December 12, 2018

    There may be a negative correlation between antibiotic use and vaccination
    Antibiotics in early life may reduce effectiveness of vaccines - science news in brief

    A new study shows that there is a worrying connection between antibiotic use and vaccination. Using lab animals as models, scientists discovered that antibiotics exposure in early life interfere with five important routine vaccinations. If these findings are confirmed in humans, it is bad news. The use of antibiotics is increasing globally and this could impact the effectiveness of vaccine-induced immune reactions and thus protection against diseases.

    Read the full story: Medicalxpress
    Scientific publication: Cell Host and Microbe


    Eating low energy foods may reduce hunger, thus reducing the total amount of food eaten in a day
    A new diet shows promise for losing weight, according to research - science news in brief

    Scientists from the UK have tested a new diet based on low energy foods. The study found that those eating food such as vegetables, lean meat, pasta, eggs and rice reported feeling full even when eating 1000 calories less. They compared the efficacy of this way of eating to the NHS Live Well diet (which limits calories for women to 1400 per day). Those on the low energy diet lost more than 5% in 14 weeks. “This study has produced the first evidence that low energy density meals reduce hunger for food among people who are following a weight loss plan”, one of the authors declared.

    Read the full story: ScienceBriefss
    Scientific publication: The Journal of Nutrition


    The myelin sheet that surround the axons of neurons is necessary for proper muscle tone and movement
    A new theory about the cause of multiple sclerosis - health science news

    Scientists have proposed an alternative theory about the origin of multiple sclerosis, stating that the disease starts by myelin (see image) damage first, followed by an immune response against the damaged myelin. Current theory holds that it is the immune system that acts first to damage the myelin, the exact opposite of the new theory. When the scientists prevented myelin damage in an animal model, the immune reaction did not occur. Although this finding does not prove that myelin damage should happen first for multiple sclerosis to occur, it does show that this alternative theory is worth examining further, especially for the new treatment options that might result from it.

    Read the full story: University of Calgary
    Scientific publication: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA


    Vaginal birth after a prior caesarean section has slightly higher risks for complications compared to a second caesarean birth
    Natural birth after a C-section, how risky is it? - health science news in brief

    A new study performed by Canadian researchers claims that natural birth after a previous caesarean section (C-section) is relatively safe. Choosing between vaginal birth or repeated C-section is not always easy as both options have risks and benefits. The study shows that the risks of complications are very low, below 1% in both cases. However, although the rates of adverse outcomes are low, attempted vaginal birth after cesarean delivery continues to be associated with higher risks, but lower than previously believed. The researchers concluded this after analyzing birth data from 2003 to 2015, from Canada. 

    Read the full story: University of Alberta
    Scientific publication: CMAJ


    Stephen Hawking suffered from ALS, a neurodegenerative disease affecting control over muscles
    Function of a gene discovered that could explain 40% of familial ALS - health science news

    By studying worms, biologists have discovered the function of a gene that might explain as much as 40% of familial forms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The gene makes sure that waste products are excreted from the cell through specialised structures called lysosomes. When the gene is lost, waste products accumulate in the cells, affecting their function. Researchers believe that waste accumulation also happens in human neurons in ALS, which likely leads to malfunctioning and eventually cell death and lack of control of the muscles.

    Read the full story: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Scientific publication: Current Biology


    Maybe one day we will be able to stop obesity induced by eating food rich in fats
    Genetic modification: could we eat burgers and pizza and stay slim - short science news health

    A study on mice shows that it could be possible to stay slim when eating a fat-rich diet (think pizza and burgers). Fat is very efficiently stored in the body, but when a certain gene was deleted in lab animals this process was stopped. The gene is producing the enzyme NAMPT which contributes to the accumulation of fat. Mice without this enzyme were able to eat very fat food without becoming obese and maintained better control of blood glucose than normal mice on high-fat food. However, the study contradicts the traditional belief that boosting the activity of the NAMPT enzyme has health benefits. It remains to be seen if this finding will allow us one day to indulge in “forbidden” foods without getting fat!

