"Mini-kidneys" created from human stem cells
A three-dimensional kidney structure created by researchers may provide a new way to study kidney diseases and fill significant voids in scientists’ knowledge of kidney development.
The new platform may lead to treatments for restoring kidney function—a significant possibility due to the kidney’s rare ability to function once they are damaged by disease, researchers said.
Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies used human stem cells to create 3-D kidney structures. Reported in the journal Nature Cell Biology, the findings said that the new development was the first time researchers have used stem cells to create cellular structures similar to those found in human kidneys.
The findings suggest that the new kidney model may allow researchers to better study the development and diseases of kidneys and potentially create new drugs to target human kidney cells, researchers said.
Brain stimulation may help treat bulimia
People with eating disorders may be helped by electrical brain stimulation, according to new research.
Brain stimulation may particularly be effective for patients with bulimia nervosa—an eating disorder in which people suffer from a cycle of severe binge eating and purging in order to avoid gaining weight.
In the study, researchers from the University of Toronto examined the effect of brain stimulation on 20 patients with bulimia. The patients received 20 sessions daily for four weeks.
Six patients saw their symptoms disappear almost completely. Twelve patients saw some improvement in their symptoms, and two patients said their symptoms got worse.
In determining the reasons for discrepancies in the patients’ responses to brain stimulation, researchers found that in the brains of people who responded well to brain stimulation, there was relatively low connectivity between the frontal lobe and the brain areas connected to reward and craving. Brain stimulation may have helped to restore that missing connection in the patients’ brains, researchers said.
The findings suggest that brain imaging may help detect certain brain patterns, which could be used to predict which patients are most likely to benefit from brain stimulation, researchers said.
Spearmint and rosemary may boost memory
People suffering from age-related cognitive decline may benefit from spearmint and rosemary extract, according to a new study.
When the herbs are made into an enhanced extract, its antioxidants may improve learning and memory, the research concluded.
Professor Susan Farr from Saint Louis University School of Medicine in Missouri conducted an experiment examining the effects of spearmint and rosemary extract on mice with age-related cognitive decline. The study showed that in two out of three tests, rosemary and spearmint extract improved the mice’s memory. When the dose of rosemary extract was increased, the mice’s memory and learning improved the most.
Eating spearmint and rosemary may be beneficial in terms of improving cognitive function, but because the study was conducted only on animals, it is unknown whether consumption of these herbs–and at what dosage–would cause significant cognitive improvement.
Where someone drowns determines if they'll survive
Location may be the most important factor when it comes to determining a person’s chance of survival when drowning, according to two new studies.
Public places—such as recreation centers, open bodies of water and parks—are where most people drown the most, researchers said.
In a study published in the International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education, researchers examined drowning data between 2004 and 2008. They found that rural residents are more likely to die from drowning than urban residents, which is likely due to rural residents’ increased access to open water and limited access to swimming lessons, researchers said.
In another study, published in Canadian Journal of Emergency Medicine, researchers examined a database of cardiac cases attended by Greater Toronto Area paramedic services. Researchers found that drowning victims had a five percent chance of survival, partially caused by limited aid resources.
Findings suggest that more needs to be done in order to improve survival rates when it comes to drowning. In order to decrease risk of drowning, lead author and University of Toronto graduate student Jason Buick suggests that people swim with others in public places where there are lifeguards and many bystanders.
Crispy fries may be linked to cancer
A chemical called acrylamide has been found to be commonly contained in crispy french fries, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In a recent consumer update posted on its website, the FDA encouragee consumers to cut back on consumption of arylamide, which may be linked to increased risk of cancer.
Some studies conducted on animals have shown that high levels of arylamide are linked to increased risk of cancer. However, more research is needed—particularly long-term studies on humans—in order to better understand the link between arylamide and cancer development.
The FDA offers strategies on its website to help food manufacturers and operators to lower the amount of acrylamide in their foods. Since these strategies are not enforced, however, the FDA encourages consumers to do their part to cut back on eating foods with arylamide.
Besides crispy fries, the chemical acrylamide is commonly found in cereals, coffee, crackers, breads and dried fruits.