OK: Found an XML parser.
OK: Support for GZIP encoding.
OK: Support for character munging.
Notice: MagpieRSS [debug] Returning STALE object for http://fastmediaservice.com/feed in /data/web/master/cms/scripts/rss/magpie/rss_fetch.inc on line 243

Example Output

Channel: Fast Media Service

RSS URL:

Parsed Results (var_dump'ed)

object(MagpieRSS)#2 (24) {
  ["parser"]=>
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    array(11) {
      ["title"]=>
      string(86) "Treading wander paths to uncover the geological history of southwest Japan – NovLink"
      ["link"]=>
      string(143) "https://fastmediaservice.com/health-science-news/2021/08/27/treading-wander-paths-to-uncover-the-geological-history-of-southwest-japan-novlink/"
      ["dc"]=>
      array(1) {
        ["creator"]=>
        string(12) "Betty Foster"
      }
      ["pubdate"]=>
      string(31) "Fri, 27 Aug 2021 21:18:04 +0000"
      ["category"]=>
      string(21) "Health & Science News"
      ["guid"]=>
      string(143) "https://fastmediaservice.com/health-science-news/2021/08/27/treading-wander-paths-to-uncover-the-geological-history-of-southwest-japan-novlink/"
      ["description"]=>
      string(113) "Journal Reference: Koji Uno, Yuta Idehara, Daichi Morita, Kuniyuki Furukawa. An improved apparent polar wander..."
      ["content"]=>
      array(1) {
        ["encoded"]=>
        string(3826) "

Journal Reference:

  1. Koji Uno, Yuta Idehara, Daichi Morita, Kuniyuki Furukawa. An improved apparent polar wander path for southwest Japan: post-Cretaceous multiphase rotations with respect to the Asian continent. Earth, Planets and Space, 2021; 73 (1) DOI: 10.1186/s40623-021-01457-6

From the APWPs, geologists can trace the movement of continents dating back millions of years. One important event was the opening of the Japan Sea in the Miocene epoch of the current geological era (Cenozoic), whereby southwest Japan drifted away from the Asian continent. However, not much is known regarding the tectonic history of the region for the preceding Mesozoic era.

In a study published in Earth, Planets and Space, researchers from Okayama University, Japan aimed to fill this gap, by constructing the Mesozoic APWP for southwest Japan. This information is useful to understand the tectonic activity in East Asia, as Professor Koji Uno, the lead scientist on the study, explains, “The construction of the Mesozoic APWP for southwest Japan would contribute to elucidating the intracontinental deformation history along the eastern margin of East Asia since the Mesozoic.”

The researchers initially conducted paleomagnetic analysis on sandstone and mudstone samples taken from southwest Japan. By measuring the remnant magnetization in the rock samples, they determined the 110 Ma paleomagnetic pole position. In addition to this, they derived the paleomagnetic pole positions based on data from other studies to construct an APWP for southwest Japan during the mid to Late Cretaceous every 10 million years i.e. 90, 80, and 70 Ma. Combining their data with data on the well-established Miocene paleomagnetic poles, the researchers obtained the APWPs that highlighted the movement of southwestern Japan from the Cretaceous in the Mesozoic era to the Cenozoic era (110 million years to 12 Ma).

Comparing the APWPs of southwest Japan to that of East Asia, the researchers found the pole positions to be stationary between 110 Ma and 70 Ma implying that southwest Japan was a stable part of East Asia during the Cretaceous. However, post-Cretaceous, in the Cenozoic era, two clockwise rotations in the pole positions were found. The researchers interpret these as tectonic rotations of southwest Japan. “The earlier rotation occurred during the Paleogene (between 70 and 20 Ma), when southwest Japan was attached to the Korean Peninsula, as part of the East Tan-Lu Block. During the Neogene (between 20 and 12 Ma), the later rotation occurred, and southwest Japan detached from the East Tan-Lu Block to form the Japan Sea,” elaborates Prof. Uno.

These findings highlight the interaction of southwest Japan with East Asia and improve the understanding of the tectonic history of the region. Prof. Uno observes, “It is suggested that the interior of southwestern Japan was stably preserved, despite it experiencing a large tectonic event, the formation of the Japan Sea. Previous studies have shown that Kibi Plateau, the area where new data was obtained in our study, was a stable continental ground; the results of our study also support this idea. This is an important piece of evidence for the relative geological stability of the Japanese islands.”

Truly, unraveling history, even if it is the geological history of Earth, needs treading on the paths wandered along previously by the planet.

" } ["summary"]=> string(113) "Journal Reference: Koji Uno, Yuta Idehara, Daichi Morita, Kuniyuki Furukawa. An improved apparent polar wander..." ["atom_content"]=> string(3826) "

Journal Reference:

  1. Koji Uno, Yuta Idehara, Daichi Morita, Kuniyuki Furukawa. An improved apparent polar wander path for southwest Japan: post-Cretaceous multiphase rotations with respect to the Asian continent. Earth, Planets and Space, 2021; 73 (1) DOI: 10.1186/s40623-021-01457-6

From the APWPs, geologists can trace the movement of continents dating back millions of years. One important event was the opening of the Japan Sea in the Miocene epoch of the current geological era (Cenozoic), whereby southwest Japan drifted away from the Asian continent. However, not much is known regarding the tectonic history of the region for the preceding Mesozoic era.

In a study published in Earth, Planets and Space, researchers from Okayama University, Japan aimed to fill this gap, by constructing the Mesozoic APWP for southwest Japan. This information is useful to understand the tectonic activity in East Asia, as Professor Koji Uno, the lead scientist on the study, explains, “The construction of the Mesozoic APWP for southwest Japan would contribute to elucidating the intracontinental deformation history along the eastern margin of East Asia since the Mesozoic.”

The researchers initially conducted paleomagnetic analysis on sandstone and mudstone samples taken from southwest Japan. By measuring the remnant magnetization in the rock samples, they determined the 110 Ma paleomagnetic pole position. In addition to this, they derived the paleomagnetic pole positions based on data from other studies to construct an APWP for southwest Japan during the mid to Late Cretaceous every 10 million years i.e. 90, 80, and 70 Ma. Combining their data with data on the well-established Miocene paleomagnetic poles, the researchers obtained the APWPs that highlighted the movement of southwestern Japan from the Cretaceous in the Mesozoic era to the Cenozoic era (110 million years to 12 Ma).

Comparing the APWPs of southwest Japan to that of East Asia, the researchers found the pole positions to be stationary between 110 Ma and 70 Ma implying that southwest Japan was a stable part of East Asia during the Cretaceous. However, post-Cretaceous, in the Cenozoic era, two clockwise rotations in the pole positions were found. The researchers interpret these as tectonic rotations of southwest Japan. “The earlier rotation occurred during the Paleogene (between 70 and 20 Ma), when southwest Japan was attached to the Korean Peninsula, as part of the East Tan-Lu Block. During the Neogene (between 20 and 12 Ma), the later rotation occurred, and southwest Japan detached from the East Tan-Lu Block to form the Japan Sea,” elaborates Prof. Uno.

These findings highlight the interaction of southwest Japan with East Asia and improve the understanding of the tectonic history of the region. Prof. Uno observes, “It is suggested that the interior of southwestern Japan was stably preserved, despite it experiencing a large tectonic event, the formation of the Japan Sea. Previous studies have shown that Kibi Plateau, the area where new data was obtained in our study, was a stable continental ground; the results of our study also support this idea. This is an important piece of evidence for the relative geological stability of the Japanese islands.”

Truly, unraveling history, even if it is the geological history of Earth, needs treading on the paths wandered along previously by the planet.

" ["date_timestamp"]=> int(1630099084) } [1]=> array(11) { ["title"]=> string(91) "Promising candidates revealed for next-generation LED-based data communications – NovLink" ["link"]=> string(148) "https://fastmediaservice.com/health-science-news/2021/08/27/promising-candidates-revealed-for-next-generation-led-based-data-communications-novlink/" ["dc"]=> array(1) { ["creator"]=> string(12) "Betty Foster" } ["pubdate"]=> string(31) "Fri, 27 Aug 2021 20:15:17 +0000" ["category"]=> string(21) "Health & Science News" ["guid"]=> string(148) "https://fastmediaservice.com/health-science-news/2021/08/27/promising-candidates-revealed-for-next-generation-led-based-data-communications-novlink/" ["description"]=> string(94) "Journal Reference: Aobo Ren, Hao Wang, Wei Zhang, Jiang Wu, Zhiming Wang, Richard V. Penty,..." ["content"]=> array(1) { ["encoded"]=> string(3523) "

Journal Reference:

  1. Aobo Ren, Hao Wang, Wei Zhang, Jiang Wu, Zhiming Wang, Richard V. Penty, Ian H. White. Emerging light-emitting diodes for next-generation data communications. Nature Electronics, 2021; 4 (8): 559 DOI: 10.1038/s41928-021-00624-7

Light-emitting diode (LED)-based communications techniques allow computing devices, including mobile phones, to communicate with one another by using infrared light. However, LED techniques are underused because in its current state LED transmits data at far slower speeds than other wireless technologies such as light-fidelity (Li-Fi).

In a paper published by Nature Electronics, the researchers from Surrey and Cambridge, along with partners from the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, examine how organic semiconductors, colloidal quantum dots (CQDs) and metal halide perovskites (perovskites), can be used in LED-based optical communications systems.

The research team explored efforts to improve the performance and efficiency of these LEDs, and they considered their potential applications in on-chip interconnects and Li-Fi.

Dr Aobo Ren, the co-first author and visiting postdoctoral researcher at the University of Surrey, said:

“There’s excitement surrounding CQDs and perovskites because they offer great promise for low-power, cost-effective and scalable communications modules.

“Although the conventional inorganic thin-film technologies are likely to continue to play a dominant role in optical communications, we believe that LEDs based on these materials can play a complementary role that could have a sizeable impact on the industry.”

Hao Wang, the co-first author and PhD student at the University of Cambridge, said:

“Future applications of LEDs will not be limited to the fields of lighting and displays. The development of LEDs based on these solution-processable materials for optical communication purposes has only begun, and their performance is still far from what’s required. It is necessary and timely to discuss the potential strategies and present technical challenges for the deployment of real-world communication links using these LEDs from the material, device and system aspects.”

