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Showing posts with label Health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Health. Show all posts

Viruses would be even more likely to cause severe childhood pneumonia than bacteria

Artistic illustration of human respiratory syncytial virus, responsible for one-third of pneumonia. | Kateryna Kon / Shutterstock

Researchers have shown, after examining children with pneumonia, that bacteria are far from the main agents of the disease in them. This study will warn physicians about the need for an accurate diagnosis for effective healing.

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that begins with frequent coughing, difficulty breathing, wheezing, headache, muscle aches and chest pain, and sudden fever. These symptoms, which often deceive the patient at first because of the similarity with a simple flu, can disappear without treatment or on the contrary worsen, requiring in this case a hospitalization.


The disease can be caused by a broad spectrum of bacteria, viruses or fungi (more than thirty) which, multiplying in the lungs, will clog the pulmonary alveoli causing their inflammation and the production of pus, which is going to accumulate and damage them, reducing the amount of oxygen they can absorb. Bacteria have long been considered the main culprits for the majority of cases of severe pneumonia.

The disease affects more than 600,000 French people every year and causes the death of about 15,000 of them. Children are the most fragile, with more than a million deaths each year. The large number of pathogens that can cause pneumonia and the location of the infection in the lungs make diagnosis difficult.

But researchers conducted a multi-site study over two years using a new method in seven countries with severe pneumonia (Zambia, Gambia, Kenya, South Africa, Mali, Thailand and Bangladesh) to identify pathogens most likely to cause serious infections.

They performed on 4232 children, samples in the throat and nose, as well as various body fluids such as blood, or those caused by coughing.


More than 60% of children in the study were infected with a virus, while bacteria accounted for less than 30% of cases. The remaining 10% were due to fungi, tuberculosis, or various unidentified causes.

Human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) alone accounted for almost one-third of infections, but the distribution of different pathogens varied between study sites and countries.

The results of this study could influence research into the development of pneumonia drugs and vaccines. The latter, which are mainly produced to target bacteria, are also partly responsible for the excessive use of antibiotics.

Highlighting pathogens causing the majority of pneumonia and using their new diagnostic method could lead to effective identification and direct use of the correct treatment.



Bibliography:

Causes of severe pneumonia requiring hospital admission in children without HIV infection from Africa and Asia: the PERCH multi-country case-control study
The Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health (PERCH)
Published:June 27, 2019
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(19)30721-4

For the first time, researchers completely eliminate HIV from mouse genome


HIV is a retrovirus that integrates into the genome of target cells with the aim of multiplying and eventually leading to widespread infection leading to AIDS. It also has the ability to camouflage itself in the eyes of the immune system. Current treatments are based on the use of antiretroviraldrugs aimed at reducing the viral load in the body, without eliminating the virus itself. However, a new study, combining modified anti-retroviraldrugs and the genetic editing technique CRISPR, has completely eliminated the virus in mice.


Anti-retroviral drugs work best on viruses that actively multiply and infect healthy cells. HIV has evolved to "learn" this and can mutate to become resistant to antiretrovirals, so that as soon as the antiviral molecule fades, the viruses replicate again in large quantities. HIV can also be preserved by hiding, resting and not reproducing, in the lymph and other body tissues.

When the immune system drops its guard, these latent viruses can start to replicate again. This means that once a person is infected, these viruses remain in the body, waiting to overwhelm the immune system of millions of viruses, years or even decades after HIV has infected its first cell. Finding and eliminating all traces of the virus would be a much better solution than antivirals. But so far, researchers have not been able to do so.

In a study published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers report a possible new way to eliminate HIV from the genome of an infected animal. In a study of 29 mice, the team used a combination of modified antiretroviral therapy to maintain low activity levels and a powerful gene-editing technique to extract HIV genes infected cells.

More effective antiretrovirals thanks to the LASER ART technique

In various tests, scientists found no trace of the virus in 30% of the animals. "This observation is the first step in showing, to my knowledge, that HIV is a curable disease," says one of the study's lead authors, Kamel Khalili, director of the Neurovirology Centre at the University's Lewis Katz School of Medicine.

A diagram illustrating the cycle of HIV infection and replication. Anti-retroviral drugs work by blocking the back-transcription of viral RNA. Credits: study.com

First, the researchers reduced the active replication rate of the virus in the blood using conventional antiretroviral drugs modified by a process called LASER ART. The process was developed by Dr. Howard Gendelman, Chair of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and the second lead author of the study.

With LASER ART, traditional anti-HIV drugs are refined to develop a crystalline structure and then enclosed in fat-soluble particles. This allows them to slip through cell membranes in places where HIV tends to hide, such as the liver, lymphatic tissue squeals and spleen. Once inside, cell enzymes begin to release the drug.

An anti-retroviral/CRISPR combination to effectively eliminate HIV

The crystalline structure releases drugs more slowly, allowing them to continue to eliminate dormant viruses as they appear and replicate them for months rather than days or weeks, such as forms conventional drug products. The second step was to use the CRISPR-cas9 gene-editing tool to dissociate HIV from all circulating cells infected with viral genes, cells that anti-HIV drugs have missed.


Khalili had previously used CRISPR to successfully extract HIV genes from human cells in the laboratory, as well as those from animals. But, used alone, CRISPR is not enough; once HIV replicates, so many copies are released that it is not possible for CRISPR to edit them all. In fact, some of the mice were treated with CRISPR alone, and some with LASER ART alone; in both groups, HIV levels finally rebounded over the five- to eight-week study period.

The graph at the top shows the evolution of CD4 lymphocyte levels in a healthy (green) and HIV-infected (red) individual. The bottom graph shows changes in CD4 levels in an untreated infected individual (red), treated with CRISPR (black), treated with LASER ART (blue), and with a COMBINATION of LASER ART-CRISPR (green). In the latter case, the results show a complete elimination of the virus. Credits: Prasanta K. Dash et al. 2019

However, when combined with laser treatment, both treatments effectively eliminated HIV from animals in the trials.

