Is UK shale gas extraction posing a risk to public health?

April 18, 2014Personal view: Public health England’s draft report on shale gas extractionMore needs to be done to investigate the risks to human health that extracting shale gas poses, suggests a personal view published on today.Dr. Seth Shonkoff, Executive Director for Physicians Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy, and his colleagues say that operations to produce natural gas from formations such as shale sometimes occur “close to human populations”, but efforts to understand the potential impacts have fallen short, focusing on regulations rather than on health outcomes.He says that risk reduction technologies should certainly be deployed, but that reviewing the public health implications of shale gas development “requires more than merely gesturing to technological improvements”. “Best practices”, he adds, “should not be mistaken for actual practices”. In other words, Dr. Shonkoff asserts that scientific data should drive decisions on health and safety, instead of gestures to understudied assertions of best practice deployment.The recent Public Health England draft report on the extraction of shale gas does “recognize that many uncertainties surround the public health implications”, however, there are “problems with its conclusions”.Dr. Shonkoff adds that many “public health impacts remain undetermined and more environmental and public health studies are needed”. He says “more attention should have been paid to drilling in areas that are densely populated” especially following results from studies, which suggest that health risks have direct relation to the “geographical proximity of residences to active shale gas extraction” with further evidence suggesting adverse birth outcomes.Dr. Shonkoff concludes that there is a need for the “assessment of the public health infrastructure and the ability of healthcare professionals to respond to the risks presented by the development of the shale gas industry” and that rigorous research is needed to assess the risks to public health. BMJ-British Medical Journal Related Public Health Current Events and Public Health News ArticlesDistracted driving among teens threatens public health and safetyMotor vehicle crashes rank as the leading cause of teen deaths and in 2008, 16% of all distraction-related fatal automobile crashes involved drivers under 20 years of age. Researcher looks at public perceptions around newborn testingWhile 94 per cent of Canadians surveyed said they would participate in public health programs that screen newborns for a specific number of genetic conditions, only 80 per cent said they would be willing to participate in screening that would sequence their newborns’ genomes.New MRSA superbug emerges in BrazilAn international research team led by Cesar A. Arias, M.D., Ph.D., at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) has identified a new superbug that caused a bloodstream infection in a Brazilian patient.Multitarget TB drug could treat other diseases, evade resistanceA drug under clinical trials to treat tuberculosis could be the basis for a class of broad-spectrum drugs that act against various bacteria, fungal infections and parasites, yet evade resistance, according to a study by University of Illinois chemists and collaborators.Study recalculates cost of combination vaccinesOne of the most popular vaccine brands for children may not be the most cost-effective choice.Chronic inflammation may be linked to aggressive prostate cancerThe presence of chronic inflammation in benign prostate tissue was associated with high-grade, or aggressive, prostate cancer, and this association was found even in those with low prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, according to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.New research shows people are thinking about their health early in the weekA new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine analyzing weekly patterns in health-related Google searches reveals a recurring pattern that could be leveraged to improve public health strategies. Scientists unlock secrets of protein produced by disease-causing fungusA team that includes scientists from the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Johns Hopkins University and St. Mary’s University reported the structure of a protein that helps a common fungus to infect the body.Prolonged and heavy bleeding during menopause is commonWomen going through menopause most likely think of it as the time for an end to predictable monthly periods.Study examines vitamin D deficiency and cognition relationshipVitamin D deficiency and cognitive impairment are common in older adults, but there isn’t a lot of conclusive research into whether there’s a relationship between the two. More Public Health Current Events and Public Health News Articles

Public Health: What It Is and How It Worksby Bernard J. Turnock (Author)Using a straightforward systems approach, Public Health: What It Is and How It Works explores the inner workings of the complex, modern U.S. public health system—what it is, what it does, how it works, and why it is important. The book covers the origins and development of the modern pubic health system; the relationship of public health to the overall health system; how the system is organized at the federal, state, and local levels; its core functions and how well these are currently being addressed; evidence-based practice and an approach to program planning and evaluation for public health interventions; public health activities such as epidemiological investigation, biomedical research, environmental assessment, policy development, and more. Updated and New Information in the…

Introduction To Public Healthby Mary-Jane Schneider (Author)Introduction to Public Health, Fourth Edition offers a thorough, accessible overview of the expanding field of public health for students new to its concepts and actors. Written in engaging, nontechnical language, this best-selling text explains in clear terms the multi-disciplinary strategies and methods used for measuring, assessing, and promoting public health. Packed with illustrative real-world examples, this updated edition provides students with informative discussions of the current technical issues and practical obstacles facing public health practitioners and policymakers alike. Through coverage of new approaches to research and data collection, current best practices in the field, and the social and ethical challenges of devising public policy, Introduction to Public Health,…

101 Careers in Public Healthby Beth Seltzer MD MPH (Author)”First rate advice.” –APHA What sort of training do you need to work in public health? What kinds of jobs are out there right now? And what exactly is an epidemiologist, anyway? Answering these questions and more, this career guide provides an overview of the numerous options in public health and the many different roads to get there. Whether you’re a student who wants to launch a career or a professional looking to change careers, this guide offers an easy introduction to the field. It details the training, salary ranges, and degree requirements for each job, and alerts readers to alternative pathways beyond the traditional MPH….

Introduction To Public Healthby Mary-Jane Schneider (Author)As public health concerns and controversies have continued to evolve, the new Third Edition of this best-selling text offers new and updated discussions of current topics, recent events, and the most up-to-date data to illustrate the key issues that affect the public’s health. Key Features: The author uses a reader-friendly, narrative style making the text engaging and accessible to a broad range of students. The text illustrates the multidisciplinary nature of public health and the complex ethical and political issues central to it. It includes discussions of epidemiological investigation, biomedical research, environmental assessment, analyses of individual and group behavior, massive data collection efforts, and policy developments. New to this Edition: New discussions about U.S….

Public Health 101: Healthy People – Healthy Populations (Essential Public Health)by Richard Riegelman (Author)Part of Jones & Bartlett’s unique, Essential Public Health series. From clean drinking water, to seat belts, to immunizations, the impact of public health on every individual is undeniable. For undergraduates, an understanding of the foundations of public health is an essential step toward becoming an educated citizen. Public Health 101: Healthy People––Healthy Populations provides a big-picture, population perspective on the determinants of health and disease and the tools available to protect and promote health. It examines the full range of options for intervention including use of the healthcare system, the public health system, and society-wide systems such as laws and taxation. Through case studies, vignettes, and extensive examples, readers will come away with a clear…

Public Health Nursing: Population-Centered Health Care in the Community, 8eby Marcia Stanhope RN DSN FAAN (Author), Jeanette Lancaster RN PhD FAAN (Author)Now in its 8th edition, the “gold standard” in community health nursing provides comprehensive and up-to-date content to keep you at the forefront of the ever-changing community health climate and prepare you for an effective nursing career. In addition to a solid foundation in concepts and interventions for individuals, families, and communities, you will find real-life applications of the public nurse’s role, Healthy People 2020 initiatives, new chapters on forensics and genomics, plus timely coverage of disaster management and important client populations such as pregnant teens, the homeless, immigrants, and more. Evidence-Based Practice boxes illustrate how the latest research findings apply to public/community health nursing. Separate chapters on disease outbreak investigation and…

Essentials Of Public Health (Essential Public Health)by Bernard J. Turnock (Author)Published in partnership with the American Public Health Association, this cornerstone text in the Jones & Bartlett Learning Essential Public Health series is an excellent introduction to the field of public health. Ideal for senior-level undergraduates or graduate students in public health, health science, health professions, or nursing, Essentials of Public Health focuses on the inner-workings of health departments and the role of public health professionals. This comprehensive text combines the best elements of Dr. Turnock’s other two books: Public Health: What It Is and How It Works and Public Health: Career Choices That Make a Difference. The first set of chapters introduces defines and describes the public health system, provide concepts and tools for measuring health in…

Public Health: Career Choices That Make a Differenceby Bernard J. Turnock (Author)Public Health: Career Choices That Make a Difference is the first book about public health workers, both current and future, and what they do. This book offers basic information for those considering a career in public health. This innovative title emphasizes key aspects of the work of different public health occupations and titles in order to provide an understanding of the tasks of public health jobs and careers.

A History of Public Healthby George Rosen (Author)This paperback edition of George Rosen’s classic account of the history of public health supplements the original text with Elizabeth Fee’s introduction and Edward T. Morman’s biographical essay and bibliography.

