Diseases, News

Ebola countries record first week with no new cases

ebola virus

It’s the first time since March 2014 that the three African countries at the heart of the Ebola epidemic have not reported a new case of the outbreak.

Diseases, Health & Medicine, News

Tall people are more likely to get cancer


For every extra 10 cm in height from the median, the chance of getting cancer increases by 11% for men and 18% for women. The link was reported by Swedish researchers at the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology meeting in Barcelona, Spain. While other studies have reported this link, this was the largest yet performed involving 5.5 million Swedish men and women ranging in height from 1 meter (3.3 ft) to 2.25 meters (7.4 ft).

Biology, Diseases, Geology, News

Flea trapped in amber for 20 million years might hold earliest evidence of bubonic plague

Image credits: George Poinar.

Paleontologists believe they have found the oldest evidence of the bubonic plague, embedded in a flea trapped in amber for the past 20 million years. This could provide insight onto how this devastating disease appeared and evolved.

Diseases, Health & Medicine, News

Trio of individually ineffective drugs efficiently kills MRSA in mice

Scanning electron micrograph of a human neutrophil ingesting MRSA. Image via Wikipedia.

A research team has demonstrated the effectiveness of a 3-antibiotic cocktail that kills methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, in all mice that were treated with it.

Diseases, Health & Medicine, News, Science

Drug reverses Alzheimer’s effects in rats

Photo: Janet Stephens

There’s no cure for Alzheimer’s – the devastating neurodegenerative disease which causes progressive dementia in 5.3 million Americans – only treatments that help slow down a certain outcome. A milestone research may have finally broken the dry spell in Alzheimer’s research looking for the much sought after cure. While current drugs help mask symptoms, a intravenous drug developed by US researchers actually treats the disease itself with patients showing marked improvements in memory and cognition. At the brain level, new blood vessel formation and an increase in neuronal cell counts was registered. The bad news is that the Alzheimer’s patients are rats and experience has taught us that Alzheimer’s research seldom translates to humans. Seldom, not never though.

Animals, Diseases, News

Massive die-off threaten endangered antelope species’ future

Image via cunoastelumea

One of the planet’s most endangered antelope, the saiga, suffered from a die-off of unprecedented scope. The massive loss of life from just a few weeks ago has conservationist groups worried about what future may hold for the species. But clues as to exactly what wiped out half of Kazakhstan’s saiga are starting to emerge, and scientists are looking at bacteria that normally co-exist with the antelope host, harmlessly living in their bodies as the main culprit.

Diseases, Health & Medicine, News

Scientists reprogram cancer cells back to normal

Photo: Wellcome Collection

For the first time, aggressive breast, lung and bladder cancer have been neutralized and turned back to normal cells, prevented from excessive multiplication. Scientists at the Mayo Clinic in Florida, US, likened it to applying brakes to a speeding car.

Diseases, Health & Medicine, News

Simple blood test predicts which breast cancer patient will have a relapse months in advance

Image: Dr Meletis

The trend is clear: medicine is becoming more and more personalized. Ultimately, when you’ll enter a hospital for a diagnosis or treatment, a (likely digital) doctor will use tailored solutions to address your health needs, all based on your past medical and genetic records. Considering diagnosis, just a few drops of blood will be enough to diagnose a plethora of afflictions. Take the latest news coming from the The Institute of Cancer Research in London, for instace. There, British doctors were able accurately predict which breast cancer patient will relapse next by tracking key mutations of residual cancer cells found in the blood. It’s a very powerful tool – one that will probably become standard practice soon.

Diseases, News, World Problems

Research moves closer to a universal flu vaccine

The team from The Scripps Research Institute and Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies designed a molecule that mimicked the shape of a key part of the influenza virus, inducing a powerful and broadly effective immune response in animal models.
Image credits to The Scripps Research Institute

Scientists from the Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) have discovered a way to give antibodies the ability to fight a wide range of influenza subtypes. Their work has great potential to one day eliminate the need for repeated seasonal flu shots.

Animals, Diseases, News

New diseases threatens world’s tadpole population

tadpole disease

A new highly infectious diseases has been observed in tadpoles from three continents, threatening global populations. The disease, which was identified and described by British scientists, is a distant relative of an oyster disease. “Phylogenetic analyses revealed that this infectious agent was affiliated with the Perkinsea: a parasitic group within the alveolates exemplified by Perkinsus sp., a “marine” protist responsible