Plastic Effluents In Oceans Affect Oxygen Production Levels Of Bacteria

A new study carried out by researchers of Australia’s Macquarie University has revealed that plastic pollution of seas is having a negative effect on marine bacteria that produces 10 % of the oxygen we breathe. Their findings which have been published in scientific journal Communications Biology states that plastics are choking marine bacteria Prochlorococcus which has photosynthetic properties and produces oxygen like regular plants. Co-author of the study Lisa Moore stated that these microorganisms are very important for the food web of oceans as they contribute to cycle of carbon in the region and also contribute 10% to global oxygen.

Around 12.7 million tons of plastic that we dump into water-bodies like oceans and seas pose perennial risk to marine species like birds, fish and mammals that are likely to ingest it. A report in Medical News Today published in 2018 had shown that humans too consume micro-plastics over a period of time and that could have long term effects on our digestive system. A recent report of conservative group Fauna and Flora International collaborated with two charities to check the effect of plastic related population on humans. It found that a person dies every 30 seconds in the developing world due to pollution caused by waste that has been carelessly handled.

In fact the situation is so drastic that if current rate of pollution is allowed to continue then by 2050 the amount of plastic present in the oceans will soon outweigh quantity of fish present there. The researchers had exposed the marine bacteria Prochlorococcus to chemicals that are present in grocery bags and PVC mats and found that exposure to these chemicals reduced their growth and functions. Also these chemicals altered the genes of these bacteria and did not allow them to function in their natural way. In fact plastic pollution has widespread effect on ecosystems that are way beyond known effects on birds and turtles.


Drastic Drop Seen In Measles Incidence In The US After Vaccine Introduction

Before the introduction of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine in America during 1963 nearly every child in the country had contracted one of the diseases at some point in their childhood. Before this, as per data released by CDC around half a million new cases were recorded between 1942 and 1962. During this period around 4 million people used to be infected each year but several cases went unreported and of these around 400–500 died every year while 48,000 received treatment and around a thousand people contracted encephalitis.

But the situation improved drastically after introduction of MMR vaccine that led to strong plummet in measles cases. When there was a resurgence of measles cases during 1980 and 1990 health officials asked parents to given their children two doses of MMR instead of one. This was to ensure that parents that did not get their vaccinated due to lack of insurance would get it through the Vaccines for Children Program which was introduced in 1993 to provide vaccine to children that did not have insurance. These sustained efforts helped in eradicating the disease to a large extent and finally in 2000 the CDC declared that USA was finally free of measles.

Though people no longer considered measles as a threat, a study published by Dr. Andrew Wakefield in 1998 in which he claimed that MMR vaccine caused autism led to anti-vax movement that caused parents to stop getting their children vaccinated. Though seven different nations carried out eighteen studies across three continents to prove that MMR vaccine did not cause autism it still did not allay the fear of the vaccine from several concerned parents. This has led to resurgence in measles since 2016 within US and around the world where parents have not vaccinated their children there is 300 % increase in new measles cases. In US this year alone there have been 940 new cases of measles among unvaccinated children.


Antibiotic Combination That Restricts Alzheimer’s In Males

Study conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago has demonstrated that use of antibiotics over a long period of time could reduce inflammation of the brain that causes Alzheimer’s and slow down progression of the disease but only among males. Existence of Amyloid plaques in the brain is specific to Alzheimer’s and it forms when a specific protein that exists within brain’s neurons starts building up and forms clumps. These clumps or amyloid plaques disrupt functions of the brain cells and cause visible symptoms of Alzheimer’s to appear. The research was led by Director of Centre for Molecular Neurobiology at Chicago University Sangram S. Sisodia.

The team knew that people with this disease displayed changes in their gut bacteria and had also shown that this bacteria when given to rodents showed changes in their symptoms that were similar to Alzheimer’s. Their research showed that the changes in the microbiome led to slowdown in development of amyloid plague in mice that were male but did not affect females in similar manner. The researchers carried out a detailed study on an Alzheimer’s mouse model called APPPSI-21 and used a combination of antibiotics to examine effect of it on amyloid plaques and microglia activation in their brains.

