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Laser therapy treats stroke

A recent study conducted by researchers in California has shown that sending laser beams into the brain could help patients with mild strokes. The study, published in the journal Stroke, was conducted on 660 stroke patients. Fifty-two percent of the patients who had mild strokes and were given the laser treatment had less severe disabilities due to strokes, as compared to 42 percent who were not given the laser treatment.

The treatment consists of low-energy infrared radiation sent into the brains of patients. The researchers are still uncertain why laser therapy benefits stroke patients, but they believe that it may reduce cell death, induce new cell growth in the brain, or increase the metabolism of cells in the brain.

Source: Reuters

Vaccine helps lung cancer patients

Scientists in Cuba have developed a vaccine called CimaVax EGF that has been successful in increasing the life of terminal lung cancer patients. Trials conducted in over 700 patients have shown that the vaccine is capable of increasing the life of such patients on average by four months, and in some cases, by several years.

Although the vaccine does not completely cure cancer or prevent it, it causes the patient’s body to produce antibodies against the epidermal growth factor (EGF), which causes lung cancer cells to grow.

Source: CNN.com

Theory explains Alzheimer’s disease

Scientists from the Buck Institute in California and the Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique in France have discovered that Alzheimer’s disease may be the result of a disruption in neuronal signaling in the brain. Until now, the accepted cause for Alzheimer’s disease was the formation of plaques — called amyloid plaques — in the brain, which cause cell death.

The recent study showed that the amyloid precursor protein (APP), previously linked to the formation of the plaques, could bind to another protein called netrin-1. Netrin-1 helps guide neurons to make connections in the brain and helps them survive. When netrin-1 was given to mice that had the gene causing Alzheimer’s disease, their symptoms were reduced.

Source: ScienceDaily

Pill helps reduce bad memories

Researchers at the University of Amsterdam have discovered that the drug propranolol helps people forget bad memories. In the study, 60 volunteers were shown a picture and given a mild electric shock as they viewed the picture. Half of the patients were given propranolol while the other half were given a placebo pill. On the third day, the patients were shown the pictures again and those who had taken proranolol showed a lower emotional response than those who had not taken the drug.

Researchers believe that this treatment could help patients with post-traumatic stress disorder and other emotional disorders.

Source: Discovery News