The Power of Genetic Therapy Against HIV

« Over the years, we have considered HIV an infectious disease. But once it enters the cell, it is no longer an infectious disease, but becomes a genetic disease because the viral genome is incorporated into the host genome," Khalili explains. "In order to cure the disease, we need a genetic strategy. Gene editing gives us the opportunity to remove viral DNA from host chromosomes without harming the host's genome ».

CRISPR-cas9 technology was remarkably accurate in animal testing, purifying only HIV genes without making unwanted cuts elsewhere in mouse DNA. In addition, the researchers also took immune cells, targeted by HIV as hosts, from animals treated with LASER ART and CRISPR, and transferred them to healthy animals to determine if they were developing HIV infection that could have persisted. No infections occurred.

We are quite confident of the result and delighted to find that in small animals, using the technology and method we have developed, we can get what we call a sterilizing treatment or elimination of the virus. Khalili said.

The team is already testing the therapy in non-human primates and hopes to confirm the same results. If the tests are successful, this would pave the way for human testing.

In 2015, Khalili co-founded Philadelphia-based Excision Biotherapeuticsto conduct future human trials using this treatment method, and is optimistic about this approach. "It seems that CRISPR could be the way to eliminate HIV permanently, that's what we hope," he concludes.



Bibliography:

Sequential LASER ART and CRISPR Treatments Eliminate HIV-1 in a Subset of Infected Humanized Mice
Prasanta K. Dash, Rafal Kaminski, Ramona Bella, Hang Su, Saumi Mathews, Taha M. Ahooyi, Chen Chen, Pietro Mancuso, Rahsan Sariyer, Pasquale Ferrante, Martina Donadoni, Jake A. Robinson, Brady Sillman, Zhiyi Lin, James R. Hilaire, Mary Banoub, Monalisha Elango, Nagsen Gautam, R. Lee Mosley, Larisa Y. Poluektova, JoEllyn McMillan, Aditya N. Bade, Santhi Gorantla, Ilker K. Sariyer, Tricia H. Burdo, Won-Bin Young, Shohreh Amini, Jennifer Gordon, Jeffrey M. Jacobson, Benson Edagwa, Kamel Khalili & Howard E. Gendelman
Nature Communications
volume 10, Article number: 2753 (2019)

A study shows that the intestine would be the place of origin of Parkinson's disease



Further proof of the link between the gut and psychiatric disorders has been demonstrated by researchers in Parkinson's disease, who have discovered that the molecules responsible for the disease are initially in the body of the device digestive.


Parkinson's disease is a disorder neurodegenerative affecting the motor system, and which causes tremor, a slowing of movements or even rigidity. The deterioration of the brain is caused by a bad folding of alpha-synuclein, a protein found particularly in neurons. When these proteins are malformed, they tend to aggregate together, causing damage to the nervous tissue until their death. The loss of cells affect not only the ability, but also the thinking and the emotions of the individual.

In 2003, researchers had found in people with the disease, that badly folded form of the protein was strongly present in the area of the central nervous system that control the bowel.

In addition, one of the first symptoms of Parkinson's disease is usually constipation, suggesting that the vagus nerve (the one that connects the brain and the small intestine) would be the first affected, and badly folded proteins pass through the latter for reach the brain.

With evidence of the link between Parkinson's disease and bowel being more numerous over the years, scientists from the school of medicine Johns Hopkins (in the United States) have decided to make their own experience. In the laboratory, they injected 25 micrograms of alpha-synuclein badly folded in the intestine of mice.


After samples of tissue from the brains of mice, made one, three, seven, and ten months after the injection, they found that alpha-synuclein are starting to accumulate towards the vagus then spreading to the brain.

They have then cut the vagus nerve in other mice, and then made the same Protocol as the first experience. Seven months later, no sign of dead cells were found, leaving suggest the Group cutting the nerve wave has blocked the progression of alpha-synuclein to brain.

For the second part of the research, scientists have observed if changes to the functioning of the vagus nerve had an impact on behavior. To do this, they formed three groups: the mouse with the injected badly folded alpha-synuclein, mice with the same injected protein but with the vagus nerve severed, and a group of mouse control (vagus nerve intact and without injected proteins).

Each group had to perform tasks to identify signs of Parkinson's disease, such as the construction of a nest or the discovery of a new environment. Indeed, the affected mice of the disease build smaller nests, sign of a problem at the level of the motor system.

Seven months after the injections, equipment was provided to the mouse for the construction of their nests. The researchers took notes from zero to six according to their capacity building.

Mice control groups, and those with the vagus nerve severed got often the scores of three or four, while those in the group that received the wrong folded protein (and with the intact nerve) had as a grade of zero or one. In addition, these, unlike the other two groups, never used all of the material that was provided to them.

Then comes the part "exposure to a new environment" of the study, which was intended to test their anxiety. The mice were placed in a large box open, with a camera to observe. Generally, healthy mice spent about 30 minutes to explore the Center, while those with Parkinson's disease (who had the infusion of badly folded proteins and with the intact vagus) preferred to move at the edge of the box after only 5 minutes of exploration, being much more stressed because of their declining cognitive ability.

This study shows the strong link between the brain and the gut in the case of a psychological disorder, through the vagus nerve, while the intestinal flora not there is involved (certainly). Next, researchers want to understand the mechanism by which badly folded proteins back to the brain.

" It's an exciting for this field of research, discovery, and she is a target (the vagus nerve) for early in disease intervention ', says Ted Dawson, Professor of Neurology at Johns Hopkins University. 




