Immunology

Folate is a naturally occurring form of vitamin B found in food, while folic acid is synthetically produced and used in fortified foods and supplements. Taking folic acid before and during early pregnancy is linked to a reduction in the risk of neural tube defects like spina bifida. The current recommended dose is 400 ìg (micrograms) a day though it is unclear how much daily folic acid is needed to prevent neural tube defects.


In Australia, annual barley production is second only to wheat, with 7-8 million tons grown per year. Powdery mildew is one of the most important diseases of barley and a new project has opened the way for the development of new lines of barley with resistance to powdery mildew.

University of Adelaide
Senior Research Scientist Dr. Alan Little and colleagues have discovered the composition of special growths on the cell walls of barley plants that block the penetration of the fungus into the leaf.


The rapid rise in valley fever cases in the arid southwest has become a serious health concern, as human habitation has pushed further into desert areas where the soil spores are widespread. Currently, Valley Fever affects an estimated 150,000 people a year, with most cases occurring in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.

The disease has no cure at present and is tricky to diagnose because it is similar to community-acquired pneumonias.


A new study has found a way to prevent some of the most serious foodborne illnesses caused by pathogenic bacteria, like
Escherichia coli (E. coli): cinnamon.

A new paper in Food Control suggests Cinnamomum cassia oil can work effectively as a natural antibacterial agent in the food industry - that's welcome news for organic food, which has higher risks of spreading bacteria like E. coli


Cases of the highly contagious drug-resistant bacteria carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae  (CRE), have increased fivefold in community hospitals in the Southeastern United States, according to a new study in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.


Cachexia is a profound wasting of fat and muscle occurring in about half of all cancer patients, raising their risk of death.

Many strategies have been tried to reverse the condition, which may cause such frailty that patients can't endure potentially life-saving treatments, but none have had great success.

Researchers recently demonstrated that, in mice bearing lung tumors, their symptoms of cachexia improved or were prevented when given an antibody that blocked the effects of a protein, PTHrP, secreted by the tumor cells. PTHrP stands for parathyroid hormone-related protein, and is known to be released from many types of cancer cells.


If you grew up on a farm, you may have gotten sick lots of times due to exposure to any number of microorgansms. You might not remember getting sick more then, but a new study finds you are less likely to have chronic maladies as an adult.

New research conducted at Aarhus University finds that people who have grown up on a farm with livestock are only half as likely as urban counterparts to develop the most common inflammatory bowel diseases: ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.   


Re-introducing a type of polio vaccine, the injected polio vaccine (IPV), that fell out of favor in the 1960s could hasten eradication of the disease, according to new research.

The injected polio vaccine is rarely used today, it lost in competition against the oral polio vaccine (OPV), but it could provide better and longer lasting protection against infection if used in combination with the more commonly used live OPV, write researchers from Imperial College London and the Christian Medical College in Vellore, India, today in The Lancet.


The child known as the "Mississippi baby", an infant cured of HIV in a case study published in The New England Journal of Medicine last fall, now has detectable levels of HIV after more than two years without taking antiretroviral therapy and without evidence of virus, according to the pediatric HIV specialist and researchers involved in the case.  


Researchers have discovered the link between antibiotics and bacterial biofilm formation leading to chronic lung, sinus and ear infections. Bacterial biofilms can actually thrive, rather than decrease, when given low doses of antibiotics.

 Biofilms are highly structured communities of microorganisms that attach to one another and to surfaces. The microorganisms group together and form a slimy, polysaccharide cover. This layer is highly protective for the organisms within it, and when new bacteria are produced they stay within the slimy layer. With the introduction of antibiotic-produced glycogen, the biofilms have an almost endless food source that can be used once antibiotic exposure has ended.