Study confirms people can learn while sleeping

Recent research from researchers at the University of Bern in Switzerland has shown that humans can actually learn new information during periods of slow-wave sleep.

Sleep has been shown to stabilise and consolidate memories, as well as embed them in the acquired knowledge store in the brain. Through the use of electroencephalograms, brainwave activity of 41 male and female volunteers was recorded whilst they had a daytime nap.During the nap, the volunteers were made to listen to pairs of words, for example “house” and “tofer”, or “cork” and aryl”.

When the words were repeated at an active phase of slow-wave sleep, the association between the two words was remembered during wakefulness. In addition, the brain areas that are active during wakeful learning were also still working during sleep, so areas such as the hippocampus and language areas.

Thank you for reading this weeks blog. If you enjoyed it, feel free to share and leave a comment down below!

Thanks,

Rohini

Sources used:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324370.php

https://www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/17140-study-finds-sleeping-in-on-weekends-may-help-you-live-longer

Difference Between Male and Female Brains

Today I am going to attempt to provide a simple explanation of the difference between a male and female brain…

  • Navigation – men depend more on context-dependent memory, but female depends more on spatial perception, motor control, attention, and episodic memory.
  • the part of the brain that detects a threat has better power to evaluate in women than in men
  • women have a stronger neural response to unambiguous visual threat signals
  • microglia (cells that belong to the brain’s immune system) are more active in women, so they are more exposed to chronic pain than men
  • women are more susceptible to mood disorders like depression and anxiety, and anorexia nervosa due to a more heightened activation of the prefrontal cortex
  • males are more likely to have autism, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorder, specific language impairment, Tourette syndrome, and dyslexia

Thank you for reading this weeks blog. If you enjoyed the read, feel free to leave a comment down below!

Thanks,

Rohini

Sources used:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319592.php?sr

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hope-relationships/201402/brain-differences-between-genders

Can Immune Cells Affect Sexual behaviour?

A new studies has attempted to look into the topic of whether the presence of mast cells (a type of immune cell) can influence whether a person will act more ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’

As time goes on, we are finding out more and more that immune responses are either responsible for or contribute to many essential bodily functions and answer many questions. Therefore, a group of researchers (lead researcher = Kathryn Lenz) decided to look more into the effect of mast cells on sexual behaviour and found that in rats, all females had active mast cells and males had silenced mast cells. The researchers decided on the conclusion that the sex hormone oestrogen can activate mast cells in the brain which can in turn influence sexual behaviour.

As said by Lenz herself:

“These mast cells in the brain appear crucial for life-long brain development, even though there are relatively few of them, and this should really open our eyes to the potential role of different immune cells in the human brain.There’s so much we don’t know, and we need to pay attention to all the cells in the brain and how they talk to each other…”

Thank you for reading this weeks blog. If you enjoyed the read, feel free to leave a comment down below!

Thanks,

Rohini

Sources used:

http://www.gluegrant.org/immunecells.htm

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322791.php

Weight Loss through Small Implantable Device?

New research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison has found that weight loss can be boosted by the implantation of a small device.

Obviously, obesity is a growing concern that is affecting millions of people worldwide, and it is now common knowledge that weight gain is caused by people consuming more calories than the body needs to use. Because of this, scientists are trying to find ways into essentially tricking the brain into consuming less food.

The small implantable device (less than 1 centimetre wide) was made by the researchers to send small electrical pulses through the vagus nerve – this transmits messages between the brain and stomach. This is able to convince the brain that the stomach is full, thus reducing the feeling of hunger and suppressing appetite.

The device was tested on rats and it was found that they could achieve 38% weight loss in as short as 15 days – this is more than any other electrical approach to stimulate weight loss has ever been able to achieve.

And whats more, the device has not posed any safety issues thus far: the implant stayed in its correct position and didn’t cause any signs of infection or disfunction. For a new device that is not only fully reversible, it is much less invasive than weight loss surgery and doesn’t even use wiring or battery – it pulses based on the natural movement of the stomach which is just enhancing the normal response of the body in order to control food intake.

Of course a lot more trials and testing is required before this device can be used in humans, but it is without doubt that this device has shown a lot of promise as a means of tackling the problem of obesity.

Thank you for reading this weeks blog. If you enjoyed the read, feel free to leave a comment down below!

Thanks,

Rohini

Sources used:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324026.php

https://danifoxhypnosis.com/product/weight-loss-women/

One Workout is Enough to Increase Metabolism

New research from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention on mice has shown that even a single workout can cause a reduced appetite, lower blood sugar levels, and better metabolism. And whats more, this effect can last up to 2 days after that initial workout.

This discovery has given researchers hope that there is a new way to control blood sugar levels through very minimal exercise – this can help us to achieve much higher health benefits.

