October 18, 2018

    Macrophages (blue cell) are key players in inflammation and now scientists discovered a molecule that can switch them off.
    Scientists find promising mechanism to switch off inflammation - short science news - health news

    A team of researchers discovered a new molecule that acts like a switch for inflammation, a process involved in many diseases. Derived from glucose the newly discovered metabolite, itaconate, turns off a group of immune cells called macrophages, which are the main mediators of the inflammatory process. The scientists hope their discovery will help people affected by arthritis, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease and other disorders involving inflammation.

    Read the full story: Trinity College Dublin
    Scientific publication: Nature


    Researchers identified the interstitium – a new organ, seen here beneath the skin. Credit: Jill Gregory. Printed with permission from Mount Sinai Health System
    A possible new organ discovered in the human body - short science news - health and medicine news

    A team of scientists discovered a previously unknown structure in the human body – the interstitium. It consists of interconnected, fluid-filled compartments, reinforced by connective tissue containing collagen and elastin. The newly discovered structure likely functions as a shock absorber in order to protect tissues and internal organs. The liquid inside is moving and this may explain why some cancers spread so fast in the body. The interstitium will probably be soon accepted as a new organ and it has already stimulated scientific curiosity.

    Read the full story: www.sciencebriefss.com
    Scientific publication: Scientific reports


    Air pollution increases asthma cases in children
    Air pollution could be the reason for your child's asthma.- Science science articles

    Is air pollution harming our health? Definitely. Researchers have developed a model to assess the impact of nitrogen oxide exposure to development of asthma and found that these air pollutants could account for as many as 38% cases in children. Specifically, they predict that 12% of the new asthma cases in children could be attributed to traffic-related air pollution. Nitrogen dioxide causes irritation of the respiratory system and hence could significantly increase the respiratory troubles. Thus driving less and using clean fuel could truly help us save our children's lives.

    Read the full story: University of Leeds


    Heat map showing that the distribution of drug-related mortality across the US is not random. Credit: Shannon M. Monnat
    Distribution of drug-induced mortality follows a precise pattern across the US - short science news - health news

    A new study is the first to investigate country-level (in the US) drug-related mortality and the relationship with local economic and social conditions. The study found that the distribution of deaths from drugs is not randomly distributed. Rather, it follows a pattern. Mortality rates were higher in counties with greater economic and family distress and lower in counties with a strong religious presence and a higher proportion of recent immigrants. According to the findings, the social and economic environment is important for prevention of drug-related issues and this should be taken into consideration for future prevention programs.

    Read the full story: Elsevier
    Scientific publication: American Journal of Preventive Medicine


    Scientists from many disciplines will join forces to model the pancreatic beta-cell
    Modelling the insulin cell to halt diabetes

    Scientists from several disciplines have launched a huge project to model the cells that produce insulin in the pancreas (known as beta-cells). Researchers from the domains of biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, mathematics, and even artists and filmmakers will join forces to build an accurate model of what is inside the cell, and of the contribution of each component to the function of the cell: insulin release in response to high glucose levels. This endeavour of five years is expected to increase our understanding of the pancreatic beta-cell in all its finesse, so that completely new strategies can be designed to treat the current epidemy of diabetes.

    Read the full story: University of Southern California
    Scientific publication: Cell


    Calorie restriction may prolong life
    Could eating less help you live longer?  - short science articles

    The first clinical trial to identify the effects of calorie restriction on life longevity has revealed that calorie restriction over long-term decreases risk of chronic diseases and also prolongs life. The study conducted in 53 non-obese healthy individuals showed that restricting calories could lower our basal metabolism and decrease the production of free radicals which are known to damage DNA, proteins and lipids which has been connected to age-related neurological disorders like Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease as also diabetes and cancer. The next step would be to identify if calorie restriction along with antioxidants like resveratrol gives better results.

