Stem cell discovery, video game research, Medicaid cuts and Cachexia

Several stories made the round this week in the health department, starting from a new stem cell discovery made by researchers and published in the Nature Medicine magazine, a report about active video game playing, some Medicaid cuts in Washington state, and two new drugs trying to catch Cachexia. Together, they pain the week as fairly promising on the health front, with more hope for many people afflicted by these diseases, although perhaps not for Washington state citizens, if the proposed legislation goes into effect.

First, a team of researchers have apparently discovered a break through in the stem cell field last month, according to what was published in Nature Medicine. The study suggests that it’s possible to take cells directly from a woman’s ovary and convert them into immature eggs. These eggs would then be viable, and could be used in infertile people, in order to become pregnant. Still, this is just a preliminary study, and many obstacles remain, but it can bring some hope to those who’ve been trying, but found themselves unable to have a baby.

Another study, this time published in the magazine Pediatrics, suggests that the active games, as opposed to those where people simply sit on a coach, may not be as good to kids as simply going outside. In recent years, we’ve seen a number of active technologies like the Wii and the Xbox Kinect. These allow children and adults to play games by standing out and doing actual motions, but the study shows that these motions aren’t anywhere near the type of exercise everyone should be going through by simply going outside into the world.

Meanwhile, the state of Washington is about to do serious cuts into its Medicaid program. The plan hopes to save the state a lot of money, but physicians warn that this will come at the cost of human suffering, and may cost lives in the end. The state says that the plan will divert some patients to more appropriate care givers, but not everyone is convinced.

Finally, Cachexia is a known disease that often accompanies cancer and is the source of severe loss of weight. Now, two experimental drugs are said to effectively treat this illness. The companies developing the drugs say that not only will they help give strength to cancer patients, but they will help prolong their lives. Since the drugs are still under development, there’s no hint yet as to when they will be available for wide use.

Overall, the week has been fairly calm in the realm of health related news, but thankfully these news will bring some hope to some patients, especially cancer patients, and those suffering from infertility, although people in Washington state may need to call their representatives if they wish to prevent the Medicaids bill from passing.

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