and in the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center at BIDMC remarked that although different types of brain stimulation are currently applied in different locations, it has been found that the targets used to treat the same disease are nodes in the same connected brain network. This can have a direct implication on how brain stimulations are administered to treat diseases.

For example, in order use brain stimulation to treat Parkinson’s disease or tremor an electrode need to be inserted deep in the brain. Getting the same effect with noninvasive stimulation is difficult, as the spot is deep in the brain. However, by looking at the brain’s network connectivity, sites can be identified on the surface of the brain that is connected with the deep spot site. Hence, that deep spot can also be stimulated noninvasively.

For this study Fox's team conducted a large-scale literature search to find out all neurological and psychiatric diseases where brain stimulation via both invasive and non-invasive techniques had shown improvement. The search found 14 such conditions namely addiction, Alzheimer’s disease, anorexia, depression, dystonia, epilepsy, essential tremor, gait dysfunction, Huntington’s disease, minimally conscious state, obsessive compulsive disorder, pain, Parkinson disease and Tourette syndrome. In the next step, they listed the stimulation sites, both deep in the brain or on the surface of the brain that was found to have been effective for the treatment of each of the 14 diseases.

In order to test the hypothesis that the various stimulation sites in the brain are different spots within the same brain network, Fox's team used a data base of functional MRI images and a technique that enabled them to see correlations in spontaneous brain activity. These correlations helped the investigators in creating a map of connections from deep brain stimulation sites to the surface of the brain. When this map was compared to sites for noninvasive brain stimulation on the brain surface, the two matched.

The study suggest that understanding the brain networks can help in understanding why brain stimulation works and how these therapies can be improved by identifying the best place to stimulate the brain for a given patient suffering from a given disease. These findings also suggest that resting-state functional connectivity can be useful for translating therapy between treatment modalities, optimizing treatment and identifying new stimulation targets.

References

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-09/bidm-srn092514.php

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140929153935.htm

Complementary Reading

When the temperatures start dropping and the cold winds are blowing, it’s easy to lose track of what’s going on with our skin. That is, until we begin experiencing the unpleasant side effects-cracked skin, dryness, even the occasional eczema flare-up. However, there’s no reason to suffer-there are several easy steps you can take to relieve discomfort and even improve your winter skin care regimen.

Keep that skin moisturized.

You don’t need to run out and buy the most expensive moisturizer on the market-there are plenty of good inexpensive ones on the drugstore shelves. If you have sensitive skin, go for one with simple, hypoallergenic ingredients like Eucerin or one of the Neutrogena line. Avoid products with shea butter, as they may clog pores.


Wear sunscreen and sunglasses.

Winter sun is just as damaging as summer sun, and if you engage in winter sports such as skiing you’re especially vulnerable. Make sure you apply sunscreen at least thirty minutes before outdoor activity with reapplications if you’re spending a lot of time outside. Sunglasses are useful both for eye protection, and (at least theoretically) can minimize squinting and consequential wrinkling around the eye.

Avoid overly long showers.

This isn’t to suggest that you ignore personal hygiene, but simply that an overlong shower may dry the skin. Try to keep it brief, and try to use cleansing products with built-in moisturizers.

Keep skin moist inside the home by using a humidifier.

Too much dry heat is, perhaps not surprisingly, drying to the skin. Running a humidifier at night may help with keeping the skin moist in those drier months of the year!

Try a retinol based product to reduce signs of skin damage (sun spots, fine lines).

Although a retinol may be drying at least initially, use over time may change the texture of the skin, improving its health and actually helping build collagen. Although the most effective are prescription products like Retin-A or Renova, there are over the counter brands that have the same effect over time. If you incorporate one into your skin regimen, make sure you use sunscreen, as these products make your skin more vulnerable to the sun. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, do not use retinoids at all. In recent years natural products have been gaining traction in popularity, natural skin care products aim to treat the skin with a natural approach, leaving the skin feel rejuvenated and hydrated.

By following these tips, you can reduce the uncomfortable effects of the winter cold and keep your skin healthy all year round. If all else fails, a trip to the dermatologist for a yearly skin check and skin care tips is always a good idea.

If your health has worsened since you passed your driving test then it could affect your fitness to drive and even your license. Some medical conditions have no impact on your ability to control a vehicle but others can be dangerous for both you, your passengers and other road users. Below are some of the illnesses that could affect your license.

