December 12, 2018

    Lung nodules can be diagnosed as inoffensive or dangerous with the help of a new blood test
    A blood test to diagnose lung cancer - short science news - cancer news

    Many patients are diagnosed with lung nodules that are difficult to classify as benign or malignant without an invasive procedure like a biopsy. A new clinical trial tested the possibility of using a simple blood test to facilitate the diagnostic procedure. The test detects two biomarkers for lung cancer, two proteins called LG3BP and C163A. When the test was combined with information about the patient and the characteristics of the nodules it proved to be accurate in 98% of the cases. This could be a practical way to rule out those individuals with low risk of developing lung cancer.

    Read the full story: ScienceDaily
    Scientific publication: Chest Journal


    A sedentary lifestyle is associated with heart disease, diabetes, and premature death. On top of this, a new study showed an association between the numbers of hours a person sits and the size of a brain region called the medial temporal lobe. This region is important for memory and its thinning was linked to cognitive decline and dementia. The study found that sedentary behavior was a significant predictor of thinning of the medial temporal lobe. Interestingly, physical activity, even at high levels, was insufficient to offset the harmful effects of sitting for extended periods. The study did not prove that too much sitting causes thinner brain structures, but instead that more hours spent sitting are associated with thinner regions.

    Read the full story: University of California, Los Angeles
    Scientific publication: PLOS One

    Lack of sleep may significantly increase the risk for obesity in children and adolescents
    Sleep and obesity risk in children and adolescents - short science news - health news

    Research at the University of Warwick has found that the amount of sleep is directly correlated with obesity in children and adolescents. The study included subjects with different ages, between a few months and 17 years, that were followed over a few years. It was shown that children and adolescents that regularly slept less than the recommended hours gained more weight when they grow older. Overall, they were more likely to become obese, thus suggesting that lack of sleep could be a risk factor for obesity.

    Read the full story: University of Warwick
    Scientific publication: Sleep

    Artificial peptides designed by the computer could replace antibiotics in the future
    Artificial antimicrobial peptides may solve the problem of antibiotic resistance - health science news

    Starting with a peptide naturally occurring in plants and with low antimicrobial activity, scientists have produced an artificial protein that is much more potent than the natural one to combat Gram-negative bacteria infections. Most of the design work was done by computer algorithms, and the resulting peptide was successfully tested in mice with a bacteria infection. This new strategy to combat microbial infections might be a solution to overcome antibiotics-resistant bacteria which increasingly threaten our health.

    Read the full story: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Scientific publication: Nature Communications

    Feacal transplant could help in hepatic encephalopathy
    Useful poop - Faecal microbiota transplantation improves outcomes in hepatic encephalopathy - short science articles and news

    Liver cirrhosis is a leading cause of death and is associated with recurrent episodes of hepatic encephalopathy leading to recurrent hospitalization. Now, a team of researchers have tested the effects of faecal microbiota transplantation and have shown that it resulted in improved cognitive functions for 1 year and reduced the hepatic encephalopathy episodes and hospitalization for as long as 5 months after treatment. The stool donor from the universal donor bank had the highest abundance of Lachnospiraceae and Ruminococcaceae which is hypothesized to be the reason for this improvement.

    Read the full story: ScienceDaily

    Drinking could decrease your lifespan
    Drink more live less - if you drink more than five pints a week - short science articles and news

    A study conducted on over 600,000 people in 19 countries has shown that drinking more than five pints a week of alcohol per week is associated with higher risk of stroke, fatal aneurysm, heart failure and premature death. While several people argue that drinking moderately is associated with lower risk of non-fatal heart attack, the researchers note that such people should consider the higher risks of other several serious and fatal cardiovascular diseases. The study focused on current drinkers to decrease the bias introduced by those who have abstained from drinking due to health complications. So, the idiom that one glass of wine per day is good is no longer valid.

