Guess what they’ve discovered now… the latest health research

By Jane Garton and Patsy Westcott , Thursday 19 April 2012

Why you should opt for the aisle; retinal repair progress; reversing heart attack damage; news on Parkinson’s and pancreatic cancer

Plane aisleSitting in an aisle seat means you are much more likely to stand up and stretch your legs
The plane truth

It could make sense to choose an aisle seat next time you take a long-haul flight. The reason? According to experts being hemmed in next to a window means you’re less likely to get up and walk about and staying in the same position for too long is a key risk factor for deep vein thrombosis.

Seeing stripes

Zebra fish have the capacity to repair damage to their retina (the layer of light-sensing cells at the back of the eye). And now scientists have discovered a naturally occurring substance that stimulates certain retinal cells to regenerate that is key to this process. If this can be replicated in humans it may be possible to slow or reverse conditions like age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma.

New heart cells

An injection could be used to repair the tissue damage caused by a heart attack in the not too distant future. Specially cleansed heart tissue is freeze-dried, milled into a powder, then turned into a fluid that becomes a gel on reaching body temperature. The gel acts as a scaffold over which new heart cells can start to grow.

Hope for pancreatic cancer

At last, some encouraging news on pancreatic cancer. A new drug, rigosertib, which allows pancreatic cancer cells to rush through replication then stops them dead, has shown promise in a phase 1 safety trial. Further trials to test its efficacy in people with the disease are now under way.

Like father like son?

One in five men has a variation of the male-only Y chromosome, which could push up their heart disease risk, according to a study from Leicester University. The scientists hope this discovery will lead to new tests and/or treatments for men.

Parkinson’s promise

‘Tweezers’ made up of a complex molecular compound could be the way to halt the progress of Parkinson’s disease. In a US study these were successfully used to prevent a build-up of a protein called α-synuclein, thought to be a culprit in killing brain cells in PD. They may also reverse and even break up existing clumps - all without affecting normal brain function.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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