Monthly Archives: December 2015

Developing a sense of direction

Nervous systems continuously perform computations to create thoughts, feelings, and perceptions of the world. Circuits composed of neurons, which are the specialized cells of the nervous system, execute these calculations. To do so, neurons in a circuit receive input

Kenyan men’s fears about family planning

Despite increases in recent years in the number of women wanting to avoid pregnancy, the use of modern contraceptives in sub-Saharan Africa remains low. For example, in Kenya about three-quarters of married women aged 15–49 want to

Recharged autologous stem cells to combat cartilage defects in osteoarthritic patients

Inflammation is one of the greatest challenges for physicians and researchers working to find new strategies to regenerate patients’ damaged and deteriorated cartilage. Although humans have stem cells which can aid in many tissue repair processes throughout

Arsenic in drinking water and suicide

It is well-known that micro or trace minerals, like arsenic, aluminium, mercury and others are essential for good health. However, in spite of the fact that our body requires a tiny amount of arsenic in order to

Tunicates : Can the study of obscure marine animals shed light on evolution?

Scientists agree that the current biological diversity on earth is the result of evolution: present life forms evolved from their ancestors by progressive modifications. The shape and behavior of an animal or a plant – what scientists

The benefits of epidural analgesia in heart surgery

Epidural analgesia is a common procedure performed by anesthesiologists to relieve pain during childbirth or in surgery. It is performed by inserting a small catheter in a specific area of the spine known as the epidural space,

Liver X receptor beta, the link between thyroid hormone regulation and the browning of white fat

Everyone agrees that when our intake of sugar, fat and protein exceeds the body’s need for nutrition, excess is stored as fat. Fat in the form of white adipocytes is the body’s reserve of energy, which is

A combination therapy to induce apoptosis in difficult-to-treat cancer cells

The presence of activated PI3K-AKT is a major obstacle to successful chemotherapies. Since PI3K-AKT is activated in many healthy tissues, chemical inhibitors of PI3K-AKT inevitably have many unwanted side effects. By using a cholesterol-targeting drug called beta-cyclodextrin

A new approach to measure and evaluate inhibitory activity against protein glycation during heating

Glycation is the addition of a sugar moiety into a protein molecule occurring during Maillard reaction. It takes place both endogenously in the body and exogenously in food products. So-called advanced glycation end products (AGEs), lead to

How does phytohormone abscisic acid regulates plant flowering time?

Optimum of flowering time is most important for modern agricultural production system, especially for crops yield and seeds quality. Furthermore, during the lifecycle of a plant, one of the most attractive biological processes in plant research field

Processes mediating contaminant removal in Fe0/H2O systems: Coping with a highly dynamic system

The use of adsorption processes for water treatment purposes is a very old stuff. According to Egyptian and Sanskrit inscriptions, water was treated using filtration as early as 200 B.C. Its working principle is quite simple: its

Whole-cell computational models can predict how genes influence behavior

Since the early 1900’s, scientists have known that cells are composed of multiple components, including small molecules, DNA, RNA, and protein. Over the past fifty years, scientists have systematically measured these individual components and their interactions. Despite

Properties of magnetic nanocomposites for biomedical applications

Polymer nanocomposites have been receiving a lot of attention in the field of biomedical engineering. These composite materials, which consist of a polymer as the matrix and nanoparticles (nano-sized particles) as fillers, offer the opportunity for the

It is time to stop screening all women with mammography based on age alone

The early detection of breast cancer by mammography has been promoted in the Western world for decades, usually for all women 40-70+. Mammography involves an x-ray of the breasts while under compression. While mammography screening was once

Genes are read backwards to restructure our DNA

In English, we read in one direction – from left to right across the page. We need to read words in a certain order, so that the information makes sense to us. In the cells of our

Stem cell therapy for Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases of the central nervous system. Its main symptoms are motor disturbances such as tremors, rigidity and slowing of movements; although patients may also suffer from sleep disorders,

Albuminuria and cognitive decline

People with type 2 diabetes (T2DM) have a 50-100% increased risk of developing cognitive decline and dementia as compared to people without T2DM. The reasons for this decline are not yet clearly defined but are likely to

Radiation therapy for nerve pain when cancer spreads to bones

One of the hallmarks of cancer is its ability to spread from the primary site of origin to other places in the body.  Such secondary sites are called “metastases”.  One of the commonest sites for cancer secondaries

Disregarded drivers of diversity within tumors

The past decades of cancer research have uncovered the staggering extent and widespread prevalence of intratumor heterogeneity, which refers to the differences between the genomes of cells in a tumor. In theory, each cancer arises from a

An important new tool to assess chemotherapy response in cancer patients

Although chemotherapy agents are widely used in the treatment of cancer, it is not widely known that for many patients with solid tumours, only a fraction receive a survival benefit from chemotherapy.  This is particularly the case