A high-salt diet produces dementia

A high-salt diet reduces resting blood flow to the brain and causes dementia in mice, according to a new study by scientists from Weill Cornell Medicine. The study, published Jan. 15 in Nature Neuroscience, is the first to unveil a gut-brain connection linking high dietary salt intake to neurovascular and cognitive impairment. The findings illuminate a potential future target for countering harmful effects to the brain caused by excess salt consumption. “We discovered that mice fed a high-salt diet developed dementia even when blood pressure did not rise,” said senior author Dr. Costantino Iadecola, director of the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute (BMRI) and the Anne Parrish Titzell Professor of Neurology at Weill Cornell Medicine. “This was surprising since, in humans, the deleterious effects of salt on cognition were attributed to hypertension.” A vast majority, about 90 percent of […]

Don’t hold your nose and close your mouth when you sneeze

Pinching your nose while clamping your mouth shut to contain a forceful sneeze isn’t a good idea, warn doctors in the journal BMJ Case Reports. One young man managed to rupture the back of his throat during this manoeuvre, leaving him barely able to speak or swallow, and in considerable pain. Spontaneous rupture of the back of the throat is rare, and usually caused by trauma, or sometimes by vomiting, retching or heavy coughing, so the 34 year old’s symptoms initially surprised the emergency care doctors. The young man explained that he had developed a popping sensation in his neck which immediately swelled up after he tried to contain a forceful sneeze by pinching his nose and keeping his mouth clamped shut at the same time. A little later he found it extremely painful to swallow and all but lost his […]

Swallowable Balloon Offers Noninvasive Detection for Esophageal Cancer Risk

Scientists have finally invented a minimally invasive way to detect if people are at risk for esophageal cancer. The new approach – a small, swallowable balloon for collecting samples coupled with DNA analysis – could be a promising alternative to endoscopy (a time-consuming procedure that requires sedation) in diagnosing Barret’s esophagus (BE), which is a precursor for esophageal carcinoma. Approximately 95% of BE cases go undetected until a patient progresses to esophageal adenocarcinoma, which has a poor prognosis and a five-year survival rate of less than 20%. The incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma has more than quadrupled over the past three decades, spurring Helen Moinova and colleagues to devise a device and biomarker-based detection method that could help make BE screening part of routine clinical procedure. After analyzing samples from hundreds of individuals, Moinova et al. zeroed in on a DNA […]

A major step forward in organic electronics

Researchers at the Laboratory of Organic Electronics, Linköping University, have developed the world’s first complementary electrochemical logic circuits that can function stably for long periods in water. This is a highly significant breakthrough in the development of bioelectronics. The first printable organic electrochemical transistors were presented by researchers at LiU as early as 2002, and research since then has progressed rapidly. Several organic electronic components, such as light-emitting diodes and electrochromic displays, are already commercially available. The dominating material used until now has been PEDOT:PSS, which is a p-type material, in which the charge carriers are holes. In order to construct effective electron components, a complementary material, n-type, is required, in which the charge carriers are electrons. It has been difficult to find a sufficiently stable polymer material, one that can operate in water media and in which the long […]

Scientists make cells that enable the sense of touch

Researchers at the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA have, for the first time, coaxed human stem cells to become sensory interneurons — the cells that give us our sense of touch. The new protocol could be a step toward stem cell-based therapies to restore sensation in paralyzed people who have lost feeling in parts of their body. The study, which was led by Samantha Butler, a UCLA associate professor of neurobiology and member of the Broad Stem Cell Research Center, was published today in the journal Stem Cell Reports. Sensory interneurons, a class of neurons in the spinal cord, are responsible for relaying information from throughout the body to the central nervous system, which enables the sense of touch. The lack of a sense of touch greatly affects people who are paralyzed. […]

UK-born Ghanaian, Sam Gyimah is UK’s Universities & Science Minister

UK born Ghanaian, Sam Gyimah, has been made Universities and Science Minister of England replacing Jo Johnson in Theresa May’s government reshuffle. Mr Sam Gyimah, the former prisons minister, took on the role spanning the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy after Mr Johnson was appointed transport minister and minister for London. Mr Sam Gyimah, the MP for East Surrey since 2010, is no stranger to the Department for Education, having served as a parliamentary under-secretary of state in the department between 2015 and 2016. He supported Remain in the run-up to the referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU. A former Goldman Sachs investment banker, Mr Sam Gyimah read politics, philosophy and economics at the University of Oxford, where he was president of the Oxford Union. Dame Janet Beer, president of Universities UK […]

Proper exercise can reverse damage to aging hearts

Exercise can reverse damage to  aging hearts and help prevent risk of future heart failure — if it’s enough exercise, and if it’s begun in time, according to a new study by cardiologists at UT Southwestern and Texas Health Resources. To reap the most benefit, the exercise regimen should begin by late middle age (before age 65), when the heart apparently retains some plasticity and ability to remodel itself, according to the findings by researchers at the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine (IEEM), which is a collaboration between UT Southwestern Medical Center and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. And the exercise needs to be performed four to five times a week. Two to three times a week was not enough, the researchers found in an earlier study. “Based on a series of studies performed by our team over the […]

Multiple Sites Found Rich in Water Ice on Mars

Erosion is exposing deposits of water ice on Mars, starting at depths as shallow as one to two meters below the surface and extending 100 meters or more. The ice is a critical target for science and exploration: it affects modern geomorphology, is expected to preserve a record of climate history, influences the planet’s habitability, and may be a potential resource for future exploration. Whilst water ice is known to be present in some locations on Mars, many questions remain about its layering, thickness, purity, and extent. Now, Colin Dundas and colleagues have pinpointed eight locations, using the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), where steep, pole-facing slopes created by erosion expose substantial quantities of sub-surface ice. The fractures and steep angles indicate that the ice is cohesive and strong, the authors say. What’s more, bands and variations in color suggest that […]