April 26, 2019

    Replacing starchy food with lentils decreases blood sugar levels
    Blood glucose levels significantly reduced by lentils - short science articles

    Researchers have found that replacing rice or potatoes with lentils can reduce the blood sugar levels by at least 20% and 35% respectively. The study lead authors state that pulses are very nutrient dense foods which can reduce chronic diseases which are associated with deranged blood glucose levels. The lentils can slow down the digestion and release of sugars found in the starchy foods which can ultimately reduce the blood glucose levels. Further, the researchers state that the lentils contain substances which inhibit the enzymes involved in absorption of glucose and the fibre content in them facilitate the production of short chain fatty acids also leading to lower blood sugar levels.

    Read the full story: University of Glueph
    Scientific publication: The Journal of Nutrition


    A small moelcule PM-43I could help treat asthma effectively
    A tiny molecule could defeat asthma - short science articles

    At the epicentre of asthma attacks which cripple millions worldwide is a transcription factor STAT6 which is necessary for expression of several genes in the lungs which then produce all the inflammatory substances involved in the attack. Now, scientists have designed a small molecule PM-43I which specifically inhibits the STAT6 in the lung cells which additionally doesn't trigger unwanted side-effects. PM-43I is able to reverse preexisting allergic airway disease in mice did not have any long-term lung toxicity and is efficiently excreted out by the kidney. An important advantage of this drug is that patients could stop taking steroids which have several side effects like suppression of immunity. Researchers are moving the drug towards next stage of testing it in humans.

    Read the full story: Baylor College of Medicine
    Scientific publication: Journal of Biological Chemistry


    Implantable, patient-friendly, device for continuous delivery of drugs to the heart. Image: Second Bay Studios/Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
    Direct and continuous delivery of medication to the heart to prevent heart failure - health science news

    Scientists have engineered a device that can be implanted on the heart for the delivery of drugs on a continual basis to treat the after effects of a heart attack. The device can be connected to a pump through a tube so that it can be refilled, not only with drugs but also with stem cells or proteins, should this be desired. This device is especially designed to prevent or treat the scarring that occurs after a heart attack, which can lead to heart failure.

    Read the full story: Harvard – John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
    Scientific publication: Nature Biomedical Engineering


    New approach to treat cancers, including certain types of lung cancer
    Targeting a cancer cell’s metabolic need to fight tumors - health science news

    Researchers have successfully targeted an understudied metabolic pathway in cancer cells to arrest cell growth and survival. This pathway concerns oxidative phosphorylation, which can now be inhibited by a newly developed drug. The drug was tested in preclinical studies for treating lung cancers with a special genetic mutation, which makes the cancerous cells sensitive to the drug, as these cells consume more oxygen and display increased oxidative phosphorylation for their metabolic needs. This study therefore provides the basis of the development of new medication for a number of cancers.

    Read the full story: University of Texas – MD Anderson Cancer Center
    Scientific publication: Nature Medicine – drug
    Scientific publication: Nature Medicine – preclinical lung cancer study


    Recovery of dementia might be possible thanks to a drug that is already used for the treatment of asthma
    Medication for asthma reverses cognitive impairment in mice with dementia - health science news

    A common type of pathology in the brain observed in dementia (tau pathology) can be reversed by a drug that is already approved for the treatment of asthma, and is known as zileuton. It reduces the levels of leukotrienes (fat-like substances that play a role in allergies), which are normally useful for the protection of neurons at the short term, but are detrimental at the long term. In the brain of experimental mice with dementia, zileuton reduced the levels of leukotrienes by 90% and completely restored synapses that neurons use to communicate. This is the first study showing that it is possible to intervene after dementia has been established in mice.

    Read the full story: Temple University
    Scientific publication: Molecular Neurobiology


    Stopping smoking might be easier in the future with new therapeutic molecules
    New molecules to quit smoking in development - health science news

    In an effort to develop drugs that can facilitate smoking cessation therapies, researchers have modified a commonly used drug, cytisine, to make it more specific for nicotine receptors in the brain. The new molecules will thus reduce the side effects of cytisine, and will still give partial reward, which is required by smokers to cope with cravings. The new molecules will be at the basis for further drug design to create effective and specific therapeutic agents, making cessation of smoking easier.