    Read the full story: Health Informative
    Scientific publication: Cell Metabolism


    Analyzing all the cells inside the human body; this is the goal of the LifeTime project.
    The LifeTime project to analyze every single cell in the human body - short science news

    A large consortium of European researchers has an ambitious goal: to characterize all the cells within the human body. Called LifeTime, the proposed project already joins 60 leading scientists from 18 European countries. The team aims to develop new technologies and apply them to analyze individual cells, in order to obtain single-cell resolution of all the organs in the body. This is a challenging task which requires time and money, but eventually, it will improve diagnosis, the predictions for diseases and allow for better treatments. This programme is now proposed as the potential next Future and Emerging Technologies Flagships project to be founded by the European Commission. 

    Read the full story: Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine


    Exercise changes the activity of many genes in the muscles, but this is different based on the type of exercise
    Different type of physical exercises induce different molecular changes in the muscles - health short science news

    A new study investigated the molecular and genetic changes that happen in the muscles after various types of exercise, including weight lifting and aerobic exercises. The study found that aerobic exercises induced changes in 48 genes, while resistance exercises changed 348 genes in the muscles. Each type of exercise elicited a unique molecular response from the muscles. Understanding this phenomenon will enable in the future the personalization of physical training for better performance and health status.

    Read the full story: Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen)
    Scientific publication: Journal of applied physiology


    Linoleic acid (shown above) and other omega-6 fatty acids may promote a longer life
    Omega-6 fatty acids may protect against premature death  - short health science news

    A large-scale study that surveyed 2,480 men for over 22 years investigated the relationship between omega-6 fatty acids and the risk of premature death due to disease-related causes. The risk of premature death was decreased by 43% in the group with the highest level of omega-6 fatty acids in their blood. The acids offered protection against death related to cardiovascular disease and other causes, except for cancer. The level of fatty acids is determined by diet. Some of the richest sources are vegetable oils, plant-based spreads, nuts and seeds.

    Read the full story: University of Eastern Finland
    Scientific publication: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition


    Early puberty could lead to obesity
    Early puberty might be a risk factor for obesity

    While previous studies indicate that obesity and puberty are related and increased body-weight is a risk factor for early puberty, a recent study shows that early puberty is itself a risk factor for having higher BMI. Researchers have identified 122 genetic variants which are strongly associated with early onset of puberty after studying data of 182,416 women. The researchers speculate that those girls who reach puberty earlier could be facing higher pressures from peers which could lead to obesity. Or there could be some hormonal influences which might increase fat deposition which if established earlier could increase the risk profile for later life obesity.

    Read the full story: Imperial College of London
    Scientific publication: International Journal on Obesity


    The H7N9 flu virus is very aggressive and has a high mortality rate
    Clinical trials for avian (bird) flu begin - short health science news

    The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID, USA) has announced the beginning of two Phase 2 clinical trials for H7N9 influenza (bird flu) vaccine. H7N9 was first reported in China in 2013 and since then more than 1,500 people have been infected in that country. The virus transmits following contact with infected birds and it has a very high mortality rate (39%) compared to other flu viruses. If the clinical trials will prove positive, the H7N9 vaccine will become a powerful tool in the fight against a potential bird flu pandemic. The trials aim to test different dosages of inactivated virus and to find the ideal vaccination schedule. 

    Read the full story: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
    Info about the first clinical trial: ClinicalTrials.gov
    Info about the second clinical trial: ClinicalTrials.gov


    Bottled water might contain plastic
    WHO launches a review after a study claims that 90% of bottled water has microplastics

    Researchers from State University of New York in Fredonia have released a study which states that they have found two times as many plastic particles in bottled water as compared to their previous analysis of tap water. 259 bottles were collected from 19 different locations in 9 countries and 11 brands were included in this study. Scientists used Nile red dye which sticks to plastics but rarely to natural materials to identify the plastic particles and it is claimed that its source might be the caps of the bottles. While the researchers haven't been able to spectroscopically confirm their finding, WHO has launched a probe to ascertain these results.

