Connect with us

Recent News

The Human Sugar Project: The Next Major Breakthrough in Medicine- Glycome



The key explanation of how life works reside in the gene. You may have heard of the Human Genome Project, a major breakthrough in 2003. This international scientific research is now the gold standard to diagnose certain diseases based on their nucleotide sequences. As a result of this unique gene mapping sequence, physicians are utilizing gene therapy to diagnose and treat patients. This depicted a significant advancement in our healthcare industry, but now there is a shift in the current focus.

Today’s emphasis revolves around glycans- the sugar component of DNA. It’s not the usual scientific study of utilizing genomics, the study of genes, or the proteomics, the study of proteins. The term glycomics is used for the study of glycome/sugar components of the cell, and it could soon potentially be the key to diagnose the next set of diseases.

Glycomes are sugars, but not the sweetener which you add to your coffee or components of your candy bar you may be thinking of. They are the powerful sugar structures that scientists have observed to be linked to health problems and autoimmune diseases. Glycomes are made up of long sugar chains of monosaccharides linked by glycosidic linkages. They are usually found attached to another component such as glycoproteins or proteoglycans and generally create a sugar coat around the surface of a cell and modifies the proteins and fats.

In a Nature article,  Dr. Wong and her colleagues found that glycosphingolipids (GSLs) play important roles in cell-to-cell recognition. These are a group of complex lipids linked to a glycan moiety. Malignant cancers show abnormal glycosylation of GSLs, which can be used to find cell surface glycosylation and cancer progression.

Another laboratory is currently involved in research of glycans and its associated attachments sites. Glycans are necessary to modify the proteins and fats on the surface of our cell and are vital for the protection of the human body from bacteria and pathogens. In this study, researchers are attempting to “crack the sugar code” to find the location of glycans on various cell types. With this information, medicinal therapies could be produced and specified for each developing diseases.     

For the next 5 years, the National Institutes of Health are investing greater resources into the area of glycosciences. The understanding of glycan-mediated processes could impact new discoveries for the treatment of chronic diseases related to sugars.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Even a Million Dollar NBA Player Has Personal Obstacles to Overcome



We might see professional athletes as role models who are unstoppable, but they too have their own hurdles to get across. Cleveland Cavalier Kevin Love, an advocate for mental health, described his own experiences of how he balanced anxiety and basketball.

In the Player’s Tribune, Love admittedly said that “I didn’t want to look weak. Honestly, I just didn’t think I needed it.” Last November during a game against the Hawks, Love encountered a panic attack and abruptly had to step out midway. People mostly pay attention to physical health and wellness, especially for athletes, and not towards mental health. Growing up around the stigma that all men needed to be strong without discussing any feelings, Love always felt that he was forced to repress his grievances and hardships. By suppressing his thoughts for 21 years, it just made his mental health more complicated.

He emphasizes the importance of discussing out loud our inner feelings and confronting the fact that “I need help.” He wants everyone to know that “everyone is going through something we can’t see.”

“Everyone is going through something we can’t see.”

The primacy concern regarding mental health illness is that it isn’t seen visibly. That is why it is difficult for some people to accept this illness without observing any tangible evidence.

A few months later after Love confessed his situation to the public, Carson Daly conducted a full interview with him on the Today Show. He finally decided to break the silence and opened his heart to the public about how he overcame the stigmas of mental illness. Even though it may be a never ending process filled with dark thoughts and a constant battle in your mind, he found much more support when he spoke openly about mental health to others. Now, Love goes to a therapist and is continuing to combat his internal fight every day. His social media fans are inspired by his actions and are fascinated by his admittance.

It’s not only Love who acknowledges mental illness as a prominent problem; it is a recurring trend where celebrities are opening up about their internal struggles to the public during interviews. Diminishing psychological health is understandable for people who are constantly under high pressure and stress from society. A few months ago, renowned people such as Janet Jackson and Ariana Grande opened up about their personal conflicts in the People’s article. We should respect that these public figures, role models, and celebrities are still human. As humans, we all have individual hardships to conquer; but together, everyone’s support can help bring awareness and care for mental diseases. As more people feel comfortable enough to come out from the dark to discuss their feelings openly, mental illness will soon demand a greater focus in society.

Continue Reading

Insurance and Policy

The Progress Since Dr. Stephen Klasko’s 2014 Prediction



Dr. Stephen Klasko, CEO of Stevie’s Vinyl Emporium and Implantable Health Chips in Philadelphia, gave a remarkable speech on January 2014 at the TEDx Conference: What Healthcare Will Look Like in 2020? He is one of the pioneers for Leaders of the Optimistic Future in Healthcare Revolution and is a well-respected, transformative leader who promotes healthcare and higher education.

