They develop a device to control potassium levels in a drop of blood

The Nanosensors Laboratory of the Rovira I Virgili University in collaboration with the spin-off CreatSens Health SL, the nephrology group and the CORE laboratories of the Hospital Clínic of Barcelona (Catalonia, Spain) present a validation study of a portable device for the measurement of potassium in blood in dialysis patients. The team has developed a device for the measurement of potassium, a cardiovascular and renal indicator, which does so quickly and easily and is low cost. Researchers at the URV and the Clínic have worked together to validate the measurement of potassium in renal patients during the month of December 2017 and January 2018 at the dialysis center of the Hospital Clínic in which they have analyzed more than 700 patient samples. kidney

The aim of the CreatSens project is to monitor the progress of chronic kidney disease through state-of-the-art technological tools that allow the measurement of relevant parameters for patients in a much simpler way than the current one. The vision of CreatSens is that the information generated by the measurement device can be followed from a mobile device such as a phone or a tablet, in the doctor’s office or in the patient’s home.

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The scientific research is led by the researcher of the Department of Analytical Chemistry and Organic Chemistry and member of the company derived from the URV, Francisco Andrade, who points out that the technology used is based on low-cost materials (such as paper) for ” allow access of these devices to all patients. ” Adrià Maceira, CEO of CreatSens Health SL, highlights the impact of this type of tools and strategies “for the control of health in society”. The technology developed would allow the decentralized and real-time generation of relevant clinical information, which would help the nephrologist in his decision making and could contribute to optimizing the resources of the health system.

“We have obtained good results, and its usefulness will be increasing in the coming years,” says Francesc Maduell, head of the dialysis section of Hospital Clínic. His counterpart and collaborator, Miquel Blasco, comments on the importance of this type of medical devices that allow obtaining information at the moment and help clinicians to give more specific diagnoses according to the pathology of the patient. The nephrology service, together with the CORE laboratory, with the participation of Josep Lluís Bedini and Nayra Rico, have joined efforts in the validation of these new leading technologies. They are seen, increasingly, as the future trend of personalized medicine.

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The CreatSens project got the support of the Iñigo Álvarez de Toledo Renal Foundation in 2017 to propose solutions to the management of chronic kidney disease with simple and inexpensive tools. The devices are low cost, they initially measure potassium, and in a second phase, they will also measure creatinine and other markers relevant to kidney function.

The Rovira I Virgili University, through its Valorization and Commercialization Unit, which has the support of ACCIÓ and the Chair on the Promotion of Entrepreneurship and the Creation of Companies, promoted the creation of the spin-off CreatSens Health SL. (Source: URV)

How to prevent high blood pressure in pregnancy, the third cause of maternal death in the country

Experts warn that the incidence of this condition in Argentina is on the rise, and already reaches 16% of pregnancies. Is hypertension during pregnancy an indicator of later cardiovascular disease?

Pregnancy is a physiological situation in which the body puts certain mechanisms into operation. Every pregnant woman has cardiovascular changes regardless of their age and their underlying diseases. Thus, there is an increase in cardiac output, that is, the work performed by the heart to expel a volume of blood appropriate to the needs of the body by increasing the heart rate throughout the pregnancy and the volume of blood expelled in each beat. Another important change is that which occurs with blood pressure, which according to this cardiovascular adaptation to pregnancy, will fall in the first 20 weeks of gestation and then try to rise to values similar to those that had this mother before pregnancy.

The 20th week of gestation, then, is an important point for cardiologists since this is where the pressures begin to rise and problems may begin to manifest themselves. For this reason, specialists recommend carrying out a cardiological check-up from the beginning of pregnancy, not only to control the pressure but also to warn of the presence of any heart disease ignored until then. In turn, they emphasize the importance of cardiological monitoring throughout the life of those women who had hypertensive disorders.

The blood pressure drops during the first 20 weeks of gestation and then try to rise to values similar to those that had this mother before pregnancy

This is one of the topics addressed during the 44th edition of the Argentine Congress of Cardiology, organized by the Argentine Society of Cardiology (SAC), which took place in Buenos Aires from October 18 to 20 and which is considered the scientific meeting most important Spanish-speaking in the cardiovascular area and fourth in relevance internationally.

Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are the third cause of maternal death in the country (Getty)

” As of week 20 the cardiac output doubles, the heart rate rises, and the pressure begins to rise, so this may be the moment where heart disease begins to become evident,” said the plant doctor at the Hospital de Clínicas José of San Martín Analía Aquieri.

