Researchers took fragments of proteins from bacteria and flatworms, which when fused together were effective at binding to the gold nanoparticle surface and able to form stable bonds to any other protein.

Scientists have developed a new technique to bind proteins to nanoparticles that can help make drugs “smarter” and more effective at reaching their target.

The new technique decorates gold nanoparticles with a protein of choice so that they can be used to tailor drug to more accurately target an area on the body, such as a cancer tumour.

Gold nanoparticles are spheres made of gold atoms having a diameter of only few billionths of a metre which can be coated with a biological protein and combined with drugs to enable the treatment to travel through the body and reach the affected area.

“Gold nanoparticles are a vital tool in new drug development and drug delivery systems. We have unlocked the key to binding proteins and molecules so that those drugs will be more effective,” said Enrico Ferrari, a nanobiotechnologist from Britain’s University of Lincoln.

Until now, the proteins used to coat the nanoparticles had to be mixed together with particles which do not have the ability to control the way they bind, possibly making the drug less effective.

However, the new method, published in the journal Nature Communications, enables pharmacologists to place the proteins onto the gold nanoparticles layer by layer in a specific order.

This maintains the integrity of the protein so that the drug is more effective, opening up possibilities for the development of nanomedicine.

“This method might help to design nanomedicines that do not need extensive chemical modification of a protein drug or a nano-carrier and therefore can be developed more easily and faster,” Ferrari added.

Researchers took fragments of proteins from bacteria and flatworms, which when fused together were effective at binding to the gold nanoparticle surface and able to form stable bonds to any other protein.

By mixing this fusion protein with gold nanoparticles, it permanently binds to the gold surface while also being able to stably bind a target protein.

The novel method could also potentially be applied to biosensors and diagnostic kits that use gold, such as those used in clinical settings to identify ongoing infections in patients’ blood, the researchers said.

 

Courtesy - Indian Express

Middle-age and older adults often display a blunted thirst perception, which places them at risk for dehydration and subsequently may reduce the cognitive health-related benefits of exercise.

Older people who indulge in physical activity should increase their amount of water intake, to reap the full cognitive benefits of exercise, researchers suggest.

Dehydration has been shown to impair exercise performance and brain function in young people, but less is known about its impact on older populations.

The findings showed that hydration boosts performance on test of executive function that includes the skills needed to plan, focus, remember and multitask following exercise.

Exercise has been shown to improve intellectual health, including executive function.

“Middle-age and older adults often display a blunted thirst perception, which places them at risk for dehydration and subsequently may reduce the cognitive health-related benefits of exercise,” said researchers including Brandon Yates, of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, US.

The study, presented at the American Physiological Society (APS) annual meeting at Experimental Biology 2018 in San Diego, explored the association between hydration status before exercising and exercise-enhanced cognition in older adults.

The team recruited recreational cyclists (average age 55) who participated in a large cycling event on a warm day (78-86 degrees F).

The cyclists performed a “trail-making” executive function test–quickly and accurately connecting numbered dots using paper and pencil — before and after the event.

The team tested the volunteers’ urine before they exercised and divided them into two groups — normal hydration and dehydrated — based on their hydration status.

The normal hydration group showed noticeable improvement in the completion time of the trail-making test after cycling when compared to their pre-cycling test.

The dehydration group also completed their post-cycling test more quickly, but the time reduction was not significant.

“This suggests that older adults should adopt adequate drinking behaviours to reduce cognitive fatigue and potentially enhance the cognitive benefits of regular exercise participation,” the researchers said.

Courtesy - Indian Express

Significant improvements in positive mood and pain scores, as well as decreases in negative mood and anxiety, were observed, the researchers said. Patients perceived BVAI as overall positive (95 per cent) and wished to participate in future art-based interventions (85 per cent).

A brief bedside art therapy may improve mood and decrease the levels of pain and anxiety in patients with cancer, a study claims. In the study published in the European Journal of Cancer Care, a bedside visual art intervention (BVAI) facilitated by art educators improved mood and reduced pain and anxiety in inpatients with haematological cancers.

The study was conducted on 19 female and two male patients admitted to the inpatient bone marrow transplant and haematologic services at Mayo Clinic School of Medicine-Rochester in the US. They were invited to participate in a BVAI where the goal of the session was to teach art technique for about 30 minutes. Significant improvements in positive mood and pain scores, as well as decreases in negative mood and anxiety, were observed, the researchers said.

