Monterey Bay Real Estate and Health Blog for Seniors

The Monterey Bay has a wealth of natural beauty and is sought after by those young and old. Those starting out their careers and those ending their careers, love the areas' weather and variety of leisure and food choices. As a Seniors Real Estate Specialist( SRES) I've been trained in some of the concerns that face those that are nearer to the sunset than their children. In this Monterey Bay Real Estate and Health Blog for Seniors  you'll find articles about events and going on here in the Monterey Bay from Carmel to Santa Cruz. Real estate articles, event article and things about our health that can be of importance to people of any age. So you'll find Monterey real estate articles, things to do on Carmel homes for sale for getting the best price to, considerations on a Pacific Grove condominium and if condominiums are the right home style for you.


May 25, 2017

How To Make Your Home Safe And Secure For Your Senior Years

29798 Highway 1, Carmel, CA 93923As people age, it's important for them to do all that they can to make their golden years healthy and happy. While there are many steps that should be taken to realize this objective, preparing the home for one's senior years is incredibly important. This is the case for many reasons, including the fact that the home preparation process can decrease the likelihood of accidents and injuries. Luckily, preparing your home for your senior years can be relatively simple. Use the information and instructions outlined below to complete the process quickly and correctly:

1. Move Downstairs

One of the best ways to increase your level of safety within the home is by moving downstairs. Maintaining a bedroom upstairs is a recipe for disaster. This is the case because living upstairs will require that you travel up and down the stairs throughout the day. Doing so will increase the likelihood of unwanted trips and falls. Another issue with living upstairs is that doing so can make it more difficult for you to leave the home in the event of an emergency. An alternative to moving downstairs is relocating to a single level home. If you're considering this option, note that you can purchase Camel homes for sale that conform to your requirements for safe, secure living.

2. Use Proper Lighting

In addition to moving downstairs, make sure that you use proper lighting. Poorly lit regions of the home will make it difficult for you to move freely. Also note that without proper lighting, you're more susceptible to trips and falls that result from not seeing objects that may be in your path as you walk from one room to another. As you optimize the lighting in your home, make sure that you pay special attention to keeping your stairs and halls well lit. 

3. Check The Carpet

A leading issue in falls amongst seniors is loss of footing or tripping due to carpet. Within the geriatric care setting, managers carefully examine floor coverings when they complete fall hazard assessments to decrease the senior's susceptibility to stumbling, slipping, or tripping. These assessments need to be completed within your home as well. Specifically, the carpet should be examined to determine whether it is worn or torn. Also consider whether the carpet and other floor coverings bunch up or slide when you walk on them. You may want to have a professional come into the home to complete this assessment. People who purchase Camel homes for sale should note that they can easily update the carpet of their property to optimize safety. As you begin making updates, remember to only purchase carpets, mats, and rugs that feature slip-resistant padding.

4. Make The Bathroom Safer

grab bar in carmel home bathroomSeniors with balance dysfunctions may find themselves relying on a towel bar or wall surface for support while in the bathroom. Yet if your hand slips, this habit could result in a fall. To prevent this from happening, install a grab rail that goes around the perimeter of your bathroom wall. 

Another safety measure you can implement is replacing your tub. These tubs can be dangerous given that you have to step over the edge to get inside. Rather than using the traditional tub, consider the value of replacing the structure with a walk-in shower.

Don't Delay: Start Preparing Your Home Today!

Your senior years should be a time in which you enjoy life to the fullest. To ensure that you can, it's important to make your home as safe as possible. Utilize some or all of the simple strategies outlined above to begin the home optimization process right now. If you want to look at Carmel homes for sale, contact us.

May 20, 2017

Stillwater Cove

stillwater cove in pebble beachIndividuals who have thought about purchasing Ocean view homes in Pebble Beach should know that doing so will grant them access to one of the region's most scenic areas: Stillwater Cove. Filled with numerous attractions and recreational activities, this region will keep you and your family active and alive during vacation season or throughout the entire year should you choose to settle here permanently. 

