Tech

On May 5, 2020, news broke about a reportedly more contagious variant of SARS-CoV-2--the virus that causes COVID-19--based on a preliminary paper posted to the preprint server bioRxiv. The preprint stated that a variant of the virus with a particular mutation leading to an amino acid change, D614G, in its spike protein was "more transmissible" than other forms and represented an "urgent concern" for containment and vaccine development.

LOS ALAMOS, N.M., July 2, 2020-- Research out today in the journal Cell shows that a specific change in the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus virus genome, previously associated with increased viral transmission and the spread of COVID-19, is more infectious in cell culture. The variant in question, D614G, makes a small but effective change in the virus's 'Spike' protein, which the virus uses to enter human cells.

The dynamics of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic share "striking similarities" with the twin environmental crises of global heating and species extinction, argue a team of scientists and policy experts from the UK and US.

They say that lessons learned the hard way in containing COVID-19 - the need for early intervention to reduce death and economic damage; the curbing of some aspects of people's lifestyles for the good of all of us - should also be at the heart of averting environmental catastrophe.

New research published today in the Journal of Physiology shows that 12 weeks of easy-to-administer passive stretching helps improve blood flow by making it easier for your arteries to dilate and decreasing their stiffness.

Passive stretching differs from active stretching in that the former involves an external force (another person or gravity) stretching you, whereas active stretching is performed on your own. The changes they observed in blood vessels could have implications for diseases, including the number one global killer, heart disease.

Stem cells have been holding great promise for regenerative medicine for years. In the last decade, several studies have shown that this type of cell, which in Spanish is called "mother cell" because of its ability to give rise to a variety of different cell types, can be applied in regenerative medicine for diseases such as muscular and nervous system disorders, among others. Researchers and stem cell pioneers Sir John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka received the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 2012 for this idea.

Physicists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and Lanzhou University in China developed a simple concept that could improve significantly magnetic-based data processing. Using ultrashort electric pulses in the terahertz range, data can be written, read and erased very quickly. This would make data processing faster, more compact and energy efficient. The researchers confirmed their theory by running complex simulations and the results were published in the journal NPG Asia Materials.

Researchers from the Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences recently developed a new platform for rapid chiral analysis, producing chromatogram-like output without the need for separation. The study was published in Cell Reports Physical Science.

Researchers in the ERATO Saitoh Spin Quantum Rectification Project in the JST Strategic Basic Research Programs have elucidated the mechanism of the hydrodynamic power generation using spin currents(1) in micrometer-scale channels, finding that power generation efficiency improves drastically as the size of the flow is made smaller.

An estimated 17.3% of people worldwide are at risk of inadequate zinc intake; zinc deficiency is a major human health concern. Increasing Zn concentration in wheat grains is highly important, and management strategies to enhance grain Zn concentration can play an important role in fighting nutrient deficiency.

In a practice known as biofortification, researchers use agronomic practices, plant breeding or biotechnology to increase the macronutrient content of food crops. It is as an effective strategy to increase Zn concentration in wheat grain.

Allogeneic stem cell transplantation can cause a loss of protective goblet cells from the colon's inner lining, which can be fatal. But boosting those cells beforehand could improve the outcome.

PITTSBURGH, July 1, 2020 - Neuroscientists at the University of Pittsburgh Brain Institute have identified a novel drug that could protect the brain during and after a stroke.

The study, published today in Science Advances, shows that injured neurons can remain viable if they are prevented from following biochemical pathways that lead to cell death.

CLEVELAND--A team led by Case Western Reserve University medical researchers has developed a potential treatment method for Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease (PMD), a fatal neurological disorder that produces severe movement, motor and cognitive dysfunction in children. It results from genetic mutations that prevent the body from properly making myelin, the protective insulation around nerve cells.

What The Study Did: Researchers investigated the association between the stage of breast cancer at diagnosis and the insurance status, age and race/ethnicity of patients before and after the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

Authors: Tristen S. Park, M.D., of the Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, is the corresponding author.

To access the embargoed study: Visit our For The Media website at this link https://media.jamanetwork.com/

What The Study Did: Weekly changes in U.S. deaths from March 1 through May 30, 2020, due to any cause and deaths due to pneumonia, influenza or COVID-19 are investigated in this observational study.

Authors: Daniel M. Weinberger, Ph.D., of the Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Connecticut, is the corresponding author.

To access the embargoed study: Visit our For The Media website at this link https://media.jamanetwork.com/

(doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.3391)

The immune system protects our body from constant attack by viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. Much of this protection is provided by hematopoietic immune cells, which are derived from the bone marrow and specialize in fighting pathogens. They include macrophages, which remove pathogens; T cells, which kill infected virus-producing cells; and B cells producing antibodies that neutralize pathogens.