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Major breakthrough could help detoxify pollutants

Major breakthrough could help detoxify pollutants

Scientists at The University of Manchester hope a major breakthrough could lead to more effective methods for detoxifying dangerous pollutants like PCBs and dioxins. The result is a culmination of 15 years of research and has been published in Nature . It details how certain organisms manage to lower the toxicity of pollutants. Continue reading

Children’s genes affect their mothers’ risk of rheumatoid arthritis

Children’s genes affect their mothers’ risk of rheumatoid arthritis

A child’s genetic makeup may contribute to his or her mother’s risk of rheumatoid arthritis, possibly explaining why women are at higher risk of developing the disease than men. This research will be presented October 21, at the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) 2014 Annual Meeting in San Diego. Rheumatoid arthritis, a painful inflammatory condition that primarily affects the joints, has been tied to a variety of genetic and environmental factors, including lifestyle factors and previous infections. Continue reading

Scientific breakthrough will help design antibiotics of the future

Scientific breakthrough will help design antibiotics of the future

Researchers at the University of Bristol focused on the role of enzymes in the bacteria, which split the structure of the antibiotic and stop it working, making the bacteria resistant. The new findings, published in Chemical Communications , show that it’s possible to test how enzymes react to certain antibiotics. It’s hoped this insight will help scientists to develop new antibiotics with a much lower risk of resistance, and to choose the best medicines for specific outbreaks. Continue reading

Blinded by non-science: Trivial scientific information increases trust in products

Blinded by non-science: Trivial scientific information increases trust in products

Beware of trivial graphs and formulas, warns new research from Cornell University. Published this week in Public Understanding of Science , the Cornell Food and Brand Lab study found trivial graphs or formulas accompanying medical information can lead consumers to believe products are more effective. “Your faith in science may actually make you more likely to trust information that appears scientific but really doesn’t tell you much,” said lead author Aner Tal, post-doctoral researcher at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab Continue reading

Improving bladder function among people with spinal cord injuries

Improving bladder function among people with spinal cord injuries

People who have suffered spinal cord injuries are often susceptible to bladder infections, and those infections can cause kidney damage and even death. New UCLA research may go a long way toward solving the problem. A team of scientists studied 10 paralyzed rats that were trained daily for six weeks with epidural stimulation of the spinal cord and five rats that were untrained and did not receive the stimulation. Continue reading

Physicists sound warning to ‘nail beauty fanatics’

Physicists sound warning to ‘nail beauty fanatics’

The daily trimming of fingernails and toenails to make them more aesthetically pleasing could be detrimental and potentially lead to serious nail conditions. This is according to researchers at the University of Nottingham who have devised equations to identify the physical laws that govern nail growth, and used them to throw light on the causes of some of the most common nail problems, such as ingrown toe nails, spoon-shaped nails and pincer nails Continue reading

Cystic Fibrosis lung infection: Scientists open black box on bacterial growth

Cystic Fibrosis lung infection: Scientists open black box on bacterial growth

Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have shown for the first time how bacteria can grow directly in the lungs of Cystic fibrosis patients, giving them the opportunity to get tremendous insights into bacteria behavior and growth in chronic infections. The study also discovered the bacterial growth in chronic lung infections among cystic fibrosis (CF) patients was halted or slowed down by the immune cells. The researchers discovered the immune cells consumed all the oxygen and helped “suffocate” the bacteria, forcing the bacteria to switch to a much slower growth. Continue reading

Divide and conquer: Novel trick helps rare pathogen infect healthy people

Divide and conquer: Novel trick helps rare pathogen infect healthy people

New research into a rare pathogen has shown how a unique evolutionary trait allows it to infect even the healthiest of hosts through a smart solution to the body’s immune response against it. Continue reading

Presence of enzyme may worsen effects of spinal cord injury and impair long-term recovery

Presence of enzyme may worsen effects of spinal cord injury and impair long-term recovery

Traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) is a devastating condition with few treatment options. Studies show that damage to the barrier separating blood from the spinal cord can contribute to the neurologic deficits that arise secondary to the initial trauma. Through a series of sophisticated experiments, researchers reporting in The American Journal of Pathology suggest that matrix metalloproteinase-3 (MMP-3) plays a pivotal role in disruption of the brain/spinal cord barrier (BSCB), cell death, and functional deficits after SCI. Continue reading

Cellular self-destruct program has deep roots throughout evolution

Cellular self-destruct program has deep roots throughout evolution

In what seems like a counter-intuitive move against survival, within animals, some cells are fated to die from the triggering of an elaborate cell death program, known as apoptosis. Now, Sakamaki et. al., have honed in on understanding the evolution of caspase-8, a key cell death initiator molecule that was first identified in humans Continue reading