January 16, 2019

    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: www.sciencebriefss.com
    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.

    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


    Paradigm shift in classification of diabetes subgroups: from two to five
    Five types of diabetes, not two

    Scientists have made a new classification of adult-onset diabetes, and identify now five groups, instead of two. This had become necessary because of the remarkable variability in symptoms between patients. The new classification is based on a combination of measurements of insulin resistance, insulin secretion, blood sugar levels, age of disease onset, and others. The new classification will lead to better treatment of the disease and less complications.

    Read the full story: Lund University Diabetes Centre
    Scientific publication: The Lancet – Diabetes & Endocrinology


    Resistance of bacteria to antibiotics threatens to make infections untreatable
    Antibiotic resistance makes gonorrhea untreatable

    A man in the UK has been infected with gonorrhoea bacteria that are resistant to a combined antibiotics treatment with azithromycine and ceftriaxon. This treatment is the most prescribed one in many countries, including in England. The patient, who picked up the infection while being abroad, is now treated with yet another antibiotic that might still do its job. This is the first time a case has displayed complete resistance to both antiobiotics worldwide, and shows the lurking danger of antiobiotics resistance in general.

    Read the full story: BBC


    Steps to avoid child abuse could improve both social and economic well being
    Child sexual abuse in the US costs $1.5 million per child death in monetary terms- short science articles

    Child sexual abuse leads to increased risk of severe mental, behavioural and physical health disorders. Researchers have now measured the economic costs of this by calculating the cost of health care, productivity losses, child welfare, violence and suicide death. The total estimated economic burden of child sexual abuse is $9.3 billion. For fatal abuse, it is $1.1 - $1.5 million and for non-fatal abuse, it is $282,734 per incident. This study points out that recognizing children's vulnerability and addressing it effectively will not only improve social well being but also have a positive impact on the economy.

    Read the full story: Georgia State University
    Scientific publication: Child abuse and neglect


    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


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