Public Health: What It Is And How It Worksby Bernard J. Turnock (Author)Using a straightforward systems approach, Public Health: What It Is and How It Works explores the inner workings of the complex, modern U.S. public health system—what it is, what it does, how it works, and why it is important. It covers the origins and development of the modern public health system; the relationship of public health to the overall health system; how the system is organized at the federal, state, and local levels; its core functions and how well these are currently being addressed; evidence-based practice and an approach to program planning and evaluation for public health interventions; public health activities such as epidemiological investigation, biomedical research, environmental assessment, policy development, and more. Transition to the New Edition! Click here to…

Stem cell agency educating patients on how they can make a difference

New brochure that describes our Stem Cell bank initiative [download pdf]Geoff Lomax is CIRM’s Senior Officer for Medical & Ethical Standards One thing patients and their families can do to advance the role of Stem Cells in curing disease is to donate a small skin or blood sample if asked. How can this help? Here is an anecdote from recently published research.
Perhaps you heard the recent news about a breakthrough that provides new hope for treating ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Researchers at Harvard University used patients’ skin cells to create Stem Cells that can form any cell in the body. The researchers then transformed the Stem Cells into motor neurons. ALS is a disease where motor neuron death leads to the death of the patient. The research team observed that ALS patients’ motor neurons behaved differently that those of people without the disease. Specifically, the neurons were over stimulated and “firing” too rapidly. Based on this observation, the team conducted a clinical trial in a “dish.” They tested an anti-epilepsy medication on the ALS patient neurons to reduce their rate of firing, and in fact, the treatment slowed the cells down (read the Harvard Gazette report on the research). Experiments such as these (1) help explain the disease process and (2) allow testing of treatments in the laboratory.

CIRM believes success stories such as these will become more and more common as scientists use Stem Cells to study different diseases. In 2013, CIRM announced the creation of a Stem Cell bank designed to store and distribute cells representing different diseases including autism, blindness, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and liver disease. The bank is specifically intended to make Stem Cells available to researchers so they can better explain these diseases and test new treatments just like the Harvard team did.

One critical aspect of the project involves obtaining skin or blood samples from thousands of patient donors so they can be transformed into Stem Cells. The process of obtaining permissions from patients is called “informed consent.” Informed consent always includes information about the purpose of the research and disclosure of any risks to the participant. In the context of the CIRM Stem Cell bank, donors receive detailed information about how the cells might be used and distributed. Spelling all this out is rather lengthy with some consent forms running as long as 22 pages.

While providing comprehensive consent to donors in writing is necessary, we also believe it is helpful to give them easy to understand information about the essential and unique aspects of the research. To address this need, CIRM worked with experts in health communication to develop a brochure describing the Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Initiative.

CIRM has distributed the brochure to researchers who are collecting cells from donors. The researchers have been pleased to receive this supplemental information to support the consent process. Again, the major purpose of the brochure is to highlight the unique and essential aspect of the Stem Cell bank. Thus, it emphasizes:

What are Stem Cells and why are they unique
How the donation process works
How donated cells will be used and
Where and to whom the Stem Cells will be distributed

These points are explained in plain English with many illustrations. We hope this level of information serves to reinforce the overall informed consent process. We hope patients come away from this experience feeling they have made a substantial contribution to science and medicine.Geoff Lomax

Casual marijuana use linked to brain abnormalities in students

April 16, 2014First study to show dramatic effects of small time use; more ‘joints’ equal more damageCHICAGO — Young adults who used marijuana only recreationally showed significant abnormalities in two key brain regions that are important in emotion and motivation, scientists report. The study was a collaboration between Northwestern Medicine® and Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School.This is the first study to show casual use of marijuana is related to major brain changes. It showed the degree of brain abnormalities in these regions is directly related to the number of joints a person smoked per week. The more joints a person smoked, the more abnormal the shape, volume and density of the brain regions.”This study raises a strong challenge to the idea that casual marijuana use isn’t associated with bad consequences,” said corresponding and co-senior study author Hans Breiter, M.D. He is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a psychiatrist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.”Some of these people only used marijuana to get high once or twice a week,” Breiter said. “People think a little recreational use shouldn’t cause a problem, if someone is doing OK with work or school. Our data directly says this is not the case.”The study will be published April 16 in the Journal of Neuroscience.Scientists examined the nucleus accumbens and the amygdala — key regions for emotion and motivation, and associated with addiction — in the brains of casual marijuana users and non-users. Researchers analyzed three measures: volume, shape and density of grey matter (i.e., where most cells are located in brain tissue) to obtain a comprehensive view of how each region was affected.Both these regions in recreational pot users were abnormally altered for at least two of these structural measures. The degree of those alterations was directly related to how much marijuana the subjects used.Of particular note, the nucleus acccumbens was abnormally large, and its alteration in size, shape and density was directly related to how many joints an individual smoked.”One unique strength of this study is that we looked at the nucleus accumbens in three different ways to get a detailed and consistent picture of the problem,” said lead author Jodi Gilman, a researcher in the Massachusetts General Center for Addiction Medicine and an instructor in psychology at Harvard Medical School. “It allows a more nuanced picture of the results.”Examining the three different measures also was important because no single measure is the gold standard. Some abnormalities may be more detectable using one type of neuroimaging analysis method than another. Breiter said the three measures provide a multidimensional view when integrated together for evaluating the effects of marijuana on the brain.”These are core, fundamental structures of the brain,” said co-senior study author Anne Blood, director of the Mood and Motor Control Laboratory at Massachusetts General and assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “They form the basis for how you assess positive and negative features about things in the environment and make decisions about them.”Through different methods of neuroimaging, scientists examined the brains of young adults, ages 18 to 25, from Boston-area colleges; 20 who smoked marijuana and 20 who didn’t. Each group had nine males and 11 females. The users underwent a psychiatric interview to confirm they were not dependent on marijuana. They did not meet criteria for abuse of any other illegal drugs during their lifetime.The changes in brain structures indicate the marijuana users’ brains are adapting to low-level exposure to marijuana, the scientists said.The study results fit with animal studies that show when rats are given tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) their brains rewire and form many new connections. THC is the mind-altering ingredient found in marijuana.”It may be that we’re seeing a type of drug learning in the brain,” Gilman said. “We think when people are in the process of becoming addicted, their brains form these new connections.”In animals, these new connections indicate the brain is adapting to the unnatural level of reward and stimulation from marijuana. These connections make other natural rewards less satisfying.”Drugs of abuse can cause more dopamine release than natural rewards like food, sex and social interaction,” Gilman said. “In those you also get a burst of dopamine but not as much as in many drugs of abuse. That is why drugs take on so much salience, and everything else loses its importance.”The brain changes suggest that structural changes to the brain are an important early result of casual drug use, Breiter said. “Further work, including longitudinal studies, is needed to determine if these findings can be linked to animal studies showing marijuana can be a gateway drug for stronger substances,” he noted.Because the study was retrospective, researchers did not know the THC content of the marijuana, which can range from 5 to 9 percent or even higher in the currently available drug. The THC content is much higher today than the marijuana during the 1960s and 1970s, which was often about 1 to 3 percent, Gilman said.Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the U.S. with an estimated 15.2 million users, the study reports, based on the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2008. The drug’s use is increasing among adolescents and young adults, partially due to society’s changing beliefs about cannabis use and its legal status.A recent Northwestern study showed chronic use of marijuana was linked to brain abnormalities. “With the findings of these two papers,” Breiter said, “I’ve developed a severe worry about whether we should be allowing anybody under age 30 to use pot unless they have a terminal illness and need it for pain.”###The research was supported by grants 14118, 026002, 35 026104, 027804 and 034093 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and grant 052368 from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, all of the National Institutes of Health. The Office of National Drug Control Policy and Northwestern Medicine’s Warren Wright Adolescent Center also supported the research.Northwestern University Related Marijuana Use Current Events and Marijuana Use News ArticlesBrain changes are associated with casual marijuana use in young adultsThe size and shape of two brain regions involved in emotion and motivation may differ in young adults who smoke marijuana at least once a week.Future generations could inherit drug and alcohol useParents who use alcohol, marijuana, and drugs have higher frequencies of children who pick up their habits, according to a study from Sam Houston State University.US cocaine use cut by half, while marijuana consumption jumps, study findsThe use of cocaine dropped sharply across the United States from 2006 to 2010, while the amount of marijuana consumed increased significantly during the same period, according to a new report.Discovery sheds new light on marijuana’s anxiety relief effectsAn international group led by Vanderbilt University researchers has found cannabinoid receptors, through which marijuana exerts its effects, in a key emotional hub in the brain involved in regulating anxiety and the flight-or-fight response.Herbal cannabis not recommended for rheumatology patientsPatients with rheumatic conditions are in need of symptom relief and some are turning to herbal cannabis as a treatment option. However, the effectiveness and safety of medical marijuana to treat symptoms of rheumatic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or fibromyalgia is not supported by medical evidence.Prevalence of high school seniors’ marijuana use is expected to increase with legalizationNational support for marijuana (“cannabis”) legalization is increasing in the United States (US). Recreational use was recently legalized in the states of Colorado and Washington; other states across the country are expected to follow suit. New analysis finds hempseed oil packed with health-promoting compoundsLong stigmatized because of its “high”-inducing cousins, hemp – derived from low-hallucinogenic varieties of cannabis – is making a comeback, not just as a source of fiber for textiles, but also as a crop packed with oils that have potential health benefits. U of Tennessee research finds link between alcohol use and domestic violenceAlcohol use is more likely than marijuana use to lead to violence between partners, according to studies done at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.More illness from synthetic marijuana likelyThe U.S. should prepare for more outbreaks of illness and possible deaths from designer drugs including synthetic marijuana, according to the new research from the University of Colorado School of Medicine.Parental exposure to THC Linked to drug addiction, compulsive behavior in unexposed offspringExposing adolescent rats to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) -the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana-can lead to molecular and behavioral alterations in the next generation of offspring, even though progeny were not directly exposed to the drug, researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have found.More Marijuana Use Current Events and Marijuana Use News Articles

