WHAT'S THE BUZZ

Global warming may cool America

A new study has determined that global warming could actually chill down North America within a few decades.
The study — led by Tim Daley, Swansea University, the UK, looked into a sudden cooling event that gripped the North American region about 8,300 years ago.
Analysis of ancient moss from Newfoundland, Canada, links an injection of freshwater from a burst glacial lake to a rapid drop in air temperatures by a few degrees Celsius along North America’s East Coast.
This event created a colder year-round climate with a much shorter growing season for about 150 years, from northern Canada to what is now Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
The results suggest that North America’s climate is highly sensitive to meltwater flowing into the ocean.
The work also means that history could repeat itself. Currently, Greenland’s ice sheet is melting at a rapid clip, releasing freshwater into the North Atlantic. Daley and colleagues studied mosses dating back more than 8,700 years that were preserved in a Newfoundland peat bog.

New vaccines may be developed soon

In a novel study, Oregon State University scientists have developed a new ‘adjuvant’ that would allow the creation of important new vaccines for various diseases.
It can possibly become a universal vaccine carrier, and help medical experts tackle many diseases more effectively.
Adjuvants are substances that are not immunogenic themselves, but increase the immune response when used in combination with a vaccine.
However, due to concerns about safety and toxicity, there’s only a single vaccine adjuvant — aluminum hydroxide, or alum, — that has been approved for human use.
It’s found in such common vaccines as hepatitis B and tetanus. The new adjuvant is based on nanoparticles prepared with lecithin, a common food product.

Biological growth of blood vessels

In a novel study, scientists from University of North Carolina and the College of Arts & Sciences have identified a novel mechanism that triggers blood vessel growth.
They have found that vascular networks form and expand by ‘sprouting’ similar to the way trees grow new branches.
The process allows fresh oxygen and nutrients to be delivered to tissues, whether in a developing embryo or a cancerous tumour.
Earlier, scientists believed that the molecular signals to form new sprouts came from outside the vessel.
However, the new study has shown that signals can also come from within the blood vessel, pushing new blood vessel sprouts outward.
The researchers found that defects in a protein called Flt-1 lead to abnormal sprouts and poor vessel networks.

Symptoms for dementia

People with mild cognitive impairment, who have problems in performing routine activities, are likely to progress quickly to dementia, suggests a new study.
Mild cognitive impairment is recognised as a risk factor for dementia.
“Clearly patients with mild cognitive impairment compose a heterogeneous group, of whom not all rapidly convert to dementia,” said the authors.
“As such, it is important to identify risk factors for progressing rapidly among individuals diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment,” he added.

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