Archive for the ‘alzheimer’s disease’ Tag

Stem-Cell Hopes Get A Home At University of California Irvine

$80 million research center readies for cutting-edge work.

UC Irvine ( University of California at Irvine) is soon to open an $80 million stem-cell research center – a four -story, 100,000 square foot building where researchers will investigate using stem cells to help people with spinal cord injury as well as Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration and other illnesses.  The center’s director gives an early tour of the building.

The $80 million stem-cell research center at UC Irvine still has that new-building smell.  The offices and meeting rooms are barren of furniture, and the empty laboratory shelves and benches wait to be filled.

“It does look like an IKEA catalog doesn’t it?” Peter Donovan, a UCI stem-cell researcher who will serve as the center’s drector, said on a tour of the new building this week.

But soon after the formal dedication of the center May 14, researchers will begin moving into the four-story structure — one shaped as much by the politics of stem-cell science as the needs of the scientists themselves.  It is one of several such centers being built around the state and the first to be completed in Southern California.

“This building I think will become the hub of all stem-cell research on the UCI campus and allow us to provide better outreach to the public and the other institutions we collaborate with,” Donovan said.

Scientists have high hopes for the center, which will house about a dozen laboratories, a dozen researchers, and 120 students, postdoctoral researchers and technicians.

The scientists hope to test the recovery and measure effects on patients – including those who have suffered strokes or eye disorders such as macular degeneration — who were treated with stem cells at other facilities.

The center includes an enclosed room for eye patients, so light can be strictly controlled, and a large, open room for patients treated for spinal injuries, stroke, Parkinson’s and other neuromotor diseases.

“You need a lot of space to allow them to walk, to measure their movement, test their recover,” Donovan said.

Scientists at the center will also keep track of a much-anticipated study: Geron Corp.  plans to begin one of the first Food and Drug Administration-approved embryonic stem-cell clinical trials on human spinal-cord patients.

The trial will be based on pioneering work by UC Irvine neurobiologist Hans Keirstead, who will also have an office in the new center.

Stem cells have the capacity to transform into a variety of cell types, potentially regenerating cells damaged by Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s and other illnesses.  They might also one day restore movement to limbs paralyzed by spinal injuries.

Even after President Barack Obama’s well-publicized lifting of Bush-era restrictions on stem-cell research, some restrictions on federal funding are still in effect, Donovan said.

So scientists must rely largely on state money – $27.2 million from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine – and on the donors.  They include Laguna Beach’s Sue and Bill Gross, who provided a $10 million gift that attracted more funding.

Large spaces in the center can be used not only for scientific meetings but for fundraising events.

Source: The Orange County Register
Pat Brennan

Advertisements

Is Artificial Sweetener Poisoning You?

 Aspartame, more commonly known as NutraSweet or Equal, is one of the most toxic substances being consumed today. The artificial sweetener, currently used in over 4,000 products worldwide, entertains a sordid past and has been one of the most tested and debated food additives in the history of the FDA. While the manufacturer maintains that aspartame is not a danger to your health, the scientific studies don’t necessarily agree.

The FDA has approved the product for mass consumption, in spite of overwhelming evidence that aspartame can have neurotoxic, metabolic, allergenic and carcinogenic effects. When you question how such a substance has not been banned, one simply needs to look at the billions of dollars generated by the sale of aspartame each year. In light of the staggering number of dollar signs involved, it’s easy to see that the artificial sweetener industry has reached Big Tobacco status. With so much money at stake, the truth suffers almost as much as the health of the consumers, while the shareholders’ wealth continues to grow exponentially. The Ingredients In 1965, James Schlatter, a chemist for G.D. Searle, was developing an anti-ulcer drug when he accidentally stumbled upon aspartame. Made up of aspartic acid (40%), phenylalanine (50%) and methanol (10%), aspartame is 200 times sweeter than natural sugar.

Aspartic Acid Aspartate is a neurotransmitter in the brain, facilitating information from one neuron to another. Too much aspartate allows an influx of calcium into the brain cells, triggering an excessive amount of free radicals which kill the cells. Aspartate is referred to as an “excitotoxin” because of the nerve cell damage that it causes. Many chronic illnesses have been attributed to long term excitotoxin exposure, including multiple sclerosis, ALS, memory loss, hormonal problems, hearing loss, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, hypoglycemia, dementia, brain lesions and neuroendocrine disorders. In 1971, Dr. John Olney, neuroscientist and one of the world’s foremost experts on excitotoxins, informed G.D. Searle that his research had revealed that aspartic acid caused holes in the brains of mice.

Searle did not inform the FDA of these findings until after aspartame’s approval in 1981. This would prove to be one event in a startling pattern of lies and deception. Phenylalanine Phenylalanine is an amino acid normally found in the brain. Human testing has shown phenylalanine levels in the blood are increased significantly in those who chronically use aspartame. Excessive levels of phenylalanine in the brain can cause the levels of serotonin to decrease, which can lead to depression, schizophrenia and make one more susceptible to seizures. Studies conducted on rats by G.D. Searle found phenylalanine to be safe for humans. However, Louis J. Elsas, II, M.D., Director of Medical Genetics and Professor of Pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine told the U.S. Senate in 1987 that, “Normal humans do not metabolize phenylalanine as efficiently as do lower species such as rodents and thus most of the previous studies on aspartame effects on rodents are irrelevant.” Unfortunately, this fell on deaf ears and failed to garner additional testing.

Methanol By far, the most controversial ingredient in aspartame is methanol (aka wood alcohol). An EPA assessment of methanol states that it is “considered a cumulative poison due to the low rate of excretion once it is absorbed. In the body, methanol is oxidated to formaldehyde and formic acid; both of these metabolites are toxic.” This oxidation occurs when methanol reaches 86 degrees F (30 degrees C). Formaldehyde A product broken down from aspartate is a known carcinogen and causes retinal damage, birth defects and interferes with DNA replications.

The EPA recommends a consumption limit of 7.8 mg/day. A 1 Liter aspartame sweetened beverage contains about 56 mg of methanol, seven times the EPA limit. The most common maladies related to methanol poisoning are vision problems including misty vision, progressive contraction of visual fields, blurring of vision, obscuration of vision, retinal damage and blindness.

Source: http://www.naturalnews.com