New Device May Test For Cancer In 10 Minutes

A new portable device has been created, which can cut out the lab “middle man.” Diseases, viruses, and cancer may one day (not too far away) be detectable within a few short minutes.

Coming Soon to a Doctor Near You

Still, in its infantile stages, an easy-to-use, portable piece of medical equipment may soon be used in your very own doctor’s office. Researchers at UCLA have created a test that can check for disease biomarkers. Used in conjunction with each other, the device, plus the test should be able to detect potentially serious illnesses within minutes.

Currently, blood, saliva, and urine tests already exist that can send up warning flags for infection or illness. Those tests, however, require several steps to get results; those results are sometimes not available for hours, days, or weeks. (They’re also difficult to use.) This new UCLA technique cuts out complicated steps, time, and cost.

Benefit to Public Health

If this technique takes off, it can have a huge impact on public health overall. Reporting to patients, doctors, and public health facilities in a speedy manner can affect early treatment intervention. Also, when it comes to widespread disease or epidemics, up-to-date reporting is crucial.

The test was conducted using streptavidin, a protein used commonly to test diagnostic experiments, and also a protein associated with influenza. Their technique worked beautifully and was able to detect the flu virus in minutes. More sophisticated blood samples will require further research to adapt this method. But, the groundwork has now been laid for other viruses and illnesses to be detected—just as quickly and simply.

Zika, Ebola, Cancer

With the continuing widespread of contagious diseases like Zika and Ebola, it’s essential that public health and medical officials receive prompt updates of new cases. It’s important for practitioners to get results as quickly as possible so as to treat the patient accordingly.

Additionally, a person with a contagious illness can keep the disease from spreading if he/she is alerted as soon as the test reveals positive for the strain. The Zika virus is transmittable through sexual intercourse. Because Zika often shows no symptoms, those carrying the virus do not know their status.

It is highly recommended that anyone in a Zika-mosquito-infested area gets tested, especially women who are pregnant or plan to be in the near future. Men also need to get tested as they can transmit the virus just as easily and without knowing.

The UCLA team plans to continue its research and development on their method of combining biomarker detection and the portable fluid-filter device. As the technique becomes more perfected, it will eventually enable doctors to read test results in less time than it takes to get a coffee at Starbucks. Those results will also be able to detect viruses like Zika and potentially killer diseases like cancer. Science can be great.

 

New Antibody Injection May Protect Against Zika

With the rise and spread of the devastating Zika virus, researchers have been racing towards the creation of a vaccine. A new antibody injection, however, may prove more effective and may become available in a timelier manner. A recent lab study has shown success deterring the risk of contracting Zika using a blended dose of three potent antibodies.

Interception with Injection

Modern researchers have been steadfastly working on new forms of immunology to deter and/or fight viruses. Immunology is the branch of science/medicine concerned with the function of the biological immune system and its responses. Immunologists experiment with laboratory techniques that involve the interaction of antigens with antibodies. Antigens are the invaders (toxins, viruses) that trigger and immune response. Antibodies are blood protein molecules that attack antigens.

For decades, immunology has focused on utilizing vaccines to help keep certain diseases and viruses at bay. Vaccines train our immune system to produce its own antibodies to fight off the foreign invader. Instead, injecting pre-made antibodies to provide instant protection against pathogens is a newer practice of immunology. This type of disease-fighting implementation may last temporarily, but it is effective and immediate.

Calling All Antibodies

Antibodies basically block pathogens (like the Zika virus) from entering human cells. The beauty of this science is that the virus can’t spread (or survive) because it can’t make copies of itself outside a cell. Therefore, injecting specific antibodies that targets a specific virus seems like a palpable preventative step. This is exactly what researchers at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine were thinking.

Anti-Zika Cocktail

The team of researchers, which included pathologist David Watkins, collected over 90 antibodies from a Zika patient in Columbia. They chose the three most potent antibodies and cloned them to create enough for a series of experimental injections. The injection was introduced into four monkeys a day before being exposed to the Zika virus. None of them became infected—even after three weeks of observation. (Unfortunately, the others who were exposed who were not given the injection of antibodies developed the virus.)

