Research

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Model analysis

Machine learning for Covid-19 diagnosis: promising, but still too flawed

Systematic review finds that machine learning models for detecting and diagnosing Covid-19 from medical images have major flaws and biases, making them unsuitable for use in patients. However, researchers have suggested ways to remedy the problem. Researchers have found that out of the more than 300 Covid-19 machine learning models described in scientific papers in 2020, none of them is suitable…

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BMMF research

Novel pathogens: a driver for colorectal cancer?

Do BMMFs, the novel infectious agents found in dairy products and bovine sera, play a role in the development of colorectal cancer? Scientists led by Harald zur Hausen detected the pathogens in colorectal cancer patients in close proximity to tumors. The researchers show that the BMMFs trigger local chronic inflammation, which can cause mutations via activated oxygen molecules and thus promote…

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How our brain handles the pandemic

Fear of Covid-19: The psychology of the pandemic

During pandemics, protective behaviors need to be motivated by effective communication. A critical factor in understanding a population’s response to such a threat is the fear it elicits, since fear both contributes to motivating protective responses, but can also lead to panic-driven behaviors. Furthermore, lockdown measures affect well-being, making it important to identify protective factors…

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Epidemilogical study shows

Covid variant B.1.1.7.: A lot more dangerous than the original form

The highly infectious variant of Covid-19 discovered in Kent, which swept across the UK last year before spreading worldwide, is between 30 and 100 per cent more deadly than previous strains, new analysis has shown. A pivotal study, by epidemiologists from the Universities of Exeter and Bristol, has shown that the SARS-CoV-2 variant, B.1.1.7, is associated with a significantly higher mortality…

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Singlet contrast imaging

Hyperpolarized MRI enables real-time view on metabolic processes

Hyperpolarized MRI is a recent development and its research and application potential has yet to be fully explored. Researchers at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and the Helmholtz Institute Mainz (HIM) have now unveiled a new technique for observing metabolic processes in the body. Their singlet-contrast MRI method employs easily-produced parahydrogen to track biochemical processes in…

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Reproductive medicine study

Seeing double: Why there are more twins than ever

More human twins are being born than ever before, according to the first comprehensive, global overview published in Human Reproduction, one of the world’s leading reproductive medicine journals. Since the 1980s the twinning rate has increased by a third from 9 to 12 per 1000 deliveries, meaning that about 1.6 million twins are born each year worldwide and one in every 42 children born is a…

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Oncology expert debate

Post-Brexit and future cancer research: What EU/UK deals may mean

Despite Brexit uncertainties, four leading UK cancer research experts expressed optimism for continued pan-European collaboration and innovation during the online panel debate ‘Brexit deal: What it really means for cancer research and innovation’ hosted by the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI). The experts, Dr Sheuli Porkess, Professor Richard Sullivan, Emlyn Samuel, and Jim Elliott,…

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Analysing molecular composition

Infrared light is key in novel blood test

A new study carried out by a team of laser physicists, molecular biologists and physicians based at LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics has confirmed the temporal stability of the molecular composition of blood in a population of healthy individuals. The data provide a basis for a new method of monitoring the constituents of blood and detecting alterations that reveal…

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Airborne attack

Pollen increase Covid-19 risk

When airborne pollen levels are higher, increased SARS-CoV-2 infection rates can be observed. These results were determined by a large-scale study conducted by an international team headed by researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Helmholtz Zentrum München. Members of high-risk groups could protect themselves by watching pollen forecasts and wearing dust filter masks.

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Potential for rapid, accurate glycan sequencing

Enormous boost for sequencing key molecules

Using a nanopore, researchers have demonstrated the potential to reduce the time required for sequencing a glycosaminoglycan — a class of long chain-linked sugar molecules as important to our biology as DNA — from years to minutes. Research to be published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences shows that machine-learning and image recognition software could be…

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Survivin research

Switching off the 'survival protein' for cancer cells

It is called the "survival protein" because it plays a central role in the growth of cancer cells: survivin influences two important processes in the body's cells at the same time – cell death and cell division. Chemists and biologists at the Universität Duisburg-Essen (UDE) have now succeeded in developing a precise molecule that can bind the protein’s surface at a defined site…

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A BOLD-100 approach

Novel metallodrug shows promise in tumour treatment

BOLD-100/KP1339 is a ruthenium-based anticancer agent that has been co-developed at the University of Vienna and which has shown promising results in clinical trials in cancer patients. However, the mode of action of this metal compound has not yet been fully elucidated. Researchers from the University of Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna have now been able to demonstrate that BOLD-100…