1. Epilepsy


If you have recently been diagnosed with epilepsy then it could affect your license. It is likely to be revoked if you suffer from regular seizures. However, if your condition is under control and you haven’t had a seizure that affects your consciousness for a while then you may be able to drive again. The rules vary from state to state on this matter so it is worth checking with an attorney in advance before getting behind the wheel again.

2. Mental disorder


If you suffer with a mental disorder then your medical examiner might advise you not to drive. Of course mental illness is a very broad term and can vary from mild anxiety and stress to severe mental disorders like Schizophreniaand depression. Before you get behind the wheel consult your physician and check the current legislation for the state(s) you will be driving in. If you drive for a living then it is important to inform your employee if you have been diagnosed with a mental disorder especially if it could affect your driving in any way.

3. Drug or alcohol addiction and misuse

If you are suffering withdrug or alcohol addiction then your driving license will probably be revoked or suspended to protect you and other road users. If criminal charges are involved sometimes the judge will suspend your license but this varies depending on the circumstances. If you have an addiction that is not under control then it is likely that you will drive while under the influence. Even if you are not aware that the drugs or alcohol are still in your system, you will still be a danger to others and yourself and therefore liable.

4. Liability of sudden attacks of fainting or giddiness

Your health can deteriorate at any time, sometimes with no warning so if you find yourself suffering with vertigo, fainting or giddiness attacks then it could seriously impact your ability to drive safely. As such, some people might have their license suspended or revoked depending on the severity and frequency of the attacks. This varies on a case by case and state by state basis so if in any doubt check with your physician and, if necessary, a knowledgeable attorney.

The laws on driving with a medical condition vary depending on individual circumstances and the state but if you have any doubt about your condition then it is important to seek medical or legal advice before getting behind the wheel again. Even some prescribed medication can hinder your awareness and driving ability so always be vigilant as it could save lives and prevent you from ending up in court. Driving while unwell, could leave you liable if someone is injured so take care.

Article 8

As we age, we tend to enhance a number of long term health conditions and concerns such as frailty. Ordinarily, managing health problems can mean that older adults may take many medicinal drugs. When older adults take five or more drugs (known as “polypharmacy”) this will possibly increase the risk for unsafe side effects.

Taking more than five medicinal drugs is linked to frailty, might be when you consider that the medications have interaction to influence our ability to function well as we age. Frailty is a quandary related to getting older. Anybody who is frail will also be vulnerable, have less endurance, and be much less competent to function well. Frailty increases the chance for falls, disability, and even death.

Recently, a group of researchers examined data from a large German study of older adults called ESTHER (Epidemiological Study on Chances for Prevention, Early Detection, and Optimized Therapy of Chronic Diseases at Old Age) to know how taking greater than 5 medicines would impact frailty in older adults. The study was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

The researchers looked at data from about 2,000 participants in the ESTHER study, which started out in 2000 with close to 10,000 participants. Follow-ups with subjects have been carried out after 2, 5, 8 and 11 years. Individuals in the study are aged between 50- and 75-years when the study began.

After 8 eight years, the study physicians visited the subjects at home for a geriatric comparison. During the study, subjects were asked to bring the entire drugs they took — each prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) — to determine the types and quantity of medications these individuals were taking. The researchers then classified subjects into three groups:

1. People who took from 0 to 4 medicines (non-polypharmacy)

2. People who took 5 to 9 medicines (polypharmacy)

3. People who took 10 or more medicines (hyper-polypharmacy)

Two pharmacists personally reviewed all medicines taken and excluded medicines and dietary supplements that weren’t recognized to cause side effects.

After adjusting for differences in subject characteristics including diseases, the researchers learned that individuals who have been at risk for frailty, as well as individuals who had been frail, had been more likely to be within the polypharmacy or hyper-polypharmacy groups compared with persons who weren’t frail. Researchers additionally discovered that subjects who took between 5 to 9 medicines had been 1.5 times more likely to emerge as frail within 3 years when compared with people who took fewer than 5 medicines.

Persons who took more than 10 drugs had been twice as likely to end up frail within three years as individuals who took less than five.

