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Bowhead whales may be key to human longevity



Bowhead whales may be key to human longevity

Two Decades of Early Detection of Alzheimer’s Symptoms

The results of a recent study published in the journal “Science Translational Medicine” (Wednesday) show that people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease — when changes in the brain begin to occur and before symptoms of the disease appear — harbor a variety of bacteria that differ from the bacteria in the guts of healthy people.

In this early stage of Alzheimer’s disease, people with clumps of amyloid-beta and tau proteins build up in their brains, a condition that persists for two decades or more, although patients show no signs of neurodegeneration or cognitive decline. According to the findings of a study conducted by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, no one has ever looked at the gut microbiome in the pre-symptomatic stage.

“A change in the gut microbiome can read pathological changes in the brain,” study co-author Gautham Dantas, a professor of genetic medicine at the university and an expert on the gut microbiome, said in a press release Wednesday.

He added, “Other altered gut microbiota may be a contributor to Alzheimer’s disease, including through probiotics (a beneficial diet) or stool replacement (with the beneficial bacteria it carries). The disease.”

The results open up the possibility of using gut bacteria analysis to identify people at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease at a very early stage, and thus design preventative treatments to alter the microbiome to reduce the risk of developing the disease. A key feature of dementia and cognitive decline.

“With the onset of cognitive symptoms, there are important and often irreversible changes,” said Poe M. Anis said: “If you can diagnose a patient early in the disease, this is the time.” Ideal for effective therapeutic intervention.

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The researchers evaluated the participants, all of whom were cognitively normal. Participants were given stool, blood, and cerebrospinal fluid samples and food lists; They also performed positron emission tomography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of the brain.

The researchers examined signs of accumulation of amyloid-beta and tau proteins to differentiate participants from healthy individuals in the early stages of the disease. Of the 164 participants, nearly a third (49) had early symptoms of the disease.

Early in life, people with Alzheimer’s disease develop gut bacteria that are significantly different from their healthy counterparts, both in terms of the types of bacteria and the biological processes they are involved in. The study’s authors say these differences could be used to detect early Alzheimer’s disease.

For his part, Dr. Walid Mahmoud Al-Sharoud, Professor of Microbial Physiology and Food Safety at Mansoura University in Egypt, said in a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat: “The results show a correlation between the quality of the gut microbiome and the initial conditions. Alzheimer’s disease, in which mental disorders do not appear, but rather changes in the amount of amyloid and tau proteins in brain cells and tissues, is a phase that follows the mental changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Up to twenty years.

According to the study, these differences are associated with levels of amyloid and tau proteins, which rise before cognitive symptoms appear, but are not associated with neurodegeneration, whose symptoms also begin to appear over time.

“The beauty of using the gut microbiome as a screening tool is its simplicity and ease of use,” says Anis: “People can one day provide a stool sample and find out if they’re at risk of developing Alzheimer’s.”

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Al-Sharoud believes, “The results of the study are interesting and confirm the relationship between gut microbiota and human health.”

Looking ahead, the researchers launched another five-year follow-up study to determine whether differences in the gut microbiome are a cause or a consequence of the brain changes seen in early Alzheimer’s disease.

“If there is a causal link, it could be an inflammatory link,” explains Dantas, “Bacteria are amazing chemical factories, and some of their metabolites affect inflammation in the gut, and they can reach the bloodstream. Affect the body’s immune system.” , if it turns out that there is a causal relationship, we can start thinking about whether increasing the ‘good’ bacteria or eliminating the ‘bad’ bacteria could slow or stop the progression of Alzheimer’s symptoms.

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The World Health Organization has tracked the BA.2.86 strain and classified it as “of concern”.. What is the reason?



The World Health Organization has tracked the BA.2.86 strain and classified it as “of concern”.. What is the reason?

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) — The World Health Organization has classified the BA.2.86 coronavirus variant and its mutations as “of concern,” although the risk posed by the strain, the organization said, remains low.

The organization had previously tracked this mutant as “under surveillance.”

XBB.1.5, XBB.1.6 and EG.5 are other variants classified as “interesting”. There are no current variations of the concern, which is the highest classification in the company.

BA.2.86 first appeared in the United States in August and is considered the third most common variant, responsible for 1 in 11 new cases of “Covid-19” and prevention. According to the agency’s monitoring, although the growth of the strain was exaggerated in the first few weeks after its emergence, the rate of spread seems to have tripled in the last two weeks.

