Irish Minister For Older People Launches ‘Say No To Ageism Week’

This initiative is being implemented by the Health Service Executive, the Equality Authority and the National Council on Ageing and Older People. It aims to promote a new awareness of ageism and how it excludes older people from society. Public campaigns to raise awareness and to stimulate practical action within organisations form part of the initiative. Promoting equality for older people as customers is another key element.

The HSE has agreed to spearhead practical action to achieve these objectives. It has already taken the lead by developing and implementing an action programme during 2006. This involved the devising of initiatives in locations aimed at improving age friendly service provision in a workplace or residential setting in 15 trial sites which are involved in a range of service provision settings. The work was kept under review during the year and a report was prepared so that the learning could be disseminated throughout the Executive.

Employment Equality laws exist in order to protect people from discrimination on various grounds, including age. Much of the work of the Equality Authority concerns allegations of ageism. Cases usually involve allegations of discrimination by older people in relation to job advertisements, access to employment, working conditions and retirement ages. Case files under the Equal Status Acts involve allegations of discrimination in relation to access to motor insurance, travel insurance and public sector services. Ageism therefore diminishes the participation by older people in the life of society and limits their access to key services supporting their quality of life.

Status and recognition for older people is reduced where different generations are segregated and older people become invisible or where they are deemed to be a burden. ‘Say No to Ageism’ week aims to challenge existing attitudes through the use of billboards, the media and posters.

Speaking after the launch at Clonmel Street, Dublin 2, Minister Hoctor said that the HSE, the Equality Authority and the National Council on Ageing and Older People were to be praised on their co-ordinated approach and that it was most encouraging to see the range of activities involved in “Say No to Ageism” week. She added that this initiative would definitely play a practical role in helping to combat ageism in society today.

Department of Health and Children

‘Call To Action To Prevent DVT And Pulmonary Embolism’

Acting Surgeon General Steven K. Galson, M.D., M.P.H., has issued a Call to Action to reduce the number of cases of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism in the United States.

Galson urged all Americans to learn about and prevent these treatable conditions.

Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism affect an estimated 350,000 to 600,000 Americans each year, and the numbers are expected to increase as the U.S. population ages. Together, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism contribute to at least 100,000 deaths each year.

Deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot in a deep vein, most commonly in the lower leg or thigh. The clot can block blood flow and cause pain, swelling, and skin discoloration.

In the most serious cases, deep vein thrombosis can lead to a pulmonary embolism – when part of the blood clot breaks loose and travels through the bloodstream to the lungs, where it can block a lung artery, causing damage to the lungs or other organs from lack of oxygen.

“Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolisms are often ‘silent’ conditions – they can occur suddenly and without symptoms,” Galson said. “But we have made a lot of progress in understanding how these disorders develop and how to prevent, diagnose, and treat them. It’s time to put this knowledge into action.”

Researchers have found that in most cases, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism develops in people who have an inherited blood clotting disorder or other risk factor, and who experience a triggering event.

“Being hospitalized or confined to bed rest, having major surgery, suffering a trauma, or traveling for several hours can increase a person’s risk of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism,” Galson said. “We want to increase the awareness and knowledge of these potentially deadly conditions and encourage patients and health care providers to take the steps to prevent them.”

The Call to Action urges a coordinated, multifaceted plan to reduce the numbers of cases of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism nationwide. The plan emphasizes the need for:
Increased awareness about deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.

Evidence-based practices for deep vein thrombosis.

More research on the causes, prevention, and treatment of deep vein thrombosis.

The Call to Action resulted from a Surgeon General’s Workshop on Deep Vein Thrombosis which was convened in May 2006. The workshop was co-sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health.

“Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism are major public health problems, and NHLBI is committed to continuing to support important basic and clinical research to advance our understanding of these disabling and potentially fatal conditions,” NHLBI Director Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D., noted. “Research is shedding light on genetic factors and the role of triggering events, behaviors, and conditions that increase the risk of developing dangerous blood clots. It is imperative that clinicians and public health experts work together to translate this scientific evidence to save lives.”

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) contributed to the Call to Action with the release of two new guides – one for patients and another for health care providers – on how to prevent dangerous blood clots. “Fighting deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism is a team effort that involves health care providers and patients,” said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D.


The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism 2008, is available at surgeongeneral/library/calls/index.html.

