Mayo Clinic patient’s first impressions with bionic eye

Mayo Clinic: “Bionic Eye implant offer hope of restoring vision”

This is a breathtaking moment where a man can see his wife again after almost a decade.

Dr. Lezzi explains the procedure

Source: Mayo Clinic

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One step closer to easier detecting of cancer by taking a pill and checking the blood…

Scientists have designed a ‘pill’ that can be used to test whether a person is inflicted with cancer without actually going through a cumbersome process of biopsy.
The latest research conducted on mice by John Ronald and Sanjiv Gambhir has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on February 23.

Source: Hindustantimes / Read more: PNAS

Overview of some important medical research discoveries of 2014

The geographic origin of AIDS is now known

The geographic origin of AIDS is now knownA widely diverse team of researchers with members from the U.S. and several countries in Europe was able to piece together where, when and how the first instance of AIDS in humans occurred. Using statistical analysis, the team was able to pinpoint the original infection site as Kinshasa, the capital of what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo—sometime during the 1920s. The team has published their findings in the journal Science.

Cesarean section may cause epigenetic changes

Cesarean sectionA study conducted by a team of researchers at the Karolinska Institutetin Sweden revealed evidence that suggests delivering babies via can result in changes made to the baby’s stem cells. Such changes, the team found, can be blamed for an increased risk of immunological diseases such as asthma, diabetes type 1, , etc. The team has published its findings in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 

“Trigger” for stress processes discovered in the brain

A team of researchers working at the Center for Brain Research at MedUni in Vienna along with colleagues from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden discovered an important factor related to stress—the protein secretagogin was found to work as a trigger in the brain by releasing the stress hormone CRH. The team has published its findings in the EMBO Journal. Prior research had shown that CRH is part of the process that leads to signaling in the pituitary gland and to other organs.

Researchers identify first steps in formation of pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer

A team of bio-researchers working at the Mayo Clinic were able to identify the initial processes that lead to —a finding that could lead to therapies for preventing the cancer from getting started. The team has published its findings in the journal Cancer Discovery. The team discovered that the initial processes, which occur at the molecular level, came about due to the development of lesions, some of which morphed into cancerous growths.

Scientists locate homing signal in brain, explaining why some people are better navigators

Researchers working atbrain University College London identified the part of the brain that is responsible for allowing people to know which direction to travel, given their current location and orientation. In a paper published in Current Biology, the team explains that the study found that the entorhinal region in the brain, which was already known to be responsible for orientation, is also responsible for our ability to navigate.

Research shows seven-year-olds can think strategically


A trio of researchers working at the University of Minnesota:

conducted a study that involved testing children on thinking strategies and found evidence that suggests that kids as young as just six and a half years old are able to use strategies comparable to those of adults when playing games.

The team published its results in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 

Scientists discover how to ‘switch off’ autoimmune diseases

Scientists discover how to 'switch off' autoimmune diseasesA team of researchers working at the University of Bristol reported on a major breakthrough in finding a cure for such as multiple sclerosis published in Nature Communications.

Researchers discover genetic marker behind stroke and cardiovascular disease

Researchers discover underlying genetics, marker for stroke, cardiovascular disease

A team of researchers working at the University of Virginia announced that it had found a genetic variant tied to an increased risk of stroke and certain types of cardiovascular disease.

In a paper published in the journal PLOS Genetics, the team described the study, which included analyzing the genomes of over 5000 people, and how it also led to findings related to metabolic pathways that play a role in many types of diseases.

Memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s reversed for first time

Memory loss associated with Alzheimer's reversed for first time

A combined team of researchers with UCLA and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging reported that a 36-point therapeutic program they had developed had reduced signs of dementia in nine out of ten volunteer patients involved in the study.

Paper published in the journalAging:

The team describes the program and details the results they observed with patients that adhered to it over a three- to six-month trial period.

