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Letters to the Editor Issue 277

by Letters(more info)

listed in letters to the editor, originally published in issue 277 - March 2022

Delayed Cataract Surgery Increases the Risks of Falls and Dementia 

As the NHS battles with increased waiting times for cataract surgery following the strains experienced by the pandemic, Centre for Sight shares insight on possible consequences of delayed surgery increased wait times lead to for patients 

According to NHS England data, wait times for cataract surgery increased by 84% [1] from 2019 to 2021, with many patients now waiting up to 9 months for their much needed eye surgery. As cataract surgery is the most common surgical procedure performed in the UK, this sector in particular is experiencing huge pressure.   

Ophthalmology consultant, David Shahnazaryan MD FRCSI (Ophth) FEBO, specializing in cataract and refractive surgery at award-winning eyecare hospital Centre for Sight highlights how the extended waiting time is likely to be detrimental to a significant number of patients waiting for treatment.   

Mr Shahnazaryan comments, “Cataract is where the transparent lens of the eye develops cloudy patches. This leads to blurred vision and difficulty seeing in low light or very bright light and in turn can affect the ability to work and participate in activities such as driving, reading and exercise. This can have a huge impact on quality of life.” 

What is a Cataract? 

Cataracts develop with increasing age. The originally transparent focussing lens of the eye becomes hard over time, necessitating the need for reading glasses. Ultimately lens transparency decreases resulting in blurry vision, especially in low lighting conditions. Cataracts can also cause halos and starbursts most noticeable when driving at night.  

Cataract surgery is the most common surgical procedure performed in the UK with an estimated 480,000 operations taking place each year in normal circumstances. The Covid-19 pandemic however has put considerable stress on the NHS which has resulted in a backlog of patients waiting for referrals and treatments. 

Scientific studies recently published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology[2] and JAMA Internal Medicine[3] have shown that living with cataracts not only affects the patient’s quality of life, but also increases the risk of experiencing dementia[2]. In a recent study from Seattle, Washington, cataract surgery was associated with 30% lower risk of developing dementia.[3] 

Mr Shahnazaryan adds “Reduced vision is associated with hazardous falls for the elderly along with a significant decrease in the quality of life.  Falls can also lead to increasing the risk of hip fractures or head injuries, which is why optimising eye health quality can highlight more serious diseases and prevent injuries, particularly for the aged”.   

A systemic review in 2010 found several studies showing a significant reduction in falls after cataract surgery.[4]  Falls in the elderly can be hazardous increasing the risk of hip fractures.  

With all these influences adversely impacting the increasing elderly public, as a service to the community, Centre for Sight launched “One-Stop Cataract Surgery”.  This successful project has over the last year or more, provided rapid cataract surgery at considerably reduced cost. Consultation, Testing and Surgery takes place at the same visit making logistics of transport and involvement of family members and carers simpler.    

One-Stop Cataract surgery performed is similar to that provided by the NHS. The cloudy cataract lens is removed and replaced with a synthetic monofocal lens. Treatment is performed at dedicated standalone state of the art eye surgery units in East Grinstead, West Sussex and Oxshott, Surrey. 

Mr Shahnazaryan says: “As members of the community, we at Centre for Sight feel we have a responsibility to provide an affordable alternative which gives patients the option of receiving high-quality cataract surgery in the shortest timeframe possible, so that they can get on with their lives.” 

Centre for Sight   

Passionate about serving the community, Centre for Sight launched affordable and rapid One-Stop Cataract Service with a view to help with issues affecting patients with long waiting lists and reduced access to care. As a “One-Stop” process, those eligible will be seen, investigated and have surgery performed by one of their well-known consultant surgeons on the SAME DAY, even without a referral from their GP or Optometrist. There is also a premium service available which is performed with lasers and uses trifocal and astigmatic lenses to provide patients with freedom from reading glasses.   Centre for Sight introduced the first VICTUS femtosecond laser to the UK in 2012 and in March 2022 will celebrate 10 years of use in over 8500 cases.  

For more information about the cataract treatments available at Centre for Sight, visit the website  

 About Centre for Sight 

Centre for Sight, a private eye hospital was established 25 years ago by an eye surgeon and has grown phenomenally over the years with premises in East Grinstead, Oxshott and London. Specialising in Vision correction surgery like Laser Eye surgery, Lens Replacement as well as Vision restoration – cataract surgery, corneal transplantation, and retinal surgery.  

The Centre has achieved its exemplary status through good clinical governance and excellent outcomes – all delivered through phenomenal teamwork. This is externally substantiated by achieving a Silver certification of “Investors in People” and being rated overall Good and Outstanding for leadership by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). It is also one of very few hospitals with ISO9001, ISO14001, and ISO27001 certification. 

Visit the website here:  


  2. Shang X, Zhu Z, Huang Y, Zhang X, Wang W, Shi D, Jiang Y, Yang X, He M. Associations of ophthalmic and systemic conditions with incident dementia in the UK Biobank. Br J Ophthalmol. 2021 Sep 13:bjophthalmol-2021-319508. doi: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2021-319508. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34518160. 
  3. Lee CS, et al. Association between cataract extraction and development of dementiaJAMA Internal Medicine. 2021; doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2021.6990 
  4. Desapriya E, Subzwari S, Scime-Beltrano G, Samayawardhena LA, Pike I. Vision improvement and reduction in falls after expedited cataract surgery Systematic review and metaanalysis. J Cataract Refract Surg. 2010 Jan;36(1):13-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrs.2009.07.032. PMID: 20117700. 

Further Information and Contact 

For any interviews and further case study information please contact Juliet Francis at 

JFPR Consulting on Tel: 07931 363 502;  



Dongguk University Study Reveals Factors Influencing Colorectal Cancer in Korea

Colorectal cancer has become a great healthcare burden in Korea. To find out why, scientists at Dongguk University in Korea examined the cancer caseloads against the distribution of dietary and lifestyle factors observed in the population. In a novel insight, they found that risk factors for this cancer differ by age and sex, suggesting that blanket prevention measures may not be sufficient for a healthier future.

Colorectal cancer (CRC) places an enormous burden on public health in South Korea. In 2018, the country had the second-highest number of CRC cases worldwide. While genetic factors are responsible for cancer, the risk factors for CRC have been strongly linked to certain dietary and lifestyle choices, such as smoking, increased alcohol consumption, low physical activity, and high processed meat intake.

But that is global data. Does it apply to Korea specifically? A team led by Professor NaNa Keum from Dongguk University, Korea, has now decided to find out. In their study, they examined the trends in CRC incidence rates between 2001 and 2013, and compared them to the changing dietary and lifestyle behavior in the country during that time. “We aimed to identify major modifiable lifestyle factors underlying the alarming increase in CRC incidence in Korea specifically,” says Prof. Keum.

The findings of the study were published in the Journal Scientific Reports on January 28, 2021.[1]

In their analysis, the researchers found an increase in the CRC caseload, with a higher prevalence in men compared to women. While most diagnosed cases were of late-onset CRC, there was a notable increase in early-onset cases among middle-aged adults (ages 30–49). Across all sex and age groups, decrease in exercise was a contributing factor for the increasing CRC trend. For men, obesity and increased alcohol consumption were observed to be major risk factors. For middle-aged women, there were significant increases in alcohol consumption, smoking, and processed meat consumption, likely contributing to the increase in early-onset cases. “Our findings do not prove the causal effects of risk factors on increasing CRC rates, but rather provide suggestive evidence that the risk factors differ by age and sex,” notes Prof. Keum.

Speaking of the implications of these findings, Prof. Keum says, “Targeted public health interventions will be required to effectively reduce the CRC rate in Korea. A tailored approach, rather than generic lifestyle interventions, will help prioritize limited resources and induce greater compliance from people.”

Hopefully, following on the footsteps of such studies, necessary measures can be taken to reduce the burden of CRC in Korea in the foreseeable future.  


  1. Khil, H., Kim, S.M., Hong, S. et al. Time trends of colorectal cancer incidence and associated lifestyle factors in South Korea. Sci Rep 11, 2413. 2021.

About Dongguk University

Dongguk University, founded in 1906, is located in Seoul, South Korea. It comprises 13 colleges that cover a variety of disciplines and has local campuses in Gyeongju, Goyang, and Los Angeles. The university has 1300 professors who conduct independent research and 18000 students undertaking studies in a variety of disciplines. Interaction between disciplines is one of the strengths on which Dongguk prides itself; the university encourages researchers to work across disciplines in Information Technology, Bio Technology, CT, and Buddhism.

About the Author

NaNa Keum is an Assistant Professor of Food Science and Biotechnology at Dongguk University. As an epidemiologist, she has analyzed large cohort data (e.g., the Nurses’ Health Study, Health Professionals Follow-up Study) to examine how diet and lifestyle factors affect the development of cancer, especially colorectal cancer. She also investigates how individual genotypes modify the effects of lifestyle factors on weight control, testing the utility of lifestyle interventions tailored to individuals’ genotypes. Before coming to Dongguk University, she completed her dual doctoral programs in Nutrition and Epidemiology from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.



How COVID Helped Me Regain Good Health

Editorial by Thomas E. Levy MD JD

Most truly healthy people do not actually realize they are healthy, especially if they have never had a significant chronic disease or infection. And that is a normal reaction to being healthy. You just enjoy life without being focused on multiple ways in which you might eventually become unhealthy. Someone who has never suffered with headaches is not going to marvel that they are headache-free. Someone who has never had heartburn after a beer and pizza is not going to marvel at how good their stomach and gut feel afterwards. The person who is completely healthy and has always been so, who appreciates how precious that health is, and who works hard at doing everything possible to stay healthy is the rarest of individuals. Most people who are working hard at staying healthy have already been significantly ill in the past, and they have no desire to become ill again. It is human nature to notice and focus on feeling bad, not to celebrate feeling good.

I have never considered myself to be exceptionally healthy or sick. But I have always felt that, for whatever reason, my immune system was not close to working optimally at any time in my life. "Hay fever," sneezing, runny nose, and coughing from a postnasal drip have been with me since age 7 or 8 (I am 71 at the time of this writing.) My mother was able to get me a prescription for chlorpheniramine, an antihistamine on which I have relied for symptom relief for literally my entire life (long since available without a prescription). Even though I knew at a young age that using up a box of facial tissue every few days was not "normal," I had no choice but to accept it and work with it.

Similarly, my major health problem for most of my life has centred on easily contracting and then keeping colds and influenza. Such infections would always last weeks for me, with some severe chronic coughing and often just feeling poorly for months. A chronic nasal congestion made truly restful sleep an impossibility much of the time, along with the common spasms of coughing waking me after finally falling asleep. For many years, my chronic cough would be associated with a metallic taste in the back of my throat, which I felt was due to the iron-rich pathogens that had to be colonizing there.

Whenever I had X-rays at the dentist, air-fluid levels were consistently noted to be present in the sinuses directly above my upper jawbone (there should never be fluid in your sinuses). And even though I had infected teeth adjacent to those sinuses extracted in the past, it never really seemed to improve the chronic sinusitis with which I was afflicted.

It was these chronic conditions that resulted in my experimenting a great deal with the nebulization of a large number of different agents for several months to a year, starting several years ago when I first realized the therapeutic potentials of nebulization while researching the literature for my book, Magnesium: Reversing Disease. When I finally researched the physiology of hydrogen peroxide in the body and started nebulizing it, I achieved an incredible relief from much of the sinus-nose-throat symptoms described above. The scientific reasons for these clinical experiences are explained in my book, Rapid Virus Recovery, the eBook of which I have made available due to its ability to consistently hasten the resolution of respiratory tract viral infections, including COVID. (To download a complimentary copy, go to Past OMNS articles that address these and related issues also include:

On December 11, 2021, another of my OMNS articles was published ( This article discussed the synergistic relationship between vitamin C and cortisol [hydrocortisone], especially in the context of their role in the response of the body to acute stress, infection, and toxin exposures. In a nutshell, the premise of the article is that all possible positive clinical responses to any condition are ultimately realized by normalizing cytoplasmic levels of vitamin C in the affected cells. Very high doses of vitamin C (doses of 50 grams intravenously or higher) are effective at doing this, but lower multi-gram vitamin C doses, orally or intravenously, appear to require the assistance of cortisol to realize optimal intracellular levels of vitamin C.

Ironically, this article appeared roughly two weeks prior to my having a prolonged, shaking chill directly prior to going to bed. The next morning my infection with COVID was well-established in my body. As there was no shortness of breath, my untested assumption was that I contracted the Omicron variant. Nevertheless, for the next 10 days, I was sicker than I have ever been in my life. The most prominent symptoms were profound fatigue and almost a completely inability to focus and think about anything. I had no appetite or hunger at all, and I promptly lost my ability to taste any food. It was actually too much effort to even want to chew. At its worst, I sustained what little energy I had with a couple of protein shakes a day. I think I might now realize how a zombie must feel.

After the first few days had passed, I decided to give myself some intravenous vitamin C. I did not do this at first because I simply did not have the energy or focus to do so. I put 25 grams of vitamin C in a 50-cc syringe and inserted a 21-gauge butterfly needle in my left arm. As I usually get very thirsty during such a procedure, I had a root beer ready to drink as I proceeded with my injection. Of note, my first sip before placing the butterfly needle had very little taste and only remotely was identifiable as root beer. After about 3 or 4 minutes during which I administered roughly 9 to 10 grams of vitamin C as an IV push, I took another drink of root beer. I was stunned. At that moment, I had completely regained my taste and the root beer was full-flavored. It was immediately clear that the rapid administration of a large dose of vitamin C intravenously could completely reverse the loss of taste associated with the COVID infection.

Not really having the desire to repeatedly go through the process of giving myself IV injections of vitamin C over the following few days, my befogged brain remembered the article I had written on vitamin C and cortisol. After discussing the situation with my friend and colleague, Dr Ron Hunninghake of the Riordan Clinic, I decided to start taking oral hydrocortisone along with my oral vitamin C. Several times a day I took a 20 mg hydrocortisone tablet along with 4 grams of regular vitamin C and 3 to 10 grams of liposome-encapsulated vitamin C from LivOn Labs. I rapidly started to respond positively.

Of additional note is that I had a good friend graciously taking care of me during this time period. She had just finished dealing with COVID about a week earlier, and she felt fine except for the continued complete loss of taste, which understandably distressed her greatly. Following my highly-dosed IV vitamin C injection with the rapid return of taste, I decided to give her 3 grams of liposome-encapsulated vitamin C orally with 20 mg of cortisol. Several hours later she noticed some taste returning. This was repeated for the following 3 days with her taste returning to a near-normal degree after the full 4-day period of VC-cortisol therapy. It was very clear to me that the VC-cortisol combination was working some magic in getting vitamin C inside the cells.

Post-COVID Recovery

As my VC-cortisol-aided recovery became complete, I realized my clinical surprises were only beginning. Not only did I finally completely resolve my bout with COVID after about a 2-week period of illness, I quickly noticed that my previous state of "health" had not only returned, but that I was feeling better than I had in literally 30 to 40 years. Upon discussing the situation with Dr Hunninghake, I decided that my usual daily vitamin C intake needed to be optimized with an accompanying administration of cortisol. The chronic administration of low doses of hydrocortisone is discussed at length in William McK. Jefferies book, Safe Uses of Cortisol. After trial-and-error dosing based on a sense of well-being, I finally settled in with a dose of 3 grams of liposome-encapsulated vitamin C accompanied by a 10 mg dose of hydrocortisone twice daily, once at 8 am and the other at about 4 pm.

The work of Dr Jefferies made it clear to me that I had suffered from an advanced degree of adrenal fatigue with cortisol insufficiency nearly my entire life, but especially over the last 30 years. The vitamin C-cortisol protocol has had the following remarkable effects described below, improving or resolving a wide array of symptoms, nearly all of which had been present for decades:

  • The complete elimination of runny nose and the associated allergy-like symptoms
  • The resolution of a chronic left middle ear fluid/mucus accumulation, sometimes associated with vertigo, and a literal inability to sleep with the head turned to the left on the pillow without getting dizzy
  • The return of free and easy breathing at all times, without periods of nasal stuffiness and the need to breathe through the mouth. Also, the loss of an "air hunger," a peculiar, seemingly neurotic, inability to take a "full" breath, but without a genuine underlying shortness of breath. It would "disappear" the moment I got distracted and started doing something other than concentrating on my breathing.
  • The ability to consistently sleep soundly, something I had never known in my entire life
  • The complete elimination of chronic cough (which had been greatly reduced but not completely eliminated by the hydrogen peroxide nebulization protocol); family and close friends had just accepted my "need" to cough hundreds of times daily, even in the absence of any acute respiratory infection. It is actually the minimal return of the desire to cough (a "sentinel" symptom) that allows me to increase, usually temporarily, the size or frequency of a cortisol dose with my vitamin C.
  • The elimination of the need to continue my nebulization on a regular basis, as cough would tend to recur if not done at least every few days
  • The complete disappearance of years of metallic taste in the throat
  • A striking increase in energy, without the need or desire to take naps
  • A striking decrease in pulse and a stabilization of often-elevated blood pressure (pulse from high 80s to low 90s now dropping as low as high 60s; BPs going from diastolics of 80 to 90 down to mid-60s to low 70s)
  • The complete resolution of heartburn and an acid stomach, present for many decades with an enormous daily intake of sodium bicarbonate for relief, along with other agents
  • An improvement in long-standing heat and cold sensitivity, along with a dramatic decrease in the occurrence of what had been daily soaking night sweats present for the past 8 years or so
  • A significant decline in chronic lower back pain present for many years
  • The loss of a tendency to be depressed
  • The complete loss of sugar cravings, with very little desire to consume sweets even when readily available. I am still marveling at the disappearance of this lifelong "obsession."

Adrenal/Cortisol Insufficiency: The Unrecognized Pandemic

Realizing that most older individuals lose their ability to make adequate amounts of the sex hormones or of thyroid hormone, it became logically apparent, along with the information reported in Dr Jefferies' book, that the vast majority of adults eventually reach a point where they are no longer capable of making enough cortisol, either at rest or following stress, to stay healthy. And as with any hormone deficiency, it can be minimal to severe in degree, depending on the individual. With my array of symptoms, it appeared that my deficiency has been substantial for most of my life, and arguably quite severe for the last 30 years.

The complete loss of cortisol synthesis and secretion by the adrenal glands is known as Addison's disease. Complete replacement cortisol therapy, which might require as much as 40 mg hydrocortisone daily in divided doses, can allow such individuals to live normal lives. However, without such replacement therapy, death will ensue very rapidly, often occurring in the context of a rapid and overwhelming infection, usually viral.

As discussed in the December 11, 2022 OMNS article cited above, a working diagnosis of some degree of adrenal fatigue/cortisol insufficiency can be made when you contract a respiratory infection but cannot resolve it in a day or less. The classical symptoms of acute influenza, for example, are essentially identical to the symptoms of just a profound deficiency of cortisol secretion in the body. However, when you have enough vitamin C and cortisol present, you simply do not (or more precisely, cannot) get a viral infection. And if you are subjected to an overwhelming large viral exposure, you will only get mild symptoms that promptly resolve. As a working rule of thumb, staying sick with a cold, flu, or COVID for several days is seen with mild adrenal fatigue. The longer the infection stays, however, the greater the degree of cortisol insufficiency can be expected to be present.

Basically, the pathogens that cause disease are always present, and the ability to keep normal levels of vitamin C inside the cells of the body (and the respiratory tract) is what keeps us well and the pathogens at bay. When this ability is compromised, infections always result, and eventually chronic diseases will follow.

Of course, the only way to be able to take supportive cortisol therapy with your vitamin C is to have an integrative physician willing to work with you. If you find a physician who is open to such a protocol, he/she can feel free to email me:

Nutritional Medicine is Orthomolecular Medicine

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Editorial Review Board

Albert G. B. Amoa, MB.Ch.B, Ph.D. (Ghana)
Seth Ayettey, M.B., Ch.B., Ph.D. (Ghana)
Ilyès Baghli, M.D. (Algeria)
Ian Brighthope, MBBS, FACNEM (Australia)
Gilbert Henri Crussol, D.M.D. (Spain)
Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. (USA)
Ian Dettman, Ph.D. (Australia)
Susan R. Downs, M.D., M.P.H. (USA)
Ron Ehrlich, B.D.S. (Australia)
Hugo Galindo, M.D. (Colombia)
Martin P. Gallagher, M.D., D.C. (USA)
Michael J. Gonzalez, N.M.D., D.Sc., Ph.D. (Puerto Rico)
William B. Grant, Ph.D. (USA)
Claus Hancke, MD, FACAM (Denmark)
Tonya S. Heyman, M.D. (USA)
Suzanne Humphries, M.D. (USA)
Ron Hunninghake, M.D. (USA)
Bo H. Jonsson, M.D., Ph.D. (Sweden)
Dwight Kalita, Ph.D. (USA)
Felix I. D. Konotey-Ahulu, MD, FRCP, DTMH (Ghana)
Jeffrey J. Kotulski, D.O. (USA)
Peter H. Lauda, M.D. (Austria)
Comments and media contact: OMNS welcomes but is unable to respond to individual reader emails. Reader comments become the property of OMNS and may or may not be used for publication.

About Dr Thomas E Levy

Cardiologist and attorney-at-law Thomas E. Levy is a Contributing Editor for the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service. Dr Levy serves as a consultant to LivOn Labs.)

Acknowledgement Citation

Republished from

Click here to see a web copy of this news release



Red Wine and Berries could Improve Life Expectancy for Those with Parkinson’s

Recent research has found, for the first time, that people with Parkinson’s disease who eat more flavonoids – compounds found in foods like berries, cocoa, tea and red wine – may have improved life expectancy compared to those who don’t. The research followed up over 1,200 people who had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and showed that those who ate more flavonoids in their habitual diet had a lower chance of dying than those who consumed few flavonoids. 

Parkinson's is the fastest growing neurological condition in the world, and currently there is no cure. More than 10 million people worldwide are living with the disease. The disease is caused by the brain not making enough dopamine and leads to tremors, stiffness and problems with balance. Before being diagnosed with Parkinson’s, participants who ate more of some flavonoid classes, including the anthocyanins (responsible for the red/blue colour of fruit) and flavan-3-ols (in tea, cocoa) had a 31-34% lower risk of dying than those who rarely consumed these flavonoid sources. The effects were more pronounced in men than in women. 

Professor Aedín Cassidy, co-author from the Institute for Global Food Security (IGFS) at Queen’s University Belfast, said: “After diagnosis, the magnitude of the associations were similar and when we looked at what foods were driving the association, we found that a higher habitual intake of berries and red wine (comparing intakes of >=3 servings a week to those who consumed <1 serving a month) was associated with a 26% and 40% reduction in risk of mortality (respectively).”

The study, published in Neurology,[1] looked at data from 599 women and 652 men who had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Participants were asked how often they ate certain flavonoid-rich foods, such as tea, apples, berries, oranges, and red wine and this was repeatedly assessed every four years. Flavonoid intake was then calculated by multiplying the flavonoid content of those foods by how frequently they were consumed. 

After controlling for factors like age, smoking, medication and other dietary factors, the researchers found that consumers who habitually ate more flavonoids/flavonoid-rich foods had a 30-40 percent greater chance of survival than the lowest consumers.  

Professor Cassidy added: “This large study has shown how simple dietary change has the potential to improve life expectancy in people living with Parkinson’s. These findings are exciting as just a few portions a week of berries or a few glasses of red wine a week may improve survival rates.” 

The study involved researchers from Queen’s University Belfast, Pennsylvania State University, Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital.


  1. Xinyuan Zhang, Samantha A. Molsberry, Tian-Shin Yeh, Aedin Cassidy, Michael A. Schwarzschild, Alberto Ascherio, Xiang Gao. Intake of Flavonoids and Flavonoid-Rich Foods, and Mortality Risk Among Individuals With Parkinson Disease: A Prospective Cohort Study Neurology1212/WNL.0000000000013275; DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000013275. Jan 2022.

Further Information

For more information, or to request an interview with Prof Cassidy, please contact IGFS Communications Officer Una Bradley on Tel: 07920 088450



Myelin Repair Discovery Step Forward in Search to Stop MS

A new study using transparent zebrafish has discovered a previously unknown feature of multiple sclerosis (MS) biology that could shed new light on potential strategies to stop disability progression.

The study, published in Nature Neuroscience,[1] was carried out by researchers from the MS Society Edinburgh Centre for MS Research at the University of Edinburgh. The team used a state-of-the-art live imaging platform to take high resolution images of zebrafish – minnow-sized fish often used in research because of their genetic similarities to humans – allowing them to examine in detail the behaviour of oligodendrocytes. These cells produce the protective myelin coating around nerves, but are attacked by your immune system in MS.

 Previous studies have suggested that oligodendrocytes can survive MS attacks and may go on to produce new myelin for their nerves but, until now, researchers didn’t know how these survivors compared with new oligodendrocytes produced after old ones are lost. The study showed surviving oligodendrocytes produce far less myelin than new ones and also send the myelin to the wrong part of the nerve. Scientists saw this pattern in both zebrafish and in brain tissue donated to the MS Society Tissue Bank by people with MS after their death. The discovery unlocks new potential avenues for MS research, including looking at whether the surviving oligodendrocytes could respond to treatment to help boost their performance.

The researchers also suggest that, by surviving, the oligodendrocytes could in fact be hindering effective myelin repair. The death of oligodendrocytes can be a signal for the stem cells to transform into new ones. Therefore, the survival of these ineffective oligodendrocytes could come at the expense of the production of new, more efficient oligodendrocytes. Future research could explore whether targeting surviving cells for destruction could complement therapeutic strategies to promote myelin repair through the generation of new oligodendrocytes.

Dr Clare Walton, Head of Research at the MS Society, says “We’re really proud to have helped fund this latest study from Edinburgh, which could have important implications for future MS treatment. MS is relentless, painful and disabling, and we need to find ways to repair damaged myelin so no one has to worry about their MS getting worse.

“Improving our understanding of what happens after myelin becomes damaged is one of our research priorities, and studies like this take us another step closer to our important goal of stopping MS.”

Professor David Lyons, Associate director of the MS Society Edinburgh Centre for MS Research, says "These new findings exemplify the power and importance of studying both animal models and the disease itself side by side. We have much to learn about the biology of oligodendrocytes that survive demyelination, but are confident that increasing our understanding of their contributions to remyelination will refine ongoing development of therapeutic strategies to stop MS."

The MS Society’s Stop MS Appeal needs to raise £100million to find treatments for everyone with MS. With your help, we can reach our target and stop MS. For more information visit


  1. Neely, S.A., Williamson, J.M., Klingseisen, A. et al. New oligodendrocytes exhibit more abundant and accurate myelin regeneration than those that survive demyelination. Nat Neurosci (2022).

About Multiple Sclerosis

  • Over 130,000 people live with multiple sclerosis (MS) in the UK
  • MS damages nerves in your body and makes it harder to do everyday things, like walk, talk, eat and think
  • It’s relentless, painful and disabling
  • Research has got us to a critical point. We can see a future where nobody needs to worry about MS getting worse
  • Our Stop MS Appeal needs to raise £100 million to find treatments for everyone with MS

About the MS Society

  • The MS Society is here to make life better for people with MS, through research, campaigning and support
  • For information about MS or to donate visit

Further Information and Contact

Please contact: Samantha Banks, MS Society PR Manager on  Tel: 020 8438 0871; Mob: 07825 441208;



­­­Japanese Researchers Develop a Nanoparticle-Based Drug Delivery System from Corn/Maize to Target Cancer Cells

Nanomaterials have revolutionized the world of cancer therapy, and plant-derived nanoparticles have the added advantage of being cost-effective and easy to mass produce. Researchers from Tokyo University of Science have recently developed novel corn-derived bionanoparticles for targeting cancer cells directly, via an immune mechanism. The results are encouraging, and the technique has demonstrated efficacy in treating tumor-bearing laboratory mice. Moreover, no serious adverse effects have been reported in mice so far. 

Nanoparticles, or particles whose size varies between 1 and 100 nanometers, have shown tremendous potential in many areas of science and technology, including therapeutics. However, conventional, synthetic nanoparticles are complicated and expensive to produce. Extracellular vesicles (EVs), which have emerged as an alternative option to synthetic nanoparticles, show challenges for mass production. 

Another recently emerging option is that of plant-derived nanoparticles (NPs), which can be easily produced in high levels at relatively lower costs. Like EVs, these nanoparticle-based systems also contain bioactive molecules, including polyphenols (which are known antioxidants) and microRNA, and they can deliver drugs to target organs in our bodies.

Leveraging this knowledge, researchers from the Tokyo University of Science (TUS) recently developed bionanoparticles with anticancer activity, using corn (maize) as the raw material.
Prof. Makiya Nishikawa of Tokyo University of Science, Japan, who led the research team in this endeavor, elucidates,

“By controlling the physicochemical properties of nanoparticles, we can control their pharmacokinetics in the body; so, we wanted to explore the nanoparticulation of edible plants. Maize, or corn, is produced in large quantities worldwide in its native form as well as in its genetically modified forms. That is why we selected it for our study.”

  The results of this study were published online on 24 November 2021 in Scientific Reports.[1]

The team created a homogeneous mixture of super sweet corn in water, then centrifuged this corn juice at a high speed, subsequently filtering it through a syringe filter with a pore size of 0.45 μm. The filtered samples were then ultracentrifuged to obtain NPs derived from corn. The corn-derived NPs (cNPs) were approximately 80 nm in diameter. Quite interestingly, these cNPs also carried a tiny net negative charge of −17 mV.

The research team then set up experiments to see whether these cNPs were being taken up by various types of cells. In a series of promising results, the cNPs were taken up by multiple types of cells, including the clinically relevant colon26 tumour cells (cancer cells derived from mice), RAW264.7 macrophage-like cells, and normal NIH3T3 cells. RAW264.7 cells are commonly used as in vitro screens for immunomodulators – drugs that primarily target various cancer pathways.

The results were astounding: of the three types of cells, cNPs only significantly inhibited the growth of colon26 cells, indicating their selectivity for carcinogenic cell lines. Moreover, cNPs were able to successfully induce the release of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) from RAW264.7 cells. It is a well-documented fact that TNFα is primarily secreted by macrophages, natural killer cells, and lymphocytes – three key ingredients of our highly evolved immune system and which help mount an anticancer response. “The strong TNFα response was encouraging and indicated the role of cNPs in treating various types of cancer,” explains Dr. Daisuke Sasaki, first author of the study and an instructor and researcher at TUS.  

The research team then conducted a reporter assay with the enzyme “luciferase” (derived from fireflies), which is a sensitive reporter for studying various biological responses. This luciferase-based assay revealed that the potent combination of cNPs and RAW264.7 cells significantly suppressed the proliferation of colon26 cells. Finally, the research team studied the effect of cNPs on laboratory mice bearing subcutaneous tumors. Once again, the results were astonishing: injecting cNPs into colon26 tumors on a daily basis significantly suppressed tumour growth, without causing serious side effects, or weight loss.

“By optimizing nanoparticle properties and by combining them with anticancer drugs, we hope to devise safe and efficacious drugs for various cancers,” observes an optimistic Prof. Nishikawa.

Summarizing these impactful findings, Dr Kosuke Kusamori, co-author and assistant professor at TUS says, “These cNPs exhibit excellent anti-tumor properties, are easy to develop, and are economically viable. Moreover, they do not exhibit any serious adverse effects, at least in mice so far!”     

Indeed, this could be the anti-cancer therapy of tomorrow; TUS has made a truly a-maize-ing discovery!


  1. Sasaki, D., Kusamori, K., Takayama, Y. et al. Development of nanoparticles derived from corn as mass producible bionanoparticles with anticancer activity. Sci Rep 11, 22818 (2021).

About The Tokyo University of Science

Tokyo University of Science (TUS) is a well-known and respected university, and the largest science-specialized private research university in Japan, with four campuses in central Tokyo and its suburbs and in Hokkaido. Established in 1881, the university has continually contributed to Japan's development in science through inculcating the love for science in researchers, technicians, and educators.

 With a mission of “Creating science and technology for the harmonious development of nature, human beings, and society", TUS has undertaken a wide range of research from basic to applied science. TUS has embraced a multidisciplinary approach to research and undertaken intensive study in some of today's most vital fields. TUS is a meritocracy where the best in science is recognized and nurtured. It is the only private university in Japan that has produced a Nobel Prize winner and the only private university in Asia to produce Nobel Prize winners within the natural sciences field.


About Professor Makiya Nishikawa from Tokyo University of Science

Dr. Makiya Nishikawa is a Professor at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Tokyo University of Science, Japan. His research interests include biopharmaceutics, pharmacokinetics, and drug delivery systems, among many others. Dr. Nishikawa is the recipient of the 17th Japan DDS Society Nagai Award, the Japanese Society of Pharmaceutical Sciences Young Investigator Award, and the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan Young Investigator Award. He has over 275 peer-reviewed journal publications and 2 patents to his credit. Dr. Nishikawa has also authored more than 30 books on a variety of topics. 

Funding Information

  1. Nishikawa received research funding from Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

Further Information and Media Contact

Tsutomu Shimizu



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