Parkinson’s Disease: Robin Williams’ Death In Retrospect

September 4, 2014

Parkinson’s disease and its symptoms are by no means new illnesses.  More than one million Americans live with Parkinson’s disease. This number is more than the combined number of people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease). Approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease yearly. This number does not reflect the thousands of cases that go undetected. An estimated 7 million to 10 million people worldwide are living with Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is caused by the loss of dopamine-producing neurons. This loss results in symptoms that include body rigidity and tremors. Symptoms are initially less pronounced but become more prominent as the disease progresses. Patients at the later stages suffer from a multitude of symptoms, including difficulty in sleeping or performing simple tasks (walking, talking, chewing, etc.), skin problems, constipation and also often suffer from depression.

The disease gained much of its attention from famous people, most notably actor Michael J. Fox, boxer Muhammad Ali, and singer Johnny Cash.

While the shocking news of iconic comedian Robin Williams’ death is still fresh in the minds and hearts of the people, with memorials and acts of remembrance taking place across the U.S. and other parts of the world, it was Williams’ wife Susan Schneider who revealed the personal battle the world-class comedian was facing: Parkinson’s disease.

Williams’ death has also shed light on the link between Parkinson’s disease and depression. According to Dr. Prashant Gajwani, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Texas at Houston, “What people need to understand is that depression and Parkinson’s disease both affect the brain.”

Dr. Gajwani further added, “There’s certain neurochemicals that are involved in both the diseases that have shared common pathways such as serotonin and dopamine. So, what happens is people who get Parkinson’s disease are at a higher risk for getting depressed.”

Neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s are complex diseases and the use of biomarkers will help elucidate relevant mechanisms that cause the disease and are responsible for disease progression. In the case of Parkinson’s, scientists believe that there may be a number of biological factors responsible for the disease, including changes in the mitochondria, oxidative stress, excitotoxicity or trophic factors.

Parkinson’s disease has become focused on biomarkers both from the standpoint of diagnostic test development to that of surrogates to assess the effectiveness of drugs to monitoring the progression of the disease or positive response to treatment scheme. Research into this area had been funded by the NIA, NINDS and the Parkinson’s Foundation, and by private foundations such as the Michael J. Fox Foundation.


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Growing Awareness of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Around the World

September 1, 2014

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement. It is a rapidly progressive and fatal neurological disease characterized by the gradual degeneration and death of motor neurons.

According to BCC Research reports, between one and two cases per 100,000 population appear every year; the disease commonly strikes people between 40 and 60 years of age, and men are slightly more prone to it than women. It has been estimated that there are 30,000 to 40,000 cases of ALS in the U.S. at any one time, and at least 200,000 in the developed world. Clearly, the global prevalence is much higher. Read the rest of this entry »

U.S. market for elder care products and services to reach $436.6 billion by 2018

August 29, 2014

With more than 12% of the global population over 65 years old, communities increasingly face the challenge of providing appropriate healthcare, housing, and technologies to accommodate and enhance this segment’s daily life. An increasingly aging population, advancements in the delivery of healthcare services, improving nutrition, and rising cases of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer will drive steady growth in this market for the foreseeable future.

BCC Research provides an in-depth analysis of the U.S. elder care products and services market through its report, The Elder Care Market: Products and Services. According to the report, this market was valued at $286.7 billion in 2012 and $319.8 billion in 2013. BCC Research projects the market to grow to $436.6 billion by 2018, and register a five-year compound annual growth rate of 6.4% from 2013 to 2018.

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Use this report for, but not limited to, the following reasons:

  • Gain an in-depth analysis and forecast of the eldercare market
  • Analyze market trends, with data from 2012 and 2013, and projections of CAGRs for the period 2013 and 2018
  • Identify U.S. and worldwide markets by demographics
  • Assess international markets, as well as information on the industry’s structure
  • Breakdown the overall market into segments that include healthcare products and services, housing services and needs, and assistive technologies
  • Review comprehensive company profiles of major players in the industry


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Global market for sludge treatment and odor control equipment to reach $9.2 billion by 2019

August 28, 2014

Larger quantities of wastewater combined with more advanced levels of treatment are resulting in increased sludge volumes across the globe. Although most wastewater, and hence most sludge, is treated in municipal sewage plants, the industrial sector is also growing steadily. In developed countries, where basic sludge handling is already widely practiced, advanced technologies, such as those for energy recovery and biogas production, drive the market. The sludge handling industry is inherently conservative in adopting new technologies. However, increasingly strict regulations and a desire to beneficially reuse sludge are helping to expand the market and consequently, witness steady growth in the foreseeable future.

BCC Research provides a thorough analysis of the global wastewater treatment and odor control equipment market through its report, Municipal and Industrial Sludge Treatment and Odor Control: The Global Market. According to the report, this market was valued at nearly $6.5 billion in 2013. This is forecast to reach nearly $6.9 billion by 2014-end. At this rate, the market value will reach $9.2 billion by 2019 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.9% during the years 2014 to 2019.

