Health & Wellness


Potential Alzheimer's, Parkinson's Cure Found In Century-old Drug

A new study conducted by researchers at Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland shows that a century-old drug, methylene blue, may be able to slow or even cure Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Used at a very low concentration - about the equivalent of a few raindrops in four Olympic-sized swimming pools of water - the drug slows cellular aging and enhances mitochondrial function, potentially allowing those with the diseases to live longer, healthier lives.

©iStockphoto/Silke Dietze
A century-old drug, methylene blue, has been found to slow cellular aging and enhances mitochondrial function, potentially allowing those with Alzheimer's or Parkinson's to live longer, healthier lives.

A paper on the methylene blue study, conducted by Hani Atamna, PhD, and a his team at Children's, was published in the March 2008 issue of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Journal. Dr. Atamna's research found that methylene blue can prevent or slow the decline of mitochondrial function, specifically an important enzyme called complex IV. Because mitochondria are the principal suppliers of energy to all animal and human cells, their healthy function is critical.

"The results are very encouraging," said Dr. Atamna. "We'd eventually like to try to prevent the physical and cognitive decline associated with aging, with a focus on people with Alzheimer's disease. One of the key aspects of Alzheimer's disease is mitochondrial dysfunction, specifically complex IV dysfunction, which methylene blue improves. Our findings indicate that methylene blue, by enhancing mitochondrial function, expands the mitochondrial reserve of the brain. Adequate mitochondrial reserve is essential for preventing age-related disorders such as Alzheimer's disease."


US: More women are having fewer children, if at all

WASHINGTON - More women in their early 40s are childless, and those who are having children are having fewer than ever before, the Census Bureau said Monday.


US: Parvo virus found in Ohio region

Port Clinton -- An outbreak of canine parvovirus has appeared in the region, according to a local veterinarian.


Canada: Baby's death deepens flesh-eating mystery

An infant is dead as a result of an unidentified bacterial skin infection, according to CTV.

The baby boy was one of two children transferred to Alberta Children's Hospital in Calgary from Lethbridge Regional Hospital late last week with what was originally speculated to be flesh-eating disease.


Researchers cure Melanoma patient with own immune cells

Researchers in the United States say they have been able to cure a man with skin cancer by injecting the patient with billions of clones of his own immune cells.

Melanoma cure
©Reuters - Darrin Zammit Lupi
Melanoma is the fourth most common cancer in Australia, with more than 9,000 new cases each year.


After weight-loss surgery, some find new addictions

On the heels of a five-year boom in weight-loss surgeries, researchers are observing an unusual phenomenon: Some patients stop overeating -- but wind up acquiring new compulsive disorders such as alcoholism, gambling addiction or compulsive shopping.

Arrow Down

Suicide in Asian Americans

Asian Americans whose families experience a high degree of interpersonal conflict have a three-fold greater risk of attempting suicide when compared with Asian Americans overall, according to a new study by University of California, Davis, researchers. The risk is tripled even among those who have never had a diagnosis of depression.

The findings will be reported during a 2 p.m. (EDT) poster session, "Improving Our Practice -- Focus on Ethnic Psychology," on Sunday, Aug. 17, at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association in Boston.

Red Flag

New Zealand hospital shut down after virus outbreak

Wellington - The main hospital in Dunedin, a South Island city of more than 122,000 people, was effectively shut down on Monday after 74 patients and staff contracted the highly infectious norovirus in the last three weeks.


Meet seven 'miracle' babies

A new mother in Egypt has successfully given birth to septuplets, only the second woman ever to do so.


Pocket Knife

The miracle weight loss that isn't: bariatric surgery

Eileen Wells was smiling as she was wheeled into surgery. She was too excited to feel nervous. At 38, she was about to get "a new lease on life," she says, echoing jargon in weight loss surgery ads. She had seen the before and after pictures in celebrity tabloids, watched the TV infomercials, listened to the patient testimonials and researched online. She was ready to begin her own transformation. At 5 foot 3 and 290 pounds, she was sick of being fat. Her joints ached. Her feet hurt. A stroll through the mall near her home in Greenwood Lake, New York, was enough to leave her sweat-slick and gasping for air. She was anxious to say good-bye to sleep apnea and dieting, ready to take control. And so in March 2005, Wells underwent a laparoscopic gastric bypass. She was grinning right up until the anesthesia knocked her out.