Fabulous Fat: Lipid-Based Nutrient Supplements Combat Malnutrition Health 

Fabulous Fat: Lipid-Based Nutrient Supplements Combat Malnutrition

By Shayna Keyles @shaynakeyles Malnutrition affects hundreds of millions of children around the world. As of 2017, about 23 percent of children under five suffer from stunted growth because of malnutrition and about 8 percent experience extreme wasting, which is characterized by a low weight-to-height ratio. Although over the years many treatments have been developed that reduce chances of mortality, increase weight gain, and improve lean tissue creation—all signs of healthy development—more work is necessary to create an inexpensive, accessible, and long-term solution. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF; also known as…

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New Ways to Reduce Antibiotics in Food Animals by 2030. Animals Biology Health 

New Ways to Reduce Antibiotics in Food Animals by 2030

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore In a new study, researchers in the United States and Europe propose three measures—capping antibiotic use in farm animals, imposing a fee for veterinary use of antibiotics, and limiting meat intake—that, together, can reduce the use of antibiotics in food animals by up to 80 percent by 2030. Antibiotic resistance results from antibiotics overuse Overuse of antibiotics, particularly in animals for food, is the main cause of the spread of resistance whereby antibiotics lose their effectiveness, and infections become untreatable, leading to what many scientists call…

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Vampires, or People with Blood Disorder? Biology Health 

Vampires, or People with Blood Disorder?

By Michelle Dookwah @mtdookwah Vampires, or People with This Blood Disorder? Autumn is here, and with it comes cooler temperatures, shorter days, and a favorite fall holiday: Halloween. These last two features of the season have more in common than you may have realized. The shorter days of fall mean less daylight in the evening hours, and this might have a significant impact on the day-to-day lives of certain individuals with a particular blood disorder called erythropoietic protoporphyria. Erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP) is a rare genetic disorder that results in hypersensitivity…

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Ongoing Human Evolution Revealed in Data Biology Health 

Ongoing Human Evolution Revealed in Data

By Kate Stone @GotScienceOrg When I was about nine years old, a young schoolmate demanded to know, “If evolution is real, then why isn’t it happening now?” Being nine and not a biologist, I wasn’t prepared to answer this question. And yet, it was a question that I’ve heard echoes of in the years to follow. Now, a research team at Columbia University has conducted a large-scale study of genetic data and revealed how humans are evolving. In a study analyzing the genomes of 210,000 people in the United States…

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Urban Gardening Benefits Outweigh Lead Exposure Risk Environment Health 

Urban Gardening’s Benefits Outweigh Lead Exposure Risk

By Emily Rhode @riseandsci Three years after the Flint water crisis began, lead in drinking water continues to make headlines across the United States. But should city dwellers also be worried about lead exposure from something as innocent as their neighborhood garden? New research suggests that unless you are eating the dirt itself, you should be just fine. America’s urban neighborhoods are often food deserts where fresh vegetables and fruit are sometimes impossible to come by. Some 49–93 million people in the United States are food insecure—they have limited or…

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Spinach, iron, and fiber Biology Health 

Stopping Bacteria from Stealing Our Iron

By Ada Hagan @adahagan As we discussed last time, bacteria that infect the human body face a major challenge, iron, which is essential for bacterial growth, is hard to obtain from human tissues.  Many pathogenic bacteria solve this problem by deploying “stealth siderophores,” which steal iron from human iron-binding proteins while evading our defenses. In the battle between humans and pathogenic bacteria, our best weapons—antibiotics—are being weakened by widespread resistance. Is there a way to use bacteria’s need for iron against them? Researchers have pursued the answer to this question…

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Komodo Dragon Blood Inspires Alternative Antibiotic Biology Health 

Komodo Dragon Blood Inspires Alternative Antibiotic

By Katherine Lindemann In light of growing concerns about antibiotic resistance, the search is on for alternatives to existing antibiotics. Peptides, small protein-like molecules that sometimes have antimicrobial properties, are one promising avenue. In a new study, researchers modeled a synthetic peptide after one that occurs naturally in the blood of Komodo dragons, protecting the reptiles from infection. They found that it helped heal infected wounds in mice. The peptide, called DRGN-1, works by increasing the permeability of bacterial membranes. It also promotes the migration of skin cells to the…

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Spinach and Siderophores: The Bacterial Battle for Iron Biology Health 

Spinach and Siderophores: The Bacterial Battle for Iron

By Ada Hagan @adahagan Many remember the boisterous, muscle-bound, tattooed sailor Popeye and the thin-as-a-rail Olive Oyl from Saturday morning cartoons. In times of need, such as when his rival Bluto abducted Olive Oyl for the 50th time, Popeye would squeeze open a tin can of spinach. Eating the spinach, sometimes miraculously through his corn-cob pipe, gave Popeye that extra boost of energy needed to escape his bonds and rescue Olive Oyl. What was so special about spinach that gave Popeye his superpower? Iron. Or so I thought. It’s popularly…

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Biology Health Science Policy 

Science Policy Challenges, Part Three: The Aging Brain

By Jonathan Trinastic @jptrinastic This is the third in a series of four articles by Dr. Jonathan Trinastic in our new Science Policy section. In 2014, 46.2 million people over the age of 65 lived in the United States. By 2060, this number will skyrocket to around 98 million, increasing the percentage of older adults from 14 to 22 percent. As our population becomes older on average, later-life diseases will strike with more frequency. By 2025, more than seven million Americans will likely suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, a specific type…

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Public Health Fictions: An Interview with Miriam Doyle Health Science Policy 

Public Health Fictions: An Interview with Miriam Doyle

By Kate Stone @GotScienceOrg Miriam Doyle is a public health professional and one of an estimated forty thousand people who participated in the 2017 March for Science in Washington, DC. GotScience: What motivated you to make that sign? Miriam Doyle: Back in 2015, the Center for Medical Progress released manipulative and fraudulent videos about Planned Parenthood. The public uproar over the idea of Planned Parenthood profiting from the illegal sale of “baby parts” had no factual basis, but the impact was still significant. Congress formed the Select Investigative Panel on…

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