When I was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus 32 years ago, aged 15, social media did not exist. After months of diagnostic tests, I was happy to find out that my condition had a name. Six months after diagnosis, I attended my first lupus support group, where the topic for discussion was funeral planning.
It is well-known that bacteria can support each others’ growth and exchange nutrients. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, and their colleagues at the universities of Jena, Kaiserslautern, and Heidelberg, however, have now discovered a new way of how bacteria can achieve this nutritional exchange. They found that some bacteria can form nanotubular structures between single cells that enable a direct exchange of nutrients.
Bacteria usually live in species-rich communities and frequently exchange nutrients and other metabolites. Until now, it was unclear whether microorganisms exchange metabolites exclusively by releasing them into the surrounding environment or whether they also use direct connections between cells for this purpose. Scientists from the Research Group Experimental Ecology and Evolution at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany addressed this question using the soil bacterium Acinetobacter baylyi and the gut microbe Escherichia coli. By experimentally deleting bacterial genes from the genome of both species, the scientists generated mutants that were no longer able to produce certain amino acids, yet produced increased amounts of others.
In co-culture, both bacterial strains were able to cross-feed each other, thereby compensating the experimentally induced deficiencies. However, separating the two bacterial strains with a filter that allowed free passage of amino acids, yet prevented a direct contact between cells, abolished growth of both strains. “This experiment showed that a direct contact between cells was required for the nutrient exchange to occur,” explains Samay Pande, who recently obtained his PhD at the Max Planck Institute in Jena on this research project and now started a postdoc at the ETH Zürich.
Observing the co-culture under the electron microscope revealed structures that formed between bacterial strains, which functioned as nanotubes and enabled the exchange of nutrients between cells. Especially remarkable, however, was the fact that only the gut microbe Escherichia coli was capable of forming these structures and connecting to Acinetobacter baylyi or other E. coli cells. “The major difference between both species is certainly that E. coli is able to actively move in liquid media, whereas A. baylyi is immotile. It may thus be possible that swimming is required for E. coli tofind suitable partners and connect to them via nanotubes,” explains Christian Kost, head of the Research Group Experimental Ecology and Evolution, which is funded by the Volkswagen Foundation.
“A lack of amino acids triggered the formation of nanotubes. Deleting a gene, which is involved in the production of a certain amino acid, caused the resulting bacteria to connect to other bacterial cells and − in this way − compensate their nutritional deficiency. However, nanotubes did not form when the required amino acids were supplemented to the growth medium, indicating that the formation of these structures obviously depends on how ‘hungry’ a cell is,” the scientist summarizes the results.
En estos últimos 9 años luego de la epidemia en la Isla La Reunión en 2005-2006, el virus Chikungunya se ha expandido por el mundo y ha sufrido diferentes mutaciones genéticas que le han permitido adaptarse a las nuevas condiciones epidemiológicas, razón por la cual se sospecha que será la segunda pandemia del siglo XXI, luego que en el 2009 la Organización Mundial de la Salud declarara ésta máxima categoría de alerta sanitaria a la gripe AH1N1. Es una enfermedad nueva para nuestra gente y para
Like so many I constantly use my mobile phone and technology as part of my everyday life. I want to manage my health journey in the same way. Why can’t I receive blood results via text or use Skype calls for routine follow-ups?
La Oficina Regional para Europa de la Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS) ha instado a aumentar de forma inmediata la vacunación contra el sarampión en los grupos de riesgo, como los niños, debido a los brotes surgidos en el continente.
When diagnosing a case of Ebola, time is of the essence. However, existing diagnostic tests take at least a day or two to yield results, preventing health care workers from quickly determining whether a patient needs immediate treatment and isolation.
A new test from MIT researchers could change that: The device, a simple paper strip similar to a pregnancy test, can rapidly diagnose Ebola, as well as other viral hemorrhagic fevers such as yellow fever and dengue fever.
“As we saw with the recent Ebola outbreak, sometimes people present with symptoms and it’s not clear what they have,” says Kimberly Hamad-Schifferli, a visiting scientist in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and a member of the technical staff at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory. “We wanted to come up with a rapid diagnostic that could differentiate between different diseases.”
