As we move into the final quarter of 2020, we bring you news of the discovery of a rare genetic form of dementia known as Vacuolar Tauopathy. From this discovery, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have been able to shed light on a new pathway that leads to protein accumulation in the brain and could be targeted for new therapies. The Nobel Prize in Medicine was also recently awarded and saw three scientists responsible for the discovery of Hepatitis C given the coveted accolade, the awarding committee said the discoveries have saved “millions of lives”. In other updates from the world of digital health we bring you news of the potential of wearables in detecting signs of IBD, and a UK supercomputer using AI for medical innovation. There’s also research around asthma, immunological diseases, and COVID-19.
Rare, Genetic Form of Dementia Described
The neurodegeneration that occurs in Alzheimer’s disease is closely associated with the accumulation of pathologic tau protein aggregates that form neurofibrillary tangles. The discovery of a rare genetic form of dementia sheds light on a new pathway that leads to protein build-up in the brain that could be targeted for new therapies.
Wrist-Worn Wearable Spots Signs of IBD
UT Dallas researchers have designed a prototype of a wristwatch-like device that detects two key biomarkers associated with inflammatory bowel disease - interleukin-1β and C-reactive protein (CRP). The study is said to be the first to establish that CRP is present in human sweat as well as the first to show that the two biomarkers can be detected in sweat.
Trio Wins Nobel Prize in Medicine for Discovery of Hepatitis C Virus
Two Americans and one British-born scientist now working in Canada have won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discovery of the hepatitis C virus. Their work has helped speed the fight against blood-borne hepatitis, a major global health problem that causes cirrhosis and liver cancer in people around the world. Their discovery has also allowed for the rapid development of antiviral drugs directed at hepatitis C.
The Coronavirus Enters Cells Through a Receptor, a Potential Key to a Drug
Nearly 20 years ago, when a different coronavirus struck, a team of scientists figured out how it was getting into human cells: targeting a specific receptor called ACE2 found on certain cells. During this year’s ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak, that receptor has attracted fresh attention as a potential target for drug companies because it seems to offer a cellular doorknob for this coronavirus, too.
Trial to Investigative Best Treatment for Childhood Asthma
An innovative new £1.5M UK clinical trial looking at the best treatment for childhood asthma has been funded by the UK’s NIHR. Led by researchers from the University of Liverpool and Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, the team will investigate whether taking a preventative inhaler only when a child has symptoms is as effective as taking it every day.
Study Connects Hormones We're Born with to Lifetime Risk for Immunological Diseases
Differences in biological sex can dictate lifelong disease patterns, says a new study by Michigan State University researchers that links connections between specific hormones present before and after birth with immune response and lifelong immunological disease development.
Nvidia Announces UK AI Supercomputer
As Nvidia continues to work through its deal to acquire Arm from SoftBank for $40 billion, the computing giant is making another big move to lay out its commitment to investing in UK technology. The company announced plans to develop Cambridge-1, a new £40 million AI supercomputer that will be used for research in the health industry in the country, the first supercomputer built by Nvidia specifically for external research access, it said.