Monday, May 17, 2010

Mission Pharmacal Launches New Prescription Prenatal Vitamin, CitraNatal® Harmony

First and only once-daily, prescription prenatal vitamin with calcium citrate may provide women with more comfort during pregnancy Mission Pharmacal announced today the introduction of CitraNatal® Harmony, the newest addition to the CitraNatal® family of prescription prenatal vitamins. CitraNatal Harmony is the first and only single dose, prescription prenatal vitamin with calcium citrate.
Calcium citrate provides critical calcium to help with the baby's bone growth without producing gas or bloating for mom that can be found in other calcium supplements.
"Many women suffer from discomfort during their pregnancies," said Terrell Herring, president of the Pharmaceutical Division of Mission Pharmacal. "We are pleased to provide these women added comfort and convenience with the launch of CitraNatal Harmony."
CitraNatal Harmony also offers mom and baby essential vitamins and minerals, including 250 mg of Martek's life'sDHA, in one easy-to-take, vanilla-scented gel cap. DHA is the essential fatty acid recommended for optimal brain and eye development and has optimized benefits for babies. It has been shown to support increased birth weight and size and enhance visual and cognitive abilities. The vitamin also contains a safe, gentle carbonyl iron and a stool softener to help ease the constipation that often accompanies pregnancy.
In addition, Mission Pharmacal is currently reformulating its prescription prenatal and prescription iron products to include a recently acquired and patented dual-iron technology.
Women who are pregnant or planning to conceive should consult their healthcare providers prior to beginning any prenatal vitamin regimen.
About the CitraNatal® Line
CitraNatal is marketed by Mission Pharmacal Company based in San Antonio, Texas. CitraNatal vitamins are specially formulated for the many women who require nutritional support prior to conception, throughout pregnancy, and during the postnatal period. The plant-derived DHA found in several CitraNatal products is produced exclusively by Martek Biosciences Corporation based in Columbia, Maryland.
About Mission Pharmacal
Mission Pharmacal is a privately held pharmaceutical company based in San Antonio, Texas. For more than 60 years, the company has been committed to meeting the unique needs of women throughout all stages of life, identifying unmet health needs in the marketplace, and developing innovative prescription and over-the-counter products to meet them. Currently, Mission Pharmacal provides physicians and consumers with pharmaceutical and nutritional products.  For more information, visit www.missionpharmacal.com or www.citranatal.com.

Neuro Drinks Launch in New York

Neuro Drinks partners with Pepsi Cola to distribute groundbreaking functional beverage brand in the greater New York City area Neuro Drinks, the Southern California brand of healthy functional drinks that enhance active lifestyles, is hitting the East Coast.
Beginning this month, Neuro Drinks will be distributed by Pepsi Cola Bottling Company and will be sold in neighborhood grocery stores, delis, gas stations and high-end markets. Pepsi Cola bottles and supplies Pepsi-branded soft drinks, Gatorade, Tropicana juices and Aquafina water for New York City and beyond.
"We are proud to welcome this unique beverage into the Pepsi Cola family," said President and CEO of Pepsi Cola Bottling Company Bill Wilson. "We were taken with the functionality of the individual drinks that Neuro produces, and see it as something New Yorkers will literally eat up."
Neuro Drinks quench more than thirst by powering a healthy 24/7 lifestyle by combining science, nature and Hollywood chic, in a sporty, sexy package. Neuro ignites the brain and powers the body to sustain and enhance active lives. Made with natural ingredients and recyclable packaging, Neuro is formulated by nutritionists to promote health and well-being. Great-tasting Neuro Drinks contain essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids and botanicals at optimal dosages backed by scientific research, so the benefit is real and not just marketing hype.
Neuro launches in New York with five blends -- NeuroGasm, NeuroSonic, NeuroBliss, NeuroTrim, NeuroSleep -- that are individually developed to provide vital nutrients that help you be your best. Whether you are part of the fast-paced fashion industry, a nightclub promoter, an early-rising Wall Street broker, one of New York City's Finest or Bravest or a Central Park hostess, there is a Neuro for you.
"We are thrilled to be expanding to the East Coast and partnering with Pepsi Cola to get Neuro Drinks to New Yorkers," says founder and President Diana Jenkins. "Busy New Yorkers, more than anyone, need a delicious way of getting healthy ingredients into their lives on a 24/7 basis to help them navigate all the challenges of the greatest city in the world."
Neuro products are currently distributed on the West Coast of the United States, and in Great Britain through Waitrose and Selfridges & Co. Neuro has partnered rapidly with an array of top-tier distributors and retailers. Global consumers are able to join the Neuro culture via the company's website, www.drinkneuro.com.
Today's increasingly multi-layered culture demands that we operate at our best. Neuro provides a healthy and delicious choice, giving consumers a smart alternative to quenching thirst -- and much more. Neuro satisfies the current need to function at a premium level, with formulas created by experts and benefits proven by science