Beautiful Beaches

public beach at Stillwater CoveOne of the biggest benefits of buying Ocean view homes in Pebble Beach is that doing so situates you near the public beach at Stillwater Cove. The beach extends out below the community's golf course and is filled with beautiful white sand. Individuals who enjoy the active lifestyle can scuba dive when they visit the beach, and touring companies will oftentimes make kayaking tours available. Those who prefer to rest and relax on the beach can sunbathe and take in the beautiful scenery without moving a muscle!

Tourist Attractions

stillwater cove fishing in pebble beachAnother great attribute of Stillwater is that it offers you an incredible view from the pier. When you look to the west, you'll see the strands of kelp and rocky pinnacle that define the Pescadero Rocks. To the right you'll see Pescadero Point as well as the "Castle House." This large pink house is the most famous, expensive home in the Pebble Beach region. As the site for several movies, the House is a wonderful tourist attraction that you can visit to learn more about the entertainment world and how Stillwater has contributed to its evolution. Some other great attractions of Stillwater include the exclusive Beach and Tennis Club and Arrowhead Point.


perch fish in stillwater cove Another great reason to choose the Stillwater region is that the environment is conducive to fishing. In fact, many people enjoy fishing for fin fish when they visit the region. Some of the most common fish include the striped Seaperch and Blackperch. Rockfish show up occasionally, and visitors might also spot a few Lingcod and Cabezon. Some of the other fish one might come across include the flatfish, bat rays, and leopard sharks.


stillwater cove golf course Individuals who love the world of golfing should know that Stillwater is home to the Pebble Beach Golf Course. This is one of the world's most beautiful and famous golf courses, and the 4th hole is located right next to the shoreline. If you're looking to build strong relationships with people in the local area, consider joining the Stillwater Yacht Club. The SYC is a dynamic community of people who enjoy sailing, cooking, gardening, and various other social activities.

Summing It All Up

If you're serious about visiting or settling in a region conducive to healthy, happy living, now is the time to consider Stillwater. Whether you enjoy the active lifestyle or leisurely times on a beautiful beach, this is the ideal setting in which to enjoy yourself. By purchasing Ocean view homes in Pebble Beach now, you can get on the road to living life to the fullest!

ocean view homes pebble beach stillwater cove













March 28, 2017

The Importance of Vitamin D to a Healthy Adult Cardiovascular System

Researchers and medical professionals continue to reinforce the importance of vitamin D intake to ensure proper bone health. But more recent headlines like “More severe heart disease found in patients with vitamin D deficiency”, “Vitamin D Deficiency Associated with Asthma Exacerbation”, and “Childhood Vitamin D Levels Tied to Adult Atherosclerosis” leave little doubt that there is more significance to this vitamin than most people may realize.

What is Vitamin D?

vitamin dVitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that your body can not make on its own; it needs help from nature. That help comes in the form of exposure to natural sunlight. Being fat soluble means your diet must contain some fat if you are trying to get enough vitamin D through your diet alone. It also means you need to have a healthy gut, and be able to eat and digest fat effectively, in order for your body to be able to absorb the fat and the vitamin. This essential vitamin is also necessary for your body to absorb calcium from the foods you eat. Most people are familiar with calcium’s ties to good bone health, but it is also involved in muscle contraction, regulation of body cell growth, reducing and preventing inflammation, and ensuring a healthy immune system. To do all that, this mineral needs vitamin D.

Vitamin D and Your Heart

Your heart is only a part of the cardiovascular system, the system that keeps healthy blood circulating throughout your body. Veins, arteries, and the actual heart are all made up of muscle tissue, and muscle need calcium as much as bones and teeth, and sufficient amounts of vitamin D are required for your body to properly absorb calcium. Though previous studies have focused on children and bone health (and the formation of the condition known as rickets) newer research shows that low levels of the vitamin contribute to poor cardiac system health in adults. Atherosclerosis, otherwise known as hardening of the arteries, is the condition where there is a build up of plaque on artery walls. This plaque is usually made up of cholesterol. Diets poor in fat make it difficult for the body to create and absorb vitamin D.

