Scientists of University of Southern California and Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences said they may have found the beginnings of a path toward increasing human lifespan.
Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences published the research on Friday that shows the drug mifepristone can extend the lives of two very different species used in laboratory studies, suggesting the findings may apply to other species, including human beings, reports news-medical.net.
Fruit fly Drosophila findings
John Tower, professor of biological sciences, and his team found that the drug mifepristone extends the lives of female flies that have mated.
The researchers went through one of the most common laboratory models used in genetic research- the fruit fly Drosophila.
Mifepristone, also known as RU-486, is used by clinicians to end early pregnancies as well as to treat cancer and Cushing disease.
During mating, female fruit flies receive a molecule called sex peptide from the male.
Previous research has shown that sex peptide causes inflammation and reduces the health and lifespan of female flies.
Tower and his team, including Senior Research Associate Gary Landis, lead researcher on the study, found that feeding mifepristone to the fruit flies that have mated blocks the effects of sex peptide, reducing inflammation and keeping the female flies healthier, leading to longer lifespans than their counterparts who did not receive the drug.
The drug's effects in Drosophila appear similar to those seen in women who take it.
Juvenile hormone effects
Searching for a better understanding of how mifepristone works to increase lifespan, Tower and his team looked at the genes, molecules and metabolic processes that changed when flies consumed the drug.
The researchers found that a molecule called juvenile hormone plays a central role.
Juvenile hormone regulates the development of fruit flies throughout their life, from egg to larvae to adult.
Sex peptide appears to escalate the effects of juvenile hormone, shifting the mated flies' metabolism from healthier processes to metabolic pathways that require more energy to maintain.
Further, the metabolic shift promotes harmful inflammation, and it appears to make the flies more sensitive to toxic molecules produced by bacteria in their microbiome and Mifepristone changes all of that.
When the mated flies ate the drug, their metabolism stuck with the healthier pathways, and they lived longer than their mated sisters who did not get mifepristone.
Notably, these metabolic pathways are conserved in humans, and are associated with health and longevity, said Tower.
New hope for human beings!
Tower and collaborators Chia-An Yen, who obtained her Ph.D. last spring from USC Dornsife College, and Sean Curran, associate professor of gerontology and biological sciences at USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology and USC Dornsife College, also gave mifepristone to another common laboratory model, a small roundworm called C. elegans.
The scientists found the drug had the same life-extending effect on the mated worm.
Drosophila fruit flies and C. elegans worms sit on relatively distant branches of the evolutionary tree, Tower believes the similar results in such different species suggest other organisms, including humans, might see comparable benefits to lifespan.
Tower said that "In terms of evolution, Drosophila and C. elegans are equally as distant from each other as either one is distant from humans."
He also said that the fact that mifepristone can increase lifespan in both species suggests the mechanism is important to many species.
Tower emphasized that a clearer understanding of the intricacies of mifepristone's actions is needed before drawing any firm conclusions.
"Our data show that in Drosophila, mifepristone either directly or indirectly counteracts juvenile hormone signaling, but the exact target of mifepristone remains elusive."
Revealing that target may give scientists critical insight needed to extend lifespan in people.
Using artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, an international research team led by Chinese scientists has developed a rapid and accurate screening model to detect lymph nodes, which can assist doctors in cancer treatment.
Lymph nodes are the human immune system's first line of defense, protecting people from illnesses and virus infections. In the human body, lymph nodes are hundreds of small, round or bean-shaped glands that gather in the neck, armpit, abdomen and groin, reports Xinhua.
However, the current MRI screening methods are time-consuming and can not identify all the lymph nodes in the scan regions, lowering the detection accuracy.
Based on MRI image data selected from 293 patients with rectal cancer at the Sixth Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University from 2013 to 2016, researchers developed the AI-assisted screening model.
The researchers tested the AI model in patients at four medical centers in Guangzhou, Beijing, Suzhou and Guizhou, and compared its results with those of four Chinese radiologists, specializing in gastrointestinal diseases.
The results showed that it can accurately identify 3-mm-diameter lymph nodes with a detection accuracy of 80 percent.
The results were recently published in the journal EBioMedicine under The Lancet. Researchers from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health also participated in the study.
The AI model can also be used to detect metastatic cancers in other human organs or tissue, according to lead researcher Gao Xin.
"We believe the AI-assisted screening model can save a great deal of manual labor and improve clinical efficiency, which will benefit more patients," said Gao.
NeckSense, a new technology, can detect in the real world when people are eating, how fast they chew, how many bites they take and how many times their hands head to their mouths, according to a study of Northwestern University (NU).
The data, along with other information like heart rate, will help scientists understand what leads to binging or troublesome eating behaviors and how to intervene to stop those behaviors in real time, said the study posted on the website of NU on Wednesday.
