Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Smart Tool Predicts Pregnancy Complications in Mothers

Credit:Bridget Colla
Researchers at Queen Mary University of London had come together to develop which will help in saving both mother and babies lives. This tool effectively works by predicting whether the women in question are with early onset of the pre-eclampsia or are they fit to prolong their pregnancy. If you are wondering what eclampsia is then it is a condition which is known to affect as much as one per cent of the pregnant women and it is known to lead to extremely fata complication which might include the liver, kidney failure, lung problems, seizures and bleeding disorders.

How dangerous is pre-eclampsia?

Each year more than 1000 babies die due to complications rising from the pre-eclampsia. The PREP study conducted by team resulted in finding two highly successful method which helps in predicting the risk of the complications with an accuracy rate of the 84 percent among mothers. This research was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and it has already been published in the BMC medicine.

On the lead researcher associated with this study and development of the smart tool has stated that quite often babies are delivered prematurely which ultimately brings complications for the mother. Till today there is no robust test or guidelines to follow during the early birth scenario but the decision rest completely with the physician as well as mother in this regard.

It will be boon to the neonatal care

Currently the neonatal intensive care is in fragile state where one finds an acute shortage of the beds with higher hospital costs. Most of the hospital wards are concerned with the mother’s health and neonatal care takes a backseat. Secondly the cost of the facilities is so high that it becomes quite an expensive affair to check upon the pre-eclampsia tests.

Researchers had studied about 946 women who had shown the signs of early onset of the pre-eclampsia and they had been brought from 53 NHS trusts. Now the data was gathered for the participants through the team by carefully mentioning the age, gestation, blood pressure, liver & kidney function along with varied other parameters. The team of researchers were entrusted with the task of developing a mathematical model which will be able to predict the risk of complications in the participants who are the pregnant mothers.

How this smart tool works?

This tool has been named PREP model which will be helpful for the clinician in order to determine whether the mother is required to be transferred to the intensive maternal and neonatal care. The mother’s data and mathematical method will work together in analysing the mother’s health and it will help in figuring the high risk women from others.

Secondly the clinicians can make use of the PREP model in their regular practice through extremely well planned and robust clinical trials. This will help in understanding the subsequent rise of the pre-eclampsia among the pregnant women and it will also help in pre-emptive measure against it.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Zoonotic Diseases- An Assessment of Their Growth and Transmission

When an infectious substance is transmitted from one creature to the body of human being, some internal processes are started. It is called as pathogenesis of viruses. This pathogenesis indicates the basic replication, which reaches the specific organs in our body. A procedure through which the replication of pathogen takes place is related to receptors, which are specific to the organs or cells. However, zoonoses demonstrate some intricate patterns.

Zoonotic disorders may be seen in almost any place. In most of the developing nations, they access our body through food chain, and then, they get increased in due course.

Zoonotic issues in different countries-

If you visit the UK and Vietnam, then you can see that people are now communicating or dealing with animals in the same way. On the other hand, in Mekong Delta, there is a very common scene, where people maintain vast range of livestock in a place, which is adjacent to their residences. In this country, uterus and blood of pig are often consumed in raw form. So, Streptococcus suis is the foremost reason behind a type of meningitis. However, there is a problem in the process of growing infections. It is not simple to predict of their development and the possibility of their response.

As lots of intricacies are present in the appearance of zoonotic syndrome, it seems to be impossible to identify the transmission at the initial stage in any animal or some human being. The main reason of more complication of the issue is that observation system is not good in many poorly developed countries. These countries are dependent on only healthcare specialists, who diagnose the problem.

How the infections can be diagnosed easily-

The best fact is that with the help of zoonotic possibilities of any animal, it is easy to recognize them before they are transmitted to our body. But, for some reason, if this is not accomplished, everyone must be conscious of those infections. As soon as the infection has been diagnosed, all people have to be treated without delay. The seriousness of the condition is also to be analyzed with the clinical experts.

Diagnostic data is highly important to know about the transmission of Shigella sonnei. People, with serious diarrhoeal disorder, have such organism. At the time of scientific observation, it has been noticed that Shigella considerably resists fluoroquinolones, which are often used for treating infection.

All the findings from research were much unexpected. Such approach may not be a good strategy in the long run to prevent or observe any pathogen. Lots of improvements are needed in infrastructure in order to have a better model, mainly in low developed nations.

Since 2007, Vietnam already has started showing some changes. Stability in political domain and investment of economic asset has good results in the field of healthcare. However, still, there are lots of challenges. Southeastern regions of Asia are the major areas, where lots of steps are taken to secure the health of people.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Researchers Develop New Solution for Independent Living: the ‘Empathetic Home’

Empathetic home to give more independence to the senior citizens

We know that with an increase of our age, we need special care to maintain our body. In some cases, the family members give an extra attention to their aged relatives. Sometimes, caregivers are also employed to look after the elderly people. However, now, it has become much easier for anyone to care for the aged persons.