Professor Jiang Wu, the corresponding author from the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, said:

“Photonic devices for the Internet of Things (IoT) and 6G communication systems need to be high-speed, low-cost and easy to integrate. Organic semiconductors, CQDs and perovskites are promising materials that could be used to complement and/or compete with conventional inorganic counterparts in particular optoelectronic applications.”

Dr Wei Zhang, the corresponding author and Senior Lecturer from the University of Surrey, said:

“IoT and 6G communication systems represent a trillion-dollar market in the next few years. We are proud to collaborate with the top research teams in this field and accelerate the development of emerging data communication technology for rapid entry to the market in the next decade.”

" } ["summary"]=> string(94) "Journal Reference: Aobo Ren, Hao Wang, Wei Zhang, Jiang Wu, Zhiming Wang, Richard V. Penty,..." ["atom_content"]=> string(3523) "

Journal Reference:

  1. Aobo Ren, Hao Wang, Wei Zhang, Jiang Wu, Zhiming Wang, Richard V. Penty, Ian H. White. Emerging light-emitting diodes for next-generation data communications. Nature Electronics, 2021; 4 (8): 559 DOI: 10.1038/s41928-021-00624-7

Light-emitting diode (LED)-based communications techniques allow computing devices, including mobile phones, to communicate with one another by using infrared light. However, LED techniques are underused because in its current state LED transmits data at far slower speeds than other wireless technologies such as light-fidelity (Li-Fi).

In a paper published by Nature Electronics, the researchers from Surrey and Cambridge, along with partners from the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, examine how organic semiconductors, colloidal quantum dots (CQDs) and metal halide perovskites (perovskites), can be used in LED-based optical communications systems.

The research team explored efforts to improve the performance and efficiency of these LEDs, and they considered their potential applications in on-chip interconnects and Li-Fi.

Dr Aobo Ren, the co-first author and visiting postdoctoral researcher at the University of Surrey, said:

“There’s excitement surrounding CQDs and perovskites because they offer great promise for low-power, cost-effective and scalable communications modules.

“Although the conventional inorganic thin-film technologies are likely to continue to play a dominant role in optical communications, we believe that LEDs based on these materials can play a complementary role that could have a sizeable impact on the industry.”

Hao Wang, the co-first author and PhD student at the University of Cambridge, said:

“Future applications of LEDs will not be limited to the fields of lighting and displays. The development of LEDs based on these solution-processable materials for optical communication purposes has only begun, and their performance is still far from what’s required. It is necessary and timely to discuss the potential strategies and present technical challenges for the deployment of real-world communication links using these LEDs from the material, device and system aspects.”

Professor Jiang Wu, the corresponding author from the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, said:

“Photonic devices for the Internet of Things (IoT) and 6G communication systems need to be high-speed, low-cost and easy to integrate. Organic semiconductors, CQDs and perovskites are promising materials that could be used to complement and/or compete with conventional inorganic counterparts in particular optoelectronic applications.”

Dr Wei Zhang, the corresponding author and Senior Lecturer from the University of Surrey, said:

“IoT and 6G communication systems represent a trillion-dollar market in the next few years. We are proud to collaborate with the top research teams in this field and accelerate the development of emerging data communication technology for rapid entry to the market in the next decade.”

" ["date_timestamp"]=> int(1630095317) } [2]=> array(11) { ["title"]=> string(90) "MOGONET provides more holistic view of biological processes underlying disease – NovLink" ["link"]=> string(147) "https://fastmediaservice.com/health-science-news/2021/08/27/mogonet-provides-more-holistic-view-of-biological-processes-underlying-disease-novlink/" ["dc"]=> array(1) { ["creator"]=> string(12) "Betty Foster" } ["pubdate"]=> string(31) "Fri, 27 Aug 2021 19:12:13 +0000" ["category"]=> string(21) "Health & Science News" ["guid"]=> string(147) "https://fastmediaservice.com/health-science-news/2021/08/27/mogonet-provides-more-holistic-view-of-biological-processes-underlying-disease-novlink/" ["description"]=> string(99) "Journal Reference: Tongxin Wang, Wei Shao, Zhi Huang, Haixu Tang, Jie Zhang, Zhengming Ding, Kun..." ["content"]=> array(1) { ["encoded"]=> string(4354) "

Journal Reference:

  1. Tongxin Wang, Wei Shao, Zhi Huang, Haixu Tang, Jie Zhang, Zhengming Ding, Kun Huang. MOGONET integrates multi-omics data using graph convolutional networks allowing patient classification and biomarker identification. Nature Communications, 2021; 12 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-23774-w

To fully utilize the advances in omics technologies to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of the biological processes underlying human diseases, researchers from Regenstrief Institute and Indiana, Purdue and Tulane Universities have developed and tested MOGONET, a novel multi-omics data analysis algorithm and computational methodology. Integrating data from various omics provides a more holistic view of biological processes underlying human diseases. The creators have made MOGONET open source, free and accessible to all researchers.

In a study published in Nature Communications, the scientists demonstrated that MOGONET, short for Multi-Omics Graph cOnvolutional NETworks, outperforms existing supervised multi-omics integrative analysis approaches of different biomedical classification applications using mRNA expression data, DNA methylation data, and microRNA expression data.

They also determined that MOGONET can identify important omics signatures and biomarkers from different omics data types.

“With MOGONET, our new AI [artificial intelligence] tool, we employ machine learning based on a neural network, to capture complex biological process relationships. We have made the understanding of omics more comprehensive and also are learning more about disease subtypes that biomarkers help us differentiate,” said Regenstrief Institute Research Scientist Kun Huang, PhD, who led the study. “The ultimate goal is to improve disease prognosis and enhance disease-outcome predictions.” A bioinformatician, he credits the diversity of the MOGONET research group, which included computer scientists as well as data scientists and bioinformaticians, with their varying perspectives, as instrumental in its development and success. He serves as director of data sciences and informatics for the Indiana University Precision Health Initiative.

The researchers tested MOGONET on datasets related to o Alzheimer’s disease, gliomas, kidney cancer and breast invasive carcinoma as well as on healthy patient datasets. They determined MOGONET handily outperformed existing supervised multi-omics integration methods.

“Learning and integrating intuitive recognition, MOGONET could generate new biomarker disease candidates,”said study co-author Regenstrief Institute Affiliated Scientist Jie Zhang, PhD, a bioinformatician. “MOGONET also could predict new cancer subtypes, tumor grade and disease progression. It can identify normal brain activity versus Alzheimer’s disease.”

Drs. Huang and Zhang plan to expand this work beyond omics to include imaging data, noting the abundance of brain images for AD and cancer-related pathology images which can teach MOGONET to recognize even cases it had not previously encountered. Both scientists note that following rigorous clinical studies, MOGONET could support improved patient care in many areas.

In addition to Drs. Huang and Zhang, authors of “MOGONET integrates multi-omics data using graph convolutional networks allowing patient classification and biomarker identification” are Tongxin Wang, PhD, and Haixu Tang, PhD, of Indiana University, Wei Shao, PhD, of IU School of Medicine; Zhi Huang of IU School of Medicine and Purdue University; and Zhengming Ding, PhD of Tulane University. Dr. Wang worked in Dr. Huang’s laboratory. Dr. Ding, formerly of Indiana University, is an expert in the field of machine learning.

The development and testing of MOGONET was supported by National Institutes of Health grants R01EB025018 and U54AG065181 and the Indiana University Precision Health Initiative.

" } ["summary"]=> string(99) "Journal Reference: Tongxin Wang, Wei Shao, Zhi Huang, Haixu Tang, Jie Zhang, Zhengming Ding, Kun..." ["atom_content"]=> string(4354) "

Journal Reference:

  1. Tongxin Wang, Wei Shao, Zhi Huang, Haixu Tang, Jie Zhang, Zhengming Ding, Kun Huang. MOGONET integrates multi-omics data using graph convolutional networks allowing patient classification and biomarker identification. Nature Communications, 2021; 12 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-23774-w

To fully utilize the advances in omics technologies to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of the biological processes underlying human diseases, researchers from Regenstrief Institute and Indiana, Purdue and Tulane Universities have developed and tested MOGONET, a novel multi-omics data analysis algorithm and computational methodology. Integrating data from various omics provides a more holistic view of biological processes underlying human diseases. The creators have made MOGONET open source, free and accessible to all researchers.

In a study published in Nature Communications, the scientists demonstrated that MOGONET, short for Multi-Omics Graph cOnvolutional NETworks, outperforms existing supervised multi-omics integrative analysis approaches of different biomedical classification applications using mRNA expression data, DNA methylation data, and microRNA expression data.

They also determined that MOGONET can identify important omics signatures and biomarkers from different omics data types.

“With MOGONET, our new AI [artificial intelligence] tool, we employ machine learning based on a neural network, to capture complex biological process relationships. We have made the understanding of omics more comprehensive and also are learning more about disease subtypes that biomarkers help us differentiate,” said Regenstrief Institute Research Scientist Kun Huang, PhD, who led the study. “The ultimate goal is to improve disease prognosis and enhance disease-outcome predictions.” A bioinformatician, he credits the diversity of the MOGONET research group, which included computer scientists as well as data scientists and bioinformaticians, with their varying perspectives, as instrumental in its development and success. He serves as director of data sciences and informatics for the Indiana University Precision Health Initiative.

The researchers tested MOGONET on datasets related to o Alzheimer’s disease, gliomas, kidney cancer and breast invasive carcinoma as well as on healthy patient datasets. They determined MOGONET handily outperformed existing supervised multi-omics integration methods.

“Learning and integrating intuitive recognition, MOGONET could generate new biomarker disease candidates,”said study co-author Regenstrief Institute Affiliated Scientist Jie Zhang, PhD, a bioinformatician. “MOGONET also could predict new cancer subtypes, tumor grade and disease progression. It can identify normal brain activity versus Alzheimer’s disease.”

