Singapore, 18 Jun 2021 - Scientists at Duke-NUS Medical School and National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS), in collaboration with colleagues in Singapore and the UK, have shown that the human form of the signalling protein interleukin 11 (IL-11) has a damaging effect on human liver cells--overturning a prior hypothesis that it could help livers damaged by paracetamol poisoning. The finding, published last week in Science Translational Medicine, suggests that blocking IL-11 signalling could have a restorative effect.

Scientists at Sanford Burnham Prebys have gained a deeper insight into the intricacies of autophagy, the process in which cells degrade and recycle cellular components. The findings, published in Current Biology, describe how the "trash bags" in a cell--called autophagosomes--are tagged to direct their movement to the cellular "recycling plants" where waste is processed. The research opens new paths to understanding the relationship between autophagy and age-related diseases such as cancer and neurological disorders.

BOSTON - Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have discovered a biological mechanism that transforms cells exposed to carcinogens from environmental factors like smoking and ultraviolet light into immunogenic cells that can be harnessed therapeutically to fight treatment-resistant cancers.

Food has become one of the major challenges of the 21st century. According to a study carried out by CNRS scientists1, an organic, sustainable, biodiversity-friendly agro-food system, could be implemented in Europe and would allow a balanced coexistence between agriculture and the environment. The scenario proposed is based on three levers. The first would involve a change in diet, with less consumption of animal products, making it possible to limit intensive livestock farming and eliminate feed imports.

Identifying the causes of human neurodegenerative diseases is a global research priority, warranting frequent reviews of the accumulating knowledge. In doing just that, biologists from the Plant Physiology Laboratory at the University of Guam and neuroscientists from the Experimental Medicine Program at The University of British Columbia have published an update on the reputed environmental toxins that have been suspected of being involved in mammal neurodegeneration.

According to a recent Finnish study, higher levels of moderate and vigorous physical activity can curb arterial stiffening already in childhood. However, sedentary time or aerobic fitness were not linked to arterial health. The results, based on the ongoing Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children (PANIC) Study conducted at the University of Eastern Finland, were published in the Journal of Sports Sciences.

Tokyo, Japan - In Japan, thousands of homes and businesses and hundreds of lives have been lost to typhoons. But now, researchers have revealed that a new flood forecasting system could provide earlier flood warnings, giving people more time to prepare or evacuate, and potentially saving lives.

Germany is a hotspot for dragonflies and damselflies (Odonata) species in Europe, owing to the range of habitats and climates that it provides. While many recent and mostly small-scale studies suggest long-term declines of insect populations in different parts of Europe, studies of freshwater insects - including dragonflies and damselflies - suggest that some species have increased in occurrence. Researchers of iDiv, FSU and UFZ have now provided a nationwide analysis of the occurrence and distribution of dragonflies and damselflies in Germany between 1980 and 2016.

The population on Earth is increasingly growing and people are expected to live longer in the future. Thus, better and more reliable therapies to treat human diseases such as Alzheimer's and cardiovascular diseases are crucial. To cope with the challenge of ensuring healthy ageing, a group of international scientists investigated the potential of biosynthesising several polyamines and polyamines analogues with already known functionalities in treating and preventing age-related diseases.

A research group including Professor MATSUDA Tetsuya of Tamagawa University's Brain Science Institute (Machida City, Tokyo; Director: SAKAGAMI Masamichi) and Assistant Professor ISHIHARA Toru from Kobe University's Graduate School of Human Development and Environment has illuminated the changes in the brain's neural network and cortex structure that underlie the positive association between childhood exercise and the maintenance and promotion of cognitive function in later life.

These results were published in the academic journal NeuroImage on May 23, 2021.

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