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Millions of patients suffer from poorly healing large-area wounds caused by complaints such as diabetes, burns or bedsores. The wounds can be treated with conventional collagen dressings or polylactic acid dressings, but the success rate is not as good as it should be.

A new type of dressing made of silica gel fibers, developed by scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC in Würzburg, could solve the problem. This novel dressing has many advantages: it is shape-stable, pH-neutral and 100 percent bioresorbable.

Once applied it remains in the body, where it gradually degrades without leaving any residues. The fiber fleece provides the healthy cells around the edges of the wound with the structure they additionally need for a proper supply of growth-supporting nutrients. To prevent any infection, treatment of the wound must be absolutely sterile.

Peptide arrays are powerful tools for developing new medical substances as well as for diagnosis and therapy techniques. A new production method based on laser printing will enable the potential of peptide arrays to be better utilized for more applications.

Peptides are protein fragments consisting of up to 50 amino acids. Peptides with a length of 15 to 20 amino acids arranged in arrays are sufficient for drug research and for identifying pathogenic proteins but the capacity of such arrays is limited.

A maximum of 10,000 peptides will fit onto a glass slide at present but biochips with 100,000 peptides are needed in order to represent each of the approximately thousand proteins in a bacterium – in the form of 100 overlapping peptides – and a staggering 500,000 are required for a malaria pathogen.

Once considered a barren plain dotted with hydrothermal vents, the seafloor's rocky regions appear to be teeming with microbial life, say scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Woods Hole, Mass., University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, and other institutions.

On the deep ocean floor, microbial life is feeding on fresh volcanic rock and flourishing with greater abundance than even the most optimistic scientists thought possible. Scientists have found bacteria growing on oceanic crust in concentrations that are thousands- to ten-thousand times (three to four orders of magnitude) greater than what is found in the overlying waters.

Researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), the University of Southern California (USC), and four other institutions collected and examined rock and water samples from the East Pacific Rise, the Nankai Trough, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the Sargasso Sea, and the seafloor near Hawaii. They used various molecular and genetic analysis tools (such as quantitative polymerase chain reaction and clone libraries) to quantify the abundance, richness, and diversity of communities of bacteria living on young ocean crust.


Food may not be the major cause of hyperactivity in children. Genetics, brain function and parental actions such as smoking may be just as important.

ADHD (attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder) has a strong genetic link, with half the children born of parents with diagnosed ADHD likely to develop the disorder themselves. Chemical imbalances in the brain are also involved and studies have found that children with the condition have on average 4% smaller brains. Genes may interact with environmental toxins such as alcohol in the womb, lead, and parental smoking to cause later problems with attention span.

A review of scientific evidence found only a minority of children were actually affected by what they eat. A combination of food, genetics and environmental toxins are more likely to be involved, with no single factor to blame.

By studying heat-loving microbes, two research teams have gained new insight into how seemingly small differences in a single protein involved in DNA transcription and repair can lead to strikingly different genetic disorders in humans.

The two studies in the May 30th issue of Cell, a Cell Press publication, uncover the crystal structure and biochemical activity of an enzyme known as XPD helicase taken from Sulfolobus archaea, microbes distinct from bacteria that share many fundamental genes with humans.

For reasons that had remained rather mysterious until now, point mutations in human XPD—sometimes at neighboring sites—can spell the difference between cancer-prone xeroderma pigmentosa, the aging disorder known as Cockayne syndrome and another aging disorder called trichothiodystrophy.

The traditional Mediterranean diet provides substantial protection against type 2 diabetes, according to a study published on bmj.com today.

The Mediterreanean diet is rich in olive oil, grains, fruits, nuts, vegetables, and fish, but low in meat, dairy products and alcohol.

Current evidence suggests that such a diet has a protective role in cardiovascular disease, but little is known about its role on the risk of developing diabetes in healthy populations.

The SUN prospective cohort study involved over 13 000 graduates from the University of Navarra in Spain with no history of diabetes, who were recruited between December 1999 and November 2007, and whose dietary habits and health were subsequently tracked.