Coming to Dante’s rescue

Dante was feeling sick, but he couldn’t tell anyone. Dante is a dog. But the Cypress Great Pyrenees, who belongs to Greg and Kelly Harris had someone else who was looking out for his best interest.Nalani Dutro, a 10-year-old Cypress resident and student at Los Alamitos Elementary School already has dreams of becoming a veterinarian. She loves animals and was familiar with Dante and his brother Michajeh.But Michajeh has passed recently, so Dutro, who lives in the same neighborhood as the Harris family, began checking in on Dante a little more frequently. Recently she noticed something wrong with Dante. Kelly Harris said Nalani was quick to inform them of her suspicions.“She said, ‘he has a bad fever, you need to get him to a vet,’” Harris said.In addition to the fever, after inspecting the back yard, they found drops of blood on the ground. Dante was taken to his vet, Dr. Robert Woods in Garden Grove, who started him on antibiotics. But his condition was becoming dire and he was transferred to Southern California Veterinary Specialty Hospital in Irvine.Harris was told Dante was suffering from septic hepatitis, pancreatitis and GI inflammation infection. His fever had spiked to 105.7 and his liver was enlarged. They weren’t sure what bacteria had caused the infection and there was little time to test, so they simply pumped him with a variety of antibiotics.Eventually, Dante began to improve and he returned home a week ago and was still on medication and will be watched closely for the next few weeks and have more blood tests done at that time.Harris said the doctors expect him to make a full recovery. She said he seemed fine, other than a little sluggish. They thought he might be grieving the loss of his brother Michajeh, who was the alpha of the two dogs. But suddenly he crashed.“They said it can happen that way,” Harris said. “Thank God for this little girl who loves to make sure animals are okay.”As for Nalani, she speaks as though she is well beyond her 10 years of age. She is in the fourth grade and likes to sew, but says that animals have always been the love of her life. “The Dog Whisperer” is her favorite television program.“I’ve always liked animals, ever since I was a baby, there’s never been a time I didn’t like animals,” Nalani said.She currently has a Golden Retriever named Penny. While she loves all animals, she said dogs are her favorite because they love to play with people. As for her assessment of Dante, she said she looked at his eyes and felt his nose, the usual dog indicators, but noticed something less well known.She said a dog’s ears can often indicate their body temperature, particularly the tips of the ears.“Dante’s ears were very, very hot,” she said.Nalani continues to stop by to check on Dante and bring him treats, keeping tabs on the patient. She doesn’t do it because he was sick, or out of concern. It’s just what she loves to do.“He’s getting better,” Nalani said.

Youth Center to showcase annual leadership academy

Preparing teens for effective leaders in their local communities and lives beyond school, the Youth Center will be having their 3rd Annual Leadership Academy from July 7 to July 23 at the nationally top-rated non-profit’s location in Los Alamitos.“The goal is to provide upper class high school or teens in their first year of college specialized training on how to handle real-world challenges outside of school,” said Youth Center Office Manager Julie Rubin, who is the project manager for this year’s academy. “Course participants will learn about self‑reliance and self-efficacy in a real world setting. We can provide mentors and internships as well.”Youth leadership has been defined frequently as the ability to envision a goal or needed change, to take initiative or action to achieve such goals and to take responsibility for their outcomes, while working well and communicating effectively with others.“The Leadership Academy gives candidates unique opportunities to prepare to be responsible, effective leaders within their local communities and in their young adult lives beyond school”, said Youth Center Executive Director Lina Lumme.While partnering with educators, local business professionals and residents the Youth Center’s academy provides free training in seven workshops including self and social efficacy, goal setting, auto maintenance and knowledge, financial skills, home economics, and career skills.Only 20 candidates from 16 to 18 years old are selected to participate, and each will be matched up with a mentor for guidance during the academy and on-going(as necessary) upon completion. Each youth will be offered internships to gain real world workplace experience and job skills upon their graduation. They additionally will come away with a 2015 Leadership Academy Certificate of Completion, letter of recommendation, written goals, resume, professional photo, bank account (upon parental approval), and peer-to-peer friendships.Instructors include a professional counselor who will instruct on such things as overall well-being, self-esteem/confidence, conflict resolution and community involvement. Goal setting with Dreamboard, a popular website, will also be taught on July 7. Workshops on auto maintenance and knowledge will be taught on July 9, followed by financial skills including budgeting/savings, using an ATM, credit card and checking account management taught respectfully by a financial plannerand a Southland Credit Union representative. The last three workshops include career skills such as resume/cover letter writing on July 16, home economics such as laundry, preparing a meal, food safety and shopping at ChefTech Cooking School on July 21. The second career skills workshop with interview techniques and strategies along with dressing for the workplace will be held along with a professional photo session upon academy graduation on July 23.For more information about the Academy, please contact Julie at 562.493.4043 or via email at Julie@theyouthcenter.org.

