By: Patricia Marie Cipriano
DODGING THE BULLET
After studying genetic data from 589,306 adults, researchers found 13 lucky individuals who carried genetic mutations linked with severe Mendelian childhood diseases, but did not exhibit any symptoms related to it. Research leader, Stephen Friend of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, hypothesized that these genetic heroes have other components in their genes that help them make up or shield themselves against the effects of the mutations. Proof of this theory may help doctors and researchers in finding a cure for the not so lucky individuals.
Scientist Eicke Latz and colleagues discover a certain sugar in air fresheners that helps in the natural cholesterol-removal process and induces immune cells to calm inflammation rather than aggravating it. Cyclodextrin, also known as 2-hydroxypropyl-beta-cyclodextrin, was tested on mice that were under a high fat diet. The sugar shunts cholesterol through the liver, so large cholesterol accumulation may lead to fat build up in liver, damaging the organ. Other side effects include hearing damage in mice and cats. Further research in humans is being done to see if this can be applied to us.
THANK THE TOXIN
An international research team reports that typhoid toxin, a protein created by the typhoid fever-causing bacterium Salmonella enterica Typhi, can help in the prolongation of survival and reduction of gut inflammation in mice infected with S. enterica. The toxin “modulates the host immune response,” according to Teresa Frisan, a cellular microbiologist. Researchers say that the results suggest that the “typhoid toxin promotes long-term, symptom-free infections.”
What’s considered a waste for humans is known to some organisms as food. PET or polyethylene terephthalate is a strong and stiff plastic that is a component in polyester clothing and disposable bottles. Japanese researchers discovered that Ideonella sakaiensis releases a protein that decomposes the plastic into molecules that it can consume. This breakthrough may help us in plastic waste cleanup.