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New animal models for hepatitis C could pave the way for a vaccine — ScienceDaily

They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In the case of hepatitis C — a disease that affects nearly 71 million people worldwide, causing cirrhosis and liver cancer if left untreated — it might be worth even more.

The reason is that the disease shows no outward signs, and more than 80 percent of sufferers go undiagnosed. So while an effective cure does exist, what’s most needed is a vaccine that can prevent infection in the first place.

Charlie Rice, the Maurice R. and Corinne P. Greenberg Professor in Virology at The Rockefeller University, has been working for decades to develop just that; in fact, his previous research lead to the development of the cure for hepatitis C infection that first became available in 2015. But his research, and the field in general, have been stymied by a lack of animal models that can be used to study the interaction between the disease and the immune system.

Now, Rice and his colleagues have uncovered a method to mimic the disease in rodents. In work published in Science, the team of researchers describes how they discovered a virus that is closely related to hepatitis C, but is able to infect rats and mice. The researchers found that this new animal model recapitulates much of the human disease, a breakthrough that should accelerate hepatitis C vaccine research.

A breakthrough from the streets of New York

Researchers around the world rely heavily on animal models to study human disease. “We need to use animals to watch the disease develop over time and monitor how the immune system responds,” explains Eva Billerbeck, a research associate in the Rice lab and lead author on the new research. “This hasn’t been feasible for the hepatitis C virus, which has made our work very difficult.”

The problem is that hepatitis C is a highly specific virus, infecting only humans and chimpanzees. This means that researchers must rely on blood samples and liver biopsies from infected patients to study the disease. These limited and infrequent samples provide only partial information about how the disease progresses and make it difficult to test new vaccines.

In 2014, however, there was an unexpected breakthrough. While studying the pathogens that infect common rats on the streets of New York City, Ian Lipkin, a professor at Columbia University, discovered a rodent hepacivirus that belongs to the same family of viruses as hepatitis C. Lipkin and his colleague Amit Kapoor quickly shared the virus with the Rice lab, hoping that it would enable them to create a rodent version of the disease.

Mouse models for acute and chronic hepatitis C

Mice are the preferred animal model for much of modern biological research, with a host of genetic tools and techniques that make mechanistic studies possible. Rice and his team, including researchers in Copenhagen, led by Troels K. H. Scheel and Jens Bukh, set out to explore whether the rat virus could also infect mice. They isolated the hepacivirus from rats and exposed standard laboratory mice to the disease. The experiment worked: the mice developed a hepacivirus infection that mimicked many of the features of human hepatitis C.

There was one notable difference, however. “In human patients, hepatitis C virus infection has two outcomes,” Billerbeck explains. “Initially, it is acute, and a small percentage of patients fully recover from infection. However, most people progress to a chronic form of the disease that will continue to affect them unless they are treated.” Rice and his team found that mice with a healthy immune system experience the acute form of the disease and then recover, while immune-compromised animals become chronically infected and remain so even after their immune systems are restored.

The researchers are now using their new animal models to gain insight into how hepatitis C infection progresses, and to understand how the body reacts. “This research will help unravel mechanisms of liver infection, virus clearance, and disease mechanisms,” Rice says, ” which should prove valuable as we work to develop and test hepatitis C vaccines that can help to finally eradicate the disease around the world.”

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The Million Dollar Condom Project

Through the innovations in the scientific community, it is now possible for people to have as much sexual pleasure as they want. Now, people do not have to worry about getting pregnant or contracting HIVs and other sexually transmitted diseases. Some of the birth control options that promote safe sex are pills and condoms.

Condoms are the cheapest and most convenient form of birth control in the market. There is no age requirement to be able to buy one. Now, people can even choose to buy condoms online. But even with these advantages, some people still will not buy a condom, exposing themselves to risks carried out by unprotected sex. With this, the Bill Gates Foundation has launched a contest for the redesign and development of the best condom in the market.

Here are some of the ideas that made it into phase one. They were given a $ 100,000 grant for the research and development. The best idea will grab a staggering amount of $ 1 million.

Aside from the sensation one can get from using a condom, this project also prioritizes ease of use. Developed by a company in South America, the proponents want a condom that can be worn with just a single thug after taking it out of the wrapper.

There are many comments about condoms online and most of them are about how guys do not want to use them because the sensation is reduced. Lakshminarayanan Ragupatin from a company in India would like to address this by developing a thinner and warmer condom. This can be done by incorporating graphene, a new super strong and conductive material, into the product. This will create a more natural sensation due to the thinner walls, which improves the amount of body heat transfer.

The Cambridge Design Partnership from United Kingdom is doing their best to come up with a dynamic, universal fit, and low-cost condom. The unique thing about their product is that while using the condom during intercourse, the multiple polymers in it will tighten around the sex organ. This aims to maximize privilege for both partners.