Drs. Huang and Zhang plan to expand this work beyond omics to include imaging data, noting the abundance of brain images for AD and cancer-related pathology images which can teach MOGONET to recognize even cases it had not previously encountered. Both scientists note that following rigorous clinical studies, MOGONET could support improved patient care in many areas.

In addition to Drs. Huang and Zhang, authors of “MOGONET integrates multi-omics data using graph convolutional networks allowing patient classification and biomarker identification” are Tongxin Wang, PhD, and Haixu Tang, PhD, of Indiana University, Wei Shao, PhD, of IU School of Medicine; Zhi Huang of IU School of Medicine and Purdue University; and Zhengming Ding, PhD of Tulane University. Dr. Wang worked in Dr. Huang’s laboratory. Dr. Ding, formerly of Indiana University, is an expert in the field of machine learning.

The development and testing of MOGONET was supported by National Institutes of Health grants R01EB025018 and U54AG065181 and the Indiana University Precision Health Initiative.

" ["date_timestamp"]=> int(1630091533) } [3]=> array(11) { ["title"]=> string(65) "Potentially safer approach to opioid drug development – NovLink" ["link"]=> string(122) "https://fastmediaservice.com/health-science-news/2021/08/27/potentially-safer-approach-to-opioid-drug-development-novlink/" ["dc"]=> array(1) { ["creator"]=> string(12) "Betty Foster" } ["pubdate"]=> string(31) "Fri, 27 Aug 2021 18:08:43 +0000" ["category"]=> string(21) "Health & Science News" ["guid"]=> string(122) "https://fastmediaservice.com/health-science-news/2021/08/27/potentially-safer-approach-to-opioid-drug-development-novlink/" ["description"]=> string(101) "Journal Reference: Li He, Sarah W. Gooding, Elinor Lewis, Lindsey C. Felth, Anirudh Gaur, Jennifer..." ["content"]=> array(1) { ["encoded"]=> string(4980) "

Journal Reference:

  1. Li He, Sarah W. Gooding, Elinor Lewis, Lindsey C. Felth, Anirudh Gaur, Jennifer L. Whistler. Pharmacological and genetic manipulations at the µ-opioid receptor reveal arrestin-3 engagement limits analgesic tolerance and does not exacerbate respiratory depression in mice. Neuropsychopharmacology, 2021; DOI: 10.1038/s41386-021-01054-x

“The holy grail of opioid research is to determine the ideal properties of an opioid analgesic for maximizing pain relief while reducing the adverse side effects,” said Jennifer Whistler, senior author on the paper and professor of physiology and membrane biology in the UC Davis School of Medicine. “This goal has become even more urgent in light of the devastation wreaked by the opioid overdose crises and the failure to identify other non-opioid targets for the treatment of severe and persistent pain.”

Whistler, who is associate director of the UC Davis Center for Neuroscience, has been researching the neurobiology of addictive disorders and their comorbidities and how to make safer opioids for more than 20 years.

Searching for new opioids with fewer side effects

Opioid drugs work by connecting to the mu opioid receptor (MOR) on cells. This receptor in turn signals through G-protein and can also engage a protein called arrestin-3. The prevailing view has been that engagement of the mu opioid receptor with arrestin-3 is responsible for the two treatment-limiting side effects of opioids: the respiratory depressive effects that cause overdose death and the development of analgesic tolerance that leads to dose escalation and increased risk of addiction and overdose death.

This doctrine has led to an almost two decades-long, highly visible search for new “ultra G protein biased” opioids that potently activate G protein but do not engage arrestins.

It has also led to the investment of millions of dollars into the clinical development of these new “ultra-biased” opioids, including recently FDA-approved Oliceridine, which Whistler predicts will have a higher liability to produce tolerance and addiction than our existing opioid therapeutics.

“Contrary to the prevailing hypothesis, we have found that arrestin-3 engagement prevents analgesic tolerance and does not exacerbate respiratory depression,” said Whistler. “We used a powerful combination of genetic and pharmacological approaches to demonstrate this point.”

The Whistler Lab team challenged the prevailing hypothesis with a panel of six clinically relevant opioid drugs and mice of three distinct genotypes with varying abilities to promote morphine-mediated arrestin-3 engagement. With this genetic and pharmacological approach, they showed that arrestin-3 recruitment does not promote respiratory depression and that effective arrestin-3 engagement reduced, rather than exacerbated, the development of analgesic tolerance.

New approach to developing opioid drugs

Whistler’s data suggest an entirely new approach to the development of opioid therapeutics.

“Specifically, we propose a shift in effort to develop “balanced” opioid analgesics that strongly promote arrestin-3 engagement, much like our endogenous endorphins do,” said Whistler. “In light of both the pressing need for new analgesics and the paradigm-shifting nature of our findings, we believe the time has come to try this new approach.”

These studies suggest that future development of safer opioids should focus on identifying such “balanced” opioid ligands that recruit both G protein and arrestin-3, thereby mimicking the signaling profile of most endogenous mu-opioid receptor agonists.

“There are a plethora of biased agonists, including all the opioids we take for pain. We cannot know whether a balanced approach will lead to safer opioids, until we have a library of such molecules to test,” Whistler said.

Additional authors on the study are Li He, Sarah W Gooding, Elinor Lewis, Lindsey C Felth, Anirudh Gaur, allat UC Davis. The work was partly supported by grants from the National Institutes of Drug Abuse, National Institute of Mental Health (both parts of the National Institutes of Health).

The UC Davis Center for Neuroscience is an interdisciplinary research center dedicated to understanding brain function in health and in illness. Teams of internationally recognized scientists lead research programs on a wide range of topics at all levels of brain development, function and dysfunction.

" } ["summary"]=> string(101) "Journal Reference: Li He, Sarah W. Gooding, Elinor Lewis, Lindsey C. Felth, Anirudh Gaur, Jennifer..." ["atom_content"]=> string(4980) "

Journal Reference:

  1. Li He, Sarah W. Gooding, Elinor Lewis, Lindsey C. Felth, Anirudh Gaur, Jennifer L. Whistler. Pharmacological and genetic manipulations at the µ-opioid receptor reveal arrestin-3 engagement limits analgesic tolerance and does not exacerbate respiratory depression in mice. Neuropsychopharmacology, 2021; DOI: 10.1038/s41386-021-01054-x

“The holy grail of opioid research is to determine the ideal properties of an opioid analgesic for maximizing pain relief while reducing the adverse side effects,” said Jennifer Whistler, senior author on the paper and professor of physiology and membrane biology in the UC Davis School of Medicine. “This goal has become even more urgent in light of the devastation wreaked by the opioid overdose crises and the failure to identify other non-opioid targets for the treatment of severe and persistent pain.”

Whistler, who is associate director of the UC Davis Center for Neuroscience, has been researching the neurobiology of addictive disorders and their comorbidities and how to make safer opioids for more than 20 years.

Searching for new opioids with fewer side effects

Opioid drugs work by connecting to the mu opioid receptor (MOR) on cells. This receptor in turn signals through G-protein and can also engage a protein called arrestin-3. The prevailing view has been that engagement of the mu opioid receptor with arrestin-3 is responsible for the two treatment-limiting side effects of opioids: the respiratory depressive effects that cause overdose death and the development of analgesic tolerance that leads to dose escalation and increased risk of addiction and overdose death.

This doctrine has led to an almost two decades-long, highly visible search for new “ultra G protein biased” opioids that potently activate G protein but do not engage arrestins.

It has also led to the investment of millions of dollars into the clinical development of these new “ultra-biased” opioids, including recently FDA-approved Oliceridine, which Whistler predicts will have a higher liability to produce tolerance and addiction than our existing opioid therapeutics.

“Contrary to the prevailing hypothesis, we have found that arrestin-3 engagement prevents analgesic tolerance and does not exacerbate respiratory depression,” said Whistler. “We used a powerful combination of genetic and pharmacological approaches to demonstrate this point.”

The Whistler Lab team challenged the prevailing hypothesis with a panel of six clinically relevant opioid drugs and mice of three distinct genotypes with varying abilities to promote morphine-mediated arrestin-3 engagement. With this genetic and pharmacological approach, they showed that arrestin-3 recruitment does not promote respiratory depression and that effective arrestin-3 engagement reduced, rather than exacerbated, the development of analgesic tolerance.

New approach to developing opioid drugs

Whistler’s data suggest an entirely new approach to the development of opioid therapeutics.

“Specifically, we propose a shift in effort to develop “balanced” opioid analgesics that strongly promote arrestin-3 engagement, much like our endogenous endorphins do,” said Whistler. “In light of both the pressing need for new analgesics and the paradigm-shifting nature of our findings, we believe the time has come to try this new approach.”

These studies suggest that future development of safer opioids should focus on identifying such “balanced” opioid ligands that recruit both G protein and arrestin-3, thereby mimicking the signaling profile of most endogenous mu-opioid receptor agonists.

“There are a plethora of biased agonists, including all the opioids we take for pain. We cannot know whether a balanced approach will lead to safer opioids, until we have a library of such molecules to test,” Whistler said.

Additional authors on the study are Li He, Sarah W Gooding, Elinor Lewis, Lindsey C Felth, Anirudh Gaur, allat UC Davis. The work was partly supported by grants from the National Institutes of Drug Abuse, National Institute of Mental Health (both parts of the National Institutes of Health).

The UC Davis Center for Neuroscience is an interdisciplinary research center dedicated to understanding brain function in health and in illness. Teams of internationally recognized scientists lead research programs on a wide range of topics at all levels of brain development, function and dysfunction.

