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

Allergies are triggered by perfect storm of environmental & genetic factors. 

New research from Northwestern Medicine has found the “recipe” for developing food allergies. “The factors contributing to food allergy include the genetics that alter skin absorbency, use of infant cleansing wipes that leave soap on the skin, skin exposure to allergens in dust and skin exposure to food from those providing infant care. Food allergy is triggered when these factors occur together.” learn more

Assessing cardiovascular risk factors with computer vision. 

Researchers at Google Brain are doing some very neat work that crosses both computer vision & health. “Using deep learning algorithms trained on data from 284,335 patients, we were able to predict CV risk factors from retinal images with surprisingly high accuracy for patients from two independent datasets of 12,026 and 999 patients. For example, our algorithm could distinguish the retinal images of a smoker from that of a non-smoker 71% of the time.” Remember, this is only the beginning! |learn more

New AI tool has ingested almost every chemical reaction ever. 

“The new AI tool, developed by Marwin Segler, an organic chemist and artificial-intelligence researcher at the University of Münster in Germany, and his colleagues, uses deep-learning neural networks to imbibe essentially all known single-step organic-chemistry reactions — about 12.4 million of them. This enables it to predict the chemical reactions that can be used in any single step. The tool repeatedly applies these neural networks in planning a multi-step synthesis, deconstructing the desired molecule until it ends up with the available starting reagents.” learn more

How bacteria ‘talk’. 

“Bonnie Bassler discovered that bacteria “talk” to each other, using a chemical language that lets them coordinate defense and mount attacks.“ This is a TED talk with a transcript available for my fellow readers. learn more