Best Sources for Vitamin D

cardiovascular systemEven if you live in a condominium in Pebble Beach there is still plenty of opportunity for you to get out and enjoy to benefits of the California sunshine. Although health experts warn continuously warn about too much exposure to direct sunlight that is the best source for material for your body to make this essential vitamin. Exercise helps reduce your risk of heart disease also so get out and go for a walk around your neighborhood. And don’t forget the hat. There are very few naturally occurring food sources, fatty fish such as tuna and salmon, that have this vitamin so the use of supplements and getting out in to the sun are the best ways to get your daily intake. Some juices as well as milk have been fortified with vitamin D in order to help people get the daily amounts needed for optimal health. Increasing age, naturally darker skin pigmentation, and weight are some factors that can affect your ability to get enough vitamin D. With this knowledge in mind you would be wise to ensure you get regular exercise and consider supplements. Your condominium in Pebble Beach might offer roof top patios, or perhaps you even have a balcony of your own so if getting out for some exercise doesn’t always fit your lifestyle you can still fit in a few minutes of soaking up sunshine time. It’s for a good cause; your health.

March 28, 2017

Alzheimer's Breakthough Sheds New Light on the Disease

cholesterol treatmentIf you suffer from Alzheimer's or know that a loved one is struggling with the condition, it's important to note that new scientific breakthroughs may provide the public with key insights regarding the disease. Learn more about the efforts of researchers and how their findings could revolutionize the approach to curing the disease by reviewing the following outline:

Beta-Amyloid And Alzheimer's Disease: A Brief Overview

To fully understand the scientific breakthroughs that have transpired in the field of Alzheimer's research, one must first grasp the relevance of beta-amyloid within this sector. As Lund University's researchers understand, toxic clumps of beta-amyloid are believed to be the root cause of Alzheimer's. In the past, researchers thought that beta-amyloid should be eliminated. However, new findings indicate that the protein should be stabilized. 

The History Of Beta-Amyloid

For quite some time, members of the scientific community have thought that beta-amyloid appeared almost immediately in cases of Alzheimer's. It is for this reason that the phrase "popcorn plaques" was coined. Now, however, infrared spectroscopy images reveal information that contradicts this basic assumption. Specifically, researchers are now able to note molecular, structural changes that take place in the brain. 

In discussing the images, professor of experimental neurology Gunnar Gouras notes that the findings demonstrates that the progression of Alzheimer's is slower than was originally thought. Moreover, there are steps in the progression of the disease that researchers new little about. 

Breakthrough Findings Regarding Beta-Amyloid

One particularly important finding regarding the stages of progression in Alzheimer's was noted by Oxana Klementieva. Klementieva found that the beta-amyloid did not appear as one peptide. Rather, the plaque was a unit consisting of four peptides stuck together. The peptide sequence is referred to as a tetramer.

The breakthrough regarding the structure of the beta-amyloid plaque was the cause of a new hypothesis regarding the disease. Specifically, researchers believe that the abnormal separation of the four peptides might be the catalyst for the beta-amyloid aggregation which leads into plaque formation.

Alzheimer's Disease And Transthyretin Amyloidosis: Making The Connection

Researchers are excited about their findings and are comparing their results to what transpires in another amyloid disease. This disease is referred to as transthyretin amyloidosis. Studies indicate that a key factor in the development of this condition is the breaking up of the tetramer. At this point, there is a drug that can slow down the progression of the disease by stabilizing the tetramers. In recognizing this reality, researchers hope that stabilizing beta-amyloid can be integrated into the development of future therapies. Ultimately, the findings of the study mean that the form and content of the therapy development process for Alzheimer's may be modified and optimized to generate more substantive results. 

Other Areas Of Research Interest For Alzheimer's Disease

Another aspect of the Alzheimer development process that Lund University researchers are interested in is the interaction patterns of beta-amyloid prior to the aggregation process. Specifically, researchers want to find an antidote to what breaks the beta-amyloid protein apart. Findings could generate insights regarding how to develop effective therapies for the disease.

Embracing Holistic Health

Learning more about research breakthroughs regarding Alzheimer's disease can inspire hope regarding the human ability to cure troublesome conditions and embrace a greater level of mental and physical well-being. When you start thinking about steps you can take to attain a holistically healthy life, be sure to consider the role that your physical environment can play in contributing to overall wellness. Purchasing a Carmel home, for example, would enable you to reside in one of the healthiest states in the country: California. Note that by living in a Carmel home, you'll be within close proximity to a wide range of outdoor activities and beautiful, sandy beaches. Thus if you're considering moving for retirement or simply to adopt a healthier lifestyle, be sure to keep this region of the country in mind. 