The researchers concluded that reducing multiple avoidable prescriptions for older adults could be a promising approach for lessening the hazards for frailty.

If you’re an older adult, or if you are caring for any person who is older, it is primary to have an understanding that taking multiple medicines can cause interactions. The drug treatments can interact with each other and with the human body in harmful ways (by increasing negative side effects or reducing desired effects, for example). Therefore, the hazard for falls, delirium, and frailty additionally increases.

If you’re suffering from red bumpy skin that is itchy and sore, you need to know if it’s acne or rosacea. The two are different conditions and must be treated by different methods; otherwise, you may risk worsening the condition. Here are some tips to help you recognize and treat them.

Acne

Acne is one of the most widespread dermatological conditions. It occurs when hair follicles become blocked with oil and dead skin cells. It most often occurs on the face, neck, shoulders, and back, though it can occur in other parts of the body. Though a variety of treatments area available, acne can be persistent. You can find helpful acne treatment reviews here. Symptoms include one or more of the following:

  • Plugged pores whiteheads
  • Open plugged pores blackheads
  • Small red bumps papules
  • Pus filled pimples pustules
  • Painful lumps beneath the skin’s surface nodules
  • Pus-filled lumps beneath the skin’s surface cystic lesions

The main factors leading to acne are dead skin cells, oil production, bacteria, and clogged pores.

Acne Treatments

There are several prescription, over-the-counter and herbal remedies to treat acne.

Prescription medications: These are usually antibiotics, retinoid drugs, Dapsone gel, or Isotretinoin (in cases of very severe acne).

Over-the-counter therapies: These therapies include salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, alpha hydroxy acids, and sulfur.

Herbal remedies: These options include aloe vera, amaranth, neem, coriander, and licorice root.

Rosacea

Around 14 million adults and teens suffer from rosacea. It is a chronic skin disorder that results in redness, soreness, and inflammation of the skin as well as possible skin irruptions. People with fair hair and skin and blue eyes are most commonly affected. Symptoms include one or more of the following:

  • Persistent redness of the face and/or neck
  • Acne-like sores
  • Burning or stinging sensation on the skin
  • Fine reddish veins around the cheeks and nose
  • Red, swollen eyelids

Rosacea is caused by dilation of the skin’s blood vessels, which may be triggered by a number of things including the sun, spicy food, exercise, friction, and perfumed laundry detergents.

Rosacea Treatments

There are a number of treatment options for rosacea.

Medications: These drugs include oral antibiotics, brimonidine (to reduce redness), Isotretinoin (for very severe cases), azelaic acid and metronidazole.

Other therapies: Laser therapy is sometimes used to reduce the redness of dilated blood vessels. Dermabrasion, electrosurgery and pulsed light therapy may also be used.

Herbal treatments: Herbal therapies include licorice root, lavender oil, tea tree oil, honey, and chamomile.

One of the main reasons it’s important to distinguish between these two conditions is to prevent unnecessary use of antibiotic medications, which can lead to antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance can make it very difficult to treat certain bacterial infections and could lead to serious illness or even fatality.

If you have a skin condition similar to the ones described above, but you are uncertain if it is acne or rosacea, you should consult with a physician or dermatologist to get a correct diagnosis.

ARTICLE 9

A research group at the University of Nebraska Medical Center has used a system they call LASER ART (long-acting slow effective release antiretroviral therapy) to become aware of a surprising pathway to open cell storage areas for HIV/AIDS treatment. The discovery could revolutionize present treatments for HIV/AIDS through extending the actions of disease-combating medicines.

The LASER ART study is important, because the invention would be broadly applied. The discovery makes it possible for conventional medicines, taken once or two times per day, to be modified into once a month dosing.

Such changes would ease the burden on patients and their caregivers. The injectable drug bypasses oral absorption and brings the drug to body sites where the virus continues to hide in tissues.

The study was published within the March issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, one of the world’s leading scientific journals reporting new, high-impact translational studies.

The group composed of 14 members was spearheaded by three members of the UNMC Department of Pharmacology/Experimental Neuroscience in the College of Medicine. The team also include researchers from the UNMC College of Pharmacy.