The Cannabis Grow Bible: The Definitive Guide to Growing Marijuana for Recreational and Medical Useby Greg Green (Author)The Cannabis Grow Bible fully explains both the art and science behind growing high-grade pot. Author and aficionado Greg Green blends a thorough understanding of marijuana botany with practical advice on coping with the day-to-day demands of maintaining a high-yield garden, and offers proven methods that maximize both yield and potency. Fully updated and illustrated in full color, and with techniques for both indoor and outdoor cultivation, this comprehensive guide covers everything growers need to know, including how to select the best plant genetics, soil and hydroponic grows, dealing with pests and predators, advanced systems and breeding, and protecting the crop from nosy neighbors. It also explains the “Screen of Green” technique that gives a higher yield using fewer plants….

Marijuana Medical Handbook: Practical Guide to Therapeutic Uses of Marijuanaby Dale Gieringer Ph.D. (Author), Ed Rosenthal (Author), Gregory T. Carter M.D. (Adapter)An estimated 40 million Americans have medical symptoms that marijuana can relieve. Marijuana Medical Handbook is a one-stop resource that gives candid, objective advice on using marijuana for healing, understanding its effects on the body, safe administration, targeting illnesses, side effects, and the various delivery methods from edibles and tinctures to smokeless vaporizer pipes. The book also details supply issues, cultivation solutions (in a chapter by renowned expert Ed Rosenthal), and legal consequences. This thoroughly revised edition incorporates the most up-to-date information on the ever-changing politics of marijuana, the plant’s usage, and medical research on it.

7 Prayers and Biblical Reasons to Consider About Recreational Marijuana Useby JLD Publishing, Inc.I came across a long standing rationale from many pro-marijuana users saying how ‘God gave us every seed bearing plant and he said it was good.’ Which also contested that if high-fructose corn syrup, caffeine, alcohol and other addictive foods are legal, then why shouldn’t we be able to have the freedom to choose if we use marijuana.
In an attempt to try to build a case for God’s freedom to allow us to do whatever we want, I’m taking on a potentially contentious issue in the arena of Christianity and living today. Writing this in a reflection, prayer focus with room for your interpretation and application is difficult without providing some God centered application questions. I personally tried marijuana at parties in high school over a period of about 1 year. …

Marijuana Cooking: Good Medicine Made Easyby Bliss Cameron (Author), Veronica Green (Author)In Marijuana Cooking: Good Medicine Made Easy, authors Bliss Cameron and Veronica Green guide would-be chefs through the process of making their own tasty and healthy home-remedies using marijuana. Step-by-step instructions and photographs carefully document the cooking techniques described, making this the most user-friendly marijuana cookbook available.Increasing awareness of the therapeutic properties of marijuana–to ease tension in the body, relieve pain and pressure, promote appetite, and induce overall relaxation–has generated widespread interest in its use as a medicine. Without doubt, the best and safest medicinal application of marijuana is ingestion.What makes this book truly unique is the careful attention paid to the individual needs of those who rely on the…

Marijuana Horticulture: The Indoor/Outdoor Medical Grower’s Bibleby Jorge Cervantes (Author)With 512 full color pages and 1120 full color photographs and illustrations, Marijuana Horticulture: The Indoor/Outdoor Medical Grower’s Bible is the most complete cultivation book available. The Fifth Edition of the former Indoor Marijuana Horticulture: The Indoor Bible was originally published in 1983, when it immediately became a best seller. More than 500,000 copies of the Indoor Bible are in print in Dutch, English, French, German and Spanish. New greenhouse and outdoor growing chapters make this a book both indoor and outdoor growers will keep under thumb. The other 15 chapters (17 total) are all updated with the most current information, completely rewritten and significantly expanded. For example, Dr. John McPartland contributed an all new medical section – The…

Aunt Sandy’s Medical Marijuana Cookbook: Comfort Food for Mind and Bodyby Sandy Moriarty (Author), Richard Lee (Preface), Denis Peron (Preface)Medical edibles have come a long way since the infamous pot brownies that were consumed with crunchy, awful-tasting leaves and stems. Aunt Sandy’s Medical Marijuana Cookbook is a collection of recipes by cooking instructor, Sandy Moriarty, who is a professor at Oaksterdam University in Oakland Ca. Oaksterdam University has pioneered training for jobs in the booming marijuana industry.The cookbook is retro in design and content, reminiscent of classic Betty Crocker-type comfort foods. Some of Sandy’s favorites include mac and cheese, spicy buffalo wings, and scalloped potatoes.The book visually demonstrates and reveals the process for creating Sandy’s 10x Cannabutter. It includes 40 easy-to-prepare, delicious dishes from her signature dessert, Blue Sky Lemon Bars, to…

Muscle Spasm, Pain & Marijuana Therapy: Testimony from Federal and State Court Proceedings on Marijuana’s Medical Use (Marijuana, Medicine & the Law Series)by R. C. Randall (Editor)Testimony and affidavits of patients and doctors from hearings before the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and state courts. Personalized accounts of medical marijuana use provide an excellent source of information on this controversial topic.

Super-Charged: How Outlaws, Hippies, and Scientists Reinvented Marijuanaby Jim Rendon (Author)Marijuana has been illegal in the United States since 1937. Yet, thanks in large part to a loosely connected underground world of breeders, dealers, and smokers, there are currently more than 2000 varieties available. And since 1996, when California first passed legislation allowing for legalized medical marijuana, the underground has slowly surfaced, pushing what was once a decentralized, lawless world closer to the corporate world of business, agriculture, and pharmaceuticals. Super-Charged gets up close and personal with the people who have transformed this controversial drug. With personalities and backgrounds as diverse as the plant itself, the growers include a former Silicon Valley software entrepreneur; third-generation Humboldt, California, growers; a publicly traded…

Uses of Marijuanaby Solomon H. Snyder (Author)

Marijuana – What’s a Parent to Believe? (Informed Parent)by MD Timmen L. Cermak (Author)As a parent, if you’re not sure what to believe about marijuana, how will you handle the subject with your child? Maybe you smoked pot as a teen, or you use marijuana today. Maybe you never tried pot, or you don’t even know what it looks like. Maybe you’re simply confused over conflicting claims about the drug whether it’s addictive, how harmful it is, why some think it should be legalized. The best way for you to help your teen make healthy choices is to be informed. This much-needed book about America’s most widely used illegal drug helps parents sort through the latest facts, the known risks, and the divergent perspectives on pot. The basic message? For teens, marijuana use equals risk. Your basic message? That’s up to you.

Light activation may make nerves grown from stem cells better at restoring paralyzed muscle

Using Stem Cells as a repair kit often requires two steps, maturing the Stem Cells into the right tissue, and then getting that new tissue to behave the way it is needed. Specifically, getting motor nerves to restore function to paralyzed muscle requires them to signal the muscle to contract when needed. So, a team in London has inserted a gene into the Stem Cells that allows the resulting nerves to be activated by light pulses. Working at University College London and Kings College London the researchers found a way to fine-tune muscle control by adjusting the intensity, duration and frequency of light pulses delivered to the new nerves grown in mice through fiber optic tubes. They worked with mice that had a leg injury, but a press release from the universities made clear the real game changer from this technology will come in rescuing the muscle of the diaphragm that requires specific pacing to enable breathing. Linda Greensmith of University College said:

Within the next five years or so, we hope to undertake the steps that are necessary to take this ground-breaking approach into human trials, potentially to develop treatments for patients with motor neuron disease, many of whom eventually lose the ability to breathe, as their diaphragm muscles gradually become paralyzed. We eventually hope to use our method to create a sort of optical pacemaker for the diaphragm to keep these patients breathing.