Bibliography:

Transneuronal Propagation of Pathologic α-Synuclein from the Gut to the Brain Models Parkinson’s Disease
 Sangjune Kim, Seung-Hwan Kwon, Tae-In Kam, Nikhil Panicker, Senthilkumar S. Karuppagounder, Saebom Lee, Jun Hee Lee, Wonjoong Richard Kim, Minjee Kook, Catherine A. Foss, Chentian Shen, Hojae Lee, Subhash Kulkarni, Pankaj J. Pasricha, Gabsang Lee, Martin G. Pomper, Valina L. Dawson, Ted M. Dawson, Han Seok Ko,

DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2019.05.035


New therapy targets gut bacteria to prevent and reverse food allergies


A new study identifies the species of bacteria in the human infant gut that protect against food allergies, finding changes associated with the development of food allergies and an altered immune response.


Every three minutes, a food-related allergic reaction sends someone to the emergency room in the U.S. Currently, the only way to prevent a reaction is for people with food allergies to completely avoid the food to which they are allergic. Researchers are actively seeking new treatments to prevent or reverse food allergies in patients. Recent insights about the microbiome -- the complex ecosystem of microorganisms that live in the gut and other body sites -- have suggested that an altered gut microbiome may play a pivotal role in the development of food allergies. A new study, led by investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Boston Children's Hospital, identifies the species of bacteria in the human infant gut that protect against food allergies, finding changes associated with the development of food allergies and an altered immune response. In preclinical studies in a mouse model of food allergy, the team found that giving an enriched oral formulation of five or six species of bacteria found in the human gut protected against food allergies and reversed established disease by reinforcing tolerance of food allergens. The team's results are published in Nature Medicine.

"This represents a sea change in our approach to therapeutics for food allergies," said co-senior author Lynn Bry, MD, PhD, director of the Massachusetts Host-Microbiome Center at the Brigham. "We've identified the microbes that are associated with protection and ones that are associated with food allergies in patients. If we administer defined consortia representing the protective microbes as a therapeutic, not only can we prevent food allergies from happening, but we can reverse existing food allergies in preclinical models. With these microbes, we are resetting the immune system."

The research team conducted studies in both humans and preclinical models to understand the key bacterial species involved in food allergies. The team repeatedly collected fecal samples every four to six months from 56 infants who developed food allergies, finding many differences when comparing their microbiota to 98 infants who did not develop food allergies. Fecal microbiota samples from infants with or without food allergies were transplanted into mice who were sensitized to eggs. Mice who received microbiota from healthy controls were more protected against egg allergy than those who received microbiota from the infants with food allergies.


Using computational approaches, researchers analyzed differences in the microbes of children with food allergies compared to those without in order to identify microbes associated with protection or food allergies in patients. The team tested to see if orally administering protective microbes to mice could prevent the development of food allergies. They developed two consortia of bacteria that were protective. Two separate consortia of five or six species of bacteria derived from the human gut that belong to species within the Clostridiales or the Bacteroidetes could suppress food allergies in the mouse model, fully protecting the mice and keeping them resistant to egg allergy. Giving other species of bacteria did not provide protection.

"It's very complicated to look at all of the microbes in the gut and make sense of what they may be doing in food allergy, but by using computational approaches, we were able to narrow in on a specific group of microbes that are associated with a protective effect," said co-first author Georg Gerber, MD, PhD, MPH, co-director of the Massachusetts Host-Microbiome Center and chief of the Division of Computational Pathology in the Department of Pathology at the Brigham. "Being able to drill down from hundreds of microbial species to just five or six or so has implications for therapeutics and, from a basic science perspective, means that we can start to figure out how these specific bacteria are conferring protection."

To understand how the bacteria species might be influencing food allergy susceptibility, the team also looked at immunological changes, both in the human infants and in mice. They found that the Clostridiales and Bacteroidetes consortia targeted two important immunological pathways and stimulated specific regulatory T cells, a class of cells that modulate the immune system, changing their profile to promote tolerant responses instead of allergic responses. These effects were found both in the pre-clinical models and also found to occur in human infants.

The new approach represents a marked contrast to oral immunotherapy, a strategy that aims to increase the threshold for triggering an allergic reaction by giving an individual small but increasing amounts of a food allergen. Unlike this approach, the bacteriotherapy changes the immune system's wiring in an allergen-independent fashion, with potential to broadly treat food allergies rather than desensitizing an individual to a specific allergen.

"When you can get down to a mechanistic understanding of what microbes, microbial products, and targets on the patient side are involved, not only are you doing great science, but it also opens up the opportunity for finding a better therapeutic and a better diagnostic approach to disease. With food allergies, this has given us a credible therapeutic that we can now take forward for patient care," said Bry.


Bry and Gerber, along with senior author Talal Chatila, MD, of Boston Children's Hospital, are founders and have equity in ConsortiaTX, a company that is developing a live human biotherapeutic product (CTX-944). (Co-senior author Rima Rachid, MD, of Boston Children's Hospital, also has equity in the company.) ConsortiaTX is preparing for a Phase 1b trial in pediatric food allergy, followed by expansion into additional allergic diseases. ConsortiaTX has obtained an exclusive global license to the intellectual property related to the microbial discoveries published in the Nature Medicine paper.

Source

Physical exercise during pregnancy improves fetal cardiac behavior



An investigation by the Polytechnic University of Madrid and the University Hospital of Torrejón establishes that the practice of moderate physical exercise on the part of the mother improves the response of the heart of the fetus and favors a better recovery of the weight after childbirth.

There is no period in the life of the human being with the quantity and quality of organic changes such as pregnancy and childbirth, which represents a real challenge for women of reproductive age whose basic purpose is to ensure normal fetal growth and development.


Given that physical exercise has become an integral part of life in all population segments, experts now focus on assessing the possible benefits that physical exercise can have for the health of the mother and the fetus.

A study developed by researchers from the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM) and the Obstetrics Service of the University Hospital of Torrejón establishes that moderate and supervised physical exercise in pregnancy improves the cardiac response of the fetus and the recovery of weight on the part of the mother in the postpartum.

The pregnant women who developed exercise from week 8-10 have better results compared to the control in two important parameters: the fetal cardiac ejection fraction and the pulsatility index of the ductus arteriosus -small vessel that connects the aorta with the artery. pulmonary, normally open in the fetus- ", explains Rubén Barakat, of the Faculty of Physical Activity and Sports Sciences-INEF of the UPM and participant in the study.

