Day 7 Chemo slowly coming good!

Last Weds 4 June I had another lot of chemotherapy for peritoneal/pleural mesothelioma. Alimta combined with Carboplatin.A blood test followed by a visit to see my acting oncologist Dr Vaughan with the nod to go ahead with chemotherapy. I asked him if he had looked over my recent scans, and his reply was yes ….. not good, however as I present unpredictable with my treatments and survivals – anything is possible, though the cancer has now progressed and is on the move rapidly.Due to no chairs in day chemo, I had to be admitted as a day patient to the oncology ward. Waiting for a bed was a problem …. and by early afternoon I was hooked up to chemo and after a few hours released for home….

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New strategy to disarm the dengue virus brings new hope for a universal dengue vaccine

Aug. 13, 2013 — A new strategy that cripples the ability of the dengue virus to escape the host immune system has been discovered by A*STAR’s Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN). This breakthrough strategy opens a door of hope to what may become the world’s first universal dengue vaccine candidate that can give full protection from all four serotypes of the dreadful virus.This research done in collaboration with Singapore’s Novartis Institute of Tropical Diseases (NITD) and Beijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology is published in the Plos Pathogens journal, and is also supported by Singapore STOP Dengue Translational and Clinical Research (TCR) Programme grant.Early studies have shown that a sufficiently weakened virus that is still strong enough to generate protective immune response offers the best hope for an effective vaccine. However, over the years of vaccine development, scientists have learnt that the path to finding a virus of appropriate strength is fraught with challenges. This hurdle is compounded by the complexity of the dengue virus. Even though there are only four different serotypes, the fairly high rates of mutation means the virus evolve constantly, and this contributes to the great diversity of the dengue viruses circulating globally. Furthermore, in some cases, the immune response developed following infection by one of the four dengue viruses appears to increase the risk of severe dengue when the same individual is infected with any of the remaining three viruses. With nearly half the world’s population at risk of dengue infection and an estimated 400 million people getting infected each year[2], the need for a safe and long-lasting vaccine has never been greater.The new strategy uncovered in this study overcomes the prevailing challenges of vaccine development by tackling the virus’ ability to ‘hide’ from the host immune system. Dengue virus requires the enzyme called MTase (also known as 2′-O-methyltransferase) to chemically modify its genetic material to escape detection. In this study, the researchers discovered that by introducing a genetic mutation to deactivate the MTase enzyme of the virus, initial cells infected by the weakened MTase mutant virus is immediately recognised as foreign. …

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Facebook infidelity examined in new research

July 24, 2013 — Thanks to a new study by Texas Tech University researchers, treating infidelity among couples may change due to the unique aspect of social networking sites, specifically Facebook.Using data from, researchers found that although the stages of coping with online infidelity are unique, the infidelity itself creates similar emotional experiences for the partner who was cheated on.”This is very important because there is a line of thought that if the infidelity was discovered online, or confined to online activity, then it shouldn’t be as painful,” said Jaclyn Cravens, a doctoral candidate in the Marriage & Family Therapy Program and lead author of the study.During her master’s program clinical work, Cravens discovered many of her clients’ relationship issues stemmed from online infidelity thanks to an increasing number of people using social media sites, especially Facebook.”Facebook already has changed the dynamics of relationships,” Cravens said. “We see when our ‘friends’ are getting into a relationship. We say a relationship isn’t ‘official’ until it’s ‘Facebook-official.'”She found that many of her clients had discovered instances of their partner exchanging suggestive messages with a third party on the social networking site, even though the two were supposedly in a monogamous relationship.Cravens found that outside of issues like porn addiction, there hadn’t yet been much research to back treatment for these kinds of relationship problems confined to the Internet.Surprised at the lack of information about a topic so pervasive in society — Facebook had more than 1 billion users as of March 2013 — Cravens decided to pursue the topic for a qualitative methods course project, along with the help of Kaitlin Leckie, who also is a graduate student in the Marriage & Family Therapy Program and Jason Whiting, an associate professor in the program.”We used to determine the coping process for people who have discovered a partner’s infidelity on Facebook,” Cravens said. “We discovered several main themes and were able to create a process model that moves through different stages of the ways people deal with the information.”The model includes the following five stages:Warning signs: the partner who was cheated on notices gut feelings and/or suspicious behavior on the internet, such as minimizing windows, habitually clearing out browser history and adding passwords. Discovering infidelity: the individual either takes it upon themselves to investigate the warning signs, or the individual accidentally discovers the infidelity. Damage appraisal: the individual determines whether the discovered acts was or was not a violation of the relationship. Acting on appraisal: If the individual determines that the act or acts were a violation of the relationship, he or she either confronts or avoids the partner. Sometimes the individual decides that the evidence wasn’t concrete enough to be able to approach partner. Others retaliate, which typically includes posting messages online or sending a message to the third party, or the third party’s partner. Making a relationship decision: based on how the individual decided to act, they tend to make a decision about the relationship. …

