news 2020



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Religions - Health - 13.11.2020
Deep faith beneficial to health
Deep faith beneficial to health
Creating a relationship with a supernatural other takes effort that can lead to meaningful change, says Stanford anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann. People who believe their God or gods are real, even if the existence of those supernatural beings can't be empirically proven, have long fascinated and confounded scientists.

Pharmacology - Health - 13.11.2020
Analysis: Believing in conspiracies goes hand in hand with vaccine hesitancy
Dr Gul Deniz Salali, Lecturer in Evolutionary Anthropology and Medicine at UCL, discusses new research which confirms findings from before the pandemic that vaccine hesitancy often coincides with broader anti-scientific thinking. While developing an effective vaccine  probably won't  bring an immediate end to the pandemic, it's clear that things can't begin to return to normal without one.

Health - Computer Science - 13.11.2020
Multiple simulations best for Covid-19 predictions
Computer modelling used to forecast Covid-19 mortality contains significant uncertainty in its predictions, according to a new study led by researchers at UCL and the CWI institute in the Netherlands. The authors of the study, performed for the Royal Society's RAMP initiative for Rapid Assistance in Modelling the Pandemic, highlighted that however well constructed such models are, they are only ever as robust as the "input" parameters - which include highly uncertain factors relating to how the disease is spread.

Health - Life Sciences - 13.11.2020
Viruses that heal
At its annual event yesterday, the University Medicine Zurich initiative presented its new flagship project ImmunoPhage: a groundbreaking endeavor that aims to develop bacteriophages for treating urinary tract infections. Bacteriophages are highly specialized viruses that attack and destroy bacteria.

Health - Pharmacology - 12.11.2020
Anti-ageing therapy against metastases
A preclinical study conducted at the Institute of Oncology Research (IOR, affiliated to USI) reveals the role of aging cells in the formation of metastases and identifies a drug capable of blocking them. The work of the group of researchers in Switzerland, Italy and the United States, led by Prof. Andrea Alimonti, is published in the important scientific journal Cancer Cell.

Life Sciences - Health - 12.11.2020
Way to protect genetic privacy in research
Way to protect genetic privacy in research
The era of functional genomics has enabled scientists to analyze massive amounts of data on cellular activity in disease and health. The more these data are shared between labs, the greater the power scientists have for finding genes linked to disease. This widespread sharing of functional genomics data, however, creates a conundrum as it also makes the genetic privacy of individuals harder to protect.

Health - 12.11.2020
Accuracy of rapid covid test may be lower than previously suggested
The accuracy of a rapid finger-prick antibody test for SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for Covid-19 infection, may be considerably lower than previously suggested, finds a study led by scientists from Public Health England and the Universities of Bristol, Cambridge and Warwick and published in The BMJ.

Health - Life Sciences - 12.11.2020
Early mutation in SARS-CoV-2 virus in Europe led to its domination worldwide
In late 2019, the SARS-CoV-2 virus emerged in China and quickly spread across the world, leading to the COVID-19 pandemic. In early 2020, that virus mutated, likely in Europe, and that mutation is now the dominant form of the virus across the globe. A new study published today in Science by a team of researchers in the U.S. and Japan shows that the mutant virus, called G614, is more easily transmitted and grows better within hosts, likely aiding its dominance.

Health - Life Sciences - 12.11.2020
’Rewiring’ metabolism in insulin-producing cells may aid Type 2 diabetes treatment
Researchers have discovered a previously unknown way that pancreatic cells decide how much insulin to secrete. It could provide a promising new target to develop drugs for boosting insulin production in people with Type 2 diabetes. In a pair of papers recently published in Cell Metabolism, scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and their colleagues point to an overlooked enzyme known as pyruvate kinase as the primary way pancreatic beta cells sense sugar levels and release the appropriate amount of insulin.

Health - 12.11.2020
Routine testing for COVID-19 can make surgery safer - study
Routine testing patients for COVID-19 before major surgery could reduce the risk of respiratory complications and save lives, a new study reveals. Researchers working together around the world found that using a nasal swab test to confirm that asymptomatic patient were not infected with SARS-CoV-2 was associated with a lower rate of post-operative complications.