TU/e is going to introduce a new way of living independently. The researchers of this university have suggested a special type of environment, which is called as empathetic home. This special setting is named so because it empathizes with elderly residents of a house. The technology, involved in it, works as a caregiver. According to the explanation, provided by the researchers, some sensors are to be installed on the floors and walls.

Best home for handicaps and aged persons-

The scientists have planned for this environment, considering the fact that lots of citizens in Netherlands are ageing. If we look back at the year, 2013, we may see that the age of more than 2 million people is over sixty five. It is assumed that by the year 2030, it will reach almost 4 million.

 That is why some guidelines are also given from government in order to allow the aged persons to survive independently. In case of handicaps also, the settings must enable them to spend time in a standard environment. But, the main problem is that there are not enough accommodation units, which are compatible to fulfill all the diverse needs of elderly citizens.

Empathetic home does all your jobs-

Masi Mohammadi, one of the members of TU/e, has said that a good home should offer not merely a roofing structure over our head. It’s really a good idea, if that house takes the responsibility of giving care to all the senior inhabitants. Masi also added that the empathetic design of home has the ability of recognizing the residents and giving them response to their requirements. It also helps people to do workouts and provides them with customized care to ensure healthy life.

The main target with empathetic home is to make the room automated. The technology, relevant to it, is referred to as smart. And it is to be integrated flawlessly to your house. It is also possible to regulate the requirements of all residents and to support them in their everyday activities.

Regions selected for testing the new home-

Masi Mohammadi has decided to express her own vision about the special home. That is why she wants to test out some concrete components, which are to be added to your home. However, there should be an exceptional association with 3 advanced centers, which are in three regions, Hertogenbosch, Roermond and Eindhoven zone. These are labs, where the output of this new innovation will be researched thoroughly.

The concept of edible wall is to be launched. It’s a wall with vertical garden that comprises herbs. Seniors do not need to give much effort for gardening. Besides, the smart flooring also allows prevents the possibilities of slip and fall accidents.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Brain's 'GPS' Does a Lot More Than Just Navigate

Well, the most important part of our body is nothing than the brain. Often it is termed as the CPU of the body as it helps in taking decisions and thinking. Without the brain, a person is useless. However, the brain does more than just navigating or helping us to learn. The recent study or the report from the scientists have revealed that the region which helps in spatial navigation also help in cognitive navigation. Well, this is indeed a wonderful discovery by the scientists.


The recent study by the scientists revealed that a region in the brain called the hippocampus becomes active when the rats move around the environment. All that research showed that the cells in the entorhinal cortex fire when the creatures reach a certain specific location. This has led to the discovery that the brain creates a mapping of the outside environment on its own.

 This is like a mental positioning system to help the animal identify where its location is in the environment. The famous researchers in the Princeton has found that the same regions of the brain are active when the brain is roaming in the different kind of environment.

It may also take the sounds into consideration. The experiment was done with the help of the rats. They found that the rats responded to the different sounds after listening to the sounds and it matched with the similar traits when the rodents were roaming in their own backyard.


Well, it is a long mystery in the field of neuroscience that how the part of the brain called hippocampus could relate by mapping the external environment and also in creating memories. If the people have a damaged hippocampus, they are unable to form memories which is a major drawback for the people.

The researchers state that the combination of both hippocampus and the nearby entorhinal cortex help in making maps which are cognitive in nature. They involve tasks like memory and learning.

When the rats were given a different task like reconnoitering, the researchers have found some unusual evidence in the circuit of the hippocampus and the entorhinal cortex. They have chosen as the parameter to experiment.


The researchers then monitored the activities of the rats specially the electrical activity of the neurons present inside the brain. They found that the rodents were able to relate the sounds along with the frequency. The rats were trained to do some specific tasks like pulling the lever down bases on the sound frequency. After the performance, the rats knew that they would be rewarded.

This helped them to perform the tasks in the most efficient manner. The observing team found that the patterns of the neuronal triggering along with their behaviour. Slowly they advanced with the frequencies which were similar with the revolving around in the space.

Finally, it was concluded that the hippocampal cells become active when they are in a particular place and the entorhinal cells come into picture when the rodents travel through some specific places or locations.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Modeling the Female Reproductive Tract

With the ever increasing and developing folds of science has suggested the fact that there is nothing in this world that can spare itself from the spell of scientific innovation. The scientific discoveries and researches are going to the extent of erasing the world of impossibilities. Soon there will be a time when there would not be any question whose answer will not be there with science. May that be any serious disease or any natural calamity everything can now be subjugated with the notches of scientific evolution surpassing all levels of revolution.

