Researchers have taken an interest in a euphorbia plant growing in Marocco as a possible painkiller. The plant’s active ingredient, resiniferatoxin (RTX), is extremely spicy, a 10,000 times hotter than the world’s hottest pepper. RTX is a potent analog of capsaicin, the active ingredient in chilli peppers, and has numerous benefits over existing painkillers. It doesn’t require frequent dosing, targets only the areas causing pain, and doesn’t produce a potentially addictive high. All this makes it a promising candidate for the clinics.
COFFEE BREAK NEWS FOR LIFE SCIENTISTS
An international team of researchers detected a vast sixty-nine pharmaceutical compounds in stream insects. When these insects emerge as flying adults, they can pass these drugs further to spiders, fish, birds, bats, and other streamside foragers. This way, drug pollution moves up food webs and in some cases exposes even top predators to therapeutically-effective doses.
Air pollution has become one of the biggest threats to public health worldwide. Now, the World Health Organisation (WHO) brought together government officials and health experts in the first-ever international air pollution conference. This silent public health emergency is killing 7 million people every year and damaging the health of many more.
Researchers from McMaster University in Canada have engineered “smart” surface coatings that can repel almost everything, including bacteria, viruses, and living cells. A new feature of this technology is the possibility of modifying the coating to permit beneficial exceptions. These surfaces create the promise of safer implants and more accurate diagnostic tests.
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.
Researchers have developed an implantable, bioabsorbable, wireless device that speeds recovery in rats by stimulating injured nerves with electricity. It accelerates the regrowth of nerves and enhances the recovery of muscle strength and control. The device, the size of a dime and thick as a paper, degrades in a few weeks. This new approach to treating peripheral nerve injury could mean a world to people with tingling, numbness, and weakness in their arms, hands, and legs.
The European Commission is about to recommend that EU member states abandon the practice of changing the clocks in spring and autumn.
Food scientists from Cornell University have developed a test for rapid detection of E. coli in drinking water using genetically-engineered bacteriophages. It can be administered locally in hard-to-reach areas around the world and provides results within hours. Obtaining quick and accurate results is a current bottleneck in preventing infection and could save many.
Researchers from Stanford have identified human skeletal stem cells that become bone, cartilage, or stroma. Cells were recovered from fetal and adult bone marrow and were also derived from induced pluripotent stem cells. This discovery will open up new therapeutic possibilities.
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.