CARDIOVASCULAR EXERCISE IMPROVES WOMEN’S HEART HEALTH

Heart disease kills millions of Americans each year. It is the leading cause of death for both men and women. The most common heart disease in the United States is coronary artery disease (CAD), which leads to heart attacks. One way to reduce your risk of CAD is to make some lifestyle changes, such as healthy eating, stress management and physical activity.   Physical activity is an essential part of being heart healthy. The American Heart Association (AHA) says you need at least 150 minutes of moderate....

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LATEST BREAKTHROUGHS IN BREAST CANCER TREATMENT

There are an estimated 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States, a testament to the more than 25-year decline in mortality, according to the American Cancer Society. Still, 231,000 women will be diagnosed with the disease this year, and about 40,000 will die. Fortunately, there have been some exciting breakthroughs in breast cancer detection and treatment recently.

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PERSONAL TRAINING

If you’re looking for a safe, effective program that will help you get toned, become more flexible or lose weight, personal training could be for you.  A personal trainer will teach you proper form and technique to keep you safe and injury free. But first, he or she needs to know what your goals are – whether you want to lose weight, get healthy and tone up or train for bodybuilding, fitness competitions or powerlifting. Perhaps you’re an older person who wants to work on balance and stability.

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Yeast has already given us bread, wine and beer, but in the very near future it may be a new painkiller.

 

Researchers at Stanford University have genetically engineered baker’s yeast to act on sugar so that in three to five days the sugar is converted to hydrocodone. In the same general way yeast can work on sugar and turn it into alcohol, the engineered yeast can take sugar, break it down and reassemble it into an opioid drug, according to the researchers.


Hydrocodone is an opioid class drug whose chemical cousins, oxycodone and morphine, can take more than a year to produce from poppies grown on licensed farms around the world. The poppies must be harvested, processed and shipped to pharmaceutical factories around the world. Speeding up the process would be valuable, as would removing the need for poppies.


In this new process, DNA is introduced into yeast cells that instruct it to create a chemical assembly line. Genes from plants, bacteria and rats are included in the genetic engineering.


“When we started work a decade ago, many experts thought it would be impossible to engineer yeast to replace the entire farm-to-factory process,” said senior study author Christina Smolke, a Stanford

YEAST TRANSFORMS QUICKLY INTO HYDROCODONE

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

more articles by Angela s. hoover

associate professor of bioengineering. The experiment yields thus far have been too small for practical application as yet; it takes a whopping 4,400 gallons of bioengineered yeast to produce just a single dose of hydrocodone. The success is the proof of concept: It can be done. It just needs to produce more.


Smolke says there’s no possibility this technique, as it currently stands, could be used to produce illicit drugs such as heroin. “It’s definitely the case that no one could take these strains now and use them for commercial production or abuse them for nefarious purposes,” Smolke says. “You could get more of these compounds from eating a poppy seed bagel.”


While confirming genetically engineered yeast can produce hydrocodone and thus eliminate the use of poppies and the farm-to-factory process, there is still much more work needed to begin employing these methods. “This is only the beginning,” Smolke said. “The techniques we developed and demonstrate for opioid pain relievers can be adapted to produce many plant-derived compounds to fight cancers, infectious diseases and chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and arthritis.”