Menstruation is very common to every woman. It is a natural phenomenon that will take place in every woman’s life at the appointed time. There are only few who remain unattended by this natural occurrence. In Chicago one of the Northwestern medicine has revealed the fact that a female reproductive organ can be developed that is small enough to fit in the hands and has the capability to denote the future of research leading to curing of several diseases that occurs in a female reproductive organ. It is sure to make every impromptu situation change into an intended reality.

The scientists have named this scientific innovation EVATAR which based on technology and comprises of tissues of humans that will simultaneously lead to testing of the sustaining capacity of every new drug, to project how much reliable the medicine is to affect the reproductive system of a female.

EVATAR is also said to grasp the pulse of very disease that can occur in a female reproductory organ, measuring the intensity of diseases like endometriosis, fibroids (which is most commonly found in maximum women), cancer and even infertility.

The scientists have got the idea of this terrific revolution is by using the cells of an individual that will lead to the formation of an identical model similar to their reproductive system. EVATAR is said to comprise of ovaries of 3-D models, fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix, vagina and even liver that contains a unique kind of fluid that will pump blood from all the other parts mentioned so that the desired function can be performed. This EVATAR has a structure that of a cube which is not at all big.

The lead founder of this scientific innovation known as Teresa Woodruff, who is a named scientist of reproductive organs and also the director of the Women’s Health Research Institute; situated at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, suggests that this is no way a revolutionary innovation; rather she claims that this evolution is entirely based on the pre-existing theories of technology that sustains the whole idea of artificial formation of a naturally existing norms to deliver a natural result from all perspectives that will also cure several other diseases and problems that a woman has to go through just because of a natural formation that takes place in her body on which she does not have any control. She will have to accept what comes to her may that be good or bad, but due this innovation some problems can at least be dealt with if not all.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

The Microbes in Your body That You Couldn’t Live Without

Microbial Life – Inside the Bowels

When Adam Rutherford took an uncomfortable test he discovered that for a healthy body full of good bacteria, one would need to do much more than consume probiotic yoghurt. It started off with what could be defined as an creative invention with a fold-out sheet having sticky tabs towards the front and back just like a flattened starfish. The tabs stick tend to stick to the seat of the loo and when it is in place, it is said to form a kind of hammock on which the specimen is offered, set for sampling.

He had slipped on the rubber gloves in preparation for the process. When he had left the deposit on the hammock a sample of the stuff with a small spoon attached to the inside of a blue lid of a test tube and wrapped in an icepack which was frozen earlier was dispatched - `Map My Gut which revealed what microbial life seemed to be inside the bowels.

Recently, numerous findings have indicated that the microbes in the digestive system seem to be more significant to our health and well-being than earlier presumed. On an average, we tend to have around one thousand different species of bacteria in our guts and in total though difficult to count could be around trillions. Most of it has been doing beneficial for us.

Microbes Help to Build Our Bodies

It is said that our genomes comprises of about 20,000 genes though our microbes tend to carry about 500 times more. This enables them to perform some tricks, they help to digest food, produce vitamins and minerals and even prevent us from suffering from some disorder by crowding and killing infectious bacteria. Moreover, they have also shaped who we are on the inside as well as the outside.

 Ed Yong, author of I Contain Multitude informs that our microbes help to build our bodies; they tend to sculpt and renew our organs as we tend to age. Besides, they may also influence our behaviour and the way we think. There have been several studies in animals portraying that microbes in the guts could influence their mood, personality and resilience to anxiety and stress.

But how much of these effects would carry in humans is still to be understood. However, we do tend to be aware that there is a much larger variation between people in our microbiome than there is in our genome.

Fermented Food – Healthy Microbiome

Makeup of our microbial is based on our medical history, our diet and our location. It is said to be a signature which could be very different to even our nearest relatives. Less than 100 species of bacteria tend to cause infectious disorder and the thousands of kinds of microbes located in our guts are according to author Douglas Adam, `mostly harmless’.

Top of the list of the most desirable are microbes such as Akkermansia and the Christensenellaceae which have been linked with protection against weight gain. Methanobrevibacter is said to be helpful in squeezing more calories from food which means that one could eat less while Oxalobacter tends to be helpful in the prevention of formation of kidney stones. For a healthy microbiome, fermented food is said to be especially good.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Scientists Identify Brain Circuit That Drives Pleasure-Inducing Behavior

Amygdala is that part of our brain which balances memory, emotional reactions and decision making processes and is responsible for making us stressed when we have that really important, or not so important, exam coming up. At least this is the train of thought scientists followed till the last 22nd March.