Locals reach Eagle Scout ranking

@font-face { font-family: “Times New Roman”;}p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; }table.MsoNormalTable { font-size: 10pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }Boy Scout Troop 671 of St. Hedwig's Church in Los Alamitos is celebrating three of their young men at the Eagle Court of Honor.Edgar Jaramillo of Cypress, Matthew Kriege of Los Alamitos and Nicholas Camferdam of Seal Beach have been together sinceCub Scouts (Pack 620 of St Hedwig Church).Sun View Elementary School in Huntington Beach benefited from Jamarillo’s Eagle project where he rehabilitated the school's vegetable garden for their Life Science classes.Kriege's project was to build an enclosure that beautified the area near the baseball field including constructing two block walls 6 foot tall by 6 foot long with swinging gates, extensive planting and transplanting of greenery. St. Hedwig’s benefited from Camferdam’s project where he took on a series of landscaping and renovations involving the removal a tree, transplanting old plants and installing over 80 new plants.A new gate was also built to keep children and families off the street during after-school pickup.The Boy Scout program worked well for these young men as they are all headed forcollege in the fall.Jaramillo is in his second year at United World College, Kriege is attending Azusa Pacific University and Camferdam is headed to Purdue University.

Dalton’s Café burglarized

Popular family restaurant Dalton’s Café was victimized by burglars on Sunday, June 23, who smashed the front door and left with the safe.The safe reportedly contained approximately $2,000 in cash.Dalton’s Café owner Marlene Raynor said she received a called from the alarm company at 11:20 p.m.“My son Dalton drove over to check the restaurant,” she said. “He saw the broken glass and called 911.”The police already received a phone call about somebody breaking in, Raynor said, and they sent a dog in the building upon their arrival.“The police came in with flashlights after the dog checked the building,” she said. “The robbers broke the office door and took the safe.”Many times the motion detectors go off and it turns out to be nothing.Sometimes the trucks on Valley View Street set the alarm off,” Raynor said. “We usually hop in the car and check the building, but when we saw glass we called the police.”The robbers completed the crime in less than 10 minutes.“The safe weighs approximately 200 pounds so they both carried it out,” Raynor said. “We have been in business for 17 years and this is the first time we experienced such an event.”Employees had already departed for the evening, she said, and no one was injured in the incidentCypress Police say a witness to the crime described the suspects as two male black adults approximately 20 to 25 years old. Both suspects were seen wearing all black clothing including “Hoodie” type sweatshirts. The suspects fled northbound on Valley View in an older brown Honda Civic hatchback with an unknown license plate number.The case is being investigated by detectives from the Cypress Police Department. If you have any information regarding the crime, please contact the Cypress Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Bureau at 714-229-6631.Information can be anonymously provided to Orange County Crime Stoppers at 1-855-TIP-OCCS (1-855-847-6227) or at www.occrimestoppers.org

