April 26, 2019

    Aerobic sport could improve thinking abilities, even in younger people
    Regular exercise makes people smarter - science news articles

    Walking, cycling and other types of aerobic exercise may provide a boost in thinking skills in people as young as 20, according to a recent study.

    More precisely, exercise improves the cognitive ability known as the executive function, one’s ability to regulate their own behavior and organize to achieve a goal. Interestingly, the beneficial effects of physical activity were more pronounced in older participants.

    Although the study had a rather small number of participants (132 people), it points towards a positive effect of exercise on thinking skills, that increases with age. Ideally, the results should be confirmed by larger studies investigating people over a longer period of time.

    Read the full story: American Academy of Neurology
    Scientific publication: Neurology


    Increased risk of stroke related death linked to air pollution
    Another negative of air pollution: more stroke deaths - interesting science news

    Researchers have found out that those places which have poorer air quality have higher rates of deaths and shorter life expectancy. This is especially true if the fine particulate matter is higher than PM 2.5.

    Burning of coal, biomass, kerosene as well as diesel engines produces this type of particulate matter and it is inhalable and hence can enter our blood circulation.

    Those who are living in such places can benefit from reducing their exposure by avoiding major traffic during rush hours, keeping car windows down and circulating only the internal air of the car.

    Read the full story: American Heart Association


    Babies can understand when a word starts and ends in continuous speech, a phenomenon known as word segmentation
    Infants can pick out individual words from language from birth - health short science news

    Before infants can learn words, they first have to identify those words in continuous speech. A near-infrared spectroscopy study found that three-day old children can already do so.

    The non-invasive imaging study revealed that babies can recognize when a word begins and stops (prosody, the “melody” of speech), and can compute the frequency of when sounds in a word come together.

    Thus, even newborns can already listen, although without knowing what the words mean. Nice for the young parents to know!

    Read the full story: University of Liverpool
    Scientific publication: Developmental Science


    Fried chicken wings could be a quite ticket to death
    What kills you fast: fried chicken and fish - interesting science news

    In a landmark study recently published, researchers have found that regularly eating fried food significantly increases the risk of death from any cause as well as heart disease related death especially amongst postmenopausal women.

    The researchers came to this conclusion after studying the data of 106,966 women who were part of the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) from 1993-98 and were followed up for approximately 25 years.

    This is a serious concern since approximately 33% of North Americans have fried food every single day. While the adverse health effects of this food are always known, this is for the first time they are also linked to increased risk of death.

    Read the full story: BMJ news
    Scientific publication: BMJ


    Steroid treatment can trigger metabolic changes such as a fatty liver (shown here) via the transcription factor E47 Image: Helmholtz Zentrum München
    Cortisone treatments cause metabolic side effects through transcription factor E47 - health short science news

    Treatment of patients with cortisone can cause metabolic side effects, a new study shows.

    Cortisones are prescribed as antiinflammatory drugs to treat for example asthma or rheumatism for decades. They are also used for the treatment of cancer, and autoimmune diseases.

    Now, it appears that corticosterone induces metabolic effects, especially in the liver, through the upregulation of the transcription factor E47, which changes the gene expression pattern in the cells. This leads to elevated blood sugar (so-called steroid diabetes) and fat levels, or a fatty liver. While these results were obtained in laboratory animals, further study needs to confirm similar effects of cortisone treatment in humans.

    Read the full story: Helmholtz Zentrum München
    Scientific publication: Nature Communications


    Left: The 23 pairs of chromosomes of cells in which autophagy is functioning look normal. Right: the chromosomes of cells in which autophagy is not functioning show structural and numerical aberrations, characteristics of cancer. Image: Salk Institute
    Cellular process discovered that prevents cancer - health short science news

    Autophagy is a cellular process that has always been thought off as a survival mechanism. Now it turns out that it can promote cell death, and thereby prevents cancer.

    . Autophagy (literally: to eat oneself) promotes the death of cells that have their telomers at the ends of their DNA shortened or absent, so that these cells would continue to divide.

    Autophagy is a completely new mechanism to limit cell division, and thus to prevent cancer before it begins, and could lead to the development of new lines of therapy.

    Read the full story: Salk Institute
    Scientific publication: Nature


    Mouth bacteria associated with chronic gum disease seem to play a role in Alzheimer's disease pathology
    Is Alzheimer’s disease caused by mouth bacteria? - health short science news

    A very surprising culprit of Alzheimer’s disease has been identified: Porphyromonas gingivalis (Pg), the bacterium commonly associated with chronic gum disease.

