- According to US scientists, Zika virus which can cause devastating brain damage in babies could offer up a surprising new treatment for adult brain cancer.
- Researchers have discovered the part of the brain that produces the “voices” that some schizophrenia sufferers are tormented by and managed to partially silence them by using magnetic pulse therapy.
- According to three UK charities, many employers do not understand the terrible effects of migraines and could do more to support staff with the condition. With one in seven people affected, their research suggests more help and awareness from bosses is needed.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 9th of September 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News
According to US scientists, a harmful virus that can cause devastating brain damage in babies could offer up a surprising new treatment for adult brain cancer. Until now, Zika has been seen only as a global health threat – not a remedy. But latest research shows the virus can selectively infect and kill hard-to-treat cancerous cells in adult brains. Zika injections shrank aggressive tumours in fully grown mice, yet left other brain cells unscathed. Human trials are still a way off, but experts believe Zika virus could potentially be injected into the brain at the same time as surgery to remove life-threatening tumours, the Journal of Experimental Medicine reports. The Zika treatment appears to work on human cell samples in the lab. The virus would need to be delivered directly to where it is needed in the brain. There are many different types of brain cancer. They are fast growing and diffuse, meaning they spread through the brain, making it difficult to see where the tumour ends and the healthy tissue begins. Radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery may not be enough to remove these invasive cancers. But the latest research, in living mice and donated human brain tissue samples, shows Zika therapy can kill cells that tend to be resistant to current treatments.
UK scientists at the University of Cambridge are beginning similar trials with Zika.
Doctor Catherine Pickworth, from Cancer Research UK, said: “This promising research shows that a modified version of the Zika virus can attack brain tumour cells in the lab.’’ Zika is a virus people can catch if they are bitten by an infected mosquito. Most people will have few or no symptoms, but the disease can pose a serious threat to babies in the womb. Although Zika is no longer “an international medical emergency” but the World Health Organization says it is closely monitoring the infection.
Researchers have discovered the part of the brain that produces the “voices” that some schizophrenia sufferers are tormented by and managed to partially silence them by using magnetic pulse therapy. Schizophrenia is a serious long-term mental health problem, with symptoms that can include delusions and hearing voices, which is called Auditory Verbal Hallucination. About seventy percent of people with schizophrenia suffer from these auditory hallucinations, which can be friendly or threatening, at some point. For the first time, scientists have now pinpointed the part of the brain that produces the voices and, in another first, carried out controlled clinical trials on the use of magnetic pulses applied to the brain through the skull.
A treatment called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS has been effective with other psychiatric conditions and suggested as a possible therapy for auditory hallucinations but, until now, there has been a lack of clinical trials. More than one-third of patients treated with magnetic pulses in a clinical trial experienced a “significant” reduction in auditory hallucinations, researchers from the French team said. The lead researcher was Professor Sonia Dollfus, of the University of Caen.
In the trial, twenty six patients with schizophrenia had magnetic impulses applied to the brain through the skull and thirty three others received a placebo. The first group of patients received a series of magnetic pulses during two sessions per day for two days on the part of the temporal lobe of the brain associated with language.Two weeks later, nearly thirty five percent of patients treated reported a “significant” decrease in hearing voices. That was defined as drop of more than thirty per cent on the scale used to measure auditory hallucinations. Only nine point one per cent of patients in the placebo group reported the same decrease.
According to three UK charities, many employers do not understand the terrible effects of migraines and could do more to support staff with the condition. With one in seven people affected, their research suggests more help and awareness from bosses is needed.
Fiona McKenzie, aged thirty three, was told by one of her former employers she would be fired if her absences due to migraines didn’t improve. She says migraine pain is “like someone hitting my brain with an ice pick”. In a survey of more than two thousand UK adults by the Migraine Trust, Migraine Action and the National Migraine Centre, sixty four percent said they thought employers were not properly informed about the nature of migraines or how they affected employees. One in five believed health professionals were not fully aware of the impact of migraine on their patients either.
Nine million people in the UK are thought to have them, with women more likely to be affected than men. The most common migraine symptoms are throbbing headache, sensitivity to light or noise, nausea, seeing flashing lights or coloured spots, dizziness and double vision. Although migraine can be classed as a disability if it is severe enough to affect work, charities says the legislation is unclear and many employers are reluctant to act. Every year, an estimated twenty five million days are lost because of migraines in the workplace and in schools in the UK.
Simon Evans, from Migraine Action, said most people with migraines “kill themselves to get into work”.He said employers should consider how lighting and computer screens could affect staff with the condition, and offer a sick room that is dark and quiet where people could go to recover. They should also send home those affected, if necessary.