Monthly Archives: October 2013

Yet another alternative to test breast cancer

Quest Diagnosis, a medical testing company, announced recently of developing a new genetic test to  diagnose breast cancer. The test has been named as BRC Advantage.

While reading this news, my mind took me into my childhood memories. I was 8 when my loving grandmother passed away. She died at a very early age of 50 as she was late in diagnosing her breast cancer. If she was a little more aware about the various breast cancer tests available, she might have lived longer.

Womens Health

Womens Health

The new test developed is capable of identifying BRCA1 (BReast CAncer gene one) and BRCA2 (BReast CAncer gene two), genes responsible for normal growth and functioning of the breast cells. But any kinds of abnormalities (mutations) in these cells can lead to an increased risk of breast or ovarian cancer.

Earlier a company, Myriad Genetics had a patent on these two BRCA genes which gave the company an exclusive holding on testing any mutations in these genes.

But a recent US Supreme Court ruling has invalidated this patent thus making the two BRCA genes available to other companies for developing their own tests. Breast Cancer Therapies Markets

And why not? A naturally occurring gene is a nature’s product and not a mere patent. And very  soon the Supreme Court’s decision seems to be showing results with Quest Diagnosis coming with its first such test called BRC Advantage. The test is currently available in 49 US states and more than 2100 service centers. Quest Diagnosis hopes to increase the availability of these tests at high risking populations.

Reading about this new breast cancer test, questions still keep pouring in my mind that even after enough number of tests available, are we women actually aware about them?

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Staying fit at 45

Fitness over 40 is a matter of growing concern among most women turning 40 or nearing the menopausal age. In the mid-40s, women experience some physical and emotional changes as a result of the many hormonal changes taking place; thus causing an end to body’s reproductive capability. There are also common complaints of problems like uncomfortable knee, back ache, or hip and joint pain.

women health

women health

Before undergoing any fitness program, it is always considered beneficial to consult a doctor to know about the most suitable program according to the needs of your body. Be firm but not strict about a fitness regime. Reduce the risks of stress and thereby getting ill, and improve overall health with a consistent and well-designed fitness program.

Increasing physical fitness will result in strengthening of muscles to support joints and reduce arthritis pain and other aches. Another common and simple way to improve upon one’s health is including enough raw fruits and vegetables in her diet, drinking at least 8-10 glasses of water as well as to lessen the daily consumption of white flour and sugar.

Lack of physical exercise also halts the body’s natural decline in mid forties posing a greater risk of conditions like obesity, blood pressure, diabetes, cardiac problems, stroke and cancer related problems.

Among women, mid-40s is a crucial point in life and a time when muscle mass begins to decrease and fat begins building up. It is a time when aging process begins to speed up. During this critical time, if we neglect our exercise routine then it cause severe health hazards.

Walking is one of the simplest and the best forms of exercise, which should not be neglected and necessarily put into a woman’s daily routine. Fitness over 40, Hormonal changes in a woman’s body during the mid-40s age can also cause reduced bone strength but if you are staying fit, this can be easily encountered.

Can we imagine cats and monkeys providing way for HIV vaccine?

A scientist at the University of Florida recently discovered that cats will provide future evidence for HIV vaccine. University’s immunology professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine, Janet Yamamoto, who has 30 years of experience in the study of feline immunodeficiency virus or FIV, has found a common region in FIV and HIV. He describes the region to be an element of protein critical for its survival which may also become a solution to the HIV vaccine.

Yamamoto, when discovered the FIV in 1986, believed it to be quite unlike to HIV because only protein sequences were found to be similar between the two virus species.

But now she has found a protein on the FIV to be generating an immune response in blood from people infected with HIV. These findings were also published in the Virology Journal.

She believed that her efforts to develop HIV vaccines were based on some antibodies used in flu vaccines instead of T-cells. She also found a region on the FIV where these T-cells can be activated to produce more of these cells that in turn killed HIV-infected cells. The region was consistent and thus also very important in finding a vaccine that can protect people from HIV.

Since HIV viruses change very frequently so an area was needed on virus which doesn’t change. Dr. Mobeen Rathore, director of the HIV research Centre in the university has also studied the research and found that although the virus was smarter than the vaccine; there are chances that the reverse can also become true, which can be found by carrying forward the research on cats.

Yamamoto was pretty optimistic about the research being successful in cats and thus succeeded in discovering the first FIV vaccine in the year 2002.

She also said that prior to testing the vaccine in humans; it must also be tested in monkeys. Simian immunodeficiency virus or SIV, which infects monkeys, has also been identified with a similar protein region. She also considered the cat and the monkey models (which were being used for the development of a vaccine for humans) to be quite instinctive but different from the development of smallpox from cowpox vaccine. She thinks that even if animal studies go well, still researchers will take at least five years to reach a level where it can be studied on humans. Yakamoto said she would surely like to witness that as she was the one who started the whole chapter.

Will we actually be able to prevent HIV with the help of cats and monkeys in the next five years? Or is this just another research? Let us wait for the next few years and find out.

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