    Read the full story: ScienceBriefss
    Scientific publication: The Lancet

    Drinking alcohol makes one thirsty to prevent dehydration
    Why alcohol and sugar make you thirsty - health science news

    An international study of mice and humans found that alcohol and sugar turn on the production of a particular hormone in the liver, knowns as FGF21. This hormone then travels through the blood to a specific part of the brain, the hypothalamus. Here, FGF21 acts on the brain circuit that provokes thirst and stimulates drinking to prevent dehydration. This mechanism is completely different from the one that was already known, which is a thirst pathway in the kidneys.

    Read the full story: UT Southwestern Medical Center
    Scientific publication: Cell Metabolism

    A mysterious class of immune cells found to make antibodies against the trickiest microbes the immune system has to face, such as HIV
    Bad immune cells are good after all : they can attack HIV - health science news

    A mysterious population of antibody-producing cells that is usually silenced, because it attacks our own body, can be rapidly redeemed to attack some of the trickiest microbes that the rest of the immune system cannot deal with. These microbes have the ability to disguise themselves as being part of the host’s body, making them invisible to the immune system, except for the cells that normally attack the body. These particular cells make improved versions of antibodies that are originally self-reactive to recognise the look-alike microbes such as HIV. These cells can be a valuable new source for the development of a vaccine against HIV.

    Read the full story: Garvan Institute of Medical Research
    Scientific publication: Science

    Learning to play an instrument, as part of music therapy, may be beneficial for stroke patients
    Music improves recovery of stroke patients - short science news - health news

    A clinical trial aimed to assess the role of music therapy in the recovery of hand mobility in patients who suffered a stroke. Some of the patients received piano and electronic drums lessons as part of their therapy. According to the results, those patients that liked the musical activities improved the most in regard to their motor skills. Moreover, they felt less tired, had fewer negative emotions and a better mood. Music therapy might be included in future neurorehabilitation programs in hospitals, but the study points out that the motivation of the patient is paramount for a successful recovery.

    Read the full story: University of Barcelona
    Scientific publication: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

    “Useless” genetic material from the satellites of chromosomes (the round structures) is actually important in holding the genome together
    Function of “junk” satellite DNA discovered - short science news - genetics

    "Junk" DNA refers to bits of DNA that do not code for a protein, and in many cases, its functions are not understood. Now, a new study identified the biological importance of a type of junk DNA, called satellite DNA. It plays an important role in holding the genetic material together, mediating interactions with specific proteins. The proteins bind to the satellite DNA to pull all of the chromosomes together in the nucleus. This shows that what is considered in some cases genetic junk, may still be very important for the survival of the cells.

    Read the full story: University of Michigan
    Scientific publication: eLIFE

    Gut bacteria could make you fat.
    High-fat diet leads to growth of bacteria which could ultimately lead to obesity - short science articles and news

    Researchers have shown that regular consumption of calorie-rich diet could induce the expansion of certain microbes in the small intestine. These microbes not only promote the release of enzymes which help in digestion but also release substances which promote the absorption of the digested fats. The study was conducted in germ-free (GF) mice which had no bacteria at all in their gut and specific pathogen free (SPF) mice which had only non-disease causing microbes. When fed a high-fat diet, the GF mice couldn't digest or absorb fatty food and hence they did not gain any weight. In contrast, the SPF mice indeed gained weight which could lead to high risk of obesity.

    Read the full story: University of Chicago

    Soon, a vaccine could prevent allergic reactions to peanuts
    A vaccine stops peanuts allergy in mice - short science news - allergy - health

    Millions of people are allergic to peanuts. A new study announced the development of a vaccine against this type of allergy, that worked very well in preliminary tests on lab animals. In mice, the vaccine protected them from allergic reactions when exposed to peanuts. The vaccine works by activating a different type of immune response (instead of the standard one) that prevents allergic symptoms. These findings bring researchers closer to a potential clinical trial for anti-allergic vaccines in humans.

    Read the full story: Medicalxpress
    Scientific publication: Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

    Future treatment of cancer by vaccination could be tailored to the needs of each person and without side effects
    Personalised vaccination for cancer treatment on the horizon - cancer and health news

    In the quest for effective treatment options for cancer without side effects, researchers have adopted a new vaccination strategy that makes use of so-called NanoEmulsion technology. NanoEmulsions are tiny packages that encapsulate proteins that have been made by the tumour. They can activate the immune system to activate these proteins so that only cancer cells are effectively eliminated, similar to normal vaccination in which the immune system is stimulated to attack pathogens. This new approach works well in mice, and might be an important strategy to treat cancers in humans in the future.