Summing It All Up 

It's exciting to know that scientific research can yield substantive knowledge about how best to modify and cure diseases. Recent studies now indicate that stabilizing the beta-amyloid protein, as opposed to eliminating it, may be the key to slowing down its progression. Be sure to keep this information in mind as you consider strategies that you and your loved ones can use to fight this condition and lead a healthy, happy life!


March 13, 2017

Ethical Considerations of Ridding Humanity of Diseases

virusAlthough some researchers feel a moral obligation to cure genetic diseases with DNA editing techniques such as CRISPR, others hesitate to embark on gene editing of human eggs, sperm and early-stage embryos(called germline editing) whose DNA changes can be passed on to future descendants. These practitioners feel that not enough is understood, and further research is critical for exploring the early development of embryos and fetuses. Such research would resurrect ethical questions about creating and destroying viable or non-viable fetuses, and the creation or termination of human life.

One example of a lethal inheritable genetic disease, potentially curable through gene-editing, is Huntington's disease, caused by a gene defect that will trigger a fatal brain condition even in someone with just a single copy of the gene. Gene editing could remove the defect from an egg cell to prevent the disease from being passed on to descendants. Some laboratories are working now, trying to edit egg stem cells to rid them of inherited genetic disease. The end-to-end process is multi-step, and would no doubt first be worked out in animals such as cattle, pigs, and rabbits.

crispr However, once the technology has been proven and ethical guidelines established, techniques such as CRISPR also open the possibility of gene editing for the purpose of human enhancement. Scientists are yet divided on the ethics of enhancing humans for reasons other than treating disease. Harvard University's George Church, one of the founding developers of CRISPR, cites a list of about 10 genes, whose naturally occurring variants can confer extraordinary qualities or resistance to disease upon people born with these gene variants. One such gene variant can confer extreme hardness to bone, another can protect against Alzheimer's by conferring mental clarity into old age, and one can drastically cut the risk of heart attacks. By providing people with favorable versions of genes, CRISPR gene edits could act like vaccines against some of the most common diseases we face today.

The path of human enhancement leads to considerations of qualities like increased intelligence, height, stamina, lifespan and, eventually, more mundane qualities such as eye color, hair color, or body build for designer babies. Most likely the wealthy and the inhabitants of the developed nations, would benefit from these modifications, possibly amplifying worrisome trends of global inequality.

Scientists, bio-ethicists, and legal experts were gathered in January 2015 by UC Berkeley scientist Jennifer Goudna, co-discoverer of CRISPR, to call for a world summit on gene-edited babies and a US moratorium on human germline engineering. This group has called for a global moratorium on any effort to use CRISPR to generate gene-edited children until researchers could determine which clinical applications might be permissible in the future, if any. If humans are to hold the capability of shaping their heredity in their own hands, it would be wisest to proceed very, very cautiously, and with as much foresight as possible.

March 10, 2017

Light Therapy Might Reduce Addiction Rates

Light Therapy Might Reduce Addiction Rates

It is estimated that approximately 100 million people in the United States suffer from some type of chronic pain. This chronic pain not only diminishes their quality of life, but it can also lead to feelings of despair and depression; often destroying relationships as well as a person’s sense of well-being. There can be many reasons for chronic pain, but there’s no denying that it is a condition that needs to be treated with some type of pain therapy. Unfortunately, not only is managing pain with traditional pain medications extremely expensive, it can often lead to addiction or even an overdose. Today, we live in a society where many people are addicted to pain medications. Suffering in pain is certainly not the answer, but is there a healthier solution to managing this debilitating pain?

Everyone from veterans to housewives, and adolescents are turning to opioids as a way to get relief from chronic pain. Fortunately, new research conducted at the University of Arizona has shown that a safer, healthier and non-pharmacological approach to pain management is possible. This new approach to pain management involves the use of green light emitting diodes or LEDs.

