The intestinal microbiome, the set of microorganisms that live in our intestines, has been the subject of a new study that confirms how decisive it can be in other areas of the body. Now a new study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, describes how intestinal microbiome can protect brain cells from damage caused by inflammation following stroke.
According to the researchers, short-chain fatty acids are responsible for the improvement after stroke. These fats are produced by bacteria in the intestine and are one of the basic components of intestinal health. This is one of the first studies to explore the link between the gut microbiome and stroke itself, although it was already known that microbes in the gut can affect the health of the brain.
According to Ann Stowe, a researcher at the Department of Neurology at the University of Kentucky and one of the authors of the study, the microbiome can affect neuroinflammation following a brain injury and this is demonstrated by the experiments she and her colleagues carried out on mice. The water-drinking rodents to which the scientists had added short-chain fatty acids showed better recovery from stroke compared to mice in the control group.
They showed, in particular, less pronounced motor impairment and greater growth of nerve cell dendrites, which are very important for memory. The same mice treated with short-chain fatty acids also showed a higher amount of genes linked to the microglia, the immune cell complex in the brain.
According to the researchers, the same short-chain fatty acids act as messengers in the link between the intestine and the brain, in this case positively influencing the way the brain itself recovers lesions.
At this point, the researchers already think of a food supplement based on short-chain fatty acids as a relatively safe additional therapy for the rehabilitation of stroke patients.
Hundreds of previously unknown new viruses present in the body of insects have been identified following research published in PLOS Pathogens and carried out by a team of scientists at the Charité University Hospital in Berlin.
“Every new virus we find could be a cause of previously unknown diseases, both in humans and livestock,” says Christian Drosten, director of the Institute of Virology and one of the authors of the study for which it is important to identify and replenish our database of known viruses because then it may be easier to recognize the cause of new or even unusual diseases that may happen to us.
To carry out this study, the researchers used the largest international database of transcriptomes on insects. The researchers considered all types of insects, not just mosquitoes and other insects that come into contact with blood, i.e. those most dangerous in terms of virus transmission.
In total, they considered 1283 species of insects and discovered hundreds of new viruses that can be included in at least 20 new genera.
These new identifications may perhaps prove useful in solving some of those cases of viral infections where the virus could not be identified.
One of the effects of climate change is the bodily reduction of animals according to a new interesting study conducted by researchers from the University of Cape Town (UCT). The researchers analyzed data for a period of 23 years between 1976 and 1999 and found this change with regard to the average body size of a group of birds.
Among other things, as specified by the statement on the University website, in the past, as we discovered from the fossil record, cases of global warming have led to similar effects with marine and terrestrial animals that have tended to become smaller. To support this theory, the researchers analyzed the size of a genus of passerine birds called Motacilla. Specifically, they analyzed various groups of Motacilla Clara that live along the Palmiet, a river in South Africa.
The researchers, by the voice of Res Altwegg, one of the authors of the research, declare themselves astonished by these results: they did not expect such effects to be deducible even in a quarter of a century. The results instead clearly indicate not only the average shrinkage of the body of these birds but also the fact that climate change was the reason.
The researchers also used data from a nearby meteorological station and discovered an average temperature increase of 0.18 ° in the period examined. This has led, due to the evolutionary adaptation to the environment, a slow replacement of the heavier individuals in favor of the lighter ones.
Furthermore, according to Altwegg, there are other studies that show that animals are reducing their body size in many places around the world. However, these are deductions that concern the average of the animal world and there are certainly no exceptions: some species could, for example, increase the size of their bodies while others may not modify this morphological aspect at all.
A group of researchers from the University of Western Australia has succeeded in identifying a compound present in merino sheep wool that is attractive to Australian butterflies.
According to Phil Vercoe, one of the authors of the study, this result could help develop new therapies or medicines to combat flystrike, a disease that affects sheep and spreads through flies and gnats.
The sheep are sensitive to this disease because of their thick wool: if the latter is dirty or contaminated with fluids, the flies can more easily lay eggs inside the same wool.
The larvae, once they have developed, begin to feed on the flesh of the sheep causing the disease which, as main symptoms, sees strange behavior of the animal and matted wool.
As Vercoe explains, if the smell of wool that attracts flies is inherited, the compounds that scientists have just identified can lead to the development of more effective therapies to combat this disease in sheep: “It would be a great thing for the industry because would improve animal welfare and productivity.”
According to the scientist, the cost that this disease entails for breeders and for the whole industry connected to sheep is 280 million dollars a year.
An innovative approach regarding the fight against epileptic seizures for those people who suffered a head injury was found by a group of researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). According to the researchers, it is possible to slow the progression of epilepsy with a process that sees the removal of newborn neurons.
This is what the researchers discovered by performing experiments on mice. The same researchers believe that the method can also be used successfully in humans. The method could be implemented for all those people who, following an accident or a violent act, suffer brain injuries. In fact, these people have a greater risk of developing seizures.
These occur because the new neurons that are generated after the brain injury do not migrate or develop normally and can therefore contribute to the development of epilepsy.
During the experiments, the researchers systematically removed the neurons that formed during the eight weeks following the lesion in mice. The results showed a 65% reduction in seizures compared to untreated mice.
“We now know that we can remove new neurons after the initial crises. Although we cannot stop the first convulsions, we can try to prevent secondary crises, which is very exciting and can lead to new therapeutic strategies,” says Jenny Hsieh, one of the authors of the study and professor of cell biology and director of Brain Health UTSA Consortium.