" ["date_timestamp"]=> int(1630087723) } [4]=> array(11) { ["title"]=> string(59) "How fructose in the diet contributes to obesity – NovLink" ["link"]=> string(116) "https://fastmediaservice.com/health-science-news/2021/08/27/how-fructose-in-the-diet-contributes-to-obesity-novlink/" ["dc"]=> array(1) { ["creator"]=> string(12) "Betty Foster" } ["pubdate"]=> string(31) "Fri, 27 Aug 2021 17:07:48 +0000" ["category"]=> string(21) "Health & Science News" ["guid"]=> string(116) "https://fastmediaservice.com/health-science-news/2021/08/27/how-fructose-in-the-diet-contributes-to-obesity-novlink/" ["description"]=> string(107) "Journal Reference: Samuel R. Taylor, Shakti Ramsamooj, Roger J. Liang, Alyna Katti, Rita Pozovskiy, Neil..." ["content"]=> array(1) { ["encoded"]=> string(5277) "

Journal Reference:

  1. Samuel R. Taylor, Shakti Ramsamooj, Roger J. Liang, Alyna Katti, Rita Pozovskiy, Neil Vasan, Seo-Kyoung Hwang, Navid Nahiyaan, Nancy J. Francoeur, Emma M. Schatoff, Jared L. Johnson, Manish A. Shah, Andrew J. Dannenberg, Robert P. Sebra, Lukas E. Dow, Lewis C. Cantley, Kyu Y. Rhee, Marcus D. Goncalves. Dietary fructose improves intestinal cell survival and nutrient absorption. Nature, 2021; DOI: 10.1038/s41586-021-03827-2

The research, published August 18 in Nature, focused on the effect of a high-fructose diet on villi, the thin, hairlike structures that line the inside of the small intestine. Villi expand the surface area of the gut and help the body to absorb nutrients, including dietary fats, from food as it passes through the digestive tract. The study found that mice that were fed diets that included fructose had villi that were 25 percent to 40 percent longer than those of mice that were not fed fructose. Additionally, the increase in villus length was associated with increased nutrient absorption, weight gain and fat accumulation in the animals.

“Fructose is structurally different from other sugars like glucose, and it gets metabolized differently,” said senior author Dr. Marcus DaSilva Goncalves, the Ralph L. Nachman Research Scholar, an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism and an endocrinologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. “Our research has found that fructose’s primary metabolite promotes the elongation of villi and supports intestinal tumor growth.”

The investigators didn’t plan to study villi. Previous research from the team, published in 2019, found that dietary fructose could increase tumor size in mouse models of colorectal cancer, and that blocking fructose metabolism could prevent that from happening. Reasoning that fructose might also promote hyperplasia, or accelerated growth, of the small intestine, the researchers examined tissues from mice treated with fructose or a control diet under the microscope.

The observation that the mice on the high-fructose diet had increased villi length, which was made by first author Samuel Taylor, a Tri-Institutional M.D.-Ph.D. Program student in Dr. Goncalves’ lab, was a complete surprise. And once he made the discovery, he and Dr. Goncalves set out to learn more.

After observing that the villi were longer, the team wanted to determine whether those villi were functioning differently. So they put mice into three groups: a normal low-fat diet, a high-fat diet, and a high-fat diet with added fructose. Not only did the mice in the third group develop longer villi, but they became more obese than the mice receiving the high-fat diet without fructose.

The researchers took a closer look at the changes in metabolism and found that a specific metabolite of fructose, called fructose-1-phosphate, was accumulating at high levels. This metabolite interacted with a glucose-metabolizing enzyme called pyruvate kinase, to alter cell metabolism and promote villus survival and elongation. When pyruvate kinase or the enzyme that makes fructose-1-phospate were removed, fructose had no effect on villus length. Previous animal studies have suggested that this metabolite of fructose also aids in tumor growth.

According to Taylor, the observations in mice make sense from an evolutionary perspective. “In mammals, especially hibernating mammals in temperate climates, you have fructose being very available in the fall months when the fruit is ripe,” he said. “Eating a lot of fructose may help these animals to absorb and convert more nutrients to fat, which they need to get through the winter.”

Dr. Goncalves added that humans did not evolve to eat what they eat now. “Fructose is nearly ubiquitous in modern diets, whether it comes from high-fructose corn syrup, table sugar, or from natural foods like fruit,” he said. “Fructose itself is not harmful. It’s a problem of overconsumption. Our bodies were not designed to eat as much of it as we do.”

Future research will aim to confirm that the findings in mice translate to humans. “There are already drugs in clinical trials for other purposes that target the enzyme responsible for producing fructose-1-phosphate,” said Dr. Goncalves, who is also a member of the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center. “We’re hoping to find a way to repurpose them to shrink the villi, reduce fat absorption, and possibly slow tumor growth.”

Dr. Marcus DaSilva Goncalves is a paid consultant and shareholder of Faeth Therapeutics which is developing therapies for cancer. Dr. Goncalves has received speaking and/or consulting fees from Pfizer, Novartis, Petra Pharmaceuticals and TruMacro Nutrition. The laboratory of Dr. Goncalves has received financial support from Pfizer.

" } ["summary"]=> string(107) "Journal Reference: Samuel R. Taylor, Shakti Ramsamooj, Roger J. Liang, Alyna Katti, Rita Pozovskiy, Neil..." ["atom_content"]=> string(5277) "

Journal Reference:

  1. Samuel R. Taylor, Shakti Ramsamooj, Roger J. Liang, Alyna Katti, Rita Pozovskiy, Neil Vasan, Seo-Kyoung Hwang, Navid Nahiyaan, Nancy J. Francoeur, Emma M. Schatoff, Jared L. Johnson, Manish A. Shah, Andrew J. Dannenberg, Robert P. Sebra, Lukas E. Dow, Lewis C. Cantley, Kyu Y. Rhee, Marcus D. Goncalves. Dietary fructose improves intestinal cell survival and nutrient absorption. Nature, 2021; DOI: 10.1038/s41586-021-03827-2

The research, published August 18 in Nature, focused on the effect of a high-fructose diet on villi, the thin, hairlike structures that line the inside of the small intestine. Villi expand the surface area of the gut and help the body to absorb nutrients, including dietary fats, from food as it passes through the digestive tract. The study found that mice that were fed diets that included fructose had villi that were 25 percent to 40 percent longer than those of mice that were not fed fructose. Additionally, the increase in villus length was associated with increased nutrient absorption, weight gain and fat accumulation in the animals.

“Fructose is structurally different from other sugars like glucose, and it gets metabolized differently,” said senior author Dr. Marcus DaSilva Goncalves, the Ralph L. Nachman Research Scholar, an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism and an endocrinologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. “Our research has found that fructose’s primary metabolite promotes the elongation of villi and supports intestinal tumor growth.”

The investigators didn’t plan to study villi. Previous research from the team, published in 2019, found that dietary fructose could increase tumor size in mouse models of colorectal cancer, and that blocking fructose metabolism could prevent that from happening. Reasoning that fructose might also promote hyperplasia, or accelerated growth, of the small intestine, the researchers examined tissues from mice treated with fructose or a control diet under the microscope.

The observation that the mice on the high-fructose diet had increased villi length, which was made by first author Samuel Taylor, a Tri-Institutional M.D.-Ph.D. Program student in Dr. Goncalves’ lab, was a complete surprise. And once he made the discovery, he and Dr. Goncalves set out to learn more.

After observing that the villi were longer, the team wanted to determine whether those villi were functioning differently. So they put mice into three groups: a normal low-fat diet, a high-fat diet, and a high-fat diet with added fructose. Not only did the mice in the third group develop longer villi, but they became more obese than the mice receiving the high-fat diet without fructose.

The researchers took a closer look at the changes in metabolism and found that a specific metabolite of fructose, called fructose-1-phosphate, was accumulating at high levels. This metabolite interacted with a glucose-metabolizing enzyme called pyruvate kinase, to alter cell metabolism and promote villus survival and elongation. When pyruvate kinase or the enzyme that makes fructose-1-phospate were removed, fructose had no effect on villus length. Previous animal studies have suggested that this metabolite of fructose also aids in tumor growth.

According to Taylor, the observations in mice make sense from an evolutionary perspective. “In mammals, especially hibernating mammals in temperate climates, you have fructose being very available in the fall months when the fruit is ripe,” he said. “Eating a lot of fructose may help these animals to absorb and convert more nutrients to fat, which they need to get through the winter.”

Dr. Goncalves added that humans did not evolve to eat what they eat now. “Fructose is nearly ubiquitous in modern diets, whether it comes from high-fructose corn syrup, table sugar, or from natural foods like fruit,” he said. “Fructose itself is not harmful. It’s a problem of overconsumption. Our bodies were not designed to eat as much of it as we do.”

Future research will aim to confirm that the findings in mice translate to humans. “There are already drugs in clinical trials for other purposes that target the enzyme responsible for producing fructose-1-phosphate,” said Dr. Goncalves, who is also a member of the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center. “We’re hoping to find a way to repurpose them to shrink the villi, reduce fat absorption, and possibly slow tumor growth.”

Dr. Marcus DaSilva Goncalves is a paid consultant and shareholder of Faeth Therapeutics which is developing therapies for cancer. Dr. Goncalves has received speaking and/or consulting fees from Pfizer, Novartis, Petra Pharmaceuticals and TruMacro Nutrition. The laboratory of Dr. Goncalves has received financial support from Pfizer.

" ["date_timestamp"]=> int(1630084068) } [5]=> array(11) { ["title"]=> string(82) "Brain organoids mimic head size changes associated with type of autism – NovLink" ["link"]=> string(139) "https://fastmediaservice.com/health-science-news/2021/08/27/brain-organoids-mimic-head-size-changes-associated-with-type-of-autism-novlink/" ["dc"]=> array(1) { ["creator"]=> string(12) "Betty Foster" } ["pubdate"]=> string(31) "Fri, 27 Aug 2021 16:03:22 +0000" ["category"]=> string(21) "Health & Science News" ["guid"]=> string(139) "https://fastmediaservice.com/health-science-news/2021/08/27/brain-organoids-mimic-head-size-changes-associated-with-type-of-autism-novlink/" ["description"]=> string(116) "Journal Reference: Jorge Urresti, Pan Zhang, Patricia Moran-Losada, Nam-Kyung Yu, Priscilla D. Negraes, Cleber A...." ["content"]=> array(1) { ["encoded"]=> string(4407) "

Journal Reference:

  1. Jorge Urresti, Pan Zhang, Patricia Moran-Losada, Nam-Kyung Yu, Priscilla D. Negraes, Cleber A. Trujillo, Danny Antaki, Megha Amar, Kevin Chau, Akula Bala Pramod, Jolene Diedrich, Leon Tejwani, Sarah Romero, Jonathan Sebat, John R. Yates III, Alysson R. Muotri, Lilia M. Iakoucheva. Cortical organoids model early brain development disrupted by 16p11.2 copy number variants in autism. Molecular Psychiatry, 2021; DOI: 10.1038/s41380-021-01243-6

To study the effects of these variations and search for ways to minimize their impact, University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers are using brain organoids — tiny, 3D cellular models generated in the lab from people with 16p11.2 variations.