    Read the full story: ORB Media
    Scientific publication: State University of New York at Fredonia


    To fight the flu, scientist are trying hard to develop a universal influenza vaccine
    The universal flu vaccine: challenges and advances in the search for the perfect influenza vaccine

    Every year, millions of people get vaccinated for the flu, yet the disease keeps coming back each time. The flu is a common condition caused by viruses called influenza. It is highly contagious and a recent study showed that simply breathing is enough to spread the viruses from an infected person. So, why is it we don’t have a better vaccine for influenza yet? And why do we need to get the shot every year? Wouldn’t it be easier to have a universal flu vaccine that we deliver once and is effective forever? Let’s try to answer these questions in this editorial!

    Read the full story: ScienceBriefss Editorial on Universal Flu Vaccine


    Patients with heart problems can safely use a generic antiplatelet drug
    Generic antiplatelet drug works just as well as a more expensive brand-name product

    Patients who took the generic version of the anti-platelet drug clopidogrel after a heart attack had the same odds of having a new heart attack or of death than those who took the brand-name product Plavix®. This was the outcome of a study performed in Canada, where the health system has switched to the generic form after the patent expired of the brand-name form. This real-world study shows that the generic product can be used safely as an economic alternative for the treatment of acute coronary syndrome, percutaneous coronary intervention, stroke or peripheral vascular disease.

    Read the full story: American Heart Association
    Scientific publication: Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes


    Image of a normally harmless reovirus, although implicated in celiac disease
    Viruses hijack a host cell protein for assembly and release

    Studies on reoviruses have revealed that viruses use a protein from the cell they have infected for their assembly and release. The protein, known as TRiC, helps to fold other proteins so that they obtain the required three-dimensional structure. Now that scientists understand better how viral proteins fold and how viruses reproduce in the cells of the body, new therapeutics could be developed for the treatment of viral infections.

    Read the full story: University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
    Scientific publication: Nature Microbiology


    Microtubules are structures that regulate intracellular transport, cellular mobility and division
    The “railway” network inside cells disassembles when not in use - short biology news

    Living cells contain an internal transport network similar to the railway network inside a country. The “tracks” are called microtubules. Extremely small structures only 25 nanometers across (a nanometer is one millionth of a millimeter), they span the entire cell. Interestingly, a new study shows that when not in use, the microtubules disassemble themselves. However, when they are used they remain stable. This mechanism is controlled by the protein named kinesin and dysregulations of this mechanism could be involved in several disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease.

    Read the full story: University of Warwick
    Scientific publication: Nature Nanotechnology


    Some bats have evolved an efficient telomere repair system, giving them a long and healthy life
    Growing old, while staying young: bats know the secret of healthy ageing

    While telomers in humans and most mammals shorten with age, and so mark cells for degradation and death, they remain at full length in bats thanks to an efficient molecular system that constantly repairs ageing-induced DNA damages. In humans, long telomers are associated with cancers, but as the bats do not develop those, it seems that these animals have evolved an efficient DNA repair system that makes healthy ageing possible.

    Read the full story: University College Dublin
    Scientific publication: Science Advances


    Volatile chemicals from plants, like essential oils could be the future of antifungals
    Plant-derived essential oils, could kill drug-resistant fungi - short health science news

    Many species of fungi develop drug resistance, becoming a problem for health and agriculture. Science is constantly looking for new ways to combat them and this is exactly what a new study managed to do. The study describes a new screening method to identify antimicrobial volatile substances from plants. From over 175 plant-derived volatile substances tested, almost half of them were active against drug-resistant Candida fungi. The new screening method has important potential applications in testing molecules for antimicrobial activity, and some compounds may be used in the future as antifungals.

    Read the full story: VIB Center for Microbiology
    Scientific publication: Scientific Reports


    Some are more empathic than others and 10% of this variability is determined by our genes
    Empathy is in the genes - short health science news

    Empathy is developed through experience and learning, but this is not the full picture. A new study shows that empathy is, at least in part, determined genetically. This is the largest genetic study of empathy, with more than 46,000 subjects. It demonstrates the role of genetics in empathy, although the specific genes involved were not identified. Only 10% of the variations in empathy were determined genetically, but even this small percentage may be important to understand individual differences in human behavior.

