Scientists discover new human organ – Interstitium

The Interstitium is found under our skin and between our organs. It contains 20 percent of the fluid volume in our body and may serve as a shock absorber for our body, amongst other functions yet to be discovered. And it could be the mechanism via which cancer spreads, although this would require further research.

Asterisks denote collagen bundles (top left). An arrow points to a cell (top right). Darker blue shows collagen bundles, and light blue reveals what may be elastin (bottom left). Elastin fibers shown in black run along collagen bundles shown in pink (bottom right). Photograph by Neil Theise and David Carr-Locke, Scientific Reports.
Asterisks denote collagen bundles (top left). An arrow points to a cell (top right). Darker blue shows collagen bundles, and light blue reveals what may be elastin (bottom left). Elastin fibers shown in black run along collagen bundles shown in pink (bottom right). Photograph by Neil Theise and David Carr-Locke, Scientific Reports.

A research team from the School of Medicine in New York University published their study that led to the discovery in the journal Scientific Reports.

“What we saw (was) this open fluid-filled space supported by this collagen bundle latticework,” said pathologist and study author Neil Theise, a professor at NYU’s School of Medicine.

They called the new organ “interstitium” – to me it’s rather apt and sounds like the name of some sci-fi movie.

According to the study, the Interstitium is a network of fluid-filled compartments strung together in a mesh of collagen and flexible protein called elastin.

It exists all over our body, under our skin and between our organs.

Before the discovery, scientists thought the layer was just simple dense connective tissue.

The existence of the interstitium has hitherto eluded scientists because of the way tissue is studied – samples are thinly sliced and treated with chemicals that allow researchers to identify key components more easily, before being placed under a microscope.

This process drains fluid from the sample so the compartments collapse, like “a building with the floors suddenly knocked out, leaving the whole structure to flatten like a pancake”.

The discovery of the interstitium was accidental and happened when scientists first noticed the compartments when looking at a bile duct for signs of cancer.

Continue reading “Scientists discover new human organ – Interstitium”

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World Tuberculosis Day 2018 – 24 March: TB today

Today is World TB Day. It falls on 24 March every year – the purpose is to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic impact of tuberculosis (TB) and urge acceleration of efforts to end the global TB epidemic.

TB was one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide in 2016, ranking above HIV and malaria.
TB was one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide in 2016, ranking above HIV and malaria.

One of the targets of WHO’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 is to end the global TB epidemic.

Continue reading “World Tuberculosis Day 2018 – 24 March: TB today”

World Tuberculosis Day 2018 – 24 March: Multidrug-resistant TB

WHO estimates that there were 600 000 new cases with resistance to rifampicin – the most effective first-line drug, of which 490 000 had MDR-TB. And tomorrow is World TB Day!

Multidrug-resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) remains a public health crisis and a health security threat.
Multidrug-resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) remains a public health crisis and a health security threat.

Anti-TB medicines have been used for decades and strains that are resistant to 1 or more of the medicines have been documented in every country surveyed.

Drug resistance emerges when anti-TB medicines are used inappropriately, through incorrect prescription by health care providers, poor quality drugs, and patients stopping treatment prematurely.

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World Tuberculosis Day 2018 – 24 March: Symptoms & Treatment

Learn more about tuberculosis (TB) in the lead-up to World TB Day this Saturday, 24 March.

Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide. In 2016, 10.4 million people fell ill with TB, and 1.7 million died from the disease (including 0.4 million among people with HIV). Over 95% of TB deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide. In 2016, 10.4 million people fell ill with TB, and 1.7 million died from the disease (including 0.4 million among people with HIV). Over 95% of TB deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

About one-quarter of the world’s population has latent TB, which means people have been infected by TB bacteria but are not (yet) ill with the disease and cannot transmit the disease.

People infected with TB bacteria have a 5–15% lifetime risk of falling ill with TB and becoming infectious.

However, persons with compromised immune systems, such as people living with HIV, malnutrition or diabetes, or people who use tobacco, have a much higher risk of falling ill.

When a person develops active TB disease, the symptoms (such as cough, fever, night sweats, or weight loss) may be mild for many months.

This can lead to delays in seeking care, and results in transmission of the bacteria to others.

People with active TB can infect 10–15 other people through close contact over the course of a year.

Continue reading “World Tuberculosis Day 2018 – 24 March: Symptoms & Treatment”

World Tuberculosis Day 2018 – 24 March: Tests for TB?

“How do I know if I have been infected with TB germs”? Read about the tests you can take if you have been exposed. I’m running this article as part of promoting public awareness and health education about tuberculosis, in the lead-up to World TB Day this Saturday (24 March).

“TB is still very real in our world today,” observes Dr Siaw Tung Yeng, Founder & CEO, Mobile Health which built the MaNaDr Healthcare Ecosystem.
“TB is still very real in our world today,” observes Dr Siaw Tung Yeng, Founder & CEO, Mobile Health which built the MaNaDr Healthcare Ecosystem.

If you have been around someone who has TB disease, you should go to your doctor or your local health department for tests.

Image credit: CDC.
Image credit: CDC.

There are two tests that can be used to help detect TB infection: a TB skin test or TB blood test.

The skin test is used most often.

A small needle is used to put some testing material, called tuberculin, under the skin.

In 2-3 days, you return to the health care worker who will check to see if there is a reaction to the test.

In some cases, a TB blood test is used to test for TB infection.

This blood test measures how a person’s immune system reacts to the germs that cause TB.

To tell if someone has TB disease, other tests such as chest x-ray and a sample of sputum (phlegm that is coughed up from deep in the lungs) may be needed. Continue reading “World Tuberculosis Day 2018 – 24 March: Tests for TB?”

World Tuberculosis Day 2018 – 24 March: What is TB?

This year’s World TB Day is on this Saturday – it falls on 24 March every year. As part of public awareness and education about tuberculosis, we take a look at what is TB.

This logo is the symbol for the goal ending TB. Every 18 seconds someone dies of TB. End TB by ensuring that everyone affected by TB gets the right diagnosis, treatment, and care.
This logo is the symbol for the goal ending TB. Every 18 seconds someone dies of TB. End TB by ensuring that everyone affected by TB gets the right diagnosis, treatment, and care.

“TB” is short for a disease called tuberculosis.

TB is spread through the air from one person to another.

Image credit: CDC.
Image credit: CDC.

TB germs are passed through the air when someone who is sick with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, speaks, laughs, sings, or sneezes.

Anyone near the sick person with TB disease can breathe TB germs into their lungs.

TB germs can live in your body without making you sick.

This is called latent TB infection.

This means you have only inactive (sleeping) TB germs in your body.

The inactive germs cannot be passed on to anyone else.

However, if these germs wake up or become active in your body and multiply, you will get sick with TB disease.

When TB germs are active (multiplying in your body), this is called TB disease.

These germs usually attack the lungs.

They can also attack other parts of the body, such as, the kidneys, brain, or spine.

Continue reading “World Tuberculosis Day 2018 – 24 March: What is TB?”

World Tuberculosis Day 2018 – 24 March: Let’s “End TB”

World TB Day falls on 24 March every year – the purpose is to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic impact of tuberculosis (TB) and urge acceleration of efforts to end the global TB epidemic.

This year’s World TB Day is on this Saturday - 24 March, 2018.
This year’s World TB Day is on this Saturday – 24 March, 2018.

This year, we commemorate the 136th anniversary of Dr. Robert Koch’s announcement in 1882 of his discovery of the TB bacillus, the cause of TB.

Continue reading “World Tuberculosis Day 2018 – 24 March: Let’s “End TB””