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  • Gain an overview of the global market for industrial and municipal sludge treatment and odor control equipment and related technologies
  • Analyze global market trends, with data from 2013, estimates for 2014, and projections of CAGRs through 2019
  • Information on regulations affecting these markets, market trends, and competitive structures within these markets
  • Gain an insight into the current issues affecting the industry, equipment types, legislation relevant to the markets, and end user requirements affecting developments
  • Review profiles of companies that are active in various market sectors


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Global market for DNA vaccines to reach $2.7 billion in 2019

August 25, 2014

The vaccine industry is rapidly changing from a mostly empirical approach to a rational design approach. Rapid developments in molecular biology, DNA synthesis and immunobiology enable rational design approaches. These new technologies allow pharmaceutical firms to discover and develop high-value vaccines for novel applications, creating a substantial new market opportunity.

BCC Research provides a detailed report on the DNA vaccines in its report, DNA Vaccines: Technologies and Global Markets. According to this report, the global market for DNA vaccines was valued at $243.7 million in 2013 and is expected to increase to $305.3 million by 2014-end. This is further estimated to reach $2.7 billion by 2019, registering a CAGR of 54.8% from 2014 through 2019.

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  • Access details concerning delivery and synthesis technologies, the forces driving market growth, product formats, and market applications for these products
  • Obtain information most useful for biotechnology, DNA plasmid, gene therapy, DNA delivery, pharmaceutical, vaccine, animal health, and biodefense companies
  • Review profiles of leading companies in the field as well as updates to alliance, merger, and acquisition activity
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Global market for sealants and sealant applicators to reach $24.1 billion by 2019

August 21, 2014

The sealant industry has been growing steadily across all sectors, including automotive, construction, electronics, transportation, and others. Demand is being driven by the emergence of new market applications resulting from improved assembly processes. Near-term growth in this market will be shaped by increasing miniaturization of electronic components and the development of nanoengineered sealants with superior wear resistance and dimensional stability.

BCC Research provides an in-depth analysis of the global markets for sealants and sealant applicators through its report Sealants and Sealant Applicators: Technologies and Global Markets. According to the report, this market reached nearly $19.1 billion in 2013 and is estimated to hit $19.8 billion in 2014. BCC Research projects the market to grow to $24.1 billion by 2019, and register a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4% from 2014 to 2019.

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  • Gain an overview of the global sealants and sealant applications market
  • Analyze global market trends, with data from 2012 and 2013, estimates for 2014, and projections of compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) for the period 2014 to 2019
  • Evaluate product life styles and technology life styles (TLC) of various types of sealants and methods employed by manufacturers and users in maintaining an ecological balance
  • Assess a breakdown of global and regional markets for sealants, with the purpose of locating newer markets and expanding the present market position for various types of sealants


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Role of Forensic Science in the 21st Century Crime Scene

August 20, 2014

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”—Sherlock Holmes

What do Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson, Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, and Byomkesh Bakshi have in common? Deduction and Logical reasoning. These popular literary detectives, undoubtedly, paved the ground for what is today known as Forensic Science; the branch of science which deals with criminal investigation. With criminal masterminds around the globe devising unimaginable methods of committing crimes each day, forensic science plays an indispensable role in the investigation of serious crimes.

One of the first significant achievements in the field was the development of techniques for identifying individuals by their fingerprints. In the 19th century, it was discovered that almost any contact between a finger and a fixed surface left a latent mark that could be made visible by a variety of procedures (e.g., the use of a fine powder). Historically, searching fingerprint collections was a time-consuming manual task, relying on various systems of classification. The development in the 1980s of computerized databases for the electronic storage and rapid searching of fingerprint collections has enabled researchers to match prints much more quickly. The FBI, for example, reportedly held millions of prints in its electronic database at the beginning of the 21st century. Fingerprints found at crime scenes thus can be matched with fingerprints in such collections. Fingerprint evidence was first accepted in an Argentine court in the 1890s and in an English court in 1902. Many other countries soon adopted this system of identification as well.

Since the late 1980s, DNA fingerprinting (e.g., hair, sperm, and blood) has been used to exclude a suspect or establish guilt with a high degree of probability. Other substances, such as fibers, paper, glass, and paint, can yield considerable information under microscopic or chemical analysis. Fibers, for instance, discovered on the victim or at the scene of the crime can be tested to determine whether they are similar to those in the clothing of the suspect. Computer networks allow investigators to search increasingly large bodies of data on material samples, though the creation of such databases is time-consuming and costly.

Biometrics is yet another emerging and fast growing technology in the field of forensics. Hand geometry, iris scan, ear matching, facial and voice recognition, vein patterns, and human body odor are some of the biometric-based methods that are either in use or are in the pipeline. Iris scan faces challenges many a times since iris is affected by drug use, alcohol, pregnancy and aging. Veins like fingerprints are unique to every individual. Vein Viewer and Palm Secure are two of the systems that use vein imaging. Electronic noses or E-noses have many applications including food quality control, and to an extent detecting human body odor. In 2006, in China, the government began gathering odor database, thereby, successful in solving many cases.

The changing role of forensic science is evident from the fact that earlier forensic analysis entered the investigative process post crime, post investigation, post suspect arrest but before prosecution, whereas now, forensic work often precedes an arrest. In other words, its role begins immediately after a crime is committed to assist investigators in developing leads and/or to identify possible suspects. This transition highlights the increased significance of forensic science in the criminal investigative process.

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