Large multi-site study accurately predicts damage to grey matter by disease — ScienceDaily

An international study has found a link between the brain’s network connections and grey matter atrophy caused by certain types of epilepsy, a major step forward in our understanding of the disease.

In neuroscience, it is becoming increasingly clear that the brain’s connectome is as important as its anatomy when studying human disease. The connectome is a map of neural connections that describes how brain regions interact and work together to perform certain tasks. While connectome research in epilepsy has moved forward in recent years, there is still a lot we do not know about its role in the disorder.

The study, led by researchers from The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital), analyzed data from 1,021 individuals with epilepsy and 1,564 healthy controls over 19 sites around the world from the ENIGMA database, a collection of neuroimaging data available to researchers under Open Science principles. They used this data to map

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New tests identify early changes in Alzheimer’s disease before symptoms appear — ScienceDaily

Researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, together with their colleagues at the Barcelona Beta Research Centre in Spain, the University Medical Centre in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and the University of Paris, have found new forms of tau protein that become abnormal in the very early stages of Alzheimer’s disease before cognitive problems develop. The scientists developed new tools to detect these subtle changes and confirmed their results in human samples.

At a time when the incidence and social costs of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in particular continue to rise, this breakthrough is very timely as it could enable the detection of the disease much earlier than current approaches. The findings are also important for the testing of therapies against this devastating disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by two pathological changes in brain tissue. One is a protein called tau while the other involves the amyloid beta peptide. Both can

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Pediatric genomic COVID-19 study suggests potential link between SARS-CoV-2 mutations and disease severity — ScienceDaily

When it comes to children, it is becoming clear that COVID-19 impacts them more than was initially realized. Yet there is relatively little information about SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease, in pediatric populations. Scientists at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles have just published the largest pediatric COVID-19 study to date, suggesting, for the first time, a possible link between specific viral mutations and severity of the disease.

COVID-19 is not a genetic disease, but genetics of the SARS-CoV-2 virus play an important role in its spread. Mutations — mistakes in the virus’ genome as it replicates — can affect how the virus transmits, and may play a role in disease severity. Understanding these links is critical to battling this pandemic.

“SARS-CoV-2 is genetically unstable,” says Xiaowu Gai, PhD, the Director of Bioinformatics at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “We tend to refer to ‘the virus,’ but when we think about

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Quantum nanodiamonds may help detect disease earlier — ScienceDaily

The quantum sensing abilities of nanodiamonds can be used to improve the sensitivity of paper-based diagnostic tests, potentially allowing for earlier detection of diseases such as HIV, according to a study led by UCL researchers in the i-sense McKendry group.

Paper-based lateral flow tests work the same way as a pregnancy test in that a strip of paper is soaked in a fluid sample and a change in colour — or fluorescent signal — indicates a positive result and the detection of virus proteins or DNA. They are widely used to detect viruses ranging from HIV to SARS-CoV-2 (lateral flow tests for Covid-19 are currently being piloted across England) and can provide a rapid diagnosis, as the results do not have to be processed in a lab.

The new research, published in Nature, found that low-cost nanodiamonds could be used to signal the presence of an HIV disease marker

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Scientists develop new gene therapy for eye disease — ScienceDaily

Scientists from Trinity College Dublin have developed a new gene therapy approach that offers promise for one day treating an eye disease that leads to a progressive loss of vision and affects thousands of people across the globe.

The study, which involved a collaboration with clinical teams in the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital and the Mater Hospital, also has implications for a much wider suite of neurological disorders associated with ageing.

The scientists publish their results today [Thursday 26th November 2020] in leading journal, Frontiers in Neuroscience.

Dominant optic atrophy (DOA)

Characterised by degeneration of the optic nerves, DOA typically starts to cause symptoms in patients in their early adult years. These include moderate vision loss and some colour vision defects, but severity varies, symptoms can worsen over time and some people may become blind. There is currently no way to prevent or cure DOA.

A gene

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Gut hormones’ regulation of fat production abnormal in obesity, fatty liver disease — ScienceDaily

Gut hormones play an important role in regulating fat production in the body. One key hormone, released a few hours after eating, turns off fat production by regulating gene expression in the liver, but this regulation is abnormal in obesity, researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign found in a new study.

