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Although affecting less than one million people in the United States, junctional epidermolysis bullosa (JEB) is a lethal genetic condition that causes severe blistering and erosions on the skin by means of injury or from friction by scratching. Those who survive endure chronic wounds that can often lead to skin cancer, and sometimes even death.

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A new trial funded by Diabetes UK has found that dramatic changes in the diets of people suffering from type 2 diabetes can actually reverse their symptoms, even for patients who had been diagnosed with the disease up to six years previously.

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Today, there are many projects that investigate new and emerging treatments that address a critical factor in cancer progression: the tumor microenvironment. This is a complex process, in which cancer cells adjust the conditions within, and also possibly in the immediate vicinity of, the tumor they have formed to their own ‘liking’. Tumors develop their own internal environments for a number of reasons, which include resistance to aspects of the patient’s immune system which could be capable of destroying or damaging them otherwise.

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It is accepted by many that a higher bodyweight (measured by body-mass index or BMI) increases the risk of disease and death. However, recent research trends have suggested that this relationship is not as simple as once thought. This may be related to observational associations between increasing BMI and mortality, which may lead to conclusions that a slightly higher BMI is actually protective against death. However, other researchers assert that this is not a causal relationship, mainly because it does not account for other factors such as lifestyle choices and illnesses at their onset.

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Conventional DNA sequencing is getting more powerful and time-effective. However, it is still based on amplification, which involves using a DNA polymerase such as Taq to produce numerous copies of the sequence to be analysed. The problem with amplification is that it can increase the risk of false-positive results in terms of pertinent mutations.

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The testing and analysis procedures involved in modern-day medical diagnostics is slowly moving away from what many may see as the archetypal ‘lab-based’ setting, thanks to advanced biotechnology and technology. Medical science is slowly becoming less dependent on using fiddly glass equipment and complicated protocols, and instead turning to state-of-the-art sample collectors, sensors and corresponding electronic machines that analyse the biological data they collect.

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If you were asked to define vital signs, you might volunteer such well-known metrics as pulse; heart-rate; lung capacity; blood pressure and possibly others such as blood oxygen levels. However, some scientists now assert that the speed at which an individual walks is also a compelling indicator of health and maybe even lifespan. These researchers have concluded that walking speed, technically known as gait speed, is linked to the years of life left to a population of older people who have been studied for survival parameters in a number of studies.

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A new study suggests that IBM’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) Watson may well be a very useful tool for identifying possible therapeutic options for cancer patients.

The study was led by the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and focused on the identification of possible treatment options based on the genetics of the patient’s tumor.

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New research funded by Arthritis Research UK suggests that ensuring sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis are getting enough vitamin D may help alleviate their symptoms, or even prevent the onset of rheumatoid arthritis altogether.

Rheumatoid arthritis affects over two million Americans, and is an autoimmune disorder that results in inflammation in joints but can also affect sufferer’s skin, lungs, heart, blood, eyes and nerves.

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Two-dimensional (2D) ultrasound is a straightforward and relatively cheap form of medical imaging. In skilled and experienced hands, it can be a powerful tool for visualising organs and what may be wrong with them. However, it is often regulated to use in emergency medical situations in hospital settings. Its other main use is to generate foetal imaging for obstetrics and related practices.

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Many people find that they have an adverse reaction to eating wheat, and may be advised to avoid high-gluten foods in the future. That is the conventional wisdom, developed as a result of a connection that has been forged between gluten and the impaired ability to process it as normal in some individuals.

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Sleep deprivation is regarded as a major public health issue, by those who study it and its effects at least. Research has shown that life-threatening mistakes for patients made by resident physicians can increase as much as seven times over in response to sleep-robbing schedules for these doctors. Sleep deprivation is linked to deficits in cognition, memory and vigilance, and is as a result discouraged in people who work in areas such as heavy industry and nuclear power.

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Millions of people in the United States suffer from ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder), a chronic brain disorder that results in children or sometimes even adults having a limited attention span, being extremely hyperactive and taking rash decisions or showing impulsivity. This automatically reduces their ability to meet deadlines or perform daily duties, as per usual.

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Many of us might wish that we had the same energy levels and good health that we enjoyed when we were younger, but we know that the passage of time affects us all eventually. Now though, new research has uncovered a potential therapy to reverse at least some of the effects associated with growing older.

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One of the most common phrases a medical doctor hears on introducing themselves as a member of said profession is probably along the lines of ‘Can you look at this mole for me?’ A specialisation in dermatology aside, most doctors would hesitate to eliminate a skin cancer diagnosis on the spot.

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Worldwide, over 300 million people suffer from asthma, with this leading to nearly 400,000 deaths every year. A new study has shown that asthma sufferers could potentially reduce the chance of suffering an attack by taking Vitamin D supplements in combination with their standard asthma medication.

Why is Vitamin D important?

Vitamin D is suggested to have an important role to play, because it helps the immune system deal with viruses and inflammation, both of which can exacerbate the conditions of asthma and lead to potentially fatal asthma attacks.

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Today, a new plan to bring about an end to cholera has been launched by the Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC). The strategy, titled ‘Ending Cholera: A Global Roadmap to 2030’ provides a clear plan to reduce worldwide cholera deaths by 90 percent by 2030, with the hope of eliminating the transmission of this deadly disease in up to 20 different countries.

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Currently, clinicians tend to agree that patients who are in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) for over twelve months have sustained irreversible damage and may never regain any level of consciousness. A new study, released this week, throws a different light on this commonly accepted belief, and may well change the way that the treatment of these patients is managed in the future. 

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New research released this week suggests that suicide attempts in the United States are on the rise, particularly in young adults. ‘National Trends in Suicide Attempts Among Adults in the United States’ was published September 13 in The Journal of the American Medical Association, Psychiatry.

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The traditional route of taking medicines in tablet form for certain conditions could potentially be replaced by a small device similar to a pacemaker, researchers claim. The device is roughly the same size as a pacemaker, but instead of being implanted by the heart, it sits just below the left collarbone. The idea is that the device stimulates the vagus nerve, which runs from the brain to the abdomen and is responsible for maintaining our heart rate, as well as relaying signals to and from our spleen, lungs and digestive system.

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