Scientists

Scientists

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Malaria compound to treat polycystic ovary syndrome

Artemisinins, plant-based antimalarials, may serve as a treatment for polycystic ovary syndrome - which affects millions of women worldwide and can lead to infertility - according to a new study published in Science. The compounds suppressed ovarian androgen production in rodents, as well as in a small cohort of 19 human patients for 12 weeks, leading to more regular menstrual cycles without side effects. 

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Article examines how dogs can be 'sentinels' of human health

Dogs and other pets can be sentinels for human health, two US researchers argue in the journal Science. Because they share the same environment as their owners, dogs can help study, for example, the epidemiology of vector-borne pathogens, the effects of exposure to heavy metals and endocrine disruptors, and even the effects of social adversity. Improving canine data collection would help assess the health of people who cohabit with dogs, the authors argue. 

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Only 5% of therapies studied in animals are ever approved for use in humans

Five out of ten potential treatments move from animal studies to human studies; four to randomised controlled clinical trials; and one in 20 moves on to approval by regulatory agencies, an analysis estimates. Concordance between positive results in animals and in clinical studies is 86%, according to the study, published in PLoS Biology, which pools the findings of 122 published studies on 54 different human diseases.  

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Secondary tumours caused by CAR-T cell therapy very rare, study finds

CAR-T cell therapies may, in some cases, produce tumours secondary to treatment. A few months ago, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it was assessing this risk. Now, a study conducted at Stanford University Medical Center (USA) has tracked 724 patients who received this type of treatment since 2016. Of these, 14 developed another blood tumour, but only one was a T-cell lymphoma that could be a direct consequence of the therapy. Further analysis ruled out this link. The results are published in the journal NEJM

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The father contributes to the baby's microbiota as much as the mother after one year of life

After the first year of life, the father's contribution to his baby's microbiota is comparable to the mother's contribution, whether born vaginally or by caesarean section, says a study published in Cell Host & Microbe. In addition, faecal microbiome transplants from the mother to her baby can restore the microbiome in the case of caesarean birth, says the study, which included 74 babies and involved Spanish participants. 

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Harms associated with medical treatments and procedures have increased over the past 30 years

The number of patients who suffered harm associated with medical procedures, treatments and contact with healthcare systems increased by 59% worldwide between 1990 and 2019, according to a study published in the journal BMJ Quality & Safety. This is higher than the population growth of 45 % over the same time period. Older people suffer the most adverse effects, with the main increase occurring in those aged 65-69 years.  

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Nitrous oxide emissions increased by 40 % in 2020 compared to 1980, largely due to agricultural practices

Nitrous oxide is considered one of the three most important greenhouse gases, behind carbon dioxide and methane. According to a report by the Global Carbon Project, emissions of this gas from human activities continue to grow, with a 40% increase over the last four decades - from 2020 to 1980. The research, led by Boston College and published in the journal Earth System Science Data, reveals that in the last decade, agricultural production through the use of nitrogen fertilizers and animal manure contributed 74% of total anthropogenic emissions of this gas.

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Ice detected for the first time near Mars' equator, an area where it was thought to be impossible to exist

ESA's ExoMars and Mars Express missions have for the first time detected ice near the equator of Mars, specifically in the Tharsis volcanoes, an area of the planet where it was thought impossible to exist. According to the researchers, who publish the results in the journal Nature Geoscience, such findings are important for habitability and future human exploration. 

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African elephants address each other with name-like calls, study finds African elephants address each other with name-like calls, study finds

Some animal species, such as parrots or dolphins, appear to address each other by imitating sounds from the receiver. However, animals addressing each other by individual names has only been observed in humans. Now, an international team of researchers says that African elephants can communicate through name-like calls and do not appear to rely on imitation to do so. According to the authors, who publish their results in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, the finding would imply that they have some degree of symbolic thinking. 

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