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Molecule linking two hormones effectively treats obesity in mice

Molecule linking two hormones effectively treats obesity in mice | Longevity science | Scoop.it

With health authorities saying the world is facing an obesity epidemic and with a recent major study finding that – for the first time – more people now die from obesity-related illnesses like heart attacks and strokes than malnutrition, scientists have been tackling the fat problem.

 

Recent approaches to this problem include looking at ways to slow down the biological clock and converting calorie-storing white fat cells into heat-generating brown fat cells. Now, a new study has found that linking two hormones into a single molecule could lead to improved treatments for medical conditions such as obesity.

 

 

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Reinvent Yourself: The Playboy Interview with Ray Kurzweil

Reinvent Yourself: The Playboy Interview with Ray Kurzweil | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Many think author, inventor and data scientist Ray Kurzweil is a prophet for our digital age. A few say he’s completely nuts. Kurzweil, who heads a team of more than 40 as a director of engineering at Google, believes advances in technology and medicine are pushing us toward what he calls the Singularity, a period of profound cultural and evolutionary change in which computers will outthink the brain and allow people—you, me, the guy with the man-bun ahead of you at Starbucks—to live forever. He dates this development at 2045.
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The Genetic Components of Rare Diseases | The Scientist Magazine®

The Genetic Components of Rare Diseases | The Scientist Magazine® | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Of the known associations between a genetic variant and disease, many are still tenuous at best. How can scientists determine which genes or genetic variants are truly detrimental?

Patients with rare diseases are often caught in the crosshairs of this uncertainty. By the time they have their genome, or portions of it, sequenced, they’ve endured countless physician visits and tests. Sequencing provides some hope for an answer, but the process of uncovering causal variants on which to build a treatment plan is still one of painstaking detective work with many false leads. Even variants that are known to be harmful show no effects in some individuals who harbor them, says Adrian Liston,
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New nanomaterial mimics cell membranes | KurzweilAI

New nanomaterial mimics cell membranes | KurzweilAI | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Materials scientists at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have created a new material that performs like a biological cell membrane — a material that has long been sought for applications like water purification and drug delivery.

The “peptoid” material can assemble itself into a sheet that’s thinner, but more stable, than a soap bubble, the researchers report this week in Nature Communications. The assembled sheet can withstand being submerged in a variety of liquids and can even repair itself after damage.

“We believe these materials have potential in water filters, sensors, drug delivery, and especially fuel cells or other energy applications,” said chemist Chun-Long Chen.
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Distinguishing Circulating Tumor from Normal Cell-Free DNA: Towards Liquid Biopsies

Distinguishing Circulating Tumor from Normal Cell-Free DNA: Towards Liquid Biopsies | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Pieces of tumor DNA circulating in the bloodstream are generally shorter than circulating DNA fragments derived from healthy cells, scientists reported in PLOS Genetics.

 

Researchers from the University of Washington and the University of Utah observed the DNA difference by analyzing fragments derived from human glioblastoma and hepatocellular carcinoma cells transplanted in rats. The team observed that the human circulating tumor DNA was typically 134 to 144 base pairs long, while the rat circulating DNA was typically 167 base pairs long. 

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'Living' cartilage grown using stem cells could prevent hip replacement surgery

'Living' cartilage grown using stem cells could prevent hip replacement surgery | Longevity science | Scoop.it
An alternative to hip replacement surgery may be in sight. In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers reveal how it may be possible to use a patient's own stem cells to grow new cartilage in the shape of a hip joint.
[A 3-D hip joint scaffold]
Researchers describe how they could use a patient's own stem cells to grow new cartilage that covers a 3-D scaffold molded to the shape of their hip joint.
Image credit: Guilak Laboratory

Furthermore, the team - including researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO - says it is possible to program the newly grown cartilage to release anti-inflammatory molecules, which could stave off the return of arthritis - the most common cause of hip pain.
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Considering Gene Editing: the committee

Considering Gene Editing: the committee | Longevity science | Scoop.it
The committee’s task: to research, discuss, and report on “the scientific underpinnings of human gene-editing technologies, their potential use in biomedical research and medicine—including human germline editing—and the clinical, ethical, legal, and social implications of their use.” Today, we were to hear talks on the history of different racial groups’ regard for science, medicine, and genetics, and historical and ethical perspectives on the editing of the human germline to treat genetic disorders, in particular those that strike people of certain ethnic backgrounds more frequently than others.
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Eric Larson's curator insight, July 14, 8:59 AM
Gene editing? What will this mean?
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DARPA-developed next-generation bionic arm hits the market

DARPA-developed next-generation bionic arm hits the market | Longevity science | Scoop.it
The next generation in prosthetic arms will soon be helping amputees get a grip in the real world. The LUKE arm, which was previously known as the Deka Arm, was developed under DARPA's Revolutionizing Prosthetics program by DEKA Research & Development Corp. It received marketing approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2014 and is now set to hit the market later this year.