The less-appealing factor of implementing antibodies is that they don’t live incredibly long. They may remain effective for weeks, perhaps months in some instances. So, in order to lower the risk for a pregnant woman from contracting Zika, she would need a few injections over the course of her pregnancy to ensure she remained virus-free.

Pregnant women living in or traveling to areas where Zika is abundant is perilous to the health of their fetus. The Zika virus can cause microcephaly and other neurological birth defects. To understand more about the virus, how it’s contracted, spread, avoided, see https://www.cdc.gov/zika/index.html

A Protection Against Zika Breakthrough

Although this antibody study was conducted on monkeys, it provides information (and hope) that humans may soon be protected from contracting the Zika virus. It is not a vaccine, but that may be OK. Vaccines can provide longer-lasting protection, but their effects can also vary amongst different individuals.

The next step will be to test the antibody cocktail on pregnant monkeys. Then, after that, clinical trials will need to be conducted with humans. There are several positive notes in this regard: for one, antibody injections may carry fewer or less severe side effects than vaccines; another perk—antibody therapy may contribute to the decrease in many different viruses, including HIV and Ebola.

GetThrive offers an abundance of material on up-to-date, positive, scientific and medical breakthroughs. Check it out to read more about how to help you and your family become the healthiest you can be!

Sources:

http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/9/410/eaan8184


Do-and-Don’t Conversations Over the Holidays

Sure, if you’re with a group of close friends, chances are you’re all like-minded or at least respectful of each other’s viewpoints. But when it comes to family, work-related, or casual-acquaintance gatherings, the rules are different. Here are some ideas for keeping peace pervasive over the holiday season.

Steer Clear

If you find yourself within a group of folks you don’t know all that well; there are certain topics you should avoid. They are obvious, but a reminder is worthwhile. Rule of thumb, stay away from very personal and controversial subject matters.

1) Politics. Don’t discuss your president, your future leader, or foreign policy. Even if these are subjects in which you love to have a tête-à-tête, the setting has to be appropriate. Otherwise, it’s possible someone might find themselves covered in egg nog.

2) Religion. Feel free to mention that you have to leave because you have a sermon to attend early in the morning. But don’t start spewing feelings about your God, others’ God, or God’s lack of existence.

3) Reproductive and LGBT rights, Genocide, and the Zika Virus. These are extremely important topics that require addressing—but perhaps not at a holiday party (or with people, you don’t know well.) The host may frown upon the discomfort or potential raucous.

“Do Not Ask” Questions

Although you may be tempted, find inner-strength to contain asking some of these examples of questions:

-Something looks different. Did you lose weight?

-Did you ever get that promotion?

-What do you think about global warming?

-Do you think fracking is a good option?

-What’s your stance on vaccines?

-Has your daughter been baptized?

 

If a topic comes up that you know will ignite conflict, don’t engage. You may feel passionate about the conversation and disagree, but what’s more important? Voicing your feelings amongst people whose minds won’t change, or worse, won’t listen to you respectfully?

Or is it more important to stay calm, keep to yourself, and leave without a fight? It’s your call. But if you choose the latter and someone continues to egg you on, simply reply with one word—“Interesting.” This won’t put the person on the defensive, yet you are not agreeing or engaging. It’s a nice way to smile and basically say, “Please, back off.”

“Do” Conversations and Fun Starter Questions

Here are more productive ideas for having a lovely time with casual peers or family at a “festive” gathering. No boats need-a-rockin’. Keep the themes positive and upbeat. Bland is best.

By the way, it will be less tense if you include the younger set into conversations as well. Here are some innocuous ideas for questions to get the “calm and cool” party started:

-Did you see that moon the other night?

-If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?

-Of all the food here, what’s the one thing you would pick if you could only have one food all year?

– If you could have been responsible for the invention of a particular item, what would it be?

-If you could do only one thing all day, what would it be?

-Where’s the most beautiful place you’ve been?

-Where’s the one place you dream most of traveling to?

-If you could travel back or forward in time, what year would you want to check out?

-What’s a holiday that doesn’t exist that you’d like to create?

-If you could host a dinner party for 8 people, anyone, (dead or alive), who would you invite?

-What are some things you would do if you were invisible for one day?

Those are some fun, innocent ways to get a healthy conversation going for anyone of any age. Keeping the peace can be rewarding and allow joy to prevail. Happy holidays!

