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Health & longevity news archive: March-April 2007

bionic eye
Research opens way for bionic eye
(Apr 25, 2007)

US scientists have opened the way for the development of a "bionic eye". They used electrodes to stimulate an area of the brain that processes visual information, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reported. The results in monkeys increase the chance that people with conditions such as glaucoma will one day have their vision restored with a prosthetic eye.

Read more. Source: BBC

Blood pressure 'is in the brain'
(Apr 16, 2007)

The cause of high blood pressure may lie within the brain, rather than with problems relating to the heart, kidneys or blood vessels, research suggests. Scientists at Bristol University say the findings could lead to new ways of treating the condition, which affects about one in five Britons. The scientists isolated a protein, JAM-1, which appeared to trap white blood cells, obstructing blood flow. This can cause inflammation and result in poor oxygen supply to the brain.

Read more. Source: BBC

stem cell
Heart valve grown from stem cells
(Apr 2, 2007)

British scientists have grown part of a human heart from stem cells for the first time. Heart surgeon Sir Magdi Yacoub, who led the team, said doctors could be using artificially-grown heart components in transplants within three years. His researchers at Harefield hospital managed to grow tissue that works in the same way as human heart valves. Sir Magdi told the Guardian newspaper a whole heart could be produced from stem cells within 10 years.

Read more. Source: BBC

Blueberries fight bowel cancer
(Mar 26, 2007)

A compound in blueberries may be good for preventing bowel cancer, US scientists believe. The key ingredient, pterostilbene, is a natural antioxidant and mops up highly reactive molecules called free radicals that can trigger cancer growth. Similar antioxidants have already been identified in grapes and red wine, the American Chemical Society heard.

Read more. Source: BBC

man under stress
Stressful event kills brain cells
(Mar 15, 2007)

A single episode of severe stress can be enough to kill off new nerve cells in the brain, research suggests. Rosalind Franklin University researchers believe their finding may give new insights into the development of depression. Working on rats, they found that cells were lost in the hippocampus, an area of the brain which processes learning, memory and emotion.

Read more. Source: BBC

Kuna woman
Cocoa nutrient for 'lethal ills'
(Mar 11, 2007)

A nutrient in cocoa called epicatechin appears to lower the risk of four common killer diseases, work suggests. Among the Kuna people of Panama, who can drink up to 40 cups of cocoa per week, rates of stroke, heart disease, cancer and diabetes are less than 10%. The Kuna also appear to live longer than other Panama inhabitants and do not get dementia, a US scientist reports in Chemistry and Industry.

Read more. Source: BBC

woman sleeping
Gene determines sleep demands
(Mar 10, 2007)

How well a person can get by with just a few hours sleep is down to their genes, scientists say. A team from the University of Surrey said the "clock gene" called Period 3 is responsible. The same gene dictates if someone is an "owl" or a "lark". Most people need around eight hours sleep a night – but famous exceptions such as former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher have survived on much less.

Read more. Source: BBC


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