The authors commented that this study will likely have a robust global impact on HIV/AIDS health care. Getting patients to take medicine daily is complicated. To take medicines every month or even longer will make it simpler for sufferers to be compliant whilst aiding the delivery of the drug to tissues of the body that are not easily reached by conventional drug treatments.

The LASER ART developed by the UNMC scientists is a formulation of injectable drugs. The long-lasting medicine was developed by making pharmacological changes within the chemical structure of the drug, while at the same time protecting against infection.

The new drug formulation is not anti-HIV treatment, rather one that opens storage areas within cells where drugs can be maintained for a long period of time. This extends the intervals for dosing and enables physicians to administer the drug over an expanded interval of time.

Prior to this discovery, the authors said that only two medications had been modified in this fashion. Their use was restricted, since every injection would require several ounces of drug with greater volumes in each succeeding injection. This amount of drug given can possibly be cut in half with this new medication.

Dr. Gendelman said LASER ART allows drug crystals to come to destinations in tissues and blood and stay there. These drug crystals are blanketed against destruction (metabolism) in the liver and excretion in the kidney and urine.

To accomplish this, the scientists merged LASER ART with URMC-099, which alone has no antiviral outcomes. Co-administration with antiretroviral drug treatments presents greater viral suppression.

The scientists learned that a number of innovative tactics — slow drug dissolution, poor water-solubility and multiplied bioavailability — could deliver the medicine to the sites of active viral progress and accelerate clearance of the virus.

The researchers remarked that one drug can supply the opposite drug to sites inside the cells where the virus grows and whilst sequestering the drug crystals at sites protecting it from degradation. The drug inside the cell slowly dissolves from the crystal and is launched into the blood. For them, this can be a new solution to lengthen the actions of drugs. It is a way to fortify drug effectiveness and to permit sufferers to take drugs without interruption.

Article 10

UCLA researchers have discovered that an anti-inflammatory drug especially used in Japan to deal with bronchial asthma would help folks overcome alcoholism.

Their study is the first to evaluate the drug, ibudilast, as a cure for alcoholism. Study participants were given either the drug (20 milligrams for 2 days and 50 milligrams for the following four) or a placebo for six consecutive days. After a two-week rest period, individuals that took the drug had been switched to a placebo for six days, and those who had been taking the placebo were given ibudilast. The researchers found that the subjects’ cravings for alcohol were reduced when they were taking the treatment.

Furthermore, the contributors’ reactions had been measured after they have been requested to hold and smell a glass of their preferred alcoholic beverage however not allowed to drink it. The individuals reported being in a better mood when they were taking ibudilast than after they had been on the placebo.

The study evaluated 17 men and 7 women who, previous to the study, reported consuming alcohol at an average of 21 days monthly and ingesting seven alcoholic drinks per day. On the sixth day of every phase of study, individuals acquired an intravenous dose of alcohol, an equivalent of about 4 drinks, to see how the treatment interacts with alcohol and whether or not it can be safely administered when humans are consuming.

The authors found that ibudilast is safe and well-tolerated. This treatment can also be safely administered, even when people are consuming alcohol. Side effects from the drug, which include nausea and abdominal pain, were moderate, and not one of the subjects dropped out of the study. The study was published online in Neuropsychopharmacology.

Researchers also evaluated the drug’s efficacy by seeing how well and how fast participants could get better from a stressful crisis. When study started out, the researchers asked individuals to describe sources of stress of their lives. On the fifth day of each phase of the study– when the individuals have been taking ibudilast and again when they were taking the placebo — researchers discussed those occasions with the subjects. The subjects’ moods improved more quickly after listening to their own stressful circumstances after they have been taking ibudilast than when they took the placebo.

The treatment gave the impression that it could chiefly help those within the study who had depressive symptoms, which are common in heavy drinkers of alcohol. The drug seems to cut back the pleasing results of alcohol.

Long term alcohol consumption elevates brain inflammation in animals, and prior studies showed that ibudilast was once effective in reducing rats’ alcohol consumption. Nevertheless it wasn’t a foregone conclusion that it might even be effective in humans.

For one thing, other medicinal drugs that have proven promise in rats precipitated too many side effects in people. That is a main issue when drugs verified on animals are then evaluated for human use; the authors stated that many medications which might be beneficial in animal reports ultimately fail to help men and women — a phenomenon the authors call as the “valley of demise” of pharmaceutical development.