Team McCallum

R&D for Lifetime of Life

Master genes found for aggressive brain cancer

Glioblastoma multiforme is one of the most aggressive froms of brain cancer, rapidly producing inoperable tumours.

Antonio Iavarone and a team from Columbia University have found two genes, C/EPB and Stat3, are active in about 60% of glioblastoma patients. When either works on its own there is little impact.

But according to Iavarone “When simultaneously activated, they work together to turn on hundreds of other genes that transform brain cells into highly aggressive, migratory cells. The finding means that suppressing both genes simultaneously, using a combination of drugs, may be a powerful therapeutic approach for these patients, for whom no satisfactory treatment exists.”


December 27, 2009 Posted by | Antonio Iavarone, Brain, Cancer, Genetics, Health | 1 Comment

Op to cure high blood pressure in trials

Renal sympathetic nerve ablation is an operation in which the nerve used by the brain to tell kidneys to raise blood pressure is burned out in a series of very tiny burns. The procedure is considered simple, takes about an hour, and appears to lower blood pressure permanently.

110 patients are taking part in the trial, with half taking drugs only and the other half taking drugs and getting the operation.

It is hoped that the operation will enable some currently on medication to reduce it or come off it, and will provide a treatment for those who do not respond to medication.

The brain uses the renal nerve to signal the kidneys to leave large amounts of salt in the blood, even in those who eat little salt. This increases the volume of blood leading to an increase in pressure. The kidneys also produce hormones causing blood vessels to contract, also raising pressure.

This trial follows on from earlier results on renal sympathetic nerve ablation published in The Lancet on 30th March 2009.

December 26, 2009 Posted by | High blood pressure, Medicine/Treatment | 1 Comment

Merry Christmas

The winner of our annual Merry Christmas Award, 2009, goes to our friends from Queensland, Australia.

Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2009 Posted by | Merry Christmas | Leave a comment

Chimps use cleavers to chop food

Chimps in the Nimba Mountains of Guinea use stone and wooden cleavers, as well as stone anvils (rock outcrops), to chop food into bite-sized portions.

Treculia fruit grow up to the size of a basketball, can weigh 18lb, and are hard and fibrous, though they don’t have an external shell. They are too big for a chimp to bite into.

This is the first time use of a tool to chop food into bite size pieces has been observed.

Chimps in the neighbouring region of Seringbara do not seem to process their food in this way, which suggests that this type of tool use is learned behaviour.

The finding is reported by Kathelijne Koops.

December 24, 2009 Posted by | Evolution, Kathelijne Koops | Leave a comment

RIP Kim Peek

Did “Rain Man” die of a heart attack on 19 Dec 2009?

Well the person on whom Rain Man is modelled did. RIP Kim Peek.

Kim Peek was 58 when he died of a heart attack. He was also a basis for Rain Man.

Kim Peek was so very different. Wasn’t he?

Basic abilities that we take for granted – simply looking after minor daily routines – were beyond him for his life.

Tasks that we take as beyond us – remembering VAST amounts of detailed facts and information – he coped with easily.

But WAS Kim Peek so different?

The explanation to date is down to – well – what? There are many and varying explanations of – brain size at birth – damage to the left hemisphere – no connection between left and right brain.

Kim Peek seems to have had trouble with minor routines we seem to think are easy. He seems to have had ease with soaking up facts we think are so difficult. After “Rain Man” and becoming a celebrity, the boundary shifted in his direction.

Kim Peek died on 19 Dec 2009. RIP.

December 23, 2009 Posted by | Kim Peek | Leave a comment

Get trim & stay trim the easy way

Lifetime of Life is launching a free and easy way to get trim and stay trim on 1st Jan 2010.

It’s unique because it works with the way your body works and with the way your mind works.

We’ve done all the hard work to find the very best ideas and we’ve written the system in plain English.

It’s 100% free. You don’t even have to sign up. And it’s going to revolutionise getting trim!

If you’re interested or know someone who might be, is the place to be on 1st January.

It’s going to be a happy New Year!

December 18, 2009 Posted by | Diet, Psychology, Success | Leave a comment

When did ‘human’ features evolve?

According to a study by Martin Garwicz and others, the time of onset of walking is shared across humans and mammals that diverged in separate species as far back as 100 million years ago.

The study looked at 24 mammal species that walk and found that adult brain mass predicts time of first walking, accounting for 94% of the result.

This ‘time of walking’ model starts from conception, not birth. Horses can walk almost immediately because of a relatively long gestation period. Rodents take a few days to a few weeks, but they fit the time from conception/brain size model. Non-human primates take months. Human babies take the longest at a year or so, due to the amount of brain development that occurs outside the womb.

Since the 24 mammals studied fit this predictor and since they diverged as far back as 100 million years ago, fundamental patterns of early human life history may have evolved before the evolution of primates (55 to 65 million years ago).

The study is reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

December 17, 2009 Posted by | Evolution | Leave a comment

Genetic code for skin and lung cancer cracked

Scientists have mapped the entire genetic code of 2 common cancers – skin and lung cancer.

This raises the possibility of blood tests to detect cancer earlier, and is a major step forward in developing new treatments.

The scientists found that the DNA for melanoma, a skin cancer, contained over 30,000 ‘errors’, almost entirely caused by too much exposure to sun.

The lung cancer DNA had more than 23,000 ‘errors’, largely due to cigarette smoke effects.

The lung cancer research was conducted by Dr Peter Campbell of the Wellcome Trust and the results were published in Nature.

The International Cancer Genome Consortium thinks it will take around 5 years to complete maps for the genetic code of 50 common cancers.

The US is looking at cancers of the brain, ovary and pancreas, China at stomach cancer, India at cancer of the mouth, Japan at liver cancer and the UK at breast cancer.

The UK lead researcher is Professor Michael Stratton.

December 16, 2009 Posted by | Cancer, Genetics, Health, International Cancer Genome Consortium, Medicine/Treatment, Michael Stratton, Peter Campbell | Leave a comment

Leptin linked to Alzheimer’s

Leptin is a hormone that tells the brain we are full and so controls appetite. It has been seen as a potentital tool for tackling obesity.

New research (reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association) shows that people with low levels of leptin have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s than those with higher levels. A previous study on mice showed that adding leptin improved brain function.

This opens the possibility of monitoring leptin levels in older patients to detect those at risk of Alzheimer’s, and adding leptin as a preventative/treatment.

December 16, 2009 Posted by | Aging, Alzheimer's, Brain, Diet, Health | Leave a comment

Tea and coffee may prevent diabetes

Dr Rachel Huxley, University of Sydney, looked at 18 studies involving nearly 500,000 participants to conclude that people drinking 3 or 4 cups of tea or coffee a day cut the risk of type 2 diabetes by over 20%.

The link is unlikely to be due to caffeine alone as drinking decaf had an even bigger effect, cutting risk by a third.

December 15, 2009 Posted by | Coffee, Diabetes, Diet, Health, Rachel Huxley, Success, Tea | 2 Comments