Medication used to treat a range of inflammatory diseases may be less safe than previously thought — ScienceDaily

Glucocorticoids are steroids widely prescribed to treat a range of immune-mediated inflammatory diseases. While high doses of steroids are known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, the impact of lower doses is unknown. A study published in PLOS Medcine by Mar Pujades-Rodriguez at Leeds University and colleagues suggests that even low doses of glucocorticoid may increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

To quantify glucocorticoid dose-dependent cardiovascular risk, researchers analyzed medical records of 87,794 patients diagnosed with 6 different immune-mediate inflammatory diseases receiving care from 389 United Kingdom primary care clinics in 1998-2017. The researchers found that for patients using less than 5 miligrams prenisolone per day, the absolute risk of cardiovascular disease nearly doubled compared to patients not using glucocorticoids (Hazard Ratio = 1.74; 95% confidence interval 1.64-1.84). Increased dose-dependent risk ratios were found across all CVDs measured, including atrial figrillation, heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, peripheral arterial disease,

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Novel mechanisms that cause protein clumping in brain diseases — ScienceDaily

A team of researchers at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has taken a major step toward understanding the mechanisms involved in the formation of large clumps of tau protein, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease and several other neurodegenerative disorders.

Their findings may help to better understand the pathological process and possibly lead to developing medications to treat such devastating brain diseases.

The study, “Regulatory mechanisms of tau protein fibrillation under the conditions of liquid-liquid phase separation,” was published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The senior author of the study is Witold Surewicz, a professor of physiology and biophysics at the School of Medicine. Solomiia Boyko, a graduate student, and Krystyna Surewicz, a senior research associate, co-authored the study, which was supported by the National Institute on Aging.

Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by the death of nerve cells in the

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Key molecules in brain development and neurodegenerative diseases identified — ScienceDaily

Neurological diseases of the brain such as dementia, autism and schizophrenia are now a growing social problem. Nevertheless, studies on their definitive cause are still insufficient. Recently, a POSTECH research team has identified the mechanism in which such neurological diseases occur, thus solving the enigma to treating them.

In the case of neurological diseases of the brain, problems arise when certain effects modify the synaptic plasticity and signal transmissions of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which has a profound effect on the development and differentiation of neurons. The information between nerve cells is transferred through synapses, where the synaptic activity and the synaptic structure are dynamically changed and regulated according to stimulations. During this moment, BDNF has prominent effects on the survival and synaptic plasticity of nerve cells. When it malfunctions, it not only interferes with the smooth information exchange between the brain cells but also kills neurons, leading to

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DeepMind Breakthrough Helps to Solve How Diseases Invade Cells

(Bloomberg) — Google’s artificial intelligence unit took a giant step to predict the structure of proteins, potentially decoding a problem that has been described as akin to mapping the genome.



a hand holding a cellphone: A Deepmind Health logo sits displayed on the screen of an Apple Inc. iPhone in this arranged photograph in London, U.K. on Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. Three years ago, artificial intelligence company DeepMind Technologies Ltd. embarked on a landmark effort to transform health care in the U.K. Now plans by owner Alphabet Inc. to wrap the partnership into its Google search engine business are tripping alarm bells about privacy.


© Bloomberg
A Deepmind Health logo sits displayed on the screen of an Apple Inc. iPhone in this arranged photograph in London, U.K. on Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. Three years ago, artificial intelligence company DeepMind Technologies Ltd. embarked on a landmark effort to transform health care in the U.K. Now plans by owner Alphabet Inc. to wrap the partnership into its Google search engine business are tripping alarm bells about privacy.

DeepMind Technologies Ltd.’s AlphaFold reached the threshold for “solving” the problem at the latest Critical Assessment of Structure Prediction competition. The event started in 1994 and is held every two years to accelerate research on the topic.

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Different folds in a protein determine how it will interact

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New technology can provide immunization against infectious diseases

A single-use, self-administered microneedle technology developed by UConn faculty to provide immunization against infectious diseases has recently been validated by preclinical research trials.

Recently published in Nature Biomedical Engineering, the development and preclinical testing of the microneedle patches was reported by UConn researchers in the lab of Thanh Nguyen, assistant professor in the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering.

The concept of a single-injection vaccine, which is recognized as a preferable vaccination approach by the World Health Organization (WHO), has been investigated for many years.

Previous efforts to create such a single-injection vaccine include a technology called SEAL (StampEd Assembly of Polymer Layer), developed in 2017 by Nguyen, to create single-injection vaccine microparticles which can deliver vaccines after several defined periods, simulating multiple bolus injections.

