Helping to prevent colon cancer with just a blood sample

Once again, the Best Doctors blog keeps you posted on an interesting and promising scientific advance for many patients that could suffer from colon cancer in the future.

This time, it is a research project led by a Spanish biologist, Luis Gómez, who has developed a new system for the early detection of malignant polyps that end up turning into this much feared form of cancer.

Let’s talk numbers  According to the American Cancer Society we’re talking about more than 102,000 cases in the U.S. alone in 2013. In terms of Continental Europe, the numbers for countries such as Spain stand at around 27,000 cases per year.  If we look at things in more detail, it is calculated that 6% of the population will suffer from this type of cancer at some point in their life. One has to take into consideration that the risk of contracting colon cancer increases if a relative has suffered from it in the past. So if there are many cases in your Read more

According to the World Health Organisation, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide

Highly incapacitating physical and psychological illnesses are what most commonly spring to mind when we think about disability. However, it is extremely unlikely that we will think of depression, a widespread mental illness which is, according to the WHO, the current leading cause of disability worldwide.

The figures relating to depression According to official data from the WHO, depression affects more than 350 million people throughout the world and is most prevalent in women and people under the age of 45. It goes without saying that there are varying degrees of severity within the group of conditions commonly known as depression. In the most acute cases, depression can turn into a very serious health problem that affects schooling and leads to continued absenteeism and complex family conflicts. Without a doubt, the most serious problem linked to this condition is the decision that some patients make to take their own Read more

Bringing HIV out of its hiding place

In Today’s Best Doctors blog post we would like to discuss an interesting research project that has shed light on the mechanisms used by HIV to “hide” from our immune system and prolong its impact on our body.

The study, which was recently published in the scientific journal Nature, was carried out by a team at University College London  led by Greg Towers, the project’s main architect.

What Tower’s team has essentially discovered is the peculiar method that the AIDS virus uses to conceal itself from our body’s defences, which, being unable to detect this foreign presence, are incapable of getting rid of it. The study shows that there are two specific molecules that help HIV to camouflage itself. It could be said that these act as a kind of "invisibility cloak" which, if eventually eliminated by the scientific community, would allow our body’s natural defences to attack the virus, just as they do with any other agents  posing a threat to our health. This information will allow researchers Read more