On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Jessica Lancaster, a Mayo Clinic immunologist, discusses aging and the immune system. Some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 because of their age or underlying health conditions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Adults 60 and older and those with an underlying health condition or a compromised immune system appear to develop serious illness more often than others. This interview was recorded March 19, 2020.
Learn more about immune system research at Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayo.edu/research/centers…
\This video from Harvard Medical School’s HMX Fundamentals Immunology online course offers a high-level overview of the immune system at work in the context of daily life.
From BMJ Journal “Gut” study (February 17, 2020):
We observed that increased adherence to the MedDiet modulates specific components of the gut microbiota that were associated with a reduction in risk of frailty, improved cognitive function and reduced inflammatory status.
Objective Ageing is accompanied by deterioration of multiple bodily functions and inflammation, which collectively contribute to frailty. We and others have shown that frailty co-varies with alterations in the gut microbiota in a manner accelerated by consumption of a restricted diversity diet. The Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) is associated with health. In the NU-AGE project, we investigated if a 1-year MedDiet intervention could alter the gut microbiota and reduce frailty.
Design We profiled the gut microbiota in 612 non-frail or pre-frail subjects across five European countries (UK, France, Netherlands, Italy and Poland) before and after the administration of a 12-month long MedDiet intervention tailored to elderly subjects (NU-AGE diet).
Results Adherence to the diet was associated with specific microbiome alterations. Taxa enriched by adherence to the diet were positively associated with several markers of lower frailty and improved cognitive function, and negatively associated with inflammatory markers including C-reactive protein and interleukin-17. Analysis of the inferred microbial metabolite profiles indicated that the diet-modulated microbiome change was associated with an increase in short/branch chained fatty acid production and lower production of secondary bile acids, p-cresols, ethanol and carbon dioxide. Microbiome ecosystem network analysis showed that the bacterial taxa that responded positively to the MedDiet intervention occupy keystone interaction positions, whereas frailty-associated taxa are peripheral in the networks.
Conclusion Collectively, our findings support the feasibility of improving the habitual diet to modulate the gut microbiota which in turn has the potential to promote healthier ageing.
Read full study
The emergent corona virus (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak in China is fast changing, just this week reported cases of the disease covid-19 jumped as new data became available. In this video Wendy Burns, and Peter Openshaw from Imperial College London explain what we know about the basic structure of the virus, it’s mode of transmission, the symptoms and pathogenesis of the diease, what we currently know about treatment, and how the virus may adapt in the future.
To read more about corona virus, all The BMJ’s resources are being made freely available at https://www.bmj.com/coronavirus
Most of us received routine vaccinations when we were young. But how exactly do vaccines work? In this video, I explain the fascinating science behind how vaccines prevent millions of deaths each year.
From a CalTech news article (February 4, 2020):
The hope, Lee says, is that ultrasound will kill cancer cells in a specific way that will also engage the immune system and arouse it to attack any cancer cells remaining after the treatment.
A new technique could offer a targeted approach to fighting cancer: low-intensity pulses of ultrasound have been shown to selectively kill cancer cells while leaving normal cells unharmed.
Ultrasound waves—sound waves with frequencies higher than humans can hear—have been used as a cancer treatment before, albeit in a broad-brush approach: high-intensity bursts of ultrasound can heat up tissue, killing cancer and normal cells in a target area. Now, scientists and engineers are exploring the use of low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS) in an effort to create a more selective treatment.
A study describing the effectiveness of the new approach in cell models was published in Applied Physics Letters on January 7. The researchers behind the work caution that it is still preliminary—it still has not been tested in a live animal let alone in a human, and there remain several key challenges to address—but the results so far are promising.