Human clinical trial of drug shown to completely reverse diabetes in human islets, mice


A team of researchers working at the University of Alabama announced that studies they had conducted testing the drug blood pressure medicine verapamil showed that it had completely eliminated any signs of diabetes in lab animals—that success has led to $2.1 million grant from Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.

The team has not published the results yet, but will likely do so after test trials, which are scheduled to start sometime early next year.

Click the titles to read more about the respective subject.
This list is entirely taken and almost completely quoted from MedicalXpress
Check them out…great site!

Participation in society: necessity and risk to experience happiness

Mark_Wand_klein     By Dr. Mark Ritzen

Participation in society is generally regarded as an important condition for experiencing happiness. We develop ourselves in dialogue with those around us, within society. We are embedded in society; in a family, a village, a political system, a religion, a sub culture, a culture, a system of values, ideas, norms,……..

The society in which we are living (and especially our closest social environment) defines what we have to do/ how we have to behave and how we have to look, to be regarded as a successful person.

While growing up in this “social nutritive matrix” , we take decisions, make choices, let us inspire by others, exchange warmth, compassion, love, compete and while doing that we progressively find and develop our identity, our resources, our limits, our “value” in all thinkable ways. Furthermore, we develop dreams how/ who we want to be, who and what we want to have around us,….in resonance with our individual resources (given by nature and nurture) and as a result of inspiration by the surrounding society we define values, targets, goals, visions that are highly attractive to us (ideal-self),…We try to reach up to them all our live; we try to live them every day.

But what if we find out that we cannot reach them? What if there is a too large gap between our ideal-self and our true self. What if we have neglected our individual resources/ambitions/ nature and too much of our ideal-self has been nourished by society defined ideals?

What if our resources have other qualities than those needed to reach our (perhaps more society-defined) goals?

Can we adapt our goals that have been developed over more than a decade and that are in harmony with a specific social environment (for example our parental house)?

Can we accept other goals, which are more in harmony with our individual nature/ resources?

Can we be that strong in the social environment in which we live that we progressively live other values, more in harmony with ourselves but possible in disharmony with the environment?

Are we prepared to pay the price of eventual devaluation if we have to size down or adapt our ambitions within the social environment in which we live?

Can we support a feeling of devaluation until we have discovered that there is a lot of value in the new ambitions, which are more in harmony with our individual nature?



Too large discrepancies between a person’s individual nature/ resources on one hand and his ideal-self on the other or a wide gap between his nature/ resources and the requirements of the society in which he lives can create a very significant and stress-causing tension. This might lead to a feeling of disconnection with society, isolation, stigmatisation and even clinically relevant symptoms like low self esteem, fatigue, sleeplessness, restlessness, irritability, hopelessness, pain, feelings of insufficiency, anger, sadness, anxiety, exhaustion…..


Participating in society also means that you will have to deal with a variety of daily to do’s.

The quality, quantity and size of those daily to do’s changes in the course of time and varies between different cultures and sub-cultures.

Being an active member in society, taking initiatives, organizing a complex, rich and varied life, increasing your connections, showing that you exist…..that you live, causes a certain visibility that is often used as a measurement (parameter) for successfulness.


But does participating by “doing” / “showing that you live” also result to a feeling that you live?

Do we still take time for being in our daily life? Do we grant ourselves enough space to look, to hear, to feel, to sense,… to experience? Who am I, Where am I standing in my life, where do I want to go to?

Can we really meet people around us in a rich and profound way (“Begegnung”)

Can we really experience the beauty of Nature around us? Do we give ourselves enough space to experience the profound joy of being touched by art?


In the western world there seems to be an overestimation of the value of doing things. We are so much trained in doing things, so much used “to do” all possible kind of activities that we often tend to forget the importance of the experience of “being”.

The experience of “being” gives us peace, equilibrium, harmony and profundity in our lives. I think that the experience of “being” is one of the most important conditions for experiencing happiness.

