Aussie scientists use blood bank to develop diabetes ‘vaccine’

SYDNEY -- Australian scientists are optimistic that a bank of blood donations will help them develop a vaccine for Type 1 diabetes.
The team from the St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research became the first researchers in the world to observe immune cells destroy insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
They discovered that the immune cells targeted the C-peptide molecule and are now developing a blood test to measure the immune response to the molecule, which they believe causes type 1 diabetes.
Stuart Mannering, an immunologist at St Vincent's, said the team was hopeful of developing a therapy that would teach the immune system not to attack the cells.
"That's our long term goal," Mannering told News Limited on Wednesday.
"The next step towards this is to measure that immune response in blood samples so we can try to detect it before people develop symptoms of Type 1 diabetes."
"What we would really like is a blood test that we can do after a much shorter period of time so that we can see if the immune response is going in the direction we want it."
The test will be developed using samples from a biobank, a list of people willing to give blood samples for the sake of medical research.
"The living biobank is really essential because it allows us to do this study using human blood from people with and without diabetes and that's a really critical stepping stone... to more human-based studies so we can develop something that will be useful in the clinic," Mannering said.
The team received the Diabetes Australia 2017 Millennium Award on Wednesday which comes with a grant worth $100,000. -- PNA/Xinhua

WHO congratulates PH for 1.1-M decline in number of smokers

MANILA -- The World Health Organization (WHO) has lauded the country’s leadership in promoting significant interventions leading to a dramatic decline in the number of smokers from 2009 to 2015.
"The decrease in tobacco use that we've seen herein the Philippines for the last years is truly remarkable, also from a global perspective," WHO country representative, Dr. Gundo Weiler, has said.
Weiler was referring to the 2015 Global Adult TobaccoSurvey (GATS) report, which showed a 1.1 million drop in the number of smokers in the country from 17 million in 2009 to 15.9 million in 2015.
The GATS Survey is used to monitor adult tobacco use and track key tobacco control indicators across countries. In the Philippines,the survey was conducted in collaboration with the Philippine StatisticsAuthority, with technical assistance provided by the US Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention (CDC) and WHO, among others. The analysis and writing of the report was funded by the Department of Health.
Weiler noted that with the nearly 20 percent reduction in the number of smokers, the Philippines has achieved the level of international practices.
"You see such a dramatic change. Change can only be brought about based on a very strong political commitment," the WHO official said in an interview.
Weiler said the current administration’s sound leadership, as demonstrated by President Rodrigo Duterte in Davao City when he was still mayor, and the long-time advocacy of Health Secretary Dr. Paulyn Ubial, has contributed a lot to the reduction.
He also cited the other factors that led to the reduction, among them the implementation of the Tobacco Reform Law in 2012 or the "anti-cancer tax" as stipulated in Republic Act 10351; the implementation of the Graphic Health Warning in cigarette packs; and the creation of anti-smoking ordinances by local governments.
Weiler expressed hope that these interventions would be further strengthened by the much-awaited Executive Order on a smoke-freePhilippines that is expected to be signed by the President soon.
Noting that some 87,000 Filipinos die of smoking-related illnesses every year, he said these interventions are needed to protect the youth and children, from whom would come the next generation of smokers.
"While this is truly a great achievement, we need to redouble our efforts and intensify the interventions that have proven to be effective,” he said.
He assured that the WHO will continue to support thePhilippine government to reduce the morbidity and mortality linked to tobacco use among Filipinos. -- PNA

Free: Seton knee pain seminar


DALY CITY – Adults throughout the Bay Area are invited to join Dr. John H. Velyvis for a free seminar to learn about the causes and current treatments for knee pain. The seminar will be held at the Sheraton Palo Alto Hotel located at 625 El Camino Real in Palo Alto on March 30, 2017, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The talk will include a special introduction to robotic-assisted total knee replacement using the NAVIO™ Surgical System — currently only available in the Bay Area at Seton Medical Center. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask Dr. Velyvis their own questions.
Dr. Velyvis is Seton Medical Center’s Medical Director of Robotic Orthopedic Surgery. One of the most experienced orthopedic surgeons on the West Coast and an expert in robotic- assisted knee surgery,

Dr. Velyvis studied biomedical engineering at Harvard University and received his medical degree from Columbia University in New York.
Seating is limited. Register today by calling 650-257-2997. Free valet parking, as well as snacks and light refreshments, will be available.
For more information, please visit
Founded in 1893, Seton Medical Center is a 357-bed hospital serving 1.5 million residents of San Francisco and northern San Mateo County with comprehensive inpatient and outpatient medical specialties, as well as emergency and urgent care services. Its sister facility, Seton Coastside, is a 116-bed skilled nursing complex offering inpatient care and the only 24-hour standby Emergency Department on the Pacific Coast between Daly City and Santa Cruz.

DOH to revisit Magna Carta for public health workers

MANILA --Health Secretary Dr. Paulyn Ubial has directed her department to revisit and amend the Magna Carta for Public Health Workers.
In a press briefing held at the Department of Health (DOH) media relations unit in Tayuman, Sta. Cruz, Manila, Ubial said the move aims to reinforce the benefits and provide security to health workers, particularly those deployed in Geographically Isolated and Depressed Areas (GIDA) and localities that are prone to violence.
Noting that the Magna Carta requires revisions, the health chief pointed out that although there is a provision on hardship allowance, hazard pay and overtime pay, there is no specific provision on safety.