Cypress, San Mateo TOPS members lose big

TOPS Club, Inc.® (Take Off Pounds Sensibly®), the nonprofit weight-loss support organization, unveiled its most successful members, or “royalty,” in California Sat., June 6, during its celebratory State Recognition Days event at the DoubleTree by Hilton Modesto.Barbara Treece of Cypresswas announced 2014 California Queen, losing 203 pounds. John Sheakley of San Mateo, 2014 California King, lost 67 pounds. TOPS royalty are men and women who, at the end of the year, have officially recorded the largest weight loss from their starting weight, regardless of the time taken to reach their goal. Treece and Sheakley are just two of the more than 7,000 members in the state who lost over 32,000 pounds combined last year.“Just like weight doesn’t suddenly show up all at once on a person’s body, it doesn’t leave all at once; it takes time,” said Treece. “When I lost my job in December 2010 after 25 years, I was devastated. At 347.75 pounds, it was difficult for me to move, and my doctor told me that I had diabetes. I knew I had to do something to rebuild my spirit. I had first joined TOPS in January 2005 after my neighbor told me about the program. I now had more time to devote to getting serious about losing weight. I knew how to eat healthy and that I needed to move every day, but I needed support from others and the accountability of weighing in each week. With the encouragement and patience of my TOPS chapter leader, Sue, I was soon able to walk two miles a day. My fellow chapter members encouraged me along my journey. Now that I make better food choices and use portion control, as well as incorporate exercise each day, I have lost a total of 203 pounds. It’s a humbling experience to have people tell me that I’ve inspired them to keep working towards their goal.”Noted Sheakley, “In March 2014, my doctor told me that, according to the BMI chart, I was on the border between being overweight and obese. As a former long-distance runner, I was shocked that I was associated with the word obese. A nutritionist provided me with a wealth of information. With my college education that included health and nutrition topics, I already understood most of the information. I needed to be with other real-life examples that had the wisdom and provided the encouragement to help me lose weight. I searched online for a group of people like me that just wanted to get together each week to help each other lose weight – TOPS. In addition to weight loss, I also lost a lot of my frustrations, anxiety, hurts, hang-ups, and bad habits – but I gained a new source of self-esteem.”TOPS offers an individual approach to weight loss and overall wellness. Consistent group support, health education, and recognition are all key components to successful weight management.“We are so proud of our TOPS members’ amazing weight-loss successes,” emphasized Barbara Cady, TOPS President. “Members like Barbara and John lost more than 400 tons combined in 2014 – a huge feat! Celebrating their life-changing accomplishments is an important part of TOPS’ winning formula, whether losing weight or maintaining goals.”TOPS Club Inc.® (Take Off Pounds Sensibly®) is the original weight-loss support and wellness education organization. Founded more than 66 years ago, TOPS is the only nonprofit, noncommercial weight-loss organization of its kind. TOPS promotes successful weight management with a “Real People. Real Weight Loss.®” philosophy that combines support from others at weekly chapter meetings, healthy eating, regular exercise and wellness information. TOPS has more than 125,000 members – male and female, age seven and older – in thousands of chapters throughout the United States and Canada.Visitors are welcome to attend their first TOPS meeting free of charge. Membership is affordable at just $32 per year in the U.S. and $36 per year in Canada, plus nominal chapter fees. To find a local chapter, view www.tops.org or call 800-932-8677.

Walker Junior High School wins at State FHA-HERO competition

Students from Walker Junior High School, teacher and advisor Jennifer Sasai, and teacher Christy Hutchings attended the 68th annual FHA-HERO: The California Affiliate of Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) State Leadership meeting held April 25-28 in Fresno, California at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel and Fresno Convention Center. FHA-HERO is a career technical student organization for students in grades 7-12.Approximately 70 chapters, including 750 FHA-HERO chapter members, advisors, administrators, and business and industry representatives attending across the state. FHA-HERO members competed for over $670,000 in prizes and scholarships in 20 events in leadership and career development areas.Walker Junior High School students qualified for the state competition by competing at the local level at Blair High School in Pasadena in February. The following students competed at the state competition in Fresno: Alisha Patel-Interior Design; Nicole Nguyen-Creed; Sarah Hall and Gauri Patel-Prepared Speech; Kristen Kim-Salad Preparation; and Isabella Patel-Chapter Exhibit. In its first year competing, Walker Junior High School brought home the following awards from the state competition-Alisha Patel, first place, Interior design; Nicole Nguyen, second place, Creed; and Isabella Patel, first place, Chapter Exhibit.Eighth grade student Gauri Patel remarked, “The conference had many sessions that helped me cultivate my leadership skills. The experience was unforgettable because I had fun and learned so many new things.”Instructional programs, career education, and competitive events relate to one or more of nine industry sector pathways that are included in home economics careers and technology education programs.

