Engineered Immune Cells Offer Promise

Engineered Immune Cells Offer Promise

Engineered Immune Cells Offer Promise

 

By D. S. Mitchell

 

Sending Signals

Scientists have genetically engineered immune cells cable of delivering anticancer-signals to organs where cancer may spread. Immunotherapy is a pillar of cancer treatment; strengthening the patient’s immune system and then directing the bolstered immune system to attack tumors. In this effort, Adoptive Cell Transfer is proving successful. With this immunotherapy treatment a patient’s immune cells are collected, engineered for the patient’s specific cancer and then reintroduced into the patient to treat their cancer. There are numerous types of Adoptive Cell Transfer and the most prominent one is called CAR T Cell Therapy.

Cancer Fighting Immune Cells

In 2010 two blood cancer patients received an experimental immunotherapy, and their disease went into remission. The cancer fighting immune cells used in the treatment were still circulating in their bodies,  ten years after the experimental dosing. It indicates that the treatment can be long lasting. Doug Olsen, a native Californian, was one of the patients, “From a patient’s viewpoint, when you are told you are pretty much out of options, the important thing is always to maintain hope. And certainly, I hoped this was going to work”, said Doug Olsen at a news briefing. The CAR T Cell Therapy used the patients’ genetically engineered immune cells to track down and destroy cells that cause cancer.

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Patient Gets Genetically Modified Pig Heart

57 Year Old Gets Genetically Modified Pig Heart

57 year old American man gets genetically engineered pig heart in historic surgery.

57 Year Old Gets Genetically Modified Pig Heart

“It was either die or do this transplant. I want to live. I know it is a shot in the dark, but it is my last chance,” said the recipient of a genetically modified pig heart last week. 

By MAHINROOP PM and D. S. Mitchell

 

A Major Breakthrough 

American doctors have successfully transplanted a genetically modified pig heart into a desperately ill 57 year old patient. It is an unquestionable achievement, a breakthrough for medical science. The patient, David Bennet is doing well after the surgery. The organ transplant proved that a genetically modified animal heart can serve like a human heart without immediate rejection by the body. Bennet had been connected to Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation, a heart lung bypass machine, in order to remain alive. The patient was informed of the procedure’s risks and that the procedure was experimental with unknown risks before consenting to receive the heart transplant.

Emergency 

Because Bennet faced certain death without the Food and Drug Administration granted an emergency authorization for the surgery last week. The doctors at University of Maryland Medicine performed the procedure called Xenotransplantation.  Bennet had been on cardiac support for almost two months and couldn’t receive a mechanical heart pump because of an irregular heart beat. Neither could he receive a human transplant, because he had a history of treatment noncompliance.

Organ Shortage Crisis

“This was a breakthrough surgery and brings us one step closer to solving the organ shortage crisis. There are simply not enough human hearts available to meet the long list of potential recipients. We are proceeding cautiously, but we are also optimistic that this first in the world surgery will provide an important new option for patients in the future,” said Bartley P Griffith, Professor in transplant surgery at University of Maryland Medicine.

High Risk 

Although the process can potentially save thousands of lives, it comes with many risks including the chance of triggering a dangerous immune response. Such responses can trigger an immediate rejection of the organ, leading to the immediate death of the patient. A  new drug was combined with conventional anti-rejection drugs to suppress the immune system and hopefully will prevent Benet’s body from rejecting the foreign organ.

Ethical and Technical Hurdles

Doctors will monitor Bennet for the rest of his life to determine whether the transplant provides the hoped for lifesaving benefits vs complications. The ultimate focus of xenotransplantation research is on genetically modified pigs because of the physiologic similarities between pigs, human  and non-human primates. Revivicor, a biotechnology company located in Virginia provided the pig heart for the transplantation.

What The Future Offers

Transplant surgeons are hoping that recent advances will enable them to give more people animal organs. Physicians believe that the surgery will kickstart clinical xenotransplantation. As with everything, there are numerous ethical, as well as regulatory issues confronting the wholesale use of animal harvested hearts, and other organs, to sustain human life. Only time will tell.