Prof Sisodia’s team discovered that use of antibiotics over a long period of time affected microbiome of male and female mice in a varied manner. In fact excess consumption of antibiotics led to minimization in growth of amyloid plagues which converted the microglia into a state that did not disturb brain functioning. In fact the brain remained as normal as in a healthy individual but this situation was restricted only to male mice. In females changes in gut microbiome affects their immune system and increased production of factors may boost activation of microglia but that does not occur in male mice.


Spinal Implant Failure Caused By Microbes On Explanted Pedicle Screws

Pedicular screws are often used to protect equipment implanted surgically in the spine in patients with paraplegia. In some cases, these screws release over time, leading to spinal instability and the resulting pain. This is a common complication of spinal surgery. One of the reasons proposed to loosen the pedicle screw is implant infection, but so far little clinical evidence has been provided to support this theory.

The study included 82 patients who underwent surgery in which a material implant had to be removed from the spine. None of these patients had clinical signs or laboratories of active infection and there was no evidence of obvious infection during surgery. After the operation, the sonication was used to detect the presence of microbial biofilms in the extracted material. This application of sound energy breaks down any sticky biofilm that covers the surgical implants and separates the microorganisms that inhabit them. The microorganisms that colonized the implants were then inspecting to detail the types present.

The authors found signs of pedicle screw release in 54 of 82 patients; the other 28 patients formed a control group. The sonication verified the microbial colonization of the material extracted with one or more bacteria in 22 (40.7%) of the 54 patients with pedicle screw release. The sonication showed that no microbial colonization in the material was removed from the 28 patients in whom there was no detachment of the pedicle.

Based on the relationship between pedicle screw release and microbial colonization, the authors recommend that patients whose infected material was replaced would benefit from a systemic antibiotic-active-biofilm treatment to avoid additional bolus release the perioperative colonization of implants to disrupt biofilms and actively seek implant infections using advanced sonication and microbiological scrutiny at the time of reoperation.


Cancer Cells Are Quick Artists Becoming Accustomed To Their Environment

Till now, scientists have presumed that the development of solid tumors comes from cancer stem cells distinguished by particular surface indicators, which grow in a hierarchical, fixed order. For that reason, such cancer stem cells are accountable for tumor progression and create particular kinds of more varied cancer cells whose fates are predestined.

In a joint interdisciplinary program spearheaded by the LIH (Luxembourg Institute of Health), scientists now demonstrate that cancer cells of glioblastomas—noticeably aggressive strong brain tumors—manifest growth plasticity and their phenotypic properties are less forced than thought. Cancer stem cells, comprising their progeny, are capable of undergoing reversible transformations into different types of cell and adapting to environmental conditions, thereby modifying their surface structures. The outcomes mean that novel therapeutic methods, which aim particular cancer stem cells’ surface structures, will be of restricted utility. The research group has posted its results in Nature Communications.

On a related note, Glioblastoma is the most lethal and also the most prevalent kind of brain tumor in people, with no curative cure presently obtainable. Glioblastomas can’t be surgically entirely removed, as the tumor cells are skillful at spreading around the brain and invading tissues. Apart from this, glioblastoma cells are very resistant to current drug treatments.

For a long time, scientists have been seeking for vulnerabilities in glioblastoma cells that could be aimed with efficacious treatments.

A research team spearheaded by the University of Helsinki’s Professor Pirjo Laakkonen has already previously discovered that the expression of a tiny fatty acid-connecting protein (FABP3 or MDGI) in glioblastoma cells elevates their capability of invading tissues and is connected with a poorer diagnosis for the patient.

“Our new study disclosed that glioblastoma cells rely on a gene’s expression that makes the MDGI protein. Inhibiting the feature of this gene leads to the death of the tumor cells,” Laakkonen claimed.