How a fungus can cripple the immune system: Research team clarifies the mechanism of gliotoxin, a mycotoxin from the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus

It is everywhere — and it is extremely dangerous for people with a weakened immune system. The fungus Aspergillus fumigatus occurs virtually everywhere on Earth, as a dark grey, wrinkled cushion on damp walls or in microscopically small spores that blow through the air and cling to wallpaper, mattresses and floors. Healthy people usually have no problem if spores find […]

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Method to ‘turn off’ mutated melanoma: New study provides novel insights into the pathogenesis and treatment of NRAS mutant melanoma

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and notorious for its resistance to conventional chemotherapy. Approximately 25 percent of melanoma is driven by oncogenic mutations in the NRAS gene, making it a very attractive therapeutic target. However, despite decades of research, no effective therapies targeting NRAS have been forthcoming. For the first time, an international group of researchers has […]

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Bioethicists call for more robust system of ethical governance in human gene-editing

University of Otago bioethicists are calling for a more robust system of ethical governance in human gene-editing in the wake of the Chinese experiment aiming to produce HIV immune children. In an opinion article in the latest issue of the Journal of Zhejian University-SCIENCE B, a major international journal based in China, Professor Jing-Bao Nie, Dr Simon Walker and Jing-ru […]

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Those with inadequate access to food likely to suffer from obesity

According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, over one-third of U.S. adults are obese. At the same time, obesity is the second leading cause of premature death in the North America and Europe. A recent study by public policy professors Alexander Testa and Dylan Jackson at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) assesses the link between […]

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Short bouts of stairclimbing throughout the day can boost health

It just got harder to avoid exercise. A few minutes of stair climbing, at short intervals throughout the day, can improve cardiovascular health, according to new research from kinesiologists at McMaster University and UBC Okanagan. The findings, published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, suggest that virtually anyone can improve their fitness, anywhere, any time. “The findings make […]

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Mobile, instant diagnosis of viruses

A new high-throughput, miniature, portable sequencing technique* has been developed in recent years, for human and animal health purposes. It uses mobile laboratories to diagnose viruses such as Ebola or Zika almost instantly, in the field. Diagnosis is both quick and early, which avoids the need to transfer contaminated samples. “The technology is characterized by the production of long nucleotide […]

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Bacterial immunity and infectious disease

Patients with cystic fibrosis are often infected by pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium that infects the lungs and prevents breathing, often causing death. P. aeruginosa itself can also be infected by viruses, which can affect the clinical outcomes of cystic fibrosis patients. “Just like humans get infected by bacteria, the bacteria get infected by viruses,” said Rachel Whitaker, a professor of […]

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How game theory can bring humans and robots closer together

Researchers at the University of Sussex, Imperial College London and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have for the first time used game theory to enable robots to assist humans in a safe and versatile manner. The research team used adaptive control and Nash equilibrium game theory to programme a robot that can understand its human user’s behaviour in order to […]

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New materials could ‘drive wound healing’ by harnessing natural healing methods

Materials are widely used to help heal wounds: Collagen sponges help treat burns and pressure sores, and scaffold-like implants are used to repair bones. However, the process of tissue repair changes over time, so scientists are developing biomaterials that interact with tissues as healing takes place. Now, Dr Ben Almquist and his team at Imperial College London have created a […]

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How sperm stem cells maintain their number

The steady production of sperm relies on the number of sperm stem cells in the testis remaining constant. Researchers including Asst. Prof. Yu Kitadate and Prof. Shosei Yoshida (developmental biologists at the National Institute for Basic Biology within the National Institutes of Natural Sciences in Japan) and Prof. Benjamin Simons (a theoretical physicist at the University of Cambridge in the […]

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