As we've reported previously, the DEKA arm is the first prosthetic arm set approved for commercial markets that translates signals from a patient's muscles into complex motions. Rechristened the LUKE (Life Under Kinetic Evolution) arm by medical device maker Mobius Bionics, which will bring it to market with Universal Instruments Corporation as contract manufacturer, the prosthetic will be the first in a new product category for integrated prosthetic arms.
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Health Effects of Mitochondrial, Nuclear DNA Mismatch | The Scientist Magazine®

Health Effects of Mitochondrial, Nuclear DNA Mismatch | The Scientist Magazine® | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Mice bred such that their nuclear and mitochondrial DNAs derive from different strains tend to grow old in better health than mice whose mitochondrial and nuclear DNAs are ancestrally matched, according to a study published today (July 6) in Nature. These apparent health benefits occur despite signs of oxidative stress in the mismatched animals, researchers from the Spanish National Center for Cardiac Research in Madrid and their colleagues have found.

“This paper is very exciting because it is putting an emphasis on the impact of the match between mitochondrial DNA and nuclear DNA,” said mitochondrial biologist Orian Shirihai of Boston University who was not involved with the work.
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A Blood Test To Determine When Antibiotics Are Warranted | The Scientist Magazine®

A Blood Test To Determine When Antibiotics Are Warranted | The Scientist Magazine® | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Scientists can distinguish between a viral and a bacterial infection by assaying just seven human genes, according to a study published this week (July 6) in Science Translational Medicine. A clinical test based on these findings would enable doctors to more appropriately prescribe antibiotics, which are ineffective against viruses.

This May, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that doctors prescribe antibiotics when they’re not needed in around 30 percent of cases examined. Overuse of these drugs may promote more widespread antibiotic resistance
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Using gelatin to bulk up "muscles-on-a-chip"

Using gelatin to bulk up "muscles-on-a-chip" | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Growing muscle for lab-based testing is a tough process, and previous attempts to do so – making use of plastic scaffolds – have failed to produce fully-formed muscle fibers. Now, a team from the University of Southern California (USC) has taken a different approach, using gelatin and a water-logged gel, or "hydrogel," as a scaffold.

This new research is the latest in a series of "on-a-chip" efforts that have seen scientists create lab-based versions of everything from lungs to working models of heart disease. The idea is to produce systems in the lab that accurately simulate organs and other tissue, allowing researchers to conduct studies and develop new medicines with zero risk to patient health.
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Robotic rectum helps doctors get a feel for prostate exams

Robotic rectum helps doctors get a feel for prostate exams | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Prostate exams aren't exactly an enjoyable experience, but if you ever need one, you'll want the doctor to know what they're doing. Unfortunately, the procedure is difficult for med students to learn, thanks to the internal nature of the examination and a lack of willing test subjects. Scientists at Imperial College London wanted to solve that problem by developing a robotic rectum that recreates the feel of the real thing and even provides haptic feedback.
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A host of common chemicals endanger child brain development, NIH journal reports | KurzweilAI

A host of common chemicals endanger child brain development, NIH journal reports | KurzweilAI | Longevity science | Scoop.it
In a new open-access report in the NIH journal Environmental Health Perspectives, 47 scientists, health practitioners, and children’s health advocates have made a consensus statement in “Project TENDR: Targeting Environmental Neuro-Developmental Risks“ — endorsed by nine medical organizations — and issued a call to action for renewed attention to the growing evidence that many common and widely available chemicals endanger neurodevelopment in fetuses and children of all ages.

The list includes chemicals used extensively in consumer products and that have become widespread in the environment. Of most concern are lead and mercury; organophosphate pesticides used in agriculture and home gardens; phthalates, which are used in pharmaceuticals, plastics and personal care products; flame retardants known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers; and air pollutants produced by the combustion of wood and fossil fuels, said University of Illinois Comparative Biosciences professor Susan Schantz, one of dozens of individual signatories to the consensus statement.

The list provides “prime examples of toxic chemicals that can contribute to learning, behavioral, or intellectual impairment, as well as specific neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD or autism spectrum disorder,” according to the report.
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Eric Larson's curator insight, July 6, 11:50 AM
Chemicals that harm children's brains?
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Artificial pancreases set to make living with diabetes easier by 2018

Artificial pancreases set to make living with diabetes easier by 2018 | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Sufferers of type 1 diabetes are required to constantly monitor their blood glucose levels and administer insulin as needed. But the daily hassle of self-care for patients could soon be reduced, with a new study concluding that automated "artificial pancreas" systems could be available in as little as two years.