Mouse study looks at safety of stem cell therapy for early menopause

“One of our aims is to cure the disease of premature ovarian failure using female germline stem cells,” says senior author Ji Wu, a reproductive biologist at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. “Before this treatment can be applied to humans, we need to know the mechanism of female germline stem cell development and safety after transplantation of single mouse female germline stem cells.”

Premature ovarian failure, also called early menopause, is the loss of normal ovarian function, and thereby the release of eggs, before the age of 40. The condition is rare, affecting 200,000 women in the United States per year, and is incurable, although it can be treated with hormone supplements. Multiple groups are now looking at whether stimulating tissue regeneration or using stem cell transplants could help.

In the Molecular Therapy study, Wu and her colleagues isolated and characterized female germline stem cells from a single transgenic mouse with cells that show green fluorescence when activated by a blue laser. This allowed the researchers to observe and analyze the development of the transplanted stem cells, which were introduced to the ovaries of other mice using a fine glass needle.

Wu and colleagues found that the transplanted egg-producing stem cells exhibited a homing ability and began to differentiate into early-stage oocytes when they reached the edge of the ovary. The oocytes spent a few weeks maturing and yielded offspring within 2 months. The researchers then demonstrated that the developmental mechanisms of eggs derived from transplanted germline stem cells were similar to that of normal eggs.

“The results are exciting because it’s not easy to get offspring from female germline stem cells derived from a single mouse,” Wu says.

Wu’s lab is also working to establish female egg-producing stem cell lines from scarce ovarian tissues derived from follicular aspirates — the leftover cells gathered when a clinician searches a patient for oocytes — that are produced and discarded in in vitro fertilization centers worldwide. These aspirates can yield stem cells that differentiate into eggs in the lab, with the potential to be transplanted. The study not only provides a new approach to obtain human female germline stem cells for medical treatment, but also opens several avenues to investigate human oogenesis in vitro.

Postmenopausal hormone therapy exceeding ten years may protect from dementia

“The protective effect of hormone therapy may depend on its timing: it may have cognitive benefits if initiated at the time of menopause when neurons are still healthy and responsive,” says Bushra Imtiaz, MD, MPH, who presented the results in her doctoral thesis.

The study explored the association between postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and cognition in two nation-wide case-control studies and two longitudinal cohort studies. The largest study comprised approximately 230,000 Finnish women and the follow-up time in different studies was up to 20 years.

Menopause may explain women’s higher dementia risk

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, and two out of three Alzheimer’s cases are women. One possible explanation for women’s higher dementia risk is the postmenopausal depletion of sex steroid hormones estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen receptors are present throughout the body including brain areas primarily affected in Alzheimer’s disease. In in vitro and animal studies, estrogen has showed neuroprotective effects. However, studies on humans have yielded inconsistent results on the association between postmenopausal estrogen-based hormone replacement therapy and dementia risk.

Hormonal therapy may protect cognition if started at the onset of menopause

In the present study, long-term use of hormonal replacement therapy was associated with a better performance in certain cognitive domains — global cognition and episodic memory — and a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Short-term use was not significantly linked to dementia risk, but in one cohort, dementia risk was higher among short-term users who had started hormone therapy in the late postmenopausal period. The results were adjusted for various lifestyle, socioeconomic and demographic variables.

“In the light of these findings, hormonal replacement therapy may have a beneficial effect on cognition if started early, around the time of menopause. The protective effect of hormonal therapy may depend on the health status of neurons at baseline and may be lost if therapy starts years after menopause,” Dr Imtiaz concludes.

The study also showed that the postmenopausal removal of ovaries, uterus or both was not significantly linked to the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, irrespective of the indication of surgery or hormone therapy use.

The research data was from the MEDALZ (Medication use and Alzheimer’s disease), OSTPRE (Kuopio Osteoporosis Risk Factor and Prevention Study) and CAIDE (Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging and Dementia) studies. The newest results were published recently in Neurology and Maturitas and the earlier results in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Dogs help in breast carcinoma research

Cancerous cells reprogram healthy cells

For the development of tumors and the progression of a carcinoma, not only the characteristics of the cancer cells themselves are decisive, but also the cells surrounding the tumor play a major role in this. Many tumors even have the capability to reprogram healthy cells in the tumor environment in a way that they start to support the growth of the cancerous cells. This mechanism plays an essential role in human breast carcinoma — but is it the same for dogs? The similarity of breast carcinoma in dogs and humans has been known for a long time. “But whether these tumor cells also influence the surrounding tissue in dogs the same way they do in humans was unknown until now,” explains Enni Markkanen of the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology of the Vetsuisse Faculty of the University of Zurich.

