Archive for the ‘science’ Category

Archive for the ‘science’ Category

Rosacea, a skin condition affecting an estimated 45 million people worldwide, is now thought to be caused by an overly zealous immune response, and not bacteria.

Researchers at the University of California at San Diego found

…that “too much stratum corneum tryptic enzyme and too much cathelicidin leads to the abnormal peptides that cause the symptoms of this disease,” Dr. Gallo said.

“Antibiotics tend to alleviate the symptoms of rosacea in patients because some of them work to inhibit these enzymes,” he noted. “Our findings may modify the therapeutic approach to treating rosacea, since bacteria aren’t the right target.”

Read more.

Monday, August 6th, 2007

A recent study concluded that olive extract decreased pain and inflammation and improved quality of life in osteoarthritis sufferers. Taking the supplements also had the added benefit of decreasing homocysteine levels, a marker of improved cardiovascular health.

“An 8-week treatment with olive extract improved daily living activities in patients with osteoarthritis (OA) and significantly reduced plasma C-reactive protein (CRP) and homocysteine levels in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA),” wrote lead author Catherine Bitler.

Read more.

Sunday, August 5th, 2007

A study out of Duke University Medical Center suggests that hostility in men may lead to an assortment of adverse health effects, including weakened immune systems, coronary heart disease, and Type II diabetes.

Researchers found that levels of C3, an immune system protein which is a marker of inflammation (the body’s response to injury or infection), were 7.1 percent higher in men whose psychological screenings showed the hightest levels of hostility and depression.

While the increase in C3 levels seems directly related to the subjects’ psychological attributes, is not yet known whether psychological treatment could reverse those levels.

Read more.

Negative effects of plastics additive blocked by supplemental folic acid

Thursday, August 2nd, 2007

Epigenetics is a term referring to changes in gene expression which do not result in changes to the gene itself. Research in animals has shown that what a pregnant mother eats can alter the expression of genes in her offspring, making them more susceptible to certain diseases later in life.

In their most recent experiments, Duke University Medical Center investigators demonstrated that exposure within the womb to bisphenol A (BPA), an ubiquitous chemical used in the production of plastics, caused noticeable changes in the offspring without altering any of the offspring’s genes. Additionally, the researchers discovered that administration of folic acid or genistein, an active ingredient in soy, during pregnancy protected the offspring from the negative effects of BPA.

Read the whole article.

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

Almost everyone knows someone affected by Multiple Sclerosis.

So it should come as good news that scientists have identified two gene variants linked with MS, the first such a discovery in 20 years. Both genes are involved in controlling the activity of a class of cells within the immune system known as regulatory T-cells.

“We have identified a gene that increases an individual’s risk of multiple sclerosis by 30 per cent, and that this variant has an effect on the function of the gene. It is likely that variants of many genes are associated with the development of multiple sclerosis, so identifying a novel gene that is associated will be very helpful in understanding this complex disease,” said Simon Gregory, a molecular geneticist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

Read more.

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Monday, July 30th, 2007

Earlier, I blogged about the Kenyan prostitutes who were immune to HIV.

Having now quit the profession, they have become infected, and scientists are hypothesizing that it was their continued exposure to the virus which was rendering them immune.

Efforts to develop a vaccine remain undaunted, the scientists say.

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

antibiotic resistance

A recent blog post is reporting a study in the British Medical Journal about the potential rise in antibiotic resistance in the general public as a result of overprescription.

The authors believe these results show that prescribing amoxicillin to a child doubles the risk of finding antibiotic resistant strains in that child later. They warn that although this effect is temporary in the individual child, it may be sufficient to sustain a high level of antibiotic resistance in the population.

Read the published study.

Saturday, July 28th, 2007

Astronauts won’t be sharing their next shuttle mission with crustacean colleagues. They will, however, be studying the effects of chitosan-based materials, a polysaccharide found in the shells of crustaceans, in microgravity.

Because the effects of microgravity on immune and wound-healing cells are similar to the body’s response following trauma on Earth, these experiments also offer an opportunity to observe the fundamental genetic responses to these compounds with and without infection.

Researchers will examine the effect of microgravity on human monocytes, which are typically one of the first responders to infection and trauma, and will also be able to monitor the transformations of cells that return from space.

While the space mission is underway, the team will conduct an identical experiment simultaneously on Earth. Following the mission, analyses will be done to compare the space-based and ground-based cellular expression.

Read the whole article.

Friday, July 27th, 2007

vitamin d

A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has shown that over 55% of healthy children — up to 68% in winter — have low levels of Vitamin D, putting them at risk for weakened bones and serious disease.

More than 90 percent of African-American children tested had low blood levels of vitamin D, and about a fifth had levels associated with rickets and other diseases of the bones or muscles.

Vitamin D is needed by the immune system, and a deficiency can lead to poor absorption of bone minerals and may contribute to cancer, multiple sclerosis, hypertension and type 1 diabetes.

Read more.

Thursday, July 26th, 2007

Researchers in India say that the mango peel is a good source of antioxidants, rich in anthocyanins, carotenoids and polyphenols.

Of course, the peel is a little hard to digest. No problem. An extract from the peel is made with acetone. This makes the process of extraction extremely cheap, and cuts down on waste.

Now if they can just figure out a way to utilize that enormouse pit, I’ll really feel like I’m getting my money’s worth.
Read the whole article.