Among those that made the cut is California Family Health Council's great idea. Their concept is to make a condom that is as thin as possible without losing its durability. They are trying out polyethylene, which will cling over the surface rather than squeeze itself. Sensation is there before heightened.

Which among these ideas do you think will make the cut? Which will make people buy condoms not only for marketing purposes but for the promotion of safe sex? While the search is still on to find the next generation condom, do not be careless and always have a pack stashed in your purse. As the saying goes, prevention is always better than cure.

Source by Alexis Nicolette Cruz

Why Do I Feel Light Headed – The # 1 Reason Why!

Do you often experience dizziness and wonder why do I feel light headed? If so the real reason could surprise you! Find out now the 3 most common reasons for constantly feeling light headed and what you can do about correcting this aggravating and life altering condition.

3 Reasons Why you're light headed!

Low Blood Pressure – Quite often the feeling of light headedness and seeing stars or feeling dizzy is a direct result of a lack of oxygen or blood flow to the brain. Now low blood pressure is often not the actual cause in of itself but just another symptom. You will have to dig deeper to root out the real reason your body is experiencing low blood pressure.

Undiagnosed Allergy – This is a very common situation where a person eats a specific type of food regularly such as wheat or dairy and is in a constant state of reacting at all times. The only real true solution for this scenario is to eliminate the aggravating food itself from the body. A good start is to go on an elimination diet and remove all the common allergens such as dairy, wheat, corn, eggs, soy etc.

Adrenal Fatigue – This is in fact the core problem for an individual who suffers from light headedness. You see when your adrenals are burnt out through a variety of causes such as stress, ongoing allergies and poor sleep / diet habits your adrenals will begin to go into a state of fatigue where it can be very difficult for them to recover from.

The most common symptoms an individual will experience who has adrenal fatigue is exhaustion even when they wake up, low blood pressure, weakness, shortness of breath, increased incidence of allergies and brain fog where concentration is severely impaired.

I would suggest doing some research and getting an accurate diagnosis for what's really causing your symptoms. The ideal method is to use something called EDS testing or electro dermal screening, it's a very popular way of testing for various conditions, specifically allergies, however you will need to check with a naturopath or alternative practitioner as conventional doctors are not familiar with them. Alternatively naturopaths will often use a detailed questionnaire to determine the most likely cause of your current health symptoms.

Source by Ryan Shea

Finding Financial Freedom

In a 2015 economic study, researchers found that eight out of ten American are in astronomical amounts of debt. Today, statistics showed that these numbers have only varied slightly, if at all, as the average American household is over eight-thousand dollars in debt. Financial debt is a cancer that is plaguing every part of our country from college students working to pay of tens of thousands of dollars worth of student loans, to hard-working businessman working a dreary nine-to-five just to pay off the house mortgage and put gas in the cars.

The reason for this ridiculous amount of nation-wide debt is simple: we have no idea how to save and are really good at spending. We come by it honestly – I mean, have you heard how much debt that our government is in currently? Something to the tune of nineteen trillion dollars. Based on that statistic, I would say that it is no wonder Americans are having such heavy financial struggles! Perhaps the worst part about this whole collaborative debt-mess is that the majority of Americans not only expect to accrue debt, but they’ve settled with that reality as fact, chosen to accept it as a part of life, and are making no conscious efforts to avoid it!

The good news, however, is that living with financial debt is not a requirement, nor should it be something to settle with. There are several steps that you can take today to begin paying off your debt and walking in financial freedom. Dave Ramsey, American businessman, author, and motivational speaker who specializes in finance, created something called the “debt snowball” to teach Americans how to get rid of their debt entirely. This method has been proven to increase the user’s internal motivation to get out of debt fully.

On first impression, this concept of the “debt snowball” may sound intimidating – after all, you don’t want your debt to snowball out of control… it’s already out of control! This method, contrary to its intimidating title, is built to keep you motivated as you pay off your debt with one simple trick: you must pay off the smallest debt first and work your way up to the largest. More information about this concept can be found on Dave’s website, but to put it simply, the steps to financial freedom are creating and maintaining a strict personal budget, putting money towards paying off those debts every single month, and starting with the smallest one first.

There is no such thing as a manageable amount of debt. If you are making the choice to settle with a certain amount of debt and live with the consequences, you are choosing to live in financial bondage for the rest of your life. When you make that choice, everything you do is dictated by someone else because, until they get their money, you belong to them. However, when you choose to work hard to pay off the debts that you owe, the joy that you will experience in the end will be so sweet as you put the life of debt behind you and walk in financial freedom!

Source by Eric Dladla

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