Forensic Medicine

Chiavari, Italy

Forensic Medicine

Chiavari, Italy
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Forensic scientists have traditionally used capillary electrophoresis (CE) to analyze STR markers for genetic profile comparisons with known individuals from the FBI's Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) database and other databases worldwide. However, complicating factors, such as DNA degradation, mixtures and/or insufficient starting material, prevent an estimated 30-40 percent of samples from offering conclusive results. The new Precision ID GlobalFiler NGS STR Panel v2 is designed to work seamlessly with the Ion Chef System for automated library and template preparation and sequencing on the Ion S5 and Ion S5 XL Systems, which offer as little as two hour sequencing run times and 15 minutes of hands-on time. The panel targets CODIS expanded core loci, with additional multi-allelic STR markers, including Penta D and Penta E, as well as sex determination markers. This expanded marker set assists in mixture resolution for identifying multiple contributors in complex casework samples. The new Converge NGS Analysis module is required to generate profiles from the Precision ID GlobalFiler NGS STR Panel v2. The HID STR genotyping functionality provides information on length-based STR allele call, sequence-based repeat motif, known SNPs in flanking regions, and isometric heterozygote (alleles of the same fragment length, but containing different repeat sequence) information. These additional sequence-based characteristics will deliver a wider allele range with an increased power of discrimination for individual identification. With an interface which is similar to Applied Biosystems GeneMapper ID-X software, forensic analysts can easily evaluate sequencing data using familiar Process Quality Values and flags, such as allele number (AN), off-ladder allele (OL), peak height ratio (PHR), below stochastic threshold (BST) and Control Concordance (CC). "NGS now has the ability to transform forensic genetics by enabling the recovery of highly discriminating allelic profiles from challenging mixed or degraded samples," said Claus Børsting, Ph.D., senior advisor at the Section of Forensic Genetics, Department of Forensic Medicine, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. "Our tests show full concordance with CE based methods, high sensitivity, and new possibilities for mixture interpretation. Under our ISO 17025 laboratory accreditation, we have used NGS in relationship case work since 2015. Currently, we are validating an ancestry panel to bring NGS on-line in crime case work." "Our customers need more access to genetic identification profiles from complex DNA samples, prompting the continued development of the Precision ID NGS System, additional panels and a more comprehensive data analysis pipeline." said Rosy Lee, vice president and general manager of human identification at Thermo Fisher Scientific. Additional information on the Precision ID NGS System with Converge software can be found here. The Precision ID NGS System is for research, forensic or paternity use only; Not for use in diagnostic procedures. About Thermo Fisher Scientific Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. is the world leader in serving science, with revenues of $18 billion and more than 55,000 employees globally. Our mission is to enable our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer. We help our customers accelerate life sciences research, solve complex analytical challenges, improve patient diagnostics and increase laboratory productivity. Through our premier brands – Thermo Scientific, Applied Biosystems, Invitrogen, Fisher Scientific, and Unity Lab Services – we offer an unmatched combination of innovative technologies, purchasing convenience and comprehensive support. For more information, please visit www.thermofisher.com.


