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A New Target For Machado Joseph Disease Treatment

Machado-Josephdisease (MJD) is a hereditary neurodegenerative disorder that destroys the brainareas...

Mechanism To Delay Aging Identified

As medicine has improved, increasing our ability to treat disease, our longevity has improved as...

New Treatment For The "Iron Overload Disease"

Hemochromatosis (HH) is the most common genetic disorder in the western world, and yet is barely...

Fluorescence Microscopy: New 2-D Images Can Detect Cancer Risk

Portuguese researchers have developed a new method which uses images of a protein in cells to quantify...

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Catarina AmorimRSS Feed of this column.

After many years as a scientist (immunology) at Oxford University I moved into scientific journalism and public understanding of science. I am still at Oxford Uni but now I write about any bio... Read More »

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Vaccines are the safest, cheapest and most effective way to protect against infectious diseases  but to make a good one remains a challenge, and traditional approaches are now stretched to the limit while fatal diseases, like HIV and malaria, remain without vaccine. 
 But a major breakthrough that turns vaccine design on its head has now been published in Nature on the 6th of February - a new computational method that, from the protective antibodies of patients, can design the vaccine specific to induce them (and protect against the disease).
The desert locust (a type of grasshopper), much like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, goes from being an innocuous solitary-living individual to become a voracious gregarious animal that destroys everything on its path (and back).

A week ago, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) delivered to massive media coverage an unsettling message – climate change is real, humans are the main cause of it, and unless we stop the warming of the planet, in 50 years life as we know will be no more. The problem now, is that despite in numerous attempts, world consensus on how to do it has proved impossible.

Research in Nature Climate Change by a Portuguese team known worldwide for their studies on cooperation claims to have not only identified the root of the problem but also its solution.


A stressful pregnancy might be the last thing a future mother needs, but it is to her unborn baby that this stress spells real trouble. All because stress hormones (called glucocorticoids or GCs) can disrupt foetal brain development, leading to serious behavioural and emotional problems, much in the same way that traumas early in life can result in children with serious mental problems. 
New research just out in the journal Science Translational Medicine opens the door for treatments capable of stopping Alzheimer’s disease (AD) before its first symptoms, that is to say before crucial damage occurs. In fact, while AD is a devastating disorder, it is also an extremely slow one; it takes more than 10 years for the first symptoms to appear making this preclinical period (pre-symptoms) the ideal time to intervene. 

We all know about people’s personalities, and anyone with a dog or a cat will also tell you about their temperaments. More surprising, though, is how many others, from octopuses to frogs and even spiders have them. So why behave according to a personality, when flexibility could allow smarter choices?