Archived News

  • Why outbreaks like coronavirus spread exponentially, and how to “flatten the curve”

    Date: 20/03/2020

    After the first case of covid-19, the disease caused by the new strain of coronavirus, was announced in the United States, reports of further infections trickled in slowly. Two months later, that trickle has turned into a steady current. This so-called exponential curve has experts worried. If the number of cases were to continue to double every three days, there would be about a hundred million cases in the United States by May.

    That is math, not prophecy. The spread can be slowed, public health professionals say, if people practice “social distancing” by avoiding public spaces and generally limiting their movement. Still, without any measures to slow it down, covid-19 will continue to spread exponentially for months. To understand why, it is instructive to simulate the spread of a fake disease through a population.

    To better understand why social distancing is important and how you really are capable of help us stop the disease, we really recommend you to try the simulator made by some experts interviewed by the Washington Post.

  • Migraine Linked to Distorted Neural Connections

    Date: 08/03/2019

    According to a recent study, people with migraines may have altered connections between the somatosensory cortex and the frontal lobe compared with people who do not experience migraines.

    In a study published in the Journal of Headache and Pain, researchers aimed to investigate abnormalities of the frequency-specific somatosensory-related network in patients with migraine by using magnetoencephalography (MEG).

    Researchers enrolled 22 patients who experience migraine without aura in the interictal phase and who were right-handed and matched them with 22 health controls by way of sex and age. Investigators sought to examine functional connectivity in the task-related networks of individuals with migraine using MEG.

    Right-handed patients with migraine without aura (interictal phase; n = 22; mean age, 29.27; 68.2% women; mean illness duration, 12.70 years; 36% and 64% with bilateral and unilateral migraine, respectively) and sex- and age- matched healthy controls underwent whole head MEG, magnetic resonance imaging, and frequency-specific network analysis. MEG scans were conducted and analyzed in a 1 Hz to 1000 Hz frequency range across multiple bands and a .2 msec electrical stimulus was administered to the right wrist median nerve of each participant.

    Read more on AJMC!

  • Scientists Identify Gene Partnerships that Promote Spinal Cord Regeneration

    Date: 06/03/2019

    Scientists at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) have identified gene “partners” in the axolotl salamander that, when activated, allow the neural tube and associated nerve fibers to functionally regenerate after severe spinal cord damage. Interestingly, these genes are also present in humans, though they are activated in a different manner. Their results are published this week in Nature Communications Biology.

    “[Axolotls are] the champions of regeneration in that they can regenerate multiple body parts. For example, if you make a lesion in the spinal cord, they can fully regenerate it and gain back both motor and sensory control,” says Karen Echeverri, associate scientist in the Eugene Bell Center for Regenerative Biology and Tissue Engineering. “We wanted to understand what is different at a molecular level that drives them towards this pro-regenerative response instead of forming scar tissue.”

    Echeverri’s prior research had shown that, in both axolotls and humans, the c-Fos gene is up-regulated in the glial cells of the nervous system after spinal cord injury. She also knew that c-Fos cannot act alone.

    “It’s what we call an obligate heterodimer, so it has to have a partner in life,” says Echeverri. “c-Fos has a different partner in axolotl than it has in humans and this seems to drive a completely different response to injury.”

    Read more on NeuroScience News!

  • Vitamin B12 and B9 Supplements Increase QOL in Patients with RRMS

    Date: 02/03/2019

    According to recently published research, vitamins B12 and B9 can lower levels of homocysteine, improve anemia status, and boost physical health in patients with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS).

    Current MS research has focused on the role of vitamin 12, folate, and homocysteine. Patients with MS have higher serum homocysteine levels than that of healthy individuals, which is associated with heart disease and can lead to detrimental effects in the nervous system. Lack of vitamin B12 can lead to a disruption in myelination, which is commonly associated with MS.

    Researchers enrolled patients with RRMS in a double blinded trial in order to determine how adding vitamin B12 and folic acid would affect serum homocysteine, anemia status, and quality of life.

    The study authors enrolled a total of 50 patients with RRMS who had not received vitamin B12 and folate supplements in the past 6 months. All participants completed 2 qualty of life questionnaires, 1 for physical health and the other for mental health, at the start and end of the study. Blood samples and blood pressure readings were collected from every participant, and the group was then split into 2 arms, the vitamin group and the placebo group.

    Read more on AJMC!