Life Sciences

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Health - Life Sciences - 13.12.2018
Faecal transplants, 'robotic guts' and the fight against deadly gut bugs
Faecal transplants, ’robotic guts’ and the fight against deadly gut bugs
A simple compound found in our gut could help to stop dangerous bacteria behind severe, and sometimes fatal, hospital infections. Dr Ben Mullish understands more than most about the seriousness of gut bugs. Although many people will appear to have no more than an upset stomach for a couple of days, infections of the gut and intestines can prove deadly to vulnerable patients, such as the elderly or those undergoing cancer therapy.

Health - Life Sciences - 10.12.2018
New genetic study could lead to better treatment of severe asthma
The largest-ever genetic study of people with moderate-to-severe asthma has revealed new insights into the underlying causes of the disease which could help improve its diagnosis and treatment. Between 10-15% of individuals with asthma have the severe type of the condition which does not respond to conventional treatment.

Life Sciences - Health - 10.12.2018
Dialysis patients at risk of progressive brain injury
Kidney dialysis can cause short-term ‘cerebral stunning' and may be associated with progressive brain injury in those who receive the treatment for many years. For many patients with kidney failure awaiting a kidney transplant or those not suitable for a transplant, dialysis is a life-saving treatment.

Health - Life Sciences - 07.12.2018
Bacterial 'sleeper cells' evade antibiotics and weaken defence against infection
Bacterial ’sleeper cells’ evade antibiotics and weaken defence against infection
New research, from scientists at Imperial College London, unravels how so-called bacterial persister cells manipulate our immune cells. The work potentially opens new avenues to finding ways of clearing these bacterial cells from the body, and stopping recurrence of the bacterial infection. The latest findings may help explain why some people suffer from repeated bouts of an illness, despite taking antibiotics.

Environment - Life Sciences - 06.12.2018
Under the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree
Under the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree
Tonight the crowds will gather in Trafalgar Square to see the lights on the world's most famous Christmas tree switched on. But it's the bits we can't see that make the Norway Spruce ( Picea abies ) so magnificent. CT scanning - X-Ray Computed Tomography (X-Ray CT) - is an imaging technique originally developed by Sir Godfrey Hounsfield for medical application.

Health - Life Sciences - 05.12.2018
New genetic insight could help treat rare debilitating heart and lung condition
New genetic insight could help treat rare debilitating heart and lung condition
The largest study of genetic variation in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension has associated two important genes with the disease. In collaboration with institutes from Europe and Northern America, researchers from Imperial College London have conducted the largest genetic analysis to date of 2,000 patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and identified associations with two genes.

Environment - Life Sciences - 05.12.2018
Study solves mystery of how geckos walk on water
It's official, the humble gecko is the Maserati of reptiles. Despite being just a few centimetres long, the gecko is known for its superior acrobatic skills and ability to power through the most challenging terrain, such as, climbing the tallest trees and running across cold, slippery ice. Scientists have now cracked perhaps its most head-scratching talent of all: how it walks on water.

Health - Life Sciences - 04.12.2018
Chopping unlocks new function in protein linked to dementia
Scientists have uncovered an unexpected new role for a protein that may underlie rare diseases. A protein, called p62, is chopped by molecular scissors to help cells realise that they are ‘hungry', encouraging them to break down and consume old material in the cell. This helps them to stay healthy and fight off infection.

Life Sciences - 04.12.2018
Marmoset study gives insights into loss of pleasure in depression
Marmoset study gives insights into loss of pleasure in depression
'Anhedonia' (the loss of pleasure) is one of the key symptoms of depression. An important component of this symptom is an inability to feel excitement in anticipation of events; however the brain mechanisms underlying this phenomenon are poorly understood.

Environment - Life Sciences - 04.12.2018
Clue to ecosystem recovery after pollution
Scientists have discovered a fish species which significantly evolved and expanded its ecological toolset, after an effort was made to reduce pollution in its ecosystem. The study, led by the University of Glasgow and the University of Konstanz and published in Nature Ecology and Evolution , found that the gangfisch - a European whitefish subspecies - expanded its genetic diversity after habitat loss and hybridization with other whitefish subspecies during eutrophication.

