March 21, 2019

    Short Science News, Articles And The Latest Scientific Discoveries And Research

    Drug combination treatment of pancreatic cancer tested successfully in mice

    Health | Mar 21, 2019 | Erwin van den Burg

    The resistance of pancreatic cancer to pharmacological treatment may be overcome by combinational drug therapy
    Drug combination treatment of pancreatic cancer tested successfully in mice - health short science news

    Researchers have identified a potential drug combination treatment to combat pancreas cancer, the third mostly deadly form of cancer.

    One drug intervenes with lysosomes, so that essential nutrients cannot be recycled anymore. The other drug blocks the pathway to repair DNA. Together, they have synergistic effects, meaning that their effect when combined together is bigger than the sum of their individual actions.

    The combined drug therapy has now successfully been tested in mice, and there is hope that this may lead to an effective strategy for the treatment of pancreatic cancer, known to be very resistant to single drugs.

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


    Surprising culprit for worsened cardiovascular health in the elderly: the gut microbiome

    Health | Mar 21, 2019 | Erwin van den Burg

    Bacteria living in the gut change with aging, and are at the basis of reduced cardiovascular health in the elderly
    Surprising culprit for worsened cardiovascular health in the elderly: the gut microbiome - health short science news

    With increasing age, blood vessels stiffen and degrade, leading to increased risk of cardiovascular disease in the elderly. Scientists have found a surprising culprit for this: changes in the gut microbiome.

    Studies in mice have revealed that aging comes with more “bad” bacteria that appear to at the basis of increased inflammation, stiffening arteries, and decreased health of the vascular endothelium (the inner lining of blood vessels). When applying antibiotics in old mice to eliminate most of the bacteria living in the gut, vascular health improved to the cardiovascular condition seen in young mice.

    Researchers believe that diets high in probiotic-rich cultured food (yogurt, kefir, kimchi) and prebiotic fiber could play a role in preventing heart disease by promoting a healthy gut microbiome.

    Read the full story: University of Colorado – Boulder
    Scientific publication: Journal of Physiology


    Creating hydrogen fuel from seawater

    Technology | Mar 19, 2019 | Erwin van den Burg

    Seawater is the most abundant source of chemical energy and could soon be used for the production of hydrogen
    Creating hydrogen fuel from seawater - technology short science news

    Hydrogen is an appealing option for fuel, because burning it produces only water, no carbon dioxide. As powering cars and cities would take enormous amounts of hydrogen, it seems impossible to use purified water to obtain sufficient amounts of hydrogen, especially in more arid areas of the planet.

    Now researchers have discovered a way to split seawater (the Earth’s most abundant source for chemical energy) into hydrogen and oxygen by a process called electrolysis. The corrosive effects of chloride in the seawater was prevented by a special coating on the anode.

    This method might prove useful for hydrogen production at large scale in the future.

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


    Climate change threatens waterbirds in the American west

    Earth | Mar 19, 2019 | Erwin van den Burg

    Waterbirds are disappearing from the Great Basin in the American west due to climate change
    Climate change threatens waterbirds in the American west - climate short science news

    A clear link has been found between increasing temperatures, and decreasing number of migrating and breeding waterbirds in the Great Basin in the American west.

    With increasing temperatures, especially over the last few decades, melted snow water arrives earlier in the Basin, and summers are warmer, dryer, and longer. As a consequence, availability of fresh water diminishes, and the remaining water becomes more salty. This is especially bad news for hatchlings, as they have still to develop their salt glands and do not support higher salinity.

    Thus, climate change has already a visible impact on wetland ecosystems in the west of the USA.

    Read the full story: Oregon State University
    Scientific publication: Scientific Reports


    Spaceflight reactivates sleeping viruses in our body

    Health | Mar 18, 2019 | Kshitij Jadhav

    Spaceflights suppress our immunity an reactivates viruses in our body
    Spaceflight reactivates sleeping viruses in our body - interesting science news

    This could be a hurdle to consider before we think of space exploration and settling on Mars. A NASA research has shown that Herpes virus reactivated in more than 50% of crew aboard Space Shuttle and International Space Station.

    The research states that during spaceflights there is a rapid rise in stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline which suppresses the immune system. These conditions persist for longer durations which contribute to reactivation of the viruses.

    However, so far, the reactivation of the virus is mostly non-symptomatic. However continuous shedding of the virus from these astronauts continued for more than 30 days after returning to earth which could hamper immunocompromised individuals they come in contact with on earth.