The study, authored by Doctors Roman Hovorka and Hood Thabit of Cambridge University, reviews the overall progress of technology in these automated systems, including the bionic pancreas being developed by Boston University scientists.
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Eric Larson's curator insight, July 6, 11:51 AM
Artificial pancreas?
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Augmented Reality In Healthcare Will Be Revolutionary - The Medical Futurist

Augmented Reality In Healthcare Will Be Revolutionary - The Medical Futurist | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Augmented reality differs from its most known “relative”, virtual reality (VR) since the latter creates a 3D world completely detaching the user from reality. There are two respects in which AR is unique: users do not lose touch with reality and it puts information into eyesight as fast as possible. These distinctive features enable AR to become a driving force in the future of medicine.
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Neurotransmitters, Adrenals, Blood Sugar & Nutrition - INNATE Education

Neurotransmitters, Adrenals, Blood Sugar & Nutrition - INNATE Education | Longevity science | Scoop.it
The adrenal glands are a primary stress response organ and play a key secondary role in raising blood sugar. Primarily performed by pancreas-originating glucagon, adrenal hormones like cortisol and neurotransmitters like epinephrine contribute to raising blood sugar as well. Since glucose in the blood is typically critical for brain function, there is a tight web of control to raise blood sugar via several mechanisms.

STRESS

When blood sugar is detected as lower in a physiological range, glucagon is secreted by the pancreas to promote the release of glycogen from the liver. This same mechanism is how epinephrine (aka adrenaline) raises blood sugar in the body. Epinephrine is released as well during times of acute stressors, such as threats or noxious stimuli. This is directly mediated by the central nervous system (CNS) through the sympathetic nerve system, which stimulated the adrenal medulla.
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Bioproduction: Advances in Cell Line Engineering

Bioproduction: Advances in Cell Line Engineering | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Bioproduction involves the growth and manipulation of large quantities of cells under tightly controlled conditions mandated by good manufacturing practices (GMP), while maintaining quality, reproducibility, and cost. Innovative technologies and strategies are being employed to optimize scale-up to high-throughput production.

 

The Scientist brings together a panel of experts to discuss strategies and workflows for screening and optimizing cell lines for bioproduction (video).

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Will Organs-in-a-Dish Ever Replace Animal Models?

Will Organs-in-a-Dish Ever Replace Animal Models? | Longevity science | Scoop.it

From mini brains to mini kidneys, an increasing number of organ models can now be grown in vitro. Some of these “organoids” can even perform certain functions of the human body in both health and disease, reducing the need for animal models. But organoid-based models still can’t fully recapitulate complex aspects of physiology that can only be studied in whole organisms.

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Organoids are three-dimensional miniature organs grown in vitro from adult or embryonic stem cells under chemical and physical conditions that mimic the human body. Clevers and colleagues grew the first mini guts in 2009; since then, researchers have succeeded in growing mini brains, kidneys, livers, pancreases, and prostate glands.

 

In which types of research do you think organoids are most helpful?

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Stroke Alters Gut Microbiome, Impacting Recovery | The Scientist Magazine®

Stroke Alters Gut Microbiome, Impacting Recovery | The Scientist Magazine® | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Scientists are finding increasing evidence that the stomach and the brain are linked via microbes and the immune system. Researchers from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in Germany have found that inducing strokes in mice altered the animals’ gut microbiota, triggering an immune response that traveled back to the brain and worsened the severity of the lesions. When the researchers transplanted fecal bacteria from healthy mice into germ-free rodents that had suffered strokes, the latter animals made a better recovery than mice that didn’t receive the healthy bacteria, the researchers reported this week (July 12) in The Journal of Neuroscience.
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Blind Mice Regain Vision | The Scientist Magazine®

Blind Mice Regain Vision | The Scientist Magazine® | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Scientists have long known that the mammalian central nervous system (CNS) has a limited capacity to regenerate. But in a new study, researchers from Stanford University have shown that combining visual stimulation and chemical activation of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) led retinal ganglion cells in blind mice to regenerate, restoring partial vision. Further, the regenerated axons reconnected to their correct targets in the brain, the researchers reported today (July 11) in Nature Neuroscience.

This approach “offers a lot of hope, because it’s really the best regeneration anybody’s seen,” biologist Thomas Reh of the University of Washington in Seattle, who was not involved in the work, told The Scientist. “But it’s still just a small number of axons regenerating . . . and the amount of vision restored is not nearly what we would like to see” in humans, he added.
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Eric Larson's curator insight, July 14, 9:00 AM
Blind mice regain their vision?
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Amyloid-β peptide protects against microbial infection in mouse and worm models of Alzheimer’s disease

Amyloid-β peptide protects against microbial infection in mouse and worm models of Alzheimer’s disease | Longevity science | Scoop.it
A protein called Aβ is thought to cause neuronal death in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Aβ forms insoluble aggregates in the brains of patients with AD, which are a hallmark of the disease. Aβ and its propensity for aggregation are widely viewed as intrinsically abnormal. However, in new work, Kumar et al. show that Aβ is a natural antibiotic that protects the brain from infection. Most surprisingly, Aβ aggregates trap and imprison bacterial pathogens.