However, these microparticles require a large needle for the injection. Additionally, there is also a

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Pfizer and Moderna use mRNA in their COVID-19 vaccines. This never-before-used technology could transform how science fights diseases.

The success of two COVID-19 candidate vaccines marks a turning point in the long history of vaccines and could lead to major advances against a variety of diseases.

COVID-19 vaccine candidates from Moderna and Pfizer both promising

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Vaccines developed by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna are more than 95% effective against COVID-19, trials show. Both depend on a technology never before used in a commercial vaccine that could upend the way future ones are made.

This new messenger RNA technology, as well another method that depends on viruses to deliver vaccines, are transforming the field, said Brendan Wren, a professor of vaccinology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.



a laptop computer sitting on top of a table: Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine is being shipped in specially designed, insulated containers that hold between 195 and 975 five-dose vials and are about the size of a carry-on suitcase. The vials are stored in flat, pizza box-sized compartments, each of which holds 195 vials. A fully-loaded thermal container, which is reusable, contains five of these and weighs about 70 pounds. These "shippers" as Pfizer calls them have space at the top for dry ice, which can keep the vaccine at the necessary temperature for ten days if unopened, or five days as long as it’s opened no more than twice a day for very short periods of time


© Pfizer Inc.
Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is being shipped in specially designed, insulated containers that hold between 195 and 975 five-dose vials and are about the size of a carry-on suitcase. The vials are stored in

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New tool integrates psychological, social and medical data of patients with rare diseases

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Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Researchers from the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) and the technology center Eurecat have developed an innovative formal representation of rare disease data, including information unavailable in current models on rare disease patients’ biological, psychological and social profile. For their research, the researchers have obtained data on 25 patients from organizations such as Eurordis, the Spanish Rare Diseases Federation (FEDER) and the Rare Diseases Patients’ Association of Iran with the goal of including testimonials from different territories with different health systems.

The term used to refer to formal representations of knowledge that establish the different concepts of a specific field and the relationships between them is ontology. In such representations, it is important to use an open-source data format and international standards in order to ensure that this representation is accessible in all spheres. The ontology performed by the UOC uses an open source code and

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Tropical peatland conservation could protect humans from new diseases — ScienceDaily

Conservation of tropical peatlands could reduce the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the likelihood of new diseases jumping from animals to humans, researchers say.

The scientists reviewed existing evidence and concluded the high biodiversity in tropical peat-swamp forests, combined with habitat destruction and wildlife harvesting, created “suitable conditions” for emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) that could jump to humans.

COVID-19 did not emerge in a tropical peatland area — but HIV/AIDS and the joint-first case of Ebola both originated in areas with extensive peatlands.

The study also assessed the possible impact of COVID-19 on tropical peatland conservation and local communities — and identified “numerous potential threats” to both.

Led by the University of Exeter, the international study team comprised researchers from countries with large tropical peatlands, including Indonesia, DR Congo and Perú.

“We’re not saying tropical peatlands are unique in this respect — but they are one important habitat where

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Peatland conservation may prevent new diseases from jumping to humans

Nov. 17 (UPI) — In a new paper, scientists argue tropical peatland areas have been mostly ignored as potential settings for new diseases to jump from animals to humans.

According to the authors of the new study, published Tuesday in journal PeerJ, better protecting and restoring tropical peat-swamp forests could help curb the effects of the current pandemic, and also prevent the emergence of future zoonotic diseases.

COVID-19 has changed the way we look at the world — and scientists say it’s also changed the way they look at their areas of expertise.

“As it became increasingly clear that COVID-19 wasn’t going to magically disappear in a few weeks, we began thinking and talking about what the potential impacts of the pandemic might be on the conservation of this ecosystem and resident local communities, and the idea of this paper was conceived,” lead study author Mark Harrison, an ecologist and

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Breakthrough COVID vaccine tech could help defeat other diseases

ZURICH/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Breakthrough technology that transforms the body into a virus-zapping vaccine factory is poised to revolutionise the fight against COVID-19 but future pandemics and even cancer could be next, scientists say. The initial success of so-called messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccines in late-stage trials by Moderna as well as Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech is the first proof the concept works.

FILE PHOTO: The word “COVID-19” is reflected in a drop on a syringe needle in this illustration taken November 9, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Both experimental vaccines had efficacy rates above 90% based on interim findings, which was far higher than expected and well above the 50% threshold U.S. regulators insist upon for vaccines.

Now scientists say the technology, a slow-motion revolution in the making since the discovery of mRNA nearly 60 years ago, could speed up the development of new vaccines.

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