    Read the full story: University of Bristol
    Scientific publication: Chem


    Negative social media experiences correlate with depressive symptoms
    Negative social media experiences induce depression symptoms - science news in brief

    A new study investigated the correlations between social media experiences and depression symptoms reported by young adults. It was found that positive social media experiences were not linked in any significant way with depression. However, the negative experiences were strongly associated with it. Each 10 percent increase in negative experiences was associated with a 20 percent increase in the odds of depressive symptoms. The findings may be useful for designing interventions and clinical recommendations to reduce the risk of depression. Just another reminder that we should be cautious and critical while using the social media!

    Read the full story: University of Pittsburgh
    Scientific publication: Depression and Anxiety


    The more time a young person spends in education, the higher the chances for developing myopia
    Too much time spent in education may induce myopia - science news in brief - health

    A study investigated the causal link between the time spent in education and myopia, in a large population cohort from the UK. The conclusion was that the more time people spend educating themselves, the higher the chances of developing myopia. For every additional year of education, there was an increase in myopic refractive error of ‑0.27 dioptres/year. Exactly how this happens is not clear from the study. One likely explanation is that children spend less time outdoors. This is in agreement with previous studies that showed that spending more time outdoors protects against myopia. The findings have important applications for educational practices.

    Read the full story: ScienceBriefss
    Scientific publication: BMJ


    Human kidneys in the body
    New test coming on the market that can predict diabetic kidney disease - health technology science news

    A new test can accurately predict diabetic kidney disease before the disease sets in. The test concerns measurements of certain proteins in the blood. About 10% of diabetic patients will develop loss of kidney function, and this test aims to prevent kidney dialysis and make early preventive measures possible. The test is now slowly brought on the market in the US, and the company producing the test, Proteomics International Laboratories from Perth, Australia, is now discussing with other countries as well to make the test widely accessible.

    Read the full story: University of Western Australia


    Detection of scarring wounds might be facilitated with newly developed nanoparticles
    New nanoparticles might replace biopsy to assess skin scarring - health science news

    Using nanoparticles coated with pieces of DNA, researchers have developed a new tool to detect abnormal skin scarring in an early stage. The nanoparticles penetrate 2 mm into the skin and then enter skin cells. The DNA will light up in the cells when genes are active that promote abnormal scarring, and this can be seen with the aid of a hand-held fluorescent microscope. This new technique could replace biopsies in the near future, and allows doctors to intervene early in the scarring process. Also, the DNA can be changed so that it might detect e.g. skin cancer cells in future applications of the nanoparticles.

    Read the full story: Nanyang Technological University Singapore
    Scientific publication: Nature Biomedical Engineering


    Toxic chemotherapy can be safely omitted in 70% of breast cancer patients
    Most breast cancer patients can refrain from chemotherapy - cancer science news

    A groundbreaking study has revealed that most women suffering from breast cancer do not need chemotherapy. Scientists and medical doctors have come to this conclusion on the basis of the expression of 21 genes that together provide a risk profile of cancer recurrence. This assessment shows that as much as 69% of the patients can safely refrain from chemotherapy, without the outcome of their therapy and life-expectancy being compromised.

    Read the full story: Loyola University Medical Center
    Scientific publication: New England Journal of Medicine


    Feeding fruit flies with probiotics and supplement prolongs their lives by 66%
    Feed your microbiome well, and you will live a long and healthy life - health science news

    Scientists feeding fruit flies with a combination of probiotics and an herbal supplement observed that the flies lived up to 66 days old. This is 26 days more than without the supplement. Further, the flies with the supplement were protected against chronic diseases associated with aging, such as insulin resistance, inflammation and oxidative stress. The study shows the importance of the microbiome, and its influence on the brain and healthy aging in fruit flies. This may also apply to human health, the researchers say.

