what's the buzz

what's the buzz

‘Body clock’ governs immune response

The success of host immune defense depends in part on an organism’s ‘body clock’, a new study has revealed.

The study may lead to therapeutic strategies designed to optimise the immune response and to protect patients at the time when they are most vulnerable.

Many organisms have evolved an endogenous timing system called a circadian clock that regulates a wide variety of metabolic activities over a twenty-four hour cycle.  “It is becoming increasingly evident that disruption of daily rhythms, such as from sleep deprivation, affects the immune response,” explained senior study author, Dr. Erol Fikrig from Yale University School of Medicine.

“In our study, we were interested in investigating whether the ability of the immune system to detect a pathogen is under circadian control and whether there are timing-associated consequences for the subsequent immune response.”

Nanoparticles in food, unhealthy for humans

Billions of engineered nanoparticles in foods and pharmaceuticals, which are ingested by humans daily, could be more detrimental to health than previously thought, a new study has warned.

A research collaboration led by Michael Shuler, a professor of Chemical Engineering and chair of Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University, studied how large doses of polystyrene nanoparticles – a common, FDA-approved substance found in substances ranging from food additives to vitamins – affected how well chickens absorbed iron, an essential nutrient, into their cells.

According to the study, high-intensity, short-term exposure to the particles initially
blocked iron absorption, whereas longer-term exposure caused intestinal cell structures to change, allowing for a compensating uptick in iron absorption.

The researchers tested both acute and chronic nanoparticle exposure using human gut cells in petri dishes as well as live chickens and reported matching results.

Discovery of how we taste salt could save lives

A scientific discovery on how our mouths taste salt could save thousands of lives each year.  The finding could not only dramatically reduce the amount of salt we eat but lead to food which tastes just as good.

Scientists at the University of Nottingham discovered how crisps break down in our mouths.  They found that the “salt burst” of flavour is released 20 seconds after chewing begins – often after we have already swallowed.

“Our aim is to develop a series of technologies that accelerate the delivery of salt to the tongue by moving the burst from 20 seconds to within the time that you normally chew and swallow,” the Daily Express quoted head researcher Dr Ian Fisk as saying.  “This would mean that less salt would be needed to get the same amount of taste,” he said.

“This shows many products are needlessly high in salt. Most of it is swallowed before it’s even tasted,” said Katharine Jenner, campaign director of Consensus Action on Salt and Health.

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