The researchers published their work in the journal Science last Friday and the website HEALTHCANAL ran the university press release. One disease where well-timed support of the diaphragm could be a lifesaver is ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. You can read about CIRM projects moving toward the clinic on our amyotrophic lateral sclerosis fact sheet.Don Gibbons

Reef fish arrived in two waves

April 10, 2014The world’s reefs are hotbeds of biological diversity, including over 4,500 species of fish. A new study shows that the ancestors of these fish colonized reefs in two distinct waves, before and after the mass extinction event about 66 million years ago that wiped out the dinosaurs.Reef fish represent one of the largest and most diverse assemblages of vertebrates, according to Samantha Price, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Evolution and Ecology at UC Davis. Price is first author on a paper describing the work, published April 2 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.The fossil record of reef fish is patchy, so Price and colleagues traced their ancestry by developing a comprehensive family tree of the major group of modern ocean fish, the acanthomorphs or “spiny-finned fish,” and calculating the times when different groups migrated into or out of reef habitats.The first wave of colonization occurred between 70 and 90 million years ago, before the end of the Cretaceous period, they found. At that time, most the world’s reefs were built not by coral but by mollusks called rudists.Rudists disappeared in the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous, 66 million years ago, and corals became the world’s great reef builders. While the first-wave reef fish hung on to leave descendants in the present, a second wave of colonization took place as the world recovered from the extinction event.The early wave of colonization began with lots of different-looking fish and over time there was an eventual filling of ecological niches accompanied by a decrease in colonization, Price said.By about 50 million years ago, the fundamentals of modern coral reefs, including the ancestors of most major families, such as clownfishes and parrotfishes, were in place, Price said.”If you were able to dive on a coral reef 50 million years ago, the fishes would seem familiar, you would recognize it as similar to a modern reef,” she said.Co-authors on the paper are Professor Peter Wainwright, UC Davis; Lars Schmitz, Claremont McKenna College; Christopher Oufiero, Towson University; Ron Eytan, Alex Dornburg and Thomas Near, Yale University; Wm. Leo Smith, University of Kansas; and Matt Friedman, University of Oxford. The work was funded by the National Science Foundation and the Natural Environment Research Council (U.K.).About UC DavisFor more than 100 years, UC Davis has been one place where people are bettering humanity and our natural world while seeking solutions to some of our most pressing challenges. Located near the state capital, UC Davis has more than 33,000 students, over 2,500 faculty and more than 21,000 staff, an annual research budget of over $750 million, a comprehensive health system and 13 specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and more than 100 undergraduate majors in four colleges – Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Biological Sciences, Engineering, and Letters and Science. It also houses six professional schools – Education, Law, Management, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.DavisRelated Reef Fish Current Events and Reef Fish News ArticlesFish species unique to Hawaii dominate deep coral reefs in Northwestern Hawaiian IslandsDeep coral reefs in Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument (PMNM) may contain the highest percentage of fish species found nowhere else on Earth, according to a study by NOAA scientists published in the Bulletin of Marine Science.Bucking Conventional Wisdom, Researchers Find Black Sea Bass Tougher Than ExpectedIn a new study, fisheries researchers from North Carolina State University found that black sea bass (Centropristis striata) can usually survive the physical trauma that results from being hauled up from deep water then released at the surface. Researchers gain new insights into ancient Pacific settlers’ dietResearchers from New Zealand’s University of Otago studying 3000-year-old skeletons from the oldest known cemetery in the Pacific Islands are casting new light on the diet and lives of the enigmatic Lapita people, the likely ancestors of Polynesians.Scripps Leads First Global Snapshot of Key Coral Reef FishesIn the first global assessment of its kind, a science team led by researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego has produced a landmark report on the impact of fishing on a group of fish known to protect the health of coral reefs.New study suggests coral reefs may be able to adapt to moderate climate changeCoral reefs may be able to adapt to moderate climate warming, improving their chance of surviving through the end of this century, if there are large reductions in carbon dioxide emissions.Seafood Menus Reflect Long-term Ocean Changes The colorful restaurant menus that thousands of tourists bring home as souvenirs from Hawaii hold more than happy memories of island vacations; they contain valuable data that are helping a trio of researchers track long-term changes to important fisheries in the Aloha State.Boat noise stops fish finding homeBoat noise disrupts orientation behaviour in larval coral reef fish, according to new research from the Universities of Bristol, Exeter and Liège. Reef fish are normally attracted by reef sound but the study, conducted in French Polynesia, found that fish are more likely to swim away from recordings of reefs when boat noise is added.Abundance and distribution of Hawaiian coral species predicted by modelResearchers from the University of Hawaii – Manoa (UHM) School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) developed species distribution models of the six dominant Hawaiian coral species around the main Hawaiian Islands including two species currently under consideration as threatened or endangered.Insights into deadly coral bleaching could help preserve reefsCoral reefs are stressed the world over and could be in mortal danger because of climate change. But why do some corals die and others not, even when exposed to the same environmental conditions?Indonesian fishing communities find balance between biodiversity and developmentFishing communities living on the islands of Indonesia’s Karimunjawa National Park have found an important balance, improving their social well-being while reducing their reliance on marine biodiversity, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society and the University of Western Australia. More Reef Fish Current Events and Reef Fish News Articles

Reef Fish Identification: Florida, Caribbean, Bahamasby Paul Humann (Author), Ned DeLoach (Author)825 classic marine life photographs of 600 common and rare reef fish species. The easy-to-use, quick reference format makes it a snap to identify the myriad of fishes in Florida, Caribbean and Bahamas waters. A must for every serious diver. 6 inch x 9 inch, cloth stitched flexibinding that allows the book to lie flat.

Reef Fish Identification – Tropical Pacificby Gerald Allen (Author), Roger Steene (Author), Paul Humann (Author), Ned DeLoach (Author)Finally, a comprehensive fish identification guide covering the fish-rich reefs of the Pacific. It contains 2,500 underwater photographs of 2,000 species from four of the best marine life authors/photographers in the business. Their collaboration makes it possible for underwater naturalists to identify fishes from Thailand to Tahiti with a single, compact, easy-to-use, no-nonsense reference. 108 fish families are presented in one of 20 Identification groups based on a family’s related visual or behavioural characteristics, such as Large Oval / Colourful or Sand/Burrow Dwellers. Likewise, every effort has been made to group similar appearing species together.

The Reef Set: Reef Fish, Reef Creature and Reef Coral (3 Volumes)by Paul Humann (Author), Ned Deloach (Author)3 books in slipcase. Copies of: Reef Fish Identification: Florida, Caribbean & Bahamas ; (3rd Edition); Reef Creature Identification: Florida, Caribbean & Bahamas (3rd Edition) and Reef Coral Identification: Florida, Caribbean & Bahamas (3rd Edition) packaged in a beautifully printed shelf case. As of November 1, 2013 it now includes new editions of both Reef Creature and Reef Coral.

Reef Fish Identification – Travel Edition – Caribbean Bahamas South Floridaby Paul Humann (Author), Ned DeLoach (Author)Reef Fish Identification Travel Edition Caribbean Bahamas South Florida is a portable, lightweight field guide rugged enough for gear bag and boat. The comprehensive, 132-page Travel Edition details 281 fish species with 560 brilliant identification photographs in a 6 x 9 format. At ¾ of a pound it is readily portable, yet packed with plenty of information for even the most advanced fishwatchers. Durable waterproof and tear-proof PVC covers combined with a sturdy plastic comb binding allow a quick search for your favorite fishes.

Coral Reef Fishes: Indo-Pacific and Caribbeanby Ewald Lieske (Author), Robert Myers (Author)Expanded and updated to include an additional 44 species, this is a handy guide to those fishes that are likely to be observed by anybody visiting or diving on the coral reefs of the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, and the Pacific to a depth of sixty meters. Accessible to amateur marine life enthusiasts, this book is the first comprehensive guide of its kind. It enables the reader to quickly identify 2,118 species of fish and includes over 2,500 color illustrations depicting the major forms of each species–male, female, immature, or geographical varieties. The text proceeds according to region, depicting each species and its varieties, and offering information on its geographic range and where on the coral reef itself the fish may be found. Important identification characteristics are…

A PocketExpert Guide to Reef Aquarium Fishes: 500+ Essential-to-Know Species (Microcosm/T.F.H. Professional)by Scott W. Michael (Author)Brilliant photography by the world’s best underwater photographers and leading international aquarists highlights detailed profiles of more than 500 species of reef aquarium fishes in this new title in the Microcosm/T.F.H. Professional Series. Organized by family for easy reference, each profile includes all essential care, feeding, and husbandry advice. The species profiles include all available reef aquarium choices, with scores of seldom seen, rare, and recently discovered species. Written by the world’s most-read, most-respected expert on marine fishes for the home aquarium, PocketExpert(tm) Guide to Reef Aquarium Fishes is a must-read for any fish enthusiast.