This research has been furthered by neuroscientist Dr Kevin Williams who found that this phenomenon was taking place due to POMC neutrons which have a natural association to faster metabolism and reduced appetite. The reason this phenomenon works was described by Dr Williams as “It doesn’t take much exercise to alter the activity of these neurons,” It has also been found that neuronal effects lasted longer if the training period was longer.

Thank you for reading this weeks blog. If you enjoyed the read, feel free to leave a comment down below!

Thanks,

Rohini

Sources used:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323909.php?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_country=GB&utm_hcp=no&utm_campaign=MNT%20Weekly%20%28non-HCP%20non-US%29%20-%20OLD%20STYLE%202018-12-12&utm_term=MNT%20Weekly%20News%20%28non-HCP%20non-US%29

https://www.self.com/story/5-must-know-tips-to-slay-your-workouts

Why Being a ‘Night Owl’ is Bad

So, you have all probably heard of the phase ‘night owl’ – these are people who prefer to stay up late, and to some extent this is due to our genes.

However, a lifestyle that doesn’t fit with the workings of our society (aka having work / school from 9 to 5) can cause several problems to ones health, including disruptions in metabolic processes, lipid and glucose metabolism, and blood pressure.

People who are ‘night owls’ are more likely to:

  • eat less vegetables and grains
  • eat less often but have bigger meals
  • have type 2 diabetes
  • be at risk of suffering from sleep deprivation
  • be susceptible to suffering from depression

However, scientists have actually discovered a number of benefits to being a night owl. It has been suggested through research that night owls may be able to perform and function significantly better than morning people 10 hours after being awake. More research is being done to test for more pros, but I think it is safe to say that it is a lot more beneficial to go to sleep at a decent time.

Thank you for reading this weeks blog. If you enjoyed the read, feel free to leave a comment down below!

Thanks,

Rohini

Sources used:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323866.php?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_country=GB&utm_hcp=no&utm_campaign=MNT%20Weekly%20%28non-HCP%20non-US%29%20-%20OLD%20STYLE%202018-12-05&utm_term=MNT%20Weekly%20News%20%28non-HCP%20non-US%29

https://www.businessinsider.com/pros-and-cons-of-being-a-night-owl-2015-6?r=UK&IR=T

5 Strangest Medical Conditions

Today, I’ve decided to write about something a little different to usual – I, for one, am fascinated by unique and unusual medical conditions. So, I’m going to share 5 of some of the strangest ones…

  1. AUTO-BREWERY SYNDROME

This rare condition actually causes people to experience intoxication and hangovers, without having even drank any alcohol. Another name for this syndrome is ‘gut fermentation’ syndrome, due to the fact that pure alcohol is produced in a person’s gut after eating foods that are high in carbohydrates. The yeast that causes this is called ‘Saccharomyces cerevisiae’, and usually doesn’t cause a person to become fully drunk, but get to the pleasant, tipsy stage. However, there have been cases where the syndrome can cause people’s liver to not function properly and allow the alcohol to accumulate and linger in the system, causing dizziness, hangovers, irritable bowel syndrome, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Treatments to this condition are: dietary changes (low carbohydrate and high protein content), taking antibiotics, or anti fungal therapies.

2. FOREIGN ACCENT SYNDROME

Foreign accent syndrome is a speech impediment, usually as a result of a stroke or traumatic brain injury, that causes a person to suddenly acquire a foreign accent. There are recorded accent changes going from Japanese to Korean, British English to French, American English to British English, and Spanish to Hungarian. It has been found out through research that this syndrome is more likely to be suffered by from women between the age range of 25-49 years. There is currently no cure.

3. FISH ODOR SYNDROME

This syndrome is due to a person emitting an unpleasant body odour that resembles the smell of a rotting fish due to a specific mutation of the FMO3 gene – this gene produces more of an enzyme that causes the body to break down organic compounds (e.g trimethylamine), thus releasing the unpleasant smell.. As it can probably already be insinuated, this syndrome can have a drastic fatal effect on a persons mental health, causing anxiety, loneliness, and a negative impact on academic performance.

4. FATAL FAMILIAL INSOMNIA

This is genetic degenerative brain disorder that causes a person to have an increasingly severe form of insomnia, leading to more and more significant physical and mental deterioration. It can cause severe problems to a person’s ability to move and feel as a too many proteins are accumulated in the thalamus (a region of the brain). Currently, there is no cure .

5. PROTEUS SYNDROME

This condition causes different types of tissues to grow disproportionately on the body – including the bones, skin, tissue of arteries, and tissue of organs, due to a mutation in the AKT1 gene in the womb. There are no visible signs of this syndrome at birth, but over time this condition gets progressively worse and can cause health problems such as intellectual disability, poor eyesight, seizures, noncancerous tumours, DVT, and abnormal formation of blood clots.

