Tag Archives: science and research

Scientists have developed an eye drop that can dissolve cataracts

Researchers in the US have developed a new drug that can be delivered directly into the eye via an eye dropper to shrink down and dissolve cataracts – the leading cause of blindness in humans.

While the effects have yet to be tested on humans, the team from the University of California, San Diego hopes to replicate the findings in clinical trials and offer an alternative to the only treatment that’s currently available to cataract patients – painful and often prohibitively expensive surgery.

Researchers in the US have developed a new drug that can be delivered directly into the eye via an eye dropper to shrink down and dissolve cataracts – the leading cause of blindness in humans.

While the effects have yet to be tested on humans, the team from the University of California, San Diego hopes to replicate the findings in clinical trials and offer an alternative to the only treatment that’s currently available to cataract patients – painful and often prohibitively expensive surgery.

Affecting tens of millions of people worldwide, cataracts cause the lens of the eye to become progressively cloudy, and when left untreated, can lead to total blindness. This occurs when the structure of the crystallin proteins that make up the lens in our eyes deteriorates, causing the damaged or disorganised proteins to clump and form a milky blue or brown layer. While cataracts cannot spread from one eye to the other, they can occur independently in both eyes.

Scientists aren’t entirely sure what cases cataracts, but most cases are related to age, with the US National Eye Institute reporting that by the age of 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract, or have had cataract surgery. While unpleasant, the surgical procedure to remove a cataract is very simple and safe, but many communities in developing countries and regional areas do not have access to the money or facilities to perform it, which means blindness is inevitable for the vast majority of patients.

According to the Fred Hollows Foundation, an estimated 32.4 million people around the world today are blind, and 90 percent of them live in developing countries. More than half of these cases were caused by cataracts, which means having an eye drop as an alternative to surgery would make an incredible difference.

The new drug is based on a naturally-occurring steroid called lanosterol. The idea to test the effectiveness of lanosterol on cataracts came to the researchers when they became aware of two children in China who had inherited a congenital form of cataract, which had never affected their parents. The researchers discovered that these siblings shared a mutation that stopped the production of lanosterol, which their parents lacked.

So if the parents were producing lanosterol and didn’t get cataracts, but their children weren’t producing lanosterol and did get cataracts, the researchers proposed that the steroid might halt the defective crystallin proteins from clumping together and forming cataracts in the non-congenital form of the disease.

They tested their lanosterol-based eye drops in three types of experiments. They worked with human lens in the lab and saw a decrease in cataract size. They then tested the effects on rabbits, and according to Hanae Armitage at Science Mag, after six days, all but two of their 13 patients had gone from having severe cataracts to mild cataracts or no cataracts at all. Finally, they tested the eye drops on dogs with naturally occurring cataracts. Just like the human lens in the lab and the rabbits, the dogs responded positively to the drug, with severe cataracts shrinking away to nothing, or almost nothing.

The results have been published in Nature.

“This is a really comprehensive and compelling paper – the strongest I’ve seen of its kind in a decade,” molecular biologist Jonathan King from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) told Armitage. While not affiliated with this study, King has been involved in cataract research for the past 15 years. “They discovered the phenomena and then followed with all of the experiments that you should do – that’s as biologically relevant as you can get.”

The next step is for the researchers to figure out exactly how the lanosterol-based eye drops are eliciting this response from the cataract proteins, and to progress their research to human trials.

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests current estimates about the number of Americans who die from cigarette smoking are too low.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) funded study suggests estimates from the Surgeon General that show smoking kills about 480,000 people in the US every year, exclude tens of thousands of Americans who die from diseases not counted as caused by smoking but perhaps should be.

close up person smoking

For their analysis, Dr. Eric J. Jacobs, strategic director of Pharmacoepidemiology at the ACS, and colleagues reviewed data from 5 large studies, including the ACSCancer Prevention Study-II, the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, the Nurses’ Health Study, and the National Institutes of Health AARP Diet and Health Study.

The data covers nearly a million Americans aged 55 and over that were followed for about 10 years, during which time there were over 180,000 deaths, including nearly 16,500 among current smokers.

As expected, the analysis showed current smokers were nearly three times more likely to die in that time than people who never smoked.

Most of the excess deaths in smokers were due to diseases that are known to be caused by smoking. These include 12 types of cancer, stroke, coronary heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD – which includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease).

