Living alone increases risk of death

We live in a society that’s increasingly isolating individuals, as age-long cultural and community habits die off. Prior to the massive urban developments that came in the XXth century, living alone was something virtually unheard of and was mostly reserved to the social pariahs, the outcasts, hermits that chose to live the solitary life. Today, in the US at least,  32.7 million

Modified cold sore virus shrinks melanoma tumors

There’s few things I can think of that sound scarier that a genetically modified version of herpes simplex virus type 1, but apparently that’s exactly what researchers used to shrink tumors of the deadly skin cancer melanoma in a clinical trial, according to Amgen, which is developing the experimental cancer treatment. The virus is actually the same virus that causes

Fossils from China may show interbreeding among early humans

According to a research published by researchers from Chinese Academy of Sciences and Washington University in St. Louis, interbreeding was pretty common with our ancestors. They based their case on an approximately 100,000-year-old skull from Xujiayao in the Nihewan Basin of northern China, which has a rare congenital disorder caused by interbreeding. Enlarged parietal foramen (EPF) or “hole in the

Great leaps forward have been made in the fight against the biggest hidden virus

A virus that most of us carry, yet which is remarkably obscure both to the immune system and the general public in terms of awareness, is responsible for a number of health hazards in the human body. In time, it tires the immune system which is forced to seek and fight it for a life time, exposing the body to

Mice with up to 200 tumors have completely been cured of lung cancer

The study, led by the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO), has managed to eliminate mouse lung tumours by inhibiting Myc, a protein which acts as a regulator gene that codes for a transcription factor. That’s just a fancy way of saying that if Myc mutates, cancer will probably occur. Furthermore, their results showed that even long term repeated treatment

Mummies revealed that clogged arteries plagued the ancient world

You’d be tempted to think that clogged arteries are a problem of modern world, with all the lack of exercise and unhealthy eating; but as ancient mummies revealed, even when we were hunter-gatherers, people still had arterial issues. “There’s a belief that if we go back in time, everything’s going to be OK,” says cardiologist Greg Thomas of the University

Vaccine that works for newborns might save millions of babies

Babies need to wait until they’re at least two months old for vaccines to work, which leaves  a lot of newborn babies in the world at risk of infections like rotavirus or pneumococcus. Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital have developed small-molecule compounds that target a particular receptor to generate an immune response. The vaccine is so effective that in some

First documented case of child cured of HIV

In what may very well become a historic day, Dr. Deborah Persaud of Johns Hopkins University described the first documented case of a child cured of HIV. Dr. Persaud, an amfAR grantee, detailed the case of a two-year-old child in Mississippi diagnosed with HIV at birth; the child was immediately put on antiretroviral therapy for 18 months. However, after this

Virus steals bacteria immune system and kills it

Researchers at Tufts University School of Medicine came across a particular strain of bacteriophage – a virus that infects and replicates within bacteria – that had stolen the functional immune system of the cholera bacteria.  The virus used the bacteria’s immune system against it to replicate and eventually kill the bacteria. The findings hint to the prospect of developing new phage therapies against bacterial diseases

Sugar-coated scaffolding guides and differentiates stem cells

One of the miracles of modern day medicine science, stem cells, are regarded by scientists as the basic building blocks for devising treatments, cures or transplants for some of today’s yet incurable diseases like Alzheimer or diabetes. The biggest hurdle researchers face is differentiating stem cells so that they may grow into a specific type of cell. Researchers at Manchester

Science confirms: Mediterranean diet is really good for heart disease

A Mediterranean diet high in olive oil, nuts, fish and fresh fruits and vegetables helps prevent strokes and other heart issues. Now before you put on your “Captain obvious” t-shirts, you should know that while (many other) previous studies have suggested that people who eat a Mediterranean-like diet have healthier hearts, they haven’t ruled out other differences associated with this

Biomarker explains why some people catch colds more often than others

Researchers from the Carnegie Mellon University have identified a biological marker in the immune system that (starting from about age 22), predicts the probability of getting a common cold. They found that telomeres play a big part in this likelihood. Telomeres are regions of repetitive nucleotide sequences at each end of a chromatid, which protect the end of the chromosome

Research finds direct correlation between heart attacks and ozone and air pollution

Based on a massive set of data collected from Houston by Rice University researchers, there is a direct correlation between out-of-hospital heart attacks and levels of air pollution and ozone. Rice statisticians Katherine Ensor and Loren Raun announced their findings today at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference in Boston – where all the cool things

The more you sit, the more likely you are to suffer chronic diseases

Kansas State University researcher Richard Rosenkranz, assistant professor of human nutrition concluded that there is a direct connection between how much you sit and how likely you are to suffer chronic diseases; he conducted the study on middle-aged Australian males and published it in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. He worked with University of Western Sydney

Parkinson’s tremors significantly reduced after electrical signal cancels brain waves

For most Parkinson’s patients, tremors associated with this devastating disease make living a normal life extremely difficult, if not impossible. Cooking, eating, even tying one’s shoelaces, basically anything that implies limb manipulation is very difficult to achieve by one’s self. A novel type of therapy developed by physicians at Oxford University, however, brings a glimmer of hope that Parkinson’s patients

Type 1 diabetes cured in animals, humans might not lag far behind

In what can only be considered a remarkable medical breakthrough, researchers at  Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) have completely cured type 1 diabetes in dogs after they were injected during a single gene therapy session. The injected gene therapy vectors ensure a healthy expression of glucose, thus the regular insulin shots and associated side effects with the disease are no longer required.

How much coffee is too much? A new study shows 3 cups is maximum

The apparently evergrowing consumption of coffee and caffeinated products continues to worry scientists, and until now, a maximum safety level had not been established. A common story When Matthew Penbross woke on a morning in August 2007, he wanted to be prepared. A natural desire, considering he was competing in the motocross races near Port Macquarie, Australia; to pump up

DNA vaccines could prove to be safer, easier and better than traditional method

Vaccines have become synonymous to needles, and for a lot of people they’re the subject of horror stories since childhood. Typically, a vaccine works by injecting an inactive virus into the body, such that when the real virus reaches the host body, the immune system will be quick to act and destroy it before it gets a chance to spread. This doesn’t

Antibiotics of the future might come from the bottom of the oceans

The advent of antibiotics has spared humanity of a great deal of suffering and has saved countless lives through the years. Infectious diseases do not bore too easily and have always put out a fight, though. The bad news is that they’re winning and as the battle rages on, more and more strains become resistant to drugs. The consequences are

Gold nanoparticles show new way to annihilate lymphoma cells without chemotherapy

How do you annihilate lymphoma cells without any chemoterapy or drugs at all? Simply by starving it of the thing it needs most – High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Northwestern Medicine researchers discovered a method of treating lymphoma with a new nanoparticle that works as a double agent – it appears to the cancerous cells as ‘food’ (HDL), but when ingested,