Category Archives: Anti-Aging


US to mutate pigs to grow human organs

They call them Chimeras, pig embreos that have been injected with human stem cells. These creations have been made by various labs around the world but are typically killed before the fetus is able to fully develop.

A research team from the University of California, Davis, is hoping to create Chimeras to solve organ transplant shortages. They will create mutant pigs that lack the genes required to make a pancreas. Then, they hope the human stems cells will fill the void and create a human pancreas within the pig. They believe the process can work for any needed organ.

Although there are many ethical concerns that have delayed research in this area, one of the major concerns is what would happen if a chimera accidentally developed a human brain. How should we treat such a creation? Should we even be allowed to make one in the first place?

Aside from the moral / ethical issues involved, one of the many interesting applications would allow individuals who need a transplant to create their missing organ within a Chimera using their own stem cells. This would create a cloned organ that is a perfect match, in good health, and young – even better quality than a traditional donor organ.

Click here to learn more.


Breaking: Researchers Make Stunning Discovery on Aging

Researchers have recently published the findings of a 12 year study on aging. Scientists from New Zealand followed 954 individuals from age 26 to 38 and measured their biological and perceived aging. Their findings were extraordinary.

Some of the test members had experienced little to no biological aging over 12 years!

The most effective means to reduce disease burden and control costs is to delay this progression by extending healthspan, years of life lived free of disease and disability.

From both a biological and aesthetic perspective, some test members barely aged, while others aged 3 years for every one chronological year. Biological age was determined using 18 biomarkers (including DNA degradation) .

Biological age was also shown to be related to health effects typically associated with old age:  lower cognitive functioning, reduced motor ability, and even weaker grip strength.

This research opens the door for new studies that could dynamically change our concepts on health.

Understanding the factors that minimize aging during our younger years will allow us to live healthier lives for a longer time and perhaps drastically extend our lifespans.

Fewer U.S. teens using sunscreen

Acute pain in a neck at the young womenThe number of U.S. teens using sunscreen dropped nearly 12 percent in the last decade, a new report shows.

During that same time period, the number of teens using indoor tanning beds barely decreased. Both indoor tanning and failure to use sunscreen increase the risk of skin cancers, including deadly melanomas, the researchers noted.

“Unfortunately, we found a decrease in the overall percentage of teens who reported wearing sunscreen, from 67.7 percent in 2001 to 56.1 percent in 2011,” said lead researcher Corey Basch, an associate professor in the department of public health at William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J.

“Using sun-protective behaviors like applying sunscreen and avoiding intentional exposure to tanning devices will be key [to lowering cancer risk],” she added.

Use of indoor tanning devices by white girls decreased only slightly, from 37 percent in 2009 to 29 percent in 2011, she said.

The reasons for the decreased use of sunscreen among teens aren’t clear, Basch said, but she thinks future research should focus on finding out why.

“High school years are important years that can impact the future,” Basch said. “High school students are starting to make decisions for themselves. This research and other research suggest that adolescents continue to put themselves at risk.”

The report was published in the August issue of Preventing Chronic Disease, a publication of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Jeanine Daly, a dermatologist at North Shore-LIJ Health System in Manhasset, N.Y., said she was surprised at the drop in sunscreen use despite all the warnings about UV exposure leading to skin cancer.

“It’s still in vogue to have that suntanned color,” she said.

Daly thinks that the message that sun exposure can lead to skin cancer is still not getting through, especially to young girls. “No matter how hard we’ve been trying to get that message out, we need to keep at it and work harder,” she said. “The bottom line is that skin cancer is largely preventable.”

The best sunscreens are those that protect against both UVA and UVB rays. “Both are involved in skin cancer,” she said.

An effective sunscreen should contain a physical sunscreen such as zinc or titanium dioxide and a chemical sunscreen, she said. “The best sunscreen is one that contains zinc, because it covers both UVA and UVB rays,” Daly said.

“The most important thing to remember about sunscreen is that it doesn’t last very long,” she added. Sunscreen needs to be applied every two hours, Daly said.

In addition, it takes a lot of sunscreen to be fully protected, Daly explained. “The average tube of sunscreen is usually only four to six ounces — that should last maybe a day at the beach, but for a lot of people it lasts the entire season. We are just not using enough,” she said.

For the study, researchers used the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System to collect data on the use of sunscreen and tanning devices from a sample of U.S. high school students.





Convenient spray sunscreens may come with allergy risks

sunscreenLet’s go back to the basics.  In the old days we had more ozone protecting us from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun, wrinkles and of course skin cancers.  Now more than ever it’s important to have a proactive sun protection plan in place. My colleague Dr. Henry Lim has often said, “the best sunscreen is one you will use again and again, so be sure to choose one that offers broad-spectrum protection, has an SPF of 30 or higher and is generally water-resistant.”

Individuals who wish to protect their skin often make choices based upon the type of preparation such as oils, pastes, creams, lotions and gels. More recently there has been a trend toward a variety of sunscreen spray products.  In fact, the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating the inherent risks and health concern of using a “spray” product.  As an allergist, I am also concerned with “inhaling” a spray sunscreen, or any aerosol, if you already have allergies and/or asthma, as the airways and respiratory passages are likely more sensitive.  Any irritant or aerosol particle inhaled can trigger respiratory symptoms such as cough and/or asthma.