Take A Walking Approach To Knee Pain

Take A Walking Approach To Knee Pain

Walking can provide relief for OA

Take A Walking Approach To Knee Pain

 

By Dani Davis

“Bone On Bone”

I am considered well-aged.  In other words, I qualify for all those senior citizen discounts. At 75 I have been dealing with increasingly debilitating Osteoarthritis (OA) of both knees for at least the last ten years. “Bone on bone” as the doctor keeps reminding me. I have been putting off knee replacement surgery due to both fear of the surgery and my ongoing hope for a better answer.

From Miles to Feet

I have always been active and ready to take on whatever the world has to offer, skiing, swimming, hiking, and walking. In fact, I walked four or five miles every day of my life since I was a high schooler. Walking has  always been the mainstay of my exercise routine. However, as my knee pain has worsened I have retreated from former activities and have been reduced to limping about my apartment or using the electric scooter at the local Walmart. The final blow to my exercise routine came, when my dog, my prime motivator for walking, died two years ago.

Dr. X

In December I met with Dr. X, the surgeon scheduled to do my right knee replacement. He told me I am  within a hair’s breadth of the top end of the weight limit; and suggested I lose a few pounds, strengthen my legs, and workout to build my upper body strength. I told him if I could do all those things I wouldn’t be knocking on his door. He laughed, and told me to, “Try. You have ten months.” “Ten months?” Yes, ten months, I was told. “Mostly due to COID-19 issues such as surgical back-log, shortage of nurses and support staff, plus endless employee sick calls.” The medical assistant came in, opened the computer and tentatively scheduled my surgery for November 16th, 2022.

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Cannabis: A Safe Exit From Addiction

OPINION:

Cannabis: A Safe Exit From AddictionIf you are experiencing side effects with your pharmaceuticals you might give cannabis a try

OPINION:

Cannabis: A Safe Exit From Addiction

Editor: Cannabis and its usage by humans dates back at least 8,000 years. For millennia, the plant has been valued as fiber and rope, as food and medicine, and also for its psychoactive properties for religious and recreational use. Some have gone so far to declare it a ‘miracle’ plant.

 

By D. S. Mitchell

 

The Controlled Substance Act

In 1969, Richard Nixon, announced that Attorney General, John Mitchell was  preparing a comprehensive new measure to more effectively meet the narcotic and dangerous drug problems challenging the country. At the federal level, Mitchell devised the Controlled Substance Act. The Act combined all existing federal laws and expanded their scope into a single new statute. More importantly, the CSA changed the nature of federal drug law policies and expanded federal law enforcement authority over controlled substances.

Fear Of Success

The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, established the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse. Raymond Shafer, one of the bill’s sponsor’s fearing it’s restrictive nature, made this statement to Congress, “The criminal law is too harsh a tool to apply to personal possession even in the effort to discourage use. It implies an overwhelming indictment of the behavior which we believe is not appropriate. The actual and potential harm of use of the drug is not great enough to justify intrusion by the criminal law into private behavior.”

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Looking At Elder Care

Looking At Elder Care

Caring for an elder family member requires strength, patience, and support.

Looking At Elder Care

The Build Back Better legislation stuck in the Senate would provide relief for many American family members struggling to keep a family member living at home vs being placed in a nursing home.

By D. S. Mitchell

Caregiver Risks

Most of the people called on to help an ill or disabled family member have no training in being a caregiver. Not only that, but many spouses, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters have their own health problems and physical limitations. The risks of being a family caregiver is premature aging, sickness, death, depression, anger, resentment and potential financial loss. Aside from that, it can be rewarding and more worthwhile than anything you will ever do.

Financial Resources Make the Difference

Receiving affordable or free home care may be what makes the difference between a family member being able to stay in their home or being moved into an assisted living or nursing home. One in five Americans provide unpaid care to family members so they can continue to live in their home, according to a recent AARP report.

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5 Finger Death Punch “Wrong Side of Heaven”

5 Finger Death Punch

“Wrong Side of Heaven”

5 Finger Death Punch

“Wrong Side of Heaven”

As we end 2021, we are for the first time in decades not in a declared war, anywhere in the world.  In 2013, while we were still embedded in Afghanistan, Five Finger Death Punch released this incredible single, off of their fourth album. Veterans then as now, are facing homelessness, drug addiction, alcoholism, divorce, and mental illness. Awareness leads to solutions. With that thought in mind, here is the Calamity Politics Jukebox Choice of the Day. Sing along, lyrics below:

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The Shift From Pet To Family Member

The Shift From Pet To Family Member

Pets have gone from family service to family member.

