Saturday Health (3 – 9 Oct 2020)

Health News related to Nobel Prize in Medicine, Preventing and Curing Viral Infections, Prostrate Cancer Weakness, Damaged Nerves Repairing Hydrogel, Severity of COVID-19, Regenerating Neurons, Adults Using Cannabis, Spiritual Experiences and Well-Being, Aggression and Violence in Children, Effects of Oxytocin, Harvesting Stem Cells, Making Bones Heavier

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. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2020

Source: Nobel Foundation

This year’s Nobel Prize is awarded to three scientists who have made a decisive contribution to the fight against blood-borne hepatitis, a major global health problem that causes cirrhosis and liver cancer in people around the world. Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M. Rice made seminal discoveries that led to the identification of a novel virus, Hepatitis C virus.

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2. Biomedical Sciences Researchers Find New Way to Prevent and Cure Rotavirus, Other Viral Infections

Source: Georgia State University

A combination of two substances secreted by the immune system can cure and prevent rotavirus infection, as well as potentially treat other viral infections that target epithelial cells, which cover body surfaces such as skin, blood vessels, organs and the urinary tract, according to researchers.

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3. Advanced Prostate Cancer Has an Unexpected Weakness That Can Be Targeted by Drugs

Source: Kanazawa University

Researchers reported that the SUCLA2 gene is frequently involved in the deletion of the tumor suppressor gene RB1 in advanced prostate cancer. RB1 deletion makes cells resistant to hormone therapy but SUCLA2 deletion induces a metabolic weakness. The study showed that thymoquinone selectively killed SUCLA2-deficient prostate cancer cells in vitro and in vivo.

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4. A Hydrogel That Could Help Repair Damaged Nerves

Source: American Chemical Society

Injuries to peripheral nerves –– tissues that transmit bioelectrical signals from the brain to the rest of the body ­­–– often result in chronic pain, neurologic disorders, paralysis or disability. Now, researchers have developed a stretchable conductive hydrogel that could someday be used to repair these types of nerves when there’s damage. They report their results in ACS Nano.

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5. Previous Infection with Other Types of Coronaviruses May Lessen Severity Of COVID-19

Source: Boston Medical Center

Being previously infected with coronaviruses that cause the “common cold” may decrease the severity of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) infections, according to results of a new study. The study also demonstrates that the immunity built up from previous non-SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infections does not prevent individuals from getting COVID-19.

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6. Researchers Identify Process for Regenerating Neurons in The Eye and Brain

Source: University of Notre Dame

The death of neurons, whether in the brain or the eye, can result in a number of human neurodegenerative disorders, from blindness to Parkinson’s disease. Current treatments for these disorders can only slow the progression of the illness, because once a neuron dies, it cannot be replaced. A team of researchers has identified networks of genes that regulate the process responsible for determining whether neurons will regenerate in certain animals, such as zebrafish.

Original written by: Brandi Klingerman

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7. Study Finds Older Adults Using Cannabis to Treat Common Health Conditions

Source: University of California – San Diego

With growing interest in its potential health benefits and new legislation favoring legalization in more states, cannabis use is becoming more common among older adults. Researchers report that older adults use cannabis primarily for medical purposes to treat a variety of common health conditions, including pain, sleep disturbances and psychiatric conditions like anxiety and depression.

Original written by: Michelle Brubaker

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8. Smartphone Surveys Find A Connection Between Daily Spiritual Experiences and Well-Being

Source: Baylor University

Using smartphone check-ins twice a day for two weeks, sociologists in a national study have found a link between individuals’ daily spiritual experiences and overall well-being, say researchers. While other studies have found such a connection between spirituality and positive emotions, the new study is significant because frequent texting made it easier to capture respondents’ moment-to-moment spiritual experiences over 14 days rather than only one or two points in time, they say.

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9. Children Use Make-Believe Aggression and Violence to Manage Bad-Tempered Peers

Source: University of Cambridge

Children are more likely to introduce violent themes into their pretend play, such as imaginary fighting or killing, if they are with playmates whom peers consider bad-tempered, new research suggests. Academics believe that the tendency for children to introduce aggressive themes in these situations may be because they are ‘rehearsing’ strategies to cope with hot-headed friends.

The original story is licensed under a Creative Commons License

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10. The Effects of Oxytocin on Social Anxiety Depend on Location, Location, Location

Source: University of California – Davis

Studies have long suggested that oxytocin — a hormone that can also act as a neurotransmitter — regulates prosocial behavior such as empathy, trust and bonding, which led to its popular labeling as the “love hormone.” Mysteriously, oxytocin has also been shown to play a role in antisocial behaviors and emotions, including reduced cooperation, envy and anxiety. How oxytocin could exert such opposite roles had largely remained a mystery, but a new study sheds light on how this may work.

Original written by: Karen Nikos-Rose

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11. Stem Cell Sheets Harvested in Just Two Days

Source: Pohang University of Science & Technology (POSTECH)

Stem cells are cell factories that constantly divide themselves to create new cells. Implanting stem cells in damaged organs can regenerate new tissues. Cell sheet engineering, which allows stem cells to be transplanted into damaged areas in the form of sheets made up of only cells, completely eliminates immune rejection caused by external substances and encourages tissue regeneration. A research team recently succeeded in drastically reducing the harvest period of such stem cell sheets.

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12. Light Stimulation Makes Bones Heavier

Source: Tokyo Medical and Dental University

Researchers show that laser irradiation inhibits expression of the osteogenesis inhibitor protein sclerostin without causing inflammation, providing a potential therapeutic option for osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease in which bone loses mass as a result of age or other influences. This weakening is the leading cause of fractures in the elderly, often after trivial injuries, and makes treating these “pathological fractures” a challenge.

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