March 20, 2017

Therapy using tiny bubbles developed in Hawaii could one day help the thousands of men and boys afflicted with hemophilia around the world.

The microbubbles developed for the study in mice at the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine are lipid molecules made with DNA that express therapeutic genes within the body.

The molecules were injected into the bloodstream, then popped using an ultrasound as they passed through the liver. The DNA from the molecules was deposited in the liver, where it made the clotting factor missing from the blood of hemophiliacs.

March 14, 2017

Giving certain proteins a piggyback ride on red blood cells may one day lead to treatments for autoimmune diseases like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

In autoimmune conditions, the body mistakenly attacks its own cells, tissues and organs. There are more than 80 autoimmune diseases, and an estimated 23 million people in the United States are living with them.

A study at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, highlighted at Medical News Today, looked to improve a technique called “tolerance induction,” which uses what are known as antigenic peptides from the cells the immune system is attacking to train the immune system to quit attacking.

March 6, 2017

When it comes to keeping away the mosquitoes that can carry disease-causing viruses like Zika, not all repellents are created equally.

Researchers at New Mexico State University reported in the Journal of Insect Science that products containing DEET or oil of lemon eucalyptus were the most effective at repelling the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which can carry the Zika virus, as well as chikungunya, yellow fever and dengue.

The study tested five wearable devices, five sprays and one candle, using human volunteers.

Of the wearable devices, only OFF! Clip-on was effective, with just 27.14 percent of the mosquitoes attracted to the wearer. None of the others had any discernible effect, and neither did the citronella candle.

February 27, 2017

Some people can feel lightheaded or dizzy during a blood donation. But there’s a technique you can use to avoid those unpleasant side effects, and it’s as simple as flexing your muscles.

Here’s what to do:

  • Once your donation has started, flex your free arm – curl it like you were lifting a weight – count slowly to five, then lower your arm.
  • Relax your whole body as you count to 20.
  • Flex your abdomen and count slowly to five.
  • Relax again as you count to 20.
  • Flex your legs – or if you prefer, cross and uncross your legs as you count to five.
  • Relax again.
  • Repeat the cycle.

Did you know there's more than one way to give blood? Check this out.

February 20, 2017

Tony Polk spent a long military career in blood banking, starting with blood supply programs in Vietnam and finishing with a 20-year plan to set up goals and resources through the year 2004.

Polk served as the Armed Services Blood Program director from 1984-91 and was the author of the Military Blood Program 2004 Implementation Plan, which led to the military blood program's inclusion in all top-level contingency plans and wartime training for all program personnel. He also coordinated and implemented the world's largest frozen blood program, adding frozen blood product depots around the world, on land and ships.

He was involved in the development of titles and job roles for of blood bank officers throughout the military blood banking system, and he was credited with the standardization of distribution systems for blood and blood products throughout the military.