News Article | August 4, 2017
Site: www.theguardian.com

Swiss police say hundreds of bodies of mountaineers who have gone missing in the Alps in the past century could emerge in coming years as global warming forces the country’s glaciers to retreat. Alpine authorities have registered a significant increase in the number of human remains discovered last month, with the body of a man missing for 30 years the most recent to be uncovered. Rescue teams in Saas Valley in the Valais canton were called last Tuesday after two climbers retreating from an aborted ascent spotted a hand and two shoes protruding from the Hohlaub glacier. Rescuers spent two hours freeing the mummified body with icepicks and their bare hands, also recovering a silver wristwatch and a ring. A helicopter flew the remains to Bern, where forensics experts matched the DNA to that of a German citizen, born in 1943, who had gone missing on a hike in 11 August 1987. One rescue worker said the man had worn shoes “unsuitable” for walking on ice, suggesting he may have slipped after walking a few metres onto the glacier and fallen down a crevice. Both feet had become detached from the body, indicating the force of the fall. The discovery comes less than a week after the bodies of a Swiss couple, missing for 75 years, were found in the Tsanfleuron glacier in the same canton. Marcelin and Francine Dumoulin had disappeared after going out to milk their cows in a meadow above Chandolin on 15 August 1942. Last Thursday, the remains of a person believed to have been killed in an Air India crash more than 50 years ago was also discovered in the French Alps, on Mount Blanc. Switzerland’s glaciers have been melting at an unprecedented rate, losing almost one cubic km in ice volume or about 900 bn litres of water over the past year. According to an investigation by Tagesanzeiger newspaper, eight of the 10 months in which the glaciers have lost the most in volume over the past century have been since 2008. Since 1850, when glaciers covered 1,735 sq km (670 sq miles) of Swiss land, the total area has shrunk by a half, to about 890 sq km. Police in Valais expect the bodies of many more missing persons to emerge because of global warming. “It’s quite clear,” a spokesman, Christian Zuber, told the Guardian. “The glaciers are retreating, so it’s logical that we’re finding more and more bodies and body parts. In the coming years we expect that many more cases of missing persons will be resolved.” He said a map that lists everyone who had gone missing since 1925 to the present day contains 306 names and locations, one fewer since the discovery of the German mountaineer. At least 160 alpinists remain missing in France’s Mont Blanc massif, and the Morteratsch glacier in Graubünden is believed to contain the bodies of 40 mountaineers. Zuber described the “great relief” at being able to pass on the information to the families “who would otherwise never know with 100% certainty whether their loved one had perished on the mountain. Finally when a corpse is discovered, you have an absolute guarantee”, he said. He said that feeling had also been palpable earlier this year when a local woman was able to retrieve the bodies of her dead parents, the Dumoulins, who had disappeared when she was just four years old. “We locals are obviously used to the mountains, but such discoveries are no less emotional for the people here,” he said. Rolf Trachsel, head of mountain rescue in Saas-Fee, who led the operation to recover the German man’s body, said it had been discovered in an area popular with hikers. “There was very little snow, and it was not very steep. It was about half an hour’s hike away from the next mountain cable-car station.” He said although the team had to deal with the sad fact they were recovering a dead man, they also felt considerable relief. “If someone has gone missing, logic tells you their body has to turn up again one day,” Trachsel said. “It’s obviously good that we can put our efforts into recovering someone, especially after 30 years, and knowing how important it is for the family to find out what happened.” The body was taken to the Institute of Forensic Medicine (IRM) at the University of Bern by helicopter for examination and formal identification where it is still being held. Christian Jackowski, a scientist at IRM, said the discovery of human remains was now a regular feature of the Swiss summer holiday season, as climbers started to swarm the Valais region’s ice-covered mountains. Usually bodies emerged from the ice at the top of the glacier, rather than its “tongue” at the bottom of the valley, Jackowski said. The extent to which bodies have been preserved by the ice depends on the circumstances of the person’s demise, with some human remains having been mummified by sunshine and dry winds before being engulfed in ice, while others have been reduced to skeletons. The majority of bodies are trapped in ice, crevices or streams after an accident or a suicide, though some cases are treated in relation to criminal cases. Other bodies could be the victims of military skirmishes. Though Switzerland stayed neutral in world wars one and two, the Mont Blanc massif became a frontline towards the end of the second world war amid intense fighting between the German army and French resistance fighters. In most cases, forensic experts face a race against time once bodies have been removed from the ice and start to thaw. Dental records and DNA samples are checked against a database of missing people to determine the identity of the corpse. Since 2000, authorities in Switzerland have taken DNA samples of missing people’s family members immediately after their disappearance to facilitate the process.


News Article | June 20, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Vienna, Austria - 20 June 2017: Pacemakers and other cardiac devices can help solve forensic cases, according to a study presented today at EHRA EUROPACE - CARDIOSTIM 2017.1 Devices revealed the time and cause of death in some cases where autopsy failed to do so. "In forensic medicine around 30% of cases remain unsolved because the cause or time of death after autopsy remains unclear," said lead author Dr Philipp Lacour, a cardiologist at Charité - Medical University of Berlin, Germany. "The number of implanted cardiac devices with sophisticated diagnostic functions is increasing and we thought interrogating them might help to shed light on these unclear deaths," he added. "Currently, device interrogation is not routinely performed after autopsy." The study was conducted in cooperation with the Department of Forensic Medicine at Charité - Medical University of Berlin where more than 5 000 autopsies were performed in a five year period. Of these, 150 cases had an implantable cardiac device which was removed from the body during the autopsy. The explanted devices included 107 pacemakers, 22 implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), 14 cardiac resynchronisation therapy (CRT) systems, and six implantable loop recorders. The devices were interrogated by two electrophysiologists to determine time and cause of death, and device failure. Time of death could be determined in 76% of cases using data from the device. It could be identified precisely (to the minute) when the patient had tachycardia (fast heart rate) at the end of life. In other cases, changes in seven parameters were used to assign the time of death. These included lead impedance and pacing threshold. Dr Lacour said: "At the end of life, lead impedance rises because of changes in the heart muscle and pacing climbs to 100% because the device doesn't detect any heart rhythm." Cause of death was determined in 24% of cases. This included bradycardia, tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation, and device malfunctions. "The cause of death was most easily determined when the patient had a lethal arrhythmia such as tachycardia which was documented by the device," said Dr Lacour. "For example a ventricular fibrillation was recorded by a pacemaker, which did not intervene because it was not a defibrillator, and showed us that this arrhythmia caused the death." Device malfunction occurred in 7% of cases. This included hardware failure such as a broken lead, algorithm issues meaning the device did not recognise an arrhythmia or deliver a shock when it occurred, or a programming issue where the shock setting was insufficient to terminate an arrhythmia. Dr Lacour said: "In our study, the time or cause of death was unclear in about 30% of cases after autopsy alone. This dropped to around 10-20% using device interrogation. The two procedures provide complementary information and with the combination we can solve around 85% of all unclear deaths." "We think device interrogation should be routinely performed after autopsy in all forensic cases," continued Dr Lacour. "It helps determine the time and cause of death and identifies device malfunctions that might otherwise have gone unnoticed and should be highlighted to manufacturers and health departments." He concluded: "To ensure that accurate data is extracted from cardiac devices, the time between autopsy and device interrogation should be kept as short as possible and we try to do it within two weeks. This avoids the memory of the device filling up with artefacts that can be generated after the leads are cut."


