December 12, 2018

    Human kidneys in the body
    New test coming on the market that can predict diabetic kidney disease - health technology science news

    A new test can accurately predict diabetic kidney disease before the disease sets in. The test concerns measurements of certain proteins in the blood. About 10% of diabetic patients will develop loss of kidney function, and this test aims to prevent kidney dialysis and make early preventive measures possible. The test is now slowly brought on the market in the US, and the company producing the test, Proteomics International Laboratories from Perth, Australia, is now discussing with other countries as well to make the test widely accessible.

    Read the full story: University of Western Australia

    Detection of scarring wounds might be facilitated with newly developed nanoparticles
    New nanoparticles might replace biopsy to assess skin scarring - health science news

    Using nanoparticles coated with pieces of DNA, researchers have developed a new tool to detect abnormal skin scarring in an early stage. The nanoparticles penetrate 2 mm into the skin and then enter skin cells. The DNA will light up in the cells when genes are active that promote abnormal scarring, and this can be seen with the aid of a hand-held fluorescent microscope. This new technique could replace biopsies in the near future, and allows doctors to intervene early in the scarring process. Also, the DNA can be changed so that it might detect e.g. skin cancer cells in future applications of the nanoparticles.

    Read the full story: Nanyang Technological University Singapore
    Scientific publication: Nature Biomedical Engineering

    Toxic chemotherapy can be safely omitted in 70% of breast cancer patients
    Most breast cancer patients can refrain from chemotherapy - cancer science news

    A groundbreaking study has revealed that most women suffering from breast cancer do not need chemotherapy. Scientists and medical doctors have come to this conclusion on the basis of the expression of 21 genes that together provide a risk profile of cancer recurrence. This assessment shows that as much as 69% of the patients can safely refrain from chemotherapy, without the outcome of their therapy and life-expectancy being compromised.

    Read the full story: Loyola University Medical Center
    Scientific publication: New England Journal of Medicine

    Feeding fruit flies with probiotics and supplement prolongs their lives by 66%
    Feed your microbiome well, and you will live a long and healthy life - health science news

    Scientists feeding fruit flies with a combination of probiotics and an herbal supplement observed that the flies lived up to 66 days old. This is 26 days more than without the supplement. Further, the flies with the supplement were protected against chronic diseases associated with aging, such as insulin resistance, inflammation and oxidative stress. The study shows the importance of the microbiome, and its influence on the brain and healthy aging in fruit flies. This may also apply to human health, the researchers say.

    Read the full story: McGill University
    Scientific publication: Scientific Reports

    Submissive mice live shorter than dominant mice as a consequence of social stress
    Social stress linked to shorter life span in mice - health science news

    Mice holding a low position on the hierarchical ladder suffer from social stress imposed by dominant conspecifics. These socially stressed mice show earlier onset of neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases, a new study shows. They are also at a higher risk than dominant mice of developing cancer. These pathologies coincide with age-related pathologies, and stressed mice indeed have a lower lifespan. These findings parallel observations in humans, where low social and economic status increase the risk of disease and mortality. With the new animal model, researchers aim to increase our understanding of the processes underlying the negative influences of social stress on human health.

    Read the full story: University of Minnesota
    Scientific publication: Aging Cell

    Stress in infants not only affects the brain, but also other organs in the body
    Early-life stress can alter the body’s organs - health science news

    Researchers have found that a special class of receptors that are normally expressed in the brain are also localized in other organs in the body, and that they are vulnerable to high stress levels during infancy. These receptors, known as GABA-A receptors, change their biochemical composition under the influence of stress, and in different ways in different organs. This study show that it might be possible to target these receptors to treat symptoms of stress in the body, and not only in the brain as is currently the case.

    Read the full story: University of Portsmouth
    Scientific publication: Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience

    The tendency to sun-burn or tan is genetically encoded in a chromosomal region associated with melanoma
    Burning or tanning: it’s in the genes - health science news

    A genetic association study on genomes of 176.678 people of European ancestry has revealed ten new genes that determine whether people will tan or develop a sun burn. The genetic information was paired with self-reports of participants on their tendency to burn or tan. One of the genetic regions that correlate with sun burn had previously been associated with melanoma. It is therefore very likely that genetic variants in this area may increase the risk of developing skin cancer by reducing the ability to tan.

