Deadly Mers virus found in tomb bat – not the one spreading it to humans

Many months later after scientists isolated thousands of samples taken from different bat species found close to the home of the first known victim of the Mers coronavirus – a deadly virus which first emerged in the Middle East last year, killing 47 so far (~50% fatality among infected) – scientists found the evidence of the presence of the virus in

Delusional people actually see the world differently

There’s an extremely fine line between delusion and grand vision – it’s enough just to take a look back in history and you’ll find a myriad of examples where great minds who justly challenged the status quo were labeled insane, and in some even more unfortunate times, heretics. That’s not to say that behind every conspiracy theorist or person who

LSD and other psychedelics not linked with mental illnesses

Researchers  at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s (NTNU) Department of Neuroscience analyzed a massive survey of 130,000 randomly chosen people from the US to see whether there is any association  between psychedelic drug use and mental health problems – a claim that has had large circulation and is often cited, despite little research in this respect. Their findings suggest

Breakthroughs against malaria: highly effective vaccine developed; meanwhile, anti-malaria soap wins prize

Some 300 million cases of malaria are reported each year in Africa, the continent where the disease is still running rampant. For decades, scientists have been investing immense amounts of energy battling the disease, trying to come up with effective treatments. The recent step forward in the war against malaria  comes from Maryland-based biotech Sanaria, which reportedly has developed an anti-malaria

‘Sniffing’ cancer: device detects cancer odors in urine

A while ago, ZME Science reported on some mind blowing research in which dogs were trained to literally sniff lung and breast cancer from samples. The dog’s detection accuracy was between 90% and 95% for breast and lung cancer, respectively, compared to biopsy results. Recently, a collaborative team of researchers from University of Liverpool and the University of the West of

Death occurs more slowly than thought, like a wave killing the body cell by cell

Studying death in humans has always been precarious. I mean, it’s not like anyone would volunteer to be live dissected as they slowly die, and even if someone would agree to such a procedure, most likely it would not be allowed. Not in any western hospital anyway. Luckily, death is such a common, as in inevitable, occurrence for all living

Down Syndrome’s extra chromosome shut down in lab cells

The insertion of one gene can shut down the extra chromosome which causes Down Syndrome, according to a study published today in Nature. A dreadful disease Down Syndrome (DS), also known as trisomy 21, is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of all or part of a third copy of chromosome 21. It’s the most common chromosome abnormality in

New simple genetic test could distinguish between viral and bacterial infections

It may not seem like much, but by differentiating between bacterial and viral fevers, this new test could help doctors decide whether or not to prescribe antibiotics. Fevers are a common symptom in many infectious diseases, but it’s often difficult to know if the cause is bacterial or viral, and thus, antibiotics are often needlessly prescribed, something which in the

Study finds that the mothers of children with autism are more than 21 times as likely to have specific Maternal Autoantibody Related antibodies in their systems

Autism is one of the biggest medical mysteries of the 21st century, and researchers are still trying to figure out the causes of this condition. UC Davis MIND Institute researchers have made a significant step forward in that direction, identifying some specific antibodies that target fetal brain proteins in the blood of women with autistic children. This finding is the

Paralyzed rats regain control of their bladder

It may surprise you to know that a life-threatening disability after complete spinal cord injury is urinary dysfunction – although numerous strategies and treatments have been tried, in the attempt of regrowing the severed axons, their success has been very limited. Now, researchers have finally come up with a solution that works, at least in rats. Paralyzed rodents can now

Faroe Islands wants to sequence its entire population’s genome

Located in the North Atlantic, right in between Greenland and Scotland, Faroe Islands is one of the smallest countries in the world. At the same time, however, it has also remained fairly isolated for many centuries, which in time has led to the formation of a distinct language and population. You can spot a native from a mile away, and

Medieval skeletons give clues to leprosy origin

Leprosy, or Hansen’s disease (HD), is a chronic infection caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium lepromatosis. It was quite a common disease in Europe until the 16th century. Now, researchers have extracted DNA from skeletons that were 1,000 years old, analyzing the disease genetic code and comparing it to that of new strains, which exist today. The first,

Asian tigers now at risk from virus normally affecting domestic dogs

As reported earlier on ZME, as little as three thousand tigers are currently alive today in the wild from six subspecies, or thirty times fewer than 100 years ago. Loss of habitat and poaching are the main drivers that brought these majestic cats at the brink of extinction. Now, a new threat might put tigers at an even greater risk:

Big breakthrough in Multiple Sclerosis – man-first study shows promise

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is one mean, hard, disease. It’s an autoimmune disease – your body basically fails to identify itself, and starts attacking itself, and treatment is very difficult. In MS, the immune system attacks and destroys myelin, the insulating layer that forms around nerves in the spinal cord, brain and optic nerve. When the insulation is destroyed, electrical signals

Largest supercomputer bio-simulation ever reveals key HIV protective shell structure

One big obstacle scientists face in their efforts to develop effective drugs against HIV is the virus’ capsid – an outer cell membrane-derived envelope and an inner viral protein shell that protects HIV essential proteins and genetic information. Current drugs have a hard time breaching this structure, however this might change. Using a supercomputer that crunched immense amounts of data, scientists have

Avatar therapy shows great promise in silencing voices in schizophrenics

We’ve written a great deal about schizophrenia in the past, mostly reports about new theories pertaining to the development of the disease or new types of pharmacological treatments. A great deal of interest and efforts are being invested in battling this severe psychological disorder, since it affects so many people (as many as 1 in 100) and its effects make

Mutant mosquitoes lose desire for human scent

Mosquitoes are not only extremely annoying, but they’re some of the most lethal creatures out there, with malaria infecting over 200 million people each year. But genetically modified mosquitoes that lack some of their sense of smell cannot tell humans from other animals and no longer avoid approaching people who are slathered in bug spray. This finding, published in Nature,

Researcher finds new immune system in mucus

Think about mucus – what comes to mind? It’s slimy, it’s gross, no one really likes it, right? Well, as a team from San Diego State University showed, mucus is also home to a very powerful immune system that has the possibility to change the way doctors treat a number of diseases. Bacteriophages are basically viruses that infects and replicates

Protein that can stop diabetes in its tracks identified

Scientists have successfully identified an immune protein which has the possibility to stop or even revert development of type 1 diabetes in its early stages – that is, before insulin producing cells have been destroyed. Why is this not inaccurate/sensationalistic? This is a new thing we’re going to do with most of these articles; why? Because you read or hear

Sharing bacteria with your kids using their pacifier may reduce the children’s risk of allergies, asthma and eczema

Researchers in Sweden have shown that children whose moms and dads placed their childrens pacifiers in their own mouths, thus sharing some of their own bacteria with them, had a lower risk of allergies, asthma and eczema. Arguably, the sample size of the study is too small, and more research is needed in order to confirm these original findings, but