Wednesday, October 27, 2021

BIG Wrap

Novel approach to treating type 2 diabetes shows prolonged normal blood sugar levels after one-time procedure

A novel approach to treating type 2 diabetes is being developed at the American Technion Society. The disease, caused by insulin resistance and reduction of cells' ability to absorb sugar, is characterized by increased blood sugar levels. Its long-term complications include heart disease, strokes, damage to the retina that can result in blindness, kidney failure, and poor blood flow in the limbs that may lead to amputations. It is currently treated by a combination...

New study suggests breastfeeding may help prevent cognitive decline

A new study led by researchers at UCLA Health has found that women over the age of 50 who had breastfed their babies performed better on cognitive tests compared to women who had never breastfed. The findings, published in Evolution, Medicine and Public Health, suggest that breastfeeding may have a positive impact on postmenopausal women's cognitive performance and could have long-term benefits for the mother's brain. The researchers analysed data collected from women participating...

Ants may hold clues to why human brains decreased in size 3,000 years ago

A new study has brought us closer to understanding some of the brain's evolution, Phys.org reports. It shows that human brains decreased in size approximately 3,000 years ago. In studying ants as models to illustrate why brains may increase or decrease in size, researchers hypothesize that brain shrinkage parallels the expansion of collective intelligence in human societies. "A surprising fact about humans today is that our brains are smaller compared to the brains of...

Squid Game helps propel surge in Netflix subscriptions

Netflix subscriptions picked up in the third quarter of 2021 as non-English language shows continued to be the streaming platform's best performers, the BBC reports. The U.S. firm added 4.4 million users in the three months to Sept. 30, more than double the previous quarter. Korean TV series Squid Game was its biggest hit, watched by 142 million households in its first four weeks. It comes as some Netflix staff prepared to walk out on Wednesday amid a...

Study of veterans shows dramatic increase in overdose deaths involving stimulants

(University of Michigan) – Even as the opioid epidemic dominated national attention over the past decade, the rate of overdose deaths among military veterans involving cocaine, methamphetamine, and other stimulants tripled, a new study suggests. More than half of the 3,631 veterans who died from overdoses involving these drugs between 2012 and 2018 had other substances in their systems, the study finds. In this group, most of those other substances were opioids, including synthetic...

Immunization passed on to offspring, research on mice indicates

Does an infection affect the immunization of subsequent generations? Researchers at Radboud University (Netherlands) have studied this together with the Universities of Bonn, Saarland (Germany), Lausanne (Switzerland), and Athens (Greece). Mouse fathers who had previously overcome an infection with fungi or were stimulated with fungal compounds passed on their improved protection to offspring across several generations. The team showed at the same time an improved immune response being passed on to the descendants. The...

One coronavirus vaccine may protect against other coronaviruses

Northwestern Medicine scientists have shown for the first time that coronavirus vaccines and prior coronavirus infections can provide broad immunity against similar coronaviruses, reports Medical Xpress. The findings build a rationale for universal coronavirus vaccines that could prove useful in the face of future epidemics. "Until our study, what hasn't been clear is if you get exposed to one coronavirus, could you have cross-protection across other coronaviruses? And we showed that is the case,"...

New technique could help in diagnosing autoimmune diseases

Researchers are a step closer to finding an explanation for autoimmune diseases – i.e. diseases in which our own immune system damages the body. With the help of a new technique, researchers from Aarhus University have succeeded in identifying the particles in the blood that determine the development of autoimmune diseases. They have discovered that patients with the autoimmune disease Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (also called SLE or Lupus) form a previously unknown type of...

Nostalgia may have bona fide benefits in hard times

Research suggests that nostalgia can help people cope with dementia, grief, and even the disorientation experienced by immigrants and refugees. Nostalgia may even help people cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, ScienceNews reports. In a study published in Social, Psychological and Personality Science, researchers found when some lonely, unhappy people reminisced about better, pre-pandemic moments, they felt happier. The results suggest that nostalgia can serve as an antidote to loneliness during the pandemic, the researchers...

Corticosteroid treatment linked to improved outcomes for severe COVID-19 pneumonia sufferers with elevated ferritin

A team of physicians at the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University has discovered that for patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia who had higher ferritin in their blood upon admission and were treated with a corticosteroid, fewer intubations and deaths resulted. Their findings are reported this month in JAMA Network Open. In this study, the physician team evaluated the blood serum levels of ferritin, an indicator of body iron stores that can rise...