    Read the full story: University of Copenhangen
    Scientific publication: Molecular Metabolism


    Excercise stimulates the release of a hormone produced by brown fat
    Hormone from brown fat boosts metabolism during exercise and cold - health science news

    The hormone 12,13-diHOME, produced by brown fat, is found to rise sharply following exercise and in the cold, in both humans and laboratory animals, a new study found. This hormone has beneficial effects on metabolism as it acts as a signal to boost the use of fatty acids as energy source. This is an important finding as it might provide a way to increase energy expenditure and reduce obesity.

    Read the full story: Joslin Diabetes Center
    Scientific publication: Cell Metabolism


    7 million people die every year because of air pollution
    WHO :  9 out of 10 people worldwide breathe polluted air - health science news

    Air pollution remains a big problem in many parts of the world. The WHO reports that 90% of the human population breathe polluted air, leading to 7 million deaths every year. In 2016, 4.2 million people died because of pollution of ambient air, and 3.8 million people were victim to household pollution, especially because of cooking. On the positive side, more countries than ever are taking measures to reduce air pollution.

    Read the full story: World Health Organization


    Scientists developed a pill that makes breast cancer visible, thus facilitating detection
    Pill Better In Detecting Breast Cancer than Standard Diagnosis - short science news - cancer

    Breast cancer has a reputation for being difficult to diagnose correctly. One-third of women diagnosed with breast cancer undergo unnecessary surgical procedures. For this reason, science is struggling to find a better way to diagnose it and now, a new method made the news. This new approach is using a pill that ultimately makes the tumors light up under infrared light, thus making it easy to identify them. The proof of concept came from animal studies, in which the pill was shown to work well.

    Read the full story: ScienceBriefss
    Scientific publication: Molecular Pharmaceutics


    A drug to treat a particular form of breast cancer might accelerate cancer cell growth
    Breast cancer drug might promote cancer - health science news

    Studies in the laboratory have shown that the drug Lapatinib, when applied to cultured cells, induce pairing of two receptors, HER2 and HER3, which leads to cell proliferation. Lapatinib is used in combination with other drugs to block HER2 in breast cancer, causing regression of the tumour. Researchers advice to re-evaluate the effects of Lapatinib in a subset of patients, considering that it might stimulate cell division under particular circumstances, instead of stopping it.

    Read the full story: Francis Crick Institute
    Scientific publication: eLIFE


    The size of a food portion influences the quantity we eat and reducing it could be a way to tackle obesity
    Reducing food portion sizes to improve health and combat obesity - short science news - diet

    The size of commercially available food portions has increased constantly over the past years. This trend has been linked to the obesity crisis and science is trying to find new ways to correct this health issue. A new study brings evidence that reducing the size of food portions has beneficial effects. The experiments showed that people being served a smaller quantity of food changed their perception of what a “normal” portion looks like. In result, they choose to eat less for future meals. This could be an effective approach to reducing overconsumption and tackling population-level obesity.

    Read the full story: ScienceBriefss
    Scientific publication: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition


    A healthy lifestyle could prolong life expectancy by a decade or more
    These five lifestyle habits may prolong your life by more than a decade - health science news

    Reseachers have established what you can do to live a long and healthy life. Lifestyle habits they considered as crucial are 1) Eat a healthy diet; 2) Exercise regularly; 3) keep a healthy body weight; 4) do not drink too much alcohol; and 5) do not smoke. The study made use of data on thousands of American men and women that had been collected by earlier studies, and found that respecting the five identified lifestyle habits could increase the average life expectancy of American men by as much as 14 years, and that of American women by 12 years.

    Read the full story: Harvard T.H. Chan school of public health
    Scientific publication: Circulation


    Zika virus, while causing microcephalus in unborn children in Brazil and other tropical countries, might be useful to combat brain cancer
    Weakened Zika virus kills brain tumours in mice - health science news

    In experiments using brain tumour cell lines and mice in which brain tumours had been induced, application of a weakened form of the Zika virus was found to eliminate brain cancer cells. Zika virus is known to infect neural stem cells that can still divide and differentiate, thus causing microcephaly, and these neural stem cells are not unlike brain cancer cells that also continue to divide. Encouragingly, the weakened virus was much more efficient to infect and destroy tumour cells than neural stem cells, making the weakened Zika virus an interesting option for the treatment of brain cancers in the future.