    Read the full story: Frontiers (via ScienceDaily)
    Scientific publication: Frontiers in Microbiology


    Quit that Cola now. Sugary drinks linked to early death

    Health | Mar 18, 2019 | Kshitij Jadhav

    Those sugary drinks are killing us
    Quit that Cola now. Sugary drinks linked to early death - interesting science news

    A long-term study based in the US has shown that higher amount of sugar-sweetened beverages consumed is associated with higher risk of premature death especially from cardiovascular diseases and also to a small extent cancer.

    The sugar-sweetened beverages such as carbonated and non-carbonated drinks, energy drinks, fruit drinks are the single largest source of added sugars consumed in the US. They alone exceed the daily recommended sugar consumption by atleast 10%.

    Compared to drinking less than 1 sugary drink per month, drinking 1-4 per month increased risk of death by 1%, 2-6 per week increased this risk by 6%, 1-2 per day increased it by 14% and 2 or more per day increases it by 21%. That’s a high risk to avoid if we kick the habit of drinking Cola’s, don’t you think?

    Read the full story: Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
    Scientific publication: Circulation


    Making blind mice see again with a single gene injection

    Health | Mar 18, 2019 | Erwin van den Burg

    Viruses (AAV) are injected directly into the vitreous of the eye (top) to deliver a gene coding for a light-sensitive receptor, which will be epxressed in ganglion cells to make them sensitive to light. Image: John Flannery, UC Berkeley
    Making blind mice see again with a single gene injection - health short science news

    Researchers have developed a relatively simple method that restored vision in blind mice suffering from retinal degeneration. The mice were able to see motion, brightness changes over a thousandfold range and detail on an iPad that was sufficient to distinguish letters.

    The technique consists of injection an inactivated virus that carries a gene for a light-sensitive receptor, the green cone opsin. This is targeted to the retinal ganglion cells, and makes them light-senstive.

    The researchers expect to start clinical trials on humans with retinal degeneration in as little as three years.

    Read the full story: University of California – Berkely
    Scientific publication: Nature Communications


    Sweat holds great promise for noninvasive measurements

    Technology | Mar 18, 2019 | Erwin van den Burg

    A sensor that stimulates sweat, and provides continuous information about illness, metabolites, or drugs in a noninvasive manner. Image: Joseph Fuqua II/UC Creative Services
    Sweat holds great promise for noninvasive testing - health technology short science news

    Scientists and clinicians search for biosensors that accurately reflect metabolite concentrations and effects of drugs in the blood.

    It turns out that measurements in sweat hold great promise for such continuous, noninvasive testing. They give very similar results as measuring in blood, and the secretion of sweat can be controlled and stimulated, even if a person is resting and cool.

    Sweat sensors are under development, and the first sensors, the size of a Band-Aid that can be applied on the skin, are likely to become available soon.

    Read the full story: University of Cincinnati
    Scientific publication: Nature Biotechnology


    A ‘trap’ to slow down antibiotic resistance

    Technology | Mar 15, 2019 | Kshitij Jadhav

    A simple trap to reduce antibiotic resistance
    A ‘trap’ to slow down antibiotic resistance - interesting science news

    Scientists have developed a faster test, which is able to identify how single bacteria react to antibiotics. Importantly, the susceptibility to an antibiotic can be ascertained in one-hour as compared to the 1-2 day in culture tests.

    The technique involves micro-channels on a glass side along which the bacteria swim. These channels induce the bacteria into tiny traps, and then the scientists can inject drugs and observe how the bacteria, reacts under a microscope.

    This information could help in our fight against antibiotic resistance because how drugs affect single bacteria could help our clinicians choose the right antibiotic, thereby decreasing the incidence of use of prolonged treatments with less effective bacteria which contributes to antibiotic resistance.

    Read the full story: University of York


    Egg lovers beware

    Health | Mar 15, 2019 | Kshitij Jadhav

    The high cholesterol of egg is killing us
    Egg lovers beware - interesting science news

    Researchers are crushing our omelette. A new study indicates that adults who eat more eggs and other dietary cholesterol had a significantly higher risk of death due to any cause. ANY CAUSE. That’s not good.

    However, the real message is not about eggs but about cholesterol, which is more in eggs especially in egg yolk. This also indicates that the current recommended dietary standards for egg need to be revisited.

    This study had a median follow-up period of 17.5 years and during which approximately 6000 deaths occurred in the study population. The startling fact was that exercise, overall diet quality or the type of fat did not change the association between high dietary cholesterol and death risk.

    Read the full story: Northwestern University
    Scientific publication: JAMA


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