While pain treatment with greed LED light has certainly shown promise as a pain management tool, it also might be a great solution to helping resolve opioid addiction rates in the U.S. From residents in Pacific Grove homes to New York City homeowners, finding a healthier way to treat pain while lowering the risk of addiction is definitely something that could prove extremely beneficial for many people.

It is estimated that treating chronic pain in the U.S. has risen to approximately $635 billion a year. That’s an incredible figure, one that is higher than the yearly cost for treating cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. With light therapy, it’s not just addiction rates that can be lowered, but it’s also possible to lower the high cost of using prescription pain killers as a way to provide relief to patients with chronic pain.

Light therapy also has other benefits. For example, unlike pain management drugs, the use of green LED light for pain therapy does not appear to lead to tolerance or other side effects. Additionally, initial research demonstrates no impairment of visual or motor skills. There’s no doubt that millions of people need an effective method of relieving chronic pain. With the use of green LED lights to alleviate pain, combined with physical therapy and other treatment options, patients might be able to manage their pain without the need for opioids.

At this time, light therapy is still being studied, but it is hoped that in the future it can be used to provide a healthier alternative to traditional prescription pain killers. If you live in one of the lovely Pacific Grove homes, you know that a pain free life will allow you to enjoy nature, long walks with friends, and just relaxing with your loved ones. A natural approach to pain relief can help avoid the high cost and side effects associated with opioid pain pills.
March 6, 2017

Your Diabetes Diagnosis Might be in Your Pocket

medical technologyEarly detection of medical conditions is key to proper treatment and management. Unfortunately, because this typically requires tests, often invasive, that are performed in a doctor's office or medical lab, early detection does not happen as often as it should. New technology, however, holds the potential to diagnose diabetes with a simple smartphone-linked breathalyzer. It might be soon that I'll leave my home in Carmel and before I start the day easily check my health by blowing into my phone. 

Scientists are currently developing technologies that are capable of analyzing the volatile organic compounds in human breath. Better known as VOCs, these compounds provide insight into what is going on in the human body. In the case of diabetes, an elevated acetone level is a significant biomarker that can indicate a problem. Scientists are developing hand-held devices with adsorbent polymers to capture acetone from human breath and hold it onto it for analysis by a laser. The analysis will be able to show whether someone is diabetic. These non-invasive, portable breathalyzers could someday be the first line of defense for spotting diabetes in patients. 

The first use of such technology would probably be in medical offices. Yes, means that early detection would still be dependent on making an appointment with the doctor. However, early detection would still increase with the use of this technology in-office. A quick breathalyzer puff is a more appealing option than painful blood tests. Doctors could quickly test every patient who came through their doors. Patients would be less resistant to undergoing a quick breath test than to having a blood analysis or giving a urine sample. Plus, since the breathalyzers would be reusable, this could keep the cost of testing down. The ease of testing every patient in a non-invasive way could increase the number of patients, both at-risk and not, who are regularly screened for diabetes.

Scientists are also developing similar portable breath tests for conditions like halitosis and lung cancer. While brushing one's teeth is a good defense against bad breath, it would be handy as I left my Carmel in Carmel to give a quick puff into my phone to remind me if I've forgotten to brush, or that the garlic from last night's meal is still with me.

An advantage of these modern sensor technologies is that they can be used in pocket-sized formats. These sensors can be coupled with specialized personal medical devices that are small enough to carry with you all of the time. They also have the potential to work with personal electronic devices, such as sleep trackers and fitness monitors. Perhaps most importantly, these sensors can be used in conjunction with smartphone apps. Considering that smartphones have become a staple of modern life, phone-linked medical sensors have the potential to revolutionize medical detection and monitoring.

Therefore, someday, diabetes breathalyzer technology may be available for use by the general public. If people were to have access to a device that they could use in the privacy of their own home, they might be willing to test at the first sign of a problem. People often wait to see a doctor until their problems are too big to ignore, but a non-invasive, private smartphone breath analysis could change that picture. Personal breathalyzers could be the first step to early treatment. After getting a positive result from this simple at-home test, users could then see a doctor for an official diagnosis and a treatment plan.