Smokers had double risk of death from diseases not classed as caused by smoking

However, Dr. Jacobs and colleagues also found that around 17% of the excess deaths in current smokers were attributed to diseases outside of the list of 21 that the US Surgeon General classes as caused by smoking and so are excluded in official estimated US deaths due to tobacco use.

Fast facts about smoking

  • Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death worldwide
  • Smoking and tobacco use costs the US $289 billion a year, including more than $156 billion in lost productivity
  • In 2011, the tobacco industry spent nearly $23 million a day on promoting and advertising cigarettes.

Find out why smoking is bad for you

The investigators drew particular attention to where they found a double risk of death among current smokers due to diseases such as intestinal ischemia (narrow or blocked arteries in the gut), kidney failure, infections, hypertensive heart disease and various types of respiratory disorders outside of COPD.

The authors note that even though these diseases are not officially regarded as being a result of smoking, and are therefore excluded from estimates of smoking-related deaths, there is strong evidence to suggest they are.

Their analysis also showed that excess risk of death from each of these conditions fell when participants gave up smoking.

The team found smoking was also tied to smaller increases in risk of death from breast cancer, prostate cancer and cancers of unknown sites. These diseases are currently not formally classed as being caused by smoking.

The authors conclude that the number of additional deaths potentially linked to smoking is significant and may be due to diseases not formally established as caused by smoking. However, should future research show they are, then they should be included in estimates of the death toll from tobacco use.

The study only covered data on one million people taking part in large studies, but Dr. Jacobs says:

“If the same is true nationwide, then cigarette smoking may be killing about 60,000 more Americans each year than previously estimated, a number greater than the total number who die each year ofinfluenza or liver disease.”

26 Pictures Will Make You Re-Evaluate Your Entire Existence

. This is the Earth! This is where you live.

This is the Earth! This is where you live.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Image / Via visibleearth.nasa.gov

2. And this is where you live in your neighborhood, the solar system.

And this is where you live in your neighborhood, the solar system.

3. Here’s the distance, to scale, between the Earth and the moon. Doesn’t look too far, does it?

Here's the distance, to scale, between the Earth and the moon. Doesn't look too far, does it?

4. THINK AGAIN. Inside that distance you can fit every planet in our solar system, nice and neatly.

THINK AGAIN. Inside that distance you can fit every planet in our solar system, nice and neatly.

PerplexingPotato / Via reddit.com

5. But let’s talk about planets. That little green smudge is North America on Jupiter.

But let's talk about planets. That little green smudge is North America on Jupiter.

NASA / John Brady / Via astronomycentral.co.uk

6. And here’s the size of Earth (well, six Earths) compared with Saturn:

And here's the size of Earth (well, six Earths) compared with Saturn:

NASA / John Brady / Via astronomycentral.co.uk

7. And just for good measure, here’s what Saturn’s rings would look like if they were around Earth:

And just for good measure, here's what Saturn's rings would look like if they were around Earth:

Ron Miller / Via io9.com

8. This right here is a comet. We just landed a probe on one of those bad boys. Here’s what one looks like compared with Los Angeles:

This right here is a comet. We just landed a probe on one of those bad boys. Here's what one looks like compared with Los Angeles:

Matt Wang / Via mentalfloss.com

9. But that’s nothing compared to our sun. Just remember:

But that's nothing compared to our sun. Just remember:

10. Here’s you from the moon:

Here's you from the moon:

NASA

11. Here’s you from Mars:

Here's you from Mars:

NASA

12. Here’s you from just behind Saturn’s rings:

Here's you from just behind Saturn's rings:

NASA

13. And here’s you from just beyond Neptune, 4 billion miles away.

And here's you from just beyond Neptune, 4 billion miles away.

NASA

To paraphrase Carl Sagan, everyone and everything you have ever known exists on that little speck.

14. Let’s step back a bit. Here’s the size of Earth compared with the size of our sun. Terrifying, right?

Let's step back a bit. Here's the size of Earth compared with the size of our sun. Terrifying, right?

John Brady / Via astronomycentral.co.uk

The sun doesn’t even fit in the image.