The study, led by molecular and integrative physiology professor Jongsook Kim Kemper and research scientist Young-Chae Kim, was published in the journal Nature Communications.

After eating, the pancreas produces insulin, which triggers the liver to convert digested foods into fat for storage in a process known as lipogenesis. A few hours later, when the body begins the transition to fasting mode, the liver slows fat production. While the insulin pathway has been thoroughly studied, the pathway by which lipogenesis is turned off has largely remained unknown, Kemper said.

In the new study, Kemper’s team found that the

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PostEra and NeuroLucent collaborate on identifying small-molecule therapeutics for Alzheimer’s disease

Press release content from PR Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

SAN FRANCISCO and NORTH CHICAGO, Ill., Nov. 25, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — PostEra, a biotechnology company offering medicinal chemistry powered by machine learning, today announced a collaboration with NeuroLucent, a Chicago-based company focused on developing novel treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

The failure of late-stage clinical trials to uncover effective therapies for Alzheimer’s disease has underscored the need to explore novel therapeutic approaches. NeuroLucent is developing novel small molecule compounds that normalize a key calcium channel that is dysregulated in Alzheimer’s neurons and restore normal neuronal function in multiple preclinical Alzheimer’s models.

NeuroLucent has partnered with PostEra to accelerate its search for a therapeutic candidate. PostEra will use its machine learning technology to optimise NeuroLucent’s lead compounds through a series of ‘design-make-test’ cycles that has previously been

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Opinion | Americans revive spirit of first Thanksgiving by carrying disease to new areas

These Thanksgiving reenactors were dedicated to making sure the holiday got the celebration it deserved. “Usually,” another ardent patriot said, “my Thanksgiving celebration is based on a selective and misleading interpretation of history. This year, it will be based on a selective and misleading interpretation of science as well. And I brought green beans with those weird little packaged onion things on them!”

“It’s a point of pride with me to ignore any guidelines that would prevent my bringing pestilence with me to this important family holiday,” one celebrator noted. “The Pilgrims didn’t pay attention to any guidelines! Dare I act as though to be alive now offers me any advantages over what they had?”

One matriarch, sticking her entire arm into the slick carcass of a bird, offered, “It’s important to me that my Thanksgiving keeps the traditions of those first fur traders and colonists alive: where I feel

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How the brain ‘re-wires’ after disease — ScienceDaily

Trinity College researchers are studying how the brain re-wires itself in neurological disease. The team is building treatments for today’s more common global conditions like Motor Neurone Disease (MND/ALS) and Spinal Muscular Atrophy and their findings could impact rehabilitation for patients, the discovery of effective drugs and quantifying the potential efficacy of new therapies.

The paper is published in the journal Clinical Neurophysiology.

Up to now, scientific knowledge has told us that the polio virus affects the spinal cord, but not the brain. The Trinity team have shown this not to be the case; finding previously unknown changes also occurring in the brain networks. These findings suggest that brain networks engage in an abnormal but active communication with muscles in patient groups studied.

Today, polio is a rare condition in the world, as it has been reasonably controlled by vaccination over several decades. Incidentally, there are people in Ireland

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Global warming likely to increase disease risk for animals worldwide — ScienceDaily

Changes in climate can increase infectious disease risk in animals, researchers found — with the possibility that these diseases could spread to humans, they warn.

The study, conducted by scientists at the University of Notre Dame, University of South Florida and University of Wisconsin-Madison, supports a phenomenon known as “thermal mismatch hypothesis,” which is the idea that the greatest risk for infectious disease in cold climate-adapted animals — such as polar bears — occurs as temperatures rise, while the risk for animals living in warmer climates occurs as temperatures fall.

The hypothesis proposes that smaller organisms like pathogens function across a wider range of temperatures than larger organisms, such as hosts or animals.

“Understanding how the spread, severity and distribution of animal infectious diseases could change in the future has reached a new level of importance as a result of the global pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2, a pathogen which appears

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