While those two variables improved, the rest of the fetal cardiac aspects showed no differences between the study groups, which, according to the researchers, demonstrates the harmless effect of exercise in terms of cardiac functionality, so it can be considered safe for the heart fetal.

In the opinion of the main author, Maia Brik "it has been scientifically proven that practicing exercise during pregnancy from the first trimester is safe for the fetus from a cardiological point of view, and on the other hand, it has been concluded that the ejection fraction Fetal cardiac function is better in fetuses of mothers who have exercised, so that exercise could be an adaptive advantage in the intrauterine period in the fetuses of physically active mothers. In this way, it seems that exercise not only has advantages in the maternal cardiovascular aspect, but also in the fetal one ".

The study consisted of a randomized clinical trial conducted with 120 healthy pregnant women. The results, published in the prestigious journal Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynaecology , were also part of a doctoral thesis recently read at the Faculty of Physical Activity and Sports Sciences of the UPM.


Better postpartum recovery

In addition to studying how the fetus' heart benefits, the researchers also looked at how practicing exercise before birth influences how a woman recovers her pre-pregnancy physical status. "Our work showed a greater recovery of pre-pregnancy weight at 6 weeks in those women who practiced moderate physical exercise during pregnancy. In addition, the psychological well-being of the mother also benefits, "explains Barakat.

Thus, although the process of pregnancy and childbirth means a period of great satisfaction for the woman, she is not exempt from risks and complications in all areas of her organism (not only the physiological one), which carries with it a certain degree of physical, mental stress and emotional For this reason, researchers consider that it is especially important to have attractive elements that are easily accessible and that help maintain and improve their quality of life.

Moderate and supervised physical exercise has amply demonstrated these potentialities and the present results reinforce the idea of ​​an active pregnancy as a basic factor of well-being", states Barakat.

"It becomes necessary (almost urgent) to involve and raise awareness not only of the pregnant woman, but also of all those responsible for her health care (couple, healthcare environment, others) about the search for preventive factors of complications and alterations that originated during pregnancy and childbirth, are determinants of women's health throughout their future life, "he adds.


End the myth

For the authors, the knowledge that exercise does not adversely affect the fetal heart, and even that it improves the parameters of cardiac functionality, can put an end to the myth that it could have negative effects on fetal development during pregnancy.

"The present results, together with previous findings in the same line, confirm the potential of physical exercise during pregnancy as a basic element for maternal, fetal and newborn well-being and its interesting and encouraging impact on the health of both, provided that when it is carried out in a supervised manner, "adds the UPM researcher.

"Hospital institutions and those health professionals responsible for the health care of pregnant women can not rule out this reality. From the scientific and methodological point of view, it is important to remember the basic criterion of intervention used, through a program of regular physical exercise, moderate and supervised by a professional, "he concludes.



Bibliography:

 Brik M, Fernández-Buhigas I, Martin-Arias A, Vargas-Terrones M, Barakat R, Santacruz B. 
Does exercise during pregnancy impact on maternal weight gain and fetal cardiac function? A randomized controlled trial .
Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol . 2019 May; 53 (5): 583-589.

Penis development needs more than just testes and testosterone

Immunofluorescence image of a human fetal adrenal gland showing the steroid cells. / Zoe Johnston


The masculinization in the human fetus is not only the result of testosterone manufactured by the testes. A new study published in PLOS Biology confirms that the fetal development of the penis also requires other hormones, such as androsterone, produced by the placenta and other organs.

In addition to the role of testosterone, European researchers have identified for the first time the details of an 'alternative' biological process that is necessary to develop the male genitalia in a fetus .


The findings, published in the journal PLOS Biology , also shed more light on the reasons why babies are born with undescended testes, malformations in the penis and other anomalies of the male external genitalia.

This work shows for the first time that the placenta and the adrenal gland are also involved in the development of male genitalia

During the development of the male fetus, the testes release testosterone , a steroid hormone produced by the testes that is converted to 5α-dihydrotestosterone (something like a 'supertestosterone' called DHT ), which ensures the formation of a penis instead of a clitoris female.

This new work, led by scientists from the universities of Aberdeen (United Kingdom) and Glasgow (Scotland), shows for the first time that the placenta and the adrenal gland are also involved in the creation of said 'supertestosterone'.

The results reveal a previously unknown pathway of masculinization of the external genitalia that may explain why placental dysfunction is associated with disorders of male genital development . Both processes must occur successfully to ensure that the male genitalia develop normally.

"There are two ways to produce DHT: through the testosterone of the testicles and through a different set of hormones produced by other organs, including the adrenal gland of the fetus and the placenta," explains Michelle Bellingham of the University of Glasgow. .

"In humans, both routes have to work correctly for a male fetus to become a male baby. We know that male fetuses whose placentas function poorly are much more likely to be born with undescended testes or malformed penises. Now we understand why, "he adds.


Optimize diagnosis and treatment

The findings themselves will not lead directly to new treatments, but will increase the chances of developing new strategies for early diagnosis and correction of poor masculinization.

The authors found that androsterone , a steroid hormone from the 'alternative' pathway, can also become DHT. They also found that the enzymes needed for said pathway were present mainly in the non-gonadal tissue , including those of the liver and the placenta.

Normally the penis is completely formed at the beginning of the second trimester and increases in size during adolescence

In addition, they found that the levels of both androsterone and testosterone were lower in the fetal circulation of future girls.

"If markers of placental dysfunction are obtained around the synthesis of steroid hormones, then there will be a greater probability of detection and treatment for correction or supplementation of such abnormalities, " explains Paul Fowler, of the University of Aberdeen.

Normally the penis is completely formed at the beginning of the second trimester and increases in size during adolescence. "What we now know is that the testicles alone are not enough to do this in humans and that the hormones produced by the placenta are equally essential," he continues.