As explained by the specialist of the Cardiology Division, on the one hand, there is the group of women who have heart disease prior to pregnancy; This is the case of those who were born with heart disease but who, thanks to scientific advances and surgical techniques, reach adulthood in good condition and can become pregnant. “On the other hand, more and more often chronic hypertensive patients who get pregnant, this happens because you can reach motherhood at older ages, between 40 and 45 years.”

As these women are larger, they have a higher risk of developing diabetes, obesity or having high cholesterol. In addition, usually do not do physical activity and do not follow a healthy diet or smoke more, all this makes them more likely to develop hypertension in pregnancy.

“Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are the third cause of maternal death in the country, it is known that increases both mortality and morbidity both maternal and fetal. As of 2009 local data showed that the incidence of these disorders in pregnancies was 13% and in recent years they have exceeded approximately 16% The increase is due to the mother’s advanced age, which generally goes hand in hand with higher levels of obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, lack of physical activity and healthy dietsAquieri said. Today at age 45 with a fertility treatment a woman can get pregnant, but the cardiovascular risk is much higher than at 23 years. There are more cardiovascular risk factors at that age and this makes it possible for the mother to have more complications during her pregnancy. ”

During pregnancy, a woman can trigger a disease called preeclampsia, which affects all maternal organs (Getty)

Official data until 2010 show that hypertensive disorders complicate around 10% of pregnancies
During pregnancy, a woman can trigger a disease called preeclampsia, which affects all maternal organs. It can manifest with high pressure, as well as seizures, edema, proteinuria (loss of protein in the urine), depending on its severity. This entity has in common with cardiovascular disease the presence of damage to the wall of blood vessels; This alteration is responsible for the increase in cardiovascular risk throughout his life.

Official data up to 2010 show that hypertensive disorders complicate around 10% of pregnancies. Its severe forms, preeclampsia, and eclampsia, account for about 4.4% of all births.

“Those women who suffer from hypertension, eclampsia or preeclampsia during pregnancy increase the risk of cardiovascular problems in older adults several times, which is why they should have a more careful follow-up from the cardiological point of view, in order to avoid that over the years appear events such as unstable angina, myocardial infarction or cerebrovascular accident. Something similar is observed with gestational diabetes (diabetes that appears during pregnancy) since they are also more likely to develop cardiovascular problems in the future, “said cardiologist Lucia Kazelian, member of the Heart and Women Group of the Argentine Society of Cardiology (SAC).

During the cardiological consultation, data should be collected about how it was during pregnancy because this data shows the possibility of developing cardiovascular risk factors. “You always have to ask if you had children and how were the pregnancies, because if you had any of the complications mentioned (hypertension, preeclampsia, diabetes) you have to follow more frequently in search of the emergence of risk factors for treatment, different of the woman who had normal pregnancies, “remarked Kazelian.

According to data from the National Health Secretariat, in 2016 diseases of the circulatory system were responsible for one in three deaths of women in the country. Within this group, the most frequent causes were heart failure (28.5%), stroke (21.2%) and ischemia (19%). Hypertensive diseases accounted for 9.9% of cases.

They look for ways to control maize diseases through genetics

Within the Center for Bioinvestigations of UNNOBA (CeBio) (Argentina), Dr. Inés Catalano directs the project funded by the Commission of Scientific Investigations of the Province of Buenos Aires (CIC), in which two species are studied of “leafhoppers”: Delphacodes kuscheli, vector of the agent that causes the “Evil of Río Cuarto”; and Dalbulus maidis, which causes corn stunting. “While the evil of Río Cuarto affects the core zone, what is known as ‘achaparramiento’ occurs more towards the north of the country. With a different scope, the entire maize area was affected in one or another campaign by these diseases, “said Catalano. The model they use takes some axes of the advances achieved by research developed at the University for the study of the kissing bugs.

The research team is focused on studying different aspects of the vector that transmits the causal pathogen of these diseases. What they seek is to determine which genes affect the development or survival of these insects to try to find a control method that preserves the crop and does not affect its performance. “We have the transcriptome sequenced in all stages and we have an infected colony that we are maintaining to be able to work in the search for immunity genes,” he said. With both species try the same thing: discover genes that can be used to devise ways in which the plant itself can exercise some control over the plague. The Deputy Director of CeBio remarked that the relevance of the research is given by the impact that these insects and the diseases they transmit have on the cultivation of corn.