The Shift From Pet to Family Member

The Changing Landscape of Pet Ownership in the United States

By Megan Wallin

Holiday Photos

Everyone knows that couple whose dog or cat is their “baby,” and to suggest otherwise might get you kicked to the curb—literally or figuratively. It used to be rare, or even laughable, to meet people like that, but now the family pet is just that: a true member of the family. We include them in our family photos, holiday cards, wedding celebrations, birth announcements and more. American pet owners spend an average of $1,480 per year on their dogs and a little over $900 on their cats, according to an article from Fortunly.com. To put that in perspective, some American parents—namely those who can forgo daycare and babysitters—actually spend less on their human children.

The Shift from Pet to Family Member

Perhaps it’s a demonstration of our shift from utilitarian view of pets to a relationship view. We now have behavioral specialists and animal psychologists for dogs. Professionals specially trained to seek out what could be causing Spot’s sudden loss of interest in his favorite toy or his penchant for nipping ankles whenever guests wear funny socks. (Well, maybe that’s not the exact purpose, but you get the idea.) The point is that we’ve expanded our view; from seeing animals as useful contributors to a system, such as the family guard dog or cat who functions as the barnyard mouser, to a loving, sharing, participant in family life. One look at most people’s social media accounts will tell you that pets are now bonified family members. We carefully interview potential pet sitters. We celebrate pet birthdays, and “gotcha” (adoption) days. There seems no awareness that some of our sentimentality might be displaced, because it doesn’t feel at all unnatural.

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The Twelve Days of Covid Christmas

The Twelve Days of Covid Christmas

The holidays bring fun but also stress and anxiety.

The Twelve Days of Covid Christmas

Here are some new lyrics for the holiday favorite, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” please feel free to just sing-a-long.

 

By Anna Hessel

The Twelve Days of Covid Christmas

The First Day – Where’s The Partridge?

  • On the first day of Christmas
  • My true love sent to me
  • ONE pear scented gel hand sanitizer

The Second Day – No Turtle To Slow This Dove Down

  • On the second day of Christmas
  • My true love sent to me
  • TWO bars of Dove antibacterial soap
  • And ONE pear scented gel hand sanitizer

The Third Day – What, No Hens?

  • On the third day of Christmas
  • My true love sent to me
  • THREE French couture face covering masks
  • TWO bars of Dove antibacterial soap
  • And ONE pear scented gel hand sanitizer

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11 Super Easy Holiday Weight Loss Tricks

11 Super Easy Holiday Weight Loss Tricks

Looking for a few tips to cut back on holiday eating

All the goodies available at the holidays can challenge any weight loss program. Here are 11 easy tricks to  help you stay on your healthy eating program. The holidays don’t automatically spell weight gain.

11 Super Easy Holiday Weight Loss Tricks

By D.S. Mitchell

The Checkout Line

I’m standing in the grocery store check-out line reading the magazine headlines when the ‘Woman’s World’ catches my attention. Their busy cover page announces, “The #1 Keto Trick for Women to Lose Weight Without Surgery.”  I have toyed with trying the Keto diet, and I couldn’t resist the teaser, and found myself tossing the magazine on to the conveyor belt.

Lovin’ Woman’s World

I love ‘Woman’s World’, because it is cheap, it has an easy to read format with lots of pictures and almost always features a weight loss trick or two for the ‘always dieting’ crowd. Once home, with feet up on the ottoman, I search for the article on Keto Dieting. Before I get to that story I landed on, “Tiny tweaks that melt pounds”.

Tiny Tweaks

As I read the “Tiny Tweaks” article I thought the ideas were great and thought they were worth passing on to my blog readers, especially with the holidays upon us and the constant temptation of homemade cake, cookies, pies and candy.