    Read the full story: McGill University
    Scientific publication: Scientific Reports


    Submissive mice live shorter than dominant mice as a consequence of social stress
    Social stress linked to shorter life span in mice - health science news

    Mice holding a low position on the hierarchical ladder suffer from social stress imposed by dominant conspecifics. These socially stressed mice show earlier onset of neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases, a new study shows. They are also at a higher risk than dominant mice of developing cancer. These pathologies coincide with age-related pathologies, and stressed mice indeed have a lower lifespan. These findings parallel observations in humans, where low social and economic status increase the risk of disease and mortality. With the new animal model, researchers aim to increase our understanding of the processes underlying the negative influences of social stress on human health.

    Read the full story: University of Minnesota
    Scientific publication: Aging Cell


    Stress in infants not only affects the brain, but also other organs in the body
    Early-life stress can alter the body’s organs - health science news

    Researchers have found that a special class of receptors that are normally expressed in the brain are also localized in other organs in the body, and that they are vulnerable to high stress levels during infancy. These receptors, known as GABA-A receptors, change their biochemical composition under the influence of stress, and in different ways in different organs. This study show that it might be possible to target these receptors to treat symptoms of stress in the body, and not only in the brain as is currently the case.

    Read the full story: University of Portsmouth
    Scientific publication: Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience


    The tendency to sun-burn or tan is genetically encoded in a chromosomal region associated with melanoma
    Burning or tanning: it’s in the genes - health science news

    A genetic association study on genomes of 176.678 people of European ancestry has revealed ten new genes that determine whether people will tan or develop a sun burn. The genetic information was paired with self-reports of participants on their tendency to burn or tan. One of the genetic regions that correlate with sun burn had previously been associated with melanoma. It is therefore very likely that genetic variants in this area may increase the risk of developing skin cancer by reducing the ability to tan.

    Read the full story: King’s College London
    Scientific publication: Nature Communications


    Healthy dieting and weight management reduce the risk for, and costs of, diabetes
    Global costs for diabetes projected to double by 2030 - diabetes science news

    With the number of diabetes patients likely to rise from 415 million in 2015 to 642 million in 2040, global costs for diabetes are expected to double by 2030, or a staggering 2.5 trillion USD, a new study finds. The calculations were made by looking at medical costs, and secondary costs such as decreased productivity and earnings in 180 countries. Scientists call for action, as some of the most common risk factors of diabetes, i.e. physical inactivity and obesity, can easily be reduced.

    Read the full story: King’s College London
    Scientific publication: Diabetes Care


    Vitamin and mineral supplements might not be useful at all
    Popular vitamin and mineral supplements provide no health benefit - short science articles

    With half the world poping vitamin and mineral supplements on a regular basis, we expect them to have health benefits. However, researchers conducted a systematic analysis of the existing data of randomized trials published in English from Jan 2012 to October 2017 and found that consumption of multivitamins (Vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B9), vitamin D, calcium and vitamin C gave no advantage in risk prevention of cardiovascular diseases, stroke, premature death or heart attacks. While these supplements do no harm, but also they do no good as per the study except folic acid which could potentially reduce stroke and heart disease. So, it is better to rely on your diet for the essential vitamins and minerals.

    Read the full story: St. Micheal's
    Scientific publication: Journal of American College of Cardiology


    Researchers have created the sketch of the pathogens that could trigger a global pandemic
    This is the profile of the microorganisms likely to trigger the next catastrophic pandemic - science news - health and medicine

    Dangerous biological outbreaks are always a potential threat. In an effort to encourage better preparations for a global pandemic, scientists created the typical profile of microorganisms that have the ability to trigger such a wide-scale outbreak. RNA viruses are the biggest threat, the study noted. Most likely, the pathogen will be transmitted by breathing. It will be contagious before the symptoms develop, or when the symptoms are mild. To increase the transmission and infection, it will probably have low, but significant, mortality rates. The report also contains eight key recommendations for preparations for a global pandemic.

    Read the full story: EurekaAlert
    Scientific publication: John Hopkins Center for Health Security


    Parthenolide is a natural plant extract with excellent anti-leukemia activity
    Cancer cells resistant to therapy due to interactions with healthy cells - cancer science news

    While much progress has been made with the use of Parthenolide, a natural plant extract, to treat childhood leukemia, some cancerous cell populations remain resistant. A new study shows that this resistance is caused by anti-oxidants from neighboring healthy cells. This finding indicates that it might be possible to develop more efficient strategies to combat leukemia with Parthenolide, or perhaps even other chemotherapy drugs, by depleting bone marrow cells of anti-oxidants.