Already, there are a few health sensor devices with smartphone compatibility on the market. One current device is a a that analyzes your blood alcohol content and send the information to your smartphone. The associated phone app keeps track of BAC levels, estimates when your level will return to zero, and gives you a place to record how many drinks you are consuming. Another smartphone medical analyzer on the market today is designed for diabetes monitoring. It is a blood glucose meter that connects to your phone, so you do not need a separate readout device. Rather, after using a test strip, the results show up on your smartphone screen. Plus, the meter's smartphone app tracks results, so you always have an accurate picture of your health situation.

These current technologies give us a glimpse into what could be coming to the public market someday. Perhaps in the not-so-distant future, we will each have access to our own personal diabetes analysis kit. With just a simple puff of air into a a device that is linked to our smartphones, a handy medical app will let us know if we are living with diabetes. No one wants to receive a diabetes diagnosis, but if diabetes is the reality, the best time to find out is early on. With early detection, patients can learn to manage symptoms sooner and the instances of complications are reduced. Smartphone medical technology may be just the ticket to helping modern patients lead healthy lives in the best shape they can be.

Feb. 27, 2017

Is the Star Trek Replicator Possible for DNA?

star trekWhen Star Trek premiered on national television in August 1966, the world would never be the same. Despite its premature cancellation three years later after a mere 79 episodes, it left an indelible impact not only on popular culture but on the scientific community. Many of the advanced technologies displayed in Star Trek have gone on to influence scientists, and a great deal of those advancements have already been made manifest.

Some of these technologies remain outside the realm or understanding of modern science. Physicists still debate whether faster-than-light warp propulsion is theoretically possible, and the miraculous ability of the transporters and replicators to transport and reshape matter are widely considered to be an impossibility.

Or are they?

In 1983, Nobel Prize winning scientist Kary Mullis invented an incredible device than could actually replicate small strands of human DNA by the billions. This was done through a process known as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and it facilitated an improved molecular and genetic analysis of DNA.

At present, the machines required for PCR are large, bulky and quite sensitive. In order to work effectively, the utmost care needs to be taken to control their environment. In addition, significant preparations have to go into preparing the DNA for replication. Not only does the DNA have to be purified before samples and replication can commence, it can take several weeks just to prepare the machines for a new DNA source sample.

The process of DNA replication is not simple, as you can imagine. There are a number of steps that must be taken, and the strands of DNA have to be carefully prepped and processed before PCR can take place.

However, there is a new approach being taken to the process of PCR. Nicholas Adams and Frederick Haselton, biomedical engineers researching at Vanderbilt University, developed a new method that they call adaptive PCR. This process uses left-handed DNA (L-DNA) as a control over the molecular reactions present during PCR.

While L-DNA is a mirror of standard DNA, it is not generally involved in biological reactions. By tagging the L-DNA with fluorescent light and and adding it to identical right-handed DNA, the reactions of the fluorescent light can be monitored and used to control and better understand the molecular reactions taking place.

If this new technique is successful, it could transform PCR, and even possibly lead to portable handheld adaptive PCR technology that could be used to test DNA outside of a laboratory and inside actual hospital rooms. Field tests could be used on cancerous DNA, furthering scientific understanding of cancer and even moving closer to preventative cancer science.

Another recent discovery of note for DNA reproduction and cancer treatment is the recent discovery at the University of Cambridge of quadruple helix DNA structures. This quadruple helix DNA is found in DNA regions that are heavy in guanine, one of the four nucleotides that form DNA.

It seems that quadruple-helix DNA may play a role in switching genes on and off as they are reproduced and passed on, especially with regard to cancerous cells, where quadruple-helix DNA is especially prevalent. If this new form of guanine-heavy DNA were to reproduced by PCR and adaptive PCR techniques, it could revolutionize our understanding of cancer, and eventually even lead to new and influential cancer treatments.

Replicating a billion identical strands of DNA is a long way from the advanced biological replication witnessed in Star Trek. At present, such a concept still appears to be nigh impossible. But much of what was once believed impossible is now reality. As science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke once wrote, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Only the future will reveal what may eventually become reality.

More health articles to read:

Cancer Drug

Curing Parkinsons Disease

Feb. 20, 2017

Cas9 Mutation- A Data Storage Device?