News Article | June 20, 2017
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

Pacemakers and other cardiac devices can help solve forensic cases, according to a study presented at EHRA EUROPACE -- CARDIOSTIM 2017.1 Devices revealed the time and cause of death in some cases where autopsy failed to do so. "In forensic medicine around 30% of cases remain unsolved because the cause or time of death after autopsy remains unclear," said lead author Dr Philipp Lacour, a cardiologist at Charité -- Medical University of Berlin, Germany. "The number of implanted cardiac devices with sophisticated diagnostic functions is increasing and we thought interrogating them might help to shed light on these unclear deaths," he added. "Currently, device interrogation is not routinely performed after autopsy." The study was conducted in cooperation with the Department of Forensic Medicine at Charité -- Medical University of Berlin where more than 5,000 autopsies were performed in a five year period. Of these, 150 cases had an implantable cardiac device which was removed from the body during the autopsy. The explanted devices included 107 pacemakers, 22 implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), 14 cardiac resynchronisation therapy (CRT) systems, and six implantable loop recorders. The devices were interrogated by two electrophysiologists to determine time and cause of death, and device failure. Time of death could be determined in 76% of cases using data from the device. It could be identified precisely (to the minute) when the patient had tachycardia (fast heart rate) at the end of life. In other cases, changes in seven parameters were used to assign the time of death. These included lead impedance and pacing threshold. Dr Lacour said: "At the end of life, lead impedance rises because of changes in the heart muscle and pacing climbs to 100% because the device doesn't detect any heart rhythm." Cause of death was determined in 24% of cases. This included bradycardia, tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation, and device malfunctions. "The cause of death was most easily determined when the patient had a lethal arrhythmia such as tachycardia which was documented by the device," said Dr Lacour. "For example a ventricular fibrillation was recorded by a pacemaker, which did not intervene because it was not a defibrillator, and showed us that this arrhythmia caused the death." Device malfunction occurred in 7% of cases. This included hardware failure such as a broken lead, algorithm issues meaning the device did not recognise an arrhythmia or deliver a shock when it occurred, or a programming issue where the shock setting was insufficient to terminate an arrhythmia. Dr Lacour said: "In our study, the time or cause of death was unclear in about 30% of cases after autopsy alone. This dropped to around 10-20% using device interrogation. The two procedures provide complementary information and with the combination we can solve around 85% of all unclear deaths." "We think device interrogation should be routinely performed after autopsy in all forensic cases," continued Dr Lacour. "It helps determine the time and cause of death and identifies device malfunctions that might otherwise have gone unnoticed and should be highlighted to manufacturers and health departments." He concluded: "To ensure that accurate data is extracted from cardiac devices, the time between autopsy and device interrogation should be kept as short as possible and we try to do it within two weeks. This avoids the memory of the device filling up with artefacts that can be generated after the leads are cut."


