Public funding of essential medicines could slash costs, remove barriers to health care in Canada

Results of a new study point to a feasible first step in creating universal health care in Canada: public funding of essential medication. Study authors identified a list of 117 essential medicines, including antibiotics, insulin, heart medication, antidepressants, oral contraceptives and more. They found that medication from the list made up 44 percent of all […]

Distinct new sub-populations of Helicobacter pylori have evolved in North, Central and South America. (Image by Kaisa Thorell, Koji Yahara & colleagues)

Europeans brought new strains of ulcer-causing bacterium to pre-Columbian Americas

Bacterium Helicobacter pylori is a major health issue in Latin America, where it contributes to ulcers and stomach cancer. Previous studies have linked an increased risk of cancer and a mismatch between the ethnicity of the patient and the origin of the bacterial strain. In the present study, researchers analyzed 401 H. pylori genome sequences […]

The image shows the maternal (red) and paternal (blue) copies of a chromosome in three neurons. A gene on this chromosome differentially expresses it's two alleles in the depicted neurons due to epigenetic effects, further one allele is mutated (red) and one is healthy (blue). In the more dimly highlighted neuron, the gene is biallelic and expresses both the healthy and the mutated allele. Finally, in the dark neuron, only the mutated allele is expressed. (Image by Gregg Lab)

Brain cells get to choose which parents’ genes to use

Researchers have long thought that most human cells express genes from both parents’ chromosomes equally throughout life. But as it turns out, when it comes to neurons, things aren’t so simple. A new study shows that it’s not unusual for individual neurons to choose to activate genes from one parent or the other. In particular, […]

This artist's conception shows what the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system may look like, based on available data about their diameters, masses and distances from the host star.

A planetary system with seven Earth-sized planets found 39 light years from the sun

Seven Earth-sized exoplanets have been found orbiting a nearby star. An international team of scientistsdiscovered that the six inner planets are located in the temperate zone, where the temperature at the surfaces of these planets could be between 0 and 100 degrees Celsius. The first three planets were spotted back in May 2016. They orbit an […]

New rule to predict periods of warmth between glacials

A new rule which doesn’t presume the knowledge of climate or atmospheric data can accurately predict interglacial periods of the past million years. Over the past 1 million years, interglacials – or periods of warmth that occur between the glacial ones – have occurred approximately every 100,000 years. Researchers have developed a statistical model that […]

Consistent exercise routine helps female patients prevent breast cancer recurrence

Women who have survived a bout of breast cancer can significantly reduce chances of recurrence by getting consistent exercise and keeping a steady weight. Researchers have reviewed 67 articles to study the effect of certain lifestyle changes on the survival rate and possibility of breast cancer relapse. Their findings indicate that weight gain of over […]

Problematic drug use in teens predicted by response to reward-motivated behavior

Previous research has demonstrated that the brain’s reward circuits play an important role in addictive tendencies. But researchers are still honing in on the exact link between neurophysiological mechanisms responsible for reward-motivated behavior and problematic behavior such as drug use. A new study found that a young teen’s brain activity in a reward-driven task performance […]

(Graphical abstract by Lillie et al.)

How whale mouth nerves stretch to nearly double their length during feeding

Rorqual whales – a family of baleen whales that includes the biggest of the species, the fin and the blue whale –  take in an enormous amount of water and small prey during each feeding. In order to maximize each meal, they open their mouths wide and lunge towards the prey. In the process, the […]

Two strains isolated from the Nopiming Provincial Park Central Gold Mine tailings, grown in liquid culture.
(Image by Dr. Vladimir Yurkov)

Bacteria that break down toxic chemicals found in an abandoned gold mine

Little life is seen in environments with low oxygen content and high metalloid pollution. The microorganisms that do survive in such extreme conditions are incredibly helpful to scientists, who can use the bacteria’s natural reduction of toxic materials to clean up heavily polluted areas. Such bacteria were recently discovered in an old Manitoba gold mine, […]

Virus shells can help deliver helpful drugs to cancer cells

Virus cells are incredibly efficient at delivering their cargo to the host cells, usually to the host’s detriment. But new research is attempting to utilize this viral trait for the better, by packaging salubrious things into conducive virus shells. Researchers copied the core protein shell of the Bluetongue virus using plant matter, which is a […]

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