    Read the full story: King’s College London
    Scientific publication: Nature Communications

    Healthy dieting and weight management reduce the risk for, and costs of, diabetes
    Global costs for diabetes projected to double by 2030 - diabetes science news

    With the number of diabetes patients likely to rise from 415 million in 2015 to 642 million in 2040, global costs for diabetes are expected to double by 2030, or a staggering 2.5 trillion USD, a new study finds. The calculations were made by looking at medical costs, and secondary costs such as decreased productivity and earnings in 180 countries. Scientists call for action, as some of the most common risk factors of diabetes, i.e. physical inactivity and obesity, can easily be reduced.

    Read the full story: King’s College London
    Scientific publication: Diabetes Care

    Vitamin and mineral supplements might not be useful at all
    Popular vitamin and mineral supplements provide no health benefit - short science articles

    With half the world poping vitamin and mineral supplements on a regular basis, we expect them to have health benefits. However, researchers conducted a systematic analysis of the existing data of randomized trials published in English from Jan 2012 to October 2017 and found that consumption of multivitamins (Vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B9), vitamin D, calcium and vitamin C gave no advantage in risk prevention of cardiovascular diseases, stroke, premature death or heart attacks. While these supplements do no harm, but also they do no good as per the study except folic acid which could potentially reduce stroke and heart disease. So, it is better to rely on your diet for the essential vitamins and minerals.

    Read the full story: St. Micheal's
    Scientific publication: Journal of American College of Cardiology

    Researchers have created the sketch of the pathogens that could trigger a global pandemic
    This is the profile of the microorganisms likely to trigger the next catastrophic pandemic - science news - health and medicine

    Dangerous biological outbreaks are always a potential threat. In an effort to encourage better preparations for a global pandemic, scientists created the typical profile of microorganisms that have the ability to trigger such a wide-scale outbreak. RNA viruses are the biggest threat, the study noted. Most likely, the pathogen will be transmitted by breathing. It will be contagious before the symptoms develop, or when the symptoms are mild. To increase the transmission and infection, it will probably have low, but significant, mortality rates. The report also contains eight key recommendations for preparations for a global pandemic.

    Read the full story: EurekaAlert
    Scientific publication: John Hopkins Center for Health Security

    Parthenolide is a natural plant extract with excellent anti-leukemia activity
    Cancer cells resistant to therapy due to interactions with healthy cells - cancer science news

    While much progress has been made with the use of Parthenolide, a natural plant extract, to treat childhood leukemia, some cancerous cell populations remain resistant. A new study shows that this resistance is caused by anti-oxidants from neighboring healthy cells. This finding indicates that it might be possible to develop more efficient strategies to combat leukemia with Parthenolide, or perhaps even other chemotherapy drugs, by depleting bone marrow cells of anti-oxidants.

    Read the full story: University of Bristol
    Scientific publication: Haematologica

    Increasing the level of physical activity may reduce the risk of health issues associated with sitting too much in front of the computer or TV
    Sitting too much in front of the screen has lower negative impact on active, strong people - science news in brief - medicine

    Too much screen time has been correlated with a series of health problems, from cardiovascular diseases to cancer. However, not everyone seems to be equally affected. A new study suggests that people that are fit, strong and active are more protected from health problems compared to those less fit. The researchers quantified the time spend in front of computer or TV screens, which is a “sedentary” form of leisure. It seems that increasing the levels of activity and fitness may have beneficial outcomes, from this point of view. However, the study only reports a correlation and did not directly test the cause and effect relationship between physical activity and screen time.