Briefly summarizing his speech, he started by discussing how healthcare appeared before 2014. He revealed that there was no management, no budget, and no real amendments until Obamacare. 37 years later after his last speech in 1977, Dr. Stephen Klasko still finds no improvement within the healthcare system. You might wonder why there is such little progress made, in spite of technological advancements of the Internet and the smartphones.

He was very optimistic when he predicted the next decade from now until 2024. He mentioned that his inspiration came from a sneaker commercial that quoted:

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men and women who find it easier to live the world they’ve been given rather than explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact, it’s an opinion. Impossible is temporary, impossible is nothing.”

Now, Dr. Klasko is ready to challenge the impossible. He mentioned three main goals:

  1. First, to create “docs of the future.” Other than basing med school application by GPA and MCAT scores, the focus should be placed on employing doctors who are “empathetic, commutative, and creative.” An article stated that there is a “lack of empathy, and poor communication drive in many malpractice cases,” but luckily the focus has shifted to teach students more about art and observation. Along with simply giving out an accurate prescription and going through stricter education requirements, doctors are now expected to form an emotional patient-physician relationship. There are increasing numbers of Empathetic programs which future doctors can undertake, and the outcome is expected to be quite satisfactory.
  2. Next, to enhance the patient experience and offering options of telemedicine. Patients can easily access a doctor and obtain a prescription without waiting in line. This easy access and affordable treatment have helped both employers and patients with the new range of services. This global health market is predicted to grow to $34 billion by 2020, which ensures a greater population having access to healthcare. Telemedicine has made our technological era much more advanced, offering millions of people a cheaper and more efficient healthcare system to improve patient outcomes.
  3. Lastly, recognizing the ability to use other industries’ resources such as mathematical modeling. We were able to create a predictive analysis of retention for patients after seeking care. Now doctors are accountable for consumer performance and extend their services, so patient’s don’t get readmitted back to the hospital. Dr. Stephen Kalasko mentioned that 28% of patients have to return to the hospital due to lack of proper follow-ups. With greater emphasis on doctor’s performance and better feedback, there is more accountability to provide a higher standard for healthcare. Precision medicine aims to achieve medical revolution to individualized therapies and aid “patient stratification, monitoring, and treatment designs.”

The perception here today is that we are currently under the premise of a healthcare revolution, with the help of various technological developments. Philadelphia is the epicenter for a community of physicians who are ready to take on new systems built with compassion and creativity. The next decade will surely surprise us with all these transformations to make our public health system much more advanced and opportunistic.


Continue Reading

Recent News

The Potential Red Blood Cell Treatment for Type II Diabetes



29.1 million people have Type II diabetes, a chronic disease where the body’s insulin levels are altered, and β-cells of pancreas does not function properly. This causes the blood glucose levels to rise above normal and eventually create severe health circumstances. Recent research has correlated this chronic disease with red blood cells rather than blood vessels, and scientists are undergoing further investigation to discover preventative care treatments.

Hemoglobin, a protein that makes up 95% of red blood cells, helps to carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. This molecule attaches to glucose and remains there for as long as up to three months, which is recorded as HbA1c. Most of the red blood cells have a lifespan of 3-4 months.  When this concentration of HbA1c reaches higher than the average concentration, it means that there are elevated levels of glucose in your blood and it is critical to managing your glucose levels.

Some short-term complications with Type II diabetes are sleepiness, headaches, rapid heart rate, sweating, and numbness in fingers, toes, and lips. If left untreated, Type II diabetes can develop into more serious complications such as affecting the eyes, kidneys, heart, brain, and blood vessels. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have noted that now people who have diabetes are more prone to cardiovascular injury such as heart attacks.

New Study Shows How Diabetes Attacks the Blood

Previous studies had claimed that healthy blood vessels’ tissues were damaged when they came into contact with red blood cells. Current research has shown that red blood cells are the targeting factor that is damaged, which leads to increased risks of strokes and heart attacks.

Blood vessels help in transporting glucose and insulin throughout the body. If there are high glucose levels, it was assumed previously that the clotted vessels lead to advanced glycation end products (AGEs); hence organs cannot be adequately fed. Now, the research focus is towards the innermost cell layer of the red blood cells which is made up of endothelial cells. With the in-depth understanding of diabetes, the root cause has been found to be the abnormal activity of the enzyme- arginase produced by endothelial cells.   

Scientists have observed that patients with diabetes have an up-regulation of arginase and reactive oxygen species within the red blood cells. This is significant as newer avenues targeting arginase can prevent cardiovascular complications. Hopefully, with advances in research and scientific studies, there will be a solution for the complications of diabetes and red blood cells arginase could potentially be the next therapeutic target.

Continue Reading

Digital Health News