Cell phone and cancer link is inconclusive

cell-phone-cancer-link-inconclusive
survey of 13,000 cell phone users has come to the conclusion that cell phone use does not increase the risk of developing meningioma, a common form of cancer, or glioma which is a rare deadly form of cancer. The study’s finding will be released Tuesday in Geneva; the study was conducted by the World Health Organization. Other findings in the study were deemed inconclusive.

The United States was not one of the countries participating in the study, but Americans are paying close attention to the results. The study began in 2000 when heavy use of a cell phone was determined to be 30 minutes or more a day. Today common cell phone use has gone way beyond that.

The survey cost almost $24 million to conduct and interviewed people in England, France, Germany, and Japan as well as nine other smaller countries. Another factor is survey takers were not asked, or could not remember which ear they used with their cell phone. Scientists would want to track this variable, especially if a cancerous tumor appeared on one side of the brain.

Today, 285 million cell phones in use in the U.S., covering 91 percent of the population. Also not taken into account is the fact that cell phone users are getting younger and younger.

Boost Your Child's Brainpower This Summer

MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - May 17, 2010) -  (Family Features) When that last school bell rings, kids celebrate the end of classes and the beginning of a long, lazy summer. But for many kids, the end of the school year also marks the beginning of summer brain drain -- and it could do them more harm than you think.
According to the National Summer Learning Association, all students experience learning losses when they don't engage in educational activities during the summer months.
  • Students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do at the beginning of the summer.
  • Most students lose almost three months of grade-level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months.
  • Low-income students also lose more than two months in reading achievement.
So what's a parent or guardian to do to help kids avoid summer brain drain? As part of its ongoing commitment to education and to inspiring parents and caring adults to nurture a child's love of learning, Target is partnering with the renowned Search Institute to offer a summer-long series of tips that help parents keep their kids active and engaged while the weather's warm. Here are a few ways to help you and your child make summer vacation fun and educational:
Start the summer off "write" - Kids who write well tend to read well and vice versa, which can be a powerful combination that gives them a big boost in school. According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, exercises like writing, which requires reflection, are actually a big deal for little minds. By teaching young children to remember and evaluate their experiences each day, you're developing their decision-making and problem-solving skills. An added bonus? You're helping them (and you!) identify some of the activities they love most.
What to Do: Work with your children on various projects such as scrapbooking, writing a neighborhood newsletter, or making a picture book.
Get out, get active - We all know that sports and outdoor activities can help your kids stay healthy and fit, but did you also know that they can boost brain power? Children's advocate Richard Louv says that today's kids are suffering from NDD -- Nature Deficit Disorder -- because they're spending so much time indoors. Outdoor play stimulates kids' creativity. Plus, it's been shown to improve their stress levels, their confidence, and their learning and social skills.
What to Do: Take a nature hike, grow a backyard garden or sign your children up for organized sports leagues or camp.
Fun in the sun . . . with books - Kids who read throughout the summer perform better in school, no matter where, when or what they read. Studies also show that when kids read for fun (and especially when they read books that match their reading level and interests), they become better readers and are less likely to forget all the good stuff they learned during the school year. Kids who read frequently and have easy access to books also are more competent and resilient in risky situations.
What to Do: Start the summer with a trip to your local library; read outside by the light of the moon; or turn bits of nature into one-of-a kind bookmarks.
To explore all the fun, educational summer activity ideas, visit Facebook.com/Target and click on the 'Play + Learn' tab -- and be sure to check back each week for new tips.

