Translating nature’s library yields drug leads for AIDS, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease

An ingredient in a medicinal tea brewed from tree bark by tribal healers on the South Pacific island of Samoa – studied by scientists over the last 25 years – is showing significant promise as a drug lead in the long-sought goal of eliminating the AIDS virus from its sanctuaries in the body and thus eradicating the disease, a scientist has said.

Speaking at the 246th National Meeting & Exhibition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), Paul A. Wender, Ph.D., described efficient new ways of making prostratin and related leads, as well as other drug candidates first discovered in sea creatures, that appear even more effective for AIDS and have applications for Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.

In his presentation, Wender focused on fundamentally new approaches to some of the most serious unmet health challenges of our time. He is with Stanford University. They include the eradication of AIDS, developing medicines that stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and treating resistant cancer – the major cause of chemotherapy failure for most cancers. Almost 7,000 presentations on new molecular discoveries in science and other topics are on the agenda for the meeting of the world’s largest scientific society, which continues through Thursday in the Indiana Convention Center and downtown hotels.

Wender leads a scientific team at Stanford University that first developed a way to make the tea ingredient, prostratin, in large amounts from readily available ingredients. He described how that initial synthesis broke down a major barrier to probing prostratin’s antiviral effects. Until then, scientists had to extract prostratin from the bark of the Samoan mamala tree, and only tiny and variable amounts were so obtained. Samoa is where another scientist, Paul Cox, in 1987 heard a native healer praise mamala bark tea as a remedy for viral hepatitis. It led scientists at the National Cancer Institute to analyze the bark and identify prostratin as a key ingredient. Wender’s synthesis of prostratin opened the door to research on the substance and enabled his team to change prostratin’s architecture.

“We now have made synthetic variants of prostratin, called analogs, that are 100 times more potent than the natural product,” Wender said. “That’s part of the basis for our approach to advancing potentially transformative treatments for AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease and resistant cancer. The mamala tree did not start making prostratin millions of years ago to treat a disease that appeared in the 20th century. The same is true for other substances that occur naturally in plants and animals. But we now have the tools to read nature’s library and use the lessons learned there to design, make and study new molecules that address unmet medical needs. This “function-oriented” approach seeks to identify useful parts of molecules and then, based on this knowledge, to design new and more readily synthesized molecules that work better or work in totally new ways. This is a well-validated strategy, perhaps best exemplified by the emergence of modern aviation from knowledge of how birds fly.”

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Those new versions of prostratin show promise in laboratory tests for both preventing HIV from infecting human cells and awakening dormant HIV viruses that are hiding inside human latently infected cells. Latent HIV cell reservoirs are untouchable by today’s antiviral medicines. Antiviral medicines reduce active virus levels in patients’ blood and keep patients healthy. But when patients stop the medication, the hibernating HIV in reservoirs awakens to resupply active virus. Prostratin flushes HIV out of its cellular sanctuaries so that antiviral drugs can attack and hopefully eradicate the HIV from the body. In essence, if one wants to eliminate a weed, one needs to get rid of its roots.

Wender’s group used those same “function-oriented” approaches in the design and synthesis of analogs of bryostatin, a substance that occurs naturally in sea creatures called bryozoans.

“Bryostatin has shown great promise in laboratory experiments as the basis for development of potentially transformative medicines for cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and the eradication of HIV/AIDS,” Wender said. “However, its limited supply from natural sources has slowed research, and as with prostratin, it was not evolved in nature for modern therapeutic use. We have overcome both the supply and performance barriers by designing simpler and thus more readily synthesized analogs of bryostatin – over 100 of them so far. When tested in various assays related to HIV/AIDS eradication, these analogs are up to 1,000-fold more potent in flushing HIV out of its hiding places than prostratin. Much needs to be done, but we are on a promising trajectory.”