News Article | June 20, 2017
Site: www.rdmag.com

Pacemakers and other cardiac devices can help solve forensic cases, according to a study presented today at EHRA EUROPACE - CARDIOSTIM 2017.1 Devices revealed the time and cause of death in some cases where autopsy failed to do so. "In forensic medicine around 30% of cases remain unsolved because the cause or time of death after autopsy remains unclear," said lead author Dr Philipp Lacour, a cardiologist at Charité - Medical University of Berlin, Germany. "The number of implanted cardiac devices with sophisticated diagnostic functions is increasing and we thought interrogating them might help to shed light on these unclear deaths," he added. "Currently, device interrogation is not routinely performed after autopsy." The study was conducted in cooperation with the Department of Forensic Medicine at Charité - Medical University of Berlin where more than 5 000 autopsies were performed in a five year period. Of these, 150 cases had an implantable cardiac device which was removed from the body during the autopsy. The explanted devices included 107 pacemakers, 22 implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), 14 cardiac resynchronisation therapy (CRT) systems, and six implantable loop recorders. The devices were interrogated by two electrophysiologists to determine time and cause of death, and device failure. Time of death could be determined in 76% of cases using data from the device. It could be identified precisely (to the minute) when the patient had tachycardia (fast heart rate) at the end of life. In other cases, changes in seven parameters were used to assign the time of death. These included lead impedance and pacing threshold. Dr Lacour said: "At the end of life, lead impedance rises because of changes in the heart muscle and pacing climbs to 100% because the device doesn't detect any heart rhythm." Cause of death was determined in 24% of cases. This included bradycardia, tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation, and device malfunctions. "The cause of death was most easily determined when the patient had a lethal arrhythmia such as tachycardia which was documented by the device," said Dr Lacour. "For example a ventricular fibrillation was recorded by a pacemaker, which did not intervene because it was not a defibrillator, and showed us that this arrhythmia caused the death." Device malfunction occurred in 7% of cases. This included hardware failure such as a broken lead, algorithm issues meaning the device did not recognise an arrhythmia or deliver a shock when it occurred, or a programming issue where the shock setting was insufficient to terminate an arrhythmia. Dr Lacour said: "In our study, the time or cause of death was unclear in about 30% of cases after autopsy alone. This dropped to around 10-20% using device interrogation. The two procedures provide complementary information and with the combination we can solve around 85% of all unclear deaths." "We think device interrogation should be routinely performed after autopsy in all forensic cases," continued Dr Lacour. "It helps determine the time and cause of death and identifies device malfunctions that might otherwise have gone unnoticed and should be highlighted to manufacturers and health departments." He concluded: "To ensure that accurate data is extracted from cardiac devices, the time between autopsy and device interrogation should be kept as short as possible and we try to do it within two weeks. This avoids the memory of the device filling up with artefacts that can be generated after the leads are cut."


News Article | September 14, 2017
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

