January 16, 2019

    New protein discovered for treatment of multiple sclerosis

    Researchers have found that a particular protein, known as EGFL7, inhibits the infiltration of immune cells into the mouse brain, and hence prevents the attack of myelin around neurons by the immune system. Loss of myelin, due to activity of one’s own immune system, is the cause of multiple sclerosis. The researchers hope that, with their discovery of EGFL7 function, treatments can be developed that improve multiple sclerosis symptoms.

    Read the full story: Mainz University Medical Center
    Scientific publication: Nature Communications


    Helminths provoke immune responses in the gut that are controlled by the brain
    Brain keeps the immune system in check

    Brain cells release noradrenaline, noradrenaline binds to adrenergic receptors on innate lymphoid cells of the immune system, lymphoid cells stop dividing. This cascade of events has been reported to control the activity of the immune response to infections in the gut and lungs to prevent excessive inflammation. Experiments were done on mice that were infected with helminths (parasitic round worm), but the results likely apply to humans and might thus provide new avenues for the treatment of asthma and allergies.

    Read the full story: Weill Cornell Medicine
    Scientific publication: Science


    Staphylococcus epidermidis bacteria are part of the normal skin microbiome
    Skin bacteria protects against cancer

    Researchers have found that a bacteria stain that lives on the skin might protect against skin cancer. The bacteria, S. epidermidis, secrete the chemical substance 6-HAP which prevents cancer formation on the skin of mice that had been exposed to cancer-causing ultraviolet rays (UV). Further research should find out how 6-HAP is produced and whether it can be used to protect against cancer caused by overexposure to UV radiation from the sun.

    Read the full story: University of California San Diego
    Scientific publication: Science Advances


    Diet and lifestyle shape our microbiome, not genetics
    Diet and lifestyle, not genetics, determine gut bacteria composition

    A new study found that the population of gut bacteria, the microbiome, is mostly influenced by diet and lifestyle, and not by somebody’s genetic make-up. The microbiome differs from person to person, and has a surprisingly huge impact on health, from weight gain to moods. As diet and lifestyle can be changed, it should be possible to alter somebody’s microbiome to improve health in a relatively easy way in future treatments of diseases.

    Read the full story: Weizmann Institute
    Scientific publication: Nature


    Non-genetic markers may be better predictors for breast cancer development than DNA mutations
    Non-genetic markers for hereditary breast cancer identified

    DNA methylation may be a better predictor for the risk of developing breast cancer than DNA mutations of known breast cancer genes, a new study found. DNA methylation is a form of epigenetic regulation of gene expression, without changing the DNA itself. Epigenetics might thus mimic genetic variation, predisposing an individual to breast cancer and possibly other heritable diseases.

    Read the full story: University of Melbourne
    Scientific publication: Nature Communications


    A new class of drugs promotes bacterial death by inducing aggregation of important proteins
    A new promising method to kill drug-resistant bacteria - short science news

    Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest medical problems in the present. Lately, there has been a lot of interest in developing new ways to eliminate dangerous bacteria. One original solution was recently published and it involves using a new class of drugs that works differently than traditional antibiotics. These drugs penetrate bacterial cells where they induce a process called protein aggregation. Basically, the proteins inside the bacterial cell stick together and they stop functioning normally, which causes the death of the bacteria. The new molecule proved to be highly effective against Gram-negative bacteria, which is causing major problems in many hospitals.

    Read the full story: VIB
    Scientific publication: Nature Communications


    A defective receptor in the airways may be at the origin of allergies and asthma
    Receptor found that protects against allergies and asthma

    Researchers have discovered a receptor that binds a protein from dust mites, cockroaches, shrimps and other invertebrates and by doing so protects against allergies and asthma. The receptor is found in the airways where it prevents the secretion of interleukin-33, which would otherwise promote allergic reactions. The receptor is not implicated in allergies for pollen. The discovery of this receptor, known as dectin-1, makes new treatment options for asthma patients possible.

    Read the full story: Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
    Scientific publication: Science Immunology


    Viral encephalitis, 3D illustration showing brain and close-up view of viruses and neurons
    Why some people develop encephalitis following a virus infection

    Mutations in the DBR1 gene explain why 1 in 10,000 people will develop encephalitis following a common virus infection. The protein encoded by DBR1 is important for proper mRNA splicing, and without it, immunity in the brainstem against viruses is severely impaired. This discovery sheds new light on the precise cause of encephalitis, a potentially deadly disease.

    Read the full story: The Rockefeller University
    Scientific publication: Cell


    Side effects of birth control methods are often a concern for women
    No link found between contraceptives and depression - short science news

    Depression is a common concern for many women using birth control methods. However, a new study by researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center found no evidence to support a link between hormonal birth control and depression. The researchers reviewed thousands of studies on the mental health effects of contraceptives, published in over 30 years. They concluded that there is insufficient evidence to prove a link between birth control and depression.

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


    Exomeres (purple). By: Molecular Cytology Core Facility, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
    New nano-sized particles secreted by cancer cells discovered - short science news

    A new cellular messenger discovered by Weill Cornell Medicine scientists may help reveal how cancer cells co-opt the body’s intercellular delivery service to spread to new locations in the body. In a paper published in Nature Cell Biology, scientists identify nano-sized particles, called exosomes, that are secreted by cancer cells and contain DNA, RNA, fats and proteins. Investigators separated two distinct exosome subtypes and discover a new nanoparticle, which they named exomeres. Exomeres largely fuse with cells in the bone marrow and liver, where they can alter immune function and metabolism of drugs. The latter finding may explain why many cancer patients are unable to tolerate even small doses of chemotherapy due to toxicity.

    Read the full story: www.sciencebriefss.com
    Scientific publication: Nature Cell Biology


    Tobacco heating products are designed to heat rather than burn tobacco
    Tobacco heating products may reduce exposure to toxic chemicals compared to cigarettes  - news

    A new alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes is represented by tobacco heating products designed to heat rather than burn the tobacco. These products are very new and little is known about their effects. A clinical study conducted by scientists at British American Tobacco has revealed that when smokers switch completely from cigarettes to tobacco heating products, their exposure to certain cigarette smoke toxicants is significantly reduced. The study suggests that tobacco heating products may substantially reduce risks compared to smoking conventional cigarettes. The results were encouraging; however, the study was conducted on only 180 participants and further confirmation of the results is needed.

    Read the full story: Eureka Alert
    Scientific publication: Meeting of the Society for Research in Nicotine and Tobacco


    Antidepressants are more effective than placebo in the treatment of depression
    Antidepressants work

    In a huge meta-analysis, researchers found that antidepressants are, on average, more effective than placebo. This applied to all of the 21 antidepressants that were evaluated in this study, with some antidepressants being more effective than others. The analysis concerned treatments of 8 weeks, so that it remains uncertain whether the beneficial effects of antidepressants persist over the longer term. While the use of antidepressants has been met with controversy, the study shows that antidepressants work. However, the data only present averages across groups of patients, and the response to medication is known to vary from person to person.

    Read the full story: University of Oxford
    Scientific publication: The Lancet


    A child’s development is affected by the health and lifestyles of th parents before pregnancy
    The future of a child influenced by the parents’ lifestyle before pregnancy - short science news

    Young men and women often carry health risks induced by their lifestyle and this can influence future pregnancies and the growth of the children. This is what a news large-scale study suggests. Health issues such as obesity, substance abuse and mental disorders can have an impact on pregnancy, even if they occurred in the past, for example during the adolescence of the parents. For example, the maternal depression, affecting a high proportion of the mothers is correlated with pre-pregnancy mental health problems that date back to adolescence. The study suggests actions to be taken to improve the health and lifestyle of adolescents and future parents-to-be.

    Read the full story: University of Melbourne
    Scientific publication: Nature


    Problem drinking should be treated as early as possible to lower the risk for dementia
    Alcohol use is a major risk factor for dementia

    A nation-wide screening of dementia patients in France found a strong correlation between alcohol use disorder and dementia, especially early-onset dementia. Of 57.000 cases diagnosed with early-onset dementia, 57% had a history of chronic heavy drinking. As heavy drinking can be avoided, it is important to reduce problem drinking as early as possible, before brain damage and dementia become permanent, researchers say.

    Read the full story: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
    Scientific publication: The Lancet Public Health


    Teenagers were better prepared for a standard driving test than older people
    Age and driving: the younger the better for passing a driving test - short science news

    The age of a driver is important when it comes to safe driving. Contrary to popular beliefs, a new research study suggests that teenagers are better at passing a driving test compared to their older peers. This was especially true for men, the older the student, the worse his driving skills score was. The study also investigated the importance of other factors. It found that there was no significant difference in driving skills between males and females. Moreover, the people that were involved in sports performed better. This may be because participation in sports improves spatial perception. The study suggests it may be a good idea for older drivers to review the safety driving guidelines.

    Read the full story: www.sciencebriefss.com
    Scientific publication: PLOS One


    A disadvantaged childhood may predict poor health in older adults
    Health in elderly influenced by economic vulnerability during childhood - short science news

    Could socio-economic vulnerability in childhood influence health in older adults? This is the question that scientists from the University of Geneva try to answer in a recent study. They examined data from more than 24,000 older people from 14 European countries. The researchers found that socio-economically disadvantaged individuals in childhood had low muscle strength at an older age - a good indicator of their overall health status. Even if they did better in life and improved their socio-economic status as adults, individuals disadvantaged as children had a higher risk of poor health. Read more below to find out why!

    Read the full story: www.sciencebriefss.com
    Scientific publication: Age and Ageing


    Insulin-like proteins are naturally produced by some viruses
    Insulin goes viral

    Analyses of viral DNA revealed that four viruses synthesise proteins that look a lot like insulin. The viral insulin binds to rodent and human insulin receptors, and switches on all related signalling pathways within the cell to stimulate sugar uptake or cell division. The identified viruses are known to infect fish, but whether they also can infect humans, either directly or through fish consumption, is at present not known. The viruses will be used for further studies in diabetes type I research, and might help pharmaceutical industry to design new insulin-like proteins in the treatment of disease.

    Read the full story: Joslin Diabetes Center
    Scientific publication: pnas


    New test for detecting autism in children developed by scientists from the University of Warwick
    New test for detecting autism in children developed by scientists from the University of Warwick

    A new promising test for detecting autism was developed recently at the University of Warwick. The test screens blood and urine samples for abnormal protein levels. It can detect two categories of proteins, both associated with autism: the oxidation marker dityrosine and advanced glycation endproducts. The results need to be confirmed by follow-up studies. If successful, the new test could be used for early detection of autism, assessment of treatment efficacy and to evaluate the progress of the disorder.

    Read the full story: Eureka Alerta
    Scientific publication: Molecular Autism


    Latest research news in cancer
    Latest research news in cancer

    ScienceBriefss Editorial

    Cancer research is advancing fast. Here at Sciencebriefss.com, we have highlighted some of the latest research news about the biology of cancer and the strategies scientists envisage to come to effective cancer treatment.

    Cancer is one of the most feared diseases. Tremendous efforts are invested in cancer research, hoping to understand the mechanisms of this disease and to eventually cure it. Advances have been made and this editorial article outlines the most impressive scientific discoveries in cancer research, released in the news recently.

    Read the full story: ScienceBriefss Editorial on cancer news


    Vaccination might be the future to protect oneself against cancers
    Induced pluripotent stem cells may serve as cancer vaccine

    Injection of pluripotent stem cells into experimental mice prevented or slowed down tumor development, a new study shows. These cells can be made from your own blood or skin cells by reprogramming them back to a juvenile state that bears much resemblance with cancer cells. The immune system will recognise these cells and be on the alert when a cancer might develop in the future. Pluripotent stem cells might thus make it possible to vaccinate somebody with his or her own cells against cancers.

    Read the full story: Sciencebriefss
    Scientific publication: Cell Stem Cell


    Brain and encephalography in epilepsy patient during seizure attack
    Specific neurons in the hippocampus control the spread of epileptic seizures

    Mossy cells, a particular set of brain cells, prevent the spread of electrical, epileptic, activity from the hippocampus to the rest of the brain. Temporal lobe epilepsy patients suffer from a progressive loss of mossy cells, worsening the condition over time. The discovery of a protective role of specific hippocampal neurons, obtained in laboratory mice, might help to develop new strategies to treat temporal lobe epilepsy.

    Read the full story: Stanford Medicine
    Scientific publication: Science


    Study shows possible association between highly processed aliments consumption and cancer
    Highly processed food could contribute to cancer - short science news

    A recent study suggests consumption of highly processed aliments could trigger cancer in humans. This category of foods includes fizzy drinks, ready meals, sugary cereals and packaged baked goods and snacks; they often have high levels of fat, sugar and salt, but lack in vitamins and fibers. The findings are based on following 104,980 healthy adults. The results show that a 10% increase in the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet was associated with increases of 12% in the risk of overall cancer and 11% in the risk of breast cancer. Further research is needed, but this study is already triggering an alarm call regarding processed food consumption, which in some developed countries accounts for up to 50% of the daily food intake.

    Read the full story: BMJ News
    Scientific publication: BMJ


    Safe use of nanotechnology in medicine is coming closer.
    DNA nanorobots kill tumors by cutting off their blood supply

    A completely new way to fight cancers might be the use of DNA nanorobots that effectively find tumors and induce clogging of the blood vessels that feed the tumors. Nanorobots were injected in laboratory animals, and caused cancers to shrink, acted specifically in the tumors, and did not spread into the brain where they might induce unwanted side-effects. Safe use of nanotechnology in medicine is approaching.

    Read the full story: Arizona State University
    Scientific publication: Nature Biotechnology


    Weight lost by dieting is often regained due to the activity of a protein in the brain.
    Dieting might become effective now that fat burning is better understood

    The end of yo-yo dieting might be in sight now that researchers have discovered a protein in the brain that acts as a switch to control fat burning. This protein ensures that the body stores more energy after a period of food shortage. By manipulating this protein, researchers might one day be able to fool the brain enough so that we won’t regain the weight lost by dieting.

    Read the full story: Monash University
    Scientific publication: Cell Reports


    Lymphocytes attacking a cancer cell.
    Cancer-killing virus puts the immune system on red alert

    A cancer-killing virus that is currently in clinical trials may not only infect cancer cells, but also triggers a strong immune reaction that attacks tumors even far away from the virus-infected region. Researchers found that infecting tumor cells (only 5% of the cancer cells) by the virus exposes the immune system to cancer proteins, which causes an immune response against the rest of the tumor. These findings make it possible to combine the use of the virus with immunotherapy for effective treatment of cancers.

    Read the full story: University of San Francisco
    Scientific publication: Cancer Research


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