Reef Fish Identification: Florida, Caribbean, Bahamasby Paul Humann (Author), Ned Deloach (Editor)Book by Humann, Paul

Reef Fishes Volume 1by Scott W. Michael (Author)Covering 68 families and thousands of species, Reef Fishes is an authoritative guide designed to be a lifelong reference for saltwater aquarists, divers, and amateur reef naturalists. This volume covers coral reef habitats and fish families, with detailed information on major groups.

Reef Creature Identification Tropical Pacificby Paul Humann (Author), Ned DeLoach (Author)The long-awaited, 500-page reference detailing 1,600 animals with 2,000 photographs and descriptive text is not only the most comprehensive visual field guide to marine invertebrate life inhabiting the waters from Thailand to Tahiti, but also a pictorial tour de force skillfully bridging science and the aesthetic. For the past five years the two authors/photographers have delved deep into uncharted waters, not only visually documenting numerous species for the first time, but also incorporating the most recent taxonomic research of more than 40 scientific specialists. The text focuses on mobile species, highlighting crustaceans, mollusks, worms and echinoderms, however the pages include an overview of attached marine animals, and also explore facets of marine invertebrate behavior. The…

Reef Life: A Guide to Tropical Marine Lifeby Brandon Cole (Author), Scott Michael (Author)A practical, up-to-date, comprehensive guidebook for divers, naturalists and students, featuring more than 1000 color photographs of 800 species of ocean life. From tide pools to coral reefs and the open ocean beyond lies a world abounding with an assortment of colorful fish and fascinating creatures. The lure of the life that inhabits the ocean’s reefs and open water is no secret to scuba enthusiasts and snorkelers who enjoy the opportunity to gaze upon this wonderful world through their dive masks. Reef Life identifies the most-likely encountered underwater life in the tropical marine environment, featuring more than 800 beautiful color photographs that provide the keys to this magnificent world. A gallery of more than 400 species offers readers an extensive identification…

Military Marches in Step with Stem Cell Agency By Helping Bring ALS Research at Cedars-Sinai to Clinical Trials

Motor neurons control our muscle movements. In ALS, these cells die.
In 2012, CIRM’s Board awarded over $17 million to a Cedars-Sinai Medical Center team to help bring a Stem Cell based therapy for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) to clinical trials in people. Yesterday, the Department of Defense (DoD) got into the act by announcing a $2.5 million grant to the same Cedars-Sinai team to help fund very similar ALS-related research. The military spends several million annually on ALS research because the disease affects an unusually high percentage of veterans for reasons that are not understood.ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a nightmare of a disease, which is usually fatal within 4-5 years of initial diagnosis. The disease occurs when the cells in the brain or spinal cord that send signals to the muscle to move, called motor neurons, die off. Here’s how Dr. Clive Svendsen, the leader of the Cedars-Sinai team describes the impact of ALS:

The disease’s effects typically start in one limb, beginning with weakness and leading to paralysis, before moving to other limbs and to muscles throughout the body. The most common cause of death is respiratory failure when the diaphragm muscles become incapacitated.
The CIRM-funded Disease Team led by Svendsen has found that a protein called GDNF can protect the motor neurons that aren’t already damaged by ALS. But it’s proved extremely difficult to deliver the GDNF to the spinal cord since it doesn’t readily cross from the blood into the spinal cord area. So Svendsen’s team has engineered neural Stem Cells to produce GDNF. When injected into people, the idea goes, these neurons will home in to the sick motor neurons and deliver the GDNF exactly where it’s needed. The Department of Defense-funded project announced yesterday also relies on the protective effects of GDNF. As reported in a press release, which was picked up by Phys.Org, the team will deliver the protein into the muscle tissue of the leg and diaphragm where ALS often attacks. Former Svendsen lab member and now University of Wisconsin, Madison professor Dr. Msatoshi Suzuki describes the advantages of delivery to the muscle:
It seems clear that GDNF has potent neuroprotective effects on motor neuron function when the protein is delivered at the level of the muscle, regardless of the delivery method. We think GDNF will be able to help maintain these connections in patients and thereby keep the motor neuron network functional.

The DoD funding will help make possible the necessary animal studies to get this therapeutic strategy to clinical trials. Because it’s always difficult to predict the success of clinical trials, Svendsen’s team is smart to pursue this two-pronged approach to treating ALS. In the concluding paragraph of the press release, CIRM’s Disease Team award is mentioned so it’s great to see that our funding has helped attract additional funding from other organizations. Hopefully this will translate into a speedier end to those suffering from this dreadful disease.
For more information about CIRM-funded ALS research, visit our ALS fact sheet. You can also watch a video of a recent CIRM-hosted Google Hangout about Stem Cell therapies for ALS featuring Dr. Svendsen. Todd Dubnicoff

TGen study identifies growth factor receptors that may prompt the spread of lung cancer

April 10, 2014Preventing lung cancers from metastasizing to other parts of the body could provide benefit for patients against the leading cause of cancer death. Two cell surface receptors might be responsible for the most common form of lung cancer spreading to other parts of the body, according to a study led by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).The hepatocyte growth factor receptor (HGFR/MET) and fibroblast growth factor-inducible 14 (FN14) are proteins associated with the potential spread of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to the TGen study published online April 8 by the scientific journal Clinical & Experimental Metastasis.NSCLC represents more than 85 percent of all lung cancers, which this year will kill an estimated 159,000 Americans, making it by far the leading cause of cancer-related death. It has a 5-year survival rate less than 10 percent.The invasive and metastatic nature of NSCLC contributes to this high mortality rate, and so finding the cause of this potential to spread is key to helping patients survive.Therapies targeting MET and FN14 are in clinical development, which could lead to treatments that could help halt or slow the spread of this lung cancer.”As the metastatic phenotype is a major cause of lung cancer mortality, understanding and potentially targeting these pathways may reduce the high mortality rate in advanced lung cancer,” said Dr. Timothy Whitsett, an Assistant Professor in TGen’s Cancer and Cell Biology Division, and the study’s lead author.Significantly, the TGen study found that MET and FN14 were elevated in metastatic tumors compared to primary lung tumors and suppression of MET activation or FN14 expression reduced tumor cell invasion. “The elevation of these receptors in metastatic disease opens the possibility for therapeutic intervention,” said Dr. Nhan Tran, an Associate Professor in TGen’s Cancer and Cell Biology Division, and the study’s senior author.Dr. Glen Weiss, Co-Unit Head of TGen’s Lung Cancer Research Laboratory and Director of Clinical Research at Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Western Regional Medical Center, said, “This study identifies some targets that already have drugs in clinical trials, and helps put them into context for what might be a rational drug development approach for the treatment of this deadly cancer.”Other institutes that assisted with this study are: the University of Arizona; St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center; and Humboldt Medical Specialists.The study, FN14 expression correlates with MET in NSCLC and promotes MET-driven cell invasion, was funded by the National Institutes of Health, and grants from the St. Joseph’s Foundation and the American Lung Association.# # #About TGenTranslational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix, Arizona-based non-profit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life changing results. TGen is focused on helping patients with cancer, neurological disorders and diabetes, through cutting edge translational research (the process of rapidly moving research towards patient benefit). TGen physicians and scientists work to unravel the genetic components of both common and rare complex diseases in adults and children. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities literally worldwide, TGen makes a substantial contribution to help our patients through efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. For more information, visit: Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen)Related Lung Cancer Current Events and Lung Cancer News ArticlesIncreased risk of developing lung cancer after radiotherapy for breast cancerWomen who have radiotherapy for breast cancer have a small but significantly increased risk of subsequently developing a primary lung tumour, and now research has shown that this risk increases with the amount of radiation absorbed by the tissue.Blood test could provide rapid, accurate method of detecting solid cancersA blood sample could one day be enough to diagnose many types of solid cancers, or to monitor the amount of cancer in a patient’s body and responses to treatment.Team identifies novel biomarker for head and neck cancer, non-small cell lung cancerA team led by a scientist from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has identified a new biomarker linked to better outcomes of patients with head and neck cancers and non-small cell lung cancer. Gene may predict if further cancer treatments are neededUT Southwestern Medical Center researchers are developing a new predictive tool that could help patients with breast cancer and certain lung cancers decide whether follow-up treatments are likely to help. Call for more awareness of sexual dysfunction in lung cancer patientsMany lung cancer patients suffer difficulties with sexual expression and intimacy, yet for too long the topic has been ignored by doctors and researchers, experts have said at the 4th European Lung Cancer Conference (ELCC).Preoperative PET Cuts Unnecessary Lung Surgeries in HalfNew quantitative data suggests that 30 percent of the surgeries performed for non-small cell lung cancer patients in a community-wide clinical study were deemed unnecessary.Immunotherapy data heralds new era of lung cancer treatmentA new era of lung cancer therapy is close to dawning, using drugs that can prevent tumour cells from evading the immune system, experts have said at the 4th European Lung Cancer Congress.Inherited mutated gene raises lung cancer risk for women, those who never smokedPeople who have an inherited mutation of a certain gene have a high chance of getting lung cancer – higher, even, than heavy smokers with or without the inherited mutation, according to new findings by cancer researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Potential lung cancer vaccine shows renewed promiseResearchers at UC Davis have found that the investigational cancer vaccine tecemotide, when administered with the chemotherapeutic cisplatin, boosted immune response and reduced the number of tumors in mice with lung cancer. Moffitt Cancer Center Researchers Discover New Mechanism Allowing Tumor Cells to Escape Immune SurveillanceThe immune system plays a pivotal role in targeting cancer cells for destruction. However, tumor cells are smart and have developed ways to avoid immune detection.More Lung Cancer Current Events and Lung Cancer News Articles

