Week in Health (27 Mar – 2 Apr 2021)

Health News related to Long-Term Space Travelers, Severe Gum Disease and Blood Pressure, Bone-Healing Stem Cells, De­pres­sion Af­fecting Visual Per­cep­tion, Safety Standard for Pacemakers and Cochlear Implants, Synthetic Mucus, Exercise and Healthy Diet in Midlife, Sugar and Child’s Brain Development, Regenerating Hair Follicle Stem Cell, Reversing Blindness, DNA Revealing “Hot Spots”, Weight Loss and People’s Responsiveness

Note: None of the news bits (and cover picture) given here are written/owned by NewAnced's authors. The links on each of the news bits will redirect to the news source. Content given under each headline is a basic gist and not the full story.

1. Long-Term Space Travelers Will Need High-Intensity Exercise to Protect Heart Health

Source: American Heart Association 29 Mar 2021

Researchers found that sustained low-intensity exercise does not completely counteract the effects of weightlessness on the heart muscle, which will atrophy over time in a gravity-free environment. Short bursts of repeated high-intensity activity during shorter space missions may be more successful in keeping the heart healthy, according to the researchers.

2. People with Severe Gum Disease May Be Twice as Likely to Have Increased Blood Pressure

Source: American Heart Association 29 Mar 2021

Research shows that periodontitis, severe gum disease, is linked to higher blood pressure in otherwise healthy individuals. This study of 500 adults with and without gum disease found that approximately 50% of adults could have undetected hypertension. Promotion of good oral health could help reduce gum disease and the risk of high blood pressure and its complications.

3. Scientists Use Nanotechnology to Detect Bone-Healing Stem Cells

Source: University of Southampton 29 Mar 2021

Researchers have developed a new way of using nanomaterials to identify and enrich skeletal stem cells – a discovery which could eventually lead to new treatments for major bone fractures and the repair of lost or damaged bone. Working together, a team of physicists, chemists and tissue engineering experts used specially designed gold nanoparticles to ‘seek out’ specific human bone stem cells – creating a fluorescent glow to reveal their presence among other types of cells and allow them to be isolated or ‘enriched’.

4. De­pres­sion Af­fects Visual Per­cep­tion

Source: University of Helsinki 29 Mar 2021

Researchers specialised in psychiatry and psychology investigated the effects of depression on visual perception. The study confirmed that the processing of visual information is altered in depressed people, a phenomenon most likely linked with the processing of information in the cerebral cortex.

Original written by: Anu Koivusipilä

5. An Improved Safety Standard for Pacemakers and Cochlear Implants

Source: University of Sydney 30 Mar 2021

Researchers have proposed new standards to measure moisture leaks into bionic devices such as pacemakers, cochlear hearing implants and retinal replacements. The researchers say the new moisture standards could give the wearers of bionic implants extra confidence in the operation of the life-changing devices. They also say that the improved moisture-testing regime could be used in the emerging renewable energy industry where new-generation solar cells require high standards of humidity control.

Bionic implants must be able to operate successfully in moist environments in the human body. While the potential for large leaks into the devices are easy to detect during manufacturing, small leaks can escape detection and standard testing is required to ensure safety and prevent moisture-induced failure.

Hearing Health Foundation

6. Synthetic Mucus Can Mimic the Real Thing

Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology 30 Mar 2021

In a new study, researchers have now generated synthetic mucins with a polymer backbone that more accurately mimic the structure and function of naturally occurring mucins. The team also showed that these synthetic mucins could effectively neutralize the bacterial toxin that causes cholera.

Original written by: Anne Trafton

7. Exercise, Healthy Diet in Midlife May Prevent Serious Health Conditions in Senior Years

Source: American Heart Association 31 Mar 2021

Regular exercise and a healthy diet for middle-aged adults may be key to achieving optimal cardiometabolic health later in life. Cardiometabolic health risk factors include the metabolic syndrome, a cluster of health conditions such as excess body fat around the waist, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes.

8. Sugar Not So Nice for Your Child’s Brain Development

Source: University of Georgia 31 Mar 2021

New research has shown in a rodent model that daily consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages during adolescence impairs performance on a learning and memory task during adulthood. The group further showed that changes in the bacteria in the gut may be the key to the sugar-induced memory impairment.

Original written by: Cal Powell

9. Regenerating Hair Follicle Stem Cells

Source: Harvard University 31 Mar 2021

Researchers have identified the biological mechanism by which chronic stress impairs hair follicle stem cells, confirming long-standing observations that stress might lead to hair loss. The researchers found that a major stress hormone puts hair follicle stem cells into an extended resting phase, without regenerating the follicle or the hair.

Original written by: Jessica Lau

10. A Single Injection Reverses Blindness in Patient with Rare Genetic Disorder

Source: University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine 1 Apr 2021

A patient with a genetic form of childhood blindness gained vision, which lasted more than a year, after receiving a single injection of an experimental RNA therapy into the eye. Results of the case show that the treatment led to marked changes at the fovea, the most important locus of human central vision.

11. How Brain Cells Repair Their DNA Reveals “Hot Spots” Of Aging and Disease

Source: Salk Institute 1 Apr 2021

Neurons lack the ability to replicate their DNA, so they’re constantly working to repair damage to their genome. Now, a new study finds that these repairs are not random, but instead focus on protecting certain genetic “hot spots” that appear to play a critical role in neural identity and function. The findings give novel insights into the genetic structures involved in aging and neurodegeneration, and could point to the development of potential new therapies for diseases such Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other age-related dementia disorders.

12. Weight Loss Changes People’s Responsiveness to Food Marketing: Study

Source: University of British Columbia 1 Apr 2021

According to a new study, the researchers found that the people with obesity tended to be more responsive to food marketing — but when they lost a significant amount of weight because of bariatric surgery, their level of responsiveness to food marketing dropped substantially.

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