15. And here’s that same Sun from the surface of Mars:

And here's that same Sun from the surface of Mars:

NASA

16. But that’s nothing. Again, as Carl once mused, there are more stars in space than there are grains of sand on every beach on Earth:

But that's nothing. Again, as Carl once mused, there are more stars in space than there are grains of sand on every beach on Earth:

17. Which means that there are ones much, much bigger than little wimpy sun. Just look at how tiny and insignificant our sun is:

Which means that there are ones much, much bigger than little wimpy sun. Just look at how tiny and insignificant our sun is:

Our sun probably gets its lunch money stolen.

18. Here’s another look. The biggest star, VY Canis Majoris, is 1,000,000,000 times bigger than our sun:

26 Pictures Will Make You Re-Evaluate Your Entire Existence

………

19. But none of those compares to the size of a galaxy. In fact, if you shrunk the Sun down to the size of a white blood cell and shrunk the Milky Way Galaxy down using the same scale, the Milky Way would be the size of the United States:

But none of those compares to the size of a galaxy. In fact, if you shrunk the Sun down to the size of a white blood cell and shrunk the Milky Way Galaxy down using the same scale, the Milky Way would be the size of the United States:

20. That’s because the Milky Way Galaxy is huge. This is where you live inside there:

That's because the Milky Way Galaxy is huge. This is where you live inside there:

21. But this is all you ever see:

But this is all you ever see:

(That’s not a picture of the Milky Way, but you get the idea.)

22. But even our galaxy is a little runt compared with some others. Here’s the Milky Way compared to IC 1011, 350 million light years away from Earth:

But even our galaxy is a little runt compared with some others. Here's the Milky Way compared to IC 1011, 350 million light years away from Earth:

Just THINK about all that could be inside there.

23. But let’s think bigger. In JUST this picture taken by the Hubble telescope, there are thousands and thousands of galaxies, each containing millions of stars, each with their own planets.

But let's think bigger. In JUST this picture taken by the Hubble telescope, there are thousands and thousands of galaxies, each containing millions of stars, each with their own planets.

24. Here’s one of the galaxies pictured, UDF 423. This galaxy is 10 BILLION light years away. When you look at this picture, you are looking billions of years into the past.

Here's one of the galaxies pictured, UDF 423. This galaxy is 10 BILLION light years away. When you look at this picture, you are looking billions of years into the past.

Some of the other galaxies are thought to have formed only a few hundred million years AFTER the Big Bang.

25. And just keep this in mind — that’s a picture of a very small, small part of the universe. It’s just an insignificant fraction of the night sky.

And just keep this in mind — that's a picture of a very small, small part of the universe. It's just an insignificant fraction of the night sky.

26. And, you know, it’s pretty safe to assume that there are some black holes out there. Here’s the size of a black hole compared with Earth’s orbit, just to terrify you:

And, you know, it's pretty safe to assume that there are some black holes out there. Here's the size of a black hole compared with Earth's orbit, just to terrify you:

D. Benningfield/K. Gebhardt/StarDate / Via mcdonaldobservatory.org

So if you’re ever feeling upset about your favorite show being canceled or the fact that they play Christmas music way too early — just remember…

This is your home.

This is your home.

By Andrew Z. Colvin (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (creativecommons.org) or GFDL (gnu.org)], via Wikimedia Commons

This is what happens when you zoom out from your home to your solar system.

This is what happens when you zoom out from your home to your solar system.

And this is what happens when you zoom out farther…

And this is what happens when you zoom out farther...

By Andrew Z. Colvin (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (creativecommons.org) or GFDL (gnu.org)], via Wikimedia Commons

And farther…

And farther...

By Andrew Z. Colvin (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (creativecommons.org) or GFDL (gnu.org)], via Wikimedia Commons

Keep going…

Keep going...

By Andrew Z. Colvin (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (creativecommons.org) or GFDL (gnu.org)], via Wikimedia Commons

Just a little bit farther…

Just a little bit farther...

By Andrew Z. Colvin (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (creativecommons.org) or GFDL (gnu.org)], via Wikimedia Commons

Almost there…

Almost there...

By Andrew Z. Colvin (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (creativecommons.org) or GFDL (gnu.org)], via Wikimedia Commons

And here it is. Here’s everything in the observable universe, and here’s your place in it. Just a tiny little ant in a giant jar.

And here it is. Here's everything in the observable universe, and here's your place in it. Just a tiny little ant in a giant jar.

