In the last week of January, our news selection is around understanding the role of inflammation and proteins in our bodies, such as that of inflammation in mood disorders, neurodegeneration, and arthritis. We also look to the gut microbiome to improve our knowledge of depression, and bring further news on the Coronavirus and how scientists in Australia have successfully grown a copy the virus which will ultimately help the development of a vaccine.
From Depression to Dementia, Inflammation is Medicines New Frontier
Unlikely as it may seem, #inflammation has become a hashtag. It seems to be everywhere suddenly, up to all sorts of tricks. Rather than simply being on our side, fighting infections and healing wounds, it turns out to have a dark side as well: the role it plays in causing us harm.
Newly Understood Protein Raises Hopes of Advanced Arthritis Treatments
Our body’s immune cells are highly effective patrol officers, springing into action when a foreign threat invades and poses a risk to our well-being. But they can be prone to cases of mistaken identity, incorrectly attacking healthy cells and joints to give rise to what we know as autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. Scientists have just discovered a new mechanism that can be key in regulating these immune attacks, raising new hopes of drugs that can protect against joint inflammation and the ailments it can bring.
Turning to the Gut to Better Understand Depression
Can the community of microbes in our digestive track influence our mental state and, if so, how? Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a disabling mental condition worldwide. Treatment resistant depression (TRD) is a particularly severe form in which antidepressant trials have failed. Recent research, however, is shedding light on the role of microscopic organisms such as bacteria, fungi and viruses on human health, both physical and mental.
Study Finds Parkinson's may be Predestined, and Identifies Skin Cancer Drug as Potential Treatment
Parkinson’s disease is characterized by the death of brain neurons that make dopamine, which normally helps to coordinate muscle movement. Hallmarks of the disease include the formation of Lewy bodies in nerve cells, which contain abnormal aggregates of α-synuclein protein. A study by researchers at Cedars-Sinai research has found that people who develop Parkinson’s disease before the age of 50 may have been born with dysfunctional brain cells that allow gradual accumulation of this protein.
Doherty Institute Scientists First to Grow and Share Wuhan Coronavirus
Scientists from The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute) in Melbourne have successfully grown the Wuhan coronavirus from a patient sample, which will provide expert international laboratories with crucial information to help combat the virus.