The investigation process into the use of drugs or drugs of abuse (DOA) is highly dependent on individual cases. Most often, there is a small shortlist of possible drugs that analysts can screen for in a sample. In such cases, specific and dedicated testing methods are utilized to elucidate the drug involved. The process of analysis also depends on the source of the sample. For example, samples from police institutions usually come with an idea of the type of analyte to be detected: pre-tests in urine have usually been conducted so analysts have a broad idea of the class of drug in question. In these cases, a laboratory only needs to screen for a few analytes. In other cases, such as in the event of intoxication, the drug responsible is less clear and broad screening methods are required. The samples available for analysis also depend on the type of case, and range from blood, urine, hair, vitreous humor and, occasionally, organs. To analyze drugs and DOA in biological matrices, liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LCMS) and gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCMS) are used, but when analyzing body fluids, LCMS has become the choice of method. Case study: Institute of Forensic Medicine Volker Auwärter’s laboratory at the Institute of Forensic Medicine, University of Freiburg, benefits from specifically developed toxicological solutions to further research and services in forensic analysis. The laboratory runs drug screening services for organizations across Europe, in Luxembourg, Belgium and Poland. The institute also collaborates with a laboratory in the U.S., where they contribute to method development. As an academic laboratory, the key priorities of the institute’s work lie in research and analytical services, often for requests dealing with legal cases. The role of the institute is to conduct toxicological analysis on cases where drugs or drugs of abuse are involved. This primarily involves testing blood, urine and hair samples and in post-mortem cases, stomach contents, vitreous humor and occasionally organs such as liver, kidney and muscle tissue. In some instances, analysis of powders, liquids, paper or other materials is also requested. Due to the nature of samples analyzed, semi- or broad-targeted approaches are needed to screen for a vast array of analytes. The source of the samples sent to the laboratory varies, and has changed over time. “In the beginning, death cases and services for investigative authorities were the main source of work for us as a forensic laboratory. Over time, we have received more samples from the police, taken from offenders under the influence. Then it developed further and we now have more clinical samples, for example from prisons and forensic psychiatric clinics. Now this represents the larger portion of our work,” explains Auwärter. Currently, the institute receives approximately 11,000 cases to analyze per year, ranging from simple blood alcohol analysis to full post-mortem toxicology. Due to the institute’s focus on research, the majority of funding received by the laboratory is for this purpose. “The laboratory stands on two legs: one is academic, where we have funding for teaching and research, and the other is the service we provide to private facilities and investigative authorities. The two elements support each other—if we’re good in research, we can offer new, specialized methods to our customers, and if we provide a good service, this generates revenue to channel into innovative research. We’re not a high-throughput laboratory, so we always have to keep on top of the latest developments in order to offer specialized services private laboratories with high-throughput machines are not able to provide,” said Auwärter. The institute has conducted EU-funded projects since 2011, all of which maintain a core focus on drugs market monitoring and development of methods to detect NPS in biological matrices. The laboratory must apply for new funding every two years, and over time the nature of the project has changed depending on the EU commission’s goals. “We have to assess what the EU commission wants, and which project would fit in with our purpose. Previously, we have applied for a security research project, as well as the Drug Information and Prevention Program—you always have to look out for those that fit, and often need to adapt to them. In the beginning, the projects were more constructed around questions of prevention, whereas now, the projects are covered more by the criminal investigation area. At the moment, together with the Federal Criminal Police Office, we’re contributing to some profiling work to see which kinds of impurities are found in drugs and learn about their routes of synthesis,” explained Auwärter. As specialists in NPS detection, the demand for this service from the institute has been high, so the research effort to keep up to speed with rapid developments in identification of new compounds is huge. In 2008, the problem of detection of the NPS “Spice” became a widespread and common occurrence that swept across the industry. As a result, a large portion of the laboratory’s work is now involved with detecting synthetic cannabinoids. Since 2012, screening for NPS has become an issue even in standard cases, and is a constant factor in the laboratory’s work. “Every death case we complete will undergo the whole spectrum of NPS screening,” adds Auwärter. The laboratory uses the Toxtyper (Bruker Daltonik) LC-MSn-based library solution for its EU monitoring projects: drug samples are purchased online by the laboratory to be analyzed for the principle active compounds. The instrument quickly identifies these samples and where drugs have already been screened before, it is used to identify specific groups of drugs, for example synthetic cannabinoids, and simultaneously looks for unknown compound spectra. These compounds can then be selected, purified and have their structures analyzed with other instruments. The robustness, quality of data and ease of use of the instrument have simplified and accelerated the mass spectrometry screening capabilities of the laboratory, shortening the overall turnaround time of a case. By reducing the time spent on routine sample analysis, more time can be spent on complex intoxication or post-mortem cases, which is very valuable. Reduced sample preparation time is one of the key advantages of using such a technique: the time taken to prepare samples for GCMS is up to one hour, whereas this LCMS solution takes approximately 10 minutes. Moving forward The designer drug testing arena is rapidly expanding and is unlikely to slow down in the near future. Therefore, laboratories such as the Institute of Forensic Medicine will need to rely more and more on the advancing technologies provided by vendors, which are specifically designed with these research challenges in mind. The commitment of such vendors to provide the innovative instrumentation and industry expertise required for research institutes to carry out increasingly complex work paves the way for future discoveries. The two-way collaboration seen in this case study facilitated the co-development of novel drug screening methods, which enables the institute to further their research and service contributions to the forensic and toxicology industry.