But if BA.2.86 is not that important, why is WHO updating it?

“We have seen a slow and steady increase in its detection around the world,” explained Dr. Maria van Kerkov, technical lead for COVID-19 at the World Health Organization, in a video circulated on social media. He continued: “By describing it as a variant of interest, it helps strengthen the surveillance of this type of variant around the world and prompts research to understand whether it causes more severe disease or is more immune evasive.

Slow growth

BA.2.86, called Pirola by some virus watchers, sparked a wave of research when it came to the world’s attention this summer because it shared many of the characteristics that led to the spread of the original Omicron strain’s BA.1 variant. The coronavirus, and its rapid spread, has led to… increasing hospitalizations and deaths worldwide.

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With more than 30 mutations in its spike proteins, BA.2.86 is genetically different from previous mutations of the virus responsible for Covid-19, which scientists fear could contribute to another pandemic by completely evading vaccine immunity.

However, the puzzle is that the BA.2.86 does not follow the same path as the Omicron. Some studies have shown that with the development of all its new mutations, this mutation has lost its ability to affect our cells, allowing their growth to slow down.

Other studies have shown that it does not completely evade the body’s immune system, and the current “Covid-19” vaccine, which has mechanisms to fight the XBB.1.5 mutant, provides some protection from it, which is good news.

But mutant hunters have tempered this hope, warning that the original virus BA.2.86 is still evolving and one of its variants could once again become a force to be reckoned with.

Computational virologist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, USA. Jesse Bloom pointed out that, in fact, BA.2.86 is constantly evolving and sending mutations out into the world very quickly.

In a study conducted by researchers at Columbia University and China, Bloom pointed out that the JN.1 mutant has a change in its genetic code that helps it escape our immune defenses, although the difference is modest: the ability of our antibodies to neutralize the virus is reduced by about twofold.

However, this change was enough to give it a growth advantage over its predecessor.

“Based on the speed of its spread, we can see that the number of JN.1 is increasing faster than the original BA.2.86,” Bloom said.

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At the same time, the distantly related XBB family of viruses, which includes several fastidious and evasive strains such as HV.1, is expanding its range.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HV.1 is currently the dominant strain in the United States and causes disease in 1 in 3 new cases of COVID-19.

Lack of data Make predictions difficult

Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said, “Many countries have seen an increase in cases overseas as PA2.86 and JN1 spread.

In Europe, this disease is associated with many countries, but in other countries it does not happen, what do we understand from that?

Europe is seen as a good barometer for what the coronavirus might do to the US, but immunity, behavior and surveillance vary from country to country, making it hard to know what will happen there.

A big problem is the lack of data, said Dr. Peter Hodes, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital who developed the Covid-19 vaccine.

“It’s harder than ever to know what’s going on because we’re not doing much monitoring anymore, so we have to rely on forecasts and a combination of factors like wastewater, hospitalizations and the percentage of positive cases,” Hatz explained.

However, Hotez noted that there is reason to be cautious in the coming weeks, given the signs we may see.

Hospitalization rates have started to rise again as the coronavirus recedes.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last week, more than 18,000 Americans were hospitalized due to Covid-19, an increase of about 10% from the previous week.

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Nationally, levels of coronavirus in wastewater are increasing and appear to be increasing, which could increase the number of cases.

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News of international concern over targeting of health facilities in Gaza and Israel continues arrest of 26 medical workers



News of international concern over targeting of health facilities in Gaza and Israel continues arrest of 26 medical workers

The United Nations expressed its concern over attacks on health facilities in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, with the Palestinian Ministry of Health in the besieged territory announcing that Israel is still detaining 26 medical workers.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said after the World Health Organization reported 203 attacks on health facilities in Gaza and 224 in the occupied West Bank since the “al-Aqsa flood” began on October 7. The aforementioned attacks. Health facilities should never be used.” In conflict.”

Dujarric responded to the criticism “We are subject to 360-degree criticism (from all sides) because of the words we use or don’t use,” he said, according to United Nations reports on Gaza.

Speaking about the general situation in Gaza, he explained that despite the humanitarian ceasefire, “there is still no progress in water access to northern Gaza,” adding that “water production facilities are still closed due to fuel shortages and damage caused by attacks. .”

