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By Jason Bittel The first mammals first lived some 160 million years ago, in a world ruled by reptiles. And now scientists suggest that hiding in the dark from these terrifying beasts may have left an imprint in mammals’ genes that can still be seen today. Most mammals were no bigger than a squirrel back then, and it would have been much safer to come out only at night, thereby avoiding most of the nastiest maws and claws. A new study published Thursday in Current Biology suggests that living largely in the dark for millions of years might explain how mammals lost a light-sensitive trick that nearly every other living thing possesses. You see, if you were to examine the DNA of a turtle, an orchid, a coral, or even a bacterium, you would find a quirky little set of genes that allows these organisms to repair damage caused by one kind of sunlight with energy absorbed from another kind of sunlight. Think of it like a solar panel that is both harmed and healed by the sun. How is it possible that we lost an evolutionary strategy so advantageous it’s been found in every other living thing where scientists have looked for it? Well, you might blame the dinosaurs—or at least how scary they were. All that time spent in darkness, when most dinosaurs weren’t active, may have affected the way placental mammals evolved. Scientists call this theory the “nocturnal bottleneck,” and it’s supported by various mammalian oddities such as the shape of our eyes, the composition of our retinas, and our heightened senses of smell and hearing—all of which point to a long history of living in the dark.

Keyword: Biological Rhythms; Evolution
Link ID: 25572 - Posted: 10.15.2018

By Ann Gibbons When it comes to gorillas, the males who help females out with their infants get benefits. The benefits? More babies. A new study of male gorillas in the wild in Rwanda has found that those who spend the most time grooming infants and resting with them—others’ offspring as well as their own—have about five times more offspring than males who don’t help out with the little ones. This is surprising, scientists say, because male caretaking isn’t usually considered a smart reproductive strategy in primate species where access to females is intensely competitive. Instead, researchers thought the most successful strategy for males would be to put more time and energy into outcompeting other males for a mate, as chimps do. That strategy still works for many male gorillas, who dominate small harems of females. But in 40% of the groups of mountain gorillas studied at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s Karisoke Research Center in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda there is more than one male in a group, sometimes as many as nine. And those males need to be resourceful to get a female’s attention. © 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Science

Keyword: Sexual Behavior; Evolution
Link ID: 25571 - Posted: 10.15.2018

By Hannah Furfaro, RICAURTE, COLOMBIA—It's late afternoon in this tiny town tucked into the Colombian Andes, when Mercedes Triviño, 82, lights the wood stove to start to prepare dinner. Smoke fills the two-bedroom home she shares with six of her adult children. Francia, 38, one of the youngest, is the family's primary breadwinner. She brings home 28,000 Colombian pesos (roughly $10) a day harvesting papayas in the fields just outside town. "Really, what I earn is just enough for eating and nothing else," she says. Four of her siblings have fragile X syndrome, a genetic condition that causes intellectual disability, physical abnormalities, and often autism. Jair, 57, works alongside Francia when he can. Hector, 45, is also somewhat able to care for himself. Victor, 55, and Joanna, 35—who has both fragile X and Down syndrome—are less independent. As Mercedes serves coffee on this July afternoon, sweetening it with a hefty dose of sugar and offering her best cups to her guests, she talks about the condition that dominates the lives of her family and many others here. Her niece, Patricia, 48, who lives a few blocks away, cares for two adult sons and a nephew with fragile X. More distant kin in town, the Quinteros, also have grown children with the condition. Other neighbors are adults with fragile X who have no caretaker and look after one another. © 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Science

Keyword: Development of the Brain; Genes & Behavior
Link ID: 25570 - Posted: 10.12.2018

By Daniel Barron Lisa Barlow, whose name I have changed to protect her privacy, is at her kitchen table in Washington DC when she realizes that each Sunday, fifteen passenger trains depart for New Haven, CT. She’s a successful copy editor and has a meeting in New Haven early Monday morning. She has no plans Sunday, so doesn’t care when she arrives or how long it takes. She travels coach so has thirty tickets to choose from: fifteen departures each with two price options. Should she choose the more-expensive flexible ticket over the locked-in value ticket? Does she want to leave earlier or later? Brunch in DC or lunch in New Haven? She can’t decide. She scrolls the screen up and down, up and down, faster and faster. Her eyes dart about the webpage. She feels a rising tension in her chest. Her breathing shortens. Her thoughts race in and out of her mind like the breath in her lungs. She touches her face and notices the telltale sign: it’s numb. She reaches into her pocket, where she safeguards a small pill for moments like these. A pharmacologic reset button. Barlow has had panic attacks since High School—the first over a social drama, the second after her science teacher told her that if she refused to dissect a pig, she’d amount to nothing. She suspects her attacks have something to do with her parents, whose difficult marriage often forced her to choose between them. This, a therapist explained, was an “impossible choice,” one with permanent consequences yet no clear answer. Now as an adult, when faced with a decision that has no clear answer—even something as simple as booking a train ticket—her brain is programmed to panic. © 2018 Scientific American