Source: HHS Office of Public Health and Science
NIH/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute

One In Seven Americans Age 71 And Older Has Some Type Of Dementia, NIH-Funded Study Estimates

A new analysis suggests that about 3.4 million Americans age 71 and older – one in seven people in that age group – have dementia, and 2.4 million of them have Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The study, supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is the latest in a series of analyses attempting to assess the prevalence of dementia and AD, the most common form of dementia. Published online this week in Neuroepidemiology, the study is the first to estimate rates of dementia and AD using a nationally representative sample of older adults across the United States.

Brenda L. Plassman, Ph.D., of Duke University Medical Center, with Kenneth M. Langa, M.D., Ph.D., and David R. Weir, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan, Robert B. Wallace, Ph.D., of the University of Iowa, and others, conducted the analysis as part of the Aging, Demographics and Memory Study (ADAMS). ADAMS is a sub-study of the larger Health and Retirement Study (HRS), the leading resource for data on the combined health and economic circumstances of Americans over age 50. ADAMS and the HRS are sponsored by the National Institute on Aging, a component of NIH, under a cooperative agreement with the University of Michigan.

The study highlights the nationwide reach of dementia, which affects not only those with the disease, but their families and communities as well. “As the population ages during the next few decades, the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease will increase several-fold unless effective interventions are discovered and implemented,” said NIA Director Richard J. Hodes, M.D. “These data underscore the urgency of research in this area.”

The study included 856 HRS participants age 71 and older from 42 states in 2001-2003. ADAMS interviewers from Duke University Medical School conducted at-home evaluations to gather information about each participant’s cognitive and functional status and symptoms, neuropsychiatric symptoms, current medications, medical history and family history of memory problems. Prior neuroimaging and laboratory results were also obtained.

A team of clinicians reviewed the evaluation information and made a preliminary assessment of each person’s cognitive status. A consensus panel of other medical experts then used well-accepted diagnostic criteria to determine if the participant had normal cognitive function, cognitive impairment without dementia, or dementia. Such criteria further were used to discern the type of dementia, including AD or vascular dementia, the second most common cause of dementia in older adults.

Based on the experts’ classifications, Drs. Plassman and Langa and co-authors estimated the national prevalence and total numbers of people age 71 and older, by age group, with any dementia and with AD or vascular dementia in 2002. According to their calculations, 13.9 percent of Americans age 71 and older have some type of dementia, 9.7 percent of Americans in that age group have AD, and 2.4 percent have vascular dementia. AD accounted for about 70 percent of all dementia cases among people 71 and older.

As in other studies, the ADAMS analysis showed that the prevalence of dementia increases significantly with age. Five percent of people ages 71 to 79, 24.2 percent of people 80 to 89, and 37.4 percent of those 90 years or older were estimated to have some type of dementia. The estimated rate of Alzheimer’s also rose greatly with older age – from 2.3 percent of people ages 71 to 79 to 18.1 percent of people 80 to 89 to 29.7 percent of those age 90 and older. The ADAMS investigators found fewer years of education and the presence of at least one APOE e4 allele, a genetic risk factor for AD, to be strong predictors of AD and other dementias.

Richard Suzman, Ph.D., director of NIA’s Behavioral and Social Research Program, which jointly directs the HRS, said the ADAMS data will prove particularly valuable not only in assessing the prevalence of dementia, but also its impact. “ADAMS, with its link to the data about the health, economic, and family resources of individuals in the study, will help us to characterize more fully the burden of dementia on individuals, caregivers and the nation’s health care system,” he says.

The ADAMS report is the latest published study to estimate the prevalence of dementia and AD among older Americans. “These assessments have provided a range of estimates, based on differing methodologies and approaches,” explains Dallas Anderson, Ph.D., program director for population studies in NIA’s Dementias of Aging Branch. For example, some studies have included lower age ranges than ADAMS or broader characterizations of dementia, or have sampled participants in a specific community as a base for national extrapolations. A study reported in 1998 (Brookmeyer et al., 1998) combined incidence data from four community-based studies, estimating that national Alzheimer’s prevalence among individuals age 60 years or older would rise from 2.3 million in 1997 to 8.6 million in 2047. Widely cited estimates based on the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease in a Chicago-based community (Hebert et al., 2003), and an earlier comparable study using data from East Boston (Evans et al., 1990) forecast the number of those age 65 or older with AD to be 5.1 million in 2010.

Despite the varied approaches and findings, however, NIA experts point out, the numbers of people with dementia, and Alzheimer’s specifically, will certainly increase until ways to delay the progression or prevent the dementia are found. Advancing age is the most common known risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.