Little liers grow up to be great leaders

Little liers grow up to be great leaders
Researchers have found that the ability to tell fibs at the age of two is a sign of a fast-developing brain and means children are more likely to have successful lives.

The team of Canadian academics found that the more plausible the lie, the more quick-witted they will be in later years and the better their abiliy to think on their feet.

√ĘParents should not be alarmed if their child tells a fib, said Dr Kang Lee, director of the Institute of Child Study at Toronto University who carried out the research.

Almost all children lie. Those who have better cognitive development lie better because they can cover up their tracks. They may make bankers in later life.

Lying involves multiple brain processes, such as integrating sources of information and manipulating the data to their advantage. It is linked to the development of brain regions that allow executive functioning and use higher order thinking and reasoning.

Dr Lee and his team tested 1,200 children aged two to 16 years old. They found at the age of two, 20 per cent of children will lie. This rises to 50 per cent by three and almost 90 per cent at four. The most deceitful age, they discovered, was 12, when almost every child tells lies.

Researchers say there is no link between telling fibs in childhood and any tendency to cheat in exams or to become a fraudster later in life.

'Eyelid' removal of brain tumor apparently a success

Times photo by LUCY SCHALY David Barsottini from Big Beaver found out he had a brain tumor pressing on his retinas when he couldn't see out of his left eye. Doctors told him the tumor, the size of a small tangerine, had been lodged in his brain for decades.

BIG BEAVER — Just before dawn Wednesday, David Barsottini arrived at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh.
A team of surgeons was to perform innovative “eyelid” incision surgery to take out a tangerine-size tumor from the frontal base of his brain.  
If all went all, as Barsottini and his wife, Diane, hoped, some vision would return in his left eye. The Big Beaver resident would still have his salt-and-pepper hair and beard, and in a short time, a happy 52-year-old face free of a telltale surgery scar. 
Diane would have her husband back.
Eighteen months ago, Diane said the affable guy who’s always been a bit of a procrastinator through three decades of marriage developed “a care-less” attitude about everything. Motivation plummeted. Apathy reigned. Barsottini took to watching TV and the grass grow.

“What’s wrong,” she’d ask.

“Nothing,” he’d answered.

The answer came to light about five weeks ago. On an early April morning, Barsottini woke up and couldn’t see well. Anything he looked at from his left eye was “pretty much black.” He still had vision, thankfully, in his right eye.

Within days and after an MRI scan, a local neurologist told him, “You have a brain tumor.” Barsottini felt faint. “The good news is that it’s a benign type of tumor.”

A week later, neurosurgeon Dr. Khaled M. Aziz, director of AGH’s Center for Complex Intracranial Surgery, told the Barsottinis that there was swelling in the brain around the slow-growing tumor. The tumor had to be removed. If not, Barsottini would continue to lose vision and his memory would be affected.

Aziz asked Diane questions about seizures, wobbliness and behavioral changes. No seizures. He’s always been wobbly, she said. She did note her husband’s lack of enthusiasm. Her “What’s wrong?” question had been answered.

On a glum, rainy Tuesday morning, less than 24 hours before the big cut was to begin, the Barsottinis worked hard to joke about the tumor, but neither could muster rah-rah enthusiasm about the impending surgery. They were, however, thankful that each doctor had said the word “benign.”

“That word is one hell of a relief,” Barsottini said.

And then he joked, “The good news is we’re getting this done before the new health care kicks in because who knows what the government will do once they’re involved.”