The International Association of HealthCare Professionals is pleased to welcome Dr. Hugh Francis O’Donnell, to their prestigious organization with his upcoming publication in The Leading Physicians of the World. Dr. O’Donnell is an established General Practitioner featuring nearly four decades of experience in his field and a special expertise in General Medicine, Psychiatry, and Forensic Medicine/Medico-Legal Reports. Presently, Dr. O’Donnell continues to provide exceptional care to his patients at the Strokestown Medical Practice in Strokestown, Co. Roscommon, Ireland. (Home of Ireland’s National Famine Museum). He has dedicated his life to his specialty, and displays an ongoing interest in minor plastic surgery. Dr. O’Donnell’s acclaimed career in medicine began in 1977 in the Galway Republic of Ireland, and he also worked in General Practice in the Middle East as part of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, as well as Athlone Town on the majestic River Shannon. He also gained valuable experience from his work as a General Practitioner in Canada and Australia and thus offers a wide range of Primary Care Services as well as substantial assistance in Medico-Legal matters, as he is also a Law (LL.B) graduated and an experienced Forensic (police support) Medical Officer. Furthermore, Dr. O’Donnell has by invitation taught Forensic Medicine (unnatural death: how to proceed) to 3rd year medical students at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Dr. O’Donnell is fluent in English, Irish, basic French, and he hopes to learn German and Arabic, allowing him to treat patients from wide and varied backgrounds. Dr. O’Donnell has appeared as an expert witness in the Irish High Court in 2010 in a case of alleged undue influence. He used this experience to complete his Master’s Thesis and directly related thereto, has published on Amazon kindle his book “Undue Influence: Protecting the Vulnerable.” This impressive text, due out in paperback in early 2017, is one of the very few published works of its kind is timely, as it will hopefully prove useful for legal or medical practitioners, and students of both disciplines, who have occasion to refer to the Irish Republic’s new Act of the Dail (Parliament) the “Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act, 2015.” Moreover, Dr. O’Donnell is a Council Member of the Irish General Practitioners. He attributes his success to hard work and excellent family support, and also enjoys music, both singing and playing the piano, swimming, going to the gym, and walking the family labrador retriever. Learn more about Dr. O’Donnell here: http://www.strokestownmedicalpractice.ie/ and be sure to read his upcoming publication in The Leading Physicians of the World. FindaTopDoc.com is a hub for all things medicine, featuring detailed descriptions of medical professionals across all areas of expertise, and information on thousands of healthcare topics.  Each month, millions of patients use FindaTopDoc to find a doctor nearby and instantly book an appointment online or create a review.  FindaTopDoc.com features each doctor’s full professional biography highlighting their achievements, experience, patient reviews and areas of expertise.  A leading provider of valuable health information that helps empower patient and doctor alike, FindaTopDoc enables readers to live a happier and healthier life.  For more information about FindaTopDoc, visit http://www.findatopdoc.com


News Article | September 15, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Researchers from Aarhus University have discovered a metabolite that reveals how the body's fat-metabolism provides protection against the harmful effects of sugar. This may explain be the chemical link between a low carbohydrate diet and healthy aging. For several years, medical researchers, doctors and dieticians have known that a low carbohydrate diet and plentiful fat can prevent a range of lifestyle and age-related diseases and thus promote healthy aging. But researchers from around the world have not been able to explain why this is the case. They have just been reasonably certain that the energy metabolism and its chemical intermediates (metabolites) play a central role. An interdisciplinary team of researchers from Aarhus University has now found more than just an important piece of the puzzle - a piece that suggests that the puzzle that is our metabolism looks somewhat different than science has so far believed. This is also the reason why the research group's article has made the front cover of the journal Cell Chemical Biology. On a general level, the researchers have discovered that the fat-metabolism in the cells takes place simultaneously with a detoxification of the harmful substances from the blood sugar, which can avert the damage that can in turn lead to age-related diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer's and cancer. This indicates that we have a detoxification system which we were not previously aware of. The detoxification takes place in an unexpected chemical process - unexpected because it happens without the involvement of the enzymes that science has so far focused on in understanding the metabolism and the decomposition of sugar. The newly discovered process involves one type of metabolite, the ketone acetoacetate, which originates from the body's fat-metabolism, capturing and inhibiting another type of metabolite, methylglyoxal, which originates from the body's sugar metabolism. The process is important because methylglyoxal is a reactive metabolite, i.e. it is toxic for the cells. It plays a major role in the above-mentioned age-related diseases. This means that untreated diabetics have increased concentrations of sugars and methylglyoxal in their blood. They also have increased amounts of ketone substances (see the fact box below). In chemical terms, what happens in the process between the two metabolites is that a third metabolite, 3-HHD, emerges, which does not have the harmful effects of methylglyoxal. The Danish research team are the first to find 3-HHD in blood from people who lacked insulin and/or had fasted the night before - a condition known to give ketosis. As suggested above, the study helps to uncover new aspects of the metabolic process in living organisms. "Previous research partly based on animal experiments using mice and monkeys shows that a diet with less sugar and more fat protects against diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer's and cancer. At the same time, it has also been known that methylglyoxal causes age-related diseases. We have found a new metabolite that demonstrates an alternative chemical detoxification of methylglyoxal when we burn fat. It is a surprising discovery, as ketones in themselves can lead to the harmful sugar metabolite methylglyoxal. The explanation may be a delicate balance between creation and detoxification. In any case, this illustrates that biological systems are enormously complex," said Mogens Johannsen, who is professor of chemical biology at the Department of Forensic Medicine at Aarhus University and one of the leading capacities in the research partnership. He emphasises that the study could only be carried out due to the close collaboration between the individual research groups at the Department of Chemistry, the Department of Clinical Medicine and the Department of Forensic Medicine at Aarhus University. "It is a unique situation to take a reaction from a chemistry laboratory and use it to finally prove that it takes place in living human beings and potentially can play a role in vital biological processes," he added. Mogens Johannsen does not doubt the value of research into the role of ketones and reactive metabolites in biological aging. "Now we have evidence for saying that ketones can minimise the amount of harmful methylglyoxal in living organisms, and that is a discovery that gets noticed, as it involves two of the most debated substances within biological aging and late diabetic complications. Moreover, these substances react with each other," said Mogens Johannsen. The study is relevant for developing treatments of people suffering from complications after diabetes, in particular patients with late diabetic complications such as neuropathy, which can be very painful. "One perspective could be to follow a diet with fewer carbohydrates and more fat. The fat helps to encapsulate and destroy the sugars that cause the pain," said Mogens Johannsen. Though he also emphasised that clinical trails will be needed to establish this aspect before he would recommend particular diets. The metabolism's "division of labour" is designed in such a way that if the body does not have enough fuel in the form of carbohydrates, then the liver begins to form another fuel - ketone - from the body's fat. The condition is called ketosis. Elevated amounts of ketones are found in the blood of people: For untreated diabetics, this is because they cannot burn the carbohydrates due to a lack of insulin, among other factors. The fat-metabolism can come out of control and cause acidic poisoning, which can be life-threatening. Very high concentrations of ketones make your breath smell of acetone, which can be seen (or rather smelt) in people who have fasted for a long time and in diabetics with acidic poisoning.