Some people affected by sexual development disorders may encounter difficulties as they grow up or need to face difficult surgery and long-term hormone therapy. "Every new information on how masculinization occurs helps us understand how to detect and treat these disorders," concludes Fowler.




Bibliographic reference:

 O'Shaughnessy PJ, Antignac JP, Le Bizec B, Morvan ML, Svechnikov K, Söder O, et al. (2019)
Alternative (backdoor) androgen production and masculinization in the human fetus.
PLoS Biol 17 (2): e3000002. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3000002

Scientists are able to transform type A blood into universal donors


Blood compatibility is a determining factor in medical procedures for blood transfusion, dialysis and organ transplantation. In defining typing, we are scientifically categorized into specific groups, each of which has a series of characteristic antibodies in its plasma. This means, by having a different set of antibodies and cellular characteristics in your blood, a type B donor is not compatible with a type A receptor and vice versa. And the concern around that is clear: unless a patient receives blood (or compatible with his), a transfusion procedure can lead to the rupture of his red blood cells, resulting in death.

In a paper published in the journal Nature Microbiology last Monday (10), scientists at the University of British Columbia in Canada were able to do an innovative job in microbiology and physiology: converting, using natural enzymes from the human intestine, blood type A in a universal donor - that is, it is possible to make blood A have the same characteristics as type O blood.

The major drawback of the research is that O-type blood cells do not have any sugar on their surfaces, which gives them the universal compatibility feature. Regardless of Rh factor, such sugars, usually carbohydrates like galactose, are directly attached to the surface of blood cells A, B and AB. This is why it is so important to have a good supply of blood bags in emergency rooms, because when the patient's blood type is not identified at the time of an accident or need for intervention, the chances of success in the transfusion are real.

The main idea in this research was to transform blood A, the second most common type among humans, into a material compatible with all other blood types in the emergency rooms, since blood banks suffer daily from the lack of stock of blood bags, mainly of type O. For this, the attempt was to remove the incompatible carbohydrates (sugars) from the red blood cells and to make them as neutral as those of a blood O, the famous universal donor. But there is one: the current techniques of blood conversion have a very high cost that makes their application unfeasible.

Thanks to a type of enzyme present in natural bacteria in our gut, scientists were able to find a light at the end of the tunnel. For years, they have been working to find an enzyme that is widely available and able to break down sugars from less-compatible blood cells - and thanks to our intestinal flora, researchers have discovered the digestion response of some bacteria present there. What happens is that such bacteria digest mucins (sugars and proteins) from the intestinal tract, and the carbohydrates present in these substances are quite similar to those found in blood cells type A.



To put the experiment into practice, the team had to isolate the bacterial DNA from a sample of human feces. Thus, technically, it would be possible to extair the genes that encode the enzymes responsible for the breakdown of mucins. Using a genetic engineering technique, the researchers were then able to cut the DNA fragment to reproduce it in in vitro copies of Escherichia coli bacteria . The next step was to observe the digestion of these bacteria in the laboratory: would they be able to digest the sugars in the mucins, to the point of breaking them completely? If positive, it would be more than half way to eliminating sugars from type A blood cells.


After several attempts, the scientists discovered that the enzymes come from another intestinal bacterium, called Flavonifractor plautiique. Two of the enzymes resulting from the digestion process were able to efficiently break down the sugars from Type A blood cells provided they worked simultaneously. This process of digestion of carbohydrates in vitro was accompanied by the use of markers, substances that, when viewed under microscopy, color certain cell structures and show the scientist what is happening and the path taken in certain reactions. The enzyme pair was also able to break off the offending sugars bound to blood cells type A, but not type B.



Since type A blood represents almost 30% of all types in the world, by allying the supply of blood A with that of blood O, blood supply can potentially double in size. The technique, according to the researchers, is not that expensive: it uses low enzyme charges in a single mechanism, saving time and resources. And the results are quite promising in day-to-day emergencies.


"The very high activity and specificity of these enzymes, both in isolated solutions and in blood, makes them extremely promising candidates in the implementation of [automated] routine routines for collection, processing and storage of blood, with major implications the flexibilization of our blood supply and possible applications in organ transplantation, "the study says

Despite the finding, it is too early to determine whether the technique will reach hospitals or blood centers in the short term. Since this was the first study to be able to find such evidence, further research is needed to thin the process and make it clinically feasible to the point of making the conversion of blood typing fast and technically functional on a large scale.

Source

Eye problems due to the smartphone: causes and remedies


The eye problems because of the smartphone are a nuisance not to be overlooked. We spend on average between two and four hours a day looking at the smartphone and not only our posture can be compromised and damaged, but also and above all the state of health of our sight. In short, unless you use your phone as an mp3 player or hands-free / Bluetooth, we will always have our eyes on the display, with inevitable consequences for our body.

We make the point to become more aware of the risks in the short and long term, how to try to resolve before it is too late and when the signs have already manifested, finally possible care and practical advice.

What is blue light

Smartphones are characterized by the so-called blue light, that is artificial lighting that turns on the back of the display (the most recent models have self-illuminating pixels as for OLED technology). Blue light is characterized by a very short wave length and a higher frequency which - according to some studies, see below - causes damage that is soon told: redness , irritation , dryness , fatigue , blurred vision up to more serious problems such as headache and to orbits and sleep disorders .

But why then do producers continue to focus on blue light? Because compared to the yellow one it is more pleasing to the eye and creates a more contrasted lighting with the benefit of being able to capture more details and, in general, a greater sharpness. In addition, it improves the view under sunlight.

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Blue light is harmful

What happens to our body when we are exposed to blue light? According to a study conducted by the University of Toledo in the United States and published in the journal Scientific Reports the blue light would stimulate the photoreceptors , ie the light-sensitive cells positioned on the retina, the retinal pigment would be activated at each stimulus, but with the blue light it would begin to work badly and not correctly.

