Talking about science is incredibly important, yet sometimes risky business. Take the Italian astronomer and physicist Galileo (1564–1642), for example. In 1633, Galileo was put on trial for publishing an idea that, at the time, was considered highly controversial: The Earth revolves around the Sun. Galileo’s writing ticked off the Catholic Church, who clung to their belief that the Earth lay at the center of the universe. Galileo was charged with heresy, sentenced to a lifetime of house arrest, and had his publications banned from the public.
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Enzyme helps provide clean data from dirty skin samples
Our skin is home to a carnival of millions of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that together form the dermal microbiota. These tiny guests that colonize the largest organ of the human body have essential roles in keeping pathogens at bay and breaking down natural waste products.
We also know that this delicate ecosystem of microorganisms is compromised in skin pathologies such as dermatitis and acne. For this reason, efforts to map and study the human skin microbiome have intensified in recent years.
Standing in the way of answers…
AstroCrete is twice as strong as concrete
A protein abundantly present in the blood plasma of astronauts is perfect for building shelters in outer space, say researchers at the University of Manchester. In the future, space voyagers can mix their bodily fluids with extraterrestrial soil to form a biocomposite material with compressive strengths comparable to concrete.
One of the most significant challenges with establishing life on Mars is the cost — ferrying a single brick from Earth to Mars costs over $2 million. As a result, scientists have taken an out-of-the-box approach to developing cost-effective building materials…
Genetically-engineered cells could substantially boost antibody drug yields
Antibodies are highly specialized proteins produced by the immune system that stick on to foreign invaders in the body with exquisite specificity, marking them for destruction. Drug developers have harnessed these powerful molecules for their therapeutic effects — because they’re so specific, they have fewer side effects than other drug formats.
In recent years, antibodies have risen to become the top-selling drugs in the pharmaceutical market, used to treat patients with everything from cancer to autoimmune conditions. …
More things to look out for in COVID long-haulers
New findings indicate that individuals who survive COVID-19 infections, even mild ones, have a significantly elevated risk of developing severe kidney disease.
The study, led by Ziyad Al-Aly from the Washington University in St. Louis, saw researchers take a deep dive into the health data from over 1.7 million healthy and COVID-infected individuals from 2020 to 2021. Their analysis revealed that those infected with the coronavirus have an increased likelihood of later developing kidney damage. The study was published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
Out-of-control inflammation to blame
One in five hospitalized COVID-19 patients go on to develop autoantibodies — immune molecules that mistakenly target the body’s own tissues, says a new study. These antibodies, which can go on to cause autoimmune disease, were detected as early as a few days following hospitalization. The study was published in Nature Communications.
Scientists from Stanford Medicine analyzed blood samples from nearly 150 patients who were admitted for COVID-19 in search of autoantibodies. In particular, the team was interested in antibodies that specifically latched onto cytokines.
The word “cytokine” originates from two Greek words…
‘Smart threads’ embedded in the fabric monitor heart signals
Article via LabRoots
Forget uncomfortable chest straps or clunky wristbands — thanks to a new innovation in nanotechnology, your t-shirt could one day help monitor your health. Researchers at Rice University created flexible carbon nanotube fibers that can easily be woven into clothing and serve as functional health monitors. The study was featured in the journal Nano Letters.
This new ‘smart thread’ conducts electrical impulses, is durable, and is even machine washable, seamlessly sewn into garments to generate a continuous electrocardiogram readout. …
But tech can bring them together
Article via LabRoots
Patients place their faith in medical professionals for making sound clinical decisions based on their diagnoses. But what if these decisions vary significantly from physician to physician — who can patients trust to make the final call?
Machines may offer the best answers, say Canadian mental health researchers who recently published a study featured in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. …
The app links users to medical services to manage their diagnoses
Article via LabRoots
A new app allows users to self-test for HIV, which has proven to help positive patients get access to medical care and counseling services faster.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put immense pressure on health care systems, particularly in low-resource settings. While the coronavirus has stolen the spotlight for over a year, HIV persists as a significant global health issue, affecting around 40 million people. …
Where immune cells get primed matters
Article via Labroots
You share an elevator with an individual who is coughing and sneezing, only to find yourself feeling unwell a few days later. The influenza virus has entered the respiratory tract and set the wheels of infection in motion.
Thankfully, the immune system is ready to take down the viral enemy. First dendritic cells activate a unique subset of lymphocytes known as killer T cells to seek out and eliminate cells that have been infected with the flu virus. …