The HRS is an ongoing national survey of 22,000 adults age 51 and older that began in 1992, providing data that helps researchers, policy makers and others understand the life circumstances of older adults and help address the challenges of the nation’s rapidly aging population. The ADAMS and HRS data are made publicly available to researchers seeking to conduct studies about the older U.S. population. For further information about the HRS and ADAMS, visit or nia.nih/ResearchInformation/HRS.htm.

NIA leads the federal effort supporting and conducting research on aging and the medical, social and behavioral issues of older people, including AD and age-related cognitive change. For information on dementia and aging, please visit NIA’s Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center at nia.nih/alzheimers. For more general information on research and aging, go to nia.nih. Please visit the Web sites to sign up for e-mail notification of new information and publications about aging and about age-related cognitive change.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) – The Nation’s Medical Research Agency – includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit nih.

Insomnia Affects 23% Of US Workforce, Costing $63.2 Billion Annually

The average American worker loses 11.3 days in lost productivity annually because of insomnia; that is equivalent to a loss of $2,280 each, researchers report in the journal Sleep. Insomnia is a condition characterized by difficulty falling asleep and remaining asleep. It includes a wide spectrum of sleep disorders, from not enough sleep to lack of quality sleep.

Ronald Kessler, lead author, Harvard Medical School, said:

“We were shocked by the enormous impact insomnia has on the average person’s life. It’s an underappreciated problem. Americans are not missing work because of insomnia. They are still going to their jobs but accomplishing less because they’re tired. In an information-based economy, it’s difficult to find a condition that has a greater effect on productivity.”

Insomnia is sometimes separated into three kinds:

Transient insomnia – symptoms last for only a few days or weeks at the most.
Acute (short-term) insomnia – symptoms last for several weeks.
Chronic insomnia – symptoms last for some months and even years.

All age groups can be affected by insomnia. More adult females are affected than adult males.

Insomnia can lead to anxiety, depression, obesity, poor work/school performance. It can also undermine a human’s immune system, which in turn raises the risk and severity of long-term disease.

In this study, Kessier and team gathered data on 7,428 employees from the American Insomnia Study, which was funded by pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis. The individuals were asked about their sleeping patterns, work performance, among other questions.

They found that 23.2% of the participants had insomnia. While workers aged at least 65 years had the lowest rates of insomnia (14.3%), it affected 27.1% of working women and 19.7% working men.

The authors added that clinical sleep medicine experts independently examined a sample of participants to confirm the reliability of their estimates.

With such a massive economic burden on the country caused by insomnia, Kessler believes screening and treatment programs for workers should be set up. However, insomnia is not seen as an illness. So its effect on lost working days or man-hours is ignored by employers.

Kessler said:

“Now that we know how much insomnia costs the American workplace, the question for employers is whether the price of intervention is worthwhile. Can U.S. employers afford not to address insomnia in the workplace?”

Treating insomnia can vary, from approximately $200 annually for a generic sleeping medication, to $1,200 for behavioral therapy to treat the disorder, said James K. Walsh, study co-author, from the Sleep Medicine and Research Center at St. Luke’s Hospital in Chesterfield, Mo.

19% of individuals with less than a high school education were found to suffer from insomnia, compared to college graduates at 21.5%. People with some college education, at 26.4% insomnia prevalence, had the highest rates, followed by workers with a high school education (25.3%).

Insomnia can be caused by physical as well as psychological factors. Frequently, an underlying medical condition may be the cause of chronic insomnia, while a recent event or occurrence is more likely to be the cause of transient insomnia.

Insomnia can be caused by drugs, alcohol, medications, caffeine, nicotine, disruptions in circadian rhythm (jet lag, shift work), stress, anxiety, depression, brain lesions, chronic pain, and several medical conditions. Having a loud snorer as a partner is a common cause of insomnia.

Call For Somerset Smokers To Mark Cancer Prevention Week With A Positive Lifestyle Change, England

NHS Smoking Service says one in two smokers will die from their habit. NHS Somerset is urging people to protect themselves against lung cancer as part of national Cancer Prevention Week. Smoking is the biggest single risk factor: in the UK approximately one third of all cancer deaths are attributable to smoking. According to the South West Public Health Observatory, the poorest fifth of the population has double the rate of lung cancer than the richest.

While the rates have been steady for the richest women with lung cancer, they have gone up by 30 per cent for the poorest women. Death rates in the poorest women have also gone up by 18 per cent over the last 20 years.

One in two smokers dies prematurely and nearly one in four will die of lung cancer.

