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Nanomedicine and Pregnancy

Nanotechnology, when specifically applied to the field of medicine, qualifies as nanomedicine. The term is pretty broad and encompasses several medical applications of nanomaterials as well as nanoelectronic biosensors. A nanometer is the millionth part of a millimeter, and it is almost impossible for human beings to even imagine working with materials with such dimensions. However, the medicine fraternity across the globe has succeeded in performing research of much worth, working with nanomaterials and nanoelectronic biosensors. The US National Institute of Health is the leading body funding research and development in nanomedicine. The funding of a five year plan in 2005, aimed at setting four nanomedicine centers in the country is still counted among the most noted efforts made by a body to promote progress in nanomedicine.

Pregnancy and nanomedicine have had some interesting associations in the recent past, with nanotechnology playing a part in some pregnancy tests. Such techniques are not widely used, and are still undergoing refinements. United States and Canada are two counties where the techniques involving nanoparticles to conduct pregnancy tests have been employed with a fair degree of reliability and success. Gold nanoparticles have been used on the test sticks of some home pregnancy kits to conduct tests. Urine of pregnant women has its characteristic composition with the presence of certain hormones which are most active when a woman is 10 weeks pregnant. These hormones change the environment of the gold nanoparticles and cause observable differences in their behavior. Depending upon the toxicity of the gold nanoparticles and their environmental interactions, there are certain expected results as regards the agglomeration, or the clumping together, of these nanoparticles. The cluster formation decides the light absorbed by the cluster, and this characteristic is measurable.

In case of pregnant women, the gold nanoparticles bind to each hormone, and these clusters present different colors from the unclustered gold nanoparticles. If the size of the cluster so formed is optimal, the corresponding light absorbance changes. With the knowledge of how the absorbed light changes with cluster size, scientists and medical experts can design biosensors in a way so that the optimal sized clusters result. Of course, the suitability of the nanoparticles for use in biosensors is another important parameter kept in mind by researchers. The method of measuring cluster size distribution and the light absorption measurements following that has been devised by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Ensuing research is bound to make the processes more refined and this would ultimately lead to the development of highly conclusive pregnancy tests. However, there is another side to the coin as well. New technologies come with their downsides, and there is every reason to be careful against the possibilities of nanoparticles leading to undesired side effects in the human body. Researchers and scientists dealing with nanomedicine are faced with some pressing issues, primarily those concerning toxicity and the adverse impact on the environment resulting from the human interaction with nanoscale materials.

Colon cancer warning signs

A lot of patients suffering from colon cancer might well present no symptoms or signs during the earliest stages of the condition. When symptoms do eventually present, they can be many and varied, and can very much depend upon the size of the affliction, how far it has spread and also its actual location. It might be that some symptoms that present are as a result of a condition other than cancer itself, ranging from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and occasionally diverticulosis. Also, such problems as abdominal pain or swelling can be symptomatic of colon problems and may well require further investigation.

You may also notice that, upon going to the lavatory, you have some blood in your stools, and this can be a symptom of cancer. Of course, having black poop doesn’t ultimately mean that cancer is present. It can, however, also be indicative of other conditions and problems. For example, the kind of bright red blood that you may see on your toilet tissue could be as a result of hemorrhoids or anal fissures. It should also be remembered that various food items can also result in red poop, and these include beetroot and red liquorice. Some medications can also be culprits, and some can also turn the stools black-including iron supplements. Irrespective, any sign of blood or change in your stools should prompt you to seek advice from your GP, as it is always best to be sure that it is not a sign of a more serious condition, and with any cancer,early detection and treatment is essential to a successful recovery.

You should also note-if you are currently concerned-any change in the regularity of your stools-including whether or not they are more thin or irregular than usual-especially over a period of several weeks. Also, be mindful if you have diarrhea for several days in a row or, conversely, constipation.

You might also experience pain in your lower abdomen-including a feeling of hardness. You may also experience persistent pain or discomfort in your abdominal region, and this can include wind and cramps. You may also get the sensation that, when evacuating your bowels, that the bowel doesn’t empty fully. Another symptom that you might recognize is colored stool — mainly black stool, but could be green stool too. Also, if you have an iron deficiency (or anemia), it may be an indication that there is bleeding in your colon. Also, as in most cases and types of cancer, you should seek medical advice immediately if you experience any sudden and unexpected or unexplained weight loss, as this is one of the principal red flags. Also be aware of more vague, seemingly incidental symptoms, such as fatigue. IF you have a couple of symptoms and also feel fatigued for days in a row inexplicably, then this is also another warning sign and you should seek medical advice. It is important not to panic, but just to be aware of what might be going on.