Wender’s group is working with colleagues at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the UCLA Center for AIDS Research and the Collaboratory of AIDS Researchers for Eradication to conduct further studies on the analogs. The AIDS Research Alliance, an independent not-for-profit research organization, is advancing prostratin toward clinical trials.

The research team is currently also focusing on bryostatin and designed analogs for their potential use in boosting memory in Alzheimer’s patients. The compound is known to improve learning and memory in laboratory rats. It appears to cause formation of new connections in the brain that are associated with learning and memory. Wender noted that bryostatin and its analogs may also have benefits for people who have had strokes or other conditions in which learning and memory are impaired.

Wender acknowledged funding from the National Institutes of Health.

Toward the ideal synthesis and function through synthesis informed design: Approaches to AIDS eradication, treating Alzheimer’s disease, and overcoming resistant cancer


Life experience ‘offsets age-related cognitive decline’

As we get older, there is no doubt that our brains become slower. But new research suggests that life experience may make up for cognitive decline in old age.

Researchers from the School of Business Administration at University of California, Riverside, conducted what they say is the first study to measure a person’s decision making over their lifespan through two types of intelligence: fluid and crystalized.

Fluid intelligence is the ability to learn and process information, while crystalized intelligence is experience and accumulated knowledge.

The researchers note that previous studies have suggested that fluid intelligence declines as a person ages, but this hypothesis does not determine whether decision-making abilities also decline with age.

For their study, published in the journal Psychology and Aging, the research team recruited 336 participants. Of these, 173 were aged between 18 and 29, while 163 were aged between 60 and 82.

Participants were asked to answer a series of questions designed to measure economic decision-making traits. These were:

Temporal discounting – how much people discount future gains and losses
Loss aversion – how much the valuation of losses outweigh gains of the same magnitude
Financial literacy – understanding financial decisions and information
Debt literacy – understanding debt contracts and interest rates.

The participants were also required to complete a series of fluid and crystallized intelligence tests.
Older participants ‘wiser’ than younger

Results of the study revealed that older participants performed just as well or better than the younger participants in all decision-making measures.

The older group demonstrated greater patience in the temporal discounting area and showed better financial and debt literacy.

The researchers note that the older participants appeared slightly less loss averse, but they say this difference was so small that it was deemed insignificant.

Ye Li, assistant professor of management at the School of Business Administration at the University, says:


Beware of Scams When Buying Health Insurance

Consumers shopping for health insurance should be cautious about how and where they share personal information, the Better Business Bureau warns. Scammers may pose as an authority from the federal government and request your personal information for a variety of reasons and in several different ways: by phone, email, or even in person at your door. They may tell you that you are an initial recipient of an Affordable Care Act insurance card (there is no such thing), for example, or insist that you pay a fine for not having insurance, or want to advise you about keeping your existing health insurance or Medicare. Scammers may then ask for your personal information, including your full name, social security number, email addresses, date of birth, and mailing address.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Never give out any of your personal information over the phone.
The government does not typically call, text or e-mail citizens. Communication is usually by regular mail.
Do not trust your caller ID as scammers may be able to disguise the phone number from which they are calling, tricking you into thinking that the call is from a reputable organization. If you think a scammer is calling you, hang up the phone and do not call them back.
If you have a Medicare policy, scammers may try to lure you into applying for additional insurance or for a new Medicare card. The Affordable Care Act is not affiliated with Medicare and will not have any effect on the current status of your Medicare card.
Websites that are not affiliated with state-based marketplaces, but have similar names, will try to obtain your email address, username, and password information. Before logging on to any health insurance website or online portal, make sure to check out the official homepage of your state’s marketplace.

There is more at stake than just your health insurance; identity theft could affect your finances and other aspects of your life as well. If you think you have been scammed, contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-382-4357 or file a complaint online. You should also notify the national credit bureaus by calling their fraud hotlines (Equifax, 1-888-766-0008; Experian, 1-888-397-3742; and TransUnion, 1-800-680-7289) and change the passwords on your online accounts if you are concerned that a scammer has accessed them. If you gave out any financial information, notify your bank as well as your credit card company as well.


