New antibiotic family discovered in dirt

Feb 13, 2018 0

US scientists have discovered a new family of antibiotics in soil samples.  The natural compounds could be used to combat hard-to-treat infections, the team at Rockefeller University hopes. Tests show the compounds, called malacidins, annihilate several bacterial diseases that have become resistant to most existing antibiotics, including the superbug MRSA. Experts say the work, published in Nature Microbiology, offers fresh hope in the antibiotics arms race. Drug-resistant diseases are one of the biggest threats to global health.  They kill around 700,000 people a year, and new treatments are urgently needed.  ...

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Cancer virus can be eliminated with baking soda, claims Italian doctor

Jun 14, 2017 0

Cancer is one of the most terrifying diseases that mankind has to deal with. Perhaps, the very thought of being diagnosed with cancer can be devastating as it is an event that goes hand-in-hand with fear and dread upon detection of the disease, followed by rounds of chemotherapy and treatments. While not every diagnosis results in termination of the victim, enough of them do so, mainly, because of lack of awareness of cancer, which leads to delay in detection of the disease. Even when diagnosed and treated early, cancer still has a reasonable chance to kill the patient. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, and was responsible for 8.8 million deaths in 2015. Globally, nearly 1 in 6 deaths is due to cancer. Cancer is a group of diseases in which abnormal cells divide uncontrollably and spread to other parts of the body. It arises from the transformation of normal cells into tumour cells in a multistage process that generally... ...

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Frozen ‘space sperm’ passes fertility test

May 23, 2017 0

Healthy baby mice have been born using freeze-dried sperm stored in the near-weightless environment of space. The Japanese team behind the gravity-breaking experiment on the International Space Station (ISS) says it shows that transporting the seeds of life away from Earth is feasible.  Sperm banks could even be made on the Moon as a back-up for Earth disasters, they told a leading science journal. It is unclear if this will ever help humans populate space, however.  Sustaining life in space is challenging to say the least.  On the ISS, radiation is more than 100 times higher than on Earth. The average daily dose of 0.5mSv from the cosmic rays is enough to damage the DNA code inside living cells, including sperm.  Microgravity also does strange things to sperm.  ...

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Zimbabwe Hospitals Introduce Sign Language for the Deaf and Care

May 19, 2017 0

It is just after dawn when Lincoln and Sekai Matongo arrive at the Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare. The young couple is nervous but excited: they are expecting their first baby and this is their first antenatal visit to the hospital complex. Lincoln, a technology consultant, has taken the day off work to be with Sekai. She is 12 weeks pregnant. But as the queues move and the other patients are seen one by one, the Matongos are kept waiting. Neither knows how to ask for help. Lincoln and Sekai are both deaf. At dusk, they head back to their house in Hatfield, a suburb two bus journeys and about 15km away in the south of Harare. “We sat on the hospital benches until everyone else had been served, except us,” Lincoln explains, communicating by furiously typing away on a cellphone. “I could see nurses and other hospital staff attending to the other patients but none [of them] tried to check with us.” In a country where even basic healthcare services... ...

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Two compounds found in Plant hope for ‘alternative contraceptives’

May 16, 2017 0

Two compounds normally found in wild plants could make good alternatives to emergency contraceptives – if scientists only knew where to get enough of them. Chemicals from dandelion root and the “thunder god vine” plant have long been used in traditional medicines. Now, Californian researchers have found they can also block fertilisation. A UK sperm expert said the discovery could lead to a new and novel approach to male contraception. But the compounds existed at such low levels in plants that the cost of extraction was very high, the US team said. In tests, chemicals called pristimerin and lupeol stopped fertilisation by preventing human sperm from whipping its tail and propelling itself towards and into the woman’s egg. The chemicals were acting like “molecular condoms”, the study authors wrote in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. ...

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Nurse recruitment campaign under way in Wales

May 9, 2017 0

A major recruitment campaign has been launched to increase the number of nurses on wards and in the community. Health Secretary Vaughan Gething said it was about “positively promoting” nursing as a job and Wales as a place to live and work. The Welsh Government also stressed student nursing bursaries would continue for another year for those who sign up to work for two years.  The campaign has used real nurses to tell their stories. But around a quarter leave the profession or retire each year, according to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). The shortage is a global one and the health service in Wales is competing with other countries. The international campaign will target newly-qualified and experienced nurses, as well as those considering returning to the profession.  It follows a successful GP recruitment programme to bring junior doctors to Wales. Mr Gething added: “We know we need more nurses and it’s about how we go about doing that. ...

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Researchers develop paper-based clothes to fight bacterial infections

May 3, 2017 0

A team of researchers have invented clothes made of paper that can protect you from dangerous bacteria. The invention is an inexpensive and effective way to sanitize surfaces. Aaron Mazzeo, an assistant professor at Rutgers University in the US said,”Paper is an ancient material, but it has unique attributes for new, high-tech applications.” Mazzeo said, “We found that by applying high voltage to stacked sheets of metallised paper, we were able to generate plasma, which is a combination of heat, ultraviolet radiation and ozone that kill microbes.” Researchers said, paper-based sanitisers may be suitable for clothing that sterilises itself, devices that sanitize laboratory equipment and smart bandages to heal wounds, among other uses. The invention consists of paper with thin layers of aluminium and hexagon/honeycomb patterns that serve as electrodes to produce the plasma, or ionised gas. ...

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Researchers identify new genetic variants linked to extreme old age

Apr 27, 2017 0

 A team of researchers have identified new genetic variants that are associated with reduced risks of cardiovascular and Alzheimer’s disease, and higher odds of surviving for 100 or more years. The search for the genetic determinants of extreme longevity has been challenging, with the prevalence of centenarians (people older than 100) just one per 5,000 population in developed nations. The researchers of the new study have identified rare variants in chromosomes 4 and 7 associated with extreme survival, after combining four studies of extreme longevity. The results highlight the importance of studying “truly rare survival, to discover combinations of common and rare variants associated with extreme longevity and longer health span,” the authors said. The research group was led by Paola Sebastiani, Professor at Boston University School of Public Health, conducted various analyses to discover longevity-associated variants (LAVs), and to characterise those LAVs that differentiated survival to extreme age. ...

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