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Archive - Oct 2019

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October 3rd

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) of Specific Brain Area Offers Powerful Anti-Depressant Effect Sustained Over Long Time in Those with Treatment-Resistant Depression

A study published online on Friday, October 4, 2019 in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that deep brain stimulation (DBS) of an area in the brain called the subcallosal cingulate (SCC) provides a robust anti-depressant effect that is sustained over a long period of time in patients with treatment-resistant depression--the most severely depressed patients who have not responded to other treatments. The article is titled “Long-Term Outcomes of Subcallosal Cingulate Deep Brain Stimulation for Treatment-Resistant Depression.” The long-term data presented in this study, conducted at Emory University and led by Helen S. Mayberg (photo), MD, now Professor of Neurology, Neurosurgery, Psychiatry, and Neuroscience, and Founding Director of the Nash Family Center for Advanced Circuit Therapeutics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, validates earlier work conducted by the research team and lays the foundation for additional studies to refine and optimize DBS for these patients. Deep brain stimulation, currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat essential tremor, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, is a neurosurgical procedure involving the placement of a neurostimulator (sometimes referred to as a "brain pacemaker"), which sends high-frequency electrical impulses through implanted electrodes deep in the brain to specific brain areas responsible for the symptoms of each disorder. Dr. Mayberg led the first trial of DBS of the subcallosal cingulate white matter, known as Brodmann Area 25, for treatment-resistant depression patients in 2005, demonstrating that it could have clinical benefit.

Solitary Chemosensory Cells (SCCs) in Gums Protect Against Periodontitis, According to New Results from Monell Chemical Sciences Center; SSCs in Mice Express Taste Receptors & Downstream Coupling Protein (Gustducin) Affecting Microbiome in Mouth

Newly discovered chemical-sensing cells in the gums protect the mouth by standing guard against infections that damage soft tissue and destroy the bone that supports the teeth, according to a report from researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center and colleagues from China. Their results are described in an open-access article published online on October 3, 2019 in Nature Communications (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-12505-x). The article is titled “Gingival Solitary Chemosensory Cells Are Immune Sentinels for Periodontitis.” With the help of bitter taste receptors that also detect byproducts from harmful bacteria, these special gum cells trigger the immune system to control the amount and type of bacteria in the mouth and could one day lead to personalized dental treatments against gum disease. Periodontitis is a serious gum disorder induced by an imbalance in the bacteria and other microorganisms of the mouth (the oral microbiome). It is the sixth-most-prevalent infectious disease and the most common cause of tooth loss worldwide. Monell Center Director and President Robert Margolskee, MD, PhD and Monell Center cell biologist Marco Tizzano, PhD, along with colleagues from Sichuan University in China, found that the newly identified cells, known as solitary chemosensory cells (SCCs), are present in the gums of mice. There, these cells express several types of taste receptors along with a downstream coupling protein called gustducin. SCCs are taste-like chemical detectors that sense irritants and bacteria, and biologists have found them throughout the gut, urinary tract, nasal cavities, and now in the gums. "These sensory cells may provide a new approach for personalized treatment of periodontitis by harnessing a person's own innate immune system to regulate their oral microbiome," said Dr. Margolskee.

September 30th

New Treatment Significantly Improves Survival in Women Newly Diagnosed with Advanced Ovarian Cancer; International Study Shows Niraparib (PARP Inhibitor) Administration After Chemotherapy Reduces Risk of Relapse or Death by Nearly 40%

An international study demonstrates that, administering niraparib after conventional chemotherapy treatment in patients newly diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer, improves their progression-free survival, and reduces their risk of relapse or death from this disease. The primary investigator of this study is Dr. Antonio González Martín, (Co-Director of Clinica Universidad de Navarra (Spain), and president of the Spanish Ovarian Cancer Research Group (GEICO). The New England Journal of Medicine published the research online on September 28, 2019. The NEJM article is titled “Niraparib in Patients with Newly Diagnosed Advanced Ovarian Cancer.” "We evaluated in this study the benefits of using niraparib after standard treatment of ovarian cancer based on chemotherapy after surgery. With this new therapeutic approach, we have observed a significant improvement in patient progression-free survival and a reduction of almost 40% of their risk of relapse,”says Dr. González Martín, first author of the article. Ovarian cancer is diagnosed every year in approximately 205,000 women worldwide, and is the fifth leading cause of cancer death in women in Europe. It is usually diagnosed between 45 and 75 years, although there is a significant number of patients from 30 years. It is the gynecological tumor that causes more deaths because most patients are diagnosed in an advanced stage of the disease, given the absence of early diagnostic techniques. In turn, up to 80% of those affected by advanced ovarian cancer relapse after treatment with surgery and chemotherapy. "This research arises from the need to look for new strategies and alternative therapies that increase the survival of patients with this disease," says an expert.