November 13, 2017

A treatment using stem cells derived from umbilical cord tissue improved heart muscle functions and the general quality of life of people with heart failure in a recent study in South America.

The research, conducted at the Universidad de los Andes in Chile, involved 30 patients with stable heart failure. Half were given the stem cells intravenously and half received a placebo.

The results, published in Circulation Research, showed three major benefits of the stem cell therapy in the year after the transfusion:

•    Sustained and significant improvement in the heart’s ability to pump blood
•    Improvement in the patients’ daily functioning and quality of life
•    No adverse effects.

November 6, 2017

In honor of National Marrow Awareness Month, here are five facts everyone should know about bone marrow/stem cell donor recruitment, therapy and registration:

It takes a match. A bone marrow/stem cell donor and recipient have to have similar genetic makeups, since they need 10 human leukocyte antigens (HLA) in common for the donation to be as safe and effective as possible.

Oddly enough, 70 percent of patients do not have a match within their immediate families, one reason it’s important for as many people as possible to register to be potential donors.

Final steps. For many patients with blood cancers, chemotherapy or radiation is done to eradicate cancer cells or damaged marrow cells, which then are replaced via the transplant of donated bone marrow stem cells.

October 30, 2017

A genetic modification that makes some mosquitoes more attractive to the opposite sex may boost the chances of fighting malaria, a new study shows.

As reported recently at the site HealthDay, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health were working on two projects involving malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

One study showed a genetically modified version of a particular bacteria commonly found in mosquitoes could inhibit the development of the malaria parasite inside the mosquito. That in turn could reduce the possibility the parasite could be transmitted to humans.

Another study found a way to strengthen the immune system of the mosquitoes that carry malaria, allowing them to suppress the malaria-carrying parasite from within.

October 23, 2017

A safer medication for heart patients is being developed and features a surprising ingredient.

Based on a protein found in snake venom called trowaglerix, the experimental drug has successfully prevented blood clotting in mice without causing excessive bleeding following an injury, according to research published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.

Antiplatelet drugs are prescribed to heart patients to treat or prevent heart disease, stroke and heart attack. They work by stopping blood cells called platelets from sticking together and forming blood clots.

However, excessive bleeding is a major side effect of the currently available antiplatelet drugs.

October 16, 2017

By Kelly McGinty

In most cases, medications will not disqualify you as a blood donor.

Those taken for high blood pressure and allergies, birth control pills, vitamins and diet pills do not affect your eligibility. Over-the-counter oral homeopathic medications, herbal remedies and nutritional supplements are also acceptable.

However, there are a handful of drugs that do have an impact on your blood donation. If you’re taking these medications, there are waiting periods following your last dose before you can give blood.

Anti-platelet agents affect platelet function, so if you take them you have to wait between two to 14 days to donate platelets. However, you may still be able to donate whole blood.