Tasmanian Devils Rapidly Evolve to Overcome Facial Tumor Disease

An international group of researchers has discovered that two regions in the genomes of Tasmanian devils ( Sarcophilus harrisii ) are changing in response to the spread of a recently emerged infectious disease.

Tasmanian devil ( Sarcophilus harrisii ). Image credit: J.J. Harrison / CC BY-SA 3.0.
The Tasmanian devil is found throughout the island state of Tasmania, Australia, although fossil evidence suggests that it once occupied much of the Australian mainland.
It is the largest carnivorous marsupial in the world, reaching 2.6 feet (80 cm) in length and weighing up to 31 pounds (14 kg).
This animal was given the unflattering ‘devil’ name by early settlers, perhaps after they heard the animal’s otherworldly cries in the night.
Tasmanian devils are nocturnal and u… Read more

Dogs Understand Words and Intonation of Human Speech, New Study Finds

According to a study led by Dr. Attila Andics of the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary, dogs use the left hemisphere to process words and the auditory region of the right hemisphere to process intonation, and praising activates dog’s reward center only when both words and intonation match.

Trained dogs around fMRI scanner. Image credit: Eniko Kubinyi.
Words are the basic building blocks of human languages, but they are hardly ever found in nonhuman vocal communications.
Intonation is another way that information is conveyed through speech, where, for example, praises tend to be conveyed with higher and more varying pitch.
Humans understand speech through both vocabulary and intonation.
Dr. Andics and his colleagues from Semmelweis University and… Read more

Promising New Antiviral Compounds Could Treat Ebola Virus Infection

A new kind of chemical compound can block the protein Ebola virus uses to break out of cells and infect new cells, according to a new study by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Fox Chase Chemical Diversity Center, Inc.

Scanning electron micrograph of filamentous Ebola virus particles (blue) budding from a chronically infected cell (yellow-green). Image credit: NIAID.
Viruses replicate by hijacking the machinery in the cells of their host – in the case of Ebola, human cells – and co-opting the cells to help produce more viruses.
Once production is complete, particular virus proteins promote release of viruses from the cell surface, which can go on to infect more cells.
The new compounds, revealed in a paper in the journal Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters , target an interacti… Read more

Promising New Antiviral Compounds Could Treat Ebola Virus Infection

A new kind of chemical compound can block the protein Ebola virus uses to break out of cells and infect new cells, according to a new study by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Fox Chase Chemical Diversity Center, Inc.

Scanning electron micrograph of filamentous Ebola virus particles (blue) budding from a chronically infected cell (yellow-green). Image credit: NIAID.
Viruses replicate by hijacking the machinery in the cells of their host – in the case of Ebola, human cells – and co-opting the cells to help produce more viruses.
Once production is complete, particular virus proteins promote release of viruses from the cell surface, which can go on to infect more cells.
The new compounds, revealed in a paper in the journal Bioorganic & Medicinal Chem… Read more

Guaico Culex Virus: Researchers Find Multicomponent Animal Virus

For the first time, researchers have identified a multicomponent RNA virus – one containing different segments of genetic material in separate particles, rather than a single strand of genetic material – that can infect animals.

Multicomponent viruses, which separately package different genome segments, were thought to be restricted to plant and fungal hosts. Ladner et al characterize the multicomponent animal virus GCXV and describe an evolutionarily related, segmented virus in a nonhuman primate. This image depicts the presence of different viral RNA segments of GCXV within infected cells. Image credit: Michael Lindquist.
This new pathogen was isolated from mosquitoes of the genus Culex captured in Panama, Peru, and Trinidad.
The virus does not appear… Read more

Researchers Discover How Zika Virus Causes Fetal Brain Damage

According to a team of researchers led by Yale University, infection by the Zika virus diverts a key protein necessary for neural cell division in the developing human fetus. The findings, published in the journal Cell Reports , suggest that Zika virus might be susceptible to existing antiviral drugs that may prevent disruption to the developing nervous system.

Marco Onorati et al . describe the derivation and characterization, including single-cell RNA-seq, of neocortical and spinal cord neuroepithelial stem (NES) cells to model early human neurodevelopment and Zika virus (ZIKV)-related neuropathogenesis. By analyzing human NES cells, organotypic fetal brain slices, and a ZIKV-infected micrencephalic brain, the team shows that ZIKV infects both neoco… Read more

American Heart Association: Children Should Consume Less Than 25 Grams of Added Sugars Daily

Children ages 2 to 18 should eat or drink less than six teaspoons of added sugars daily (equivalent to about 100 calories or 25 grams), according to new recommendations from the American Heart Association (AHA) published this week in the journal Circulation .

Honey is considered an added sugar. Image credit: Estel Heitz.
Added sugars are any sugars – including table sugar, fructose and honey – either used in processing and preparing foods or beverages, added to foods at the table or eaten separately.
Starting in July 2018, food manufacturers will be required to list the amount of added sugars on the Nutrition Facts Panel making it much easier to follow the AHA recommendations.
“Until then, the best way to avoid added sugars in your child’s diet is to serve mostly foods that are high in nutrition, such as fru… Read more

American Heart Association: Children Should Consume Less Than 25 Grams of Added Sugars Daily

Children ages 2 to 18 should eat or drink less than six teaspoons of added sugars daily (equivalent to about 100 calories or 25 grams), according to new recommendations from the American Heart Association (AHA) published this week in the journal Circulation .

Honey is considered an added sugar. Image credit: Estel Heitz.
Added sugars are any sugars – including table sugar, fructose and honey – either used in processing and preparing foods or beverages, added to foods at the table or eaten separately.
Starting in July 2018, food manufacturers will be required to list the amount of added sugars on the Nutrition Facts Panel making it much easier to follow the AHA recommendations.
“Until then, the best way to avoid added sugars in your child’s diet is to serve mostly foods th… Read more

Researchers Discover New Way to Attack Staphylococcus aureus

A team of researchers at Imperial College London (ICL), UK, has found a ‘salty way’ to attack Staphylococcus aureus , an important opportunistic human pathogen.

This electron micrograph shows clumps of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus . Image credit: Janice Haney Carr / Jeff Hageman / USCDCP.
Staphylococcus aureus is a common bacterium that can normally be found in the nose, on the skin or in the lower intestine of any person.
This germ is the leading cause of recurrent infections in humans that include pneumonia, bacteremia, osteomyelitis, arthritis, endocarditis, and toxic shock syndrome.
A ‘superbug’ form of Staphylococcus aureus , called MRSA, has also developed resistance to the antibiotic methicillin.
Staphylococcus aureus can also trigger food poisoning, commonly throu… Read more

Researchers Discover New Way to Attack Staphylococcus aureus

A team of researchers at Imperial College London (ICL), UK, has found a ‘salty way’ to attack Staphylococcus aureus , an important opportunistic human pathogen.

This electron micrograph shows clumps of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus . Image credit: Janice Haney Carr / Jeff Hageman / USCDCP.
Staphylococcus aureus is a common bacterium that can normally be found in the nose, on the skin or in the lower intestine of any person.
This germ is the leading cause of recurrent infections in humans that include pneumonia, bacteremia, osteomyelitis, arthritis, endocarditis, and toxic shock syndrome.
A ‘superbug’ form of Staphylococcus aureus , called MRSA, has also developed resistance to the antibiotic methicillin.
Staphylococcus aureus can also trig… Read more

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