Keyword: Emotions; Learning & Memory
Link ID: 25569 - Posted: 10.12.2018

Cassie Martin A new microscope is giving researchers an unprecedented view of how mammals are built, cell by cell. Light sheet microscopes use ultrathin laser beams to illuminate sections of a specimen while cameras record those lit-up sections. Previous iterations of the device have captured detailed portraits of living zebra fish and fruit fly embryos as they develop. Kate McDole, a developmental biologist at Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Research Campus in Ashburn, Va., and colleagues used a new-and-improved version to monitor the development of a larger, more complex organism: the mouse. Algorithms in the microscope tracked six-day-old mouse embryos in real time over roughly two days, keeping the device focused on the cell clusters as they grew. A suite of computer programs used the data — about a million images per embryo — to map the life history of each embryo’s every cell, the team reports October 11 in Cell. The result: dazzling views of mouse organs taking shape. As an embryo rapidly expands in size, the gut starts to form when part of the embryo collapses into a craterlike hole. And a structure that eventually forms the brain and spinal cord, called a neural tube, appears like a comet shooting across the night sky. Researchers also captured the first beats of heart cells. “These are processes no one has been able to watch before,” McDole says. Seeing the gut form in minutes was stunning. “We never expected it to be that fast or that dramatic. It’s not like you can Google these things.” |© Society for Science & the Public 2000 - 2018

Keyword: Development of the Brain
Link ID: 25568 - Posted: 10.12.2018

Marc Bekoff Ph.D. "Despite many efforts to narrow the gender gap in leadership roles, women remain universally underrepresented in the top leadership positions in virtually every discipline, including in the sciences, politics and business. We were therefore interested in pursuing a non-traditional approach to understanding this phenomenon by looking for clues in societies of non-human animals." "We have much to learn from the fascinating ways that natural selection has favored behavioral traits of non-human animals. By studying non-human mammals where female rule the roost, we may gain insights into secrets for smashing the glass ceiling." I recently learned about a new research paper published in The Leadership Quarterly by Mills College biologist Dr. Jennifer Smith and her colleagues entitled "Obstacles and opportunities for female leadership in mammalian societies: A comparative perspective." I'd already read a short summary of this landmark study in a New Scientist piece titled "The 7 non-human mammals where females rule the roost," and was thrilled when Dr. Smith agreed to be interviewed about this detailed data-driven study that "elucidates barriers to female leadership, but also reveals that traditional operationalizations of leadership are themselves male-biased." Our interview went as follows. Why did you and your colleagues conduct the research you did concerning female leadership in non-human mammalian societies? Can you please explain the importance of the comparative perspective for readers who don't know what this entails? © 2018 Sussex Publishers, LLC

Keyword: Sexual Behavior; Emotions
Link ID: 25567 - Posted: 10.12.2018

Hannah Devlin Science correspondent Healthy mice with two mothers have been born for the first time in a study that pushes the boundaries of reproductive science. Mice with two fathers were also born, but only survived a couple of days, the Chinese team behind the work reported. There is no imminent prospect of the techniques being used clinically in people, but the findings demonstrate that the biological barriers to same-sex reproduction can, technically, be overcome. “This shows us what’s possible,” said Wei Li, of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a senior author of the paper. Scientists have previously managed to produce baby mice with same-sex parents, but the offspring had serious abnormalities and the methods used often required convoluted sequences of genetic manipulations, sometimes involving several generations of mice. The work explores a long-standing question in biology: that of why in mammals, equal genetic contributions from both a mother and a father are necessary. Elsewhere in the animal kingdom – in hammerhead sharks and komodo dragons, for instance – no genetic contribution from a father is required. A major barrier in mammals is a phenomenon known as “imprinting”, where for 100 or so genes only the copy that came from the mother or only the copy that came from the father are ever switched on. In the genome, maternal and paternal contributions are all jumbled together but these genes carry a chemical tag, labelling which parent the gene originated from in the first place. © 2018 Guardian News and Media Limited

