What's the buzz

What's the buzz

Sleep pattern in children not diagnosed

Lead author Dr Lisa Meltzer obtained data from 32 primary care paediatric practices affiliated with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Her study paper reveals that information was gathered by chart review for 1,54,957 patients, ranging in age from 0 to 18 years.

The study revealed that less than four per cent were diagnosed with a sleep disorder. The most common diagnoses were sleep disorders that are “not otherwise specified” (1.42 per cent), enuresis — or bedwetting (1.24 pc), sleep disordered breathing (1.04 pc), and insomnia (0.05 pc).

Dr Lisa says that the rate of diagnosis found in this study is significantly lower than prevalence rates reported in epidemiological studies.

Considering that sleep problems in children can adversely affect their learning, growth and development, the authors suggest that paediatricians receive education and support in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders.

Replacing bones using stem cells

Imperial College London scientists claim that they have moved a step closer to making replacement bones for patients with damaged or fractured bones using stem cell technology.

The researchers say that they compared ‘bone-like’ materials grown from three different commonly used clinically relevant cell types, and found significant differences between the quality of bone-like material that these can form.

They revealed that the ‘bone-like’ materials grown from bone cells from mouse skull and mouse bone marrow stem cells successfully mimicked many of the hallmarks of real bone, including stiffness.

Smokers unlikely to know they have BP

University College London researchers recently found in a study on more than 20,000 men and women in England that high blood pressure was picked up less often in people who smoke, despite them being at higher risk of heart disease.

The researchers said that smokers were less likely to be aware that they had high blood pressure than non-smokers.

According to them, spotting the condition was particularly important in those who smoke, especially because being diagnosed can also prompt people to quit.

The researchers described smoking and high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, as key causes of early death.

Turning bacteria into biotech factories

Harvard Medical School researchers in the US have developed a new cell programming method, called Multiplex Automated Genome Engineering (MAGE), which promises to give biotechnology, in particular synthetic biology, a powerful boost.

This work was carried out in the lab of George Church, a professor of Genetics, by a pair of researchers.

With the novel technique, the research team could rapidly refine the design of a bacterium by editing multiple genes in parallel instead of targeting one gene at a time.

They transformed self-serving E coli cells into efficient factories that produce a desired compound, accomplishing in just three days a feat that would take most biotech companies months or years.

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