While being busy all the time and “doing” things permanently, we might forget too long the importance of “being”. This unconscious neglect of self-care might cause a feeling of loneliness, emptiness, frustration; an incomprehensible profound feeling of unhappiness although we are participating to society in countless ways.

Since the early seventies, clinical psychology and psychiatry rediscovered in a certain way the importance of “being” for experiencing happiness and a large number of therapeutic applications, based on “mindfulness” have been developed.

Mindfulness is the intentional, accepting and non-judgemental focus of one’s attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment.

Meanwhile, an impressive number of studies have demonstrated that mindfulness based therapies can be very helpfull in reducing stress, improving the quality of life and in improving certain psychiatric disorders (like anxiety- and depressive disorders) and pain.

In their book: “Mindfulness, a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world” Professor Mark Williams and Dr Danny Penman explain the importance of giving “being” more space in our lives. Furthermore they propose an eight-week program with several very nice (and easy to learn) exercises


Dr. Mark Ritzen – Psychiatrist

View his profile on Medihoo HERE

Need support in getting / staying fit? These apps may help you…

Monitoring how much we exercise (from simply walking around to full fletch fitness program) how much water we drink and what we eat can help us in getting fitter or staying fit.
These apps are designed to help you with it:


Set your personal goals and keep track of your running-achievements. Listen to music whilst training. Get motivated by a community of runners.  Whether you’re walking, running whether your a beginner or a professional the RunKeeper app is a nice companion for al your running activities.

For iOS
For Android


Drinking water is essential for our wellbeing. Many of us however neglect it or have no clue of how much water intake we had.
This app will help you keeping track of our water consumption throughout the day. It allows you to set goals and will motivate you to reach them.

For iOS

7 Minute Workout Challenge 

Earlier we already posted about the scientific 7 minutes workout and showed a itunes movie and an infographic (see our blog-post). Now you can add also this app to it. No more excuses that we have no time to exercise. A 7 minute workout can always be squeezed in, even when your calendar is extremely busy.

For iOS
For Android

Full Fitness: Exercise Workout Trainer 

A very complete “Exercise Workout Trainer” with hundreds of different exercises explained with images and videos for the more complex ones.
Furthermore you can set your own goals, track your calorie intake with more than 90.000 food items, possibility to share your achievement with others  and much more.

For iOS


Knowing what your eating and keeping track of it can be an important part of your fitness program and can help in keeping or reducing weight. This app makes it very easy to keep track of your food intake. Simply enter the food by selecting from a vast library of different food items.
For iOS
For Android
For Windows

Yoga Studio 

Yoga may be an interesting addition to your fitness program.

Take your Yoga studio with you. This app offers you 65 Yoga Classes and shows the various poses. Select your level, duration and focus (strength, flexibility, relaxation, balance or combination) and find classes that match these selections.
For iOS

5k Runner 

Their claim: “Get in shape in 8 weeks with the official and often imitated 5K Runner® 0 to 5K program. This app has over 4.2 million success stories of people that got in shape and started living healthy, and you can do it too. Only 30 mins, 3 times a week, for 8 weeks and you will run 5K.”

For iOS

Zombies, Run! 

This app offer you an interesting push to keep running. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, it works at any speed. The app immerses you in an action packed game.
If you want to do some serious workout the app can force you to speed up to escape the hordes of zombies that are chasing you.

For iOS
For Android

Smoke Free 

Giving up on smoking can be very hard. This app may help you to quit. It tracks your achievements and give visual feedback on how your health might improve the money you save.

It might be just the incentive you need to achieve your goals?