Lung Cancer: A Guide to Diagnosis and Treatmentby Walter J. Scott MD (Author)What is my prognosis? What are my treatment options? Which therapies would be the most effective for my stage of lung cancer? These and other frequently asked questions are addressed in this crucial reference designed to help patients educate themselves and obtain the best possible treatments. The completely revised second edition has been updated to include a discussion of the movement towards customized chemotherapy; treatment options for early-stage lung cancer including minimally invasive surgery; and the most promising treatments, among them multimodality therapy—a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Dr. Scott also surveys tests for early detection of lung cancer, talks about the importance of cancer staging, examines alternative treatments, and offers advice on…

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: Across the Continuum of Careby Asante Communications, LLCThis Clinical Resource Tool is structured around consensus statements developed by the Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) Working Group, a panel of oncologists with particular expertise in the multidimensional care of patients with advanced lung cancer. Using a modified Delphi process, the NSCLC Working Group has consolidated published evidence and expert clinical experience on critical issues pertaining to the comprehensive assessment of patients with advanced NSCLC, formulation of appropriate treatment regimens, implementation of maintenance therapy, and therapeutic alliances among pathologists, oncologists, and pulmonologists. The consensus statements and accompanying resources are intended as a practical companion to current guidelines, helping clinicians individualize best-practice…

Johns Hopkins Patients’ Guide To Lung Cancerby Justin F. Klamerus (Author), Julie R. Brahmer (Author), David S Ettinger (Author)Johns Hopkins Patients’ Guide to Lung Cancer is a concise, easy-to-follow “how to” guide that puts you on the path to wellness by explaining lung cancer treatment from start to finish. It guides you through the overwhelming maze of treatment decisions, simplifies the complicated schedule that lies ahead, and performs the task of putting together your plan of care in layman’s terms. Empower yourself with accurate, understandable information that will give you the ability to confidently participate in the decision making about your care and treatment.

You Can Beat Lung Cancer: Using Alternative/Integrative Interventionsby Carl O. Helvie (Author)Can you overcome lung cancer without harsh chemicals, surgery and debilitation? Are alternative interventions effective? Why do conventional physicians not use them? Can you prevent cancer recurrences and live into old age without chronic diseases and prescribed medications? This book answers these and other questions.This is one of the most comprehensive books available on alternative treatments for lung cancer. It explains the treatments used successfully by a health professional/cancer survivor of 36 years and by some of the leading medical and health practitioners currently in the field. G. Edward Griffin, Author of World Without Cancer, The Politics of Cancer Therapy, and other books and films. Recipient of the Telly Award for Excellence in Television Production. President of…

Lung Cancer: Myths, Facts, Choices–and Hopeby Claudia I. Henschke (Author), Peggy McCarthy (Author), Sarah Wernick (Contributor)An authoritative book with new lifesaving strategies for those at risk and those already diagnosed. Lung cancer kills more women than breast cancer, more men than prostate cancer. This authoritative book presents new lifesaving strategies for those already diagnosed and those at risk (including ex-smokers).Lung cancer is deadly because it’s usually found late. Dr. Claudia Henschke’s groundbreaking research on early diagnosis, published in Lancet, made headlines worldwide. Now, for the first time, she offers specific recommendations based on her latest findings: who needs to be checked and how to get tested.People with lung cancer often are told, “Nothing can be done.” Not so! Dr. Henschke and coauthor Peggy McCarthy, a leading patient advocate, provide…

Living with Lung Cancer–My Journeyby Thomas E. Cappiello (Author)On October 5 2007, Thomas Cappiello was diagnosed with inoperable Stage IIIA locally-advanced adenocarcinoma (Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer), an incurable disease. This book is the inspirational story of how he beat the odds and survived and thrived in the face of this devastating illness. This book is for patients and caregivers who want to know what life is like after getting a cancer diagnosis. The story is about overcoming the emotional turmoil and devastation of a cancer diagnosis, dealing with the disease, and making choices. Most of all, it’s about living a full life each day. Cancer patients suddenly realize that time is a precious gift from God and there is no time to waste. By telling his story Cappiello seeks to inspire cancer patients to fight hard and live, with whatever time…

How to Survive Lung Cancer – A Practical 12-Step Planby Michael Lloyd (Author)Written by a lung cancer survivor who understands what it takes to beat the odds, this book offers unparalleled hope and direction for anyone facing this illness. It is filled with specific exercises and techniques to promote healing and reverse side effects by taking a pro-active approach in helping to restore your mind, body and spirit to an optimum state of health. Endorsed by a Lung Cancer Specialist and Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School, this book combines what the doctors tell you with critical information they don’t tell you. Visit for chapter summaries.

Principles and Practice of Lung Cancer: The Official Reference Text of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC)by Harvey I. Pass MD (Editor), David P. Carbone MD PhD (Editor), David H. Johnson MD (Editor), John D. Minna MD (Editor), Giorgio V. Scagliotti MD (Editor), Andrew T. Turrisi III MD (Editor)Thoroughly revised and updated, this Fourth Edition is the most comprehensive, current reference on lung cancer, with contributions from the world’s foremost surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, pulmonologists, and basic scientists. Coverage includes complete information on combined modality treatments for small cell and non-small cell lung cancer and on complications of treatment and management of metastases. Emphasis is also given to early detection, screening, prevention, and new imaging techniques. This edition has expanded thoracic oncology chapters including thymus, mesothelioma, and mediastinal tumors, more detailed discussion of targeted agents, and state-of-the-art information on newer techniques in radiotherapy. Other highlights include more international…

Living And Thriving With Lung Cancer (Living And Thriving With Cancer)by Barbara Gitlitz MD (Author), Daniel Oh MD (Contributor), Amol Rao MD (Contributor), Stephen V. Liu MD (Contributor), 0. Kenneth Macdonald MD (Contributor), Wayne T. Lamoreaux MD (Contributor), Robert K. Fairbanks MD (Contributor), Jason A. Call MD (Contributor), Heather Gabbert MS RD (Contributor), Tess Taft MSW (Contributor), Kathy Beach RN (Contributor), Christopher M. Lee MD (Contributor)This patient handbook has been written by clinical experts to help you in your battle with lung cancer. This is a book designed for patients with cancer, or for family members or friends of loved ones with cancer. As cancer therapies evolve, it is important for each patient and their family members to be aware of the resources available to them. If you, a close family member, or close friend has been diagnosed with lung cancer, you probably have 1000 questions floating around in your head; like how this illness will be treated, how you will feel, how this will affect your family and your work, and what should you do next. Any cancer diagnosis has an impact on many aspects of life. This is a fact for everyone. The goal of this book is to provide you with knowledge about your diagnosis and…

Lung Cancer: Diagnosis and Managementby CME Resource/NetCEThe purpose of this course is to address the various aspects of diagnosis, treatment, disease management and appropriate patient care for healthcare professionals caring for patients with lung cancer. In addition, members of the public may use this course to enhance their personal knowledge of the subject matter presented.Upon completion of this course, you should be able to:1. Discuss the risk factors and incidence of lung cancer.2. Explain the pathophysiology of lung cancer.3. Identify the signs and symptoms of lung cancer.4. Discuss the various tests used to diagnose lung cancer.5. Describe the lung cancer classification and staging system.6. Discuss the treatment options available to the patient with lung cancer, including potential…