The organoids, described in a paper publishing August 25, 2021 in Molecular Psychiatry, mimicked the differences in brain size seen in people. They also revealed new information about the molecular mechanisms that malfunction when the 16p11.2 region of the genome is disrupted, providing new opportunities for potential therapeutic intervention.

“Because our organoids recapitulate the head size of the patients, that tells us this can be a useful model,” said senior author Lilia Iakoucheva, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “And we need better models to study autism spectrum disorder, especially during fetal development.”

Iakoucheva led the study with Alysson Muotri, PhD, professor of pediatrics and cellular and molecular medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

The brain organoids were created using induced pluripotent stem cells derived from people who have 16p11.2 genomic variations — three people with deletions, three with duplications and three non-variant controls. Researchers obtained a skin sample from each person, gave the skin cells a molecular cocktail that converted them to stem cells, then treated the stem cells in a way that coaxed them into becoming brain cells, preserving each patient’s unique genetic background.

The organoids revealed that RhoA — a protein that plays a big part in many basic cellular functions, such as development and movement — is more active in both 16p11.2-deleted and 16p11.2-duplicated organoids than it is in organoids without these variations. Over-active RhoA led to a slowdown in neuronal migration, the process by which brain cells get to where they need to be for normal fetal development and function in adulthood.

When the team inhibited RhoA in the autism-like organoids, neuronal migration was restored to levels seen in the control organoids.

“Our work opens the possibility to therapeutically manipulate the RhoA pathway,” said Muotri, who is also director of the UC San Diego Stem Cell Program and a member of the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine. “The same pathway may be also damaged in other individuals with autism spectrum disorder who have macrocephaly or microcephaly. Considering this, we can potentially help millions of patients.”

Organoids aren’t perfect reproductions of the brain. They lack connections to other organ systems, such as blood vessels, and so don’t encapsulate full human biology. In addition, therapeutics tested on brain organoids are added directly. They don’t need to get across the blood-brain barrier, specialized blood vessels that keep the brain largely free of microbes and toxins.

The team plans to further test RhoA inhibitors in a mouse model with 16p11.2 variations or over-active RhoA for their ability to reverse defects associated with autism spectrum disorder.

Co-authors include: Jorge Urresti, Pan Zhang, Patricia Moran-Losada, Priscilla D. Negraes, Cleber A. Trujillo, Danny Antaki, Megha Amar, Kevin Chau, Akula Bala Pramod, Leon Tejwani, Sarah Romero, and Jonathan Sebat, all at UC San Diego; Nam-Kyung Yu, Jolene Diedrich, and John R. Yates III, Scripps Research.

" } ["summary"]=> string(116) "Journal Reference: Jorge Urresti, Pan Zhang, Patricia Moran-Losada, Nam-Kyung Yu, Priscilla D. Negraes, Cleber A...." ["atom_content"]=> string(4407) "

Journal Reference:

  1. Jorge Urresti, Pan Zhang, Patricia Moran-Losada, Nam-Kyung Yu, Priscilla D. Negraes, Cleber A. Trujillo, Danny Antaki, Megha Amar, Kevin Chau, Akula Bala Pramod, Jolene Diedrich, Leon Tejwani, Sarah Romero, Jonathan Sebat, John R. Yates III, Alysson R. Muotri, Lilia M. Iakoucheva. Cortical organoids model early brain development disrupted by 16p11.2 copy number variants in autism. Molecular Psychiatry, 2021; DOI: 10.1038/s41380-021-01243-6

To study the effects of these variations and search for ways to minimize their impact, University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers are using brain organoids — tiny, 3D cellular models generated in the lab from people with 16p11.2 variations.

The organoids, described in a paper publishing August 25, 2021 in Molecular Psychiatry, mimicked the differences in brain size seen in people. They also revealed new information about the molecular mechanisms that malfunction when the 16p11.2 region of the genome is disrupted, providing new opportunities for potential therapeutic intervention.

“Because our organoids recapitulate the head size of the patients, that tells us this can be a useful model,” said senior author Lilia Iakoucheva, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “And we need better models to study autism spectrum disorder, especially during fetal development.”

Iakoucheva led the study with Alysson Muotri, PhD, professor of pediatrics and cellular and molecular medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

The brain organoids were created using induced pluripotent stem cells derived from people who have 16p11.2 genomic variations — three people with deletions, three with duplications and three non-variant controls. Researchers obtained a skin sample from each person, gave the skin cells a molecular cocktail that converted them to stem cells, then treated the stem cells in a way that coaxed them into becoming brain cells, preserving each patient’s unique genetic background.

The organoids revealed that RhoA — a protein that plays a big part in many basic cellular functions, such as development and movement — is more active in both 16p11.2-deleted and 16p11.2-duplicated organoids than it is in organoids without these variations. Over-active RhoA led to a slowdown in neuronal migration, the process by which brain cells get to where they need to be for normal fetal development and function in adulthood.

When the team inhibited RhoA in the autism-like organoids, neuronal migration was restored to levels seen in the control organoids.

“Our work opens the possibility to therapeutically manipulate the RhoA pathway,” said Muotri, who is also director of the UC San Diego Stem Cell Program and a member of the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine. “The same pathway may be also damaged in other individuals with autism spectrum disorder who have macrocephaly or microcephaly. Considering this, we can potentially help millions of patients.”

Organoids aren’t perfect reproductions of the brain. They lack connections to other organ systems, such as blood vessels, and so don’t encapsulate full human biology. In addition, therapeutics tested on brain organoids are added directly. They don’t need to get across the blood-brain barrier, specialized blood vessels that keep the brain largely free of microbes and toxins.

The team plans to further test RhoA inhibitors in a mouse model with 16p11.2 variations or over-active RhoA for their ability to reverse defects associated with autism spectrum disorder.

Co-authors include: Jorge Urresti, Pan Zhang, Patricia Moran-Losada, Priscilla D. Negraes, Cleber A. Trujillo, Danny Antaki, Megha Amar, Kevin Chau, Akula Bala Pramod, Leon Tejwani, Sarah Romero, and Jonathan Sebat, all at UC San Diego; Nam-Kyung Yu, Jolene Diedrich, and John R. Yates III, Scripps Research.

" ["date_timestamp"]=> int(1630080202) } [6]=> array(11) { ["title"]=> string(82) "Smallest biosupercapacitor provides energy for biomedical applications – NovLink" ["link"]=> string(139) "https://fastmediaservice.com/health-science-news/2021/08/27/smallest-biosupercapacitor-provides-energy-for-biomedical-applications-novlink/" ["dc"]=> array(1) { ["creator"]=> string(12) "Betty Foster" } ["pubdate"]=> string(31) "Fri, 27 Aug 2021 15:02:27 +0000" ["category"]=> string(21) "Health & Science News" ["guid"]=> string(139) "https://fastmediaservice.com/health-science-news/2021/08/27/smallest-biosupercapacitor-provides-energy-for-biomedical-applications-novlink/" ["description"]=> string(112) "Journal Reference: Yeji Lee, Vineeth Kumar Bandari, Zhe Li, Mariana Medina-Sánchez, Manfred F. Maitz, Daniil..." ["content"]=> array(1) { ["encoded"]=> string(7536) "

Journal Reference:

  1. Yeji Lee, Vineeth Kumar Bandari, Zhe Li, Mariana Medina-Sánchez, Manfred F. Maitz, Daniil Karnaushenko, Mikhail V. Tsurkan, Dmitriy D. Karnaushenko, Oliver G. Schmidt. Nano-biosupercapacitors enable autarkic sensor operation in blood. Nature Communications, 2021; 12 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-24863-6

In the current issue of Nature Communication, the researchers report on the smallest microsupercapacitors to date, which already functions in (artificial) blood vessels and can be used as an energy source for a tiny sensor system to measure pH.

This storage system opens up possibilities for intravascular implants and microrobotic systems for next-generation biomedicine that could operate in hard-to-reach small spaces deep inside the human body. For example, real-time detection of blood pH can help predict early tumor growing. “It is extremely encouraging to see how new, extremely flexible, and adaptive microelectronics is making it into the miniaturized world of biological systems,” says research group leader Prof. Dr. Oliver G. Schmidt, who is extremely pleased with this research success.

The fabrication of the samples and the investigation of the biosupercapacitor were largely carried out at the Research Center MAIN at Chemnitz University of Technology.

“The architecture of our nano-bio supercapacitors offers the first potential solution to one of the biggest challenges — tiny integrated energy storage devices that enable the self-sufficient operation of multifunctional microsystems,” says Dr. Vineeth Kumar, researcher in Prof. Schmidt’s team and a research associate at the MAIN research center.

Smaller than a speck of dust — voltage comparable to a AAA battery

Ever smaller energy storage devices in the submillimeter range — so-called “nano-supercapacitors” (nBSC) — for even smaller microelectronic components are not only a major technical challenge, however. This is because, as a rule, these supercapacitors do not use biocompatible materials but, for example, corrosive electrolytes and quickly discharge themselves in the event of defects and contamination. Both aspects make them unsuitable for biomedical applications in the body. So-called “biosupercapacitors (BSCs)” offer a solution. They have two outstanding properties: they are fully biocompatible, which means that they can be used in body fluids such as blood and can be used for further medical studies.

In addition, biosupercapacitors can compensate for self-discharge behavior through bio-electrochemical reactions. In doing so, they even benefit from the body’s own reactions. This is because, in addition to typical charge storage reactions of a supercapacitor, redox enzymatic reactions and living cells naturally present in the blood increase the performance of the device by 40%.