Current smokers are fifteen times more likely to die from lung cancer than life-long non-smokers.

Jonathan Chetland from Somerset NHS Stop Smoking Service said: “Smoking is the single biggest contributor to health inequalities, premature death and disease in the UK. More than one in two of all lifelong smokers will die from their habit through diseases such as lung cancer”.

“70 per cent of smokers want to quit. Many smokers have tried to unsuccessfully quit on their own and have been put off trying again. The NHS Stop Smoking Service provides a wide range of advice and support.

Give the service a call and talk to a friendly advisor who can help you on the road to a smoke-free life on 0844 568 9840 or visit somersetstopsmoking.nhs

NHS Somerset

Potential Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Storage In Depleted Oil Wells

Depleted oil wells and deep saline aquifers may hold promise as repositories for atmospheric carbon dioxide, according to a team of researchers whose study is published in Geology. For their experiment, Yousif Kharaka of the U.S. Geological Survey, Dave Cole of ORNL’s Chemical Sciences Division and colleagues injected 1,600 tons of carbon dioxide to a depth of 1,500 meters into a brine aquifer hosted by a sandstone formation in the Texas Gulf Coast. Researchers tracked the movement of the CO2 via chemical and stable isotope data, including pH, alkalinity, iron and gas compositions, and oxygen and hydrogen isotopes of the brine. They discovered that the CO2 caused rapid dissolution of minerals, especially calcite and iron oxyhdroxides, which could lead to the creation of pathways in the rock and leakage of CO2 and brine. Ultimately, additional research is needed to answer some key questions about whether this approach is viable for sequestering CO2. The research was funded by DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy.


Source: Story tips from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, August 2006

Ron Walli

Contact: Ron Walli
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory

New Data Support Long-Term Use Of AMBIEN CRTM (zolpidem Tartrate Extended- Release) Tablets C(IV) For Up To 24 Weeks

(Paris Bourse: EURONEXT: SAN; and New York: NYSE: SNY) today announced
results from a study that demonstrated AMBIEN CR is well-tolerated and
effective in improving sleep onset and maintenance for up to six months in
patients with chronic primary insomnia when taken as needed for up to seven
nights per week, without rebound insomnia following discontinuation. These
data are being presented on July 12 in Chicago at the CINP (Collegium
Internationale Neuro- Psychopharmacologicum) 25th Biennial Congress, a
meeting ground for clinicians and scientists to report new scientific
evidence in biochemistry, pharmacology, safety, and therapeutic efficacy of
neuropsychiatric drugs.

According to the data, AMBIEN CR demonstrated significant improvements
in total sleep time (TST), sleep onset latency (SOL), wake time after sleep
onset (WASO), sleep quality, and number of awakenings versus placebo.
AMBIEN CR is the first and only controlled release prescription sleep
medicine approved by the FDA for sleep induction and sleep maintenance.

“These data are important for patients who experience chronic insomnia
because they demonstrate there is a treatment option in AMBIEN CR that can
be taken safely and effectively as needed long-term to help them both fall
asleep and maintain sleep through the night,” said Tom Roth, PhD, director,
Sleep Disorders Center, Henry Ford Hospital.

About the Study

This multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled evaluation of AMBIEN
CR 12.5mg involved 1,018 adult volunteers who were studied for a period of
25 weeks. The objective of this study was to evaluate the long-term safety
and efficacy of AMBIEN CR taken as needed up to 7 nights per week. Efficacy
was assessed by Patient Global Impression (PGI) and Clinical Global
Impression (CGI) scales every 4th week and daily morning questionnaires.
The PGI scale requires patients to rate how much their condition has
improved or worsened relative to baseline. The Clinical Global Impression
(CGI) scale requires the clinician to rate how much the patient’s condition
has improved or worsened relative to baseline. The primary endpoint of the
study was the 12-week PGI aid to sleep. Rebound insomnia was evaluated the
first three nights after treatment discontinuation at the end of the study.

Study Results

In PGI measurements for the AMBIEN CR group at weeks 12 and 24, 89.8%
and 92.3% of patients reported that treatment helped them sleep versus
51.4% and 59.7% of patients in the placebo group. From score analysis,
AMBIEN CR significantly improved PGI versus placebo at each 4-week interval
of the 24- week treatment period (P

About Insomnia

Chronic insomnia affects approximately 30 million Americans, according
to a 2006 report of the Institute of Medicine Committee (IOM) on Sleep
Medicine and Sleep Research. The long-term effects of sleep disorders have
been associated with a variety of serious medical conditions.

