When healthy. beta-cells produce insulin and control its release as the body needs it. Dr. Zhen Gu, from North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (North Carolina, USA), and colleagues have developed a drug delivery technique for diabetes treatment in which a sponge-like material surrounds an insulin core. The sponge expands and contracts in response to blood sugar levels to release insulin as needed. Commenting that: “we demonstrated that these microgels with enzyme nanocapsules facilitate insulin release and result in a reduction of blood glucose levels,” the researchers are also hopeful that the smart sponge holds promise for smart drug delivery targeting cancer or other diseases.
Zhen Gu, Tram T. Dang, Minglin Ma, Benjamin C. Tang, Hao Cheng, Shan Jiang, et al. “Glucose-Responsive Microgels Integrated with Enzyme Nanocapsules for Closed-Loop Insulin Delivery.” ACS Nano, July 8, 2013.
Irish researchers observe a slower rate of cognitive decline among elderly patients taking angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors for blood pressure con
Sponge-like material, which expands and contracts in response to blood sugar levels, releases insulin contained in its core, as the body needs it.
Chinese men who practiced tai chi, a form of mind-body exercise, were less likely to die over a five-year period, as compared to sedentary men.
Low Vitamin D levels may increase a person’s risk of physical limitations, among older men and women.
Young adults who are more outgoing or more emotionally stable are happier in later life, as compared to their more introverted or less emotionally stable peers.
Retirees who stop working relatively late in life may be less likely to develop Alzheimer’s Disease.
Physical activity reorganizes the brain so that its response to stress is reduced and anxiety is less likely to interfere with normal brain function.
1.7 million Americans develop healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), with roughly 45% of hospital-acquired HAIs are in patients older than 65 years.
A standardized extract of ginkgo biloba, improved the proliferation of neural stem cells in the subependymal zone of vascular dementia, in a lab animal model.
China's air pollution toll, has cut life expectancy for the residents of that region by five and a half years.
Nanoparticles derived from natural lipids present in grapefruit may be deployed as novel drug delivery vehicles.
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a polyphenol found in green tea, could prove to be a valuable weapon in the fight against melanoma and other skin cancers.
MIT (US) researchers report devising nanoscale production units for manufacturing protein-based drugs with the human body.
UCLA (US) researchers develop mesoporous silica nanoparticles with the capacity to carry and deliver drugs to tumors.
For brain disease patients of the future, the delivery of stem cell therapy may be as simple as a quick sniff.
Tip #192 - Stay Connected
Researchers from the University of Chicago (Illinois, USA) report that social isolation may be detrimental to both mental and physical health. The team analyzed data from the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project, a nationwide US study involving 3,000 men and women, ages 57 to 85 years. They arrived at three key findings regarding the relationships between health and different types of isolation:
• The researchers found that the most socially connected older adults are three times as likely to report very good or excellent health compared to those who are least connected, regardless of whether they feel isolated.
• The team found that older adults who feel least isolated are five times as likely to report very good or excellent health as those who feel most isolated, regardless of their actual level of social connectedness.
• They determined that social disconnectedness is not related to mental health unless it brings feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Separately, Rush University Medical Center (Illinois, USA) researchers studied 906 older men and women, testing their motor functions (including grip, pinch strength, balance, and walking) and surveying their social activity, for a period of 5 years. Those study participants with less social activity were found to have a more rapid rate of motor function decline. Specifically, the team found that every one-point decrease in social activity corresponded to an increase in functional aging of 5 years, translating to a 40% higher risk of death and 65% higher risk of disability.