"However, not all of those provisions are actually provided uniformly across the country. So, while some LGUs (local government units) provide the benefits, others do not," she said, stressing that like the military, health workers are exposed to various risks and thus need protection.
"They risk their lives in the line of duty while saving the lives of others. The service that they give is matchless and invaluable. Let not the life and death of Dr. (Dreyfuss) Perlas be forgotten and put to waste. We rally together with all health workers to continue the fight for better working conditions,” Ubial said.
She recounted that when she was deployed to Cotabato City, the LGU gave them security training, such as what to do when there are bombings.
Health workers could be trained on the use of firearms and handheld radios for their security, she said.
Meanwhile, the death of Perlas, who served two years under the DOH Doctors to the Barrios (DTTB) program, prompted his fellow barrio doctors to hold the Black Monday protest to demand justice and call attention to the needs of front-line health workers facing their daily battles of difficult working conditions, denial of legal benefits and other entitlements, harassment and acts of violence.
Masses were held across the country on Sunday, offering prayers for Perlas and honoring his example as a service-oriented and altruistic physician for the people of Mindanao.
Perlas was shot dead in Sapad, Lanao del Norte last March 1. Police have yet to identify his assailant. (PNA)

South San Francisco Senior ServicesSENIOR HEALTH & FITNESS FAIR

South San Francisco Senior Services will conduct their 20th annual free Senior Health &Fitness Fair from 9 a.m. to noon on Friday, March 10, 2017, at the Municipal ServicesBuilding, 33 Arroyo Drive, South San Francisco.The Senior Health & Fitness Fair is sponsored by the City of South San Francisco SeniorServices Division of the Parks & Recreation Department and co-sponsored by KaiserPermanente, Westborough Royale Assisted Living and Health Plan of San Mateo. The event includes: Free screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose and glaucoma.  Information on emotional well-being and medication safety. Tips on dealing with women’s and men’s health issues and preparing an advance health directive. Suggestions on nutrition, skin care and allergies.


 More than 70 resources including Always Best Care, HICAP (Insurance Counseling), Legal Aid Society, Medical Care Professionals, South San Francisco Police & Fire Departments, HIP Housing and much, much more!The event is open to seniors on a first-come, first-serve basis. For more information, call(650) 829-3820 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..###February 25, 201

Study identifies "late-life" genes only active in response to stress, aging

SAN FRANCISCO –A new study indicates that a subset of genes involved in daily circadian rhythms, or the "biological clock," only become active late in life or during periods of intense stress when they are most needed to help protect critical life functions.
The findings, made by researchers at Oregon State University (OSU) in a study on fruit flies and published Tuesday in Nature Communications, may help combat serious stresses associated with age, disease or environmental challenges, and help explain why aging is often accelerated when the biological clock is disrupted.
As part of a stress response mechanism that was previously unknown and its rhythmic activity late in life was not understood, this group of genes were named "late-life cyclers," or LLCs, by former OSU graduate student and lead author of the study, Rachael Kuintzle. At least 25 such genes become rhythmic with age, and the function of some of them remains unclear.
Circadian rhythms, which are natural to an organism but synchronized by the light/dark cycle of a 24-hour day, are so important to life that the same genes controlling biological processes have been traced from fruit flies to humans, retained through millions of years of evolution. These genes are found throughout the nervous system and peripheral organs, and affect everything from sleep to stress reaction, feeding patterns, DNA repair, fertility and even the effectiveness of medications.
People with routine disruptions of their circadian rhythms and sleep patterns have been found to have a shorter lifespan and be more prone to cancer.
About the LLCs, Jadwiga Giebultowicz, a professor in the OSU College of Science, co-senior author on the study and international expert on the mechanisms and function of the biological clock, noted that "this class of LLC genes appear to become active and respond to some of the stresses most common in aging, such as cellular and molecular damage, oxidative stress, or even some disease states."
"Aging is associated with neural degeneration, loss of memory and other problems, which are exacerbated if clock function is experimentally disrupted," Giebultowicz was quoted as saying in a news release from OSU. "The LLC genes are part of the natural response to that, and do what they can to help protect the nervous system."
The increased, rhythmic expression of these genes during times of stress, the researchers believe, are another example of just how biologically important circadian rhythms are, as they help to regulate the activity of hundreds of genes essential to the processes of life. And as aging brings with it a host of new problems, the LLC genes become more and more active.
"Discovery of LLC genes may provide a missing link, the answer to why the disruption of circadian clocks accelerates aging symptoms," said David Hendrix, an assistant professor in the OSU College of Science and College of Engineering, and co-senior author on the study, who explained that some LLC genes are known to play roles in sequestering improperly "folded" proteins or helping them refold. And this could help prevent formation of protein aggregates that can lead to age-related neurodegeneration.
In addition, the study shows that intense stress at any point in life can cause some of the LLC genes to spring into action.
"In experiments where we created artificial oxidative stress in young fruit flies, the LLC genes were rhythmically activated," said Eileen Chow, an OSU faculty research assistant and co-author.
"Some of these same genes are known to be more active in people who have cancer. They appear to be a double-edged sword, necessary during times of stress but possibly harmful if activated all the time," Chow said. (PNA/Xinhua)
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