Thank you for reading this weeks blog. If you liked it, feel free to leave a comment down below!

Thanks,

Rohini

Sources used:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323395.php?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_country=GB&utm_hcp=no&utm_campaign=MNT%20Weekly%20%28non-HCP%20non-US%29%20-%20OLD%20STYLE%202018-10-24&utm_term=MNT%20Weekly%20News%20%28non-HCP%20non-US%29

What is a Pre-existing Medical Condition?

New Molecule Could Treat Heart Failure

When the heart is contracting effectively, calcium is able to circulate efficiently in and out of the cells in a process known as “calcium cycling”. If this process becomes impaired, calcium becomes dysregulated and the rate at which cardiac muscle can pump out blood decreases – this can therefore lead to development of heart failure.

The team that underwent research to find new treatments for failure found that DWORF (a micropeptide known as “dwarf open reading frame”) could displace a molecule called phospholamban, which inhibits SERCA activity – SERCA is a target molecule that transports calcium ions, ensuring the relaxation of the heart muscle – when SSERCA doesn’t function properly, heart failure occurs. This means that DWORF is able to help boost SERCA, which ultimately means the heart can regain its ability to contract and relax efficiently.

The researchers tested this molecule on rodents, and they found that ‘By comparing genetically engineered rodents with normal ones, the scientists noticed that the mice with higher DWORF levels had better calcium cycling than regular mice.’

This new discovery will hopefully be developed on in the future, making it an attractive candidate for a gene therapy drug for heart failure.

Thank you for reading this weeks blog, if you enjoyed it feel free to share and comment below!

Thanks,

Rohini

Sources used:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323302.php

https://www.everydayhealth.com/congestive-heart-failure/guide/

Aspirin as a Treatment for Cancer

More and more studies have started to show that aspirin improves the outlook of cancer treatment by 20-30%. Peter Elwood, from the University of Cardiff, said that “The use of low-dose aspirin as a preventive in heart disease, stroke, and cancer is well established, but evidence is now emerging that the drug may have a valuable role as an additional treatment for cancer, too.” After his research, his analysis revealed that the chances of surviving a cancer diagnosis were 20–30 percent greater among people who took aspirin compared with those who did not. This was true at any given point after receiving the diagnosis.’ There was also evidence to show that aspirin can reduce the risk of dying from colon cancer by 25%, the risk of dying from breast cancer by 20%, and the risk of dying from prostate cancer by 15%.

Another point Elwood wanted to emphasise was the importance of allowing patients to access evidence – if patients know the evidence from recent studies they are more likely to make more informed and beneficial decisions about new treatment options.

Thank you for reading this weeks blog. It has been quite some time since I wrote my last blog, but I’m back from taking a break and I will start to write my blogs weekly / fortnightly again.

Thanks,

Rohini

Sources used:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2018/09/16/daily-aspirin-healthy-pensioners-may-do-harm-good-major-new/

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323206.php?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_country=GB&utm_hcp=no&utm_campaign=MNT%20Weekly%20%28non-HCP%20non-US%29%20-%20OLD%20STYLE%202018-10-03&utm_term=MNT%20Weekly%20News%20%28non-HCP%20non-US%29

New Cell Death Mechanism Discovered

New research at King’s College London, UK has shown how a dysfunction in the brains ‘self-digestion- system leads to cell death in neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. The first author of the study is Dr Olga Baron from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and neuroscience at King’s College London, and the senior and corresponding author is Dr Manolis Fanto, also from the same institute.

In a process called autophagy, brain cells can break down the parts that aren’t useful, recycle them and use them to create new brain cells. However, when this process cannot occur properly, neurodegenerative diseases occur.

Using mice for an experiment, it was revealed that in their autophagy process, a ‘progressive stall’ (“the brain gets ‘confused’ and tries to maintain homeostasis through alternative pathways”) and ‘chronic block’ (‘the cells start ‘throwing out’ parts of themselves”) occurs. Through this, the cells undergo degradation. This was first seen in the nucluus and cytoplasmic layer of cells.

At the moment all approaches to treat neurodegenerative diseases boost cell clearance, but now it seems that this isn’t the best strategy to take as during degradation, the cell process “depletes the cell of material, damaging its nucleus and cytoplasm and leaving behind cell corpses with a fragile nucleus and thin cytoplasmic layer.” Therefore, the researchers of the study are currently trying to confirm whether the findings occur in all autophagy-faulty diseases.

Thank you for reading this weeks blog, if you found it interesting feel free to leave a comment down below!

Thanks,

Rohini

Sources used:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320150.php

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwi3hveBrd7XAhXRoKQKHWz1D18QjhwIBQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fcbd-international.net%2Feffects-cannabis-oil-alzheimers-disease%2F&psig=AOvVaw0g_gAn-VLMlpweZhrBp4az&ust=1511858213535789