  • Afternoon Snack: A recent study found that by shifting a morning snack of an apple or a handful of nuts to the afternoon could give dramatic weight loss results. The reason the study suggests is that there is a bigger time span  between lunch and dinner, than between breakfast and lunch. The snack gets us through the long afternoon and that healthy snack prevents overeating on those holiday treats.
  • Weigh Daily: Weighing in every morning is a good way to reverse sneaky weight gain trends. In fact, researchers in Finland found that people who weighed daily at the same time each morning shed more weight than other test subjects.
  • Pay With Cash: I loved this one. When you go grocery shopping, always plan to pay with cash. A study in the Journal of Consumer Research found that paying with cash actually reins in the impulse junk food purchases. Researchers explain that the “pain of paying with cash” makes people less likely to splurge on unhealthy extras. Awesome. I know this tip will work for me.
  • Add a sprinkle of salt:  This tip comes from British researchers who discovered that women who add a bit of salt to their vegetables will increase their intake of the green goodies by as much as 70%. It seems that using the flavor enhancer can actually cause us to start craving vegetables in as little as three days. Who knew?
  • Red Wine: A glass of red wine in the evening can help you lose weight. It seems the polyphenols in red wine “help the body process excess blood sugar before it can be turned into fat. Investigators discovered that women who sip one glass of red wine daily are “30% less likely to experience weight problems than teetotalers”.
  • Rearrange Pantry: If you must have high calorie indulgences in the pantry try rearranging their position on the shelves. Experts suggest storing high calorie treats on the right side of the shelf and good for you snacks, such as dried fruit and nuts on the left. In this case, researchers at University of South Florida, tell us that the reason is that the brain is wired to read numbers from left to right. Fascinating. When a person sees foods displayed this way we are subconsciously reminded that the foods on the left are healthier for us.
  • Turn On Soft Music: This one surprised me, but at the same time it made sense. Before you sit down to eat, find a soft music channel and let it play throughout the meal. You will find you eat less and enjoy it more. The best part is Psychological Reports found most people will eat 175 fewer calories per meal; which is an easy way to shed 15 pounds a year.
  • Seek Encouragement From A Friend: It seems if you feel you are at risk of diving face first into the office buffet you should take a minute and text, or call a friend or loved one, about your weight loss progress. Duke University scientists say that exchanging words of encouragement reminds and reinforces your goals. Such reinforcement doubles your odds of sticking to your healthy living plan and helps you lose up to six pounds a month.
  • Recall A Happy Moment: Happy thoughts help us stay on track. Researchers at Cornell, suggest that when cravings strike, recall a positive memory. Apparently, being in a positive frame of mind switches off the desire for instant gratification of a chocolate or calorie heavy treat and encourages healthier choices.
  • Chop It Up: Before gobbling down that Hersey’s bar, take a minute and break it up into small pieces. Scientists at Arizona State University say cutting sweets into “bite-size bits tricks your brain into thinking your eating more than you are, triggering the release of appetite-taming signals”.
  • Count To 10: Remember the old saying, “count to 10 before you speak”. In this case, it is “count 10 before you eat”.  Harvard researchers discovered that people who are able to count to ten (or any simple ritual) before eating that piece of cake or chocolate bar are able to consume much fewer calories than those who just dive in. Why? Repeating familiar behaviors or “rituals,” stimulates the part of the brain that controls self-discipline.

Now that you are armed with these dietary tricks, hopefully you can get through the holidays without feeling either deprived, or guilty. Happy holidays.

Suicide Is Permanent, Please Stay

Suicide Is Permanent, Please Stay

Suicide Is Permanent, Please Stay

D. S. Mitchell

Just The Facts

If you are between 15-35, suicide is the second leading cause of death for your age group.  For all age groups, suicide is responsible for more deaths than murder and natural disasters, combined.  Men take their own lives four times as often as women. Many men sadly would rather be dead than seem ‘weak.’

Those Left Behind

As you can see, suicide is not a rare, or isolated event. It is very real and definitely permanent, and it leaves those who are left behind, in utter despair. For them the suicide event is plagued by stigma, guilt and self-recrimination. The most common question from those left behind is, “what could I have done differently?”

A Societal Contract

Suicide is like the tentacles of an octopus wrapping itself around all of us, casting doubt on hope, and future.  It tears at our social fabric and brings into question society’s compact with the individual.  Whether spoken or unspoken, we as people, are part of a greater society.  As a society, we have agreed to a collective future, a means to provide for our children, to continue our culture, to sustain our existence at all cost. Jennifer Michael Hecht wrote,  Stay: A History of Suicide and the Arguments Against it. And in her words,  “Either the universe is a cold dead place with solitary sentient beings, or we are all alive together, committed to persevere.”

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