 

It remains unclear whether Aβ is fighting a real or falsely perceived infection in AD. However, in any case, these findings identify inflammatory pathways as potential new drug targets for treating AD.

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Eric Larson's curator insight, July 14, 9:01 AM
Help for Alzheimer patience?
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How to Rebuild a Face With Jawbone Grown in the Lab

How to Rebuild a Face With Jawbone Grown in the Lab | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Imagine what it must be like for people who wake up after severe trauma or facial cancers to peer into the mirror and see someone unrecognizable staring back.

how-to-rebuild-a-face-with-bones-grown-in-the-lab-8Unfortunately, facial features are especially challenging to reconstruct with plastic surgery due to the complexity of bone structures. But a study, published last month in Science Translational Medicine, offers hope.

A team from Columbia University took stem cells from miniature pigs (or minipigs) with jaw deformities, grew them into living bone that precisely replicates the original anatomical structure, and transplanted the bones into their jaws.
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Watch This Amazing 3D Bioprinter Make Artificial Bones From Scratch

Watch This Amazing 3D Bioprinter Make Artificial Bones From Scratch | Longevity science | Scoop.it
If 3D printing is already impacting manufacturing today, what breakthroughs could bioprinting — or printing any mix of organic and inorganic materials — achieve tomorrow? In a recent video, a basic prototype of the Aether 1 bioprinter is shown printing two bones connected by a tendon using six materials that include synthetic bone, conductive ink, stem cells and graphene oxide.

While bioprinted organs are still a long way off — this video offers a glimpse into that future.
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Protein manipulates neurons to bring on the munchies

Protein manipulates neurons to bring on the munchies | Longevity science | Scoop.it
The next time you feel hungry even though you've already eaten a big meal, the culprit may be a certain protein. A new study shows that the protein AMPK regulates the neurons in the brain responsible for making you feel hungry. The findings may have implications in the treatment of obesity.

Researchers from Tufts University School of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School participated in the study that discovered a link between the protein and the neurons. The study indicates that the metabolic sensor protein AMPK activates agouti-related peptide (AgRP) neurons located in the brain's hypothalamus.
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Top 10 Healthcare Wearables For A Healthy Lifestyle - The Medical Futurist

Top 10 Healthcare Wearables For A Healthy Lifestyle - The Medical Futurist | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Top 10 Healthcare Wearables For A Healthy Lifestyle

There are thousands of devices and gadgets on the healthcare wearable market which could help you live a healthier and better life, although it is not easy to choose. Let me show you my top choices when it comes to health wearables and trackers.
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Electrical Stimulation of Visual Cortex Can Immediately Improve Spatial Vision: Current Biology

Electrical Stimulation of Visual Cortex Can Immediately Improve Spatial Vision: Current Biology | Longevity science | Scoop.it

We can improve human vision by correcting the optics of our lenses [ 1–3 ]. However, after the eye transduces the light, visual cortex has its own limitations that are challenging to correct [ 4 ].

 

Overcoming these limitations has typically involved innovative training regimes that improve vision across many days [ 5, 6 ]. In the present study, we wanted to determine whether it is possible to immediately improve the precision of spatial vision with noninvasive direct-current stimulation.

 

Previous work suggested that visual processing could be modulated with such stimulation [ 7–9 ]. However, the short duration and variability of such effects made it seem unlikely that spatial vision could be improved for more than several minutes [ 7, 10 ].

 

Here we show that visual acuity in the parafoveal belt can be immediately improved by delivering noninvasive direct current to visual cortex. Twenty minutes of anodal stimulation improved subjects’ vernier acuity by approximately 15% and increased the amplitude of the earliest visually evoked potentials in lockstep with the behavioral effects.

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Marijuana compound smokes the seeds of Alzheimer's disease

Marijuana compound smokes the seeds of Alzheimer's disease | Longevity science | Scoop.it

How exactly amyloid beta proteins give rise to plaques and in turn wreak havoc on the brain isn't entirely clear, but that hasn't stopped researchers working to avert the process altogether. The development of natural molecules, debris-clearing proteins and drugs inspired by snake venom have all shown promise as tools to stop or slow the buildup of plaques.

And now researchers at the Salk Institute have uncovered new evidence supporting another candidate, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Working with modified nerve cells engineered to produce high levels of amyloid beta, the researchers found that the presence of these proteins caused nerve cell inflammation and higher rates of neuron death.

But by exposing the cells to THC, they reduced levels of the amyloid beta proteins, which also had the effect of stopping inflammation of the nerve cells and allowing more of them to survive.

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