Keyword: Sexual Behavior
Link ID: 25566 - Posted: 10.12.2018

By Carolyn Y. Johnson Kiara Eldred sometimes compares her nine-month-long scientific experiments, growing tiny human retinas in a laboratory dish, to raising children. Eldred, a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University, starts by growing thousands of stem cells and feeding them nutrients and chemicals that will steer them to develop into the retina, the part of the eye that translates light into the signals that lead to vision. After two weeks of painstaking cultivation, those cells typically generate 20 to 60 tiny balls of cells, called retinal organoids. As they mature, these nascent retinas get dirty and slough off lots of cells, so they also need to be washed off when they’re fed every other day — at least for the first month and a half. After nine months of assiduous care, Eldred has a batch of miniature human retinas that respond to light, are about two millimeters in diameter and are shaped like a tennis ball cut in half. But growing the organoids is only the first step. In a new study in the journal Science, Eldred and colleagues described using this system to understand a fundamental question about vision that has remained surprisingly mysterious: How does color vision develop? © 1996-2018 The Washington Post

Keyword: Vision; Development of the Brain
Link ID: 25565 - Posted: 10.12.2018

By Nicholas Bakalar Omega-3 supplements may help reduce anxiety symptoms, a review of studies has concluded. The analysis, in JAMA Network Open, concluded that people with clinically diagnosed anxiety disorders who took large doses of the supplement — up to 2,000 milligrams a day — benefited most. Researchers used data from 16 studies that compared omega-3 fatty acid supplements with placebo and three that did not use a placebo. Over all, omega-3 supplements were associated with significant relief from anxiety symptoms, but some groups benefited more than others. Omega-3 supplements did not ease anxiety levels in those without a clinical diagnosis of an anxiety disorder, on in adolescents under 18. And they were more strongly associated with reduced symptoms when the balance of two types of fatty acids in the supplement, EPA and DHA, was less than 60 percent EPA. The senior author, Dr. Yutaka Matsuoka, chief of health care research at the National Cancer Center in Japan, said that supplements may not be necessary. “Eating fatty fish that includes EPA and DHA is more natural. I recommend mackerel, Pacific saury, sardines, tuna or salmon.” In any case, he said, omega-3 is not a first-line treatment for anxiety, or a substitute for other evidence-based therapies. “But for patients who are not responsive to psychotherapies, omega-3 might be a promising alternative.” © 2018 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Stress
Link ID: 25564 - Posted: 10.12.2018

Ever wonder why things that normally feel gentle, like putting on soft shirts, are painful after a sunburn? In a study of four patients with a rare genetic disorder, NIH researchers found that PIEZO2, a gene previously shown to control our sense of our bodies in space and gentle touch, may also be responsible for tactile allodynia: the skin’s reaction to injury that makes normally gentle touches feel painful. This and a second NIH-funded study, both published in Science Translational Medicine, used mice to show how the gene may play an essential role in the nervous system’s reaction to injury and inflammation, making PIEZO2 a target for developing precise treatments for relieving the pain caused by cuts, burns, and other skin injuries. “For years scientists have been trying to solve the mystery of how gentle touch becomes painful. These results suggest PIEZO2 is the gene for tactile allodynia. We hope that these results will help researchers develop better treatments for managing this form of pain,” said Alexander T. Chesler, Ph.D., a Stadtman Investigator at the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) and a senior author of one of the studies. The PIEZO2 gene encodes what scientists call a mechanosensitive protein which produces electrical nerve signals in response to changes in cell shape, such as when skin cells and neurons of the hand are pressed against a table. Since its discovery in mice by a team led by Ardem Patapoutian, Ph.D., Scripps Research, La Jolla, CA, the lead author of the second paper, scientists have proposed that PIEZO2 plays an important role in touch and pain in humans.

