New knowledge points to the fact that a genetically induced lack of filaggrin, a key protein of the skin barrier, plays a decisive role in the origin of allergies.
In a large study on more than 3000 school-children scientists of the Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Technische Universität München found that about 8% of the German population carry variations of the filaggrin gene, which raise the risk to develop atopic dermatitis more than threefold. In addition, these genetic variations predispose to hay fever and asthma in those with atopic dermatitis.
A leading fungi expert has accidentally stumbled upon a new species in Scotland – as he walked home from work. Dr Andy Taylor, from Aberdeen’s Macaulay Institute, noticed the Xerocomus bubalinus growing near a lime tree in the city’s Albyn Place. This very rare fungus was only described for the first time in 1991 in the Netherlands, and has not previously been recorded before in Scotland.
As well as his city centre find, Dr Taylor, a professional mycologist, also recently discovered a species (Russula vinososordida ) not found in the UK before, and another very rare species (Buchwaldoboletus lignicola) in the very grounds of the Macaulay Institute where he works.
Dr Taylor said: “I couldn’t quite believe it that I had found this species, which isn’t supposed to occur here in Scotland, and that it was living right here under our noses.”
Creatine, a popular nutritional supplement renowned for enhancing athletic performance and muscle strength, does not improve exercise outcomes in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a new study. The randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study provided the most powerful evidence to date that the effect of creatine (Cr) supplementation was negligible at best among these patients.
"We have evidence to suggest Cr uptake into muscles [in COPD patients] but are unable to explain why an increase in muscle Cr did not enhance training," wrote the study's lead author, Sarah Deacon, M.D., specialist registrar at the Institute for Lung Health at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, England.
The results were published in the first issue for August of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine by the American Thoracic Society (ATS).
Sleep-disordered breathing (also known as sleep apnea) is associated with an increased risk of death, according to new results from the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort, an 18-year observational study supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health.
Researchers found that adults (ages 30 to 60) with sleep-disordered breathing at the start of the study were two to three times more likely to die from any cause compared to those who did not have sleep-disordered breathing. The risk of death was linked to the severity of sleep-disordered breathing and was not attributable to age, gender, body mass index (an indicator of overweight or obesity), or cardiovascular health status.
University of Illinois researchers writing in the journal Behavioral Neuroscience report this week that chronic exposure to estradiol, the main estrogen in the body, diminishes some cognitive functions. Rats exposed to a steady dose of estradiol were impaired on tasks involving working memory and response inhibition, the researchers found.
The researchers made the discovery when studying the effects of estradiol on activities mediated by the prefrontal cortex, a brain region that is vital to working memory and to the ability to plan, respond to changing conditions and moderate or control one's behavior.
Low levels of naturally occurring antibodies may represent an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, particularly stroke in men. This discovery, published in Atherosclerosis, has now led to attempts to develop an immunization against cardiovascular disease.
Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) is an inflammatory disease in which the walls of the blood vessels are thickened and become less elastic. It can cause blood clots and other cardiovascular diseases. It is not known precisely what causes atherosclerosis, but the immune system probably plays an important role.