Week in Health (3 – 9 Apr 2021)

Health News related to Software Package for Cancer Immune Responses, New Detection Method for Doping by Athletes, Blueprint of Brain Connection, Genetic Link Between Face and Brain Shape, Masks and Ventilation - COVID Spread, Tattoo Made of Gold Nanoparticles, Accelerated Cellular Aging, Late-Night Snacks, Surgical Sutures – Human Tendons, Chronic Sinus Inflammation, “Jumping” Genes, Bone Implant Recovery


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. Software Package Enables Deeper Understanding of Cancer Immune Responses


Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine 4 Apr 2021


Researchers have developed DeepTCR, a software package that employs deep-learning algorithms to analyze T-cell receptor (TCR) sequencing data. T-cell receptors are found on the surface of immune T cells. These receptors bind to certain antigens, or proteins, found on abnormal cells, such as cancer cells and cells infected with a virus or bacteria, to guide the T cells to attack and destroy the affected cells.

2. Doping by Athletes Could Become Tougher to Hide with New Detection Method


Source: American Chemical Society 5 Apr 2021


As the world awaits the upcoming Olympic games, a new method for detecting doping compounds in urine samples could level the playing field for those trying to keep athletics clean. Recently, scientists reported an approach using ion mobility-mass spectrometry to help regulatory agencies detect existing dopants and future “designer” compounds.

3. New Blueprint of Brain Connections Reveals Extensive Reach of Central Regulator


Source: University of California - San Diego 5 Apr 2021


Researchers have generated a precise map of brain connectivity from the largest output nucleus of the basal ganglia, an area known as the substantia nigra pars reticulata, or SNr. The findings offer a blueprint of the area’s architecture that revealed new details and a surprising level of influence connected to the basal ganglia.


Original written by: Mario Aguilera

4. Genetic Link Between Face and Brain Shape


Source: KU Leuven 5 Apr 2021


A team has identified 76 overlapping genetic locations that shape both our face and our brain. What the researchers didn’t find is evidence that this genetic overlap also predicts someone’s behavioural-cognitive traits or risk of conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. The findings could help debunk several persistent pseudoscientific claims about what our face reveals about us.

5. Masks, Ventilation Stop COVID Spread Better than Social Distancing


Source: University of Central Florida 5 Apr 2021


A new study suggests that masks and a good ventilation system are more important than social distancing for reducing the airborne spread of COVID-19 in classrooms. The study finds that aerosol transmission routes do not display a need for six feet social distancing when masks are mandated. These results highlight that with masks, transmission probability does not decrease with increased physical distancing, which emphasizes how mask mandates may be key to increasing capacity in schools and other places.


Original written by: Robert Wells

6. Tattoo Made of Gold Nanoparticles Revolutionizes Medical Diagnostics


Source: Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz 6 Apr 2021


Researchers have developed a novel type of implantable sensor which can be operated in the body for several months. The sensor is based on color-stable gold nanoparticles that are modified with receptors for specific molecules. Embedded into an artificial polymeric tissue, the nanogold is implanted under the skin where it reports changes in drug concentrations by changing its color.

7. Accelerated Cellular Aging Associated with Mortality Seen in Depressed Individuals


Source: University of California - San Francisco 6 Apr 2021


Cells from individuals with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) were found to have higher than expected rates of methylation at specific sites on their DNA, when compared to cells from healthy individuals without MDD, according to a study. Methylation is a process by which DNA is chemically modified at specific sites, resulting in changes in the expression of certain genes.


Original written by: Alan Toth

8. Study Finds Those Late-Night Snacks May Be Hurting You at Work


Source: North Carolina State University 7 Apr 2021


A recent study finds that unhealthy eating behaviors at night can make people less helpful and more withdrawn the next day at work. The researchers found that, when people engaged in unhealthy eating behaviors, they were more likely to report having physical problems the next morning. Problems included headaches, stomachaches and diarrhea. In addition, when people reported unhealthy eating behaviors, they were also more likely to report emotional strains the next morning – such as feeling guilty or ashamed about their diet choices.


Original written by: Matt Shipman

9. Surgical Sutures Inspired by Human Tendons


Source: McGill University 7 Apr 2021


Researchers have developed innovative tough gel sheathed (TGS) sutures inspired by the human tendon. These next-generation sutures contain a slippery, yet tough gel envelop, imitating the structure of soft connective tissues. In putting the TGS sutures to the test, the researchers found that the nearly frictionless gel surface mitigated the damage typically caused by traditional sutures.

10. Chronic Sinus Inflammation Appears to Alter Brain Activity


Source: University of Washington School of Medicine/UW Medicine 8 Apr 2021


The millions of people who have chronic sinusitis deal not only with stuffy noses and headaches, they also commonly struggle to focus, and experience depression and other symptoms that implicate the brain’s involvement in their illness. New research links sinus inflammation with alterations in brain activity, specifically with the neural networks that modulate cognition, introspection and response to external stimuli.

11. Scientists Discover “Jumping” Genes That Can Protect Against Blood Cancers


Source: UT Southwestern Medical Center 8 Apr 2021


New research has uncovered a surprising role for so-called “jumping” genes that are a source of genetic mutations responsible for a number of human diseases. In the new study, scientists made the unexpected discovery that these DNA sequences, also known as transposons, can protect against certain blood cancers.

12. Breakthrough Discovery Could Speed Up Bone Implant Recovery


Source: Monash University 9 Apr 2021


A research team has uncovered a new technique that can speed up recovery from bone replacements. Novel micropillars, 10 times smaller than the width of a human hair, can change the size, shape and nucleus of individual stem cells and ‘trick’ them to become bone. Further research will look to improve the process of locking bone replacements with reduced risk of infection.


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