Keyword: Pain & Touch; Genes & Behavior
Link ID: 25563 - Posted: 10.11.2018

By Christine Hauser Health authorities in the United States said this week that they were investigating an unusual spike in cases of a rare condition that causes limb paralysis and severe muscle weakness in children. Since mid-September, six cases of the condition, acute flaccid myelitis, in children under 10 years old have been reported to the Minnesota Department of Health, the agency said. Another two possible cases are pending confirmation, officials said. The number of cases of the illness, also known as A.F.M., is the highest in the state since 2014, when there were three reported cases, the health authorities said. Minnesota typically records one case of A.F.M. each year, and some years it does not have any at all, the department said. Officials have not found a specific cause for the illness. On Tuesday, the health authorities said three children suspected to have A.F.M. were being treated at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Officials in Colorado said this week that they were investigating a viral infection outbreak among children that included 14 cases of A.F.M. this year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it has seen an increasing number of people across the United States with the serious condition in the past four years. A.F.M. affects the nervous system and causes, mostly in children, paralysis similar to polio. The signs include sudden muscle weakness in the arms or legs; neck weakness or stiffness; a drooping face or eyelids; difficulty swallowing; and slurred speech, health officials say. Parents usually notice the child’s loss of the use of an arm or a leg. That was the case with Orville Young, a 4-year-old boy in Minnesota who lost mobility in his right arm and had difficulty sitting up and moving his legs. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Movement Disorders; Development of the Brain
Link ID: 25562 - Posted: 10.11.2018

Anna Azvolinsky When you move only your right arm, there’s neural activity in both the left and right sides of the brain, researchers report today (October 8) in The Journal of Neuroscience. Recent animal and human studies have hinted that moving muscle on only one side of the body resulted in neural activity from the same side—or ipsilateral—part of the brain. But the data haven’t been convincing enough to completely erase the idea that only the left side of the brain is responsible for movement on the right side of the body or vice versa. The new study shows the ipsilateral brain activity encodes detailed arm movement information including position, speed, and velocity. The results could one day be used to help improve recovery therapies for patients with brain injuries. “This is an important contribution to our understanding of how the brain controls arm movement because it reveals a greater role of ipsilateral brain activity than previously recognized,” writes Nathan Crone, a professor of neurology who runs a cognitive neurophysiology lab at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland and was not involved in the research, in an email to The Scientist. In the study, Eric Leuthardt, professor of neurosurgery, engineering, and neuroscience at Washington University in St. Louis, and his colleagues enlisted four patients with epilepsy who were to undergo surgery and who had electrodes implanted for a week under the skull. The electrodes were placed directly onto the cortex of the patients’ brain cortex regions, including the primary motor cortex—responsible for coordinating voluntary muscle movements. The patients volunteered to perform three-dimensional, individual arm motions while the researchers recorded neural activity from the implanted electrodes. The team then used machine learning to derive speed, velocity, and position information on each movement—gathering data on fine motor movements that cannot be easily captured using noninvasive techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). © 1986 - 2018 The Scientist.

Keyword: Movement Disorders
Link ID: 25561 - Posted: 10.11.2018

By Mitch Leslie Our immune cells normally pounce on intruding bacteria and viruses. But in multiple sclerosis (MS), immune cells target the nervous system instead. Now, researchers may have pinpointed a long-sought molecule called a self-antigen that provokes these attacks, pointing a way toward potential new treatments. “The work is monumental, and it’s tantalizing,” says neuroimmunologist Hartmut Wekerle of the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Munich, Germany, who wasn’t connected to the research. Researchers have long suspected that a self-antigen—a normal molecule in the body that the immune system mistakenly treats as a threat—can trigger MS. The prime suspects have been proteins in myelin, the nerve insulation that erodes in patients with the disease. But after years of searching, scientists haven’t been able to pinpoint the molecule. To uncover other candidates, immunologists Roland Martin and Mireia Sospedra of University Hospital of Zurich in Switzerland and their colleagues analyzed immune cells known as T cells that came from a patient who died from MS. T cells normally switch on when they encounter protein fragments containing just a few amino acids that belong to an invading microbe, but they also turn on in people who have MS. The researchers wanted to determine which protein shards stimulated the patients’ T cells, so they tested 200 fragment mixtures, each containing 300 billion varieties. The two fragments with the strongest effect turned out to be part of a human enzyme called guanosine diphosphate-L-fucose synthase, which helps cells remodel sugars that are involved in everything from laying down memories to determining our blood type. T cells from 12 of 31 patients who had who either had been diagnosed with MS or had shown early symptoms of the disease also reacted to the enzyme, the researchers report online today in Science Translational Medicine. What’s more, T cells from four of the eight patients tested responded to a bacterial version of the enzyme—lending credence to the recently proposed idea that intestinal bacteria may help spark the disease. © 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Science

