WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Scientists developed a male oral contraceptive that presented no observable side effects.
- The birth control pill was also described to be 99 percent effective in mice.
- The pill’s effect is only temporary as the mice were able to produce offspring four to six weeks after the drug was administered.
Scientists developed a male oral contraceptive that presented no observable side effects and was 99 percent effective in mice. This experimental drug is expected to enter human trials by the end of this year.
This development is more than an addition to birth control options but is also a step toward including the male population in bearing responsibilities for birth control. Findings from this research are scheduled to be presented at the American Chemical Society’s spring meeting.
Md Abdullah Al Noman, a Ph.D. student at the University of Minnesota who will present the findings, told AFP that researchers have been interested in male contraceptives ever since the female birth control pill was first approved in the 1960s.
“Multiple studies showed that men are interested in sharing the responsibility of birth control with their partners,” he said.
However, until now, male birth control options available are limited: condoms or vasectomies.
The female birth control pill introduces estrogen and/or progestin to disrupt ovulation. Those intending to develop a male counterpart targeted the male hormone called testosterone. The problem with this approach, however, was that it caused side effects such as weight gain, depression, and increased levels of low-density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol.
The female pill also carries side effects, but the calculation for potential danger in females is different.
Professor Gunda Georg studied a protein called “retinoic acid receptor (RAR) alpha” to develop non-hormonal contraceptives for males.
Vitamin A (as retinol or retinoic acid) plays an important role in cell growth, sperm formation, and embryo development. Professor Georg and the research team developed a compound that could stop retinoic acid from binding with RAR-alpha.
“If we know what the keyhole looks like, then we can make a better key – that’s where the computational model comes in,” said Noman.
The compound developed is called YCT529. To control potential side effects, the compound was designed to interact only with RAR-alpha and not with other RAR receptors (RAR-beta and RAR-gamma)
The experimental model using mice demonstrated that YCT529 reduced sperm count and was 99 percent effective as a male oral contraceptive. For potential side effects, researchers monitored weight, appetite, and overall activity, and reported no apparent adverse effects.
The best part is that the effect is not permanent. The mice produced offspring again four to six weeks after the drug was administered.
“Male contraceptives will add to the method mix, providing new options that allow men and women to contribute in whatever way they deem appropriate to contraceptive use,” the Male Contraceptive Initiative said.
Male Contraceptive Initiative is a non-profit organization that campaigns and raises funding for research & development of new male birth control methods.
Source: Science Alert
An “Accidental Miracle”: Blind Woman Regains Sight After Placebo Treatment
In a Nutshell:
- Lynley Hood, an 80-year-old author from New Zealand, accidentally regained her vision, lost to glaucoma 12 years ago, during a placebo treatment for her chronic back pain.
- Participating in a University of Otago study, Lynley was part of the placebo group receiving superficial scalp electrical stimulation. Remarkably, after four weeks, her vision restored almost to full capacity, a result that left her ophthalmologist stunned.
- Intrigued by this unforeseen recovery, the study team, led by Dr. Divya Adhia, plans to conduct further research into how scalp electrical stimulation might aid in restoring eyesight, potentially leading to a revolutionary breakthrough in treating blindness.
In a surprising twist of medical events, a placebo treatment designed to alleviate chronic back pain inadvertently restored the vision of an 80-year-old blind woman.
Lynley Hood, from Dunedin, New Zealand, an award-winning writer, had lost her eyesight over a decade ago to a rare form of glaucoma and found the world in color once again thanks to a back pain treatment study at the University of Otago.
Hood’s journey into darkness started 12 years ago when her left eye suddenly became blurry while reading a book.
Assuming it was due to fatigue, she retired for the night, only to wake up to a world that hadn’t regained its clarity.
She was soon diagnosed with a rare form of glaucoma and informed by her doctors that there would likely be no improvement in her condition.
Hood eventually became legally blind, which put a pause on her passion for reading and writing.
But life had an unexpected plot twist in store for Hood.
A painful fall in 2020 fractured her pelvis, leading to severe back pain, which strangely, became the pathway to her unexpected vision recovery.
This incident led her to participate in a chronic pain treatment research project conducted by the University of Otago.
The project, split into two groups, involved participants undergoing electrical stimulation sessions while wearing specially wired helmets.
One group received electrical stimulation directly to the brain, while the placebo group, including Hood, received superficial scalp-level stimulation.
Unbeknownst to her, Hood was in the placebo group.
After just four weeks of electrical stimulation, Hood discovered her vision had returned to nearly 100%.
The dramatic improvement left even her ophthalmologist astounded, who couldn’t resist but call it a “miracle.”
“Miracle is not a word we use very often in science, but it was — an accidental miracle,” project co-leader Dr. Divya Adhia told the Otago Daily Times.
“It wasn’t the intended outcome, but to see that my research has actually made an impact on people is incredible.”
Having lived with severely impaired vision for over a decade, Hood is now readjusting to a life that’s in clear sight.
With her vision restored, she is eager to return to her love for writing.
“At first, I thought I was imagining it,” Hood said, expressing disbelief at the return of her sight.
She detailed how the electrical currents, traced by advanced equipment, stimulated her retina, sparking an array of signals down her optic nerve and restoring her vision.
The intriguing question of how the electrical stimulation managed to bring Hood’s eyesight back remains unsolved, but Dr. Adhia and her team are eager to find out.
They’re now planning another study to understand this unexpected visual resurgence better, potentially opening a new window of hope for others living with blindness.
