Saturday Health (19 – 25 Dec 2020)

Health News related to Gene Pathway Linking to Schizophrenia, One Pain Suppressing Another, Masks – COVID-19 – Social Distancing, Pregnant Women Passing COVID-19 to Newborns, New Antibiotics and Bacteria, Brains Tracking Us and Others, Gene Therapy for Deafness, AI-Designed Serotonin Sensor

Note: I do not write/own any of the health news bits (and cover picture) given here. The links on each of the news bits will redirect to the news source. The content given under each headline is a basic gist and not the full story.


1. Gene Pathway Linked to Schizophrenia Identified Through Stem Cell Engineering

Source: University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

21 Dec 2020

Using human-induced pluripotent stem cells engineered from a single family’s blood samples, a gene signaling pathway linked to a higher risk for developing schizophrenia was discovered by scientists.
Original written by: Judith Merkelt-Jedamzik


2. How One Pain Suppresses the Other

Source: Ruhr-University Bochum

21 Dec 2020

When two painful stimuli act on us at the same time, we perceive one of them as less painful. This phenomenon is part of the body’s own pain control system. A disfunction of this inhibition is associated with chronic pain disorders. Researchers have developed a method for this. They were able to show that the method works effectively with both painful electrical stimuli and heat pain.
Original written by: Judith Merkelt-Jedamzik


3. Masks Not Enough to Stop COVID-19’s Spread Without Distancing

Source: American Institute of Physics

22 Dec 2020

Simply wearing a mask may not be enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19 without social distancing. Researchers tested how five different types of mask materials impacted the spread of droplets that carry the coronavirus when we cough or sneeze. Every material tested dramatically reduced the number of droplets that were spread. But at distances of less than 6 feet, enough droplets to potentially cause illness still made it through several of the materials.


4. Pregnant Women in Third Trimester Unlikely to Pass SARS-Cov-2 Infection to Newborns

Source: NIH

22 Dec 2020

Pregnant women who are infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, during the third trimester are unlikely to pass the infection to their newborns, suggests a study. The study followed 127 pregnant women who were admitted to Boston hospitals during the spring of 2020. Among the 64 pregnant women who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, no newborns tested positive for the virus.


5. New Class of Antibiotics Active Against a Wide Range of Bacteria

Source: The Wistar Institute

23 Dec 2020

Scientists have discovered a new class of compounds that uniquely combine direct antibiotic killing of pan drug-resistant bacterial pathogens with a simultaneous rapid immune response for combatting antimicrobial resistance (AMR).


6. How Our Brains Track Where We and Others Go

Source: University of California – Los Angeles Health Sciences

23 Dec 2020

As COVID cases rise, physically distancing yourself from other people has never been more important. Now a new study reveals how your brain navigates places and monitors someone else in the same location. The findings suggest that our brains generate a common code to mark where other people are in relation to ourselves.


7. Scientists Develop New Gene Therapy for Deafness

Source: American Friends of Tel Aviv University

23 Dec 2020

A new study presents an innovative treatment for deafness, based on the delivery of genetic material into the cells of the inner ear. The genetic material “replaces” the genetic defect and enables the cells to continue functioning normally. The scientists were able to prevent the gradual deterioration of hearing in mice that had a genetic mutation for deafness. They maintain that this novel therapy could lead to a breakthrough in treating children born with various mutations that eventually cause deafness.


8. AI-Designed Serotonin Sensor May Help Scientists Study Sleep and Mental Health

Source: NIH

23 Dec 2020

Researchers described how they used advanced genetic engineering techniques to transform a bacterial protein into a new research tool that may help monitor serotonin transmission with greater fidelity than current methods. Preclinical experiments, primarily in mice, showed that the sensor could detect subtle, real-time changes in brain serotonin levels during sleep, fear, and social interactions, as well as test the effectiveness of new psychoactive drugs.

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