By Andrew Z. Colvin (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (creativecommons.org) or GFDL (gnu.org)], via Wikimedia Commons

Science Q: A Pioneer Medium to publish Research Articles

ScienceQ Publishing Group is an international Open Access research publication model that enables the rapid dissemination of timely and significant research articles to the global community. Thus, all research articles published under open access can be accessed to all the scholars questing in each and every corner of the globe.

ScienceQ is a not-for-profit organization, all the Editors and reviewers of ScienceQ are volunteers aims to facilitate dissemination research articles to the global community. “All works published by ScienceQ Publishing Group are under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.

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www.scienceq.org

List of Journals offered by ScienceQ Publishing Group

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ScienceQ is intern cover each and every branches of science through its wide range of titles.

Journal of Advanced Botany and Zoology

Journal of Physical and Chemical Sciences

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Journal of Chemical Bonding and Molecular Structure Analysis

Journal of Modern Drug Discovery and Drug Delivery Research

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Journal of Advancement in Medical and Life Sciences

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Journal of Macromolecular Networks and Structural Biology 

Journal of Computation in Biosciences and Engineering 

Journal of Advancement In Engineering and Technology

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Journal of Bioprocessing and Chemical Engineering

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Stem cell timeline: The history of a medical sensation

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Stem cells are the cellular putty from which all tissues of the body are made. Ever since human embryonic stem cells were first grown in the lab, researchers have dreamed of using them to repair damaged tissue or create new organs, but such medical uses have also attracted controversy. Yesterday, the potential of stem cells to revolutionise medicine got a huge boost with news of an ultra-versatile kind of stem cell from adult mouse cells using a remarkably simple methodMovie Camera. This timeline takes you through the ups and downs of the stem cell rollercoaster.

1981, Mouse beginnings
Martin Evans of Cardiff University, UK, then at the University of Cambridge, is first to identify embryonic stem cells – in mice.

1997, Dolly the sheep
Ian Wilmut and his colleagues at the Roslin Institute, Edinburgh unveil Dolly the sheep, the first artificial animal clone. The process involves fusing a sheep egg with an udder cell and implanting the resulting hybrids into a surrogate mother sheep. Researchers speculate that similar hybrids made by fusing human embryonic stem cells with adult cells from a particular person could be used to create genetically matched tissue and organs.

1998, Stem cells go human
James Thomson of the University of Wisconsin in Madison and John Gearhart of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, respectively, isolate human embryonic stem cells and grow them in the lab.

2001, Bush controversy
US president George W. Bush limits federal funding of research on human embryonic stem cells because a human embryo is destroyed in the process. But Bush does allow continued research on human embryonic stem cells lines that were created before the restrictions were announced.

2005, Fraudulent clones
Woo Suk Hwang of Seoul National University in South Korea reports that his team has used therapeutic cloning – a technique inspired by the one used to create Dolly – to create human embryonic stem cells genetically matched to specific people. Later that year, his claims turn out to be false.

2006, Cells reprogrammed
Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University in Japan reveals a way of making embryonic-like cells from adult cells – avoiding the need to destroy an embryo. His team reprograms ordinary adult cells by inserting four key genes– forming “induced pluripotent stem cells”.

2007, Nobel prize
Evans shares the Nobel prize for medicine with Mario Capecchi and Oliver Smithies for work on genetics and embryonic stem cells.

2009, Obama-power
President Barack Obama lifts 2001 restrictions on federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research.

2010, Spinal injury
A person with spinal injury becomes the first to receive a medical treatment derived from human embryonic stem cells as part of a trial by Geron of Menlo Park, California, a pioneering company for human embryonic stem cell therapies.

2012, Blindness treated
Human embryonic stem cells show medical promise in a treatment that eases blindness.

2012, Another Nobel
Yamanaka wins a Nobel prize for creating induced pluripotent stem cells, which he shares with John Gurdon of the University of Cambridge.

2013, Therapeutic cloning
Shoukhrat Mitalipov at the Oregon National Primate Research Center in Beaverton and his colleagues produce human embryonic stem cells using therapeutic cloning – the breakthrough falsely claimed in 2005.

2014, Pre-embyronic state
Charles Vacanti of Harvard Medical School together with Haruko Obokata at the Riken Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe, Japan, and colleagues announced a revolutionary discovery that any cell can potentially be rewound to a pre-embryonic stateMovie Camera – using a simple, 30-minute technique.

