Tumor-killing cells with on-demand self-destruct. 

Scientists engineered tumor cells to secrete a molecule that causes death of the main tumor they came from, but not the engineered cells. Then, they triggered self-destruct of the engineered cells with a targeted drug. “The authors then tested the efficacy and safety of this method in mouse models of primary, recurrent, and metastatic tumors.” The link is to the raw publication in Science Translational Medicine. learn more

Breakthrough study uncovers genesis of Alzheimer’s. 

“Impressive new research has discovered the earliest point in a neurodegenerative process that is thought to lead to dementia. The researchers describe the discovery as like finding the “Big Bang” of Alzheimer’s disease, and it’s hoped the work leads to new treatments and ways to detect the disease.“ learn more

You can grow new brain cells. 

Until I read the transcript of this TED talk, I was under the mistaken impression that humans do not grow new brain cells as adults. Well not only do we grow new brain cells, but Sandrine Thuret also explains how to influence the rate at which we do. learn more

Emulate makes “Organ on a Chip” technology. 

I recently found out this existed, and I’m still stunned. “The translucent Emulate chips, roughly the size of a AA battery, have tiny channels lined with human cells and tissue. These chips are engineered to recreate the physiology and mechanical forces encountered by the cells of an organ, such as the flow of blood or air.” learn more

Study verifies accuracy of autism blood test. 

“Last year an impressive study suggested a reliable set of blood biomarkers has been isolated that could successfully diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorder in children. Now a follow-up study has verified those results pointing towards further clinical trials and potentially a commercially available test.” learn more

The Mediterranean diet study retracted. 

“In 2013, the New England Journal of Medicine published a landmark study that found that people put on a Mediterranean diet had a 30% lower chance of heart attack, stroke, or death from cardiovascular disease than people on a low-fat diet.” This retraction is based on the sampling methodology being flawed and is a big deal because the study was so widely cited. learn more

Leg exercise has impact on brain and nervous system health. 

Don’t skip leg day! “‘Our study supports the notion that people who are unable to do load-bearing exercises—such as patients who are bed-ridden, or even astronauts on extended travel—not only lose muscle mass, but their body chemistry is altered at the cellular level and even their nervous system is adversely impacted,’ says Dr. Raffaella Adami from the Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy.” learn more

Largest-ever microbiome study publishes first results. 

While we know that microbes are critical to many functions of life, we’ve still only begun to scratch the surface of understanding. “The American Gut Project – a global, crowdsourced citizen science effort – has published the first results from one of the biggest gut microbiome studies performed to date.” learn more

Bacteria are eating antibiotics. 

“As if it’s not bad enough that bacteria are increasingly becoming resistant to our best antibiotics – some bugs are even eating the drugs. An international team of scientists has now examined just how the bacteria disarm and consume the antibiotics as food, uncovering new potential ways to fight back against resistance.” |learn more

The corruption of evidence based medicine. 

I’m still digesting this post by Dr. Jason Fung about Evidence Based Medicine (EBM). Though the name sounds great, apparently the evidence is incredibly biased, leading to bad conclusions. It’s not just this guy who thinks so – editors at Lancet and NEJM have both said substantially the same thing. What can we trust? learn more

Epigenetic inheritance confirmed in mice. 

A new study “provides clear evidence that some kinds of epigenetic markers can be passed on to a new generation.” This lends some credibility to a 2015 study “claiming that the children of Holocaust survivors were more likely to develop depression, anxiety and other psychological disorders.” learn more

Do vitamins and supplements work? 

“During the past 2 decades, a steady stream of high-quality studies evaluating dietary supplements has yielded predominantly disappointing results about potential health benefits, whereas evidence of harm has continued to accumulate.” learn more