Patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) have increased brain levels of a marker of microglial activation, a sign of inflammation, according to a new study in Biological Psychiatry by researchers at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. In the study, Dr. Peter Talbot and colleagues found that the increase in the inflammatory marker was present specifically in patients with MDD who were experiencing suicidal thoughts, pinning the role of inflammation to suicidality rather than a diagnosis of MDD itself. "Our findings are the first results in living depressed patients to suggest that this microglial activation is most prominent in those with suicidal thinking," said Dr. Talbot. Previous studies suggesting this link have relied on brain tissue collected from patients after death. "This paper is an important addition to the view that inflammation is a feature of the neurobiology of a subgroup of depressed patients, in this case the group with suicidal ideation," said Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry. "This observation is particularly important in light of recent evidence supporting a personalized medicine approach to depression, i.e.., that anti-inflammatory drugs may have antidepressant effects that are limited to patients with demonstrable inflammation."
Name one civilization located in the Americas that pre-dates the arrival of Europeans. You probably replied with the Aztecs, the Inca or perhaps the Maya. A new paper, published in De Gruyter’s open access journal Open Archeology, by Michael E. Smith of Arizona State University shows how this view of American civilizations is narrow. It is entitled “The Teotihuacan Anomaly: The Historical Trajectory of Urban Design in Ancient Central Mexico”. Smith, using a map produced by the Teotihuacan mapping project, conducted a comparative analysis of the city with earlier and later Mesoamerican urban centers and has proved, for the first time, the uniqueness of the city. The paper outlines how the urban design of the city of Teotihuacan differed from past and subsequent cities, only to be rediscovered and partially modelled on many centuries later by the Aztecs.
Researchers at the University of Bristol have been taking a close-up look at the biting mouthparts of the African tsetse fly as part of ongoing work on the animal diseases it carries. Using the new high-powered scanning electron microscope in the University’s Life Sciences Building, researchers from the Trypanosome Research Group were able to see the rows of sharp teeth and rasps that the fly uses to chew through the skin when it bites. The teeth tear the delicate blood capillaries in the skin, so the fly can suck up the blood. To stop the blood clotting, the fly squirts saliva containing anti-coagulant into the wound through a narrow tube inside the proboscis. To their surprise, the researchers found that the tip of this tube is decorated with intricate finger-like structures with suckers. Professor Wendy Gibson from the School of Biological Sciences, led the research which has been published this week in the journal Parasites & Vectors. She said “This was an unexpected finding – the textbooks just show a plain pointed end to the saliva tube.
Sistemi alimentari sani contribuiranno a porre fine alla fame, ma serve maggiore cooperazione
Cambiare il modo in cui i pomodori vengono confezionati può contribuire a ridurre le perdite durante il trasporto.New York, 20 settembre 2017 - Il Direttore Generale della FAO, José Graziano da Silva, si è unito all'appello per un rinnovato impegno globale di tolleranza zero nei confronti delle perdite e degli sprechi alimentari. L'appello è stato lanciato nel corso di un evento ad alto livello alla 72a sessione dell'Assemblea Generale delle Nazioni Unite, dedicato ad affrontare le perdite e gli sprechi alimentari come percorso obbligato per raggiungere l'Obiettivo di sviluppo sostenibile 2: Fame Zero.
"La tolleranza zero nei confronti delle perdite e degli sprechi di cibo ha senso anche dal punto di vista economico. È stato dimostrato che per ogni dollaro che società hanno investito per ridurre la perdite e sprechi, esse hanno risparmiato 14 dollari in costi operativi", ha dichiarato Graziano da Silva nel suo intervento. "Investire in misure per prevenire le perdite e gli sprechi di cibo significa anche investire in politiche a favore dei poveri, in quanto così si promuovono sistemi alimentari sostenibili per un mondo a fame zero", ha aggiunto. Ogni anno un terzo del cibo prodotto per il consumo umano va perduto o sprecato. Queste perdite avvengono lungo l'intera catena di approvvigionamento, dalla fattoria alla forchetta. Oltre al cibo, vi è anche uno spreco di manodopera, di acqua, di energia, di terra e di altri mezzi di produzione. Se la perdita di cibo e gli sprechi fossero un paese, esso sarebbe la terza più alta emittente nazionale di gas serra.
iPS-derived neural stem cells in green and neurons in red from a healthy individual (to the left) and a person with lissencephaly (to the right). The sample from the healthy person gives rise to fewer immature cells (neural stem cells). Photo: Falk Laboratory
By reprogramming skin cells into nerve cells, researchers at Karolinska Institutet are creating cell models of the human brain. In a new study published in Molecular Psychiatry the researchers describe how cells from patients with the severe developmental disease lissencephaly differ from healthy cells. The method can provide vital new knowledge on difficult-to-study congenital diseases. Lissencephaly is a rare congenital developmental disease that can be caused by, amongst other anomalies, a mutation of the DCX gene. Affected individuals are born with serious developmental disabilities and a brain that is smooth instead of folded. The discovery that it is possible to reprogramme specialised cells such as skin cells in order to reverse their development back to stem cells was rewarded with the 2012 Nobel Prize. The resulting so-called iPS-cells (induced pluripotent stem cells) can then be turned into other specialised cell types. Anna Falk, docent at Karolinska Institutet’s Department of Neuroscience, uses this technique to build cell models of the human brain. In the present study, her team took skin cells from patients with lissencephaly and turned them into iPS cells, which they then cultivated under special conditions into neuronal stem cells and neurons that are copies of those in the patients’ brains.
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