Currently, the smallest such energy storage devices are larger than 3 mm3. Prof. Oliver Schmidt’s team has now succeeded in producing a 3,000 times smaller tubular nBSC, which, with a volume of 0.001 mm3 (1 nanolitre), occupies less space than a grain of dust and yet delivers up to 1.6 V supply voltage for microelectronic sensors. This energy can be used for a sensor system in the blood, for example. The power level also is roughly equivalent to the voltage of a standard AAA battery, although the actual current flow on these smallest scales is of course significantly lower. The flexible tubular geometry of the nano-biosupercapacitor provides efficient self-protection against deformations caused by pulsating blood or muscle contraction. At full capacity, the presented nano-biosupercapacitor can operate a complex fully integrated sensor system for measuring the pH value in blood.

Thanks to Origami structure technology: flexible, robust, tiny

Origami structure technology involves placing the materials required for the nBSC components on a wafer-thin surface under high mechanical tension. When the material layers are subsequently detached from the surface in a controlled manner, the strain energy is released and the layers wind themselves into compact 3D devices with high accuracy and yield (95%). The nano-biosupercapacitors produced in this way were tested in three solutions called electrolytes: Saline, blood plasma, and blood. In all three electrolytes, energy storage was sufficiently successful, albeit with varying efficiency. In blood, the nano-biosupercapacitor showed excellent lifetime, holding up to 70% of its initial capacity even after 16 hours. A proton exchange separator (PES) was used to suppress the rapid self-discharge.

Performance stability even under realistic conditions

In order to maintain natural body functions in different situations, the flow characteristics of the blood and the pressure in the vessels are under constant change. Blood flow pulsates and varies according to vessel diameter and blood pressure. Any implantable system within the circulatory system must withstand these physiological conditions while maintaining stable performance.

The team therefore studied the performance of their development — similar to a wind tunnel — in so-called microfluidic channels with diameters of 120 to 150 µm (0.12 to 0.15 mm) to mimic blood vessels of different sizes. In these channels, the researchers simulated and tested the behavior of their energy storage devices under different flow and pressure conditions. They found that the nano-biosupercapacitors can provide their power well and stably under physiologically relevant conditions.

Self-contained sensor technology can support diagnostics — such as tumor diagnostics

The hydrogen potential (pH) of blood is subject to fluctuations. Continuous measurement of the pH can thus help in the early detection of tumors, for example. For this purpose, the researchers developed a pH sensor that is supplied with energy by the nano-biosupercapacitor.

The 5 µm thin film transistor (TFT) technology previously established in Prof. Oliver Schmidt’s research team could be used to develop a ring oscillator with exceptional mechanical flexibility, operating at low power (nW to µW) and high frequencies (up to 100MHz).

For the current project, the team used a nBSC based ring oscillator. The team integrated a pH-sensitive BSC into the ring oscillator so that there is a change in output frequency depending on the pH of the electrolyte. This pH-sensitive ring oscillator was also formed into a tubular 3D geometry using the “Swiss-roll” Origami technique, creating a fully integrated and ultra-compact system of energy storage and sensor.

The hollow inner core of this micro sensor system serves as a channel for the blood plasma. In addition, three nBSCs connected in series with the sensor enable particularly efficient and self-sufficient pH measurement.

These properties open up a wide range of possible applications, for example in diagnostics and medication.

" } ["summary"]=> string(112) "Journal Reference: Yeji Lee, Vineeth Kumar Bandari, Zhe Li, Mariana Medina-Sánchez, Manfred F. Maitz, Daniil..." ["atom_content"]=> string(7536) "

Journal Reference:

  1. Yeji Lee, Vineeth Kumar Bandari, Zhe Li, Mariana Medina-Sánchez, Manfred F. Maitz, Daniil Karnaushenko, Mikhail V. Tsurkan, Dmitriy D. Karnaushenko, Oliver G. Schmidt. Nano-biosupercapacitors enable autarkic sensor operation in blood. Nature Communications, 2021; 12 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-24863-6

In the current issue of Nature Communication, the researchers report on the smallest microsupercapacitors to date, which already functions in (artificial) blood vessels and can be used as an energy source for a tiny sensor system to measure pH.

This storage system opens up possibilities for intravascular implants and microrobotic systems for next-generation biomedicine that could operate in hard-to-reach small spaces deep inside the human body. For example, real-time detection of blood pH can help predict early tumor growing. “It is extremely encouraging to see how new, extremely flexible, and adaptive microelectronics is making it into the miniaturized world of biological systems,” says research group leader Prof. Dr. Oliver G. Schmidt, who is extremely pleased with this research success.

The fabrication of the samples and the investigation of the biosupercapacitor were largely carried out at the Research Center MAIN at Chemnitz University of Technology.

“The architecture of our nano-bio supercapacitors offers the first potential solution to one of the biggest challenges — tiny integrated energy storage devices that enable the self-sufficient operation of multifunctional microsystems,” says Dr. Vineeth Kumar, researcher in Prof. Schmidt’s team and a research associate at the MAIN research center.

Smaller than a speck of dust — voltage comparable to a AAA battery

Ever smaller energy storage devices in the submillimeter range — so-called “nano-supercapacitors” (nBSC) — for even smaller microelectronic components are not only a major technical challenge, however. This is because, as a rule, these supercapacitors do not use biocompatible materials but, for example, corrosive electrolytes and quickly discharge themselves in the event of defects and contamination. Both aspects make them unsuitable for biomedical applications in the body. So-called “biosupercapacitors (BSCs)” offer a solution. They have two outstanding properties: they are fully biocompatible, which means that they can be used in body fluids such as blood and can be used for further medical studies.

In addition, biosupercapacitors can compensate for self-discharge behavior through bio-electrochemical reactions. In doing so, they even benefit from the body’s own reactions. This is because, in addition to typical charge storage reactions of a supercapacitor, redox enzymatic reactions and living cells naturally present in the blood increase the performance of the device by 40%.

Currently, the smallest such energy storage devices are larger than 3 mm3. Prof. Oliver Schmidt’s team has now succeeded in producing a 3,000 times smaller tubular nBSC, which, with a volume of 0.001 mm3 (1 nanolitre), occupies less space than a grain of dust and yet delivers up to 1.6 V supply voltage for microelectronic sensors. This energy can be used for a sensor system in the blood, for example. The power level also is roughly equivalent to the voltage of a standard AAA battery, although the actual current flow on these smallest scales is of course significantly lower. The flexible tubular geometry of the nano-biosupercapacitor provides efficient self-protection against deformations caused by pulsating blood or muscle contraction. At full capacity, the presented nano-biosupercapacitor can operate a complex fully integrated sensor system for measuring the pH value in blood.

Thanks to Origami structure technology: flexible, robust, tiny

Origami structure technology involves placing the materials required for the nBSC components on a wafer-thin surface under high mechanical tension. When the material layers are subsequently detached from the surface in a controlled manner, the strain energy is released and the layers wind themselves into compact 3D devices with high accuracy and yield (95%). The nano-biosupercapacitors produced in this way were tested in three solutions called electrolytes: Saline, blood plasma, and blood. In all three electrolytes, energy storage was sufficiently successful, albeit with varying efficiency. In blood, the nano-biosupercapacitor showed excellent lifetime, holding up to 70% of its initial capacity even after 16 hours. A proton exchange separator (PES) was used to suppress the rapid self-discharge.

Performance stability even under realistic conditions

In order to maintain natural body functions in different situations, the flow characteristics of the blood and the pressure in the vessels are under constant change. Blood flow pulsates and varies according to vessel diameter and blood pressure. Any implantable system within the circulatory system must withstand these physiological conditions while maintaining stable performance.

The team therefore studied the performance of their development — similar to a wind tunnel — in so-called microfluidic channels with diameters of 120 to 150 µm (0.12 to 0.15 mm) to mimic blood vessels of different sizes. In these channels, the researchers simulated and tested the behavior of their energy storage devices under different flow and pressure conditions. They found that the nano-biosupercapacitors can provide their power well and stably under physiologically relevant conditions.

Self-contained sensor technology can support diagnostics — such as tumor diagnostics

The hydrogen potential (pH) of blood is subject to fluctuations. Continuous measurement of the pH can thus help in the early detection of tumors, for example. For this purpose, the researchers developed a pH sensor that is supplied with energy by the nano-biosupercapacitor.

The 5 µm thin film transistor (TFT) technology previously established in Prof. Oliver Schmidt’s research team could be used to develop a ring oscillator with exceptional mechanical flexibility, operating at low power (nW to µW) and high frequencies (up to 100MHz).

For the current project, the team used a nBSC based ring oscillator. The team integrated a pH-sensitive BSC into the ring oscillator so that there is a change in output frequency depending on the pH of the electrolyte. This pH-sensitive ring oscillator was also formed into a tubular 3D geometry using the “Swiss-roll” Origami technique, creating a fully integrated and ultra-compact system of energy storage and sensor.

The hollow inner core of this micro sensor system serves as a channel for the blood plasma. In addition, three nBSCs connected in series with the sensor enable particularly efficient and self-sufficient pH measurement.

These properties open up a wide range of possible applications, for example in diagnostics and medication.

" ["date_timestamp"]=> int(1630076547) } [7]=> array(11) { ["title"]=> string(54) "Will it be safe for humans to fly to Mars? – NovLink" ["link"]=> string(110) "https://fastmediaservice.com/health-science-news/2021/08/27/will-it-be-safe-for-humans-to-fly-to-mars-novlink/" ["dc"]=> array(1) { ["creator"]=> string(12) "Betty Foster" } ["pubdate"]=> string(31) "Fri, 27 Aug 2021 13:58:39 +0000" ["category"]=> string(21) "Health & Science News" ["guid"]=> string(110) "https://fastmediaservice.com/health-science-news/2021/08/27/will-it-be-safe-for-humans-to-fly-to-mars-novlink/" ["description"]=> string(102) "Journal Reference: M.I. Dobynde, Y.Y. Shprits, A.Yu. Drozdov, J. Hoffman, J. Li. Beating 1 Sievert:..." ["content"]=> array(1) { ["encoded"]=> string(3889) "

Journal Reference:

  1. M.I. Dobynde, Y.Y. Shprits, A.Yu. Drozdov, J. Hoffman, J. Li. Beating 1 Sievert: Optimal Radiation Shielding of Astronauts on a Mission to Mars. Space Weather, 2021; DOI: 10.1029/2021SW002749

Answering two key questions would go a long way toward overcoming that hurdle: Would particle radiation pose too grave a threat to human life throughout a round trip to the red planet? And, could the very timing of a mission to Mars help shield astronauts and the spacecraft from the radiation?