The Hidden Costs of ‘Affordable’ Health Insurance Plans

The Affordable Care Act promises to expand access to health care by providing affordable coverage to millions of Americans. But finding a policy that meets your health care needs and your budget requirements can be daunting.

Now the good news: Shopping for health insurance is about to get easier.

For starters, the new state-based health insurance marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act provide consumers with a “one-stop shopping experience to easily compare the costs and benefits of plans,” says Kevin Lucia, senior research fellow at Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms. These marketplaces will offer tax credits and subsidies to people with low and moderate incomes.

To ease the shopping experience, insurers must now provide a summary of benefits and coverage along with a standardized glossary of medical terms. “When comparing plans, think about the health care services you use or anticipate using and the financial ramifications of not having access to the services and providers you want,” said Lucia.

Among the factors to keep in mind when shopping for an affordable plan:

Consider “cost sharing” expenses

Many consumers focus on premiums, but out-of-pocket expenses (also know as “cost sharing”) can turn what at first appears to be an affordable plan into a financial burden. While cost sharing charges vary from plan to plan, the Affordable Care Act caps out-of-pocket costs at $6,350 for individuals and $12,700 for a family in 2014. (Out-of-pocket maximums for some employer-based health insurance plans won’t start until 2015.)

Determining your potential out-of-pocket expenses can be tricky because “the language of cost sharing – deductible, copayment, coinsurance – can be confusing,” said Susan Pisano, spokesperson for America’s Health Insurance Plans. “But taking the time to calculate these costs is worthwhile.”

The deductible is the sum you must pay up front for health care services before your policy’s coverage kicks in. For example, a $1,000 deductible means you’ll need to spend $1,000 before the plan starts paying for covered services. You are entitled to preventive care – such as annual checkups, immunizations, mammograms, colonoscopy and blood pressure screenings – at no additional cost whether or not you have met the deductible .

Ellen Pryga, director of policy at the American Hospital Association, advises consumers to consider their money management style when deciding between a plan that has a low premium (but high deductible) or a slightly higher premium (but lower deductible). “Some people have no trouble establishing a savings account to cover the deductible. For other people, savings is more difficult. They may be better off paying the slightly higher premium so they aren’t tempted to touch that savings account for other reasons.”

The copayment is the flat fee ($20, for example) you pay each time you access care, such as visiting the doctor. “Those little things can add up depending on how you use services,” said Pisano. For instance, copayments can multiply quickly if you take several medications prescribed by various specialists who all require a visit to the doctor’s office to renew a prescription.

Coinsurance refers to the percentage of the cost of a covered health care service that you must pay. Let’s say your plan comes with a 20 percent coinsurance. An office visit that costs $100 leaves you with a 20 percent coinsurance payment of $20. These costs can add up quickly, too, when you consider that 20 percent of an emergency department visit or a lengthy hospital stay can lead to thousands of dollars in coinsurance payments . For example, the average cost for non-complicated pregnancy and newborn care can total more than


I Lied About Having a Terminal Illness

I told my ex about the lie afterwards months of accustomed on the lie. He was with me through apocryphal pretenses of me actuality “sick” and has now cut off all acquaintance with me. His ancestors has abreast me that they will book abstinent orders if I acquaintance him. I charge advice for myself. But I additionally don’t anticipate any bulk of analysis will advice after him in my activity to advice me through it.  article research by

What can I do to get him to accept that I accept problems and I charge advice and support?A. At this point, you accept no best but to move advanced with your life, after your ex, because he has concluded the relationship. You demand to be with him but you don’t accept that option. Even if you approved to accomplish acquaintance with him, he or his ancestors ability alarm the authorities.Perhaps, as time passes, he will absolve you and the accord can be rebuilt but for now, you accept to alive with the absoluteness that there is no relationship.Use this befalling to abode the issues that led to the annihilation of the relationship.