For iOS
For Android

MyPlate Calorie Tracker 

Their claim: “Everything You Need to Loose Weight in One Place”: Calorie tracker, workout program, daily motivations and tips, personalized meal plans from an nutritionist, charts, goals, communication support,…

For iOS
For Android

List Source: Decibel
Content source: respective websites and app descriptions

Depression a huge global Cloud by Dr. Mark Ritzen

Mark_Wand_klein     By Dr. Mark Ritzen

Depression a huge global problem…

According to an estimation of the World Health Organisation (WHO) worldwide more than 120 million, perhaps even up to 350 million people suffer from clinical depression (1).

At its most severe, depression can lead to suicide and is responsible for 850,000 deaths every year.

Knowing that 60-80% of all depression cases can be effectively treated with brief, structured forms of psychotherapy and antidepressant medications it is very unfortunate that worldwide far less than 25% has access to appropriate care.

(The following info graphic might give a more precise idea about the stats:

Some figures……

-Compared to developing countries, lifetime prevalence of depression (10-15%) seems to be higher in high-income lands.

(World Bank criteria for income (2009 gross national income (GNI) per capita): low income is US$995 equivalent or less; middle income is $996–12,195; high income is $12,196 or more)

-Nearly twice as many women (12.0 percent) as men (6.6 percent) are affected by a depressive disorder each year. These figures translate to 12.4 million women and 6.4 million men in the U.S

-4% of adolescents will develop significant symptoms of serious depression each year in the United States. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among children and young adults aged 10 to 24.

-About 50% of all adults experiencing symptoms of depression will not talk to a doctor or seek help for depression. 

-A recent study sponsored by the World Health Organization and the World Bank found unipolar major depression to be the leading cause of disability in the United States.

Although 87% of the world’s governments offer some mental health services at the primary- care level, 30% of them have no relevant programme, and 28% have no budget specifically identified for mental health

-In his article “the cost of depression” Robert L. Leahy, Ph.D.(American Institute for Cognitive Therapy) speaks about the huge economic burden ( about $83 billion each year (lost productivity and increased medical expenses) in the united states alone.

Medihoo Infographic Depression

Medihoo Infographic Depression

Though, before interpreting these figures, it is important to know that many countries cannot provide reliable data.

According to a press release by the WHO in 2001 (“Mental disorders affect one in four people“) only 73% of countries have a formal mental health reporting system, and only 57% have done epidemiologic studies or have data collection systems for documenting mental illness.

Furthermore caused by fear for stigmatisation or ignorance about key symptoms, it is likely that there is a huge number of persons are suffering from depression without having been diagnosed correctly.

Furthermore, the thresholds to determine whether the criteria for clinical depression are present differ from region to region.

The gap between what is urgently needed and what is available to reduce the burden is still very wide. WHO has recognised this and to improve this situation, in 2008 WHO has lanced the “Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP)”.

The Programme aims to help countries increase services for people with mental, neurological and substance use disorders, through care provided by health workers who are not specialists in mental health.

The programme asserts that with proper care, psychosocial assistance and medication, tens of millions of people with mental disorders, including depression, could begin to lead normal lives – even where resources are scarce.

Ethiopia is one of the first 6 countries chosen to implement the WHO’s mhGAP initiative;

in this video Dr. Tedla W. Giorgis inztoduces a short documentary about the mhGAP programm in his country

Participating health workers can receive structured trainings to assess and manage persons with a psychiatric problem, like depression:

To learn more about mhGAP Intervention Guide, please follow these links:

Further links:



By Dr. Mark Ritzen – Psychiatrist. View his Medihoo profile HERE

Promising lung cancer breath test device moves into clinical trials

Ground-breaking lung cancer breath test in clinical trial

University of Leicester and Leicester’s Hospitals to evaluate revolutionary device which detects lung cancer in early stages
A clinical trial led by University of Leicester respiratory experts into a potentially ground-breaking ‘breath test’ to detect lung cancer is set to get underway at the Glenfield Hospital in Leicester.

It is hoped that the LuCID (Lung Cancer Indicator Detection) programme will lead to a non-invasive method of diagnosing lung cancer in the early stages.

Read more: University of Leicester 

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