News Article | February 28, 2017
Site: www.24-7pressrelease.com

NEW YORK, NY, February 28, 2017 Yoshiaki Omura has been included in Marquis Who's Who. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.With almost five decades of invaluable contributions to his field, Dr. Omura is renowned for his excellence as a medical researcher and educator. He discovered how to detect cancer from an electro-cardiogram and his work is strongly accepted worldwide. Dr. Omura will be a keynote speaker at the World Congress in Baltimore, MD, on February 20-22, 2017. Dr. Omura was also a keynote speaker on February 8, 2017 at European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium on non-invasive early diagnosis of cancer.Best recognized as the creator of the US patented non-invasive, early diagnostic method of cancer & cardiovascular diseases "Bi-Digital O-Ring Test", Dr. Omura parlays his expertise into roles at New York Medical College, where he is an adjunct professor of family and community medicine. Until 2 years ago, he has been affiliated with the Heart Disease Research Foundation, where he has been the director of medical research since 1972, the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University, where he has been a member of the alumni council since 1986, and the Ukrainian National Medical University, where he has been a professor for more than 10 years in the department of non-orthodox medicine since 1993.Dr. Omura earned an associate degree from Electrical Engineering Dept. of Nihon University, a Bachelor of Science in applied physics from Waseda University, and an MD from Yokohama City University. Upon graduation, Dr. Omura started as a rotating intern at Tokyo University Hospital and subsequently held the same role at Norwalk Hospital in Connecticut. In 1960 he joined Columbia University as a research fellow in cardiovascular surgery, which is the same year he began postgraduate studies in experimental physics. From 1961 until 1965, he worked as a resident physician in oncological surgery at Francis Delafield Hospital, then main cancer institute of Columbia University and towards the end of that role, he earned a Doctor of Science degree from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in Pharmaco-electrophysiology of single cardiac cell in vivo & in vitro. Dr. Omura has also worked as a visiting professor at the University of Paris, important research position at INSERM (National Institute of Health of France), visiting professor of Unviersity of Padua, Italy, visiting professor of Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea, visiting professor of Showa University of Tokyo, visiting professor of Chinese Medical School, consultant with the New York Pain Center, and vice chair for the American Board of Forensic Medicine.A diplomate through the International College of Acupuncture and Electro-Therapeutics, the American Academy of Pain Management and the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, Dr. Omura has contributed his extensive knowledge to a variety of creative works. He is the author of 9 books and has also served on the editorial board of the Scandinavian Journal of Acupuncture and Electrotherapy since 1987, as editor-in-chief of the Acupuncture & Electro-Therapeutics Research, International Journal since 1974, and Functional Neurology of Italy from 1988 until 2002. In order to remain abreast of changes in the field, he affiliates himself with the New York Cardiology Society, the American College of Angiology, the American Association of Integrative Medicine, and the life fellow of Royal Society of Medicine of England, as well as many others.A shining example of excellence in his field, Dr. Omura has achieved much throughout his long-standing career, including obtaining seven U.S. and seven Japanese patents in the medical field. In recognition of his efforts, he was named Acupuncture Scientist of the Year through the International Congress of Chinese Medicine in 1989 and earned the World First Qi Gong Scientist of the Year Award through the same organization a year later. Additionally, he has had the honor of being named to Who's Who in American Education, Who's Who in Science and Engineering and Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare. Among the top 100 scientists by International Biographical Institute of Oxford, he was selected.To learn more about Dr. Omura, visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/yoshiaki-omura-m-d-sc-d-42436047 About Marquis Who's Who :Since 1899, when A. N. Marquis printed the First Edition of Who's Who in America , Marquis Who's Who has chronicled the lives of the most accomplished individuals and innovators from every significant field of endeavor, including politics, business, medicine, law, education, art, religion and entertainment. Today, Who's Who in America remains an essential biographical source for thousands of researchers, journalists, librarians and executive search firms around the world. Marquis publications may be visited at the official Marquis Who's Who website at www.marquiswhoswho.com


