Body

Indulging in an isotope-enhanced steak or chicken fillet every now and again could add as much as 10 years to your life, some researchers say.

Scientists have shown for the first time that food enriched with natural isotopes builds bodily components that are more resistant to the processes of aging. The concept has been demonstrated in worms and researchers hope that the same concept can help extend human life and reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases of ageing, reports Marina Murphy in Chemistry & Industry, the magazine of the SCI.

In one of the most comprehensive and definitive studies of its kind to date, a team of researchers at the University of California, Davis have proven that organically grown kiwifruit contain more health-promoting factors than those grown under conventional conditions. The research is reported in the SCI’s magazine Chemistry & Industry. The debate over the relative health benefits of organic versus conventional food has raged for years, with UK environment secretary David Miliband declaring in January that buying organic is just a lifestyle choice.

The size, type, and dispersion of nanomaterials could all play a role in how these materials impact human health and the environment, according to two groups of researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In new studies, the teams found that while carbon nanotubes inhibited growth in mammalian cells, they sustained the growth of commonly occurring bacteria.

Craftsmen tile walls or floors by hand; but how can you get an ordered monolayer onto a substrate when the "tiles" are microscopically small instead of big and easy to handle? Previously, self-assembly processes have been the method of choice for this scale. Korean researchers have now come to the realization that even such tiny components can be arranged in a "do-it-yourself" method. As they describe in the journal Angewandte Chemie, their manually produced monolayers of microcrystals are qualitatively superior to the self-assembled variety.

More powerful computers are allowing scientists and engineers to conduct simulations that grow more realistic each year. While companies are using these tools to slash the costs of producing everything from airliners to antibiotics, researchers in Houston are using them to refine their search for the genetic causes of disease.

Tissue engineering has emerged as a promising alternative for the reconstitution of lost or damaged organs and tissues, circumventing the complications associated with traditional transplants. Tissue engineers attempt to repair or regenerate damaged tissue by using engineered tissue substitutes that can sustain functionality during regeneration and eventually integrate into the host tissue. The traditional tissue-engineering paradigm combines isolated cells with appropriate bioactive agents in a biomaterial scaffold.

Researchers at the University at Buffalo have described a novel pathway by which estradiol, the primary estrogen in humans, aids in maintaining bone density, a function critical to avoiding osteoporosis.

It is well known that estrogen is essential for healthy bone, and that when the production of estrogen is reduced, as occurs normally in postmenopausal women and pathogenically after exposure to radiation or chemotherapeutic drugs, bones become brittle and break easily. However, the mechanisms involved aren’t clearly understood.

Tissue engineering is a relatively new field of basic and clinical science that is concerned, in part, with creating tissues that can augment or replace injured, defective, or diseased body parts. The approach to fabricating the tissues involves adding specific cell types to grow on a polymer scaffold having the shape of the tissue to be restored. The scaffold gradually disappears, while the cells continue developing in the scaffold shape.

The ribosome is the protein-producing nanomachine in cells that keeps the human body cranking along. A discovery by University of Maryland researchers has provided a clue that could lead to programming the ribosome to fight viruses like HIV AIDS and SARS.

Electrical noise, like the crackle heard on AM radio when lightning strikes nearby, is a nuisance that wreaks havoc on electronic devices. But within cells, a similar kind of biochemical "noise" is beneficial, helping cells transform from one state to another, according to a new study led by a UT Southwestern Medical Center researcher.

Why mitochondrial genes ditch their cushy haploid environs to take up residence in a large and chaotic nucleus has long stumped evolutionary biologists, but Indiana University Bloomington scientists report in this week's Science that they've uncovered an important clue in flowering plants.

"Plants that reproduce clonally or are capable of self-pollinating have transferred more genes from the mitochondrion to the nucleus," said graduate student Yaniv Brandvain, lead author of the paper.

Researchers at Purdue University and The Catholic University of America have discovered the structure of an enzyme essential for the operation of "molecular motors" that package DNA into the head segment of some viruses during their assembly.

The first published study on the environmental impact of manufactured nanoparticles on ordinary soil showed no negative effects, which is contrary to concerns voiced by some that the microscopic particles could be harmful to organisms.

Scientists added both dry and water-based forms of manufactured fullerenes - nanosized particles also known as buckyballs - to soil. The nanoparticles didn't change how the soil and its microorganisms functioned, said Ron Turco, a Purdue University soil and environmental microbiologist.

The cancer drug asparaginase fails to help cure some children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) because molecules released by certain cells in the bone marrow counteract the effect of that drug, according to investigators at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Solving a mystery that has puzzled scientists for decades, MIT and Harvard researchers have discovered the final piece of the synthesis pathway of vitamin B12-the only vitamin synthesized exclusively by microorganisms.

B12, the most chemically complex of all vitamins, is essential for human health. Four Nobel Prizes have been awarded for research related to B12, but one fragment of the molecule remained an enigma-until now.