Dujarric said his organization received data on the death toll from the Ministry of Health in Gaza and believed the reported numbers were correct. He pointed out that the United Nations welcomed and continued to call for the extension of the humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza. A ceasefire for humanitarian reasons.

The World Health Organization confirmed that since the start of the war on October 7, Israel has documented 427 attacks on health facilities in the besieged Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank.

He explained that the attacks killed 560 people in Gaza and 6 in the West Bank, and wounded 718 in Gaza and 40 in the West Bank.

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Targeting medical personnel

On the other hand, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said that the Israeli occupation is still detaining 26 health workers led by the director general of Al-Shifa Medical Complex, Muhammad Abu Salamiyyah, and called on all international organizations to “take serious and immediate action”. for their liberation.”

On November 14, the Israeli army attacked the al-Shifa medical complex west of Gaza City, after besieging it for several days and clashes with nearby protesters.

On November 25, the World Health Organization announced that it had no information on the fate of the director of Al-Shifa Hospital, adding in a statement that “Abu Salamiya was arrested along with 5 health workers while participating in a United Nations-led event. Evacuation of patients.”

Yesterday, Wednesday, the Director General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned of a health disaster in Gaza, adding, “The current living conditions and lack of sanitation in this area could cause diseases that kill a person. Israeli bombardment of the Strip resulted in many of those killed.

The international official pointed out that about 1.3 million people are currently living in shelters in Gaza, and stressed that “there is now an urgent need for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, as this matter has become a matter of life and death for civilians.”

He explained that overcrowding, lack of food and water, lack of basic sanitation needs, poor sanitation and waste management and difficulty in accessing medicines are responsible for suffering from various diseases including acute respiratory infections, scabies and diarrhoea. Skin rashes, jaundice and other health effects and diseases.

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Since October 7, Israel has increased its blockade of Gaza, cutting off electricity and water from its residents and preventing the entry of food, medicine and fuel supplies. However, the temporary humanitarian ceasefire – which began on Friday the 24th of this month and was later extended – enabled some relief, medical and fuel aid to enter this besieged sector, but several parties confirm that this aid reaches only a small part of the population. requirements.

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Science says binary planets are more likely to harbor life than we think



Science says binary planets are more likely to harbor life than we think

A research team from the British University of Exeter announced that binary planetary systems are easy to create from a physical point of view and could be one of the most important targets for the search for life on other planets due to their unique nature.

To reach these results, published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, the researchers ran multiple simulations of 100 planetary systems expected to exist in our galaxy or in other galaxies. Systems with 2 to 5 primary planets.

A binary planet is a term used to describe two bodies orbiting each other, both of which have planetary masses. Both planets usually orbit a common center of mass located between the two bodies. The Solar System has a close model like Pluto and Charon, but they are considered binary dwarf planets, not binary planets.

This type of planetary system is generally believed to arise from cataclysmic collisions in ancient times, where two planets collided and broke apart, and then the fragments rejoined to form two planets, which is also a mechanism. Formation of the Earth-Moon system and the Pluto and Charon systems.

The following video from the study’s authors explains how binary planets form:

Warm worlds

According to the study, the researchers found that binary planets are more likely to form than previously thought.Also, the two planets are gravitationally bound together, causing temperatures inside each. They rise, resulting in a rise in the temperature of their surfaces, meaning that a planet may exist in a region far away from the star it orbits, but still have a moderate atmosphere due to the gravitational interaction of the planet it orbits. with.

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One of the most famous examples of this situation is Jupiter’s moon Ganymede, where Jupiter’s gravity influences it to heat up. So, despite being located five times the distance from the Sun to the Earth, scientists believe there is a warm water ocean beneath its icy surface.

An example where scientists are currently interested in this range is Kepler 1708b, a Jupiter-sized planet discovered in 2011 orbiting a Sun-like star located 5,600 light-years from Earth.

In 2021, a study was published in the journal Nature, after analyzing data provided by NASA’s Kepler space observatory, that Kepler 1708b is a binary planet with another planet orbiting Neptune.

Last July, a team led by scientists from the Center for Astrobiology in Madrid, Spain, confirmed that PDS 70, an emerging star system 400 light-years from Earth, has two Jupiter-sized protoplanets in the same orbit. In the same orbit, they may come around each other at some point.

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