This is because it seems that one of the components of the cellular plasma membrane would be altered with the disappearance of different photoreceptors. The photoreceptor would literally die when an increase in the concentration of calcium is recorded in the cytoplasm and when it dies it can never be regenerated.

It could thus fall into the onset of a disease called macular degeneration due to the death of photoreceptors. Without arriving at the blindness that is the ultimate consequence, one may have difficulty reading and recognizing faces, fundamental activities for our everyday life.

Blue light is not harmful

However, there are diametrically opposed positions that state that blue light is not directly responsible for these damages mentioned above and that, on the contrary, it does not involve such consistent problems. For example the American Academy of Ophtalmology (Aao) - a non-profit association of US ophthalmologists - which sends alarms to the sender. The criticism stresses that the cells used for the test do not come from the retina or from the eye and have been subjected only to the artificial light of the laboratory and not to that of the Sun.

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Use of smartphone at night

A common habit to quit as soon as possible is to use the smartphone at night and / or before falling asleep . Net of essential needs that lead us to having to keep the phone switched on during the rest period, for any work or family situations, it is always better to place the phone away from the bed. It's off.

If you want to use as an alarm clock, better activate the aera mode (swipe from top to bottom and tap the airplane icon) to disable Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and cellular module connections. This, not only because of the discourse on electromagnetic waves, but above all because this avoids waking up when notifications are received (such as for social networks, instant messaging and so on) and turn on the screen.

When you turn on the screen at night, our pupils are dilated to the maximum and the eyes are used to darkness. As a result, the shock will be noticeable, like when someone points our headlights at us while we drive after dark. Apart from this first moment of difficulty for our eyes, artificial light, even at minimum intensity, is even more harmful during the night and affects sleep and sleep quality. This is because our brain is activated excessively, when instead it asks for and needs rest.

Same speech before falling asleep. A good part of the world population observes the smartphone just before closing its eyes, but this bad practice is slowing down the relaxation of the organism with a slower and less profound sleep. Therefore, as Cristiano Ronaldo himself does, better to avoid using the smartphone at least 15, better 30 minutes before sleeping.

How to protect yourself from blue light

It remains therefore the argument that blue light is harmful in the evening before falling asleep or even during the night. Fortunately, now standard on both Android and iOS there is the possibility of exploiting the pre-configured filter that modifies the wavelength and frequency making the shades tend more to the warmer yellow.

From Android you can swipe from top to bottom by opening the list of quick options until you meet Eye Protection with the icon of one eye. With a tap the standard filter turns on. From iOS go to Settings> Display and brightness> Night.

Let us remember, moreover, that blue light suppresses the production of melatonin with consequent imbalance of the circadian rhythms of our organism and relative disruption of the alternation of sleep and waking.

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Dry eye syndrome

This syndrome affects 90% of the over 50s and may even fall in age due to the intensive use of the smartphone. When in fact our attention is fixed on the display, the number of blinks decreases and the eye dries. The further you continue in this situation, the more you run the risk of becoming chronic with the result that you will then have to resort to artificial tears and compounds that moisten. Especially if you wear contact lenses, which increase the dry effect even more.

If you wear multi-focal glasses, you better spend more to focus on office lenses that optimize near and medium distance vision, making them ideal for computer users. Finally, the aforementioned pauses are beneficial also in this case, better to repeat them every hour.

The apps to protect the eyes

There are some applications that can go to protect and safeguard our eyes, here are three very practical ones:

Twilight: automatically adjusts the brightness and contrast of the image, also based on the level of ambient light and time.

Blue Light Filter: five presets of different tones to limit the emission of harmful rays

EasyEyes Free: free app that avoids shock to the eyes by adjusting the brightness to the best and avoiding spikes

Exercises to protect the eyes

Data remains that tell how 70% of frequent users of technological devices develop visual disturbances such as focusing and reading, the aforementioned dryness and headache. In addition, 30% develop myopia that requires corrective eyeglasses or contact lenses.

A possible corrective exercise is the one related to convergence, not solicited by an imposing use of the smartphone. You will have to cover one eye alternately to the other and bring a pen, or other object, from the tip of the nose to a point further away, slowly. Finally, observe with both eyes.


Smartphone posture: how to avoid neck and back problems


The problems of posture due to the use of technological devices such as smartphones  are a real scourge of modern times, because we spend most of the day looking at a display on a mobile phone, tablet, computer or other electronic gadgets. As a result, we tend to take very dangerous positions for the balance of the joints and the musculoskeletal system as the weights of the human body are distributed in a totally incorrect way.

There are also those who have invented a term for this increasingly common pathology: " Tech neck " where neck means neck in English. But more in the long term, even shoulders, back and even the pelvis can be affected by bad and harmful postures. We try to understand what are the most common mistakes that develop and how we must work in advance to protect our integrity.

Because smartphones are harmful to your posture

The assumption is soon said: above all because of the spasmodic use of the smartphone our posture will be unnatural and without balance. In fact, almost all people tend to bring their eyes closer to the screen, but with the head forward, urging the neck muscles five times as much as necessary, the shoulders are curved forward closing the chest muscles with a considerable tension that generates, in the long run, persistent pain and discomfort. The neck curves 45 degrees giving a pressure of over 23 kg triggering a compensation reaction that advances the pelvis and flattens the cervical and lumbar curves accentuating the dorsal one. A full-blown twist.

More: you get so used to these positions that the body forgets the right posture by acquiring the wrong one even when we are not handling on a cell phone. There are also those who have called this phenomenon "Text Neck" precisely because you often type on your smartphone and send your posture completely down the drain. The results can be very serious, as reported recently by Todd Lanman, spinal neurosurgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medial Center in Los Angeles, California (USA). In milder cases , numb neck and back pains are experienced , in those more severe herniated discs up to the inversion of the curves of the spine.