Is Zika Still a Public Health Emergency?

According to the World Health Organization, the Zika virus is still a threat, but not in an emergency capacity. On November 18th, the Committee overseeing Zika and microcephaly announced updated determinations.

Back When it Began

Zika was first discovered in the 1940’s. Over decades, the virus spread minimally, mostly through the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. As for the actual illness contracted, it can show symptoms such as fever, rash, eye-redness, and fatigue. However, so many who’ve contracted the virus don’t even know.

A Zika carrier can be asymptomatic. He/she may not even know they got it. Fine for them, but not so for their unborn child. A pregnant woman with the virus can give birth to a baby with microcephaly (a severe defect, causing abnormal smallness of the brain and head.) Besides being bit by an infected mosquito, male carriers can transmit the virus through sexual intercourse.

An Epidemic Ensued

On February 1, 2016, the World Health Organization declared Zika a public health emergency. At that time, there was an unprecedented, outrageously large number of babies being born in Brazil with neurological disorders, mostly with microcephaly. The Zika virus was to blame.

Also around that period, sizeable outbreaks were also spreading through French Polynesia and other countries in South and Central America. The Emergency Committee declared Zika an International concern.

What Happening Now?

Although the WHO Emergency Committee has determined that Zika is no longer an “Emergency” under International Health Regulations, they stress that it is still a concern. They are not “downgrading the importance,” the virus is being regarded, at this time, from a different perspective.

It’s not considered an emergency, but rather a long-term, continuing concern. Zika is not going away. Dr. Pete Salama, a physician at the World Health Organization, says the virus will be herewith treated as a “chronic problem.” He believes it will return seasonally, like other insect-transmitted illnesses.

What is Next?

Since the WHO considers this an ongoing threat, they will continue to be vigilant in collecting information, data, and advocate for research, treatment, and a potential vaccine. The Zika virus to date has had cases confirmed in 73 countries globally.

In US territories, there have been over 32,000 cases reported. Surely there are many more unreported because Zika’s attack can often present with no symptoms. Most cases were locally acquired from bites and a small percentage from travel-association or sexual contact.

How to Carry On

Most importantly, practice safe sex, especially if you think you or your partner have been exposed to the Zika virus. If pregnant or you’re planning to conceive within a year, use DEET to repel mosquitoes and wear long sleeves and long pants, and get tested often. (It’s a simple blood or urine test.)

Thrive’s founder, Dr. Dave Campbell has been a knowledgeable and expert spokesperson on the topic of the Zika virus. To see the Doctor’s segment on MSNBC discussing the Zika virus in early 2016, click here. Later in the year, Dr. Campbell appeared again on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” with an update on the virus. To view that brief and informative clip, you can watch it here.

 

Human Trial for Zika Vaccine is Underway

A DNA-based vaccine has shown to have great success on monkeys. Testing on humans has begun.

Monkey Business

There are currently a few other human trials of other potential Zika vaccines underway. This particular DNA-based experiment is different because it protected monkeys from acquiring infection from the virus. Its effectiveness is very promising in humans since it was so successful on a lower primate species.

Ted Pierson, chief of Viral Pathogenesis at the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, reported the positive outcome from the monkey trial study. He stated that of the 18 primates who received a full dose of the vaccine, 17 were protected from the viral infection. The other monkeys that were given only one shot were not protected, but their bodies did create antibodies.

So, at least for the primates, the vaccine is successful; it’s just the proper dosage that still remains nebulous.

The Human Condition

Although the findings in the primate study are exciting, similar results are not always guaranteed with humans. The first phase of the human trial, however, will garner more insight for the researchers.

This potential vaccine uses the actual Zika virus in the manufacturing of synthetically created DNA. The piece of DNA, when absorbed into the body, hopefully, creates an immune response to the virus. By introducing tiny bits of Zika into the cells, the scientists hope the human body will create an antibody response. This desired cellular reaction would (optimistically) protect the body against the Zika virus.

More About Zika

At this juncture, we know that Zika is a virus that is spread through mosquito bites, blood transfusions, and sexual intercourse. The virus has been linked to Gullain-Barre syndrome, which can cause paralysis. It also causes birth defects, such as microcephaly, which is brain-related.