Don’t accomplish the aforementioned aberration alert and let lying abnormally affect important relationships.It’s a aberration to anticipate that you cannot be helped with therapy. Of advance you can. If you accept a admiration to change and are accessible to brainy bloom treatment, afresh the likelihood of advantageous your cerebral issues is awfully high.The key to success in psychotherapy primarily includes accepting a aboveboard admiration to change. It’s additionally important to accept a competent therapist with whom you are adequate and compatible.Therapy can bare the activity basal your lying behavior. In my experience, abounding bodies lie to accomplish themselves arise bigger than they are.

Their affidavit for lying about absorb accepting a poor self-image.You may or may not accept the befalling to adjustment the accord with your ex but you should try to abode what led to the lying. Even if you are never afforded the befalling to resume the accord with your ex, analysis can ensure that lying never amercement addition important relationship.You fabricated a aberration and now you are advantageous the price. Seize this befalling to accomplish a amenable choice. You can accept not to seek advice or you can adjudge to booty albatross for your accomplishments and try to affected this problem. It is animal attributes to makes mistakes but you should try to apprentice how to anticipate them in the future. With analysis you accept an befalling to accomplish those all-important adjustments.The best amenable advance of action, and all that anyone can ask of you, is to booty the all-important accomplish to try to ensure that you never echo this aberration again. Please booty care.


Strange Anxiety Symptom?

I accept an all-overs ataxia for seven years. I apperceive best of the affection but I accept one actual strange. Actual about I accept affliction central the ears. Example 1: Back addition holds the council caster of the car I get awkward affliction central the abutting ear. Example 2: Back I watch TV sports. eg football, back a amateur avalanche to ground, i get the aforementioned akward affliction in the abutting ears. Example 3: Back addition is abutting to me and grabs assertive object, i get the aforementioned akward affliction in the abutting ear… Please acquaint me what is alleged this ataxia and what can account this and which medications can i booty  for more information about health

?A. It’s cryptic if your ear affliction is the aftereffect of anxiety. All-overs is a cerebral action and not a concrete condition. Sustained aerial levels of all-overs may advance to concrete problems but about speaking, it affects bodies emotionally and not necessarily physically.  article research by

Perhaps back a abrupt anxiety-producing bang occurs, you bound clamp your teeth or move your jaw in an awkward way. Either of those things could account ear pain. TMJ affliction can about afford to the ear.Your ear affliction ability be the aftereffect of a medical problem. Don’t accept it’s anxiety. You should be evaluated by your primary affliction physician to actuate the antecedent of the pain. The doctor may demand to accredit you for a alternation of tests to actuate what is wrong. It’s consistently appropriate to argue accomplished professionals to actuate what is wrong.See your doctor immediately. He or she will actuate what is amiss and accommodate analysis recommendations accordingly. Please booty care.


Coping With Loneliness During the Holidays

Loneliness is accepted during the holidays.Empty nesters, the aged and individuals who are afflicted — the accident of a admired one or a accord — may be decidedly accessible to animosity of loneliness, according to psychotherapist Joyce Marter, LCPC.Expectations are high, and comparisons run rampant. “Many bodies feel amazing burden to be blessed and socially connected.” There’s a prevailing faculty that anybody is active a Hallmark cine with the ideal ancestors and absolute celebrations, she said.That is, anybody but you. And this can activate animosity of isolation.Loneliness additionally can cut deep.  for more information about health

Rather than a acknowledgment to the accepted environment, individuals who acquaintance abiding bareness may backpack abstruse scars from accomplished affecting adventures and traumas, according to Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, a civic academy trainer and psychotherapist who specializes in relationships.In short, your faculty of bareness may be a automatic acknowledgment that has roots in an ailing childhood, he said. Bodies who acquaintance abiding bareness tend to accept a all-a-quiver faculty of self-worth and self-esteem. They may alter animosity of bareness as acceptance of their inadequacies.Loneliness lies on a continuum, Rosenberg said. And it can be painful. It may advance you to about-face to ailing habits and baneful people. Below, Rosenberg and Marter allotment their suggestions for arresting healthfully with loneliness.Seek company.The best way to accord with loneliness, Rosenberg said, is to override your aptitude to isolate. “Loneliness feeds on itself.”