The data also will include self-reported physical details such as and how hungry or satiated you feel or psychological details such as how depressed or how anxious you are. The user also will upload photos of their food via a smartphone app.
The technology includes wearing a tiny camera pendant to validate what the necklace is sensing. Eventually the camera will be removed.
A Northwestern Medicine study with 20 participants has validated the technology.
"The arsenal of the dietician has been upgraded," said lead study author Nabil Alshurafa, an assistant professor of preventive medicine at NU Feinberg School of Medicine. "The ability to easily record dietary intake patterns allows dieticians or even laypeople making use of our tech to deliver timely digital interventions that occur as eating is happening to prevent overeating."
"The beauty of this is that it requires almost no effort on the part of the wearer," he said.
Measuring people's eating patterns allows scientists to begin to understand how these variables are associated with overeating, providing them with new ways to intervene.
Currently, dieticians must rely on self-reporting based on 24-hour recall by the patient, a notoriously unreliable method because people forget what they ate or fabricate their diet. Another method, journaling food/drink consumption as it occurs, is subject to error because it is burdensome and disruptive to day-to-day routine.
In the next step, the researchers will test NeckSense along with several other wearable devices with 60 participants who have obesity and validate the device against standard 24-hour recall, and will tweak the necklace to make it more fashionable and test the feasibility of real-time interventions.
NeckSense is part of a broader study called SenseWhy, which will assess if wearing sensors will help us understand people's problematic eating behaviors in real time.
The technology has been published in the Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies.
The Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR) became the latest institution to sequence the genome of coronavirus samples from Bangladesh, revealing the 3 samples they worked with strongly suggested the virus arrived here from Europe.
BCSIR completed sequencing of three SARS-CoV-2 samples at its laboratory.
The detailed information of the successful sequencing is viewable through the website of the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID), where the database is stored.
“According to analysis, this Bangladeshi virus has 99.99 percent similarity with European sources, particularly Sweden,” said Dr Md Selim Khan, Principal Scientific Officer, project director and the team leader of the researchers.
Data analysis showed that nine variants were available at the amino acid level.
This brings the total number of genomes sequenced in Bangladesh to 23. And yet
“twenty-three complete sequencing data, including three from BCSIR, are not enough for detail knowledge or to come to a conclusion,” the media statement said.
Bangladesh needs more sequencing data from different places to speed up its research activities including that of developing a vaccine.
Earlier, Science and Technology Minister Yeafesh Osman and the ministry’s secretary directed to collect samples from all possible places of the country and sequence them at genomic research laboratory of BCSIR.
“Once the work is done, it will help develop antidote, medicine and vaccine,” the statement said.
Bangladesh is grappling with a rising number of coronavirus cases. On Saturday, it reported 28 deaths and 1,764 cases. So far, the country has confirmed 44,608 cases and 610 deaths.
The bones of about 60 mammoths were found at an under-construction airport north of Mexico City, reports AP.
Archaeologists say the discovery was made near the human-built 'traps' where more than a dozen mammoths were found last year. This could possibly indicate that humans may have been smarter — and mammoths clumsier — than people had previously thought.
"There are too many, there are hundreds," said archaeologist Pedro Sánchez Nava, of the National Institute of Anthropology and History.
The institute began digging in three large but shallow areas in October, when work started to convert an old military airbase into a civilian airport. In about six months, the bones of 60 mammoths were found, and Sánchez said that the pace — about 10 mammoths a month — may continue.
The airport project is scheduled for completion in 2022, at which the dig will end.
The excavations were conducted on the shores of an ancient lake, once known as Xaltocan and now disappeared. The shallow lake apparently produced generous quantities of grasses and reeds, which attracted mammoths who often ate 150kg of the stuff every day.
"It was like paradise for them," Sánchez Nava said.
But the new excavations at the airbase have not yet turned up any of the distinct cut marks that would suggest human butchering of the animals.
Sánchez said the most recently discovered mammoths had apparently got stuck in the mud of the ancient lake and died, or were eaten by other animals.
But the bones will be subject to further study because Sánchez said humans might have carved up the mammoths once they got stuck.
And, he said, ancient human could possibly have used the mud pools and flats around the lake shore as a sort of natural trap. "It's possible they may have chased them into the mud," he noted, adding, "They (ancient humans) had a very structured and organised division of labour" for getting mammoth meat.
The discovery also challenges the notion that mammoth was a chance, sporadic item on our ancestors’ menu.
Sánchez Nava said the large numbers of remains will allow scientists to research how mammoths fed and whether they were already suffering genetic inbreeding or decline, which could have contributed — along with human hunting — to their extinction on the mainland about 10,000 years ago.