The zombie walk

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Similar discourse when you find yourself walking and using your smartphone as the so-called " zombie walk " emerges (as named for example by a recent research by the British University Anglia Ruskin that is a very slow, uncertain and lopsided gait, with short steps, frequent tripping and the real danger of falling or bumping into objects. Here the cure is quickly told: do not chat or watch videos while walking, unless it is strictly necessary.

Some cities fight smartphone zombies such as in Hawaii (in the city of Honolulu) where you risk a fine if you cross the street with your smartphone in use. Or provoke as the preferential lanes for those who walk with their mobile phones as in Antwerp in Belgium. Looking closer to Bolzano we are trying to raise awareness among the population with practical paratesta attached to light poles.

The danger of postural modification in adolescents

In this increasingly pervasive mal-habit, those at risk are children and adolescents , where the use of gadgets is twice that of adults. This is because their organism is still growing, starting from the musculoskeletal system, so there is the great danger of shaping their position in an impossible (or at least very difficult) way to correct over the years.

And the chances are great that the posture even in smartphones in your pocket or far away will be curved, hunched, with permanent muscular tensions and the door wide open to pains and situations that are not at all pleasant even in early adulthood. Pain that can also occur at an early age in the dorsal area or the spine.

How to heal from the wrong posture

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To try to give relief and to correct this postulating change, there are two possible ways, namely the use of continuous drugs and the support of a physiatrist . As always, do-it-yourself is strongly discouraged and it is always better to turn to professionals who can identify the problem in detail to provide consistent solutions.

On the one hand it will be possible to experience less pain during daily life and on the other to follow exercises that go to reinforce the muscular apparatus, especially located in the affected areas. It goes without saying that these exercises must be personalized on the individual and their own problems; one more reason to trust only those who have studied and have experience.

How to avoid incorrect posture

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The adage "prevention is better than cure" is really real and true in this case because it is never too late to realize if you are going on the bad road with an increasingly worse posture as time passes and if some pains begin to emerge located.

The first detail to keep under control is the boss . This is because they all tend to bend the neck forward with the result that the muscles have to do an incredible job to "hold" the substantial weight of the head. Muscular tensions that cause damage not only on the spot but in the whole back up to the pelvis. Therefore, it is better to keep the smartphone perpendicular to the ground and at eye level trying to concentrate on the neck and "looking straight ahead", feeling the shoulders opening as well as the chest and lumbar area that slightly forward. The benefit will be immediate.

And this is also true for the computer as we often tend to stay seated with the screen down and we do it. Better to position the monitor (fixed or portable) always at eye level and perpendicular to the ground, perhaps using special supports and extenders. The forearms must rest to release weight and release tension, with benefits from the wrist to the elbow to the shoulders.

Last, but not least , the discussion on the need to take regular breaks (even if we are playing, chatting or browsing on a smartphone or tablet) adopting this time for exercises of simple stretching or muscle strengthening, without exaggerating naturally.

Exercises to relax the muscles

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A short list of exercises to relax the muscles and "reset" incorrect posture and frequent mistakes. Each step must be repeated from sitting six or eight times with repeated winds:


  • Tilt the head to the right and left, stopping on each side

  • Bring the chin to touch the sternum and extend backwards without experiencing pain

  • Make a head twist on the vertical plane first left then right

  • Extend your hands and move your head forward to return to the starting position

All without experiencing pain or numbness. In conclusion, with a little bit of common sense and self-awareness, you can go to reduce the hassles and protect your well-being.


World Health Organization adds 'gaming disorder' to its list of modern diseases


The World Health Organization (WHO) on Saturday approved the latest update of its International Classification of Diseases (ICD) , which adds "disorder of the game" to its list of modern diseases.

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The organization in June last year added addiction to games under its potentially harmful technology-related behavior section, including overuse of "the internet, computers, smartphones," and more.

Despite opposition from commercial groups, which allegedly pointed to conflicting research on the subject and praised some of the virtues of video games, the last IADC was officially approved at the 72nd World Health Assembly.

"Gaming disorder" lives under the section "disorders due to addictive behavior " of the CID. It is described as "a pattern of persistent or recurring game behavior, which may be online or offline, manifested by impaired control over games, increasing the priority given to games as the game takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities and continuation or escalation of games, despite the occurrence of negative consequences."

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In December of last year parents were very worried about their children who were throwing Fortnite out of normality, losing sleepy nights and seeing their notes crash in school. In other cases games have even been grounds for divorce.

Do You Consider Gaming addiction as an disorder,  as everyone is addicted to something (I think too much addiction is disorder else for time being gaming releases stress)
What are Your Thoughts on This?
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Google study shows that machine learning is capable of detecting lung cancer



Google has been working on a number of fronts to show how machine learning can help things that go beyond technology such as arts and health. A new survey conducted by scientists at the Mountain View giant found that it is possible to detect signs of lung cancer.

Researcher responsible for the study, Danial Tse has created a deep learning algorithm that can detect malignant lung nodules in more than 42,000 advanced tomography exams. And the results were encouraging: the algorithm revealed 11% less false positives and 5% fewer false negatives when compared to human-made analyzes.

Lung cancer is a disease with a high mortality rate. In the United States alone, more than 160,000 people died of the disease last year. In Brazil, it is the mode that kills the most, with rates that reach 82%. Therefore, studies on the disease are so important.



As was said earlier in the text, it is not the first time that artificial intelligence and machine learning are used in the treatment of cancer. Alphabet, Google's parent company, is researching for cancer detection.

A team from Google Brain, the company's artificial intelligence research division, presented a paper on cancer detection using machine learning allied to a modified light microscope, which presents an augmented reality view.

The idea is that these measures help make tracking more reliable with artificial intelligence. The discovery is still considered a small step in the field of science, as technology will still have to deal with privacy issues and the quality of the data collected.

Source: Technology Review

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How is the Organ 3D printing done? How far is it from transplanting the human body? What you want to know is here.