    Read the full story: ScienceDaily
    Scientific publication: BMC Medicine

    Gut bacteria control anti-cancer immune function in the liver
    Gut microbiome controls anti-cancer immune responses in the liver - health science news

    A new study has found the mechanism by which gut bacteria and the immune system work together in the liver and control cancer. From experiments with mice that had liver cancer and were treated with antibiotics, scientists found that bacteria control the metabolism of bile acids in the gut. Bile acids, in turn, control the expression of a signalling molecule of the immune system in liver capillaries, which increases the number of immune cells that fight cancers. The scientists found that bile acids control the expression of the signalling molecule in humans as well, and it is thus possible that the newly discovered mechanism also applies to liver cancer patients.

    Read the full story: National Cancer Institute – National Institutes of Health
    Scientific publication: Science

    Eating fish while pregnant does not increase chances of autism in children
    Autism not linked to fish consumption during pregnancy - science news in brief

    There has been proposed that mercury exposure due to eating fish during pregnancy is a major cause of autism. Now, a large-scale study published results on this topic. Using analysis of blood samples, reported fish consumption and information on autism and autistic traits, researchers found no links between levels of mercury in the mothers and autism in their children. These findings show that eating fish during pregnancy is safe.

    Read the full story: ScienceBriefss
    Scientific publication: Molecular Autism

    Coal power plants reduce fertility and increase preterm birth
    Healthier babies when nearby coal and oil plants retire - health science news

    By comparing preterm births and fertility before and after the closure of eight power plants in California between 2001 and 2011, scientists established that the percentage of preterm babies fell from 7 to 5 percent, and even from 14.4 to 11.3 percent in non-Hispanic African-American and Asian women. Also, the fertility of women increased after retirement of the power plants. Considering that preterm birth contributes to infant mortality and health problems later in life, this study shows the importance of removing air pollution for human health.

    Read the full story: University of California – Berkeley
    Scientific publication: American Journal of Epidemiology

    Asthma patients may soon benefit from new medication
    New treatment for severe asthma - health science news

    An international team of researchers have found that the use of a particular antibody, Dupilumab, is a safe and efficient treatment option of severe asthma. It can reduce by 70% standard treatment with glucocorticoids which can have side-effects with prolonged use, including immunosuppression. The antibody blocks interleukin-4 and interleukin-13 signalling, two messenger molecules of the immune system. Thus, Dupilumab is effective and safe to control severe asthma.

    Read the full story: New England Journal of Medicine
    Scientific publication: New England Journal of Medicine

    Study suggests short sleep during the week can be compensated by sleeping more on weekends
    Sleep duration and mortality: can we compensate for lack of sleep on weekends? - science news in brief

    A new study analyzed the relationship between the duration of sleep during weekdays and weekends and mortality rates. For people below 65 years of age, the study found that short sleep during weekends (< 5 hours) was associated with higher risk of mortality. However, the mortality rate returned to normal values in those people that were sleeping fewer hours during weekdays but had longer sleep on the weekends. So, it turns out we might be able to recover for those lost hours of sleep on weekends, after all! Interestingly, no correlations were found between the duration of sleep and mortality in people over 65 years.

    Read the full story: Wiley
    Scientific publication: Journal of Sleep Research

    RNA is not only the intermediate between DNA and proteins, but has also regulatory functions within the cell
    New view on how tumors form - health science news

    Big data analysis has revealed that shortening of the 3’UTR of genes, which is the part of the gene that makes it switch on or off, switches protective genes off. This is in contrast to what was previously believed, as the general notion is that genes that can cause tumorous cancer growth on. This was confirmed in studies on breast cancer cells. Even more, the experiments and the model showed that 3’UTRs control in fact whole regulatory networks within the cell, and that disruption of these networks has effects on tumor growth. These findings could completely alter the way that medical science look at tumor development.

    Read the full story: University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
    Scientific publication: Nature Genetics

    Mosquito saliva alone activates the immune system, thus without virus infection
    Mosquito saliva alone is sufficient to trigger immune responses - health science news

    When mosquitos bite to feed, they transfer more than 100 proteins from their saliva to the victim. In a special animal model to study the effects of mosquito bites on the human skin, researchers observed a multitude of immune reactions, just in response to the proteins in the saliva. Thus, the immune system is already activated without a virus infection, for instance with the Zika or yellow fever virus. This surprising result may help to design strategies that fight transmission of viruses and spread of disease by mosquitos.

