August 25, 2019

    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

    How is science advancing in the fight against cancer?
    The fight against cancer: how far are we according to the latest scientific discoveries - editorial cancer science article

    Many new discoveries have helped us to better understand the biology of cancer. We know better than ever why tumor cells escape from the normal control of cell division, why some therapies work (or don’t), and what could be done to stop cancer from spreading or to treat it.

    We have covered many of the cancer-related science news that have seen the light over the last months. While we have seen that there is reason to be hopeful that cancer might be treatable in the future, we also observed that there are still many obstacles to overcome.

    Cancer cells have a couple of tricks up their sleeve to escape from current treatments, and sometimes treatment options need further refinements to become more efficient. Read about the latest advances in cancer research in this editorial!

    Read the full story: ScienceBriefss Editorial

    Cheers...Drinking a little bit of alcohol if having heart failure won't worsen it
    Don’t go overboard, but daily glass of wine isn’t harmful for old heart failure patients

    Heart failure is a condition when the heart slowly loses its capacity to pump blood effectively. A recent study shows that those diagnosed with heart failure and are over 65 years of age can drink in moderation without the risk of worsening their condition.

    And by moderation it means one and two per day for women and men respectively. But, those who have never had alcohol before and have now developed heart failure shouldn’t begin drinking now.

    The researchers reanalysed data of 5888 patients from an old Cardiovascular Health Study conducted from 1989 to 1993 to come to this conclusion.

    Read the full story: Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
    Scientific publication: JAMA Network Open

    GenX and GenY mortality varies with ethnicity
    Increasing mortality rates seen in Gen X and Gen Y - short science news and articles

    In addition to the older Baby Boomers, Gen X (38-45 years old) and Gen Y (27-37 years old), are also showing increasing patterns of mortality. While in the Baby Boomers the cause of mortality is drug overdose, traffic accidents, homicides, suicide, COPD and HIV/AIDS, the leading causes of death in Gen X and Gen Y vary according to their ethnicity.

    For Hispanics, it is drug overdose and suicide, for non-Hispanic white male and females it is drug overdose and alcohol related diseases. For non-Hispanic black women, the leading cause of death is diabetes related conditions and for black men it is cancer, alcohol related disease and traffic accidents.

    Researchers indicate that certain disparities might be due to access to opioid prescription drugs to the black community.

    Read the full story: ScienceDaily
    Scientific publication: International Journal of Epidemiology

    A species of bats from Sierra Leone carries a virus that can cause serious disease in humans
    Deadly virus found in bats from West Africa - science news

    Scientists identified for the first time the Marburg virus in West Africa. The dangerous virus was found in fruit bats from Sierra Leone.

    The virus is related to Ebola and can cause a similar disease in people. So far, no cases of illness have been reported in humans. However, the discovery shows that the populations living in the area are in potential danger.

    It was already known that these bats are the natural “reservoir” for the Marburg virus. The study is important because it discovered a threat before it affected people, allowing the community to take proper precautions.

    Read the full story: University of California, Davis

    In neonatal diabetes half of the produced insulin is mutated which induces a state of chronic stress in the pancreas
    Possible mechanism for neonatal diabetes discovered

    Some babies are diagnosed with diabetes within the first six months of life. In many cases, this is linked to mutations in one copy of the genes coding for insulin. Since half of the produced insulin is still normal, it is not clear how the diabetes forms in infants.

    Now, a new study suggests that the mutant insulin produced by the affected gene induces a chronic stress that disturbs the growth and development of insulin-producing cells from the pancreas. This triggers diabetes itself.

    The study used stem cells from people carrying insulin gene mutations to reach the conclusion. Using the CRISPR techniques the researchers were able to reverse the damage. The findings may help devise new ways to prevent neonatal diabetes.

    Read the full story: AlphaGalileo
    Scientific publication: eLife

    The elderly suffer more serious complications from infections and benefit less from vaccination than the general population
    T cell function in the elderly weakens through defective metabolic pathway - health short science news
    A metabolic pathway in the immune system’s T cells that makes proteins and DNA is less active in T cells from aged mice.

    This pathway plays a central role in cell replication and thus building the army of immune cells that attack invaders. When researchers added products (formate and glycine) of the metabolic pathway to weakened T cells, these cells became fully functional again, proliferated well and did not die prematurely.

    These results indicate that it should be possible to boost the immune system of elderly people to protect them better against the consequences of infections.

    Read the full story: Harvard Medical School
    Scientific publication: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA

    The brain of an 11 day old mouse exposed to experimental necrotizing enterocolitis with reactive oxygen species (causing oxidative stress and brain damage) in red. Image: David Hackam
    Cause of, and cure for, a gut-brain disease have been found in mice - health short science news

    Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a potentially fatal disease that causes a premature infant’s gut to suddenly die, and induces brain injury.

    Using a mouse model of NEC, researchers found that levels of the protein TLR4 remain high in the gut of offspring born prematurely, instead of dropping after full-term delivery. This protein in NEC guts causes the release of another protein, HMGB1. This protein, generated by TLR4 in an inflamed gut in NEC, is the cause of NEC-associated brain injury. When NEC mice received antioxidants in their brains, they did not develop brain injury.

    Now that its molecular underpinnings are known, there is hope that NEC treatments can finally be developed.

    Read the full story: Johns Hopkins University
    Scientific publication: Science Translational Medicine

    When high school start is delayed, teenagers sleep longer in the morning
    Delayed high school start in the morning improves sleep, grades and attention in teenagers - health short science news

    Scientists have reported on the effects of delaying high school start from 7:50 am to 8:45 pm leads to increased sleep time in teenagers. Sleep measurements were done with wrist activity monitors, and not self-reports as is usually done in sleep research.

    While the teenagers did not go to bed later, but woke up later in the morning, sleep duration increased by more than half an hour (from 6 h 50 min to 7 h 24 min). This improved attention and grades at school.

    Scientists say that the new school times fit better with the biological clock of teenagers, although the teenagers still do not manage to sleep the recommended eight to ten hours each night.

    Read the full story: University of Washington – Seattle
    Scientific publication: Science Advances

    A new drug to treat chronic pain
    A non-opioid to treat chronic pain? - short science news and articles

    Researchers are developing a new drug which is now in its earliest stages to treat chronic pain without the addictive properties of opioids. This drug, technically named as the ML351, inhibits the 15-Lipoxygenase-1 enzyme which is involved in the synthesis of bioactive lipids which contribute directly to chronic pain which is usually not relieved by the anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen.

    Currently available drugs like the opioids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs help reduce pain from inflammation, but not so much for chronic pain.

    ML351 is targeting a new signaling pathway and it could be effective in treatment of chronic debilitating pain. This could also decrease the current opioid crisis.

    Read the full story: Virginia Tech
    Scientific publication: PAIN

    Circadian rhythms are guided by internal clocks in cells that enable organisms to adapt to night and day cycles
    Linking biological clocks with disease - health short science news

    Scientists have found a new biological clock in liver cells that helps sustain key organ tasks.

    Disruption of this clock, which is mediated by the nuclear receptor protein HNF4A, may lead to diseases such as diabetes and cancers.

    This new clock provides thus a biological connection between modern lifestyles, such as working nightshifts, urban dwelling and intercontinental travel, and disease.

    Read the full story: University of South Carolina
    Scientific publication: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA

    Venom of these South American wasps, Polybia paulista, has been repurposed to an antibiotic drug. Image: Wikimedia, Charles J Sharp
    Antimicrobial peptide engineered on the basis of wasp venom - health short science news

    In the quest for treatment options for antibiotic-resistant bacteria infections, scientists have repurposed the venom of South American wasps, normally toxic, to selectively kill bacteria while leaving body cells intact.

    The antimicrobial peptide was isolated and further biochemically optimized to keep its bacteria-fighting capacities while eliminating toxicity. The synthesized peptide was shown to affect human cells in culture, and could completely clear a Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection in mice.

    Thus, optimizing naturally occurring antimicrobial peptides is a promising way to develop new antibiotic drugs.

    Read the full story: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Scientific publication: Nature Communications Biology

    Bacterial persister cells manipulate our immune system from the inside
    Bacteria persister cells escape from antibiotics and weaken the immune system - health short science news

    During an infection, some bacteria go into an inactive “stand-by” mode, and are then swallowed by macrophages, cells of our immune system. Now, researchers have found that these bacterial “persister” cells are not inactive after all, but actually change the macrophages from an inflammatory to a non-inflammatory cell.

    This weakens the defense against the bacteria when they spring back to life, and against new invading bacteria.

    This mechanism explains why sometimes infections reappear after antibiotics treatment, from which the persister cells escape by hiding in the cells that should kill them.

    Read the full story: Imperial College London
    Scientific publication: Science

    For individuals with heart failure, getting regular flu shots increases the lifespan
    Regular flu vaccination may save lives of heart failure patients - daily short science news headlines

    According to a recent study, regular flu shots can significantly reduce the risk of premature death for patients diagnosed with heart failure. For them, influenza infections can be very threatening, even fatal.

    In the study, 134,048 patients with newly diagnosed heart failure were studied over 12 years. Interestingly, flu vaccination was associated with an 18% decrease in the risk of premature death, even after accounting for other variables.

    The frequency of vaccination was an important parameter. Moreover, the timing had a strong impact: there was a greater reduction in deaths when vaccination occurred earlier in the flu season (September-October).

    Read the full story: American Heart Association
    Scientific publication: Circulation

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