Keyword: Multiple Sclerosis; Neuroimmunology
Link ID: 25560 - Posted: 10.11.2018

Richard Harris If you are one of the 5.7 million Americans who ends up in the intensive care unit each year, you are at high risk of developing long-term mental effects like dementia and confusion. These mental problems can be as pronounced as those experienced by people with Alzheimer's disease or a traumatic brain injury and many patients never fully recover. But research shows you are less likely to suffer those effects if the doctors and nurses follow a procedure that's gaining ground in ICUs nationwide. The steps are part of a bundle of actions aimed at reducing delirium in ICU patients. Doctors define delirium as a usually temporary state of mental confusion characterized by a lack of focus, difficulty in understanding what's going on around you and, sometimes, hallucinations. Following this checklist of actions can reduce the risk of mental impairment following an ICU stay by 25 to 30 percent, says Dr. E. Wesley "Wes" Ely at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. (This post-ICU condition is separate from memory problems that can arise after heart surgery and general anesthesia in the elderly). It isn't simply detailed medical care — it's a philosophy. "I think the most modifiable piece of this is what we do to the patient," Ely says. "And what we do to the patient [that] is dangerous is immobilize them chemically [with drugs] and physically, and then not allow the family there, and allow them to subsist in delirium." © 2018 npr

Keyword: Alzheimers; Stress
Link ID: 25559 - Posted: 10.11.2018

Jef Akst Facial expressions of pain and orgasm are different, according to a study published this week (October 8) in PNAS. Forty Western and 40 East Asian participants viewed computerized images of a human face and categorized the expressions as indicative of pain, orgasm, or other. For pain and orgasm, participants also rated the intensities of the expressions they viewed. In contrast to previous research that suggested expressions of pain and orgasm are “virtually indistinguishable,” according to the PNAS paper, the new study found that there were distinctions between the two—namely, expressions of pain involve pulling the face inward (lowering the eyebrows and wrinkling the nose, for example) and expressions of pleasure involve movements that expanded the face, such as raising the eye brows. Moreover, while Western and East Asian observers viewed expressions of pain similarly, there were culture-specific elements of orgasmic expressions. For example, Westerners’ o-face involved wide-open eyes and a dropped jaw, while East Asians’ expression involved smiling. Dynamic mental representations of the facial expressions of pain or orgasm PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas.1807862115, 2018 © 1986 - 2018 The Scientis

Keyword: Emotions
Link ID: 25558 - Posted: 10.11.2018

By Melissa Bailey, Kaiser Health News Some patients refuse to answer. Many doctors don’t ask. Family members worry about offending a suffering loved one. As the number of Americans with dementia rises, health professionals are grappling with when and how to pose the question: “Do you have guns at home?” While gun violence data is scarce, a Kaiser Health News investigation with PBS NewsHour published in June uncovered over 100 cases across the United States since 2012 in which people with dementia used guns to kill themselves or others. The shooters often acted during bouts of confusion, paranoia, delusion or aggression — common symptoms of dementia. Tragically they shot spouses, children and caregivers. Yet health care providers across the country say they have not received enough guidance on whether, when and how to counsel families on gun safety. Dr. Altaf Saadi, a neurologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who has been practicing medicine for five years, said that she recently realized that talking to patients with cognitive decline about guns in the home was a “blind spot” in her clinical practice. She looked up the American Academy of Neurology’s advice on treating dementia patients. Its guidelines suggest doctors consider asking about “access to firearms or other weapons” during a safety screen — but they don’t say what to do if a patient does have guns. With a dearth of national gun safety data, there are no scientific standards for when a health care provider should discuss gun access for people with cognitive impairment or at what point in dementia’s progression a person becomes unfit to handle a gun. Most doctors don’t ask about firearms, research has found. In a 2014 study, 58 percent of internists surveyed reported never asking whether patients have guns at home. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Alzheimers
Link ID: 25557 - Posted: 10.10.2018