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In fact, the “leafhoppers” have a buccal system similar to that of the kissing bugs. “The leafhoppers and the kissers are of the same order of insects, have the same buccal apparatus and have a similar behavior. The only difference is that the kissers feed on human blood and the leafhoppers of ‘the blood of the plant. According to Catalano, all the knowledge generated in this field will be novel because “there are no studies on leafhoppers that are so specific. The transcriptome and the genome are not studied, so any gene we discover will be an advance. ”

Currently, the management of these diseases is carried out through the use of insecticides. The purpose of this research is to have the knowledge to develop a plant that contains genes that may have the ability to inhibit others of the insect to make your life does not persist. “Our highest aspiration would be to achieve an insecticide method, provide knowledge for the development of a plant that carries with it certain characteristics that affect the development and survival of these pests,” concluded the project director.

The development of this project involves the participation of professionals from different disciplines. With anchoring in genetics, each of them deploys a task within the framework of this research.

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Victorio Palacio, from the Bioinformatics, is devoted to the analysis of the transcriptome of the species studied.
Lucia Dalaison, who is doing her final thesis of the Degree in Genetics, managed to develop the entire life cycle of the leafhoppers artificially. It is also devoted to the study of the normal embryonic development of insects.

Hugo González is an agronomist, has a doctoral fellowship from CONICET and is responsible for the maintenance of infected insects in colonies. You will also have the task of comparing the transcriptome of healthy and infected.
Lucila Pérez has a CIN scholarship and is doing the final work of the degree in Genetics. It was inserted in the project to study neuropeptides in “chinches”, an insect that affects the soybean crop.
Elías Gazza has a degree in Genetics, a doctoral fellowship from CONICET and is putting genome editing techniques to the test.

WHO publishes new guidelines on childbirth with focus on individuality

The UN agency has presented a list of 56 recommendations based on scientific evidence and gathered in the new guidelines on childbirth.

The right to decide how to control pain during childbirth and to reject unnecessary medical interventions are two of the recommendations that are part of the new guidelines developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) on how to manage care for pregnant women.

The United Nations agency on Thursday unveiled a list of 56 recommendations based on scientific evidence and brought together in the new guidelines on childbirth. The goal is to highlight the importance of a mother being at the center of decisions and to discard unnecessary medical interventions.

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“The guidelines propose a holistic approach to childbirth where the mother has a pre-eminence,” said Olufemi Oladapo, a specialist in maternal health research at the WHO Department of Reproductive Health.

It is estimated that annually 140 million births worldwide occur, the vast majority without complications. However, over the past two decades the use of medical interventions that were previously only made when there was a risk or some complication, such as the administration of oxytocin to help in dilation or a cesarean section, has been greatly increased.

According to WHO, on many occasions, these interventions are not only unnecessary but also cause the mother to have a negative experience in childbirth. It is estimated that a large number of healthy women, with a normal process, received some type of intervention, although the report does not give concrete data.

Because of this, the agency drew up rules that emphasize the importance of an unmedicalized delivery, which includes the possibility for the mother to decide how to manage her own pain, which involves deciding whether or not to use epidural anesthesia and, if want, at what time.

In addition, the new guidelines recognize that each delivery is a delivery and that rules implemented over the past 70 years should not be maintained. An example of this is the dilation of the neck of the uterus. Until now, it was believed to be “normal” for him to expand by one centimeter per hour. The new guidelines state that these limits are ” unrealistic ” and ” inadequate ” to determine if a child is progressing poorly or is simply slower than average.

“These rules were established in the 1950s and we have enormous scientific evidence that shows that in many cases this does not happen because each delivery is unique. In fact, the speed with which the uterus dilates does not have any importance in the chances of survival of the baby, as long as there is progress, “said Oladapo.

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He stated that no other category of speed has been established for dilatation because they do not want to “restrict” delivery again to a rule since what should change in the mentality of doctors and midwives is that each case is different.

Another generalized intervention is the episiotomy, the surgical incision in the vulva made in certain deliveries to facilitate the exit of the fetus.

“It is almost barbaric and almost routine, although its advantages are a complete myth,” exclaimed Oladapo, explaining that the method should only be used in extreme cases, due to the multiple negative consequences for the mother in the future.

Another intervention used excessively is a cesarean section. According to the organization, the method is applied in many countries of average investment routinely, for the convenience of doctors, and because in many cases, the experts charge much more for a surgical delivery than for a natural one.

“The guidelines are intended for doctors and remind them of the risks in the short and medium term of cesareans, but also mothers, so that they know they are entitled to a birth as natural as possible and with their control.”