Building more nerves of the brain and spinal cord, faster and more efficiently

Motor neuron progenitors made from embryonic Stem Cells
The best scientists are, in many ways, like great chefs. It’s not the ingredients that they use that make a great meal, but how they blend them together. In the same way scientists often have the same basic elements but it’s the way they work with those that can make all the difference.Stem Cell researchers at the University of Illinois have found a way to generate human motor neurons – the kinds of nerves found in the brain and spinal cord – that is a lot faster and a lot more efficient than previous methods. And all it took was adding one ingredient to the mix a few days earlier than had previously been done.Motor neurons are important because they carry the signals that help directly or indirectly control muscles and muscle movement. If those neurons are damaged – say in a car crash – then the signals are no longer received and the muscles no longer work.In the past researchers were able to create neurons from Stem Cells by a carefully calculated process of adding in specific proteins at specific times. It worked but it took time, 40 to 50 days, and even then only around 20 to 30 percent of the cells actually became neurons. But this new study, published in the journal Nature Communications, cuts that time in half and increases the efficiency to around 70 percent.The researchers were able to achieve this by adding in a critical element – two signaling molecules – 3 days sooner than they had in the past. The basic recipe for the cells was the same, they just added in two ingredients earlier.In a news release picked up by Science Daily, lead researcher Prof. Fei Wang says this new method will have important benefits:
“To have a rapid, efficient way to generate motor neurons will undoubtedly be crucial to studying — and potentially also treating — spinal cord injuries and diseases like ALS.”
The more immediate benefits of this faster, more efficient method will be to enable researchers to develop motor neurons that can then be used to rapidly screen drugs to see which ones may be of use for treating patients.At the Stem Cell agency we are funding research into a number of diseases where this advance in generating motor neurons might be useful, this includes work in spinal cord injuries and Lou Gehrig’s disease, more formally known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALSkevin mccormack

Scientists find potential drug targets in deadly pediatric brain tumors

April 07, 2014Researchers studying a rare, always fatal brain tumor in children have found several molecular alterations that drive the cancer, according to a new study from scientists at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center and McGill University. The findings identify potential new targets for drug treatments.The new research could help physicians choose targeted agents with a better chance of combating pediatric high-grade astrocytomas, which are extremely difficult to treat with radiation and surgery. The tumors have resisted treatment attempts with an estimated 250 chemotherapy drugs and combinations over the past 30 years, according to the investigators. Their study was published April 6 in Nature Genetics.The scientists sequenced tumor biopsy samples and identified a number of mutations or errors in the DNA code. They also found epigenetic changes, which alter how genes are expressed. At least two of the new mutations might be susceptible to blocking by existing drugs, said the investigators. Other molecular targets that they uncovered currently lack specific drugs to attack them but provide new opportunities for future drug development.These results begin to crack open the genetic “black box” of these tumors, which only now are yielding clues to the abnormal molecular changes that drive them.”For the most malignant tumor in pediatrics, we finally are beginning to gain a handle on the development of this disease, which is critical to devising effective therapies,” says Mark Kieran, MD, PhD, a neuro-oncologist and clinical director of the Brain Tumor Center at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s. Kieran and neuropathologist Keith Ligon, MD, PhD, of Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s, are co-senior authors along with two researchers from McGill.The findings are due in part to a project that began more than 10 years ago when clinicians came together to create a collaborative “precision medicine” clinical trial based at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s. This trial was specifically designed to make discoveries that would change the treatment for children with a type of high grade astrocytoma called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), the most aggressive brain tumor in children. DIPGs develop in the brainstem-the seat of crucial, basic body functions that keep people alive-and are therefore impossible to remove safely with surgery.Doctors and patients from more than 20 institutions have now joined this study, which requires taking a biopsy from 100 children, analyzing their tumor tissue using pathology and molecular testing, and planning treatment specifically for each patient based on the results. A goal of the study is to determine whether advanced DNA sequencing and other tools that search for abnormalities and biomarkers can be used to guide potential treatments.”Instead of treating all the patients the same, this trial obtains a biopsy at the time of diagnosis and the treatment is determined by the expression pattern of the tumor,” says Kieran.Findings in the Nature Genetics study include analysis of biopsy samples from the first group of children enrolled in the trial. In all, 40 tumor specimens underwent sequencing; 25 were from patients with DIPG tumors, some of whom were on the trial.Most of the tumors were found to harbor a mutation called K27M in the H3F3A protein that is a basic building block of the “epigenome.” The effects of this mutation are termed epigenetic because they can change the level of gene activity without changing the structure of a gene’s DNA. Mutations in H3F3A have recently been detected in a large percentage of pediatric high-grade astrocytomas, but effective drugs for this mutation have not yet been found.However, the scientists found that H3F3A mutations always occurred with other mutations that could in theory be targeted by existing drugs. One such new mutation, in the gene ACVR1, was found in five of the diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas. Interestingly, notes Ligon, this was the first time this gene had been involved in cancer, but the mutation has been identified before as the cause of a rare disorder, “stone man syndrome,” where the body’s tissues gradually turn to bone.The researchers discovered additional mutations in the FGFR1 and PI3K cell growth signaling pathways. Drugs exist that can block these overactive pathways and are being tested in other cancers. “These alterations in growth factor receptors and in members of the PI3K pathway offer previously unforeseen therapeutic possibilities in a deadly cancer,” the authors commented in their study.The researchers expect to learn more about these and other mutations as the collaborative effort continues to study more samples of the pediatric tumors.###The other co-senior authors are Jacek Majewski, PhD, and Nada Jabado, MD, PhD, of McGill University. Co-first authors are Adam Fontebasso, MD, PhD, and Simon Papillon-Cavanagh of McGill; and Jeremy Schwartzentruber, MSc, of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, England. Additional Dana-Farber faculty collaborating on the project and clinical trial are Liliana Goumnerova, MD of Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s and Azra Ligon, PhD, of Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center.Research funding was provided in part by the National Institutes of Health grant P01CA142536.The Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center brings together two internationally known research and teaching institutions that have provided comprehensive care for pediatric oncology and hematology patients since 1947. The Harvard Medical School affiliates share a clinical staff that delivers inpatient care at Boston Children’s Hospital and outpatient care at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Jimmy Fund Clinic. Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s brings the results of its pioneering research and clinical trials to patients’ bedsides through five clinical centers: the Blood Disorders Center, the Brain Tumor Center, the Hematologic Malignancies Center, the Solid Tumors Center, and the Stem Cell Transplant Center. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Related Pediatric Brain Tumor Current Events and Pediatric Brain Tumor News ArticlesAdult cancer drugs show promise against an aggressive childhood brain tumorThe quest to improve survival of children with a high-risk brain tumor has led St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital investigators to two drugs already used to treat adults with breast, pancreatic, lung and other cancers.High long-term survival of most common pediatric brain tumor, less when radiation was usedThe first comprehensive, large-scale cohort study of the long-term survival of children treated for low-grade gliomas, the most common pediatric brain tumor, finds that almost 90 percent are alive 20 years later and that few die from the tumor as adults.Encouraging outcomes for pediatric brain tumor patients treated with proton therapyWhen used to treat pediatric patients with intracranial malignant tumors, proton therapy may limit the toxicity of radiation therapy while preserving tumor control, according to research presented today at the American Society for Radiation Oncology’s (ASTRO’s) 55th Annual Meeting.Study offers promising new direction for organ regeneration and tissue repairBecause most human tissues do not regenerate spontaneously, advances in tissue repair and organ regeneration could benefit many patients with a wide variety of medical conditions. Genetic mutations that cause common childhood brain tumors identifiedResearchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital have identified several gene mutations responsible for the most common childhood brain tumor, called medulloblastoma, adding evidence to the theory that the diagnosis is a group of genetically distinct cancers with different prognoses. New strategy likely to speed drug development for rare cancersResearchers have identified promising new therapies for ependymoma, a rare tumor with few treatment options. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital investigators led the effort, which used a new, faster drug development system that combines the latest drug screening technology with the first accurate animal model of the tumor.Childhood eye tumor made up of hybrid cells with jumbled developmentA research team led by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital scientists has identified a potential new target for treatment of the childhood eye tumor retinoblastoma. Their work also settles a scientific debate by showing the cancer’s cellular origins are as scrambled as the developmental pathways at work in the tumor.Tumor suppressor protein is a key regulator of immune response and balanceSt. Jude Children’s Research Hospital scientists have identified a key immune system regulator, a protein that serves as a gatekeeper in the white blood cells that produce the “troops” to battle specific infections.Bone marrow transplant survival more than doubles for young high-risk leukemia patientsBone marrow transplant survival more than doubled in recent years for young, high-risk leukemia patients treated at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, with patients who lacked genetically matched donors recording the most significant gains.Telomeres: 2 genes linked to why they stretch in cancer cellsScientists at Johns Hopkins have provided more clues to one of the least understood phenomena in some cancers: why the “ends caps” of cellular DNA, called telomeres, lengthen instead of shorten.More Pediatric Brain Tumor Current Events and Pediatric Brain Tumor News Articles

