A simple dietary supplement reduces behavioral symptoms in mice with a genetic mutation that causes schizophrenia. After additional experiments, including visualizing the fluorescently stained dancing edge of immature brain cells (video included), researchers concluded that the supplement likely protects proteins that build neurons' cellular skeletons. The supplement, betaine, is already used clinically to treat the unrelated metabolic disease homocystinuria, so experts believe it should be safe to repurpose as a future schizophrenia treatment option.
Children like junk food. As much as 70% percent of their diet is estimated to come from junk foods. While numerous studies have shown the overall negative impact of junk food, few have focused on its direct developmental effects on children, particularly young children.
Heat stress disrupts the physiological processes of corals prior to clear signs of bleaching, with implications for adaptation strategies for coral reefs in a warming climate.
One of the most comprehensive statistical analyses of drivers of food insecurity across 65 countries has concluded that household income consistently explains more discrepancy in food security than any other factor, including agricultural land resources and production.
Vitamin D deficiency may impair muscle function due to a reduction in energy production in the muscles, according to a mouse study published in the Journal of Endocrinology. Vitamin D deficient mice were found to have impaired muscle mitochondrial function, which may have implications for muscle function, performance and recovery. This may suggest that preventing vitamin D deficiency in older adults could help maintain better muscle strength and function and reduce age related muscle deterioration, but further studies are needed to confirm this.
Australian pineapple, Danish trout, and Midwestern U.S. corn farmers are not often lumped together under the same agricultural umbrella. But they and many others who raise crops and animals face a common problem: excess nitrogen in drainage water. Whether it flows out to the Great Barrier Reef or the Gulf of Mexico, the nutrient contributes to harmful algal blooms that starve fish and other organisms of oxygen.
It has long been known that obesity is an inflammatory disease. Based on this knowledge, a group of researchers led by Nabil Djouder at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), decided to try to fight obesity by preventing inflammation. The research, published this week in Nature Metabolism, shows that digoxin, a drug already in use against heart diseases, reduces inflammation and leads to a 40% weight loss in obese mice, without any side effects.
In a randomized controlled study, Penn State researchers found that a Mediterranean diet combined with small portions of lean beef helped lower risk factors for developing heart disease, such as LDL cholesterol.
Food waste and obesity are major problems in developed countries. They are both caused by an overabundance of food, but strategies to reduce one can inadvertently increase the other. A broader perspective can help identify ways to limit food waste while also promoting healthy nutrition, two University of Illinois researchers suggest.
Before humans can benefit from new drug therapies and nutritional additives, scientists test their safety and efficacy in animals, typically mice and rats. But, as much as they've done for biomedical research, rodents aren't always the best research model for studies on neonatal brain development and nutrition. That's where pigs can play an important role.