When told they had two options, the Barsottinis immediately knew that they wanted Aziz and Dr. Erik Happ, a neuro-ophthalmologist, to perform the right eyelid frontal orbital craniotomy resection of a skull base meningioma.

Barsottini wasn’t acquainted with the procedure’s complicated medical name. But after talking to the two surgeons he understood what an eyelid minicraniotomy is, that it’s less invasive than a traditional surgery, which involves a long forehead incision and that, if all went well, he’d be able to leave the hospital in several days.

“The less they have to screw around with my brain the better,” Barsottini said.

“This approach is super cosmetically and gives (Aziz) and myself better access and a better orientation,” Happ said.

Since 2007, Aziz said he and Happ have performed about 40 eyelid minicraniotomy procedures for tumors and aneurysms at AGH. He learned the eyelid brain surgery procedure while training at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, the only other hospital in the United States that offers the procedure, he said. When he came to AGH, Aziz and Happ decided to work as a team.
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They focus on a specific group of patients.

“It’s for selective patients for selective tumors and selective types of aneurysms in the right location,” Happ, a neuro-ophthalmologist surgeon said.

Barsottini’s tumor, a meningioma which grew out of membranes that surround the brain, was the right size and in the right place, the surgeons said.

The surgery would be a two-step procedure.

Happ said he would make a 2-inch long incision in the crease of the right eyelid and the tissue lining the upper part of the eye socket bone, or orbital rim. He’ll retract the eyeball, then uncover the bare bone.

Aziz will drill and remove a small piece of the orbital rim bone to create a small opening. The neurosurgeon will then use a fine laser probe and a mini-ultrasonic aspirator to cut and remove the tumor.

The two surgeons will reinsert the small piece of bone with titanium plates and screws, then Happ will close the eyelid incision.

The surgery typically takes from five to seven hours but can vary because each surgery is different, Happ said.

The outcomes also vary. Many patients see better, but for many the vision doesn’t return, Happ said.

“(Barsottini) has a significant vision loss, more than likely associated with the tumor,” Happ said. “By removing it, we are hopeful that he may be able to regain some of the vision.”

Diane Barsottini got to see her sedated husband late Wednesday.

“His right eye looked like he went a couple of rounds with Mike Tyson,” she said.

Ice eased the red puffiness. Hearing doctors say the words “went well” and “doing well” calmed her frayed nerves. Son Brian, his wife, Rachel, daughter, Lacey and close family friends Ashley and Michelle shared her relief.

Surgery scheduled for 8 a.m. began at noon Wednesday. Seven hours later, it ended.

Aziz said he spent five of the hours removing all of the “very attached” tumor through the small “eyelid” opening. Radiation, he said, is a possibility.

By Thursday afternoon, Barsottini was talking well, joking and laughing in the hospital’s intensive care unit, his wife said.

That evening Aziz and Happ said it would be at least several weeks before they’d know whether Barsottini will regain vision in his left eye. Progress could be expected daily and up to a year, Aziz said.

On Saturday, Barsottini’s right eye was still swollen, but Aziz said he was starting to see light and recognize faces with his left eye, the neurosurgeon said.

Come Tuesday, the patient probably will be ready to go home, Aziz said.

And soon he’ll probably want to do more than watch the grass grow. The way the Barsottinis see it, a summer road trip across Pennsylvania would be a great idea.

Wrapping your brain around wisdom

Howard Lipin / UNION-TRIBUNE
Dr. Dilip V. Jeste, M.D., UCSD professor of psychiatry and neurosciences.
Dr. Dilip V. Jeste, M.D., UCSD professor of psychiatry and neurosciences.