Health - Physics - 12.11.2020
Once-discounted binding mechanism may be key to targeting viruses
Once-discounted binding mechanism may be key to targeting viruses
Rice, MD Anderson team models complex that immune system uses to recognize viruses "Position 4" didn't seem important until researchers took a long look at a particular peptide. That part of the peptide drawn from a SARS-CoV virus turned out to have an unexpected but significant influence on how it stably binds with a receptor central to the immune system's ability to attack diseased cells.

Environment - Health - 12.11.2020
Fan mussel larval dispersal is decisive for the future of an endangered species
Most populations of fan mussel, an endemic bivalve of the Mediterranean, have disappeared or are endangered since 2016 due to the protozoan Haplosporidium pinnae . Conclusions suggest unaffected marine areas by the parasite export larvae that travel hundreds of kilometres through the marine currents.

Health - Life Sciences - 11.11.2020
Internal clocks drive beta cell regeneration
Internal clocks drive beta cell regeneration
Scientists from the University of Geneva and HUG identify the essential role of circadian clocks in the regeneration of insulin-producing cells. Certain parts of our body, such as the skin or liver, can repair themselves after a damage. Known as cell regeneration, this phenomenon describes how cells that are still functional start to proliferate to compensate for the loss.

Health - Psychology - 11.11.2020
New survey reveals toll of COVID-19 on mental health in Wales
Wales faces a "wave? of mental health problems in the wake of COVID-19, with younger adults, women and people from deprived areas suffering the most, new research has suggested. That is the warning in a study, led by Cardiff University's Professor Robert Snowden and Swansea University's Professor Nicola Gray, which has examined the pandemic's impact on the mental wellbeing of the Welsh population.

Health - Pharmacology - 11.11.2020
Insights into ’significant’ avoidable harm in primary care
A national study in England has revealed the extent of incidents of significant avoidable harm in primary care. Thirteen GPs reviewed case notes of more than 90,000 patients in three regions across England over a 12-month period as part of the study. They found the main causes of avoidable harm were diagnostic error (more than 60%), medication incidents (more than 25%) and delayed referrals (nearly 11%), and that 80% of incidents could have been identified sooner or prevented if action had been taken.

Health - Life Sciences - 11.11.2020
Scientists identify protein that protects against Lyme disease
Yale researchers have discovered a protein that helps protect hosts from infection with the tick-borne spirochete that causes Lyme Disease, a finding that may help diagnose and treat this infection, they report Nov. 11 in the journal PLOS Pathogens. Lyme Disease is the most common vector-borne disease in North America and is transmitted by ticks infected with the spirochete  Borrelia burgdorferi .

Life Sciences - Health - 11.11.2020
PM 98/2020 201111 How Molecular Chaperones Dissolve Protein Aggregates Linked To Parkinson’s Disease
In many neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's, protein aggregates form in the brain and are assumed to contribute to neuronal cell death. Yet there exists a cellular defence mechanism that counteracts these aggregates, known as amyloid fibrils, and can even dissolve fibrils already formed. This defence mechanism is based on the activity of molecular chaperones, i.e. protein folding helpers, of the heat shock protein 70 family (Hsp70).

Health - Economics - 11.11.2020
UCLA-led research proposes strategies to control pandemic with fewer restrictions on the economy
According to the strategy, each group of who intend to shop at a supermarket, for example, would be divided into two subgroups and allowed to shop either in the morning or afternoon. Anna Shvets/Pexels According to the strategy, each group of who intend to shop at a supermarket, for example, would be divided into two subgroups and allowed to shop either in the morning or afternoon.

Health - Environment - 11.11.2020
Lessons for handling COVID-19 from another animal virus
Lessons for handling COVID-19 from another animal virus
Stanford epidemiologist Stephen Luby discusses surprising results of a recent study on Nipah virus, a disease with no vaccine and a mortality rate of up to 70 percent. A little known virus may have a lot to teach us about dealing with COVID-19. Discovered 20 years ago, Nipah virus can spread from bats or pigs to humans.

Health - 11.11.2020
Oxford University and PHE confirm high-sensitivity of Lateral Flow Tests following extensive clinical evaluation
Extensive clinical evaluation from Public Health England and the University of Oxford show Lateral Flow Tests are accurate and sensitive enough to be used in the community, including for asymptomatic people. Lateral Flow Tests are rapid turnaround tests that can process COVID-19 samples on site without the need for laboratory equipment, with most generating results in under half an hour.
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