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Subsidiary atrial pacemaker

Researchers discover natural 'backup pacemaker' in the heart

Researchers at The University of Manchester and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust have discovered a backup natural pacemaker, which is able to generate a pulse and control the heart rate. The British Heart Foundation funded study ‘completely changes our understanding’ of the heart’s anatomy and has important implications on the work of cardiologists and heart surgeons. As part of…

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Fertility research

Type 1 diabetes shortens reproductive period in women, study finds

The length of the female reproductive period (the time from the onset of menses to the final menstrual period) has important health implications. A new study compared the length of reproductive periods for women with type 1 diabetes with women without diabetes to confirm the effect diabetes has on the female reproductive system. Study results are published online in Menopause, the journal of The…

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Tiny changes, huge effects

Finding causes of disease with induced pluripotent stem cells

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) are suitable for discovering the genes that underly complex and also rare genetic diseases. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), together with international partners, have studied genotype-phenotype relationships in iPSCs using data from approximately one thousand donors. Tens of…

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Mutations of SARS-CoV-2 & Co.

Tracking virus variants faster with sequencing

A global group of researchers is calling for better integration of viral genetics, bioinformatics, and public health to enable better pandemic response now and better pandemic preparedness in the future. In a comment piece in the journal Nature, an international collaboration of specialists in viral and genetic analysis, led by Swiss scientists Dr. Emma Hodcroft at the University of Bern and…

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Coronavirus research

Promising SARS-CoV-2 inhibitors discovered

A research team of pharmacists at the University of Bonn has discovered two families of active substances that can block the replication of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The drug candidates are able to switch off the the key enzyme of the virus, the so-called main protease. The study is based on laboratory experiments. Extensive clinical trials are still required for their further development as…

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Cancer vaccine research

Tackling tumors with two types of virus

An international research group led by the University of Basel has developed a promising strategy for therapeutic cancer vaccines. Using two different viruses as vehicles, they administered specific tumor components in experiments on mice with cancer in order to stimulate their immune system to attack the tumor. The approach is now being tested in clinical studies.

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Neuro-map reveals nourishment mechanisms

Food for thought: How our brain keeps its supply up

Our brains are non-stop consumers. A labyrinth of blood vessels, stacked end-to-end comparable in length to the distance from San Diego to Berkeley, ensures a continuous flow of oxygen and sugar to keep our brains functioning at peak levels. But how does this intricate system ensure that more active parts of the brain receive enough nourishment versus less demanding areas? That’s a century-old…

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Collagen 'pushing'

Supercomputer illustrates mechanical process of cancer growth

According to the World Health Organization, one in six worldwide deaths have been attributed to cancer; however, these fatalities were not due to initial malignant tumors—the deaths were caused by the spread of cancer cells to surrounding tissues and subsequent tumor growth. These tissues, which consist largely of collagen, have been the focus of a recent collaborative study by a team from…

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iPSC research

'Brain cell grafts' hold promise for reversing Parkinson’s symptoms

Grafting neurons grown from monkeys’ own cells into their brains relieved the debilitating movement and depression symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease, researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison report. In a study published in the journal Nature Medicine, the team describes its success with neurons made from induced pluripotent stem cells from the monkeys’ own bodies.…

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Multiphoton microscopy gives new insights

Microscopic behaviour of developing breast cells uncovered

An improved high-tech fluorescence microscopy technique is allowing researchers to film cells inside the breast as never seen before. This new protocol provides detailed instructions on how to capture hi-res movies of cell movement, division and cooperation, in hard-to-reach regions of breast tissue. The technology – called multiphoton microscopy – uses infrared lasers to illuminate…

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Pandemic forecast modelling

Exploring the uncertainties in Covid-19 simulations

Computer modelling to forecast Covid-19 mortality contains significant uncertainty in its predictions, according to an international study led by researchers at University College London (UCL) and Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) in the Netherlands. Their article ‘The Impact of Uncertainty on Predictions of the CovidSim Epidemiological Code’ was published in Nature Computational…

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Immersion is key

Hemodialysis: Virtual reality lessens side effects

Hemodialysis patients routinely experience side effects such as fatigue, lightheadedness and nausea during their treatment sessions. But patients in a study who used a virtual reality program to engage in a mindfulness/meditation exercise reported that these treatment-related symptoms were greatly reduced. Patients in the study wore a head-mounted virtual reality display to participate in a…

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