The next time you say, “That was a wise decision,” consider that you might be wrong — or setting yourself up for an argument.
People have discussed wisdom forever. There’s no clear definition of the word, said Dr. Dilip Jeste, a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at UCSD.
Jeste has been consulting with experts around the world about this issue, and he shared his thoughts with us recently.
Question: Modern humans have existed for at least 200,000 years. How is it possible that science hasn’t come up with a widely accepted definition of wisdom?
Answer: Wisdom is an abstract concept. It’s not like an object such as a tree or animal, which you can see and describe easily. That makes it harder to define. It is like stress, which everyone experiences but there’s really no good definition for it.
The same could be said of intelligence or pornography. As they say, you know pornography when you see it, but it’s difficult to come up with a definition that people agree on.
Wisdom also has been hard to define because it historically has been part of religious and philosophical literature, but not part of scientific tradition. There are mentions of wisdom in the Bible and other religious documents. Likewise for philosophy, but not in science.
Q: You asked experts to consider intelligence and spirituality as key traits of wisdom. Why did you choose those traits over things like life experience?
A: Intelligence has always been considered to be a central element of wisdom. It has only been in recent years that emotion has also been thought to be an important part of wisdom.
Similarly, in the religious literature, you read that you cannot be wise unless you are religious or spiritual. The examples of wise people that are commonly given are those of people like Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King Jr., who are clearly religious or spiritual individuals.
Q: Does a person have to be intelligent to be wise?
A: I think intelligence is necessary but not sufficient. We published a paper in which we cited the elements we thought are part of wisdom. One is intelligence, or a general knowledge of life. The other is “emotional regulation.” The third is insight.
Then there’s pro-social behavior — things like empathy, compassion, altruism. Another component is decisiveness, being able to act on things, even when you face a situation that’s not black or white, but gray.
And finally, there is something called value relativism, where different people may have different values and you accept that fact. For example, another person may have strong opinions about abortion or the death penalty that are different from yours, and you feel it is OK that these opinions aren’t the same as yours.
We developed our definition by reading many different scientific papers in which researchers referred to wisdom. We looked for elements that were common to at least three of the published definitions of wisdom. This let us come up with our definition of wisdom, but that doesn’t mean that what we believe is shared by others.
Q: How does spirituality play into all of this?
A: Things like empathy, compassion, altruism are essential parts of wisdom. Spirituality can involve these things, too. But spirituality doesn’t necessarily include other elements of wisdom I’ve mentioned, like the general knowledge of life, or insight, or value relativism, or even decisiveness. A person can be spiritual but not necessarily wise.
Q: The experts you consulted consider wisdom to be uniquely human. Do you agree?
A: It all depends on how you define wisdom. If you define it as strictly based on intelligence, then, yes, animals can be wise. But if you also include insight and value relativism, it is hard to think of animals as having those abilities. The exception might be the higher-level non-human primates.
Q: The experts also said wisdom increases as a person ages. Wouldn’t that make life experience the most important factor in developing wisdom?
A: Life experience is not enough. It’s what you do with your life that’s important. Some people suffer post-traumatic stress disorder because of stress, while others may have post-traumatic personal growth and development.
Q: Are you a wise man?
A: Anybody who thinks he or she is wise is a fool. I think it is up to others to decide whether you are wise. The more you learn, the more you realize that you don’t know so many things in life.

Dalai Lama Inspires Research on Happiness

In an attempt to bring Buddhism and western science closer together, scientist Richard Davidson and the Dalai Lama marked the opening of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

meditating childrenWhy do scientists tend to focus on the negative, studying depression, anxiety and fear? What would happen if they spent more time looking at the positive, trying to understand what makes someone happy, or kind, or content? What makes a healthy mind?

That is what the Dalai Lama wants to know, and why he summoned researcher Richard Davidson to India eight years ago to ask him those very questions. Davidson, a leading neuroscientist studying the brain and emotions, didn't have an answer.

Davidson and the Dalai Lama have since joined together to enhance the study of happiness, compassion and other positive traits in the opening of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds. The center will be the only one in the world to study meditation right next to brain imaging, determined to investigate their "Change your mind. Change the world" philosophy.

The research team, so far, has studied brain function on Buddhist monks and other meditation masters. They were looking to see why meditation led to happiness, kindness and compassion. The goal is to determine what happens in the brain to make this occur and how to instill the positive effects in the general population, especially schools, prisons and medical centers.

