July 22, 2015

Making a double red blood cell donation is similar to a whole blood donation. In both instances, the result is saving lives.

However, in a double red blood cell donation, an apheresis machine is used to separate the blood components, collecting red blood cells and returning plasma and platelets to the donor during a single donation.

The double red blood cell donation process is about 30 minutes longer than a whole blood donation, to allow time for the machine to separate the components. Including the pre-screening paperwork and the mini-physical to determine eligibility, the total time spent at the donation site is about 90 minutes.

July 20, 2015

Researchers have identified a “switch” that makes vaccinations work and gives the body immunity following infections.

The team from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne, Australia, found the presence of a protein called Myb was needed for antibody-producing plasma cells to migrate into the bone marrow.

Once inside the marrow, the antibodies were preserved, creating long-term immunity from a vaccination or an infection.

“Our bone marrow is like a long-term storage facility for plasma cells, allowing them to continue producing antibodies to protect against future infections,” said Dr Kim Good-Jacobson, one of the researchers.

“Until now, it was not known why some plasma cells moved into the bone marrow, while others remained in the blood stream and perished after a few days.”

July 15, 2015

What can you do to reduce your risk for heart disease, stroke and some kinds of cancers? And manage your weight? And increase the amount of essential nutrients in your system?

Do what nine in 10 of our fellow Americans don’t do: Eat enough vegetables.

A new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that just 8.9 percent of adults in this country eat enough servings of vegetables every day and 13.1 percent eat enough fruit.

The study, taken from data compiled in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, looked at self-reported food intake across the nation in 2013.

Fruit and vegetable intake also varies widely from state to state. For example, 7.5 percent of the people in Tennessee eat the suggested amount of fruit, compared to 17.7 percent in California. For vegetable consumption, the range was 5.5 percent in Mississippi to 13.0 percent in California.

July 13, 2015

If you suffer from osteoarthritis, someday your own bone marrow stem cells may be able to reduce that aching in your knees, elbows and other joints.

A research team from the University of York in the United Kingdom is applying a recent discovery that  bone marrow stem cells can be rejuvenated (essentially, reset to an earlier age) to a study about repairing cartilage damaged by arthritis.

As you age, the number of stem cells in your body decreases, as does their ability to grow and repair tissue. The study will look into how rejuvenated stem cells from your body could be used to generate transplant tissue that would not be rejected.

The discovery of stem cell rejuvenation also may lead to the development of new drugs for boosting stem cells, said Dr. Paul Genever, lead researcher on the study.

July 8, 2015

Polls show that somewhere between 20 percent and 40 percent of the U.S. population has some kind of a tattoo.

But does having a tattoo prevent you from donating blood? Probably not.

The most important factor is where you had the tattoo done. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which sets national guidelines for blood centers, you can get a tattoo and then donate blood if the tattoo parlor was licensed by the state, used sterile needles and did not re-use ink.

The tattoo needs to be fully healed by the day of your donation, and it cannot cover the inside of the forearm, where the donation is collected.

But even if your tattoo was done at a non-licensed parlor, or in a state that does not license tattoo parlors, you are eligible after 12 months. (In the United States, there is no licensing in the District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah or Wyoming.)