Entries in University of Oxford (3)


New Technology Could Improve Preservation of Livers for Transplant

Keith Brofsky/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A device created by researchers at the University of Oxford in Britain is capable of preserving human livers for up to 24 hours outside the body.

With the massive demand for liver transplants, the promising creation could make more of the organs available. Two transplant operations were performed at King's College Hospital using the device, and surgeons tell the Wall Street Journal that the patients are recovering well.

According to the Journal, the device attempts to recreate the environment inside the human body, maintaining temperature and pumping oxygen-rich blood cells into the organ. This allows the liver to continue burning sugar and producing bile as they normally would.

The current method of preserving livers involves cooling them significantly, which slows down decomposition, but does not stop it.

By preserving livers for longer periods of time, the device would allow the organs to be transported over longer distances, which is important considering the approximately 30,000 people on waiting lists for livers in Europe and the United States.

According to the Journal, researchers caution that the device needs further testing, but if regulators grant approval, the device could potentially be available by 2014.

While it is unclear how much of an improvement the device would be over cold storage in terms of future liver health, the news is significant.

Chris Sonnenday, a University of Michigan Health Systems transplant surgeon told the Journal, "If they show they can extend that time without adverse events in the recipient, that would be big....particularly in parts of the world where organs do travel longer to get to the recipient."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Heart Disease Death Rate Drops with Fruits and Veggies 

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(OXFORD, England) -- It's time to make friends with the produce aisle: pumping your diet with fruits and vegetables isn't just good for your waistline -- it could save your life, according to new research from the University of Oxford.

While "five a day" has traditionally been the mantra for fruit and veggie consumption, researchers found that those who consumed eight or more servings were 22 percent less likely to die from heart disease than those who consumed three or fewer servings a day.

Even among those who couldn't manage the eight servings, more fruits and veggies consistently meant a lower risk; for every additional serving above two per day, researchers observed a four percent decrease in the rate of heart disease deaths.

Though past studies have linked the consumption of fruit and vegetables to heart health, many remain skeptical as to whether these foods have a direct protective effect on the heart. Given the size of Tuesday's study -- over 300,000 participants from eight different European countries -- and the strength of its findings, some doctors feel that it may erase and remaining doubts concerning fruits and veggies, and cardiovascular health.

"This is probably the largest study of its type and should convince even the greatest skeptic of the value of fruits and veggies," said Dr. Randall Zusman, director of the division of hypertension at Massachusetts General Hospital.

"This compares 'enough' fruit and vegetable intake to 'more than enough' and suggests that 'more than enough' is better," said Dr. David Katz, director of Yale University's Prevention Research Center. This could have big implications considering that the U.S. population "doesn't even approximate the 'enough' target" as it is.

The study, which was published Tuesday in the European Heart Journal, is part of the EPIC trial, a long-term study in Europe initially set up to track the effect of vegetable and fruit intake on cancer.

In the U.S., the recommended consumption of fruits and vegetables has often been promoted as "five a day". The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moved away from that recommendation in 2007, to a more flexible approach, dubbed Fruits & Veggies - More Matters.

Instead of a flat recommendation of five servings a day, the new program changes recommendations based on age, sex and activity level. For a 40-year-old sedentary man, recommendations are now two cups of fruits and three cups of vegetables a day; for a sedentary woman of that age, the recommendation is 1.5 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of veggies.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Brain Stimulation Might Improve Day-to-Day Math Skills

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(OXFORD, England) -- Math: people either love it or hate it. For all the haters out there, what if a little zap to the brain could put you on the road to math whizdom?

A new study from the University of Oxford found that applying electrical currents to certain parts of the brain improved a person's mathematical performance for up to six months.

"We are very excited to see these results," said Dr. Roi Cohen Kadosh of the University of Oxford and lead author of the study. "We actually aimed to get to this stage in a few years, but we got here sooner than expected."

The researchers used a kind of stimulation known as transcranial direct current stimulation, or tDCS. It is a non-invasive technique where a weak electrical current is applied to the parietal lobe, an area of the brain responsible for numerical understanding, spatial sense and navigation.

The study was small and still in the early stages of research, which caused some doctors to voice skepticism about whether practical applications would ever arise in the findings. Still, the developments are exciting in the realm of brain research.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio