A laser thinner than MATCH can burn away excess tissue to treat an enlarged prostate

A laser thinner than MATCH can burn away excess tissue to treat an enlarged prostate

A laser thinner than MATCH can burn away excess tissue to treat an enlarged prostate

A laser thinner than a match could be an effective new way to treat an enlarged prostate without affecting erectile function.

The EchoLaser can be guided to the site by ultrasound and will burn away excess prostate tissue without damaging nearby healthy cells. The procedure can be performed in less than 30 minutes under local anesthesia.

It offers a new approach to the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), which affects about 50 percent of men aged 50 and older.

The prostate, which is usually the size of a walnut, is located below the bladder and surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body.

The prostate increases with age, and with BPH it becomes so large that it puts pressure on the bladder and urethra. This can lead to frequent urination and difficulty starting to urinate or problems with emptying the bladder completely. These symptoms can be distressing and interfere with quality of life.

A laser thinner than MATCH can burn away excess tissue to treat an enlarged prostate

The EchoLaser can be guided to the site by ultrasound and will burn away excess prostate tissue without damaging nearby healthy cells. The procedure can be performed in less than 30 minutes under local anesthesia. File photo used above

Treatments range from lifestyle changes, such as drinking less alcohol and caffeine (both of which can worsen symptoms) to medications, including alpha blockers, which relax the muscles in the prostate and bladder neck, allowing urine to pass more freely.

Those whose symptoms do not respond to medication may be offered surgery to remove excess prostate tissue.

Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is considered the gold standard surgical treatment for this, but it can have side effects, including erectile dysfunction and incontinence.

It can also lead to retrograde ejaculation, where semen travels backwards into the bladder, leading to male infertility. This complication of surgery affects as many as 65 to 75 percent of men, according to the NHS, and occurs as a result of damage to the nerves and muscles between the bladder and prostate.

We hope that EchoLaser could offer a less risky option. It consists of an optical fiber, the width of two human hairs, which carries the laser light inside a fine needle with a diameter of about one third of a millimeter.

The needle is introduced through the perineum (the space between the anus and the scrotum) and guided into position.

Treatments range from lifestyle changes, such as drinking less alcohol and caffeine (both of which can worsen symptoms) to medications, including alpha blockers, which relax the muscles in the prostate and bladder neck, allowing urine to pass more freely.  File photo used above

Treatments range from lifestyle changes, such as drinking less alcohol and caffeine (both of which can worsen symptoms) to medications, including alpha blockers, which relax the muscles in the prostate and bladder neck, allowing urine to pass more freely. File photo used above

When activated, a rotating ball of heat is created at the end of the needle that heats and destroys unwanted tissue.

A new study based on 38 men showed that it is effective and safe.

All patients were discharged within eight hours, and after one month, urine flow improved by an average of one-third, and the amount of urine remaining in the bladder was halved.

Urologists from the University of Florence, who conducted the trial, published in the journal Frontiers in Urology, said that there were no cases of retrograde ejaculation and that all the men no longer needed the drugs they were taking for the enlarged prostate.

Commenting on the research, Professor Raj Persad, consultant urologist at Bristol Urology, said: ‘Over the years, due to the potential side effects of traditional BHP surgery [i.e. TURP]involving bleeding, scarring of the urethra and bladder neck, various minimally invasive procedures have been devised.

“If the effectiveness of this [EchoLaser] approach as good as any, will be a prime candidate for treating BPH with the least inconvenience and potential side effects for the patient.

‘It could prove a cost-effective treatment for an already financially challenged NHS.’

A dwarf pine berry extract may be just as effective as a treatment for an enlarged prostate, according to a study by doctors at the Assistance Publique Hôpitaux de Paris, published in the journal Drugs & Aging.

Researchers found that saw palmetto berry extract was as effective as an alpha-blocker in improving urinary flow and reducing prostate size.

Berry extract is believed to have an anti-inflammatory effect, helping to shrink the gland.

Did you know?

Dogs can smell stress from our sweat, recent research suggests – a discovery that could help train therapy dogs better. Researchers at Queen’s University Belfast took sweat samples from 36 participants before and after taking a maths quiz and found that the dogs were able to distinguish between the participants’ relaxed and stressful odors, even when they didn’t know the person.

Glands in the skin release sweat caused by stress in response to cortisol and adrenaline (stress hormones).

Blood injection relieves dry eyes

Dry eyes can be treated using the patient’s own blood.

Research shows that injecting a few drops of platelet-rich blood into the tear glands of people with severe dry eye disease led to a 50 percent improvement in tear production after three months.

Dry eye affects up to 50 percent of adults and usually occurs when the lacrimal glands do not produce enough tears.

In the study, published in BMC Ophthalmology, researchers took blood from 28 patients and processed it to increase the concentration of platelets, which are rich in growth factors. The solution was injected into one eye, while the other eye served as a control.

Dry eye affects up to 50 percent of adults and usually occurs when the lacrimal glands do not produce enough tears.

Dry eye affects up to 50 percent of adults and usually occurs when the lacrimal glands do not produce enough tears.

Fish can protect the brain from toxins

Eating fish strengthens the blood-brain barrier — a ‘wall’ of specialist cells that prevents harmful toxins linked to conditions such as dementia from entering the brain, say researchers from Nottingham Trent University and Queen Mary University of London.

Fish and seafood contain a molecule called trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), which makes the brain barrier less permeable.

Tests by scientists on mice showed that those with the highest levels of TMAO in their blood had fewer problems remembering or recognizing things, reports the journal Microbiome.

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