    Read the full story: The University of Queensland
    Scientific publication: Journal of Clinical Investigation

    When adrenal glands do not produce sufficient amounts of cortisol, hormonal replacement therapy is necessary
    Adrenal patients improve memory function with novel hormone replacement therapy - health science news

    Researchers found that adjusting the replacement of cortisol to the ultradian rhythm of cortisol secretion improves memory function in adrenal patients. Cortisol is a vital steroid hormone that regulates many functions in the body related to metabolism, immune function, blood pressure, and stress, and plays a role in memory function in the brain. With a more natural cortisol replacement therapy, patients not only improved cognitive abilities, but also showed less side effects that would otherwise make it difficult to live normal lives.

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

    Hand dryers could spread more bacteria and spores than expected
    Hand dryers spread microbes in the air - short science news - health

    Hand dryers in restrooms may not be as clean as you think. A new study shows that they are filled with microbes and spores which are spread by the dryers in the air. Scientists collected samples of air from different dryers located in public bathrooms and then cultivated the bacteria in lab conditions. They found that the air expelled by the dryer had the highest count of bacteria compared to regular air collected from the bathroom or the interior hand dryer nozzle surfaces. This may have implications for the control of opportunistic bacterial pathogens in public spaces.

    Read the full story: LiveScience
    Scientific publication: Applied and Environmental Microbiology

    Precision medicine on its way
    A quick efficient way to identify cells of different cell subtypes in the body- short science articles and news

    Scientists have now developed a novel method to identify cells types of cells in the body. This new technology which scales up the previously known method for profiling cells by identifying chemical markers by studying their DNA could enable the development of precise treatments for cancer, neurodegenerative disorders and cardiovascular diseases. Scientists have been able to distinguish different neuronal subtypes by studying patterns of the methyl group in the DNA known as the methylome. They have been able to reveal the methylome of 3282 single cells till date. This could also decrease the cost of preparing DNA libraries to less than 50 cents from the current $20 per cell.

    Read the full story: ScienceBriefss
    Scientific publication: Nature Biotechnology

    Identifying and repairing genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease - Health science news

    Using human brain cells created from skin cells from Alzheimer’s patients and healthy individuals, researchers identified and erased a genetic risk factor for the disease. Alzheimer patients were found to express a protein called apoE4 that has a faulty three dimensional structure, as opposed to the correctly folded apoE3 in cells from healthy people. By applying a small molecule, the researchers converted apoE4 into apoE3, and the damaging effects of apoE4, as seen in Alzheimer’s disease, were erased. This new discovery might lead to completely novel treatment options in the future.

    Read the full story: Gladstone Institutes
    Scientific publication: Nature Medicine

    Bacteria learns how to attach to the airways of infected people in a two-step process. Future generations of bacteria will inherit this “knowledge”
    Bacteria have memories and can pass them from one generation to the next - short science news - health

    The results of a new study were surprising, suggesting that bacteria cells can store “memories” of sensory events in their environment. Moreover, these memories can be passed down to future generations of bacteria cells. The study investigated the molecular process through which Pseudomonas aeruginosa forms biofilms in the airways of people with cystic fibrosis. It found that two events are involved and their memory is passed from one generation to the next. These findings may help understand the dangerous infections caused by bacteria in people with cystic fibrosis.

    Read the full story: University of California, Los Angeles
    Scientific publication: PNAS

    Men and women accumulate fat differently and an estrogen receptor is responsible for this
    Study finds link between gender and differences in fat accumulation - short science news - health news

    Generally, men tend to accumulate fat around their abdomens while women tend to carry more weight around hips and things, but the reason for this difference is unknown. A new study reports that an estrogen receptor (ERa) is important for the way fat builds up in women versus men. In male lab animals, the receptor had a lower expression and this led to a higher visceral fat mass compared to females. The results emphasize the importance of sex-related differences in biomedical research.

