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Genome analysis with near-complete privacy possible

It is now possible to scour complete human genomes for the presence of disease-associated genes without revealing any genetic information not directly associated with the inquiry, say Stanford University researchers.

This “genome cloaking” technique, devised by biologists, computer scientists and cryptographers at the university, ameliorates many concerns about genomic privacy and potential discrimination based on an individual’s genome sequence.




Allergies: cross-reactivity between cypress pollen and peaches/citrus fruits finally explained

Researchers have identified, for the first time, the likely origin of the cross-reactivity between cypress pollen, peaches and citrus fruits.




How we recall the past

When we have a new experience, the memory of that event is stored in a neural circuit that connects several parts of the hippocampus and other brain structures. Each cluster of neurons may store different aspects of the memory, such as the location where the event occurred or the emotions associated with it.

Neuroscientists who study memory have long believed that when we recall these memories, our brains turn on the same hippocampal circuit that was activated when the memory was originally formed. However, MIT neuroscientists have now shown, for the first time, that recalling a memory requires a “detour” circuit that branches off from the original memory circuit.




Renewable Energy Prevented 12,700 Premature Deaths Over Nine-Year Period, Study Says

The expansion of wind and solar energy, and the resulting avoided emissions from fossil fuels, helped prevent up to 12,700 premature deaths in the U.S. from 2007 to 2015, according a new study in the journal Nature Energy.




Renewable Energy Prevented 12,700 Premature Deaths Over Nine-Year Period, Study Says

The expansion of wind and solar energy, and the resulting avoided emissions from fossil fuels, helped prevent up to 12,700 premature deaths in the U.S. from 2007 to 2015, according a new study in the journal Nature Energy.




Poisonings went hand in hand with the drinking water in Pompeii

The ancient Romans were famous for their advanced water supply. But the drinking water in the pipelines was probably poisoned on a scale that may have led to daily problems with vomiting, diarrhoea, and liver and kidney damage. This is the finding of analyses of water pipe from Pompeii.

- The concentrations were high and were definitely problematic for the ancient Romans. Their drinking water must have been decidedly hazardous to health.




Are stem cells the link between bacteria and cancer?

Gastric carcinoma is one of the most common causes of cancer-related deaths, primarily because most patients present at an advanced stage of the disease. The main cause of this cancer is the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, which chronically infects around half of all humans. However, unlike tumour viruses, bacteria do not deposit transforming genes in their host cells and how they are able to cause cancer has so far remained a mystery. An interdisciplinary research team at the Max Planck Institute in Berlin in collaboration with researchers in Stanford, California, has now discovered that the bacterium sends stem cell renewal in the stomach into overdrive – and stem cell turnover has been suspected by many scientists to play a role in the development of cancer. By showing that the stomach contains two different stem cell types, which respond differently to the same driver signal, they have uncovered a new mechanism of tissue plasticity. It allows tuning tissue renewal in response to bacterial infection.




Are stem cells the link between bacteria and cancer?

Gastric carcinoma is one of the most common causes of cancer-related deaths, primarily because most patients present at an advanced stage of the disease. The main cause of this cancer is the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, which chronically infects around half of all humans. However, unlike tumour viruses, bacteria do not deposit transforming genes in their host cells and how they are able to cause cancer has so far remained a mystery. An interdisciplinary research team at the Max Planck Institute in Berlin in collaboration with researchers in Stanford, California, has now discovered that the bacterium sends stem cell renewal in the stomach into overdrive – and stem cell turnover has been suspected by many scientists to play a role in the development of cancer. By showing that the stomach contains two different stem cell types, which respond differently to the same driver signal, they have uncovered a new mechanism of tissue plasticity. It allows tuning tissue renewal in response to bacterial infection.




Smoking Raises Risk of Aneurysm Recurrence After Endovascular Treatment

In a new study, researchers report people who have experienced an aneurysm have another reason to quit smoking.




Smoking Raises Risk of Aneurysm Recurrence After Endovascular Treatment

In a new study, researchers report people who have experienced an aneurysm have another reason to quit smoking.




Simulation shows the high cost of dementia, especially for families

A new simulation of how the costs and the course of the dementia epidemic affect U.S. families finds that neurodegenerative conditions can more than double the health care expenditures of aging and that the vast majority of that financial burden remains with families rather than government insurance programs.




Simulation shows the high cost of dementia, especially for families

A new simulation of how the costs and the course of the dementia epidemic affect U.S. families finds that neurodegenerative conditions can more than double the health care expenditures of aging and that the vast majority of that financial burden remains with families rather than government insurance programs.




NASA Protects Its Super Heroes From Space Weather

It’s not a bird or a plane but it might be a solar storm. We like to think of astronauts as our super heroes, but the reality is astronauts are not built like Superman who gains strength from the sun. In fact, much of the energy radiating from the sun is harmful to us mere mortals.




Navigation and spatial memory — brain region newly identified to be involved

Research conducted in a collaboration between Drs. Dun Mao, a researcher in Dr. Bruce McNaughton’s lab at the Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience at the University of Lethbridge, and Steffen Kandler, a researcher in Professor Vincent Bonin’s lab at Neuro-Electronics Research Flanders (NERF) in Belgium, has found neural activity patterns that may assist with spatial memory and navigation.

Their study, Sparse orthogonal population representation of spatial context in the retrosplenial cortex, has been published in Nature Communications.




Heavily used pesticide linked to breathing problems in farmworkers' children

Elemental sulfur, the most heavily used pesticide in California, may harm the respiratory health of children living near farms that use the pesticide, according to new research led by UC Berkeley.

In a study of children in the Salinas Valley’s agricultural community, researchers found significant associations between elemental sulfur use and poorer respiratory health. The study linked reduced lung function, more asthma-related symptoms and higher asthma medication use in children living about a half-mile or less from recent elemental sulfur applications compared to unexposed children.




Hypothermia After Stroke Reduces Dynamin Levels and Neuronal Cell Death

A new study has shown that following brain ischemia caused by cerebral blockage in mice both immediate and delayed reduction in body temperature helped limit cell death and levels of a protein called dynamin. These results, which suggest that dynamin may have a role in—and be a potential drug target for—stroke-related neuronal cell death, are reported in Therapeutic Hypothermia and Temperature Management, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Journal website until September 16, 2017.




Hypothermia After Stroke Reduces Dynamin Levels and Neuronal Cell Death

A new study has shown that following brain ischemia caused by cerebral blockage in mice both immediate and delayed reduction in body temperature helped limit cell death and levels of a protein called dynamin. These results, which suggest that dynamin may have a role in—and be a potential drug target for—stroke-related neuronal cell death, are reported in Therapeutic Hypothermia and Temperature Management, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Journal website until September 16, 2017.




New Report Outlines Research Agenda to Better Understand the Relationship Among Microbiomes, Indoor Environments, and Human Health

Even with a growing body of research on microorganisms and humans in indoor environments, many of their interconnections remain unknown, says a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report proposes a research agenda to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the formation, dynamics, and functions of indoor microbiomes that can guide improvements to current and future buildings as well as enhance human health and well-being.




New Report Outlines Research Agenda to Better Understand the Relationship Among Microbiomes, Indoor Environments, and Human Health

Even with a growing body of research on microorganisms and humans in indoor environments, many of their interconnections remain unknown, says a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report proposes a research agenda to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the formation, dynamics, and functions of indoor microbiomes that can guide improvements to current and future buildings as well as enhance human health and well-being.




New Tool Aims to Make Surgery Safer by Helping Doctors See Nerves

During operations, it can be difficult for surgeons to avoid severing crucial nerves because they look so much like other tissue. A new noninvasive approach that uses polarized light to make nerves stand out from other tissue could help surgeons avoid accidentally injuring nerves or assist them in identifying nerves in need of repair.




New Tool Aims to Make Surgery Safer by Helping Doctors See Nerves

During operations, it can be difficult for surgeons to avoid severing crucial nerves because they look so much like other tissue. A new noninvasive approach that uses polarized light to make nerves stand out from other tissue could help surgeons avoid accidentally injuring nerves or assist them in identifying nerves in need of repair.




Antifreeze to improve aeroplanes, ice cream and organ transplants

The design of airplane wings and storing organs for transplant could both become safer and more effective, thanks to a synthetic antifreeze which prevents the growth of ice crystals, developed by researchers at the University of Warwick.




A new method of 3D printing living tissues

The approach could revolutionise regenerative medicine, enabling the production of complex tissues and cartilage that would potentially support, repair or augment diseased and damaged areas of the body.

Printing high-resolution living tissues is hard to do, as the cells often move within printed structures and can collapse on themselves. But, led by Professor Hagan Bayley, Professor of Chemical Biology in Oxford’s Department of Chemistry, the team devised a way to produce tissues in self-contained cells that support the structures to keep their shape.




Mercury is altering gene expression

The mercury found at very low concentrations in water is concentrated along the entire food chain, from algae via zooplankton to small fish and on to the largest fish — the ones we eat. Mercury causes severe and irreversible neurological disorders in people who have consumed highly contaminated fish. Whereas we know about the element’s extreme toxicity, what happens further down the food chain, all the way down to those microalgae that are the first level and the gateway for mercury? By employing molecular biology tools, a team of researchers from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, has addressed this question for the first time. The scientists measured the way mercury affects the gene expression of algae, even when its concentration in water is very low, comparable to European environmental protection standards. Find out more about the UNIGE research in Scientific Reports.




Air pollution linked to cardiovascular disease; air purifiers may lessen impact

Exposure to high levels of air pollution increased stress hormone levels and negative metabolic changes in otherwise healthy, young adults in a recent study conducted in China. Air purifiers appeared to lessen the negative effects, according to new research published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.

Researchers focused on fine particulate matter (PM2.5) – a component of air pollution emitted from vehicles, factories, power plants, fires and smoking – because many studies have suggested this type of major air pollutant might lead to cardiovascular and metabolic health consequences, according to Haidong Kan, M.D., Ph.D., study author and professor of environmental health sciences at Fudan University in Shanghai, China.