Patients perceived BVAI as overall positive (95 per cent) and wished to participate in future art-based interventions (85 per cent), they said. According to the researchers, the findings indicate that experiences provided by artists within the community may be an adjunct to conventional treatments in patients with cancer-related mood symptoms and pain.

Courtesy - Indian Express

The findings, reported in the BMJ, show that artificial pancreas treatment provides almost two-and-a-half extra hours of normal blood glucose levels (normoglycaemia) a day, while reducing time in both high (hyperglycaemia) and low (hypoglycaemia) blood glucose levels.

Mimicking the way a dialysis machine works for kidney disease patients, an artificial pancreas can lead to better blood sugar control in diabetics, researchers from Oxford and Cambridge along with their Greek counterparts have reported.

The findings, reported in the BMJ, show that artificial pancreas treatment provides almost two-and-a-half extra hours of normal blood glucose levels (normoglycaemia) a day, while reducing time in both high (hyperglycaemia) and low (hypoglycaemia) blood glucose levels.

The researchers concluded: “Artificial pancreas systems are an efficacious and safe approach for treating outpatients with type 1 diabetes. The main limitations of current research evidence on artificial pancreas systems are related to inconsistency in outcome reporting, small sample size, and short follow-up duration of individual trials.”

Endocrinologists in India, however, expressed apprehensions that such a setup may be too expensive for a common patient.

Artificial pancreas is a system that measures blood sugar levels using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and transmits this information to an insulin pump that calculates and releases the required amount of insulin into the body, just as the pancreas does in people without diabetes. It is also possible to release glucagon, yet another pancreatic hormone, through a similar contraption; both insulin and glucagon can be delivered too. The system works only in those people whose diabetes is a result of deficiencies in their pancreas function, that is type I diabetes, in which the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels within the normal range.

Said Dr Anoop Misra, Chairman, Fortis-C-DOC Centre of Excellence for Diabetes, Metabolic Diseases and Endocrinology, “Artificial pancreas is an exciting approach to better management of patients with type 1 diabetes, who often struggle with blood sugar control and multiple injections. However, most patients in India cannot even afford insulin pump (available in India), and artificial pancreas will cost more, putting it out of reach.”

Courtesy - Indian Express

 

Saturday, 24 March 2018 16:33

Sadist people more likely to seek vengeance

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By gaining a deeper understanding of what drives certain people to seek revenge, researchers will be able to create profiles that could be used to identify those who are most likely to commit violence in the future and intervene.

People who enjoy hurting others and seeing them in pain are more likely to seek revenge against those who have wronged them, a study has found. Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in the US found that sadism is the dominant personality trait that explains why certain people are more likely than others to seek vengeance.

“We wanted to paint a picture of the personality of the type of person who seeks revenge. Were all slighted in our daily lives, but some of us seek revenge and some of us do not,” said David Chester, assistant professor at VCU.

“The core of what we found is that the person who seeks revenge is a person who tends to enjoy it,” Chester said.
The researchers conducted three studies involving 673 students in which participants filled out questionnaires that have been validated to predict a persons real-life behaviour.

They were asked to say whether they agree or disagree to a variety of statements, such as “Anyone who provokes me deserves the punishment that I give” and “If Im wronged, I cant live with myself until I revenge.”

By gaining a deeper understanding of what drives certain people to seek revenge, researchers will be able to create profiles that could be used to identify those who are most likely to commit violence in the future and intervene.
“Identifying who is most at risk for seeking revenge is really important to do in order to intervene before they engage in harmful acts and start to hurt other people in retaliation,” Chester said.

Courtesy - Indian Express

Patients may not be eating nuts due to concerns about the high-fat content and that increasing nut consumption will lead to obesity, which leads to worse outcomes says a study. "The results highlight the importance of emphasising dietary and lifestyle factors in colon cancer survivorship," added a researcher.

People with colon cancer who regularly eat nuts such as almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews and peanuts may be at significantly lower risk of cancer recurrence and mortality, researchers say. The findings showed that those who regularly consumed at least two, one-ounce servings of nuts each week showed a 42 per cent improvement in disease-free survival and a 57 per cent improvement in overall survival. In patients with stage III colon cancer, recurrence was reduced by nearly half. “These findings are in keeping with several other observational studies that indicate that a slew of healthy behaviours, including increased physical activity, keeping a healthy weight, and lower intake of sugar and sweetened beverages, improve colon cancer outcomes,” said lead author Temidayo Fadelu, postdoctoral student at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

“The results highlight the importance of emphasising dietary and lifestyle factors in colon cancer survivorship,” Fadelu added. The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, followed 826 participants in a clinical trial for a median of 6.5 years after they were treated with surgery and chemotherapy. Patients may not be eating nuts due to concerns about the high-fat content and that increasing nut consumption will lead to obesity, which leads to worse outcomes. On the contrary, “our studies, and across the scientific literature in general, have found regular consumers of nuts tend to be leaner”, explained Charles S. Fuchs, Director at Yale Cancer Centre in the US.

Many previous studies have reported that nuts also help to reduce insulin resistance. “These studies support the hypothesis that behaviours that make you less insulin resistant, including eating nuts, seem to improve outcomes in colon cancer,” Fuchs said. Nuts also might play a positive role by satisfying hunger with less intake of carbohydrates or other foods associated with poor outcomes, Fuchs noted.

 

Courtesy - Indian Express

 

A research study shows that social media grealty influences teenagers' lives, including their relationships.

Social media experiences of teenagers may spill over into real life and affect their relationships, a study suggests. According to researchers at University of California, Irvine in the US, a new digital divide appears to be emerging over the types of experiences teens have online.

In the research published in the journal Nature, Professor Candice Odgers analysed data from various existing studies. “The evidence so far suggests that smartphones may serve as mirrors reflecting problems teens already have,” Odgers said. “Those from low-income families said that social media experiences more frequently spilled over into real life, causing more offline fights and problems at school,” said Odgers.

In a 2015 survey by Odgers and colleagues, 10- to 15-year-olds reported high levels of regular internet access regardless of family income: 92 per cent for those from economically disadvantaged homes and 97 per cent for their more affluent peers. The gap in smartphone ownership is even smaller, at 65 per cent and 69 per cent, respectively, researchers said. Other studies reviewed by Odgers indicated the need for additional support from parents, schools or other community organisations for adolescents from economically disadvantaged households, who are more likely to be bullied, solicited and victimised in cyberspace.

They also usually have less parental mediation, guidance and supervision of their online activities, researchers said. “The majority of young people appear to be doing well in the digital age, and many are thriving with the new opportunities that electronic media provides. “But those who are already struggling offline need our help online too,” Odgers said.

“Strategies that encourage parental involvement – as well as partnerships between local governments, technology companies and educational institutions – are key to ensuring that all young people, including the most vulnerable, have positive online experiences,” said Odgers.

 

Courtesy - Indian Express

Courtesy - Indian Express

 

A big tummy with thin thighs is equal to high risk of diabetes and a slim tummy with big thighs is equal to low risk of diabetes. Sir Ganga Ram Hospital has come out with a new study that can help predict diabetes. Find out more here.

According to International Diabetes Federation, there were over 72 million cases of diabetes in India in 2017. The number of Indians suffering from this malicious disease is expected to cross the 100 million mark by 2030. A large part of this epidemic spreading so rampantly can be attributed to the rising obesity.

Sir Ganga Ram Hospital along with Motilal Nehru Medical College of Allahabad, has recently discovered a “simple and cost-effective screening tool” to identify people at high risk of Type 2 diabetes.

According to the study, “Big tummy with thin thighs is equal to high risk of diabetes and slim tummy with big thighs is equal to low risk of diabetes.”

Why do big thighs protect one from diabetes and not a big tummy?

The fat on the thighs called the subcutaneous fat sits under the skin and is not very harmful. On the other hand, a big tummy means one has visceral fat that surrounds the organs. It is a “deep-rooted” fat that changes that way the body functions.

“If two people are overweight, the one having subcutaneous fat is less likely to have diabetes than the one with visceral fat,” says Dr Tejal Lathia, consultant, endocrinologist, Hiranandani Hospital Vashi. However, it does not mean that a person with subcutaneous fat storage cannot develop diabetes, she added.

When should you get checked for diabetes?

People over 40 years of age should get checked for the disease. Those who are younger are likely to develop it if they have a family history of diabetes, are overweight, have a sedentary lifestyle or suffer from hypertension. The other signs to watch out for are:

* If the Body Mass Index (BMI) is more than 23, one is likely to get diabetes.

* A person having a history of gestational diabetes, which means that a pregnant woman without diabetes develops high blood sugar during her carrying period, is a sign of diabetes.

* Giving birth to a baby weighing more than four kilos is also a sign, according to Dr Monika Sharma, Consultant, Endocrinology, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, Delhi.

What difference has the study made?

The study has made it easier to predict who can or cannot develop diabetes in the future. Dr Atul Gogia, co-author and senior consultant, Department of Medicine, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, said: “Our study found that diabetics had significantly greater waist circumference than non-diabetics. Also, diabetics had lesser thigh circumference than non-diabetics.

“We found Waist Thigh Ratio (WTR) of 2.3 as a cut-off point as a predictor of diabetes. Simply put, a person having Waist Thigh Ratio (WTR) less than 2.3 will be at low risk of diabetes and may not require further investigation.”

The waist circumference is often used as a parameter for diagnosing diabetes. Dr V Mohan, who is the chairman and Chief of Diabetology at Dr. Mohan’s Diabetes Specialities Centre, a WHO Collaborating Centre for Noncommunicable Diseases Prevention, uses a scoring system which screens the patient’s weight, family history, age and waist circumference.

Why are Indians more prone to have diabetes?

A carb-heavy diet with little protein and high sugar content makes Indians more likely to have diabetes.

The study has made it easier to predict diabetes effectively and inexpensively and this screening can help in further treating the disease.

New research into polar ice has shown that bacteria can survive deeper into ice sheets, raising the possibility of life in our solar systems' distant, icy planets.

For the first time, scientists have discovered living bacteria in polar ice and snow – an environment once considered sterile – altering perceptions about which planets in the universe could sustain alien life. The research also shows that humans may be having an even greater impact on levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in Earth’s atmosphere than accepted evidence from climate history studies of ice cores suggests.

Gases captured and sealed in snow as it compresses into ice can provide researchers with snapshots of Earth’s atmosphere going back hundreds of thousands of years. Climate scientists use ice core samples to look at prehistoric levels of CO2 in the atmosphere so they can be compared with current levels in an industrial age. This analysis of ice cores relies on the assumption that there is limited biological activity altering the environment in the snow during its transition into ice.

The research, published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, revealed that the composition of small samples of gas trapped in the ice may have been affected by bacteria that remain active in snow while it is being compressed into ice – a process that can last decades. “As microbial activity and its influence on its local environment has never been taken into account when looking at ice-core gas samples it could provide a moderate source of error in climate history interpretations,” said Kelly Redeker from the University of York in the UK.

“Respiration by bacteria may have slightly increased levels of CO2 in pockets of air trapped within polar ice caps meaning that before human activity CO2 levels may have been even lower than previously thought,” said Redeker. “In addition, the fact that we have observed metabolically active bacteria in the most pristine ice and snow is a sign of life proliferating in environments where you wouldn’t expect it to exist,” he said.

“This suggests we may be able to broaden our horizons when it comes to thinking about which planets are capable of sustaining life,” he added. Research conducted in laboratories has previously shown that bacteria can stay alive at extremely cold temperatures, but this study is the first time that bacteria have been observed altering the polar snow environment in situ.

The researchers looked at snow in is natural state, and in other areas they sterilised it using UV sterilising lamps. When they compared the results the team found unexpected levels of methyl iodide – a gas known to be produced by marine bacteria – in the untouched snow. Researchers also detected the presence of gases at part-per-trillion levels, one million times less concentrated than atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

The results of the study also suggest that life can be sustained even in remote, cold, nutrient poor environments, offering a new perspective on whether the frozen planets of the universe could support microorganisms.

 

Courtesy - Indian Express

Adding a daily serving of green, leafy vegetables to your diet may be a simple way to foster your brain health. In people who ate the most of green, leafy vegetables brain ageing slowed by 11 years.

Eating one to two servings of salad with spinach, lettuce and kale daily may keep your brain 11 years younger as well as prevent dementia, according to a study.

The study found that people who ate at least one serving of green, leafy vegetables a day had a slower rate of decline on tests of memory and thinking skills than people who never or rarely ate these vegetables.

In people who ate the most of green, leafy vegetables brain ageing slowed by 11 years.

“Adding a daily serving of green, leafy vegetables to your diet may be a simple way to foster your brain health,” said Martha Clare Morris, from the Rush University in Chicago.

“Projections show sharp increases in the percentage of people with dementia as the oldest age groups continue to grow in number, so effective strategies to prevent dementia are critical,” Morris added.

The study, published in the journal Neurology, involved 960 people with an average age of 81 who did not have dementia and were followed for an average of 4.7 years.

Over 10 years of follow-up, the rate of decline for those who ate the most leafy greens was slower by 0.05 standardised units per year than the rate for those who ate the least leafy greens. This difference was equivalent to being 11 years younger in age.

The results remained valid after accounting for other factors that could affect brain health such as smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, education level and amount of physical and cognitive activities, the researchers said.

Courtesy - Indian Express

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