Experts: Hang Fei, National Human Body Tissue Functional Reconstruction Engineering Technology Research Center, South China University of Technology, Associate Professor, School of Materials Science and Engineering, South China University of Technology

3D printing, one of the most watched technologies since the 20th century, is undoubtedly the endorsement of advanced technology.

In recent years, with the development of 3D printing technology, this advanced technology has gradually penetrated into the medical field.

For example, the world's first 3D printed "complete heart" , born in April, has a cherry-sized heart of cells, blood vessels, ventricles and atrium.



There are also breakthrough studies in the past on 3D printing organs:



Solving the shortage of living organs and reducing the rejection of receptors is of great significance for organ transplantation.

So, how far away is the 3D printing organ to replace the donated organ for healing? Let's talk about it today.

What is 3D printing technology? 

"3D printing" is a popular name for the material forming process of "additive manufacturing".

3D printing is different from the traditional material forming process. In the process of processing, the material quality is not reduced, and it is formed by the accumulation of “bottom-up” materials, and gradually builds up like a house.

The whole process is based on digital model files and is realized by computer control, which can build complex structures that are difficult to manufacture in traditional processes.

It has been more than 30 years since the birth of the world's first commercial 3D printer. With the advancement of technology, 3D printing has become more and more connected with our lives.

Early 3D printing was only able to print with plastic as "ink."

Now, "ink" can be plastic, metal, ceramic, or even cells, and is injected into the "ink cartridge" for operation.

3D printing technology has three main types according to the process characteristics:

One is to use a high-energy beam such as a laser or a plasma beam to melt, sinter, and finally form metal, ceramic, and plastic powder layer by point.

This type of process is mainly used in the field of industrial processing. For example, some large-size titanium alloy parts of the domestic large aircraft C919 are printed by such a process.

The second type is to melt a material such as plastic into a flowing melt by heating, or to form a flowable slurry, which is extruded from a needle tip by pressure and solidified in a space.

Most of the common desktop 3D printers currently use this type of technology. Cell and organ printing is also often used in such processes.

The third type is based on the principle of photocuring, and the phenomenon that the ultraviolet curable resin causes the liquid of the photocurable resin to be cured is printed. Due to the high precision of laser focusing, such processes tend to have better forming accuracy. 

How does 3D printing print organs? 

It is the imagination of our ancestors to make a living, and the 3D printing of living cells is a real attempt.

Scientists in the fields of biomaterials and regenerative medicine are constantly trying to use 3D printing to make tissues and organs that can be implanted into the human body. 

This is also one of the most important emerging areas of 3D printing, and has been reported in recent years.

In 2016, scientists transplanted 3D printed tissue into living organisms and proved that the tissue that was born from the printer survived and grew like normal tissue. 



So how do these "organizations" and "organs" are created by 3D printing?
First, we need to design a digital model blueprint, and the cells, like the slurry in a regular desktop printer, are squeezed out of the needle and built layer by layer like a house to form a predetermined shape.
However, if there is no bond between the cells and the cells, they will collapse once printed. Therefore, a substance called a hydrogel is used as a scaffold to assemble the cells.
In the process of printing, the hydrogel can maintain the shape of the tissue or organ, and the cells are wrapped, bonded, and stacked in an orderly manner. Hydrogels can be biodegraded without biotoxicity. 



Natural tissue has a large number of tubing structures for a variety of fluids, such as blood, to flow through the tissue. If the printed tissue or organ does not have a duct cavity, the cell cannot survive.

Therefore, a part of the cavity is reserved in the hydrogel scaffold to facilitate initial feeding and metabolism.

When the cells survive and form a relatively stable structure, the hydrogel scaffold is degraded and further forms a "cavity" for the growth and development of tubes such as blood vessels. 



In this way, the "ink cartridge" of a typical "bio 3D printer" will be filled with biological "ink" composed of cells and hydrogels. During the printing process, the biological "ink" will be stacked layer by layer into the shape of the corresponding tissue. 

What is the difference between 3D printed organs and human organs?


At present, the tissues and organs manufactured by 3D printing in the laboratory are different from human organs in terms of size, structure, cell type, cell survival time, etc., so most of the 3D printed tissues and organs are still Not able to be implanted into the body as a transplant organ.

The 3D printed organ has been able to maintain a fixed shape with simple organ function.

However, human organs are often composed of a variety of different cells, and various types of cells or collections of cells play different roles. The organs also have a large number of structures such as blood vessels, nerves, and various types of tubes that together with the cells realize complex functions in the body.

Nowadays, 3D printed tissues or organs tend to have a single cell type, do not have a complex pipe network structure, and usually cannot realize the complex functions of human organs, and can only be called "like tissues" or "organs."

3D printed organs are used as tools for medical research in drug screening and tumor models.

For regenerative medicine, 3D printing uses cells from the recipient, the tissues and organs produced are not immune to rejection, and the size and function of tissues and organs can be highly customized.

3D printing of implantable organs has broad prospects in the near future and is highly anticipated. 


Source: Science China

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World's First 3D Print Heart Has been Revealed By Scientists In Isreal


In Isreal, Scientists have revealed the world's first 3D-Print Heart with human tissues and vessels, this medical progress might boost the feature transplants.

On Monday, journalists were shown the 3D print of a heart, which is roughly the size of a rabbit’s heart, at Tel Aviv University in Israel, AFP reported. The scientists, which published their findings in the journal Advanced Science, hope in future scientists will be able to print hearts which will be used for heart transplant in humans.



Professor Tal Dvir, who led the project, told AFP that it marked “the first time anyone anywhere has successfully engineered and printed an entire heart replete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles, and chambers.” He further added, “People have managed to 3D print the structure of a heart in the past, but not with cells or with blood vessels.”

Professor Dvir holding 3D print Heart


According to Dvir, using the patient’s own tissue was key, so the risk of an implant being rejected would be eliminated, BBC news noted.

There are still many challenges for this '3D Print Heart' research as the heart is unable to pump yet, Eventhough the cells are able to contract but it isn't properly functional yet.


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