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Speaker’s power to act on words influences listeners’ brain response

July 24, 2013 — A speaker’s power to act on his words influences how a listener perceives the meaning of their message, according to research published July 24 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Ina Bornkessel-Schlesewsky from the University of Marburg, Germany, and colleagues from other institutions.Share This:For example, listeners are more likely to believe a political figure is capable of acting on the words “Tear down this wall!” than when an ordinary citizen makes the same statement. In this study, researchers presented participants with videotaped statements about politics spoken by a top political decision-maker, a news anchor or an unknown person. In a second scenario, the same people uttered statements related to general world knowledge. Brain responses to implausible statements about current affairs differed when uttered by a political figure as opposed to the other speakers, but implausible general world knowledge statements led to a similar brain response across all three speakers.The effects occur rapidly, within 150-450 milliseconds of hearing a statement, and demonstrate that a listener’s response to a message is immediately influenced by the social status of the speaker, and whether he or she has the power to bring about the state of affairs described by their words. Bornkessel-Schlesewsky explains, “Every day, we hear statements that surprise us because they do not correspond to what we (think we) know about the world. Our study demonstrates that, in understanding such utterances, our brain rapidly takes into account who said them (e.g. a politician versus our neighbor) and whether he or she in fact has the power to act upon what was said.”Share this story on Facebook, Twitter, and Google:Other social bookmarking and sharing tools:|Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above. Journal Reference:Ina Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, Sylvia Krauspenhaar, Matthias Schlesewsky. …

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New approach to measuring coral growth offers valuable tool for reef managers; Surprising growth patterns in the Florida Keys

July 12, 2013 — A new more sensitive weight-based approach for monitoring coral growth in the wild has been developed by U.S. Geological Survey researchers leading to more definitive answers about the status of coral reefs.Corals and other marine organisms build their skeletons and shells through calcification, the biological process of secreting calcium carbonate obtained from ocean water. This new approach to measuring corals can provide finer-scale resolution than traditional linear measurements of coral growth.”A coral may grow two millimeters in height on the left side of the colony and five millimeters on the right, so linear measurements are inherently variable and require sampling hundreds of corals to detect changes in growth over time… our method requires only 10 corals per site,” said Ilsa Kuffner, USGS scientist and lead author of the study, published in the journal Coral Reefs.Using the weight-based approach, Kuffner’s team discovered that colonies of the Massive Starlet coral calcified about 50 percent faster in the remote Dry Tortugas National Park compared to three sites along the rest of the island chain from Miami to Marathon, Fla. The reasons behind this surprising pattern are not clear, leaving a mystery sure to pique the interest of many reef managers.The new approach could be highly useful to managers because it can detect small changes over space and time due to its high level of precision. Also, the method uses inexpensive and easy-to-find materials, and no corals are harmed in the process.”This tool provides the kind of scientific information needed to manage coral reefs at the ecosystem scale by looking at the relationships between coral health, climate change, and water-quality. It provides partners and reef managers with better, more sensitive metrics to assess coral growth, identify the most important variables, and prioritize strategies to protect and preserve these valuable ecosystems,” said Acting USGS Director, Suzette Kimball. “It is also one of the ways USGS science is advancing the National Ocean Policy by supporting a number of on-the-ground priority actions.”A next step in understanding declines in coral growth is discerning the different components of water-quality that are driving calcification rates, and this can only be achieved through the cooperation of reef managers and scientists around the world. The real power in the new approach will be realized if it is applied across many reefs that naturally have different temperature regimes, water quality, and pH conditions.”The study results suggest that we should pay more attention to different aspects of water-quality if we hope to understand and predict what will happen to coral reefs as oceans continue to change,” said Kuffner.According to Kuffner, managers already know coral reefs are in decline, but they want to know why. They need a linkage between cause and effect that explains why reefs are not growing like they used to or are not recovering from disease or die-off events. Correlating finely measured coral growth rates with water quality and other environmental information is an important step to making these linkages so they can inform management decisions.Coral reefs are in decline globally with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration currently proposing to list 66 reef-building coral species under the Endangered Species Act. …

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