"A healthy mind isn't simply the absence of illness — we can do better than that," Davidson said in the Wisconsin State Journal. "We can promote resilience and happiness and other positive qualities of the mind through enhanced training and mental exercises."

Next fall, they will teach fifth-grade teachers how to develop cognitive relaxation and patience skills in their students, hopefully resulting in better learning and less impulsive behavior. The students will then be followed throughout their middle school years to see if there is a lower incidence of bullying and lashing out in anger.

"This center combines the basic behavioral and neuroscientific research that is necessary to move our field forward with the translational component, which is critical to extend our work beyond the walls of our laboratory," Davidson said in a press release. "By developing and offering interventions for schools, hospitals, prisons and communities, we hope to create real change for society."

Site funds study of brain tumor drug

DCA molecule A tiny clinical trial has sparked hope in terminal cancer patients. Researchers found that a generic drug called DCA could slow brain tumors. More trials are needed to prove the drug is safe for cancer patients. But the money for those studies might have to come from Joe Public. Janet Babin reports.


Pharmaceutical companies routinely spend more than $1 billion to bring a new drug to market. Drug patents help them recoup their investment -- giving them a temporary monopoly.
But DCA is a cheap generic that's been around for more than 30 years. The patent's long gone. Companies have no economic incentive to study its potential to fight cancer.
So Dr. Evangelos Michelakis, a professor at the University of Alberta, set up a website to fund the research through public donations.
"We had people that sent a $10-dollar check and we had people that sent a $3,000 check -- from Siberia, New Zealand, Africa, South America, the States," says Dr. Michelakis.
Dr. Michelakis says donations paid for 90 percent of the study, which cost about $1 million. He's asking the public to fund a second, larger clinical trial.

MS brain bank


DENVER - Colorado researchers are leading the way in finding a cure for MS. Now the CU Medical Complex houses a crucial piece of that puzzle.It's a state of the art "brain bank" with donated tissues from around the world.
These freezers hold the key to unlocking the cause of multiple sclerosis.
They contain what will soon be the world's largest collection of brain tissue donated by MS patients.
Patients like Leslie Kane who plans to donate.
“It’s a gift that's infinite. There may be someone in one year that, a student who learns something from the brain that you donate, or there may be someone ten years from now that learns something from your gift,” said Kane.
These are samples of normal, versus MS-infected brain tissues; among more than 350 here.
Studying the differences in each give researchers the best hope of finding a cure.
"There's really no substitute for actual human tissue because we learn a lot about the actual disease process itself in the human organism and there's just no substitute for that," said John Corboy, M.D.
MRI scans show the difference in a normal brain and one with MS indicated by the arrows.
With more than 9,000 patients here, Colorado has one of the highest concentrations of this devastating disease.
Paradoxically Colorado donors are the best because their tissue can be retrieved quickly and brought here sooner.
“The most valuable brain tissue is that which we can retrieve very quickly and prepare that's what researcher find the most valuable so if people in Colorado where there is a high incidence rate choose to participate in this research it's very valuable for researchers all around the world,” said Karen Wenzel with the Rocky Mountains MS Center.
Just in the last few years those researchers, using the tissue here, have published the most promising work yet toward solving the mystery of a disease with no known cause or cure.
The CU Brain and Tissue Bank is expected to expand to more than 1,000 samples in the near future.
It costs about $2,000 to process a brain for research.
A lot of the funding for that research comes from the National MS Society

Stilling tremors

Deep brain stimulation causes transformation
ImageJames Culwell, left and Dr. David Nathan watch Lance Bremser demonstrate use of a controller for the device.