Life Sciences - Environment - 03.12.2018
Nature's 'laboratory' offers clues on how plants thrive through genetic diversity
PA 253/18 Scientists have turned to nature's own ‘laboratory' for clues about how plants adapt in the environment to ensure their own survival. A study led by researchers at The University of Nottingham has suggested that while plants evolve to adapt to their conditions, they also maintain a small degree of diversity to stay one step ahead of changing conditions.

Physics - Life Sciences - 03.12.2018
Nanoscale tweezers can perform single-molecule ’biopsies’ on individual cells
Using electrical impulses, the 'tweezers' can extract single DNA, proteins and organelles from living cells without destroying them. We are continuously expanding our knowledge on how cells function, but many unanswered questions remain. This is especially true for individual cells that are of the same type, such as brain, muscle or fat cells, but have very different compositions at the single-molecule level.

Life Sciences - Health - 30.11.2018
Experimental cancer drug shows promise for Parkinson’s
A drug originally developed for prostate cancer may have exciting potential for treating Parkinson's. The study, funded by Parkinson's UK, suggests that the drug, tasquinimod, which is not yet on the market, works by controlling genes that may cause Parkinson's. This happens when the drug interacts with a protein inside brain cells.

Life Sciences - Health - 29.11.2018
Understanding Down syndrome opens door to Alzheimer's prevention trials
Clinical trials for preventing Alzheimer's disease in people with Down syndrome may soon be possible thanks to new research from King's College London. The researchers found changes in memory and attention are the earliest signs of Alzheimer's in Down syndrome, and these changes start in the early 40s.

Life Sciences - Health - 28.11.2018
'Mini-placentas' could provide a model for early pregnancy
’Mini-placentas’ could provide a model for early pregnancy
Researchers say that new 'mini-placentas' - a cellular model of the early stages of the placenta - could provide a window into early pregnancy and help transform our understanding of reproductive disorders. Details of this new research are published today . The placenta is absolutely essential for supporting the baby as it grows inside the mother.

Life Sciences - 27.11.2018
Oxygen could have been available to life as early as 3.5 billion years ago
Oxygen could have been available to life as early as 3.5 billion years ago
Microbes could have performed oxygen-producing photosynthesis at least one billion years earlier in the history of the Earth than previously thought. The finding could change ideas of how and when complex life evolved on Earth, and how likely it is that it could evolve on other planets. Oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere is necessary for complex forms of life, which use it during aerobic respiration to make energy.

Life Sciences - Health - 27.11.2018
Discovery of the first common genetic risk factors for ADHD
A global team of researchers has found the first common genetic risk factors associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a complex condition affecting around 1 in 20 children. Professor Anita Thapar, from Cardiff University, who leads an ADHD research group as part of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, said: “This study marks a very important step in beginning to understand the genetic and biological underpinnings of ADHD.

Life Sciences - 27.11.2018
Extinct ’Siberian unicorn’ may have lived alongside humans
A species of rhino considered a giant of the Ice Age survived much later than previously thought and likely lived alongside modern humans, according to new research. Scientists believed that the ancient rhino species Elasmotherium sibiricum, known as the 'Siberian unicorn', due to its extraordinary single horn, went extinct between 200,000 and 100,000 years ago.

Pharmacology - Life Sciences - 26.11.2018
Study in mice suggests drug to turn fat 'brown' could help fight obesity
Study in mice suggests drug to turn fat ’brown’ could help fight obesity
Our bodies contain two types of fat: white fat and brown fat. While white fat stores calories, brown fat burns energy and could help us lose weight. Now, scientists at the University of Cambridge have found a way of making the white fat 'browner' and increasing the efficiency of brown fat.

Life Sciences - Health - 23.11.2018
Breastfeeding: Babies’ response to facial touch measured with 3D printed device
Facial sense of touch is important to enable babies breastfeed; this new device could help researchers understand when things go wrong. Babies need a sense of touch in their faces to give contact feedback to the brain, which in turn helps the baby find the nipple to breastfeed. For example, if a newborn baby's right cheek is lying on their mother's breast, the baby feeds back the sensory information from its cheek to the brain, which then signals the baby to turn its head to the right and ‘root' for the nipple.
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