    Read the full story: Agencia FAPESP – IB-USP, Brazil
    Scientific publication: Cancer Research


    Early detection of breast cancer could save lives
    New breath and urine tests detect breast cancer much earlier - short science articles

    Scientists have developed a new method to facilitate early and more accurate detection of breast cancer as a screening test. The researchers used electronic nose gas sensors for breath analysis and gas-chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) to quantify substances in the urine which when combined together can predict breast cancer with a 95% accuracy. This is a major advance in the cancer screening test field since the current standard screening test ie. Mammography is not always able to identify breast tumours accurately. Rather, it's only 75% accurate and it falls further to 30% in dense tissue. The survival of breast is heavily dependent on the early tumour detection, so novel methods to detect smaller early-stage tumours is extremely important according

    Read the full story: ScienceBriefss
    Scientific publication: Computers in Biology and Medicine


    Embryonic pluripotent stem cells depend on the protein TFAP2C to pass the first stage of a viable embryo
    New mechanism involved in infertility and miscarriage discovered - short science news

    During pregnancy, some embryos are not viable and this leads to miscarriage. Scientists tried to understand why this problem happens and what is the role of non-genetic factors on gene expression is. By analyzing stem cells from embryos, they discovered that a protein called TFAP2C, that controls the way genetic instructions are read, is essential to maintain the ability of embryonic stem cells to produce other cell types. This is the mechanism that initiates the formation of all tissues and organs in an embryo. The research provides insight into often neglected issues, like infertility and miscarriage.

     

    Read the full story: University of California, Los Angeles WebsiteDirections Save
    Scientific publication: Nature Cell Biology


    Telomeres are protective caps on chromosomes. They are maintained by telomerase.
    Structure determined of telomerase that controls cancer and ageing - health science news

    Telomerase is an enzyme responsible for capping our chromosomes. During ageing, telomerase activity wanes and the caps (telomers) become shorter. In cancer, telomers maintain a constant length, keeping cells juvenile, if it were, so that they keep dividing. Telomerase is thus important to determine telomere length, balancing between longevity with the risk of cancer on the one hand, and limiting the risk of cancer at the cost of ageing on the other hand. Now that the structure of telomerase is known, scientists can start to develop drugs that modulate the activity of the enzyme to reduce the risk of cancer development or to slow ageing.

    Read the full story: UC Berkely
    Scientific publication: nature


    Metabolic rates and muscle recovery after intense exercise for children easily match those of professional endurance athletes
    Children or professional athletes, can you guess who is stronger - short science news - health

    Every parent knows how exhausting it can be to keep up with a child. Scientists tried to understand what the secret behind the physical fitness of children is. They compared the energy output and recovery abilities of boys aged 8 to 10 years with those of professional athletes and untrained adults. Amazingly, children performed equally well to athletes, and better than the untrained adults in all aspects! They were less tired during high-intensity activities and they recovered faster. This is in part due to using more aerobic metabolism in the muscles, faster recovery of the heart rate and more efficient removal of the lactate.

    Read the full story: ScienceBriefss
    Scientific publication: Frontiers in Physiology


    Dark chocolate does something that we all felt but couldn't confirm.
    Dark Chocolate could reduce stress, improve memory and mood - short science articles

    Consumption of dark chocolate with a high concentration of cacao might have a positive impact on mood, stress as well as immunity. Cacao is an important source of flavonoids and for the first time, its effects have been studied in humans to support cognitive, endocrine and cardiovascular health. These flavonoids have potent anti-oxidants and also anti-inflammatory properties which are considered to be responsible for this effect. Scientists are carrying out further research to understand the mechanism for the cause-effect relationship between brain and behaviour.

    Read the full story: ScienceBriefss
    Scientific publication: FASEB journal
    Scientific publication: FASEB journal


    Cancer genes are not always found on the chromosomes but also on extra pieces of DNA unique to cancer cells
    Tumours have extra DNA that makes them evolve and resistant to therapies - health science news

    Tumour cells have stretches of DNA that are not on chromosomes, and contain a variable number of copies of oncogenes, i.e. genes that promote tumour development. Although it is at present unclear how these extra-chromosomal pieces of DNA are formed in tumour cells, they have now been shown to be inherited during each cell division in an essential random fashion, so that cancer cells in the same tumour have a variable number of oncogene copies. Researchers believe that this variability gives tumours more options to invade the body, and make some of the cancer cells resistant to chemotherapy or radiation.