By Daniel Ackerman Repeatedly heading a soccer ball exacts a toll on an athlete’s brain. But this cost—measured by the volume of brain cells damaged—is five times greater for women than for men, new research suggests. The study provides a biological explanation for why women report more severe symptoms and longer recovery times than men following brain injuries in sports. Previously some researchers had dismissed female players’ complaints because there was little physiological evidence for the disparity, says Michael Lipton, a neuroscientist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and a co-author of the paper. Lipton’s team used magnetic resonance imaging to peer into the skulls of 98 adult amateur soccer players—half of them female and half male—who headed the ball with varying frequency during the prior year. For women, eight of the brain’s signal-carrying white matter regions showed structural deterioration, compared with just three such regions in men (damage increased with the number of reported headers). Furthermore, female athletes in the study suffered damage to an average of about 2,100 cubic millimeters of brain tissue, compared with an average of just 400 cubic millimeters in the male athletes. Lipton does not yet know the cause of these sex differences, but he notes two possibilities. Women may suffer stronger whiplash from a cranial blow because they generally have less muscle mass than men to stabilize the neck and skull. Alternatively, a dip in progesterone, a hormone that protects against swelling in the brain, could heighten women’s vulnerability to brain injury during certain phases of their menstrual cycle. © 2018 Scientific American

Keyword: Brain Injury/Concussion; Sexual Behavior
Link ID: 25556 - Posted: 10.10.2018

Researchers say they have discovered a gene mutation that slows the metabolism of sugar in the gut, giving people who have the mutation a distinct advantage over those who do not. Those with the mutation have a lower risk of diabetes, obesity, heart failure, and even death. The researchers say their finding could provide the basis for drug therapies that could mimic the workings of this gene mutation, offering a potential benefit for the millions of people who suffer with diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. The study, which is largely supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health, appears in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (link is external). “We’re excited about this study because it helps clarify the link between what we eat, what we absorb, and our risk for disease. Knowing this opens the door to improved therapies for cardiometabolic disease,” said Scott D. Solomon, M.D., a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a senior physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, who led the research. He explained that the study is the first to fully evaluate the link between mutations in the gene mainly responsible for absorbing glucose in the gut — SGLT-1, or sodium glucose co-transporter-1 — and cardiometabolic disease. People who have the natural gene mutation appear to have an advantage when it comes to diet, Solomon noted. Those who eat a high-carbohydrate diet and have this mutation will absorb less glucose than those without the mutation. A high-carbohydrate diet includes such foods as pasta, breads, cookies, and sugar-sweetened beverages.

Keyword: Obesity; Genes & Behavior
Link ID: 25555 - Posted: 10.10.2018

By Alex Therrien Health reporter, BBC News Doctors have been given permission to give a British man with CJD a pioneering treatment, in a world first. There is currently no treatment for the rare but lethal brain disease, known as the human version of "mad cow disease". Doctors in London were given permission for the trial use on a human for the first time by the Court of Protection. Scientists say lab testing of the man-made antibody has been encouraging, but they admit they do not know how their patient will respond. The patient in this case, who has not been named, has sporadic CJD, the most common form of the disease in humans. This is different from variant CJD, the version linked to eating beef infected by bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE. Sporadic CJD happens when healthy proteins in the human body - prions - become spontaneously misshapen and build up in the brain. The man-made antibody treatment, called PRN100, aims to prevent abnormal prions from being able to attach themselves to healthy proteins, meaning that they cannot grow and cause devastation throughout the brain. University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) is set to use it in a patient for the first time after a judge from the Court of Protection confirmed on Monday that it was lawful and in the patient's best interests to receive it. © 2018 BBC

Keyword: Prions
Link ID: 25554 - Posted: 10.10.2018

Richard Harris Doctors have gradually come to realize that people who survive a serious brush with death in the intensive care unit are likely to develop potentially serious problems with their memory and thinking processes. This dementia, a side-effect of intensive medical care, can be permanent. And it affects as many as half of all people who are rushed to the ICU after a medical emergency. Considering that 5.7 million Americans end up in intensive care every year, this is a major problem which, until recently, has been poorly appreciated by medical caregivers. Take, for example, the story of Richard Langford, a 63-year-old retired minister who lives with his mother in East Nashville. He went into the hospital for knee surgery 10 years ago, "because I was playing tennis with an 85-year-old and he beat my butt," Langford says with a chuckle. "So I wanted fresh knees to help me play better." But after that routine knee surgery, Langford developed a serious lung infection, which sent him to the intensive care unit. He had developed sepsis, a life-threatening condition sometimes called blood poisoning. With sepsis, the body overreacts to an infection and that can lead to crashing blood pressure, multiple organ failure and often death. During his four-week stay in the hospital and the rehab that followed, Langford suffered from long spells of delirium. That's a state of muddled thought, confusion and even at times hallucinations in some patients. All Langford remembers is the sensation of a near-death experience. © 2018 npr

Keyword: Alzheimers; Stress
Link ID: 25553 - Posted: 10.10.2018