Pierson explains, “”The reason why there are Zika-associated neurodevelopmental defects is because the virus is actually infecting the fetus and attacking developing neurons in the fetus, causing direct harm.”

This is why a DNA-based vaccine would be revolutionary for the battle against Zika. The vaccine would create an immune response in pregnant women that would keep Zika at bay (or at least left with only a small strain of the virus.) This would, in turn, keep the unborn fetus from becoming infected, and hence getting the birth defects.

Scientists around the globe are conducting experiments with potential vaccines at a rapid pace. Everyone understands that time is of the essence when it comes to protecting the population from this virus.

Check out www.GetThrive.com for more articles on Zika and other health-related topics.

Zika Virus Linked to Paralysis

A recent analysis of Zika cases worldwide has concluded that infections may lead to a syndrome that causes paralysis.

The Syndrome

As we’ve come to understand, only one-in-five infected people with the Zika virus show symptoms. Even then, they are not harsh—red eyes, fever, rash…

There has been, however, a monumental spike in the number of people diagnosed with. Most, if not all of them, were found to have previously (and in the recent past) contracted Zika.

Guillain-Barré (pronounced gwee-on’ – bah’-ray) is an autoimmune disorder. This syndrome attacks the nervous system, first causing weakness or tingling in the legs and arms. In many cases, the sensations intensify, so much so that certain muscles become completely dysfunctional. Breathing and blood pressure can be threatened by the attack as well. It’s in these cases where hospitalization and ventilators are needed.

Before Zika: The Guillain-Barré Details

Guillain-Barré syndrome, before the current, intense revival of Zika, afflicted about only one person in 100,000. It was rare (until recently). It’s a frightening syndrome because it attacks unexpectedly and suddenly. After the first symptoms of weakness, paralysis sets in within a few days or a couple of weeks. Sometimes this lasts days, weeks, or months. Recovery can occur within a few months, but sometimes not for many years. Residual muscle and nerve weakness—for about 30 percent of sufferers—can last for several years.

The Evidence Behind the News

The sensational accounts of, “Zika Causing Paralysis!” is not all that far-fetched. Zika doesn’t directly cause any type of paralysis. However, it may (and most likely), will bring on a host of autoimmune disorders, including Guillain-Barré —which can cause temporary paralysis.

There’s clearly a connection between getting bit by a Zika-infested mosquito and developing Guillain-Barré. For example, Venezuela expected fewer than 75 cases of GB in early 2015. However, as the Zika virus spread, the country reported almost 700 cases of Guillain-Barré. That’s no coincidence.

In the U.S., The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has stated that the Zika virus is “strongly associated” with Guillain-Barré, but hasn’t, yet, officially declared it a cause of the condition. The data, however, speaks the truth.

Of the seven countries hit hardest by Zika, they all displayed unusually radical increases in Guillain-Barré syndrome cases. Through Latin America and the Carribean, there have been roughly 1,500 cases of reported temporary paralysis.

The reliable figures point to over 500-million people in those areas at risk for Zika; That means the potential for a Guillain-Barré syndrome epidemic is exorbitant as well.

Dr. Espinal (and his co-authors) on their analysis published in the New England Journal of Medicine, point out that Latin American countries (and others) should expect up to 10 times more Guillain-Barré cases than expected. That’s a lot.

Without alarm, but arming with caution, avoid Zika mosquito-infested locations. Do not have sex without a condom if you or your lover have possibly been infected or have had sex with another who may be infected. (Remember, only one-in-five people show symptoms). Zika can be sexually transmitted. Hence, Guillain-Barré is right around the proverbial corner.

Be safe and not sorry. To check out articles about the latest in health concerns and ways to stay healthy, log onto www.GetThrive.com

Get Infected with Zika to Help Researchers Create Vaccine

Scientists are seeking volunteers willing to be injected with the Zika virus.

A Shot of Courage

The experiment is not solely based on making people sick. Scientists need information about how the virus acts in order to help create a vaccine. After the volunteers are injected, the researchers will track how the virus affects an otherwise healthy person.

This particular study will commence this winter. In the meanwhile, there are two other possible vaccines that have been created but haven’t been thoroughly tested. Safety testing has already started. If they seem to be feasibly successful, the experimental phase will begin. That means trying the vaccine on human subjects.

