James Harrison needed surgery and a large amount of blood when he was 14 years of age. As an adult he wanted to repay the favor and so for the next 60 years he donated blood 1,173 times. Medical professionals discovered that his blood contained a rare antibody that when combined with a certain medication would go on to save more then 2 million babies from dying of a fatal disease. Anti-D was issued in approximately 3 million doses to mothers since 1967. The Red Cross in Australia said that there are only about 160 donors that have this rare plasma. Certain babies born with a rare blood type can develop hemolytic disease of the fetus which is fatal. At 81 “the man with the golden arm” as Mr. Harrison was known will have to stop giving blood. It is felt that he might now compromise his own health. Researchers are now working on “A James in the Jar version” in attempting to recreate his antibody synthetically. p.s. I should mention that James is terrified of needles.
Scientists have always believed that the human heart stops producing new cells after birth and that these cells do not multiply but only grow in size as we age. However, according to a new study published in the “Journal of Physiology” exercise at an early age can increase the number of these cells and that these cells will remain with us for life. Scientists divided rodents into three groups. They started them on an exercise routine at ages that were equivalent to what humans would classify as childhood, adolescence and adulthood. All the groups had bigger cardiac-muscle cells but the childhood group had as many as 20 million additional cardiomyocytes (the type of cells that contract). The group that began as adolescents had some but fewer. Although exercise will benefit a heart at any age, these extra cells make it more likely to survive a heart attack in later years. Time to get the kids out there away from the TV, computer and video games and have them start adding those extra heart cells.
Researchers at the “New York University School of Medicine” have discovered what they believe to be a new organ in the body. Not only was it overlooked but it is said to be the largest organ in the body. It is a network of fluid filled latticework tissue that is said to surround every organ in the body. Through electron microscopy it was determined that this network composed of collagen and elastin connective tissue, contained a fluid that was in constant motion throughout the body. Scientists believe that it may be the key to how disease is spread, especially cancer, throughout the body and is allowed to enter the lymphatic system. New in-vitro technology has enabled it to be studied inside the body because previously it collapsed when it was cut and removed from within which is why it remained undiscovered. The ”interstitium” as it is called may be what is responsible for keeping our organs in place as well as acting as a massive shock absorber as we move.
There are many benefits to a fiber rich diet. Reduced risk of diabetes, hypertension etc. But why? Instead of feeding us directly what fiber does is feed our intestinal bacteria. For proper digestion, we need to call on enzymes for assistance to break down a nutrient into its smaller components. What we classify as the indigestible part of a plant called fiber is actually digested and used as nourishment for the microbiome (healthy gut bacteria) that line our intestinal track. To test this theory scientists at Georgia State University separated mice into two groups. One group was placed on a high fiber diet and the other on a low fiber, high fat diet. After examining the feces from the two groups they discovered that the low fiber, high fat group had a collapse in their microbiome population, their intestines started to narrow and their inflammation level increased. It seems that each plant and fruit provides a different fiber which in turn feeds a different population of bacteria in our gut. I guess there is truth to the saying “an apple a day……”