In a new article published in the peer-reviewed journal Space Weather, an international team of space scientists, including researchers from UCLA, answers those two questions with a “no” and a “yes.”

That is, humans should be able to safely travel to and from Mars, provided that the spacecraft has sufficient shielding and the round trip is shorter than approximately four years. And the timing of a human mission to Mars would indeed make a difference: The scientists determined that the best time for a flight to leave Earth would be when solar activity is at its peak, known as the solar maximum.

The scientists’ calculations demonstrate that it would be possible to shield a Mars-bound spacecraft from energetic particles from the sun because, during solar maximum, the most dangerous and energetic particles from distant galaxies are deflected by the enhanced solar activity.

A trip of that length would be conceivable. The average flight to Mars takes about nine months, so depending on the timing of launch and available fuel, it is plausible that a human mission could reach the planet and return to Earth in less than two years, according to Yuri Shprits, a UCLA research geophysicist and co-author of the paper.

“This study shows that while space radiation imposes strict limitations on how heavy the spacecraft can be and the time of launch, and it presents technological difficulties for human missions to Mars, such a mission is viable,” said Shprits, who also is head of space physics and space weather at GFZ Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam, Germany.

The researchers recommend a mission not longer than four years because a longer journey would expose astronauts to a dangerously high amount of radiation during the round trip — even assuming they went when it was relatively safer than at other times. They also report that the main danger to such a flight would be particles from outside of our solar system.

Shprits and colleagues from UCLA, MIT, Moscow’s Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology and GFZ Potsdam combined geophysical models of particle radiation for a solar cycle with models for how radiation would affect both human passengers — including its varying effects on different bodily organs — and a spacecraft. The modeling determined that having a spacecraft’s shell built out of a relatively thick material could help protect astronauts from radiation, but that if the shielding is too thick, it could actually increase the amount of secondary radiation to which they are exposed.

The two main types of hazardous radiation in space are solar energetic particles and galactic cosmic rays; the intensity of each depends on solar activity. Galactic cosmic ray activity is lowest within the six to 12 months after the peak of solar activity, while solar energetic particles’ intensity is greatest during solar maximum, Shprits said.

" } ["summary"]=> string(102) "Journal Reference: M.I. Dobynde, Y.Y. Shprits, A.Yu. Drozdov, J. Hoffman, J. Li. Beating 1 Sievert:..." ["atom_content"]=> string(3889) "

Journal Reference:

  1. M.I. Dobynde, Y.Y. Shprits, A.Yu. Drozdov, J. Hoffman, J. Li. Beating 1 Sievert: Optimal Radiation Shielding of Astronauts on a Mission to Mars. Space Weather, 2021; DOI: 10.1029/2021SW002749

Answering two key questions would go a long way toward overcoming that hurdle: Would particle radiation pose too grave a threat to human life throughout a round trip to the red planet? And, could the very timing of a mission to Mars help shield astronauts and the spacecraft from the radiation?

In a new article published in the peer-reviewed journal Space Weather, an international team of space scientists, including researchers from UCLA, answers those two questions with a “no” and a “yes.”

That is, humans should be able to safely travel to and from Mars, provided that the spacecraft has sufficient shielding and the round trip is shorter than approximately four years. And the timing of a human mission to Mars would indeed make a difference: The scientists determined that the best time for a flight to leave Earth would be when solar activity is at its peak, known as the solar maximum.

The scientists’ calculations demonstrate that it would be possible to shield a Mars-bound spacecraft from energetic particles from the sun because, during solar maximum, the most dangerous and energetic particles from distant galaxies are deflected by the enhanced solar activity.

A trip of that length would be conceivable. The average flight to Mars takes about nine months, so depending on the timing of launch and available fuel, it is plausible that a human mission could reach the planet and return to Earth in less than two years, according to Yuri Shprits, a UCLA research geophysicist and co-author of the paper.

“This study shows that while space radiation imposes strict limitations on how heavy the spacecraft can be and the time of launch, and it presents technological difficulties for human missions to Mars, such a mission is viable,” said Shprits, who also is head of space physics and space weather at GFZ Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam, Germany.

The researchers recommend a mission not longer than four years because a longer journey would expose astronauts to a dangerously high amount of radiation during the round trip — even assuming they went when it was relatively safer than at other times. They also report that the main danger to such a flight would be particles from outside of our solar system.

Shprits and colleagues from UCLA, MIT, Moscow’s Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology and GFZ Potsdam combined geophysical models of particle radiation for a solar cycle with models for how radiation would affect both human passengers — including its varying effects on different bodily organs — and a spacecraft. The modeling determined that having a spacecraft’s shell built out of a relatively thick material could help protect astronauts from radiation, but that if the shielding is too thick, it could actually increase the amount of secondary radiation to which they are exposed.

The two main types of hazardous radiation in space are solar energetic particles and galactic cosmic rays; the intensity of each depends on solar activity. Galactic cosmic ray activity is lowest within the six to 12 months after the peak of solar activity, while solar energetic particles’ intensity is greatest during solar maximum, Shprits said.

" ["date_timestamp"]=> int(1630072719) } [8]=> array(11) { ["title"]=> string(81) "Physical activity in children can be improved through ‘exergames’ – NovLink" ["link"]=> string(132) "https://fastmediaservice.com/health-science-news/2021/08/27/physical-activity-in-children-can-be-improved-through-exergames-novlink/" ["dc"]=> array(1) { ["creator"]=> string(12) "Betty Foster" } ["pubdate"]=> string(31) "Fri, 27 Aug 2021 12:54:39 +0000" ["category"]=> string(21) "Health & Science News" ["guid"]=> string(132) "https://fastmediaservice.com/health-science-news/2021/08/27/physical-activity-in-children-can-be-improved-through-exergames-novlink/" ["description"]=> string(106) "Journal Reference: Goodyear, V., Skinner, B., McKeever, J., & Griffiths, M. The influence of online..." ["content"]=> array(1) { ["encoded"]=> string(2998) "

Journal Reference:

  1. Goodyear, V., Skinner, B., McKeever, J., & Griffiths, M. The influence of online physical activity interventions on children and young people’s engagement with physical activity: a systematic review. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 2021 (Accepted/In press) DOI: 10.1080/17408989.2021.1953459

According to a review study carried out at the University of Birmingham, children and young people reacted positively in PE lessons to the use of exergames, which deliver physical activity lessons via games or personalised activities. Changes included increases in physical activity levels, but also improved emotions, attitudes and motivations towards physical activity.

The study, published in Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy is one of the first to examine not only the impact of online interventions on physical behaviours in non-clinical groups of young people but the effects of digital mediums on physical activity knowledge, social development and improving mental health.

The evidence can be used to inform guidance for health and education organisations on how they can design online interventions to reach and engage young people in physical activity.

The authors analysed 26 studies of online interventions for physical activity. They found three main mechanisms at work: gamification, in which participants progress through different levels of achievement; personalisation, in which participants received tailored feedback and rewards based on progress; and information, in which participants received educational material or guidance to encourage behavioural change.

Most of the interventions were focused on gamification or personalisation and the researchers found the majority of studies (70%) reported an increase and/or improvement in outcomes related to physical activity for children and young people who participated in online interventions. Primary school age pupils in particular who participated during PE lessons benefited.

Lead author Dr Victoria Goodyear, in the University of Birmingham’s School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Science, said: “We find convincing evidence that PE teachers can use online learning to boost attitudes and participation in physical activity among young people, particularly at primary school age. There’s a real opportunity here for the PE profession to lead the way in designing meaningful and effective online exercise opportunities, as well as an opportunity to embed positive approaches to exercise and online games and apps at an early stage.”

" } ["summary"]=> string(106) "Journal Reference: Goodyear, V., Skinner, B., McKeever, J., & Griffiths, M. The influence of online..." ["atom_content"]=> string(2998) "

Journal Reference:

  1. Goodyear, V., Skinner, B., McKeever, J., & Griffiths, M. The influence of online physical activity interventions on children and young people’s engagement with physical activity: a systematic review. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 2021 (Accepted/In press) DOI: 10.1080/17408989.2021.1953459

According to a review study carried out at the University of Birmingham, children and young people reacted positively in PE lessons to the use of exergames, which deliver physical activity lessons via games or personalised activities. Changes included increases in physical activity levels, but also improved emotions, attitudes and motivations towards physical activity.

The study, published in Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy is one of the first to examine not only the impact of online interventions on physical behaviours in non-clinical groups of young people but the effects of digital mediums on physical activity knowledge, social development and improving mental health.

The evidence can be used to inform guidance for health and education organisations on how they can design online interventions to reach and engage young people in physical activity.

The authors analysed 26 studies of online interventions for physical activity. They found three main mechanisms at work: gamification, in which participants progress through different levels of achievement; personalisation, in which participants received tailored feedback and rewards based on progress; and information, in which participants received educational material or guidance to encourage behavioural change.

Most of the interventions were focused on gamification or personalisation and the researchers found the majority of studies (70%) reported an increase and/or improvement in outcomes related to physical activity for children and young people who participated in online interventions. Primary school age pupils in particular who participated during PE lessons benefited.

Lead author Dr Victoria Goodyear, in the University of Birmingham’s School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Science, said: “We find convincing evidence that PE teachers can use online learning to boost attitudes and participation in physical activity among young people, particularly at primary school age. There’s a real opportunity here for the PE profession to lead the way in designing meaningful and effective online exercise opportunities, as well as an opportunity to embed positive approaches to exercise and online games and apps at an early stage.”