    Scientists have found this bacterium in the brain of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. In mice, Pg could infect the brain and increased the production of amyloid beta, a component of the plaques commonly found in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients. Finally, scientists could block neurotoxicity caused by the bacteria, leading to a milder infection of the brain and cessation of abnormal amyloid beta production and neuroinflammation in the hippocampus of mice.

    Although promising, the results still need further support from additional experiments to causally link mouth bacteria with Alzheimer’s disease, the scientists say.

    Read the full story: University of Louisville
    Scientific publication: Science Advances


    This doesn't give you a free pass, but nighttime snacking might not be affect blood sugar as much
    Snacking before bedtime might not affect blood glucose - interesting science news

    We all have been advised that there should be atleast a 2-hour gap between our last daily meal and bedtime. However, a newly published research brings into question this age-old advice.

    In a study conducted on Japanese population found that leaving this ‘2-hour gap’ did not have any significant effect on the blood glucose levels over the long term. According to the scientists, people might be better able to maintain their health by getting enough sleep and keeping the weight, alcohol and smoking under check to avoid the ‘life-style’ diseases like diabetes and heart conditions.

    However, this study should be viewed with caution since it is specific for Japanese population as the dietary habits of other countries might be significantly different.

    Read the full story: BMJ News
    Scientific publication: BMJ Nutrition, Prevention and Health


    Negative consequence of a poor diet can be transmitted to your future children
    Your children can inherit the negative effects of your poor diet - health short science news

    While we all know that eating fruit and vegetables keep your hearth healthy, scientists have discovered that diet also influences health of children and even grandchildren.

    It appeared that, in fruit flies, high-fat diet causes epigenetic changes (chemical modifications of DNA) that are transmitted to the next generation. In consequence, this leads to negative heart effects in the offspring. When scientists reversed the epigenetic changes, the heart problems did not occur.

    Thus, poor nutrition may affect health from one generation to the next.

    Read the full story: Sanford Burnham Prebys
    Scientific publication: Nature Communications


    Macrophages are immune cells that can eat cells that are not supposed to be in the body, like intruders or cancer cells. Image: Penn Medicine
    One defense of cancer cells taken down - health short science news

    Scientists have found that macrophages, some of the most important cancer-fighting cells of the immune system need to be primed before they attack and eat cancer cells.

    Priming can be done by CpG to activate a so-called toll-like receptor. This changes the metabolism of macrophages, which now start to use glutamine and glucose as their primary energy sources for combatting the cancer. Macrophages will then eat the cancer cells, thus shrinking the tumor, even in the presence of high levels of CD47. CD47 is expressed by cancer cells to reduce macrophage activity, so that they do not get eaten.

    Thus, cancer cells lose the use of CD47 for their defense against the immune system when facing pre-activated macrophages with altered metabolism.

    Read the full story: University of Pennsylvania
    Scientific publication: Nature Immunology


    Ramizol could help save lives lost to antibiotic resistant gut bacteria
    A new antibiotic to treat a deadly drug resistant gut bacteria - interesting science news

    Clostridium difficile infection is a deadly infection, which is most commonly seen in patients who usually take antibiotics for a long duration. The bad news is that this bacteria is becoming resistant to several antibiotics now.

    How, now scientists are developing a new antibiotic called Ramizol. This antibiotic when tested in hamsters along with a lethal dose of bacteria, a large proportion of hamsters survived proving its effectiveness.

    Ramizol when tested in rats did not result in any serious side-effects like weight loss. Further, Ramizol has low cost of production and this would a wonderful addition in the arsenal against out fight against Clostridium difficile.

    Read the full story: Flinders University (via ScienceDaily)
    Scientific publication: Scientific Reports


    Blocking signals from a small number of neurons in the brain produces bone growth in female mice. Image: Holly Ingraham/UC San Francisco
    Discovery of a new mechanism to grow strong bones for future treatment of osteoporosis - health short science news

    Scientists have found that blocking just a few neurons in the brain, in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus to be precise, of female mice boosts bone growth enormously. Bone mass can increase to 800% and the bones remain strong until old age.

    Importantly, blocking these brain cells in female mice that were already suffering from osteoporosis restored bone loss, suggesting these cells control bone formation.

    How the brain cells involved do this is not clear as yet, indicating that the scientists have discovered a new mechanism of how bone growth is controlled, and thus holds great promise for new treatment options.

    Read the full story: UCLA
    Scientific publication: Nature Communications


    Poor sleep might reduce the oxygen levels in the blood and contribute to death induced by heart problems
    Breathing while asleep linked to heart-related death - short science news

    Some people experience interrupted breathing while asleep, especially the elderly, and this leads to decreased oxygenation of the blood. A new study showed that the poor oxygenation during sleep is correlated with heart-related death in older men.

    The researchers monitored 2840 men aged in their 70s and early 80s. “The study showed that when the men had 12 or more minutes of sleep at low oxygen saturation below 90 percent this increased the risk of heart-related death by 59 percent,” says Associate Professor Baumert, one of the main authors.

    Screening and treatment for risk factors in these people might reduce sleep hypoxia and increase survival rates.

     

     

    Read the full story: University of Adelaide
    Scientific publication: European Heart Journal


    Tuberculosis infections should be diagnosed quickly for the benefit of the patient and prevent the bacteria from spreading to other persons
    New rapid blood test accurately diagnoses and rules out tuberculosis infection - health short science news

    A new blood test has been developed that not only accurately diagnoses tuberculosis, but also rules out tuberculosis.

    This means that patients who are tuberculosis-negative do not have to undergo unnecessary further screening, and that hospitals can refrain from doing additional tests to confirm the presence of the tuberculosis bacteria.

    Thus, this test is better than the rapid blood test currently in use, which can detect, but cannot rule out tuberculosis, and will save health systems a lot of money.

    Read the full story: Imperial College London
    Scientific publication: The Lancet – Infectious Diseases


    With this reference diet, based on scientific research, many diseases can be prevented, and the Earth’s ecosystems preserved. Image: EAT-Lancet commission
    Radically new eating habits needed to improve human health and protect the Earth - health short science news

    For three years, 37 experts from 16 countries have been working to establish the first scientific targets for a healthy diet from sustainable food systems. This reference diet is necessary to prevent the 11 million avoidable premature deaths worldwide and to save the Earth.

    Two recommendations that are very obvious from the study is that people in developed countries should cut their red meat consumption by 50% and double their fruit and vegetables intake.

    To drastically change our eating habits, policy makers should work together with those working in agriculture, transport, trade, health, and industry, and consumers should pay more attention to what they eat, scientists say.

    Read the full story: EAT-Lancet Commission
    Scientific publication: The Lancet (Comment)
    Scientific publication: The Lancet (Article)


    Neurons developed from skin cells look exactly like brain neurons
    Growing nerve cells from skin cells - interesting science news

    Cells from skin cells of mice which were induced to turn into nerve cells have molecular signatures which match the neurons that develop naturally in the brain. This is interesting science news since this technology can be used to for research in gene therapies from patients own cells.

    The skin cells used in this technology are called the fibroblasts which are the most common cells in the connective tissue in animals and are involved in wound healing.

    Researchers plan to use this technology to understanding the age related cognitive decline in humans.

    Read the full story: Salk Institute
    Scientific publication: eLife


    Fasting affects the circadian rhythm positively
    Fasting to improve health - interesting science news

    Scientists have discovered that fasting helps in modulating the circadian clocks in the muscle and liver thereby rewiring their metabolism ultimately improving health. It also provides protection against aging related conditions.

    In a study conducted in mice, a 24 hour fasting causes a reduction in oxygen consumption and energy expenditure which gets abolished by eating later. This also primes the genes to anticipate the next food intake and drives the next cycle of gene expression.

    All this affects the cell function positively and this research could help us develop strategies to improve health in humans.

    Read the full story: University of California - Irvine
    Scientific publication: Cell Reports


    Screen hardly affects mental health of adolescents
    Only 0.4% of adolescent mental health can be explained by technology use - health short science news

    In contrast to popular believe, screen use has been found to contribute only very modestly to adolescent mental health, only 0.4% to be exact. This is the same percentage as for instance regularly eating potatoes.

    In comparison, smoking marijuana or being bullied account for 2.7 and 4.3 times as much as screen time, whereas activities as eating breakfast and getting enough sleep are way more important.

    These results were obtained following analyses of data from three large-scale representative datasets from the US and UK, including 300,000 individuals surveyed between 2007 and 2016. These findings are important for parents and policy makers, researchers say.

    Read the full story: University of Oxford (via Eurekalert)
    Scientific publication: Nature Human Behaviour


    Commensal bacteria (red) reside amongst the mucus (green) and epithelial cells (blue) of a mouse small intestine. Image: University of Chicago
    Food allergies linked to the gut microbiome - health short science news

    Scientists have found that food allergy is linked to the bacteria living in the intestines.

    When they transplanted gut bacteria from healthy human infants to mice, they found that these mice were protected against allergic reactions when exposed to milk. Conversely, no such protection was observed when bacteria from children with cow milk allergy were transplanted to mice.

    These findings might help to develop therapies based on the gut microbiome to treat food allergies.

    Read the full story: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
    Scientific publication: Nature Medicine


    There is no cure presently for the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis disease, but this new drug might greatly help the patients. Credit: University of Melbourne
    Clinical trial shows encouraging results for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis - latest short science news

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or motor neuron disease in a progressive, fatal neurodegenerative disease, for which there is no treatment. Now, researchers from the University of Melbourne report that a new drug showed positive effects in a clinical trial involving ALS.

    The trial assessed the optimal dose of CuATSM, the new drug, and it involved 32 patients. Treated patients showed improved lung function and cognitive ability together with a much slower progression of the disease.

    Next, the scientists plan to start a large randomized, placebo-controlled double-blind Phase 2 trial in mid- to late 2019 to test the effectiveness of the treatment on a larger sample of patients.

     

     

    Read the full story: University of Melbourne
    Scientific publication: Collaborative Medical Development Clinical Trials


    Squamous cell skin cancer tumors with lactate production (a byproduct of glucose consumption) in purple. The tumor with lactate production blocked (left) grew at the same rate as the tumor with normal lactate production (right). Image: UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center/Nature Communications
    Cancer dogma overthrown: cancer cells do not require increased glucose - health short science news

    Cancer cells can grow and develop without increased glucose consumption. These surprising finding from studies on squamous cell skin cancer challenge the long-hold believe, documented in thousands scientific reports, that cancer cells need large amounts of glucose to fuel their excessive growth and cell division rate.

    In the current study, researchers blocked the conversion of glucose into lactate in rat cancers to strongly reduce glucose uptake by cancer cells. It turned out that cancers developed just as fast as those in rats with normal glucose metabolism.

    Apparently, at least skin cancer cells can switch to other molecules as energy source. This explains why therapies based on cancer cell metabolism have been in majority unsuccessful to date in clinical trials.

    Read the full story: UCLA
    Scientific publication: Nature Communications


    Sleeping problems are now categorized into five different disorders
    Insomnia represents five disorders, not one - health short science news
    Scientists found that insomnia is not a uniform disorder, but that there are five different types that are linked to personality traits.

    Type 1 is linked to neuroticism and feeling down or tense. Types 2 and 3 can be distinguished by high or low sensitivity to reward. Types 4 and 5 differs by the way their sleep responds to stressful life events, with type 4 patients suffering from long-lasting insomnia.

    Types also differed in their EEG responses to environmental stimuli, indicating that the differences between the five insomnia types are anchored in the brain. These results explain why some treatments work in some, but not in others. Also, new therapies based on brain research can now be developed for each type of insomnia.

    Read the full story: Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience
    Scientific publication: The Lancet Psychiatry


    US cancer death rate has dropped due to reductions in smoking and improved early diagnostics and treatments
    Cancer death rate has dropped by 27% in 25 years in the US - health short science news
    While cancer remains the second leading cause of death (22% of deaths in the US) after heart disease, cancer death rate has dropped by 27% in the period from 1991 to 2016.

    A report from the American Cancer Society shows that the drop in cancer mortaility is mostly due to steady reductions in smoking, and advances in early detection and treatment. However, people with low socioeconomic status do not benefit from this development due to lifestyle and limited access to medical care.

    The report estimates that in 2019 1,762450 cancers will be diagnosed in the US alone, or 4,800 new cases each day.

    Read the full story: American Cancer Society
    Scientific publication: CA : A Cancer Journal for Clinicians


    Opioid crisis is fueling the increased death rates in America
    Suicides and overdoses increased by 100% in 17 years due to opioids- latest scientific news and research

    Researchers reviewed the evidence of overdose and suicide and found that these deaths increased from 14.7 to 33.7 per 100,000 in the last 17 years. This is in parallel to the increase in prescription of opioid painkillers and then the increased use of heroin followed by illegal manufacture of fentanyl.

    Men had higher death rates for both suicide and overdose as compared to women. Unintentional overdose was highest in white men over 40 years with 50 deaths per 100,000. But the death rate amongst black men rose in middle and old age surpassing the white men.

    Unintentional overdose was a more common cause than suicide for white, black or native American women. This is a cause for concern which needs urgent attention from policy makers.

    Read the full story: ScienceDaily
    Scientific publication: NEJM


    Factors increasing risk of teen partner abuse identified
    Risk factors which predict teen partner rape - short science news and articles

    Researchers have identified high age gap, low socioeconomic status, physical abuse and coercive control as predictors of sexual violence in a teen girls first romantic relationship.

    The researchers interviewed 148 college going women between the age of 18-24 years who had experienced partner violence in at least one previous relationship. The individuals interviewed belonged to a university, a two year college and community sites serving low-income young women.

    This is opposite to the general belief that sexual violence doesn’t happen in a young woman’s first relationship in life.

    Read the full story: Michigan State University
    Scientific publication: Journal of Interpersonal Violence


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