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A gluten-free vegan diet may improve the health of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, according to new research from the Swedish medical universit Karolinska Institutet. The diet also has a beneficial effect on several risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Rheumatoid arthritis is associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and cardiovascular diseases. The underlying causes are unknown, but researchers suspect that the disturbed balance of blood fats seen in patients with rheumatoid arthritis may be part of the explanation.

A research team at Karolinska Institutet has shown in a new study that a gluten-free vegan diet has a beneficial effect on cardiovascular risk factors in people with rheumatoid arthritis. The effect was seen when a group of patients who kept to a gluten-free vegan diet for a year were compared with a control group which had followed ordinary dietary advice.

After nearly ten years of research and development, scientists at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn and Peking University in Beijing were awarded a United States patent for their virtual telemicroscope. This patented software permits off-site pathologists to diagnose cancer or other diseases in patients living in remote locations around the world.

Virginia M. Anderson, MD, associate professor of pathology at SUNY Downstate, and Jiang Gu, MD, PhD, dean and chairman of pathology at Peking University, developed the virtual microscope system, the only one of its kind capable of emailing electronic slides. Using their patent, the Chinese company Motic – a global leader in microscope manufacturing -- created a microscope with a robotic stage that scans whole slides at various magnifications and then creates compressed images that can be emailed all over the world.

Botulinum toxin - Botox - is one of the most poisonous naturally occurring substances but it has become best known as one of the most commonly used molecules to reduce wrinkles. Now it will be known for something else; saving infants.

Dr. Sam Daniel, Associate Director of Research of the Otorhinolaryngology Division at the Montreal Children’s Hospital of the McGill University Health Centre, has used this protein as an effective method to save newborns suffering from CHARGE Syndrome from having to undergo devastating tracheotomies.

Dr. Daniel describes the case of the first infant patient treated with the toxin in an article from the Archives of Otolaryngology.

Jet engines operate at temperatures of thousands of degrees Fahrenheit and blades in the most advanced aircraft engines are coated with a thin layer of temperature-resistant, thermally-insulating ceramic to protect the metal. The coating -- referred to as a thermal-barrier coating -- is designed like an accordion to expand and contract with the metal.

The problem: When sand hits the hot engine blade it melts -- and becomes glass. “Molten glass is one of the nastiest substances around. It will dissolve anything,” says Nitin Padture, professor of materials science and engineering at Ohio State.

Conventional ceramic coating destroyed by molten glass. The field of view is about half a millimeter. Credit: Image by Aysegul Aygun and Nitin Padture, courtesy of Ohio State University.

Writing in PNAS, a group of researchers says they have determined the first pervasive 'rule' of evolution - that animals become increasingly more complex.

Examining the last 550 million years of the fossil catalog, the team investigated the different evolutionary branches of the crustacean family tree. They were seeking examples along the tree where animals evolved that were simpler than their ancestors.

Instead they found organisms with increasingly more complex structures and features, suggesting that there is some mechanism driving change in this direction.

The bystander effect suggests that the more witnesses there are to an emergency, the less likely an individual bystander is to intervene. This phenomenon was identified as a particular consequence of the assault and murder of Kitty Genovese in New York in 1964, which was witnessed by some 38 people, all of whom remained bystanders and failed to come to Kitty’s aid.

Scientists have been unable to study the bystander effect, even under controlled conditions, due to ethical and practical reasons. However, researchers say advanced animated humans and environments created by the National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA) at Bournemouth, University will give scientists a unique opportunity to test the bystander effect in the context of a ‘controlled’ immersive virtual environment.

Apparently, animation in psychology studies requires that people have bodies like superheroes. Credit: National Centre for Computer Animation at Bournemouth University