Doctor Fired After Prescribing Ice Cream and Video Games to Sick Child
In a Nutshell:
- A Brazilian doctor was dismissed from his job after prescribing chocolate ice cream and video game sessions to a 9-year-old boy presenting flu-like symptoms, causing a stir on social media.
- The boy’s mother was initially taken aback by the unusual approach, which saw the doctor not conducting a proper physical examination before prescribing a mixture of drugs, ice cream, and gaming.
- While some social media users criticized the doctor’s unprofessionalism, others saw it as a humanizing approach. The controversy led to his dismissal from the public health network and sparked discussions about improving medical care in the city.
When the world feels like a never-ending episode of “House,” sometimes the antidote to a stressful day is a big bowl of chocolate ice cream and a spirited session of gaming.
Well, one Brazilian doctor took this idea quite literally and ended up losing his job over it.
This unlikely tale begins in Greater São Paulo when Priscila da Silva Ramos, a doting mother, brought her 9-year-old son to a state-owned clinic.
The child was under the weather, battling a sore throat and flu-like symptoms.
However, what unfolded was a curious mix of video games, chocolate ice cream, and a baffled mother.
Dr. [Unnamed], as we’ll call him, decided to forego the traditional diagnostic process.
He didn’t examine the young patient, choosing instead to prescribe a cocktail of drugs along with daily servings of chocolate ice cream and rounds of the mobile video game, Free Fire.
“He started writing the prescription without examining my son, without looking at his throat, without examining his chest, without anything,” Ramos revealed.
When he inquired about the boy’s preference for ice cream flavors, Ramos never thought he’d take it to heart.
Yet, right there on the prescription, next to amoxicillin and prednisolone, were the words “chocolate ice cream” and “Free Fire.”
The absurd prescription wasn’t noticed until the following day when the boy’s aunt spotted the unusual advice.
Swiftly, the strange prescription made its debut on Facebook, becoming an overnight viral sensation.
The doctor’s peculiar brand of ‘medical advice’ ignited mixed reactions on social media.
Some considered it a case of unprofessional conduct, while others found it to be a humorous humanizing approach towards the child.
Henderson Furst, the president of the Bioethics Commission of the Brazilian Bar Association, São Paulo, supported the latter viewpoint.
He said, “Some doctors who have a practice of humanizing the relationship by making prescriptions that contain some things out of the ordinary, but which represent an act of humanization in that relationship.”
Nevertheless, the “ice cream doc,” didn’t get a free pass on this one.
As the controversy swirled, he found himself dismissed from the Brazilian public health network, as announced by the City Hall of Osasco.
Ramos, the boy’s mother, hopes this incident will spur improvements in medical care in the city.
As for the little boy, well, we reckon he might have been a tad disappointed by the doctor’s dismissal – after all, who wouldn’t want a doctor who prescribes gaming and ice cream?
Canadian Woman Pretty Sure She’s Allergic to Running [Video]
In a Nutshell:
- Divz Mangat, a 27-year-old woman from Canada, believes she might have a rare disorder, exercise-induced anaphylaxis (EIA), which causes her to break out in hives and struggle with breathing whenever she runs.
- This potential diagnosis came after several incidents, including one during a flight to the Dominican Republic, where running to catch her plane resulted in a severe allergic reaction.
- The video of her experience posted on TikTok drew attention from many viewers who shared their experiences with similar symptoms, some suggesting she might indeed have EIA.
A Canadian woman, Divz Mangat, suspects that she might be allergic to running. For several years, she has been experiencing hives and breathing difficulty following physical activity, specifically running.
“For the past few months, every time I run or get stressed out, I’ve been breaking out in hives. I wasn’t sure if it was due to running or stress. But, that day, I realized it 100 percent has to be due to me running and being stressed out,” Divz told Newsweek.
Divz’s suspicions were further substantiated during a recent flight to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.
When running to catch her flight, she had a severe allergic reaction.
Her sister, Dee Mangat, documented the entire episode in a video that has since gone viral on TikTok, amassing over 6.6 million views.
While waiting for an appointment with a specialist, Divz has hypothesized that she might be suffering from exercise-induced anaphylaxis (EIA).
EIA is a rare condition that prompts symptoms such as widespread skin flushing, hives, skin and lip swelling, and nausea and vomiting after physical activity.
In severe instances, sufferers can experience anaphylactic shock, leading to a dramatic drop in blood pressure, potential collapse, and difficulties in breathing and swallowing.
Her sister, Dee, expressed her initial disbelief.
“‘I think I might be allergic to running,’ she said. I was like, ‘Yeah, OK, sure. I’ve never heard of that.’”
However, when Divz administered her EpiPen medication and the hives subsided, it became clear that an allergic reaction had indeed occurred.
Now with an understanding of her potential trigger, Divz is being more cautious.
“The whole trip the girls were like, ‘Don’t run. Just walk where you have to go,’” she said.
“I’m very cautious of not making my heart beat really fast. I’m just trying to be very calm and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Divz’s video drew a myriad of responses from viewers who shared their experiences and insights, with many asserting the reality of exercise-induced anaphylaxis and encouraging her to get tested.
Divz expressed her appreciation for the responses, “It’s kind of nice because people have been telling me what’s wrong with me.
“Doctors have reached out and let me know there are lots of possibilities, and when you read the comments, some people say it took them years to figure out.”
While she still awaits a professional diagnosis, Divz is grateful for the awareness her video has raised and the support she has received.
“Seeing other people having similar things it does help, in a way,” she concluded.
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