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Small molecule acts as on-off switch for nature’s antibiotic factory: Tells Streptomyces to either veg out or get busy

Small molecule acts as on-off switch for nature’s antibiotic factory: Tells Streptomyces to either veg out or get busy

Scientists have identified the developmental on-off switch for Streptomyces, a group of soil microbes that produce more than two-thirds of the world’s naturally derived antibiotic medicines. Their hope now would be to see whether it is possible to manipulate this switch to make nature’s antibiotic factory more efficient. Continue reading

Synthesis produces new fungus-derived antibiotic

Synthesis produces new fungus-derived antibiotic

A fortuitous collaboration at Rice University has led to the total synthesis of a recently discovered natural antibiotic. The laboratory recreation of a fungus-derived antibiotic, viridicatumtoxin B, may someday help bolster the fight against bacteria that evolve resistance to treatments in hospitals and clinics around the world. Continue reading

Indoor mold poses health risk to asthma sufferers

Indoor mold poses health risk to asthma sufferers

Damp and mould in homes could pose a significant health risk to people with asthma according to a new study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. By critically reviewing the findings from 17 studies in eight different countries, the research has found that the presence of several types of mould can lead to breathing problems in asthma sufferers, as well as increasing the likelihood of developing the condition. The research has been conducted by a team at the University of Exeter Medical School and is the first time all of the information relating to mould and asthma has been gathered and analysed together. Continue reading

First study of brain activation in MS using fNIRS

First study of brain activation in MS using fNIRS

Using functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), Kessler Foundation researchers have shown differential brain activation patterns between people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and healthy controls. This is the first MS study in which brain activation was studied using fNIRS while participants performed a cognitive task Continue reading

Encyclopedia of how genomes function gets much bigger

Encyclopedia of how genomes function gets much bigger

A big step in understanding the mysteries of the human genome was unveiled today in the form of three analyses that provide the most detailed comparison yet of how the genomes of the fruit fly, roundworm, and human function. The research, appearing August 28 in in the journal Nature, compares how the information encoded in the three species’ genomes is “read out,” and how their DNA and proteins are organized into chromosomes. The results add billions of entries to a publicly available archive of functional genomic data Continue reading

Junk food makes rats lose appetite for balanced diet

Junk food makes rats lose appetite for balanced diet

A diet of junk food not only makes rats fat, but also reduces their appetite for novel foods, a preference that normally drives them to seek a balanced diet, reports a study published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Psychology . The study helps to explain how excessive consumption of junk food can change behavior, weaken self-control and lead to overeating and obesity Continue reading

Dosage of HIV drug may be ineffective for half of African-Americans

Dosage of HIV drug may be ineffective for half of African-Americans

Many African-Americans may not be getting effective doses of the HIV drug maraviroc, a new study from Johns Hopkins suggests. Continue reading

Sorting cells with sound waves

Sorting cells with sound waves

Researchers from MIT, Pennsylvania State University, and Carnegie Mellon University have devised a new way to separate cells by exposing them to sound waves as they flow through a tiny channel. Their device, about the size of a dime, could be used to detect the extremely rare tumor cells that circulate in cancer patients’ blood, helping doctors predict whether a tumor is going to spread. Separating cells with sound offers a gentler alternative to existing cell-sorting technologies, which require tagging the cells with chemicals or exposing them to stronger mechanical forces that may damage them Continue reading

Expanding age of eligibility for measles vaccination could increase childhood survival in Africa

Expanding age of eligibility for measles vaccination could increase childhood survival in Africa

Expanding the age of eligibility for measles vaccination from 12 to 15 months could have potentially large effects on coverage in Africa, according to a new report published by Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Continue reading

Cancer-fighting drugs might also stop malaria early

Cancer-fighting drugs might also stop malaria early

Scientists searching for new drugs to fight malaria have identified a number of compounds — some of which are currently in clinical trials to treat cancer — that could add to the anti-malarial arsenal. Duke University assistant professor Emily Derbyshire and colleagues identified more than 30 enzyme-blocking molecules, called protein kinase inhibitors, that curb malaria before symptoms start Continue reading