" ["date_timestamp"]=> int(1630068879) } [9]=> array(11) { ["title"]=> string(95) "A machine learning approach for predicting risk of schizophrenia using a blood test – NovLink" ["link"]=> string(152) "https://fastmediaservice.com/health-science-news/2021/08/27/a-machine-learning-approach-for-predicting-risk-of-schizophrenia-using-a-blood-test-novlink/" ["dc"]=> array(1) { ["creator"]=> string(12) "Betty Foster" } ["pubdate"]=> string(31) "Fri, 27 Aug 2021 11:53:55 +0000" ["category"]=> string(21) "Health & Science News" ["guid"]=> string(152) "https://fastmediaservice.com/health-science-news/2021/08/27/a-machine-learning-approach-for-predicting-risk-of-schizophrenia-using-a-blood-test-novlink/" ["description"]=> string(118) "Journal Reference: Chathura J. Gunasekara, Eilis Hannon, Harry MacKay, Cristian Coarfa, Andrew McQuillin, David St...." ["content"]=> array(1) { ["encoded"]=> string(5196) "

Journal Reference:

  1. Chathura J. Gunasekara, Eilis Hannon, Harry MacKay, Cristian Coarfa, Andrew McQuillin, David St. Clair, Jonathan Mill, Robert A. Waterland. A machine learning case–control classifier for schizophrenia based on DNA methylation in blood. Translational Psychiatry, 2021; 11 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41398-021-01496-3

In DNA from blood samples, the team identified epigenetic markers, a profile of methyl chemical groups in the DNA, that differ between people diagnosed with schizophrenia and people without the disease and developed a model that would assess an individual’s probability of having the condition. Testing the model on an independent dataset revealed that it can identify schizophrenia patients with 80% accuracy. The study appears in the journal Translational Psychiatry.

“Schizophrenia is a devastating disease that affects about 1% of the world’s population,” said corresponding author Dr. Robert A. Waterland professor of pediatrics — nutrition at the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor and of molecular and human genetics. “Although genetic and environmental components seem to be involved in the condition, current evidence only explains a small portion of cases, suggesting that other factors, such as epigenetic, also could be important.”

Epigenetics is a system for molecular marking of DNA — it tells the different cells in the body which genes to turn on or off in that cell type, therefore epigenetic markers can vary between different normal tissues within one individual. This makes it challenging to assess whether epigenetic changes contribute to diseases involving the brain, like schizophrenia.

To address this obstacle, Waterland and his colleagues had identified in previous work a set of specific genomic regions in which DNA methylation, a common epigenetic marker, differs between people but is consistent across different tissues in one person. They called these genomic regions CoRSIVs for correlated regions of systemic interindividual variation. They proposed that studying CoRSIVs is a novel way to uncover epigenetic causes of disease.

“Because methylation patterns in CoRSIVs are the same in all the tissues of one individual, we can analyze them in a blood sample to infer epigenetic regulation on other parts of the body that are difficult to assess, such as the brain,” Waterland said.

Many previous studies have analyzed methylation profiles in blood samples with the goal of identifying epigenetic differences between individuals with schizophrenia, the researchers explained.

“Our study is innovative in various ways,” said first author Dr. Chathura J. Gunasekara, computer scientist in the Waterland lab. “We focused on CoRSIVs and also applied for the first time the SPLS-DA machine learning algorithm to analyze DNA methylation. As a scientist interested in applying machine learning to medicine, our findings are very exciting. They not only suggest the possibility of predicting risk of schizophrenia early in life, but also outline a new approach that may be applicable to other diseases.”

The current study also is innovative because it considered major potential confounding factors other studies did not take into account. For instance, methylation patterns in blood can be affected by factors such as smoking and taking antipsychotic medications, both of which are common in schizophrenia patients.

“Here, we took various approaches to evaluate whether the methylation patterns we detected at CoRSIVs were affected by medication use and smoking. We were able to rule that out,” Waterland said. “This, together with the fact that DNA methylation at CoRSIVs is established very early in life, indicates that the epigenetic differences we identified between schizophrenia patients and healthy individuals were there before the disease was diagnosed, suggesting they may contribute to the condition.”

Using this novel approach, the researchers were able to achieve much stronger epigenetic signals associated with schizophrenia than has ever been done before, said the team.

“We consider our study a proof of principle that focusing on CoRSIVs makes epigenetic epidemiology possible,” Waterland said.

The following authors also contributed to this work: Eilis Hannon and Jonathan Mill at University of Exeter Medical School, Harry MacKay and Cristian Coarfa at Baylor College of Medicine, Andrew McQuillin at University College London and David St. Clair at University of Aberdeen.

This work was supported by NIH/NIDDK (grant number 1R01DK111522), the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (grant number RP170295) and USDA/ARS (CRIS 3092-5-001-059).

" } ["summary"]=> string(118) "Journal Reference: Chathura J. Gunasekara, Eilis Hannon, Harry MacKay, Cristian Coarfa, Andrew McQuillin, David St...." ["atom_content"]=> string(5196) "

Journal Reference:

  1. Chathura J. Gunasekara, Eilis Hannon, Harry MacKay, Cristian Coarfa, Andrew McQuillin, David St. Clair, Jonathan Mill, Robert A. Waterland. A machine learning case–control classifier for schizophrenia based on DNA methylation in blood. Translational Psychiatry, 2021; 11 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41398-021-01496-3

In DNA from blood samples, the team identified epigenetic markers, a profile of methyl chemical groups in the DNA, that differ between people diagnosed with schizophrenia and people without the disease and developed a model that would assess an individual’s probability of having the condition. Testing the model on an independent dataset revealed that it can identify schizophrenia patients with 80% accuracy. The study appears in the journal Translational Psychiatry.

“Schizophrenia is a devastating disease that affects about 1% of the world’s population,” said corresponding author Dr. Robert A. Waterland professor of pediatrics — nutrition at the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor and of molecular and human genetics. “Although genetic and environmental components seem to be involved in the condition, current evidence only explains a small portion of cases, suggesting that other factors, such as epigenetic, also could be important.”

Epigenetics is a system for molecular marking of DNA — it tells the different cells in the body which genes to turn on or off in that cell type, therefore epigenetic markers can vary between different normal tissues within one individual. This makes it challenging to assess whether epigenetic changes contribute to diseases involving the brain, like schizophrenia.

To address this obstacle, Waterland and his colleagues had identified in previous work a set of specific genomic regions in which DNA methylation, a common epigenetic marker, differs between people but is consistent across different tissues in one person. They called these genomic regions CoRSIVs for correlated regions of systemic interindividual variation. They proposed that studying CoRSIVs is a novel way to uncover epigenetic causes of disease.

“Because methylation patterns in CoRSIVs are the same in all the tissues of one individual, we can analyze them in a blood sample to infer epigenetic regulation on other parts of the body that are difficult to assess, such as the brain,” Waterland said.

Many previous studies have analyzed methylation profiles in blood samples with the goal of identifying epigenetic differences between individuals with schizophrenia, the researchers explained.

“Our study is innovative in various ways,” said first author Dr. Chathura J. Gunasekara, computer scientist in the Waterland lab. “We focused on CoRSIVs and also applied for the first time the SPLS-DA machine learning algorithm to analyze DNA methylation. As a scientist interested in applying machine learning to medicine, our findings are very exciting. They not only suggest the possibility of predicting risk of schizophrenia early in life, but also outline a new approach that may be applicable to other diseases.”

The current study also is innovative because it considered major potential confounding factors other studies did not take into account. For instance, methylation patterns in blood can be affected by factors such as smoking and taking antipsychotic medications, both of which are common in schizophrenia patients.

“Here, we took various approaches to evaluate whether the methylation patterns we detected at CoRSIVs were affected by medication use and smoking. We were able to rule that out,” Waterland said. “This, together with the fact that DNA methylation at CoRSIVs is established very early in life, indicates that the epigenetic differences we identified between schizophrenia patients and healthy individuals were there before the disease was diagnosed, suggesting they may contribute to the condition.”

Using this novel approach, the researchers were able to achieve much stronger epigenetic signals associated with schizophrenia than has ever been done before, said the team.

“We consider our study a proof of principle that focusing on CoRSIVs makes epigenetic epidemiology possible,” Waterland said.

The following authors also contributed to this work: Eilis Hannon and Jonathan Mill at University of Exeter Medical School, Harry MacKay and Cristian Coarfa at Baylor College of Medicine, Andrew McQuillin at University College London and David St. Clair at University of Aberdeen.

This work was supported by NIH/NIDDK (grant number 1R01DK111522), the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (grant number RP170295) and USDA/ARS (CRIS 3092-5-001-059).

" ["date_timestamp"]=> int(1630065235) } } ["channel"]=> array(7) { ["title"]=> string(18) "Fast Media Service" ["link"]=> string(28) "https://fastmediaservice.com" ["lastbuilddate"]=> string(31) "Fri, 27 Aug 2021 21:18:04 +0000" ["language"]=> string(5) "en-US" ["sy"]=> array(2) { ["updateperiod"]=> string(9) " hourly " ["updatefrequency"]=> string(4) " 1 " } ["generator"]=> string(28) "https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8" ["tagline"]=> NULL } ["textinput"]=> array(0) { } ["image"]=> array(0) { } ["feed_type"]=> string(3) "RSS" ["feed_version"]=> string(3) "2.0" ["encoding"]=> string(5) "UTF-8" ["_source_encoding"]=> string(0) "" ["ERROR"]=> string(0) "" ["WARNING"]=> string(0) "" ["_CONTENT_CONSTRUCTS"]=> array(6) { [0]=> string(7) "content" [1]=> string(7) "summary" [2]=> string(4) "info" [3]=> string(5) "title" [4]=> string(7) "tagline" [5]=> string(9) "copyright" } ["_KNOWN_ENCODINGS"]=> array(3) { [0]=> string(5) "UTF-8" [1]=> string(8) "US-ASCII" [2]=> string(10) "ISO-8859-1" } ["stack"]=> array(0) { } ["inchannel"]=> bool(false) ["initem"]=> bool(false) ["incontent"]=> bool(false) ["intextinput"]=> bool(false) ["inimage"]=> bool(false) ["current_namespace"]=> bool(false) ["source_encoding"]=> string(5) "UTF-8" ["last_modified"]=> string(31) "Fri, 27 Aug 2021 21:18:04 GMT " ["etag"]=> string(36) ""240abc3b09ad35b4c6ce5950cd991b82" " }