2014, Human trials
Masayo Takahashi at the same Riken centre is due to select patients for what promises to be the world’s first trial of a therapy based on induced pluripotent stem cells, to treat a form of age-related blindness.

New Development of Universal Flu Vaccine

Throughout the year WHO Centers for Reference and Research on Influenza analyze virus isolates from patients around the world and made recommendation of which circulating influenza strains will be appropriate for seasonal vaccines. Still, with all these preventive measurements, influenza epidemics continue to be a threat to the public health.

The main reason is due to the fact that the make of the right vaccine can never catch up the speed of viral mutation. Currently, of type A and B influenza that mostly pass around in human, each type has several subtypes, and strains of each subtype could vary by time and region. A vaccine made according to certain strains, just may not be protective for other strains. Therefore, as the influenza virus mutate, vaccines made from its predecessor out of calculated guess just sometimes don’t seem to be the best answer.

There are many scientists looking into solving this problem, and the idea to make a universal vaccine seem far reaching but is very attractive.

In this issue of Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA (PNAS), a team led by President Chi-Huey Wong, Dr. Alex Ma, and Dr. Kuo-I Lin has reported another promising step in finding the best answer to make the universal influenza vaccine. They have not only demonstrated how an engineered glycoprotein based vaccine could yield much stronger protection against various H1N1 viral strains, but also explained in detailed how in immune system it works.

This new type of influenza vaccine is made out of an engineered glycoprotein, named monoglycosylated hemagglutinin (HAmg). HAmg is a variant of the major viral surface glycoprotein hemagglutinin on which each of the N-glycans has been trimmed down to only one sugar – N-acetylglucosamine.

Based on previous studies, the team brought up a hypothesis that the N-glycans which cover more than half the surface of HA protein act as shields to evade recognition by the immune system, such decoys significantly diversify the immune response. By removing the structurally non-essential N-glycans to expose the highly conserved protein sequences, the vaccinated monoglycosylated HA has a more “uniform presentation” of epitopes to induce better immune responses.

In the lately published article in PNAS, it described how the HAmg vaccine made from the A/Brisbane/59/2007 strain or A/California/07/2009 strain isolates can broaden the protection against various H1N1 influenza virus infections that circulated between year 1933 to 2009 in both mice and ferrets.

A number of experiments were also carried out to clarify the mechanism behind the broad protection elicited by this vaccine. They want to know, how the immune system react to it, how antibodies are induced.

Firstly, they observed better dendritic cell uptake and maturation when they incubated HAmg with dendritic cells in vitro.

Next, it showed HAmg vaccination induced better CD8+ T-cell responses. They also found that the structural integrity of HAmg is critical for better B-cell recognition and more IgG-producing cells in spleens. Thus, more antibodies are made.

After analyzing hundreds of single B-cell clones from immunized mice, they also found that HAmg vaccination induced maturation of more diverse germinal B-cell clones that can recognize a broad spectrum of HA.

Taken together, monoglycosylated HA with an intact structure and exposed conserved sequences was found to be a superior vaccine that can provide cross-strain protection against various H1N1 viruses. This may lead to a better influenza vaccine design that does not require frequent updates and annual immunizations. One major step closer to the ultimate goal of making the universal flu vaccine!

The team not only expresses high hopes in mapping out a new direction for development of universal flu vaccines, they are interested in applying the same design strategy for vaccines of other human health related virus such as Dengue, HCV and HIV as well.

The research paper can be read online at: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2014/01/23/1323954111.abstract

Source: http://www.genomics.sinica.edu.tw/en/news/latest-news?start=1

List of Journals offered by ScienceQ Publishing Group

List of Journals offered by ScienceQ Publishing Group

ScienceQ is intern cover each and every branches of science through its wide range of titles.

Journal of Advanced Botany and Zoology

Journal of Physical and Chemical Sciences

Journal of Chemical Bonding and Molecular Structure Analysis

Journal of Modern Drug Discovery and Drug Delivery Research

Journal of Advancement in Medical and Life Sciences

Journal of Macromolecular Networks and Structural Biology 

Journal of Computation in Biosciences and Engineering 

Journal of Advancement In Engineering and Technology

Journal of Bioprocessing and Chemical Engineering