In brief (September 2015): saliva and radiotherapy, cold and insulin sensitivity, and a giant virus

Keeping saliva secretion up after radiotherapy, or how finding where stem cells crucial to salivary gland regeneration reside may help prevent irreversible tissue damage and loss of saliva production after head-and-neck cancer radiotherapy
Getting cold in type 2 diabetes, or how a protocol involving sitting in a cold room for several hours can improve insulin sensitivity in patients with type 2 diabetes
Another big, big, big virus, or how a new giant virus was recently discovered in a 30,000-year-old permafrost sample from Siberia Continue reading


In brief (March 2015, part II): plastic pollution and planetary boundaries

Two more picks from what I’ve read over the past couple of months:
marine plastic pollution, or how much plastic waste reaches the oceans,
planetary boundaries, or how to define the environmental limits within which human societies may safely develop. Continue reading

In brief (March 2015, part I): immune variability and HPV vaccine

Two picks from what I’ve read over the past couple of months:
the adaptability of the immune system, or how our immune system is more heavily shaped by our environment and the microbes we encounter than by our genes,
HPV vaccine safety profile, or how a nationwide study conducted in Sweden and Denmark found no increased risk of developing multiple sclerosis or other demyelinating diseases following quadrivalent HPV vaccination. Continue reading

In brief (October 2014): immunology, sea levels, gender stereotype, and nanomedicine

A selection from what I’ve read over the past couple of months:
immune response and genetic variation, or how interindividual genetic variation affects immune cell behavior, contributing to differences in how people respond to pathogens and how susceptible they are to develop autoimmune diseases,
ice melting and sea rising, or how global seal levels and ice volumes have changed over the past 35,000 years,
gender and speaking up, or how stereotypes related to gender affect an individual’s decision to contribute his/her ideas to a group,
anticancer nanomedicine, or how nano should nanoparticles be to optimally penetrate tumor tissue and exert their anticancer effect. Continue reading

In brief (June 2014) – Aspirin and influenza, evolution of self-control, celecoxib and cancer

Three picks among what I’ve read in the past months:
aspirin, prostaglandin E2, and influenza, or how blocking the production of prostaglandin E2 can help in the fight against influenza A virus
evolution of self-control, or how absolute, not relative, brain size correlates with cognition across species
drug repurposing, or how celecoxib, a non steroidal anti-inflammatory agent used in arthritis, may help to inhibit the formation of new blood vessels, tumor growth, and metastasis in mice. Continue reading

In brief (April 2014) – Interferon beta and multiple sclerosis; vitamin A and immunity

It has been a while since I shared a selection of the scientific articles I had recently read , so here it is:
interferon beta and multiple sclerosis, or how the identification of a new immune cell type may give yet another clue as to how interferon beta exerts a therapeutic effect,
vitamin A and immunity, or how lack of vitamin A affects the development of the immune system and its priorities. Continue reading

In brief (August 2013, part II) – microbiome and speciation, and more viruses

Picks for this month, second part:
gut bacteria keeping species apart, or how the microbiota may promote speciation by contributing to offspring lethality when two species are interbred,
new genera of ocean-dwelling phages, or how analysis of an aquatic bacterium led to the discovery of twelve new genera of bacteria-infecting viruses. Continue reading

In brief (August 2013, part I) – prions and giant viruses

Picks for this month, first part:
prions, alcohol and yeast, or how an environmentally responsive prion protein may help yeast to cope with high concentrations of ethanol,
giant viruses, or how the discovery of viruses larger in size and DNA content than any virus known so far challenges the way scientists think of viruses. Continue reading

In brief (April 2013) – Microbiome, gender and diabetes; stealth nanoparticles and anticancer drug; (not quite) dream reading

Three picks from what I’ve read over the past two months:
microbiome, gender and diabetes, or how gut bacteria influence susceptibility to disease in females versus males in a mouse model of type 1 diabetes,
stealth nanoparticles and drug delivery, or how a short chain of amino acids can get anticancer drug-carrying nanoparticles past the defenses of the immune system,
(not quite) dream reading, or how researchers can approximately tell what kind of images are going trough your mind in the stage 1 of sleep. Continue reading

Antibiotic resistance, Higgs boson, likes on social networks and four-winged birds

A few samples from this week’s science news:

– This week’s issue of the scientific journal Nature focuses its editorial on the threat posed by the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and on the importance of that threat being given proper attention by policy-makers worldwide.

Over the last decades, misuse and overprescription of antibiotics have led to an increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria and related infections. Despite a growing number of voices warning against the dangerous consequences of such practices, antibiotics remain largely over-prescribed by doctors and are still widely used as a growth supplement in livestock. The general decline in research and development of new classes of antibiotics is making the situation even more alarming. While Nature’s editorial show that policy-makers Continue reading