Remember, cases of colon cancer account for around 90% of all cases of intestinal cancers, and also account for more deaths every year of men and women from cancer. Early treatment is an absolute must.

Prostate cancer symptoms

Prostate cancer has a number of symptoms, and it should be remembered that the most typical prostate cancer symptoms and those of a non-cancerous enlarged prostate are identical. As a result, medical advice should be sought as soon as possible on identification of any such symptoms. These symptoms include the sudden need to rush to the lavatory in order to pass water and also a difficulty in passing water. There may also be instances of passing water more often than would otherwise be usual-particularly during the course of the night. Those so afflicted may also experience pain when passing water and may also find that there is blood in their urine-and also in their semen.

The symptoms themselves are often as a result of the growth pressing on the urethra (the tube that transports urine), causing a blockage to the flow of urine. This is true in both prostate cancer cases-as well as non-cancerous enlarged prostates. It is, as stated earlier, vital for those experiencing any such symptoms to consult a doctor as soon as possible. Also, it should be remembered that in its very early stages, prostate cancer does not, in the normal course of events, result in any symptoms whatsoever, as any prostate growth at this point is generally too small to affect the flow of urine in any appreciable or noticeable way. It should also be stated that many prostate enlargements are noon-cancerous, and can be treated without fuss or worry.

Enlargement of the prostate is more common in older men, and is one of the markers of growing older, as is the need to pass urine more often at night. Some studies have reported that green poop may appear, although it can’t be directly associated with this condition. Also, cancers of the prostate will often develop slowly in older men, and, as a result, the symptoms may develop over the course of many years and can be fairly mild. Primary symptoms can occur when the cells from prostate cancer spread to the bones, which can cause back, hip or pelvis pain (or pain in any bony area of the body). The medical term for this is secondary prostate cancer. Men may also experience other symptoms, such as difficulty in obtaining and maintaining an erection-especially where there existed no prior problem. There may also be symptoms associated with other forms of cancer too, such as sudden weight loss without trying-especially in older men. you may also experience extreme fatigue, experience pain or burning when passing water, pain and swelling i the lower extremities and a loss of appetite.

It is vital then to consult your GP, who will understand the warning signs and red flags, and will, if need be, refer you to a specialist to undergo tests. You may be offered a PSA blood test as well as a rectal exam. Remember to ask your GP to explain all of the tests and reasons as clearly a possible. Get as full an understanding as you can.

How much money is spent on cancer research

Cancer research is typically invested in by a number of different individuals, groups or organizations worldwide in the hopes of developing both treatment and cure for the disease. The state of California, for instance, has reportedly invested $10-12 million in direct cancer research annually, while the National Cancer Institute (NCI) within the United States has reportedly spend $4.8 to $5.2 billion per annum on cancer research and treatment development.

Using the NCI as an example for cancer research and how money is allocated, according to their fact sheet breast cancer is the primary investment target for most funds and received $572.6 million in 2008 alone. The runner up following this was prostate cancer, receiving $285.4 million, with colorectal cancer coming in third at $273.7 million. The cancer receiving the least allocated funds is actually uterine cancer, being granted only $17.1 million in 2008. While current figures may vary slightly this general allocation of funds has remained the same for some years and is expected to continue as such in the future.

While a large number of funds are gathered through support groups and fund raising drives throughout the world the primary source of most research comes from major organizations and governments that allocate funds specifically to the cancer research and cure drive. This has led many government based organization such as the NCI being established around the world in order to support private research developments and coordinate ongoing efforts between research professionals on a regular basis.

Since most major organizations spearheading research are government based the fund allocation is determined by regular budget proposals submitted for review on a monthly and yearly basis in order to be considered and have funds attributed accordingly. This is generally done withing the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and is adjusted accordingly depending upon both individual and group research needs. The OMB, while working to support all cancer research, also strives to ensure that money is allocated where funds are needed most in order to ensure proper support and prevent unnecessary expenditures that may actually harm the overall cancer research process.

The amount of funds spent yearly on cancer research is something of a point of contention in the political world, for while billions are allocated yearly to the research and fighting of cancer far more money is spent elsewhere that many people feel is unnecessary in comparison. The arguments over foreign policy and the billions spent abroad aside California’s contribution of $10-$12 million, for instance, is seen as a drop in the pot when compared to the fact that many sports players within the state refuse to even play a game for a team unless paid at least twice that amount.

Regardless the funds being generated each year are carefully calculated and increasing funds are being generated yearly as cancer awareness increases and both private and public organizations work closely together to help fight against the ever growing cancer trend. Though projections for 2010 are still difficult to determine it is likely that the amount of funds for cancer research will continue to grow to help the over 1.2 million people that are diagnosed with cancer each year and help save the nearly 600,000 people that die annually in the US alone from cancer afflictions.