Instead, appear a anniversary celebration. Call a abutting friend. Go out for coffee or to boutique for gifts.Visit a abode of worship. Acquisition a bounded accumulation that matches your interests, application sites like, a admired of Rosenberg’s.When you’re out and about agreeable in agreeable and absorbing activities, you’re beneath hyper-focused on your abrogating thoughts, and you’re able to breach out of the self-defeating circling that bareness may ignite, he said.Share your feelings.Be honest with the bodies you trust, and acquaint them you’re activity lonely, Rosenberg said. Divulging these animosity is a accessible and adventuresome act – which best bodies will appreciate. They’ll demand to help, he said.Ask for what you need.“Sometimes we achievement others are clear-sighted and become aghast and feel broken and abandoned back our needs are not met,” said Marter, architect of the clandestine counseling convenance Urban Balance.   article resource by

It’s important to acutely acquaint your needs to others. For instance, you adeptness ask your apron to accord you a hug or your mom to accomplish your admired dessert.Avoid amusing media.“People analyze their abdomen to added people’s outsides and feel their lives anemic in comparison,” said Marter, who pens the Psych Central blog The Psychology of Success. And it’s people’s absolute outsides that are generally splashed on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you acquisition yourself accepting agitated by these sites, absolute or stop your use during the holidays.Honor your feelings.According to Marter,

“Your animosity are accustomed responses to aggregate you accept been through in your life.” Accord yourself permission to feel those feelings, and again abstracted yourself from them, she said.“Imagine you are unplugging or ‘zooming out’ and seeing your animosity from a aloof and cold place. Allow yourself to ‘surf’ your animosity of bareness rather than be engulfed by them.”Practice self-care.Focus on demography acceptable affliction of yourself. Get abundant sleep. Engage in concrete activities you enjoy. Convenance abysmal breathing.“Breathe in what you charge – such as serenity, peace, backbone — and out what you don’t – such as sadness, pain, loneliness,” Marter said. And actualize anatomy in your days, she said.Have astute expectations.You may be activity abandoned because you accept unrealistic expectations about the holidays. As Marter said, “If your mom is butterfingers of actuality empathic, don’t apprehend her to be so … Maybe she is bigger ill-fitted to accomplish you your admired pie and your sister is bigger to about-face to for accordant support.”In added words, Marter appropriate requesting the blazon of abutment anniversary actuality is able of giving. Avoid assured things to be acceptable or bad, she added. “[A]ccept things as they come.”Question your amusing group.

You may still feel abandoned back you’re with others. But this isn’t necessarily a abrogating thing. In fact, according to Rosenberg, it may accord you important advice for affective forward: You adeptness be blind out with the amiss people. For instance, maybe the bodies you’re surrounding yourself with don’t acknowledge you or put you down.Volunteer.Marter suggesting volunteering your time. For instance, serve in a soup kitchen or advice organizations such as Toys for Tots, she said.Seek therapy.

When you’re experiencing abstruse loneliness, analysis can help, said Rosenberg, additionally columnist of the book The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Adulation Bodies Who Hurt Us. Work with a therapist to analyze your bareness and feel better.Remember that bareness is not the aforementioned as actuality alone. “[S]olitude can be a admirable experience,” Marter said. “Solitude is the adeptness to absolutely be with oneself after the ‘noise’ of alfresco access and expectations.”It’s an befalling to get to apperceive ourselves and adulation ourselves on a added level, she said. (Here’s added on savoring solitude.)However, if you’re experiencing animosity of loneliness, ability out. Seek abutment from others, whether admired ones, a therapist or both.