    Read the full story: Medical Xpress
    Scientific publication: Translational Psychiatry


    High physical activity in adulthood helps you age gracefully
    You should exercise regularly - it slows down the ageing

    Older adults who have been actively exercising throughout their life have both a strong immunity and also lower cholesterol levels. Thymus, the organ which produces the white blood cells, was working at the same level as youngsters in these adults. This definitely debunks the notion that old age automatically makes us frail and which should encourage people to commit to regular exercise.

    Read the full story: University of Birmingham
    Scientific publication: Ageing Cell


    Fiber-rich nutrition reduces type 2 diabetes symptoms by changing the gut bacteria population
    High-fiber diet favors growth of bacteria that reduce type 2 diabetes symptoms

    Hopeful news for type 2 diabetes patients : adopting a high-fiber diet will favor the growth of a select group of gut bacteria that will promote a better control of blood glucose levels, weight loss and better lipid levels. These bacteria produce the short chain fatty acids butyrate and acetate, creating a mildly acidic gut environment that inhibits the growth of detrimental bacteria. This study indicates that type 2 diabetes could be managed or prevented by nutritional strategies.

    Read the full story: Rutgers University
    Scientific publication: Science


    PTSD in war soldiers might change the brain's stress system in others
    Your stress is in my brain

    Researchers have discovered that stress transmitted from others changes the brain in the very same way as a real stress does. This surprising effect of transfer of stress was found in a specific population of brain cells in pairs of mice, from which one had been subjected to mild stress before it was returned to its partner. This effect was partially reversed in female, but not male, mice following social interaction. The results show the importance of social contact after stress, and may explain why family members of some soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) display PTSD symptoms themselves.

    Read the full story: University of Calgary
    Scientific publication: Nature Neuroscience


    Enterococcus sp. can leave the intestines and trigger autoimmune reactions in the body
    Gut bacteria as a cause of autoimmune disease

    Enterococcus gallinarum bacteria living in the small intestines of mice and humans can leave the gut and colonise lymph nodes, the liver and spleen. There they stimulate the immune system to attack healthy tissue. Treatment with an antibiotic or vaccine targeting E. gallinarum suppressed the autoimmune reaction. Researchers say that these findings pave the way for new treatment options for chronic autoimmune conditions, such as systemic lupus and autoimmune liver diseases.

    Read the full story: Yale University
    Scientific publication: Science


    Victorian peasants had the healthiest diet
    In mid-Victorian Britain the poor had the best diet and health - short health news

    In a new study, researchers looked at the impact of diet on health during the mid-Victorian era (19th century) in Britain. The available data were compared to information about mortality from the same period. The study found large regional differences in diet, lifestyle, and mortality. One interesting discovery is that the poor laboring population from rural areas had the most nutritious diet and the lowest mortality rates. This is explained by the availability of natural and healthy foods, produced locally, like vegetables, milk, fish, etc., which were scarcer in urban regions. Today the urbanization and improved infrastructure make food easily available in cities, but one can still wonder if the reported difference in the diet is still present, mainly due to the high prevalence of processed foods in the present.

    Read the full story: MedicalXpress
    Scientific publication: The Royal Society of Medicine Journals


    Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder characterized by recurrent seizures
    Brain protein levels linked to seizure onset in epilepsy - short health science news

    Epilepsy affects millions of people worldwide. Many aspects of this disorder are yet unknown. A new study provides new clues about a mechanism involved in epileptic seizures. The protein called TIA-1 (T-cell intracellular antigen-1), present in many parts of the brain, was identified as a key factor in determining the point above which seizures occurred. TIA-1 appears to suppress seizures and this discovery may help the efforts to develop new therapeutic approaches for epilepsy.

    Read the full story: Syracuse University
    Scientific publication: Neuroscience


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