Graduate students Joshua Kim and Xiangyu Zhang authored a paper on an experiment supervised by Susumu Tonegawa, the Picower Professor of Biology and Neuroscience and a director at the RIKEN-MIT Center; which sheds new light on the activities of amygdala and show that they are hugely responsible to generate the happy feelings you get while biting on the piece of dark chocolate.

The experiment

The past body of research had been dedicated to unravel the circuitry of the brain from where negative behavior seemed to stem. Tonegawa and his team of neuroscientists from MIT conducted a groundbreaking research which has succeeded in confirming that amygdala consists of both reward and fear circuitry and is intricately involved in generating positive emotions.

Amygdala changed from the fear center of the brain to the reward generator in the experiment carried out by Tonegawa’s team on mice.Infact this research is a continuation of last year’s work where neurons from Basolateral Amygdala were thought to relay positive and negative information to nucleus of central amygdala.

Initially the central amygdala neurons were mapped into seven groups depending on the kind of genetic expression they point to. Then the mapped regions were exposed to optogenetics which basically uses light to control neural activity. What emerged from the experiment was five regions out of seven imitate reward related behavior which drove the mice to expose themselves more to light source. One region was found to be associated with fear related behavior.

Though about 90% of discovered amygdala tissue has been found to contribute to positive behavior, about 10% is still undiscovered and unmapped and according to Tonegawa the neural circuitry in the uncharted regions may be responsible to trigger negative emotions.

Generally, an amygdala can be said to exhibit appetitive behavior catering to satisfy the specific drive at an instant.

Aftermath of the experiment

The basolateral amygdala is being studied for the role it plays in fear extinction, which basically is a process used to overwrite the existing sets of fearful memories and replace it with positive ones and is used to treat cases of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder etc. Since the misconceptions about central amygdala acting as seat of negative stimuli has been invalidated, a new region called periaqueductal gray has emerged as research favorite to locate the pain and fear related stimuli.

The success of the experiment lies in firmly establishing the amygdala as a seat of positive stimuli and refuting its image as the fear center.Scientific community is elated at the new unexpected set of discovery. Scientists not officially related to the experiment have been quoted to find the new information to herald exciting times for brain research.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Virus Hydrophobicity Can Help Purify Vaccines

We usually try to detect virus in our body, whenever we become ill. However, now with the development of medical field, some researchers have found out a new way for recognizing virus easily by looking at the external layers.

A virus has a very intricate structure. On surface area of all viruses, there are tiny knits of some proteins. And these are mainly responsible for the serious effect, created by virus after having an interaction with our cells or the favorable environment in the surrounding area. If there is any alteration in the series of protein, then the surface turns out to be hydrophobic. It means that the part may repel water, and as a result, a sticky substance is formed on the surface.

One of the members (Heldt) at chemical research department of Michigan University has stated something about the new innovations of the researchers. At present, many of the associates of this University are trying to have a concept on how the hydrophobicity on virus surface is to be applied for the improvement in the production of vaccines.

A comparison on a variety of results-

Heldt has also claimed that dealing with purification of vaccine means working on the interactions on surface. While there is a disintegration of all components, they may not be applied as a kind of remedy. In addition to it, identification and removal of viruses also have a direct relation with all these interactions. Such facts may be very useful to the experts to know the interactions of virus or germs with our cells. The good news is that Caryn Heldt as well as her associates has made a comparison of different computational and experimental techniques in order to know the chemistry of surface.

Hydrophobicity- How the researchers tried to identify it-

Hydrophobicity may be defined as a property, which is found in a molecule that seems to be repelled or resisted from water mass. As the hydrophobicity of virus is quite tough to determine, the associates of Heldt emphasize the use of hydrophobicity pattern. These experts have also evaluated the possible measurements of hydrophobicity on the basis of protein, present in virus. They have tested out the specimens with the application of two chromatography types. One is the blend of chemicals and another one is fluorescent tints, which cause the appearance of hydrophobic, gluey spots on surface of proteins. The main fact is that all measurements try to make out something, which is easily accessible.

According to Heldt, the capsid of virus is so big that it is intricate to do measurements. To clarify the issues, Heldt has explained that capsid refers to outer shell, which comprises sixty same types of proteins, such as, VP1, 2 or 3. Heldt along with other researchers has tested VP2 and its exposed areas. There is a good link among all the results. And it reveals that any virus, including PPV has hydrophobicity, which is easily assessable. After having a better understanding of these measurements, the researchers may be able to detect virus.