Discovery of DNA: Feb. 28, 1953
Like a lot of other scientists at the time, Cambridge professors James Watson and Francis Crick have spent several years trying to unlock the secret of deoxyribose nucleic acid, better known as DNA. It’s a molecule thought to contain the human genetic code, but researchers have been unable to figure out how it did so and how that code is passed on from one generation to the next.
On this February morning, they finally figure out DNA’s double helix structure that allows it to “unzip” to create copies of itself. Soon afterwards, at a nearby pub called The Eagle, Crick announces to other professors that he and Watson have “found the secret of life.” When Watson gets home that night, he tells his wife that “we seem to have made a big discovery,” but she was not impressed because she had heard him say that before.
But it is a huge discovery. Two months later, they publish a one-page report on their finding in the journal Nature, including a schematic drawing of the double helix by Crick’s wife, Odile. For their breakthrough, which becomes the basis for genetic research, and later medical treatments and even criminal investigations, the pair is awarded a Nobel Prize in 1962. A few years later, however, they have a falling-out over Watson’s book, The Double Helix. Crick doesn’t like the way his former partner portrays him and considers the book a betrayal of their friendship.
Using sweat to fight superbugs, TB
Scientists have long been impressed by the body’s abilities to fend off viruses, fungus and bacteria. Now they may have found at least part of an explanation. New research notes that a protein in the skin – Dermcidin – fights off bacteria as it tries to attack cells. Activated during sweating, Dermcidin is being used to develop antibiotics that could be used to help fight hospital superbugs and deadly strains of tuberculosis.
According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from Scotland, France, Germany and Spain collaborated in researching how the body’s natural defenses could be applied to other settings, including fighting off a variety of viruses, fungi and bacteria all at once. This adaptability, the researchers say, is a key element in creating a versatile antibiotic capable of addressing multiple potential attackers.
That said, the doctors have not yet developed an antibiotic that can fight MRSA and TB simultaneously. Instead, they were able to identify the characteristics that may lead to such a product. Still, this is seen as a big step in spurring a new wave of biological medicine that help fight deadly infections.
Sourced from: Medical News Today, Could An Antibiotic From Human Sweat Fight Hospital Superbugs And TB?
Why snacking at night is bad for you
A little snack here, a quick bite there. Maybe some cookies or a bowl of ice cream before heading to bed. None of this can be that harmful, can it? According to new research, late-night eating causes people to gain more weight than eating throughout the day. The study found that the body tends to convert nighttime eating into fat instead of fuel, which it does during the day. This is true even when a person consumes the same foods with the same calorie content.
Researchers from Vanderbilt University tied this weight-gain phenomena to disruptions of the circadian clock, the body’s natural sleep and wakefulness cycles that control when you want to eat, sleep, exercise or perform other certain tasks. When a person disrupts their body clock, their metabolism is also affected. This could explain why night-shift workers have been found to have a higher risk of diabetes and obesity than people working a standard 9-to-5 schedule.
The scientists also found that when mice were made to be nocturnal—which disrupted their body clocks–the animals developed signs of insulin resistance, meaning their bodies didn’t respond to an increase in sugar, leading to fat gain. Insulin resistance in humans has been linked to diabetes and heart disease.
So, be careful with not just what you eat, but also when you eat it.
Sourced from: Live Science, Why Snacking at Night Is Bad For You
Red wine could protect against hearing loss
Good news from the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit: drinking red wine may actually help prevent hearing loss. In animal studies, noise-related hearing loss was decreased if red wine or red grapes were consumed prior to listening to extended periods of loud noise. One of the chemicals in the grapes, resveratrol, has been found to have significant health benefits, including those associated with heart health, Alzheimer’s prevention and preventing cognitive decline.
According to the study, nearly 20 percent of Americans suffer from hearing loss, often associated with aging. In addition to the obvious difficulty it brings to communication, it has also been associated with sleep problems and higher rates of heart disease. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of people suffering from hearing loss explore treatment options.
But it’s not a good idea to start guzzling red wine before loud concerts. First, consider that a number of other foods contain resveratrol, including white grapes, blueberries, peanut and other plants. Additionally, past studies exhibiting the benefits of resveratrol involved consuming large amounts of the chemical to gain significant benefits. In this study, rats were given 5 mg of resveratrol per kilogram of weight. For a 150-pound human, that equates to 568 bottles of wine per day.
Sourced from: Medical News Today, Red Wine And Red Grapes Help Protect Against Hearing Loss And Cognitive Decline