Most people who have been to Korean restaurants will be familiar with a signature Korean dish called Kimchi. This traditional dish has been consumed for thousands of years and is made from a mixture of Chinese cabbage, herbs and spices which is then fermented by naturally occurring lactic acid bacteria. Apart from giving kimchi its distinctive taste, it turns out that these probiotic bacteria might also be good for our health.
Australian researchers have shown for the first time that laser therapy can be used to alter the population of gut bacteria in mice. The findings, if confirmed in humans, could help in the treatment of diseases such as diabetes.
Many living organisms can expect to have some freeloaders: other organisms that live on or inside and may or may not prove harmful to it. When that tends to be a positive relationship for both parties, it is called a symbiotic relationship, whereas a negative impact for either party would make it a parasitic relationship.The differing biologies of host and parasite can affect the success of either organism, such as their performance and fitness under certain climatic conditions.
Perhaps one of the most interesting parts of an organism to study is its brain, as it can be thought to be at the core of identity. The brain allows for complex functions such as memory and associations to exist. Evolutionarily, this has allowed for social interactions to form the basis of groups and eventually allow for large numbers of individuals to live together in communities.
Rather than relying on serendipity to discover novel therapeutics, today we can work intelligently to identify antibodies that target exactly what we desire. Our immune system has been refined through millions of years of evolution, and our ability to harvest its capabilities now allows us to develop intelligently designed antibody-based medicines. This new generation of biotherapeutics holds great promise in tackling diseases and conditions that were previously untreatable.
It is common knowledge that the venom from a snake or scorpion can be dangerous. Less known is the fact that several drugs are derived from the toxins of venomous animals. Throughout history, humans have used toxins for medical purposes. Today, modern medicine uses the vast amount of toxins as inspiration for developing novel drugs. Despite the potential of venom-derived drugs, only seven have been approved so far.
Epidemics have plagued human populations for thousands of years, but there are very few clues as to what pathogens may have caused massive epidemics in the past. Scientists are using new techniques to extract and analyze ancient DNA, and what they have found may give us information about how things happened nearly 500 years ago.
US military financed research groups are finding new ways of treating severe mental illnesses that resist current therapies. They have developed a new single closed-loop system to detect patterns associated with mood disorders and presented the first map of how mood is encoded inside the brain.
Night shift work has been consistently associated with higher risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, insomnia, depression and irritable bowel syndrome. Exposure to light at night is not only leaving scars on people’s well being but is affecting wildlife and entire ecosystems, it wastes energy, money and gives astronomers headaches.
Researchers from the University of Birmingham discovered an unsettling link between a major mechanism of antibiotic resistance in bacteria and triclosan, a disinfectant commonly found in household cleaning products.