    Read the full story: University of Bristol
    Scientific publication: Haematologica


    Increasing the level of physical activity may reduce the risk of health issues associated with sitting too much in front of the computer or TV
    Sitting too much in front of the screen has lower negative impact on active, strong people - science news in brief - medicine

    Too much screen time has been correlated with a series of health problems, from cardiovascular diseases to cancer. However, not everyone seems to be equally affected. A new study suggests that people that are fit, strong and active are more protected from health problems compared to those less fit. The researchers quantified the time spend in front of computer or TV screens, which is a “sedentary” form of leisure. It seems that increasing the levels of activity and fitness may have beneficial outcomes, from this point of view. However, the study only reports a correlation and did not directly test the cause and effect relationship between physical activity and screen time.

    Read the full story: ScienceDaily
    Scientific publication: BMC Medicine


    Gut bacteria control anti-cancer immune function in the liver
    Gut microbiome controls anti-cancer immune responses in the liver - health science news

    A new study has found the mechanism by which gut bacteria and the immune system work together in the liver and control cancer. From experiments with mice that had liver cancer and were treated with antibiotics, scientists found that bacteria control the metabolism of bile acids in the gut. Bile acids, in turn, control the expression of a signalling molecule of the immune system in liver capillaries, which increases the number of immune cells that fight cancers. The scientists found that bile acids control the expression of the signalling molecule in humans as well, and it is thus possible that the newly discovered mechanism also applies to liver cancer patients.

    Read the full story: National Cancer Institute – National Institutes of Health
    Scientific publication: Science


    Eating fish while pregnant does not increase chances of autism in children
    Autism not linked to fish consumption during pregnancy - science news in brief

    There has been proposed that mercury exposure due to eating fish during pregnancy is a major cause of autism. Now, a large-scale study published results on this topic. Using analysis of blood samples, reported fish consumption and information on autism and autistic traits, researchers found no links between levels of mercury in the mothers and autism in their children. These findings show that eating fish during pregnancy is safe.

    Read the full story: ScienceBriefss
    Scientific publication: Molecular Autism


    Coal power plants reduce fertility and increase preterm birth
    Healthier babies when nearby coal and oil plants retire - health science news

    By comparing preterm births and fertility before and after the closure of eight power plants in California between 2001 and 2011, scientists established that the percentage of preterm babies fell from 7 to 5 percent, and even from 14.4 to 11.3 percent in non-Hispanic African-American and Asian women. Also, the fertility of women increased after retirement of the power plants. Considering that preterm birth contributes to infant mortality and health problems later in life, this study shows the importance of removing air pollution for human health.

    Read the full story: University of California – Berkeley
    Scientific publication: American Journal of Epidemiology


    Asthma patients may soon benefit from new medication
    New treatment for severe asthma - health science news

    An international team of researchers have found that the use of a particular antibody, Dupilumab, is a safe and efficient treatment option of severe asthma. It can reduce by 70% standard treatment with glucocorticoids which can have side-effects with prolonged use, including immunosuppression. The antibody blocks interleukin-4 and interleukin-13 signalling, two messenger molecules of the immune system. Thus, Dupilumab is effective and safe to control severe asthma.

    Read the full story: New England Journal of Medicine
    Scientific publication: New England Journal of Medicine


    Study suggests short sleep during the week can be compensated by sleeping more on weekends
    Sleep duration and mortality: can we compensate for lack of sleep on weekends? - science news in brief

    A new study analyzed the relationship between the duration of sleep during weekdays and weekends and mortality rates. For people below 65 years of age, the study found that short sleep during weekends (< 5 hours) was associated with higher risk of mortality. However, the mortality rate returned to normal values in those people that were sleeping fewer hours during weekdays but had longer sleep on the weekends. So, it turns out we might be able to recover for those lost hours of sleep on weekends, after all! Interestingly, no correlations were found between the duration of sleep and mortality in people over 65 years.

    Read the full story: Wiley
    Scientific publication: Journal of Sleep Research


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