Category Archives: Studies

Neurotransmitter might improve cancer treatment: study

December 9th, 2011 by

Doses of a neurotransmitter might offer a way to boost the effectiveness of anticancer drugs and radiation therapy, according to a new study led by researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

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Ecstasy drug produces lasting toxicity in the brain

December 7th, 2011 by

Recreational use of Ecstasy – the illegal “rave” drug that produces feelings of euphoria and emotional warmth – is associated with chronic changes in the human brain, Vanderbilt University investigators have discovered.

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New study fundamentally alters our understanding of lung growth

December 6th, 2011 by

A ground-breaking international study into the ways lungs grow and develop has challenged existing medical understanding that our lungs are completely formed by the age of three.

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Blood clot risk halved for patients checking their own Warfarin dose

December 1st, 2011 by

University of Oxford – Patients who monitor their own treatment with warfarin or other blood-thinning drugs reduce their risk of developing blood clots by half, an Oxford University study has found.

Taking charge of their own treatment can empower patients, improve the quality of treatment and be more convenient. The researchers say their findings confirm that self-monitoring of warfarin is safe for suitable patients of all ages.

The results are published in the medical journal The Lancet.

‘Warfarin is used for a number of conditions to prevent the blood clotting,’ explains Dr Carl Heneghan, who led the work at the Department of Primary Health Care at Oxford University. ‘These conditions include atrial fibrillation, treatment of deep-vein thrombosis and patients with artificial heart valves.’

In the UK, it is thought that around 1 million people are eligible for blood-thinning drugs, or anticoagulants, with demand set to rise further due to the ageing population.

But the use of anticoagulants needs regular monitoring to make sure the dose remains within the right range.

Epidural vs Subdural Hematomas

December 1st, 2011 by

Epidural and Subdural Hematomas: Dangerous Blood Clots on the Brain
Gary E Cordingley, MD, PhD

In many cases of head injury, dangerous blood clots (hematomas) form
on the brain’s surface. They must be identified and removed in order to
minimize brain damage.

To understand epidural and subdural hematomas — two serious consequences of head injuries — we need to know the basic anatomy of the brain and its coverings. Imagine an evil carpenter with an electric drill intent on drilling into a person’s brain. What layers would the drill encounter in its passage from the outside of the head to its destination?

The drill would pass through the skin and then the skull (braincase) before penetrating a series of three membranes comprising the meninges. In sequence, the three membranes are the dura mater (Latin for “tough mother”), the arachnoid mater (cobwebby mother) and the pia mater (tender mother) and then finally the brain itself.

Epidural and subdural hematomas are alike in that they are masses of clotted blood (hematomas) caused by head trauma and deposited outside the brain but inside the skull. However, they differ in their locations relative to the dura mater. An epidural hematoma lies outside (on top of) the dura mater, while a subdural hematoma lies inside (beneath) the dura mater and outside the arachnoid mater. Thus, the locations of the two kinds of hematoma are encoded in their names — “epi” is Greek for “upon” and “sub” is Latin for “below.” A third kind of hematoma caused by head injuries is traumatic intracerebral hemorrhage. These occur within the brain tissue itself and are no less serious than those outside the brain, but are not the subject of the current essay.

Epidural and subdural hematomas are produced by ruptures of different blood vessels. Epidural hematomas are usually caused by bleeding from an artery that nourishes the meninges known as the middle meningeal artery, while subdural hematomas are usually due to bleeding from veins that drain blood away from the surface of the brain.

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