Insomnia can lead to stress and reduced productivity, and thus may be
costly to the workplace. Research shows insomnia can be a predictor of
absenteeism. Poor work efficiency has been demonstrated in insomniacs
compared to normal sleepers. Chronic and occasional insomniacs were both
more likely to doze off during daytime activities or when bored, and to
take naps than individuals who do not experience insomnia.


AMBIEN CR is the first and only controlled-release formula prescription
sleep medication approved by the FDA for sleep maintenance in addition to
sleep induction. AMBIEN CR is a bi-layered tablet delivered in two stages.
The first layer dissolves quickly to induce sleep. The second layer is
released more gradually into the body to help provide more continuous

AMBIEN CR is indicated for treating insomnia. It is a treatment option
you and your healthcare professional can consider along with lifestyle
changes and can be taken for as long as your healthcare professional
recommends. Until you know how AMBIEN CR will affect you, you shouldn’t
drive or operate machinery. Be sure you’re able to devote 7 to 8 hours to
sleep before being active again. Side effects may include next-day
drowsiness, dizziness and headache. It’s non-narcotic; however, like most
sleep medicines it has some risk of dependency. Don’t take it with alcohol.

For full prescribing information, please visit AMBIENCR and see accompanying prescribing information.

About sanofi-aventis

Sanofi-aventis is the world’s third largest pharmaceutical company,
ranking number one in Europe. Backed by a world-class R&D organization,
sanofi-aventis is developing leading positions in seven major therapeutic
areas: cardiovascular, thrombosis, oncology, metabolic diseases, central
nervous system, internal medicine, and vaccines. Sanofi-aventis is listed
in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY)

Forward Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements as defined in
the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking
statements are statements that are not historical facts. These statements
include financial projections and estimates and their underlying
assumptions, statements regarding plans, objectives and expectations with
respect to future events, operations, products and services, and statements
regarding future performance. Forward-looking statements are generally
identified by the words “expect,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “intends,”
“estimates,” “plans” and similar expressions. Although sanofi-aventis’
management believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking
statements are reasonable, investors are cautioned that forward-looking
information and statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties,
many of which are difficult to predict and generally beyond the control of
sanofi-aventis, that could cause actual results and developments to differ
materially from those expressed in, or implied or projected by, the
forward-looking information and statements. These risks and uncertainties
include those discussed or identified in the public filings with the SEC
and the AMF made by sanofi-aventis, including those listed under “Risk
Factors” and “Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward- Looking Statements”
in sanofi-aventis’ annual report on Form 20-F for the year ended December
31, 2005. Other than as required by applicable law, sanofi- aventis does
not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward- looking
information or statements.


Verenium Announces Changes In Senior Management

Verenium Corporation (Nasdaq: VRNM), a pioneer in the development and commercialization of high-performance industrial enzyme solutions, today announced a series of changes within its senior management team to take effect March 31:

– Carlos Riva, currently Director, President and Chief Executive Officer, will be retiring from his position at the Company. He will continue to be available to the Company as a consultant for a period of time.

– James Levine, currently Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, will be promoted to President and Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Carlos Riva. He will also be elected to the Company’s Board of Directors.

– Jeffrey Black, currently Senior Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer, will be promoted to Chief Financial Officer. He will continue to report to Levine.

– Janet Roemer will continue as Chief Operating Officer and will report to Levine.

“This is an exciting time for Verenium and I am very pleased to have the opportunity to continue to partner with Janet, Jeff and the rest of our team as we focus on realizing Verenium’s vision of building the next leading industrial enzymes company,” said James Levine, President and Chief Executive Officer Designate of Verenium. “On behalf of the Company and our Board of Directors, I’d also like to recognize the many contributions Carlos made in his time here and wish him well with his future plans.”

Source: Verenium Corporation

Older Motorists Improve Driving Performance With Physical Conditioning

Older people who performed a physical conditioning program developed by researchers at Yale School of Medicine were able to maintain or enhance their driving performance, potentially leading to a safer and more independent quality of life.

As the number of older drivers increases, concern about the safety implications have been raised and was a motivator for the study. Flexibility, coordination and speed of movement have been linked with older drivers’ on road performance.

