New blood test can predict TB up to two years in advance

A new blood test has been found to more accurately predict the development of tuberculosis up to two years before its onset in people living with someone with active TB, according to research published online in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, an American Thoracic Society journal. Those living with someone with active TB are at highest risk for developing the disease, yet only about 5-20 percent of people infected with tuberculosis actually develop TB. A blood test that predicts the development of TB without putting large numbers of lower-risk people through unnecessary preventative treatment is not currently available. In “Four-gene Pan-African Blood Signature Predicts Progression to Tuberculosis,” researchers from an international research consortium report that they developed and validated a blood test that measures the expression levels of four genes that can more accurately predict the development […]

Graphene Invention Makes Seawater Drinkable in One Simple Step

Using a type of graphene called Graphair, scientists from Australia have created a water filter that can make highly polluted seawater drinkable after just one pass. The technology could be used to cheaply provide safe drinking water to regions of the world without access to it. “Almost a third of the world’s population, some 2.1 billion people, don’t have clean and safe drinking water,” said lead author Dong Han Seo. “As a result, millions – mostly children – die from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene every year. In Graphair we’ve found a perfect filter for water purification. “It can replace the complex, time consuming and multi-stage processes currently needed with a single step.” Developed by researchers at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Graphair is a form of graphene made out of soybean oil. […]

Ibuprofen in the first three months of pregnancy may harm future fertility of baby girls

Pregnant women who take the pain killer ibuprofen in the first three months of pregnancy may be reducing the store of eggs in the ovaries of their daughters. Researchers have found the first evidence in human ovarian tissue that exposure to ibuprofen during the crucial first three months of foetal development results in a “dramatic loss” of the germ cells that go into making the follicles from which female eggs develop. The germ cells either died or failed to grow and multiply at the usual rate. The authors of the study, which is published today (Friday) in Human Reproduction1, one of the world’s leading reproductive medicine journals, say that their findings raise concerns about the long-term effects of ibuprofen on the future fertility of women exposed to the pain killer when in their mothers’ wombs. “Baby girls are born with a […]

Breastfeeding reduces hypertension risk

A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension indicates that women who breastfeed more children, and for longer periods of time, are less likely to suffer from hypertension after they reach menopause. This is less true of obese women, however. Elevated blood pressure is the greatest single risk factor for disease and mortality. Evidence from epidemiologic data has also shown the beneficial effects of breastfeeding on the health of infants and their mothers. It has been well documented that long-term breastfeeding is associated with reduced children’s allergies, celiac disease, obesity, and diabetes mellitus. However, the effects of breastfeeding on maternal health have been little studied compared with the effects on the children. Several studies consistently found that absent breastfeeding or premature discontinuation was associated with increased risks of diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, metabolic syndrome, coronary heart disease, and cardiovascular diseases. However few […]

Study finds bacteria in milk linked to rheumatoid arthritis

A strain of common bacteria in milk and beef may be a trigger for developing rheumatoid arthritis in people who are genetically at risk, according to a new study from the University of Central Florida. A team of UCF College of Medicine researchers has discovered a link between rheumatoid arthritis and Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis, known as MAP, a bacteria found in cows. The bacteria can be spread to humans through the consumption of infected milk, beef and produce fertilized by cow manure. The UCF researchers are the first to report this connection between MAP and rheumatoid arthritis in a study published in the Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology journal this week. The study, funded in part by a $500,000 grant from the Florida Legislative, was a collaboration between Saleh Naser, UCF infectious disease specialist, Dr. Shazia Bég, rheumatologist at UCF’s […]

Mosquitoes remember human smells, but also attempts to kill them

Your grandmother’s insistence that you receive more bug bites because you’re ‘sweeter’ may not be that far-fetched after all, according to pioneering research from Virginia Tech scientists which shows that mosquitoes remember human smells. The study, published Jan. 25 in the journal Current Biology, shows that mosquitoes can rapidly learn and remember the smells of hosts and that dopamine is a key mediator of this process. Mosquitoes remember human smells and incorporate this information with other stimuli to develop preferences for a particular vertebrate host species, and, within that population, certain individuals. However, the study also proved that even if an individual is deemed delicious-smelling, a mosquito’s preference can shift if that person’s smell is associated with an unpleasant sensation. Hosts who swat at mosquitoes or perform other defensive behaviors may be abandoned, no matter how sweet. Clément Vinauger, an assistant […]

Phone Addiction In Teens Is A Cause Of Unhappiness

Happiness is not a warm phone, according to a new study exploring the link between adolescent life satisfaction and screen time. Teens who have a phone addiction with eyes that are habitually glued to their smartphones are markedly unhappier, said study lead author and San Diego State University and professor of psychology Jean M. Twenge. To investigate this link, Twenge, along with colleagues Gabrielle Martin at SDSU and W. Keith Campbell at the University of Georgia, crunched data from the Monitoring the Future (MtF) longitudinal study, a nationally representative survey of more than a million U.S. 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-graders. The survey asked students questions about how often they spent time on their phones, tablets and computers, to assess phone addiciton, as well as questions about their in-the-flesh social interactions and their overall happiness. On average, they found that teens […]

3D Printing Drug Manufacturing System

A new and compact drug manufacturing system, which relies on 3-D printing and chemical analysis software, has the potential to quickly and conveniently produce a variety of medications on-site. The advancement sidesteps many challenges that come with mass production of drugs at large-scale facilitates. For example, central drug manufacturing plants are costly to maintain and to repurpose for the production of different drugs. In contrast, the system created by Philip J. Kitson and colleagues yields a customized blueprint for drug synthesis using simple plastic modules that can easily be assembled on-site, at low cost. First, software is used to identify the chemical reactions and processes that are necessary for the desired drug, and then the ideal chambers and components of the system are created using a cheap 3-D printer (that costs about $2,000). In this study, the researchers chose to […]