• Science



    Cause of Lupus Found

    Very impressive work by a team of doctors finding cause of the disease Lupus.

    We’ve identified a fundamental imbalance in the immune responses that patients with lupus make, and we’ve defined specific mediators that can correct this imbalance to dampen the pathologic autoimmune response,” said co-corresponding author Deepak Rao, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a rheumatologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and co-director of its Center for Cellular Profiling. 


    In the study, the scientists reported a new pathway that drives disease in lupus. There are disease-associated changes in multiple molecules in the blood of patients with lupus. Ultimately, these changes lead to insufficient activation of a pathway controlled by the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR), which regulates cells’ response to environmental pollutants, bacteria or metabolites. Insufficient activation of AHR results in too many disease-promoting immune cells, called the T peripheral helper cells, that promote the production of disease-causing autoantibodies.


    To show this discovery can be leveraged for treatments, the investigators returned the aryl hydrocarbon receptor-activating molecules to blood samples from lupus patients. This seemed to reprogram these lupus-causing cells into a cell called a Th22 cell that may promote wound healing from the damage caused by this autoimmune disease.

    Obvious caveats. Any type of drugs to reverse Lupus are a long ways off. What is great is that they landed in Nature which may spark more interest in this area of study. 

    Source: Northwestern Medicine

    Thursday July 11, 2024
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    New Drug for Alzheimer's Nears Wider Market Approval

    A bit of good news for a Friday

    On Monday, the panel unanimously voted that the medicine, developed by Eli Lilly and known as donanemab, appears to be an effective treatment for certain Alzheimer’s patients. The experts also concluded, by an 11-0 vote, that the drug’s benefits outweigh its risks, despite some safety concerns.

    Source: Biopharmadive

    Friday June 21, 2024
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    New Way to Grow Human Liver Being Trialed

    Well this is just down right extraordinary. It would be amazing if this works!

    The approach is unusual: researchers injected healthy liver cells from a donor into a lymph node in the upper abdomen of the person with liver failure. The idea is that in several months, the cells will multiply and take over the lymph node to form a structure that can perform the blood-filtering duties of the person’s failing liver.

    Source: Max Kozlov writing for Nature

    Wednesday April 3, 2024
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    Insight into Lupus

    Researchers have found what can cause Lupus in children. From the article:

    Sometimes a single mutation in our genetic make-up is enough to cause disease. This is also the case with the autoimmune disease lupus. Lupus causes severe inflammation throughout the body and can have a serious impact on the lives of those affected. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin have now discovered a mechanism that can trigger lupus in children. This mechanism regulates the amount of a specific immune receptor that normally recognizes the genetic material of pathogens. If this mechanism is disrupted, receptors accumulate in the immune cells leading to the recognition of the body's own genetic material. As a result, the immune system turns against its own body and causes the systemic inflammation of lupus.

    Source: Max-Plance-Gesellschaft

    Sunday January 14, 2024
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    Finally - What's in Pee

    Our long national nightmare is over. Researchers have determined an enzyme is responsible for making our urine yellow.

    From the article:

    Gut microbes encode the enzyme bilirubin reductase that converts bilirubin into a colorless byproduct called urobilinogen," explained Hall, who has a joint appointment in the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies. "Urobilinogen then spontaneously degrades into a molecule called urobilin, which is responsible for the yellow color we are all familiar with.

    Source: Phys.org

    Friday January 5, 2024
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    Cause of Fatigue in Long Covid Patients Found

    Well this is some good news. Via the article:

    We saw various abnormalities in the muscle tissue of the patients. At the cellular level, we saw that the mitochondria of the muscle, also known as the energy factories of the cell, function less well and that they produce less energy," says Rob Wüst, Assistant Professor at Department of Human Movement Sciences at the VU University. "So, the cause of the fatigue is really biological. The brain needs energy to think. Muscles need energy to move. This discovery means we can now start to research an appropriate treatment for those with long-COVID

    Source: Amsterdam UMC

    Thursday January 4, 2024
  • Science

    Nobel Prize in medicine awarded to scientists who laid foundation for messenger RNA vaccines

    WELL deserved I might add.

    Source: Washington Post

    Monday October 2, 2023
  • Science



    Beetle grows ‘termite’ on back to steal food

    Just when I thought nature could not get crazier, she proves me wrong yet again.

    Richard Pallardy writing for Science.org:

    The new beetle species (Austrospirachtha carrijoi)—found beneath the soil in Australia’s Northern Territory—emulates a termite by enlarging its abdomen, a phenomenon known as physogastry. Evolution has reshaped this body part into a highly realistic replica of a termite (as seen above), head and all, which rides on top of the rest of the beetle’s body. The beetle’s real, much smaller head peeks out from beneath its termite disguise, the authors report this month in the journal Zootaxa.

    Source: Science.org

    Thursday September 7, 2023
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    Added to the Growing List of "Nope"

    Well I shall not lie, this is disturbing.

    It was a fairly regular day on the ward for Canberra hospital infectious diseases physician Dr Sanjaya Senanayake, until a neurosurgeon colleague called him and said: “Oh my God, you wouldn’t believe what I just found in this lady’s brain – and it’s alive and wriggling.”

    The neurosurgeon, Dr Hari Priya Bandi, had pulled an 8cm-long parasitic roundworm from her patient, prompting her to call on Senanayake and other hospital colleagues for advice about what to do next.


    Source: The Guardian

    Monday August 28, 2023
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    Paper Cups No Better Than Plastic

    Well I guess this makes sense but it would be great if we could get some good news for a change.

    Replacing single use plastic cups with paper ones is problematic. Researchers at the University of Gothenburg show that a paper cup that ends up in nature can also cause damage as they also contain toxic chemicals.

    Source: University of Gothenburg

    Friday August 25, 2023
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    Chernobyl Forests Decay Rates are Off

    Turns out radiation is not great for nature, who knew?...

    “The gist of our results was that the radiation inhibited microbial decomposition of the leaf litter on the top layer of the soil,” Mousseau says. This means that nutrients aren’t being efficiently returned to the soil, he adds, which could be one of the causes behind the slower rates of tree growth surrounding Chernobyl. “

    Source: Smithsonian Magazine

    Tuesday June 6, 2023
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    Just What We Needed - More Creepy

    Last of Us Indeed

    Source: Last of Us (Fruit Fly Edition)

    Wednesday May 31, 2023
  • Science

    Speed Check

    Sad day and a great guy. He will be missed. If you have never heard the story well worth a read.


    Speed Check Story here
    Monday May 22, 2023
  • Science

    The Demon Core

    Here there be dragons….

    Source: The New Yorker

    Monday May 22, 2023
  • Science



    On the Nature of Black Holes

    Interesting article at Phys.org. A team of researchers putting for a write up on to what the nature of black holes may actually be:

    "In their analysis they found that these topological solitons are stable defects in space-time itself. They require no matter or other forces to exist—they are as natural to the fabric of space-time as cracks in ice."

    Somehow I find a bit of elegance to this theory if it pans out.

    Source: phys.org

    Monday May 22, 2023
  • Science



    Other than SpaceX

    This is interesting and a nice development. I am not a fan of all the Musk shenanigans. More companies in this space is a good thing.

    Blue Origin and Nasa commit to land astronauts on the moon:

    Source: Daily Mail

    Friday May 19, 2023