    Read the full story: Baylor College of Medicine
    Scientific publication: PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases

    Infants exposed to Zika virus before birth have higher risk of heart problems
    Prenatal Zika virus exposure induces cardiac defects in infants - science news in brief

    A correlation study showed for the first time a link between laboratory-confirmed prenatal exposure to the Zika virus and cardiac defects. Exposed children had a higher prevalence of heart malformations compared to those not exposed to the virus. Overall, women infected with the virus were up to 10 times more likely to have a child with heart defects. Thus, the study suggests that children exposed parentally to the virus should be checked for cardiac problems.

    Read the full story: University of California, Los Angeles
    Scientific publication: PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

    Colorectal cancers consist of two different cell types that may substitute each other
    Colon cancer evades treatment by switching cell type - cancer science news

    Late stage colon cancer is difficult to treat, and now scientists now why. Colon cancers consist of two different cell types, and treatment is directed against only one of them. The untreated cells continue to proliferate and the cancer keeps on growing. The researchers suggest to target both cell types for more effective treatment of colorectal cancer.

    Read the full story: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
    Scientific publication: Journal of Experimental Medicine

    Different types of foods contain calories with different effects on our bodies
    Not all calories are equal when to comes to cardiovascular diseases - science news in brief

    All calories, from any food, contribute to our diet and health but, not equally. A new scientific paper reviewed the mechanisms between the calories from different sources and cardiometabolic diseases. The researchers noted that sugar-sweetened beverages greatly increase the risk for cardiovascular problems. This is true even when these beverages are consumed during efficient weight-loss diets. The calories contained in this type of drinks produce more damage than the same amount of calories contained by other aliments. Another point raised by the scientists is that aspartame (a type of artificial sugar) does not promote weight gain in adults.

    Read the full story: University of California Davis
    Scientific publication: Obesity Reviews

    People infected with malaria smell differently than healthy individuals and this can be used to diagnose the disease early
    Scientists smell malaria: odor test helps diagnostic - science news in brief

    Malaria affects more than 200 million people worldwide. Identifying people infected is difficult because the disease can be asymptomatic for a long time. But, this is about to change as researchers have discovered that the smell of people infected with malaria is different. A new study investigated the volatile chemicals released from the skin of children from Kenya and discovered that they had a particular profile when the child had an acute or asymptomatic malaria infection. The detection rate of the disease was close to 100% when this approach was used. The results were encouraging and now the scientists are planning to develop clinical applications based on the newly identified volatile biomarkers.

    Read the full story: ETH Zurich
    Scientific publication: PNAS

    The pork tapeworm can migrate from the intestines to the brain and cause epilepsy
    Tapeworm infections in school-aged children - health science news

    A new study mapped out the prevalence and risk factors for Taenia solium cysticercosis in school-aged children in a region of China. The tapeworm or its eggs are transmitted by pork meat and pork and human feces, and the worms migrate to the brain where they cause cysticercosis, a leading cause of epilepsy in developing countries. The researchers found that many children had antibodies against cysticercosis, caused by Taenia infections as a result of limited hygiene, and the presence of pigs that carry the worms and are a source of food. Community education and hygienic measures in this poor region in China are necessary to eradicate the flatworms and improve the academic performance of the school-going children.

    Read the full story: Stanford University
    Scientific publication: PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases

    Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria are often tolerated without any medical treatment
    To fight or to tolerate: that is the question for tuberculosis - health science news

    It is often thought that the immune system fights pathogens to eliminate the risk of disease, but our body still has another choice: that of tolerance. Indeed, over 90% of people that have been infected with the bacterium that causes tuberculosis never develop the disease, but tolerate the bacteria without any treatment. Now, researchers have found that low numbers of T cells, that defend the body against intruders, are important for tolerance, and that their activity is kept within limits by the mitochondrial protein cyclophilin D. These radically new findings of limited T cell recruitment during infection, instead of massive T cell activation as previously thought, open up new strategies for the treatment of tuberculosis.

    Read the full story: McGill University
    Scientific publication: Science Immunology

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