Atlas of Pediatric Brain Tumorsby Adekunle M. Adesina (Editor), Tarik Tihan (Editor), Christine E. Fuller (Editor), Tina Young Poussaint (Editor)Recent evidence indicates that the physiology and response to various drugs in the pediatric population differs from that of the adult and must be appreciated to be able to fully address the health needs of the pediatric population. Atlas of Pediatric Brain Tumors covers areas ranging from neuroimaging, the use of crush and touch preps during introperative consultation, classic histological features of brain tumors, tumor variants, and a miscellaneous group of challenging tumors. Chapters consist of essential diagnostic information and features highlighting recognized variants and their differential diagnoses. A section on molecular pathology and electron microscopy is also included for each tumor category; along with a list of classic reviews and innovative articles on each of the tumor…

Childhood Brain & Spinal Cord Tumors: A Guide for Families, Friends & Caregiversby Tania Shiminski-Maher (Author), Patsy McGuire Cullen (Author), Maria Sansalone (Author)Childhood Brain & Spinal Cord Tumors, the most complete parent guide available, includes detailed and precise medical information about both benign and malignant brain and spinal cord tumors that strike children and adolescents. In addition, it offers day-to-day practical advice on how to cope with procedures, hospitalization, family and friends, school, social and financial issues, communication, feelings, and, if therapy is not successful, the difficult issues of death and bereavement.Woven among the medical details and the practical advice are the voices of parents and children who have lived with cancer and its treatments. As many parents have already found, advice from “veteran” parents can be a lifeline. Obtaining a basic understanding of topics such as medical …

Living with a Brain Tumor: Dr. Peter Black’s Guide to Taking Control of Your Treatmentby Peter Black (Author)Each year, 100,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with a brain tumor. With his new book, Dr. Peter Black fills a gap in the lay readership, providing an accessible medical resource for adult patients and their families. Dr. Black, who has operated on more than 3,000 patients with brain tumors, is uniquely qualified to discuss both clinical treatment of and research into brain tumors. This invaluable resource tells patients everything they need to know to understand and address their diagnosis, in a four-part structure:• “What is a Brain Tumor?” provides straightforward information about how brain tumors are diagnosed, the different types of tumors and how they develop, and where to go for treatment.• “Coping with Shock” addresses the emotional…

Pediatric CNS Tumors (Pediatric Oncology)by Nalin Gupta (Editor), Anuradha Banerjee (Editor), Daphne Haas-Kogan (Editor)Pediatric CNS Tumors is a detailed review of childhood brain tumors with a particular emphasis on providing treatment algorithms for each tumor type. Controversies and current therapeutic agents under development are also discussed. The second edition includes expanded chapters on embryonal tumors, rare tumor types, and supportive care for patients with brain tumors.

Brain Tumors: An Encyclopedic Approach, Expert Consult – Online and Print, 3eby Andrew H. Kaye MB BS MD FRACS (Author), Edward R. Laws Jr MD FACS (Author)Meet the increasing need for effective brain tumor management with the highly anticipated revision of Brain Tumors by Drs. Andrew H. Kaye and Edward R. Laws. Over the past decade, enormous advances have been made in both the diagnosis and the surgical and radiotherapeutic management of brain tumors. This new edition guides you through the latest developments in the field, including hot topics like malignant gliomas, functional brain mapping, neurogenetics and the molecular biology of brain tumors, and biologic and gene therapy. You’ll also have easy access to the complete contents online, with links to PubMed and a downloadable image library, at from the knowledge and experience of Drs. Andrew H. Kaye and Edward R. Laws, globally recognized experts in the…

Brain Tumors in Children: Principles of Diagnosis and Treatment (International Review of Child Neurology)by Michael E. Cohen (Author), Patricia K. Duffner (Author), Cohen (Author)The revised, updated, and expanded second edition of this book reflects the most recent advances in the diagnosis and treatment of childhood brain tumours. Major sections of the book focus on principles of diagnosis and treatment, specific brain tumours, and complications of therapy. All chapters have been updated to provide current information on topics such as noninvasive imaging; haematopoietic growth factors; new techniques in radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy; radiation-induced neurotoxicity in long-term survivors; and new molecular biologic techniques that will affect treatment in the future. New chapters on neuropathology and biologic response modifiers have also been added. The chapter on neuropathology includes discussions of immunohistochemistry, monoclonals, and other tumour…

Intraoperative Neuromonitoringby Christopher Loftus (Author), Jose Biller (Author), Eli Baron (Author)The essential guide to monitoring neural function during intricate neurosurgery procedures Intraoperative Neuromonitoring takes you step by step through the proper protocols for measuring and mapping neural function, emphasizing the correct application of intraoperative recordings for improved surgical outcomes. You will learn how to utilize the very latest neuromonitoring tools, and familiarize yourself with the full range of topics pertaining to intraoperative monitoring in neurosurgery. The authors also present both common and lesser-known techniques for neural assessment, resulting in a stand-alone reference that helps you master any type of neuromonitoring for virtually every kind of procedure. FEATURES: The most complete, expert-authored intraoperative neuromonitoring resource…

Pediatric CNS Tumors (Pediatric Oncology)by Nalin Gupta (Editor), Anuradha Banerjee (Editor), Daphne Haas-Kogan (Editor)Pediatric CNS Tumors is a detailed review of childhood brain tumors with a particular emphasis on providing treatment algorithms for each tumor type. Controversies and current therapeutic agents under development are also discussed. The second edition includes expanded chapters on embryonal tumors, rare tumor types, and supportive care for patients with brain tumors.

Pediatrics: Brain Tumor/Substance Abuse (Audio-Digest Foundation Pediatrics Continuing Medical Education (CME).)Purpose: Audio-Digest Foundation CME/CE activities are designed to provide its learners – physicians and other healthcare professionals – with continuing education that will help identify clinical problems in their practice settings, provide content to help to solve those problems, and increase their application of knowledge to practice.
Audio-Digest Pediatrics is specifically designed to provide the participant with state-of-the-art information, including, but not limited to, the diagnosis and management of:
Allergy & seasonal concerns
Cardiopulmonary disease
Dermatologic problems
Cancer in children and adolescents
Gastrointestinal problems
Genetic concerns
Hearing impairment
Infectious disease

21st Century Pediatric Cancer Sourcebook: Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors – Neuroectodermal, Medulloblastoma, Glioma, Astrocytoma, Craniopharyngioma, Craniopharyngioma, CNS Tumors, Othersby Progressive ManagementAuthoritative information and practical advice from the nation’s cancer experts about childhood brain and spinal cord tumors, including neuroectodermal tumors, medulloblastomas, gliomas, astrocytomas, craniopharyngiomas, craniopharyngiomas, CNS tumors, and others. Starting with the basics, and advancing to detailed patient-oriented and physician-quality information, this comprehensive compilation gives empowered patients, families, caregivers, nurses, and physicians the information they need to understand the diagnosis and treatment of this disease. In addition to disease-specific information, this ebook includes a glossary and information on the late effects of treatment for childhood cancer and pediatric supportive care. There are many types of childhood brain and spinal cord tumors….

Progress you can see – how CIRM-funded projects are heading to clinical trials

Progress in science can take time, and it can seem like a really long slog when so many people are looking to you for breakthroughs that could save their life or the life of someone they love. But progress is being made in Stem Cell research with a growing number of promising therapies moving out of the lab and into clinical trials in people.For proof of that here is one slide from a presentation that Dr. Ellen Feigal, our Senior Vice President for Research and Development, made at our March Board meeting. It shows how the Disease Teams we are funding are moving rapidly towards clinical trials. In fact of the first 14 Disease Teams we funded, nine have successfully progressed to the point where they are either already enrolling patients for clinical trials or expect to be enrolling patients by the end of this year, and they just began the CIRM part of their projects in 2010.

The upward slope of the graph above shows how each year more and more of the projects we fund are meeting the targets we have set for them with an ultimate goal of reaching a clinical trial.

One of the major milestones in reaching clinical trials is filing the so-called Investigational New Drug (IND) application to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is such an important step that research teams frequently organize “pre-IND” meetings with the FDA to make sure that all their ducks are in a row. Acceptance of the IND is a green light to begin testing the Stem Cell-based therapy in people.As you can see from the chart, the IND meetings, filings, and approvals have steadily increased since we begun our Disease Team programs several years ago.Two trials are already underway, for HIV/AIDS and congestive heart failure (helping patients who have had a heart attack) and other trials are expected to begin this year in:
• Cancer – leukemia and solid tumor cancers (such as breast and ovarian)
• Degenerative eye disease
• Type 1 diabetes
• Sickle Cell disease
• Beta-thalassemia – a serious and potentially deadly blood disorderThis is an impressive rate of success. Of course this is only the first step towards approval by the FDA and there are many challenges facing all of these therapies, but to get this many projects to this point in such a relatively short time is no small achievement.It’s unlikely that all of these will ultimately work out, but we’re confident some will. And we have many more on the way.If you would like to see more of Dr. Feigal’s presentation on the progress we are making, with a lot more detail on what these individual projects are and the impact they could have on California and the U.S., you can find it on our website.kevin mccormack