News Article | December 8, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

A child mummy from the 17th century, found in a crypt underneath a Lithuanian church, was discovered to harbor the oldest known sample of the variola virus that causes smallpox. Researchers who sequenced the virus say it could help answer lingering questions about the history of smallpox, including how recently it appeared in humans (perhaps more recently than we thought) and when specific evolutionary events occurred. Their study appears December 8 in Current Biology. "There have been signs that Egyptian mummies that are 3,000 to 4,000 years old have pockmarked scarring that have been interpreted as cases of smallpox," says first author Ana Duggan, a postdoctoral fellow at the McMaster University Ancient DNA Center in Canada. "The new discoveries really throw those findings into question, and they suggest that the timeline of smallpox in human populations might be incorrect." The research team gathered the disintegrated variola virus DNA from the mummy after obtaining permission from the World Health Organization. Using RNA baits designed from existing variola sequences, the researchers targeted variola sequences found within the extracted DNA from the mummy's skin. Then they reconstructed the entire genome of the ancient strain of the virus and compared it to versions of the variola virus genome dating from the mid-1900s and before its eradication in the late 1970s. They concluded that these samples shared a common viral ancestor that originated sometime between 1588 and 1645--dates that coincide with a period of exploration, migration, and colonization that would have helped spread smallpox around the globe. "So now that we have a timeline, we have to ask whether the earlier documented historical evidence of smallpox, which goes back to Ramses V and includes everything up to the 1500s, is real," says co-author Henrik Poinar, the director of the Ancient DNA Centre at McMaster University in Canada. "Are these indeed real cases of smallpox, or are these misidentifications, which we know is very easy to do, because it is likely possible to mistake smallpox for chicken pox and measles." In addition to providing a more accurate timeline for the evolution of smallpox, the researchers were also able to identify distinct periods of viral evolution. One of the clearest instances of this occurred around the time that Edward Jenner famously developed his vaccine against the virus in the 18th century. During this period, the variola virus appears to have split into two strains, variola major and variola minor, which suggests that vaccination, which led to eradication of smallpox, may have changed the selection pressures acting on the virus and caused it to split into two strains. The researchers hope to use this work to identify how the sample they discovered in Lithuania compares to others that were sweeping throughout other countries in Europe at the same time. But in the bigger context of smallpox research, the scientists are optimistic that their work will provide a stepping stone to allow virologists to continue to trace smallpox and other DNA viruses back through time. "Now we know all the evolution of the sampled strains dates from 1650, but we still don't know when smallpox first appeared in humans, and we don't know what animal it came from, and we don't know that because we don't have any older historical samples to work with," says co-author Edward Holmes, a professor at the University of Sydney in Australia. "So this does put a new perspective on this very important disease, but it's also showing us that our historical knowledge of viruses is just the tip of the iceberg." This work was supported by the McMaster Ancient DNA Centre at McMaster University, the Department of Virology at the University of Helsinki, the Department of Anatomy, Histology and Anthropology at Vilnius University, the Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity, the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Science and Biotechnology at the University of Melbourne, the Department of History at Duke University, the Department of Biology at McMaster University, UC Irvine, the Mycroarray in Michigan, the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan, the Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics at Northern Arizona University, the Laboratoire d'Anthropologie Biologique Paul Broca at the PSL Research University, Helsinki University Hospital, the Department of Forensic Medicine at the University of Helsinki, the Department of Pathology at the University of Cambridge, the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research at McMaster University and the Humans & the Microbiome Program at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. Current Biology, Duggan, Marciniak, Poinar, Emery, Poinar et al: "17th Century Variola Virus Reveals the Recent History of Smallpox" http://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(16)31324-0 Current Biology (@CurrentBiology), published by Cell Press, is a bimonthly journal that features papers across all areas of biology. Current Biology strives to foster communication across fields of biology, both by publishing important findings of general interest and through highly accessible front matter for non-specialists. Visit: http://www. . To receive Cell Press media alerts, contact press@cell.com.

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