Good News Tuesday

Let me see, I’ve gathered up a few nice developments in health and medicine recently . . . Okay, let’s start with this one.

Doctors Now Have Permanent Cure for Sickle Cell Anaemia

“With this chemotherapy-free [bone marrow] transplant, we are curing adults with sickle cell disease, and we see that their quality of life improves fast within just one month of the transplant. … About 90 per cent of the approximately 450 patients who have received stem cell transplants for sickle cell disease have been children. Chemotherapy has been considered too risky for adult patients, who are often more weakened than children by the disease. Adults with sickle cell disease can now be cured without chemotherapy — the main barrier that has stood in the way for them for so long. Our data provide more support that this therapy is safe and effective and prevents patients from living shortened lives, condemned to pain and progressive complications.”

That would be very good, as I believe the absolute numbers of people who have sickle cell are pretty large . . . yes, looks like millions worldwide. A real cure would be wonderful.

Here’s another medical trial that looks good:

Treatment Has Saved 77% of Cancer Patients Needing Amputations

Patients with a form of advanced malignant cancer in their arms or legs have typically faced amputation of the afflicted limb as the only treatment option. However, these researchers have found a technique that limits the application of chemotherapy to the cancerous region which preserves limbs in a high percentage of cancer patients.

The researchers used the treatment technique, known as regional chemotherapy with isolated limb perfusion (ILI), in 77 patients with treatment-resistant, locally advanced soft tissue sarcomas, and were able to salvage limbs in 77.9% of the cases.

The study, conducted over a 22-year period from 1994-2016, is the largest one to date of limb preservation using ILI for sarcoma.

I’m kind of shocked that trying to target only the affected limb with chemo is a new thing. Definitely, onward! Targeting only the affected area with all kinds of treatments seems like it ought to be a good idea.

And here’s something interesting:

B vitamins reduce schizophrenia symptoms, study finds

A review of worldwide studies has found that add-on treatment with high-dose b-vitamins — including B6, B8 and B12 — can significantly reduce symptoms of schizophrenia more than standard treatments alone.

A good many vitamins can cause problems if you take them in excess. But quickly googling around suggests that the B vitamins are pretty darn safe. It says here, “Water-soluble vitamins, such as the B vitamins, are excreted from the body daily in urine, so excess consumption of these is generally not toxic.” Well, good, because then anybody who wants to try adding vitamin B to the treatment regime for schizophrenia can probably do that.

And one more:

Rubbery, multifunctional fibers could be used to study spinal cord neurons and potentially restore function.

Implantable fibers have been an enormous boon to brain research, allowing scientists to stimulate specific targets in the brain and monitor electrical responses. But similar studies in the nerves of the spinal cord, which might ultimately lead to treatments to alleviate spinal cord injuries, have been more difficult to carry out. That’s because the spine flexes and stretches as the body moves, and the relatively stiff, brittle fibers used today could damage the delicate spinal cord tissue.

Now, researchers have developed a rubber-like fiber that can flex and stretch while simultaneously delivering both optical impulses, for optoelectronic stimulation, and electrical connections, for stimulation and monitoring.

Very good. Always happy to see progress in treating spinal injuries and conditions. Onward!

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3 thoughts on “Good News Tuesday”

  1. Interesting about the B vitamins. Some years ago I’d run across research that using yet another relative of the Bs, choline, can cut down/stop bipolar mania attacks in the moment. It works for the Teen, when a medicine – often decongestant – triggers such. I was skeptical, but didn’t tell her why I was giving her yet another thing to take, and it worked, and continues to work as an emergency measure. Her various doctors have mostly not taken this seriously. Me, I figure whatever works, and doesn’t do harm.

  2. If I were a doctor, I’d take that pretty seriously considering you tried a blinded experiment. I’m glad it looks like B is safe. All the tools you can stuff in the toolbox…

  3. And in further news of the science fiction meets reality sort, today’s newspaper (yeah, we still get a paper) has the largest front page article about an implantable device that discharges in the brains of epileptics to thwart seizures. I thought of Miles V’s implant.

    “nlike medications and other medical devices that deliver therapy whether or not someone is having a seizure, the implanted RNS system continuously monitors the brain’s activity and is programmed to detect and record specific patterns that can lead to a seizure. The neurostimulator responds with brief pulses of electricity that disrupt the abnormal brain activity before a seizure occurs.”

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