    Read the full story: Virginia Tech
    Scientific publication: Cell death and disease

    Roche acquires big cancer data company in the US
    Pharmaceutical giant Roche acquires cancer data company - short science news - health pharma news

    Roche announced the acquisition of an US-based oncology data company Flatiron Health, which runs a large platform of records about cancer patients. Roche will pay 1.9 billion (1.6 billion euros) for the transaction and in return, it will get access to over two million patient records. Roche hopes that this acquisition will allow the companies to develop personalized data-based interventions for cancer patients

    Read the full story: Medicalxpress

    A urine test might help us understand our true age.
    A urine test to determine how old are you...short science articles and news

    Researchers have found that a substance named 8-oxoGsn increases in urine with age. This substance is actually a marker of oxidative damage and is an end product of oxidation of RNA in our cells. They measured the level of 8-oxoGsn in a sample of 1228 Chinese residents between the age of 2-90 years using a rapid analysis technique termed ultra-high performance liquid chromatography and found that there was an age-dependent increase in the urinary levels of 8-oxoGsn in individuals who were 21 years or older. Scientists predict that using 8-oxoGsn might be a better reflection of the real condition of our bodies as compared to chronological age and hence could better predict age-related diseases.

    Read the full story: Frontiers blog
    Scientific publication: Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience

    This new study discovered how the flu virus interacts with antibodies in the lungs
    Scientists uncover new aspect of the flu virus and how it interacts with antibodies in the lungs - short science news - health news

    A new study discovered a novel aspect of the flu (influenza) virus. The results showed that the flu virus interacts with antibodies in the lungs and this process is an attempt to protect the disease from developing. Interestingly, they found that the most efficient antibodies were a subtype called IgA1, especially the “tail” structure. This could be used to prevent or treat the flu. Now, scientists hope that the discovery could lead to better, more efficient vaccines against the influenza virus.

    Read the full story:
    Scientific publication: Cell Reports

    Financial loss could decrease your life expectancy
    Suffering a shocking financial loss can literally kill - short science news and articles

    Researchers have found out that losing your life savings can profoundly affect a persons' long-term health. There is a 50% higher likelihood of death if a person loses 75% or more of the total wealth in their middle age. This is similar to those individuals who never had any accumulated wealth and were socially vulnerable indicating that having wealth and then losing it is similar to never having wealth at all. Researchers believe that these people suffer a severe mental health toll as well as pull away from medical care since they cannot afford it anymore.

    Read the full story: Science News Line
    Scientific publication: JAMA

    The study provides genetic evidence that the insulin/insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) ablation could be exploited therapeutically to treat lung cancer
    New metabolic approach efficient against lung cancer - short science news - health news

    Lung cancer is difficult to stop and is responsible for many deaths. Now, a new study suggests that 1 in 4 cases could be treated using a new approach. The new method uses a combined process: delivery of conventional drugs (IGF-1 inhibitors) together with a genetic approach to completely block insulin/IGF-1 signaling. This messes up the metabolism of the cancer cells and it worked beautifully with lab animals, with almost no tumors at 10 to 15 weeks. However, it remains to see how feasible it will be to apply this approach to treat humans.

    Read the full story: ScienceDaily
    Scientific publication: PNAS

    The device can “see” the blood flowing through small vessels under the skin, at the base of the fingernail. Using algorithms, it can estimate the number of white blood cells (marked with a star in the image). Credit: MIT/The Leuko Project
    New wearable device to monitor patients’ white blood cell levels at home - short scienc enews - health technology news

    Patients undergoing chemotherapy often suffer from a sharp drop in white blood cells, the cells that help our bodies fight infections. Now, a team of researchers has developed a portable device that can monitor the levels of blood cells at home, without the need for taking blood samples. It works by recording a video of the blood flow through the capillaries under the skin. It is hoped that this device could soon prevent thousands of infections that chemotherapy patients contact yearly.

    Read the full story: MIT
    Scientific publication: Scientific Reports

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