    Read the full story: Jackson Laboratory
    Scientific publication: Nature Genetics


    The new DNA structure has a different aspects compared with standard double-stranded, double helix DNA
    A new DNA structure identified in our cells - short science news - genetics

    We think we know a lot about our DNA. But, there is a lot more to discover as shown by a group of scientists that just identified a new type of DNA, never seen before in living cells. Called the i-motif, this DNA molecule looks like a twisted knot, has four strands and is very different from the classical double helix DNA. The researchers showed that i-motifs mostly form at a particular point in the cell’s life cycle – the late G1 phase, when DNA is being actively ‘read’. It remains to be seen what exactly does this new form of DNA inside the cells.

    Read the full story: ScienceBriefss
    Scientific publication: Nature Chemistry


    A new antioxidant could slow the ageing effect on arteries
    A new antioxidant to make your arteries young again - short science articles - health

    Scientists have developed a chemical version of a naturally occurring antioxidant called Coenzyme Q10 which is normally seen in the mitochondria. Older adults who took this antioxidant saw a reversal in age-related changes in their blood vessels (arteries and veins) by as much as 15-20 years and that too within six weeks. The dilation of the arteries improved by 42% which if sustained could result in a 13% reduction in heart diseases. As one grows older the mitochondria produce excessive free radicals could damage the cells. However, the new antioxidant could tip the scale back in favour of health.

    Read the full story: ScienceBriefss
    Scientific publication: Hypertension


    Autism is inherited from the father through non-coding DNA
    Autism inherited from non-coding DNA from fathers - health science news

    While it was already known that mutations of DNA in genes are a risk factor for the development of autism, researchers have now found that non-coding DNA plays an important role too. This part of our DNA is by far the largest (98%) and contains elements that make a gene switch on or off. Surprisingly, the non-coding DNA risk sequences were inherited from fathers, while the risk sequences in the coding DNA are inherited from mothers, indicating that the contribution to the development of autism of paternal and maternal DNA are qualitatively different.

    Read the full story: UC San Diego Health Scienes – Institute for Genomic Medicine
    Scientific publication: Science


    Young men who smoke have 88% higher risk of stroke
    Smoking increases the risk for stroke in men under 50 - short science news - health news

    A new study investigated 615 men who had an ischemic stroke and correlated this with their smoking habits. Researchers found that men who smoked had 88% higher risk of stroke compare to men that never smoked. The risk was directly proportional to the number of cigarettes smoked daily. These results trigger an alarm signal for young men that smoke, and suggest that quitting or at least reducing the number of cigarettes could reduce the risk of stroke.

    Read the full story: Medicalxpress
    Scientific publication: Stroke


    Characterizing Neuropeptid Y receptor should be a welcome step to developing drugs against obesity
    Identifying a receptor that could help fight obesity - short science articles - health

    Scientists have for the first time determined the structure of Neuropeptide Y receptor. Neuropeptide Y is produced after you eat and then activates this receptor so that we stop eating and do not feel hungry anymore. Researchers translated the information of thousands of carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and other atoms to build an accurate model of both the active and the inactive form of the receptor. Now that we know the structure of the receptor, we can develop targeted drugs which can activate this receptor and this could be an awesome way to fight obesity.

    Read the full story: ScienceBriefss
    Scientific publication: Nature


    Malaria mosquitos are attracted to children infected with malaria
    Malaria mosquitos smell children that are infected with the malaria parasite - health science news

    Malaria parasites in the body of children with malaria enhance the production of some specific smells (especially the aldehydes heptanal, octanal and nonanal) that are emitted through the skin. These smells attract additional malaria mosquitoes, increasing the risk that these children are bitten. With this discovery, researchers understand better how malaria mosquitos select their victims, increasing the possibilities to intervene.

    Read the full story: Wageningen University and Research
    Scientific publication: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA


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