Time is of the Essence

“We are right now in a race of time to get the best vaccine,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The only way to test an experimental vaccine is to see if it protects those getting the shot. Any vaccines that appear to be safe and effective in the lab will eventually be tested on people in high-risk areas. The first people to receive the experimental vaccine will be those in South- and Latin-America, the Carribean, and other spots where the virus is running rampant.

Accepting the Challenge

Scientists are not exactly sure of how much of the virus to inject into the volunteers. (By the way, the subjects will be both healthy males and non-pregnant females.) The plan is to infect the volunteers with lab-grown Zika. First, they need to figure out how much is needed to cause an infection—in order to create a vaccine strong enough to deter it.

Before accepting the job, volunteers understand that they may expect a rash or fever after being injected. They will also be required to use condoms, so they do not spread Zika through sexual transmission. Different people will receive different amounts of the virus. Everyone will be kept and monitored for 12 days at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore (possibly by this December.)

Overview

Experimental studies on humans are not very common. They are challenging to perform and are extremely expensive. So, the first round of research is for discovery about the virus and to create a (hopefully) effective vaccine. The second round is to administer the vaccine to volunteers—then six months later try to infect them with Zika. The results of such an experiment will inform scientists if the vaccine is effective, or how it needs to be tweaked.

Fauci has stated that the NIH will need almost $200 million dollars (just through 2017) to continue its diligent work on Zika vaccine research. Federal funding for America’s fight on Zika hasn’t yet been approved by Congress. In the meanwhile, private funding and “borrowing from Peter to pay Paul” has been the action federal health officials have been taking. Let’s hope we can find the necessary funds and an effective vaccine sooner than later…

Check out www.GetThrive.com for more info on current health news and remedies.

Zika Is Spreading Through the US—Should You Worry?

It’s a precarious time because the Zika virus is in the U.S. and spreading. How should we react—Worry? Ignore? Panic?

What the Experts Say

February 1, 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Zika a public health emergency. Zika was first discovered in the 1940’s, but the outbreaks have been minimal throughout the decades. Also, the illness can be asymptomatic, so most likely, many cases have never been reported. Now, however, we understand that the consequences of contracting the virus can be dire.

To date, over 60 countries have reported cases of Zika acquired from mosquito bites. Eleven countries report Zika contraction from sexual intercourse. In Brazil, there are many cases that have been transmitted via blood transfusions.

What’s Happening in the U.S.

In the U.S. there have been over 1400 travel-related cases of Zika to date. In Puerto Rico alone, there are more than 3,500 cases that were acquired locally. The Aedes aegypti mosquito (a carrier of the virus) is found in Florida and other nearby states. According to the CDC, it has now been confirmed that at least 28 cases out of Florida have originated from local mosquito bites.

The director of the CDC is urging pregnant women to avoid a small section of Miami-Dade County called Wynwood. It’s believed the mosquitoes there are transmitting Zika.

The CDC provides safety reports on where travel may be unsafe in foreign lands. This is the first time U.S. citizens have been warned not to travel to a particular place within our 50 states.

What Do We Do?

Don’t panic. But don’t ignore. The virus is spreading. However, there are precautions one can take. If you’re pregnant, practice safe sex and avoid going to warning areas. If pregnant or you’re planning to conceive within a year, use DEET to repel mosquitoes and wear long sleeves and long pants, and get tested often. Many women and men have tested positive and never showed any symptoms of having contracted the Zika virus.

The virus causes seriously horrific birth defects. Fetuses in the first trimester of pregnancy may be most vulnerable. Scientists still don’t know, however, if the virus creates any long-term effects on a fetus in its second or third trimester. Again, it’s recommended for women to get tested in each stage of pregnancy.

What’s Next?

We can take precautions by doing our best not to get bit, practicing safe sex, and avoiding contaminated blood transfusions. The State of Florida, along with other states and the federal government will need to figure out some new aggressive efforts. Currently, there hasn’t been a visible reduction in the number of existing Aedes aegypti mosquitoes—even with traps. Another theory is that the insect may have become resistant to the repellents being used.

Hopefully, officials will soon find a way to deter the mosquitoes from thriving and populating. Additionally, it would be a great breakthrough if a Zika vaccine was eventually developed.