First up this week, Staff Writer Meredith Wadman talks with host Sarah Crespi about how male sex hormones may play a role in higher levels of severe coronavirus infections in men. New support for this idea comes from a study showing high levels of male pattern baldness in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
Next, Jason Qian, a Ph.D. student in the systems biology department at Harvard Medical School, joins Sarah to talk about an object-tracking system that uses bacterial spores engineered with unique DNA barcodes. The inactivated spores can be sprayed on anything from lettuce, to wood, to sand and later be scraped off and read out using a CRISPR-based detection system. Spraying these DNA-based identifiers on such things as vegetables could help trace foodborne illnesses back to their source. Read a related commentary piece.
An extract from the Christie’s Education online course, The Great Masters of European Art 1350–1850. Florence in the 1400s, a city of wealthy guilds and merchants, in particular the Medici family, who commissioned astonishing works of art to show off their success and cultivation.
Here we are introduced to one of the great artists the Medicis favoured: Sandro Botticelli, and his most famous works: ‘Primavera’ and ‘The Birth of Venus’.
Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi (c. 1445 – May 17, 1510), known as Sandro Botticelli, was an Italian painter of the Early Renaissance. He belonged to the Florentine School under the patronage of Lorenzo de’ Medici, a movement that Giorgio Vasari would characterize less than a hundred years later in his Vita of Botticelli as a “golden age”. Botticelli’s posthumous reputation suffered until the late 19th century; since then, his work has been seen to represent the linear grace of Early Renaissance painting.
From The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology (June 2020):
Our findings show that the intensive lifestyle intervention led to significant weight loss at 12 months, and was associated with diabetes remission in over 60% of participants and normoglycaemia in over 30% of participants. The provision of this lifestyle intervention could allow a large proportion of young individuals with early diabetes to achieve improvements in key cardiometabolic outcomes, with potential long-term benefits for health and wellbeing.
Type 2 diabetes is affecting people at an increasingly younger age, particularly in the Middle East and in north Africa. We aimed to assess whether an intensive lifestyle intervention would lead to significant weight loss and improved glycaemia in young individuals with early diabetes.
Between July 16, 2017, and Sept 30, 2018, we enrolled and randomly assigned 158 participants (n=79 in each group) to the study. 147 participants (70 in the intervention group and 77 in the control group) were included in the final intention-to-treat analysis population. Between baseline and 12 months, the mean bodyweight of participants in the intervention group reduced by 11·98 kg (95% CI 9·72 to 14·23) compared with 3·98 kg (2·78 to 5·18) in the control group (adjusted mean difference −6·08 kg [95% CI −8·37 to −3·79], p<0·0001). In the intervention group, 21% of participants achieved more than 15% weight loss between baseline and 12 months compared with 1% of participants in the control group (p<0·0001). Diabetes remission occurred in 61% of participants in the intervention group compared with 12% of those in the control group (odds ratio [OR] 12·03 [95% CI 5·17 to 28·03], p<0·0001). 33% of participants in the intervention group had normoglycaemia compared with 4% of participants in the control group (OR 12·07 [3·43 to 42·45], p<0·0001).
Julia Hobsbawm is a writer, speaker, social entrepreneur and strategist whose work focuses on finding solutions for humans in an ever-changing world. She speaks to Georgina Godwin about her latest book, ‘The Simplicity Principle: Six Steps Towards Clarity in a Complex World’.