Hours after a surgeon drilled two holes in the top of 82-year-old James Culwell's skull, Culwell was eating soup with a steady hand and dreaming of snagging a bass at Flaming Gorge.
Electrodes placed earlier that day inside his brain had not only stilled his trembling hands, but opened his heart again to the simple pleasures he had missed.
Friends who had provided care and taxi service for years "couldn't believe it" when Culwell left Salt Lake Regional Hospital in February, mostly free of the "essential tremor" of the hands and feet that had stolen much of his self-sufficiency. "They still can't," he said recently in a bit of cowboy twang.
Experienced by as many as 10 million Americans, essential tremor disorder is believed to be much more common than Parkinson's disease, which most people associate with involuntary limb movement.
Advanced treatment for both disorders, known as deep brain stimulation (DBS), introduces electrodes into regions of the brain — the globus pallidus or subthalmic nucleus — that receive signals to create the tremors, confusing the transmission of those signals much like static interferes with broadcast signals in the public airwaves.
Culwell now drives again, works around the house and is readying his boat for fishing season — all activities he was unable to do as the tremors became steadily more uncontrollable.
While the treatment has been in use in the United States for several years, new technology allows patients to recharge the battery pack implanted in their chests that run the device, rather than having to undergo replacement surgery.
Last month, an advisory panel of experts recommended that the Food and Drug Administration approve the therapy to help treat epilepsy.
Dr. Elena James, a neurologist at Salt Lake Regional, said the treatment has been used since 1987 in essential tremor (ET) patients, when medication and other interventions have failed. About 1.5 million Americans have been diagnosed with essential tremor — the nation's most common involuntary movement disorder.
Lance Bremser, a nurse in James' clinic, said the International Essential Tremor Foundation estimates some 20 million Americans have the disorder, but it has gone undiagnosed.
Though the FDA is considering deep brain stimulation as a treatment for epilepsy, James said there is no connection between ET and epilepsy, which is characterized by periodic seizures rather than continual involuntary movement.
Correctly diagnosing which disorder patients have is James' first priority, because medications to treat them differ widely, she said. The surgical procedure for DBS is something of a last resort for treatment.
Dr. David Nathan, a neurosurgeon at Salt Lake Regional, performed the procedure on Culwell and 57-year-old Dan Gwin, who have both seen marked decreased in the involuntary limb movement.
Gwin, whose Parkinson's disease eventually short-circuited his career as a bass player with the Utah Symphony, had the procedure in February 2004.
"I didn't know whether to cry or laugh," following the surgery when the shaking was gone, he said. "When I woke up, I was so tired I did both." The effect was so dramatic that Gwin was able to return to the symphony for about 6-7 months, but eventually the muscle stiffness that is part of his disease silenced his performance.
But Gwin has found that family history suits him well, and in the past decade, has produced a 7-pound, 2-ounce "baby" in the form of two volumes of genealogical records.
Patients who undergo the procedure must be prepared for the follow-up visits that help "fine-tune" the electrode interference, so they get maximum benefit from the surgery, Nathan said. Patients get a local anesthetic in the skull, but remain conscious during the procedure so surgeons can get feedback as they place the electrodes inside the brain.
A cord that connects the electrodes to the battery pack is placed under the skin down the side of the skull, behind the ear and down the neck, to connect to a battery pack that is surgically placed in the chest.
"It's like giving them a pacemaker for the brain," without having to surgically replace the batteries, Nathan said.
Patients are then able to recharge the battery pack, often at night, when some get relief from their symptoms that is not available during waking hours.
So next time Culwell heads to Flaming Gorge, he'll be behind the wheel of both his car and his boat. And when his fishing pole begins to shake, the question won't be what's causing the tremor, but how big that bass on the hook really is.

Toddlers who lie 'will do better'

Toddler eating biscuit Researchers said most children lied
Toddlers who tell lies early on are more likely to do well later, researchers claim.
The complex brain processes involved in formulating a lie are an indicator of a child's early intelligence, they add.
A Canadian study of 1,200 children aged two to 17 suggests those who are able to lie have reached an important developmental stage.
Only a fifth of two-year-olds tested in the study were able to lie.
But at age four, 90% were capable of lying, the study found. The rate increases with age to a peak at age 12.
'Developmental milestone' The director of the Institute of Child Study at Toronto University, Dr Kang Lee, said: "Parents should not be alarmed if their child tells a fib.
"Their children are not going to turn out to be pathological liars. Almost all children lie.
"It is a sign that they have reached a new developmental milestone.
"Those who have better cognitive development lie because they can cover up their tracks."
This was because they had developed the ability to carry out a complex juggling act which involves keeping the truth at the back of their brains.
He added: "They even make bankers in later life."
Dr Kang tested the children's honesty by telling them not to peek at a toy placed behind their backs while leaving the room.
He then monitored their reactions by video and returned to ask if they had turned around, checking their responses against the recording.