Consumer Reports has even gone further and recommended, “While the FDA completes its analysis, spray sunscreen products should generally not be used by or on children.” They also suggest that if no other product is available, to avoid spraying on or around the face or mouth when using them.  The question is whether spraying the sunscreen on your hands and then applying it on your skin will reduce the “misting” or inhalation of the chemicals.  Additionally, the FDA has also become aware of incidents in which spray sunscreen products resulted in burns when they are used near a flame source.

Bottom line: Sunscreens are an extremely valuable and useful product that can certainly reduce exposure of harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. Thanks to their UVA-blocking effects, they may also help prevent wrinkles. Remember, another big mistake is to not use enough— the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends using at least one ounce of sunscreen to cover all sun-exposed areas.

Remember, one in five of us will be diagnosed with skin cancer, so be prepared this summer and use your sunscreen, especially on high UV index days.



Top Fixes for Winter Skin Woes

WinterSkinEntering the heart of winter means a lot of cold weather, which can wreak havoc on your skin. For patients with eczema, dry winter air can make symptoms even worse. The best offense against harsh, dry skin is a good defense, says UAB dermatologist Marian Northington, MD. We asked Dr. Northington for her top tips to keep skin healthy and hydrated this season.

Shower Smarter. The easiest way to avoid dry skin is to start with a mild bar soap such as Dove and to moisturize with a cream (Northington likes Eucerin, Cetaphil, and CeraVe) instead of lotion. She also advises patients to avoid extremely hot showers during winter, which can dry skin out even more.

“Really hot showers can be drying, but no one wants to take a cold shower in the winter, so maybe compromise and use a slightly lower temperature,” she says.

Northington adds that it’s best to apply your moisturizing cream right after you shower, while skin is still damp. You get the same effect of a humidifier by just patting dry and applying moisturizer while the skin is still damp, which locks in the moisture.

Heal Dry Hands. Winter coincides with cold and flu season, when frequent hand washing is key. To prevent parched skin, “try to avoid hand sanitizers and liquid soaps, which are harsh, drying, and exacerbate hand eczema, and opt for gentler bar soap whenever possible,” Northington says.

After each hand washing, apply a cream such as Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream or an ointment such as Aquaphor Healing Ointment.

Drink Up. Though winter’s cold may leave you less thirsty than summer’s heat, staying hydrated is essential for good health and happy skin. “It is important to drink plenty of fluids, because dehydration can lead to dry skin, and dry skin is not only itchy, but it can also increase the appearance of wrinkles,” Dr. Northington says.

Humidify Your Home. Humidifiers can ease several forms of winter dryness, from sore throats to itchy skin. If you do use one, be sure to monitor your room’s humidity level and clean the humidifier regularly. Dirty humidifiers can actually breed mold and bacteria that can cause illness.

Get More Skin Secrets
Join Dr. Northington in her webinar: Look Your Best at Any Age, on Friday, January 25, at 12 pm.



7 Summer Skin Secrets from the Dermatologist

You know that stepping out sans sunscreen is a big no-no, but how do the rest of your SPF smarts stack up? UAB’s Marian Northington, MD, shares her top sun-safe skin tips, from her favorite SPF to how often you should reapply. Dr. Northington is a dermatologic surgeon and assistant professor of dermatology at UAB.





  1. Buy Broad Spectrum. When choosing a sunscreen for the warm months ahead, choose a broad spectrum sunscreen, which protects the skin from both ultraviolet A rays and ultraviolet B rays. Ultraviolet B rays are responsible for sunburns and skin cancers, and ultraviolet A rays are associated more with photoaging (wrinkles) and melanoma. I prefer zinc oxide and titanium dioxide sunscreens.
  2. Be Wary of Windows. UVA rays penetrate window glass, so it is important to wear SPF or cover up while in the car or sitting by sunny windows.
  3. Know the Danger Hours. As a general rule, sunscreen needs to be worn unless it’s dark enough that a flashlight is needed. The most intense rays occur between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., but it is still necessary to wear at least SPF 30 anytime one is outside.
  4. Cloudy Doesn’t Mean All Clear. Clouds filter visible rays, but not ultraviolet rays, so it is important to wear SPF and practice sun avoidance behaviors even on cloudy days.
  5. Slather Often and Liberally. Sunscreen should be applied very liberally—at least a shot glass size (about one ounce) for the whole body—at least 30 minutes before going outdoors. Sunscreen should be reapplied every few hours and especially after swimming or excessive perspiration.
  6. Rely on Reinforcements. The best way to protect the skin is to avoid exposure to rays between 10 and 4, seek shade, and wear a hat and protective clothing. Remember, even under umbrellas on the beach, both sand and water reflect rays, and you will still get some UV exposure, although not as much.
  7. Get a Check-Up. Regular visits to your dermatologist are an essential part of keeping your skin as healthy as possible. To make an appointment with a dermatologist at UAB, call (205) 934-9999 or make an appointment online.

Source: UAB