CRISPR-Cas9Could the popular gene-editing technique CRISPR-Cas9 create the basis of a DNA-based data storage device? The CRISPR adaptive immune system found in many bacteria memorizes viruses by storing snippets of the viral DNA. This virus DNA memorization happens rarely. But, it turns out that there's a single mutation in these bacteria that lets them store genetic memories of viruses 100 times more often than they would naturally. This naturally ocurring mutation in the Cas9 gene enables the Cas9 enzyme to more readily acquire snippets of a virus's DNA that would enable it to protect itself in future meetings with that virus. Microbes replicated with this particular mutation have enabled research scientists working in UC Berkeley's Laboratory of Bacteriology to generate much more data about various aspects of CRISPR. 

The Cas9 mutation could make it possible to develop a DNA-based recording system that could be adapted to acquire information about activity of neurons, cellular responses to environmental stimuli, or the trajectory of metastasizing cancer cells. There's one caveat though -- Cas9 is used in the CRISPR process to destroy an invading virus. Sometimes the naturally occurring CRISPR system instead of defending its cells from a virus, misfires by acquiring DNA snippets from its host rather than from the virus. In that case, the cell simply kills itself. While researchers face many hurdles, this development has introduced a new laboratory tool that can potentially make a CRISPR-based recording system a more realistic objective.

Feb. 13, 2017

Breaking a leg...Finding a Better Way to Heal with the Scrail

backyard plants in monterey caEnduring multiple surgeries to set complex bone fractures with steel or titanium screws and plates may soon be a thing of the past. New bioceramic bone screws compatible with the body's own bone material and shaped to decrease injury to bones and tendons are being introduced by Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM. 

The beginning of ski season is a hectic time for alpine emergency centers when injuries to the neck, knee, pelvis and hips (including hip fractures in mature skiers) are common occurrences. Those with complex bone fractures will undergo surgery to set then with titanium or steel screws and plates. But because these metal screws and plates can cause inflammation and allergies in sensitive people when left in the body, patients must endure considerable discomfort and expense having the metal pieces removed in a second operation after the injury has healed.
Now a new bioceramic implant screw nail or "scrail", developed by researchers at Fraunhofer IFAM and the university hospitals of Giessen-Marburg and Bonn and the University of Bremen, is primed to turn such injury treatment into history. Walking on the beach is one of the things that is often good for therapy and general health here in in Monterey. Real estate that is close to the water of often sought out by those who have a frequent walking regimen to enhance mobility and flexibility.

The bioactive and material properties of the bioceramic material were involved in developing the bone nail. Previous medical grade screws have been made of titanium or polymer. Polymer screws will disintegrate inside the body, but the degradation products of the polymer screws can trigger inflammation in the body. Furthermore, cavities can form in the bone after the disintegration of the screws, leaving the bone unstable and prone to breakage.

bioceramic implant screw scrailCeramic-based screw nails are very similar to bone material and are composed primarily of calcium phosphate and hydroxyapatite. They will not disintegrate, but will bond with the bone material and can even accelerate bone growth. In contrast to metal and polymer screws, the bioceramic scrails are designed with a specially shaped thread. They require only a few rotations to be inserted and are very carefully hammered into the bone. Fewer rotations reduce the risk of damage to the tendons and bones.

For its intended medical uses, the bioceramic material, which tends to be fairly breakable, needs to have compressive strength on the same order as bone, and be easy to shape. The researchers adopted injection molding technology, pouring hydroxyapatite powder into screw nail molds and heating them. The process is well suited to mass production since it allows for flexible mold designs and is inexpensive. In addition, the hydroxyapatite powder may also be used in conjunction with 3D printers, allowing for the creation of patient-specific implants.

According to Dr Sebastian Hein of Fraunhofer IFAM, the scrail may soon be ready to be put to work in surgery. Calcium phosphate has already been tested for biocompatibility and has been a material used in medical applications for several years. Furthermore, Hein said that medical tests in sheep have shown that the scrail could be inserted much more precisely and more quickly than standard screws, a completely unexpected welcome result according to the researchers. Consequently, the overall surgery time is shortened and the patient will be under anesthesia for a shorter time as well as needing only a single operation.

Gregg Camp is a Monterey real estate broker, who writes on a variety of topics from health, to real estate, to practical reuse of things.