Hamad-Schifferli and Lee Gehrke, the Hermann L.F. von Helmholtz Professor in MIT’s Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES), are the senior authors of a paper describing the new device in the journal Lab on a Chip. The paper’s lead author is IMES postdoc Chun-Wan Yen, and other authors are graduate student Helena de Puig, IMES postdoc Justina Tam, IMES instructor Jose Gomez-Marquez, and visiting scientist Irene Bosch.
Currently, the only way to diagnose Ebola is to send patient blood samples to a lab that can perform advanced techniques such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which can detect genetic material from the Ebola virus. This is very accurate but time-consuming, and some areas of Africa where Ebola and other fevers are endemic have limited access to this kind of technology.
The new device relies on lateral flow technology, which is used in pregnancy tests and has recently been exploited for diagnosing strep throat and other bacterial infections. Until now, however, no one has applied a multiplexing approach, using multicolored nanoparticles, to simultaneously screen for multiple pathogens.
SOURCE November 14, 2014 Google has now taken a further step forward in healthcare technology. With an aim to explore genetic variation interactively, Google has made a Google Drive to store genomes called ‘Google Genomics‘. Now, the company is approaching to university labs and hospitals for storing their clients’ genomes in the drive to keep further research up in the cloud. Google Genomics cloud computing service was originally launched last year but didn’t get much attention. The platform allows researchers to access millions of genomes and run batch analyses. The service cost is USD 25 a year for storing a single genome and extra charges for doing computations on that data. A single person’s genome is about 100 gigabytes in size, although a polished version of a person’s genetic code is less than a gigabyte. At that point, Google costs USD .25 cents a year for storing that in its cloud computing system. Google software engineer David Glazer said that with the help of Google
University of Tokyo researchers have developed a "fever alarm armband," a flexible, self-powered wearable device that sounds an alarm in case of high body temperature. This armband will be presented at the 2015 IEEE International Solid State Circuits Conference, San Francisco, on 22-26 February, 2015. The flexible organic components developed for this device are well-suited to wearable devices that continuously monitor vital signs including temperature and heart rate for applications in healthcare settings.
The new device developed by research groups lead by Professor Takayasu Sakurai at the Institute of Industrial Science and Professor Takao Someya at the Graduate School of Engineering combines a flexible amorphous silicon solar panel, piezoelectric speaker, temperature sensor, and power supply circuit created with organic components in a single flexible, wearable package.
Constant monitoring of health indicators such as heart rate and body temperature is the focus of intense interest in the fields of infant, elderly and patient care. Sensors for such applications need to be flexible and wireless for patient comfort, maintenance-free and not requiring external energy supply, and cheap enough to permit disposable use to ensure hygiene. Conventional sensors based on rigid components are unable to meet these requirements, so the researchers have developed a flexible solution that incorporates organic components that can be printed by an inkjet printer on a polymeric film.
The fever alarm armband incorporates several first-ever achievements. It is the first organic circuit able to produce a sound output, and the first to incorporate an organic power supply circuit. The former enables the device to provide audible information when the flexible thermal sensor detects a pre-set value within the ranges of 36.5 ºC to 38.5 ºC, while the latter increases the range of operational illumination by 7.3 times in indoor lighting conditions.
"Our fever alarm armband demonstrates that it is possible to produce flexible, disposable devices that can greatly enhance the amount of information available to carers in healthcare settings," says Professor Someya. "We have demonstrated the technology with a temperature sensor and fever alarm, but the system could also be adapted to provide audible feedback on body temperature, or combined with other sensors to register wetness, pressure or heart rate."
(2014). Understanding the Role of mHealth and Other Media Interventions for Behavior Change to Enhance Child Survival and Development in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: An Evidence Review. Journal of Health Communication: Vol. 19, Population-Level Behavior Change to Enhance Child Survival and Development in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Review of the Evidence, pp. 164-189. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2014.929763
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