Though a law requiring clinical trial results reporting has been on the books for decades, many researchers have been slow to comply. Now, 2 years after the law was sharpened with higher penalties for noncompliance, investigative correspondent Charles Piller took a look at the results. He talks with host Sarah Crespi about the investigation and a surprising lack of compliance and enforcement.
Also this week, Sarah talks with Brett Finlay, a microbiologist at the University Of British Columbia, Vancouver, about an Insight in this week’s issue that aims to connect the dots between noncommunicable diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer and the microbes that live in our guts. Could these diseases actually spread through our microbiomes?
We start our first episode of the new year looking at future trends in policy and research with host Joel Goldberg and several Science News writers. Jeffrey Mervis discusses upcoming policy changes, Kelly Servick gives a rundown of areas to watch in the life sciences, and Ann Gibbons talks about potential advances in ancient proteins and DNA.
In research news, host Meagan Cantwell talks with Beatriz Pinto-Goncalves, a postdoctoral researcher at the John Innes Centre, about carnivorous plant traps. Through understanding the mechanisms that create these traps, Pinto-Goncalves and colleagues elucidate what this could mean for how they emerged in the evolutionary history of plants.
“When fat cannot be safely stored under the skin, it is then stored inside the liver, and over-spills to the rest of the body including the pancreas. This ‘clogs up’ the pancreas, switching off the genes which direct how insulin should effectively be produced, and this causes Type 2 diabetes.”
This latest paper builds on previous Newcastle studies supported by Diabetes UK showing exactly why Type 2 diabetes can be reversed back to normal glucose control. Those studies led to the large DiRECT trial which showed that Primary Care staff can achieve remission of Type 2 diabetes by using a low calorie diet with support to maintain the weight loss.
A quarter of participants achieved a staggering 15 kg or more weight loss, and of these, almost nine out of 10 people put their Type 2 diabetes into remission. After two years, more than one third of the group had been free of diabetes and off all diabetes medication for at least two years.
In 2020, this approach to management of short duration Type 2 diabetes is to be piloted in the NHS in up to 5,000 people across England, and a similar programme is being rolled out in Scotland.
Microbiome expands the genetic and functional capacity of its human host. Susan Lynch explains that human microbiome develops early in life and that gut microbes shape immune function and relate to disease outcomes in childhood.
She also explores next-generation microbiome therapeutics and research.
During this decade, as in previous decades, Caltech scientists and engineers reinvented the landscape of scientific endeavor: from the first detection of gravitational waves and the discovery of evidence for a ninth planet in the solar system; to bold missions to explore and understand the solar system; to the development of new methods to see inside the body and the brain and understand the universe around us; to the invention of devices to improve human health, some taking inspiration from nature; to the initiation of a transformative new effort to support research into the most pressing challenges in environmental sustainability.
Though the brain orchestrates how we experience the world, many questions remain about its complex workings. During the past 10 years, Caltech scientists have discovered how the brain recognizes faces and drives and quenches thirst, and learned about the pathways that govern sleep. A major focus has been on understanding the experience of non-neurotypical individuals, such as those who have autism or those who are missing a brain hemisphere. New realms of neuroscience research were made possible in 2016, when philanthropists Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen announced a gift to establish the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience at Caltech.
USC Stem Cell scientist Andy McMahon is using human stem cells to create mini-kidney structures known as organoids. His lab is using these organoids to study and find new drugs to treat polycystic kidney disease.