Healthcare & Lifescience Talking Points | 15/03/2017

In today’s talking points: Toads – a new tool in fighting cancer; New study claims that B Vitamins reduce effects of air pollution; China urges tighter supervision of antibiotic production and use; Trials for magnet therapy hope to slow Alzheimer’s Disease.

Toads – a new tool in fighting cancer

Researchers from University of Queensland and Hong Kong Polytechnic University are working together to find a new cancer treatment. Toad based medicine or Chan Su as it is known, is a traditional Chinese medicine for treating heart failures, sore throats, skin conditions and many other illnesses. Toxins and steroids of these made up of toad by-products can be used to help in fighting cancer cells. Dr Harendra Parkh reported that they were focused “on developing a soluble formulation of purified bufalin steroid, a key component of Chan Su which doesn’t dissolve easily, making it difficult to administer as a medicine.” As Chan Su is accepted as a traditional Chinese medicine, the researchers aim to develop and first use this technology markets there. According to Professor Terence Lok-ting Lau – the Director of PolyU’s Innovation and Technology Development, this is a significant step in innovation for both countries and in Chin-Australia collaboration.

Read more at Starts at 60

New study claims that B Vitamins reduce effects of air pollution

A recent study has suggested that B Vitamins reduce harmful effects from air pollution. The study demonstrates B vitamins such as folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 can potentially reduce the  impact of air pollution on a type of epigenetic modification called DNA methylation. DNA methylation has been linked to cardiovascular disease and cancer. Jia Zhong of Columbia University who led the study, reported that there are still gaps in their knowledge base and have yet to understand the full impact of air pollution on overall health. Results showed that adults who were administered dosages of B-vitamins saw a reduction in damaging effects of the air particles PM 2.5. While the study is still in early stages and they are unable to offer recommendations for the B-vitamin supplements, Zhong recommended that individuals ensure they have a healthy, balanced that is rich in B-vitamins. She stressed that future studies were imperative in developing preventative measures to combat air pollution.

Read more at Xinhua

China urges tighter supervision of antibiotic production and use

The top health authority in China have urged all health institutions to increase monitoring of clinical use of antibiotics drugs with drug-resistance strainsA spokesperson for the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) has said that all health departments and medical institutions should issue tighter supervision and conduct inspections of antibiotic use at a minimum of twice a year. They have encouraged this in the efforts to improve the early warning mechanism. Currently, drug resistant infections have been a major issue in global public health with deaths numbering 700,000 people and 230,000 newborns worldwide. In August 2016, the NHFPC issued a national plan to heighten supervision of antibiotic production, sale and use.

Read more at Xinhua

Trials for magnet therapy hope to slow Alzheimer’s Disease

Australian scientists are trialling magnet therapy in hopes to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease. Researchers from the Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre (MAPrc)  have been trialling Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) or Theta-burst stimulation, and have discovered that they can stimulate nerve cells on surface of the brain. The non invasive treatment will be used to target the build up of plaque proteins that inhibit ability of neurons to communicate with each other.”How well our brain cells talk to each other is what underlies how we think, our information processing and our memory. We’re targeting the regions that are affected in this way and trying to increase their ability to talk to each other by strengthening their connections.” Participants in the six week trials include those with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s Disease aged 50-95 years old.

Read more at Xinhua