Published in the May issue of Journal of General Internal Medicine, the study of 178 Greater New Haven area drivers age 70 and older, was led by Internal Medicine Associate Professor Richard Marottoli, M.D., and colleagues at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System in West Haven and the Department of Rehabilitation Services at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Participants in the intervention group received weekly visits for 12 weeks by a physical therapist who guided them through a graduated exercise program directed at physical abilities potentially relevant to driving based on earlier studies. They exercised for seven days a week for 15 minutes, focusing on the hips, ankles, knees, shoulders, hands and feet. Therapists noted gait abnormalities and made recommendations to correct unsafe or inefficient gait patterns. They encouraged walking for exercise.

The control group received monthly in-home education that reviewed general safety issues about home safety, fall prevention and vehicle care. The intervention group also received these materials.

Participants completed an on-road driving evaluation on a mix of highway driving, parking lot maneuvers and low, medium and high traffic density areas. Either a specially trained occupational therapist or a former Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) assessor evaluated participants. Driving performance was rated on a 36-item scale that evaluated a number of driving maneuvers and traffic conditions based on the driving evaluation form used by the CT DMV. Each item was scored zero for major problem, one for minor problem and two for no problem. Total scores ranged from zero (worst) to 72 (best).

Participants who received the intervention increased their road test scores after three months. Intervention drivers also committed 37 percent fewer critical errors.

“We found that this was a safe, well-tolerated intervention that maintained driving performance,” said Marottoli, who is also Medical Director of the Dorothy Adler Geriatric Assessment Center at Yale-New Haven Hospital. “Having interventions that can maintain or enhance driving performance may allow clinician-patient discussions about driving to adopt a more positive tone, rather than focusing on limiting driving or stopping patients from driving.”

Other authors on the study included Heather Allore, Katy L.B. Araujo, Lynne P. Iannone, Denise Acampora, Margaret Gottschalk, Peter Charpentier, Stanislav Kasl and Peter Peduzzi.

Citation: JGIM (May 2007)

Stanford And NYU Scientists Cross Threshold In Regenerative Medicine

By now, most people have read stories about how to “grow your own organs” using stem cells is just a breakthrough away. Despite the hype, this breakthrough has been elusive. A new report published in the March 2009 issue of The FASEB Journal (fasebj) brings bioengineered organs a step closer, as scientists from Stanford and New York University Langone Medical Center describe how they were able to use a “scaffolding” material extracted from the groin area of mice on which stem cells from blood, fat, and bone marrow grew. This advance clears two major hurdles to bioengineered replacement organs, namely a matrix on which stem cells can form a 3-dimensional organ and transplant rejection.

“The ability to provide stem cells with a scaffold to grow and differentiate into mature cells could revolutionize the field of organ transplantation,” said Geoffrey Gurtner, M.D., Associate Professor of Surgery at Stanford University and a senior researcher involved in the work.

To make this advance, Gurtner and colleagues first had to demonstrate that expendable pieces of tissue (called “free flaps”) could be sustained in the laboratory. To do this, they harvested a piece of tissue containing blood vessels, fat, and skin from the groin area of rats and used a bioreactor to provide nutrients and oxygen to keep it alive. Then, they seeded the extracted tissue with stem cells before it was implanted back into the animal. Once the tissue was back in the mice, the stem cells continued to grow on their own and the implant was not rejected. This suggests that if the stem cells had been coaxed into becoming an organ, the organ would have “taken hold” in the animal’s body. In addition to engineering the stem cells to form a specific organ around the extracted tissue, they also could be engineered to express specific proteins which allows for even greater potential uses of this technology.

“Myth has its lures, but so does modern science. The notion of using one tissue as the scaffold for another is as old as the Birth of Venus to the Book of Genesis,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. “Eve may or may not have been formed from Adam’s rib, but these experiments show exactly how stem cell techniques can be used to turn one’s own tissue into newly-formed, architecturally-sound organs.”


Research Report Details: Edward I. Chang, Robert G. Bonillas, Samyra El-ftesi, Eric I. Chang, Daniel J. Ceradini, Ivan N. Vial, Denise A. Chan, Joseph Michaels, V, and Geoffrey C. Gurtner. Tissue engineering using autologous microcirculatory beds as vascularized bioscaffolds. FASEB J. 2009 23: 906-915. fasebj/cgi/content/abstract/23/3/906

The FASEB Journal (fasebj) is published by the Federation of the American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) and is the most cited journal worldwide according to the Institute for Scientific Information. FASEB comprises 22 nonprofit societies with more than 80,000 members, making it the largest coalition of biomedical research associations in the United States. FASEB advances biological science through collaborative advocacy for research policies that promote scientific progress and education and lead to improvements in human health.

Source: Cody Mooneyhan

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology