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Category: Health & Medicine

Researchers involved in an international collaboration across six institutions, including the University of Copenhagen and the National Aquarium of Denmark (Den Blå Planet), have successfully identified the exact composition of sea snake venom, which makes the future development of synthetic antivenoms more realistic. Currently, sea snake anitvenom costs nearly USD 2000, yet these new findings could result in a future production of synthetic antivenoms for as little as USD 10-100.

The trillions of bacteria in your digestive system play a major role in your metabolism, and they're linked to your risks of type 2 diabetes, obesity and the related conditions that make up "metabolic syndrome," which has become a global health epidemic. Humans and animal models with diabetes and obesity have different gut bacteria than those who don't, and when scientists transfer microbiota from obese humans or animals to germ-free animals, the recipients are more likely to become obese or diabetic.

The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), in partnership with the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) and Janssen Biotech, Inc. (Janssen), announced today that Theresa Alenghat, VMD, PhD, from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, OH, was awarded with the 2015 AGA-CCFA-Janssen Research Award in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Epigenetics Research.

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are a concern for the health and well-being of both humans and farm animals. One of the most common and costly diseases faced by the dairy industry is bovine mastitis, a potentially fatal bacterial inflammation of the mammary gland (IMI). Widespread use of antibiotics to treat the disease is often blamed for generating antibiotic-resistant bacteria. However, researchers investigating staphylococcal populations responsible for causing mastitis in dairy cows in South Africa found that humans carried more antibiotic-resistant staphylococci than the farm animals with which they worked. The research is published in the Journal of Dairy Science®

By teasing apart the structure of an enzyme vital to the infectious behavior of the parasites that cause toxoplasmosis and malaria, Whitehead Institute scientists have identified a potentially 'drugable' target that could prevent parasites from entering and exiting host cells.

Over a 10 year period, the time that babies receive genetic testing after being diagnosed with diabetes has fallen from over four years to under two months. Pinpointing the exact genetic causes of sometimes rare forms of diabetes is revolutionising healthcare for these patients.


This illustration shows how the protein receptor CD68 acts as a gateway for a malaria parasite (sporozoite) to enter the liver through a Kupffer cell, as revealed by Cha et...
Scientists uncover a port of liver entry for malaria parasites in a report published in The Journal of Experimental Medicine. If these results hold up in humans, drugs that target this entry protein might help prevent the spread of disease.

Cancer can be caused solely by protein imbalances within cells, a study of ovarian cancer has found.


Hoon Sunwoo holds a sample of the antibody supplement he developed with colleague Jeong Sim.
University of Alberta researchers may have found a way to help people with celiac disease enjoy the wide variety of foods they normally have to shun.

Previously identified associations between TV viewing and a less healthful diet may stem from exposure to advertisements of high calorie foods and 'distracted eating' rather than the activity of sitting itself, although sitting time remains an independent risk factor requiring public health focus. These findings are according to a new study by American Cancer Society investigators conducted in collaboration with the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition and the University of Texas School of Public Health. For their study, published in Preventive Medicine, researchers examined sedentary time based on data using an objective measure (accelerometers), and found that sedentary time was not linked to poorer diets among US adults.

Oxford University doctors and scientists are performing the second phase of clinical studies of an experimental Ebola vaccine regimen. The study is part of the EBOVAC2 project, a collaborative programme involving the University of Oxford, French Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) as project coordinator, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), Le Centre Muraz (CM), Inserm Transfert (IT) and the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson (Janssen).

If you can't tell a smile from a scowl, you're probably not getting enough sleep.

Epidural electrostimulation is a medical technique that has been used for several years now to help patients affected by paralysis due to a spinal cord injury. It involves implanting electrodes over the dorsal nerve roots (which convey incoming "sensory" inputs) of the spinal cord below the level of the trauma and applying electrical stimuli of varying intensity and frequency. This technique, which produces or helps produce activation patterns of the motor nerves (ventral, outgoing) has shown promising results, and the scientists hope that one day it will be able to help paralysed people, for example, to stand and take a few steps, as well as restoring sphincter control and sexual function.

University of Leicester psychologist describes unique case as new to science


Antibodies bind to a flu virus protein (grey) with their variable regions (blue) forming an immune complex. The antibodies' Fc region (red) will bind to immune cells.
Flu vaccines can be something of a shot in the dark. Not only must they be given yearly, there's no guarantee the strains against which they protect will be the ones circulating once the season arrives.

Since Ebola was first described in 1976, there have been several outbreaks, but all have been self-limiting. In a new Journal of Internal Medicine review, Dr. Ali Mirazimi of the Karolinska Institutet considers why the latest outbreak occurred and discusses the factors that contributed to making it the largest, most sustained, and most widespread outbreak of Ebola. He also notes that several potential treatments are now undergoing clinical trials and have shown initial promising results.

Scientists have discovered new ways in which the malaria parasite survives in the blood stream of its victims, a discovery that could pave the way to new treatments for the disease.

Natural killer cells of the immune system can fend off malignant lymphoma cells and thus are considered a promising therapeutic approach. However, in the direct vicinity of the tumor they lose their effect. Scientists of Helmholtz Zentrum München have now elucidated which mechanisms block the natural killer cells and how this blockade could be lifted. The results were recently published in the European Journal of Immunology.

A blood-borne molecule that increases in abundance as we age blocks regeneration of brain cells and promotes cognitive decline, suggests a new study by researchers at UC San Francisco and Stanford School of Medicine.

Laboratories that test chemicals for neurological toxicity could reduce their use of laboratory mice and rats by replacing these animal models with tiny aquatic flatworms known as freshwater planarians.

For decades, American travelers to international destinations have been plagued by acute gastrointestinal illnesses that can arise from travel to other countries. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) warns that depending on the destination, between 30 to 70 percent of travelers can expect to experience gastrointestinal distress from ingesting foreign or pathogenic bacteria that can be present in poorly sanitized water or food.

Stem cells are especially sensitive to oxygen radicals and antioxidants shows new research from the group of Anu Wartiovaara in the Molecular Neurology Research Program of University of Helsinki. The research led by researcher Riikka Martikainen was published in Cell Reports -journal May 28th 2015.

Pregnant women can improve their health and even reduce the risk of complications during childbirth by maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise. Research has shown that gaining too much weight during pregnancy increases the risk of gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, large babies, and delivery by caesarean section; and newborns with large birth weights are at risk of childhood obesity.

Streptococcus pneumoniae is a major human pathogen and is known to be associated with increased risk of fatal heart complications including heart failure and heart attacks.

Millions of people afflicted by irritable bowel syndrome can now be diagnosed quickly and accurately with two simple blood tests developed by a Cedars-Sinai gastroenterologist.

Army scientists working to support the Ebola virus outbreak response in West Africa have established the first genomic surveillance capability in Liberia, enabling them to monitor genetic changes in the virus within one week of sample collection. An article describing their work was recently published ahead of print in the online edition of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

The United States makes up less than five percent of the world's population but consumes 80 percent of the global opioid supply and approximately 99 percent of all hydrocodone--the most commonly prescribed opioid in the world. And, according to the authors of a new literature review in the May issue of The Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, orthopaedic surgeons are the third highest prescribers of opioid prescriptions among physicians in the United States--behind primary care physicians and internists.

The measles virus is known to cast a deadly shadow upon children by temporarily suppressing their immune systems. While this vulnerability was previously thought to have lasted a month or two, a new study shows that children may actually live in the immunological shadow of measles for up to three years - leaving them highly susceptible to a host of other deadly diseases.

The Public Health Agency of Sweden has developed a method of typing that can allow laboratories to faster establish the presence of hospital outbreaks of the intestinal bacterium Clostridium difficile. The findings are now published in PLOS ONE.

In the most comprehensive study ever on the impact of smoking on cardiovascular disease in older people, epidemiologist Dr. Ute Mons from the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) analyzed 25 individual studies, compiling data from over half a million individuals age 60 and older.

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