Archived tissues are of great value to the research

The researchers analyzed the surrounding tissue of canine mammary tumors using molecular biology and immunohistological methods. To do this, they could access the tissue archive of the Institute of Veterinary Pathology located at the Animal Hospital. “With the permission of our patient’s owners, we conduct pathological tests to better understand diseases,” says animal pathologist Alexandra Malbon. “In the process, we archive samples of various organs and tissues as these samples can be of great value to answer future research questions.”

Dogs suffering from cancer aid cancer research for humans

In the archived samples of mammary tumors from dog patients, Enni Markkanen and her team were able to prove that some cells in the vicinity of tumors behave the same way as the corresponding cells in humans: In the healthy tissue surrounding the tumor, substances are produced that promote tumor growth. “Simply speaking, the tumor enslaves its environment: It forces the surrounding cells to work for its benefit,” Markkanen adds. This mechanism works the same in both humans and dogs. For research on breast carcinoma, tumor tissue of dogs is therefore, among other reasons, much better suitable than tissue from rats or cells cultivated in the laboratory. “Importantly, however, we don’t view our dog patients as test subjects for cancer research,” Markkanen says. “But they can help us to better understand breast carcinoma in both dogs and humans and fight it more effectively.”

Moonlighting function for mitochondrial-calcium influx machinery MCU complex

“MCU had been known for its part in driving mitochondrial calcium uptake for cellular energy production, which protects cells from bioenergetic crisis, and for its role in eliciting calcium overload-induced cell death,” explained senior investigator on the study, Muniswamy Madesh, PhD, Professor in the Department of Medical Genetics and Molecular Biochemistry and Center for Translational Medicine at LKSOM. “Now, we show that MCU has a functional role in both calcium regulation and the sensing of levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) within mitochondria.”

The study, published online March 2 in the journal Molecular Cell, is the first to identify a direct role for MCU in mitochondrial ROS-sensing.

In previous work, Dr. Madesh and colleagues were the first to show how the MCU protein complex comes together to effect mitochondrial calcium uptake. “We know from that work, and from existing work in the field, that as calcium accumulates in mitochondria, the organelles generate increasing amounts of ROS,” Dr. Madesh said. “Mitochondria have a way of dealing with that ROS surge, and because of the relationship between mitochondrial calcium uptake and ROS production, we suspected ROS-targeting of MCU was involved in that process.”

In the new study, Dr. Madesh and colleagues employed advanced biochemical, cell biological, and superresolution imaging to examine MCU oxidation in the mitochondrion. Critically, they discovered that MCU contains several cysteine molecules in its amino acid structure, only one of which, Cys-97, is capable of undergoing an oxidation-induced reaction known as S-glutathionylation.

Structural analyses showed that oxidation-induced S-glutathionylation of Cys-97 triggers conformational changes within MCU. Those changes in turn regulate MCU activity during inflammation, hypoxia, and cardiac stimulation. They also appear to be relevant to cell survival — elimination of ROS-sensing via Cys-97 mutation resulted in persistent MCU channel activity and an increased rate of calcium-uptake, with cells eventually dying from calcium overload.

Importantly, Dr. Madesh and colleagues found that S-glutathionylation of Cys-97 is reversible. “Reversible oxidation is essential to the regulation of protein function,” Dr. Madesh explained. When switched on by oxidation, Cys-97 augments MCU channel activity that perpetuates cell death. Oxidation reverses when the threat has subsided.

The findings could have implications for the understanding of metabolic disorders and neurological and cardiovascular diseases. “Abnormalities in ion homeostasis are a central feature of metabolic disease,” Dr. Madesh said. “We plan next to explore the functional significance of ROS and MCU activity in a mouse model using genome editing technology, which should help us answer fundamental questions about MCU’s biological functions in mitochondrial ROS-sensing.”