Digging Deeper Into The Entire Brain

A recent paper in the journal Nature finally brings some vindication to fMRI, one of the most popular methods used to study the brain. Christie Nicholson reports


Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has allowed scientists to watch areas of the brain “light up” in response to various stimuli. And this has told them about where in the brain certain responses reside…like where fear resides. But fMRI has limitations. The lighting up of certain brain regions leads to increased blood flow to active areas, and this is what you see in an fMRI image. But scientists only knew this as a correlation, not causation. Meaning they weren’t sure if increased blood flow happened because neurons were firing.  

But a study published today in Nature has finally brought vindication. Using a technique called optogenetics they were able to turn on genetically engineered brain cells in rats using a blue light delivered directly to those cells via an optic fiber. And then they put the rats in an fMRI and saw that the blood flow indeed matched precisely those excited cells.   This shows that neural excitation is what produces the fMRI images of active brain areas.
 
Being able to control individual neurons with light has not only justified fMRI, but has opened up an entirely new way to study the brain. Optogenetics works at micro scale and fMRI covers wide regions of the brain—together this means that scientists have a way to intervene and experiment with entire brain circuits, to finally see how a certain type of brain cell affects the wider global activity of the entire brain.

Study Linking Cell Phones with Brain Tumors Sparks Debate

The release of the largest study to date into the safety of cell phones has not ended speculation about the links between phone use and brain tumors — but rather it sparked a huge global debate on the issue Monday.

News stories appeared around the world based on the 10-year Interphone study carried out in 13 countries and involving more than 12,800 people worldwide, including 5,150 brain cancer patients — 2,708 with glioma brain tumors and 2,409 with meningioma brain tumors.

Release of the findings from the study, conducted by The International Agency for Research on Cancer and partly funded by the cell phone industry, have been repeatedly delayed but were due to be formally published Tuesday in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

The Sunday Times reported that scientists involved in the study have admitted that more research will be needed because of their broad categorization of "heavy phone use" and also because phone users under the age of 30 were excluded.

Heavy phone use of just 30 minutes of mobile talk time a day was enough to put study participants in the top 10 percent of phone users — who were found to have an increased risk of tumors.

“Some of the questions raised by the Interphone research are puzzling,” The Sunday Times reported.

“The statistics appear to show that at lower levels of usage, mobile phones actually protect against cancer, something that even the study’s authors reject as implausible.”

Critics of the Interphone study claim omissions — such as the fact children were not included — and errors have left it deeply flawed.

They believe that the propensity of mobile phone radiation to cause cancer is much greater than the study shows.

A new piece of research, backed by the European Union, has been launched to investigate possible links between brain tumors in children and mobile phone use.

The Interphone study found no definite increased risk of glioma or meningioma tumors after 10 years of using a mobile phone, although it found "suggestions of higher risk" for the heaviest users.

"The study doesn't reveal an increased risk, but we can't conclude that there is no risk because there are enough findings that suggest a possible risk," the study's chief author, Elisabeth Cardis, told AFP.

The heaviest users , who reported using their phones on the same side of their heads, had a 40 percent higher risk for gliomas and 15 percent for meningiomas, but the researchers said "biases and errors" prevent making a causal link.

The researchers noted, however, that the latest mobile phones have lower emissions, and the popularity of hands-free devices and texting reduce exposure to the head.

The BBC also reported that some medical experts were already claiming the study is flawed because instead of monitoring participants, it asked them to try to remember exactly how much and on which ear they had used their mobiles phones over the past ten years.