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Western diet leads to immune disorders

Certain saturated fats that are common in the modern Western diet can initiate a chain of events leading to complex immune disorders such as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) in people with a genetic predisposition, a new study has claimed.

The findings of the new study help explain why once-rare immune-mediated diseases have become more common in westernised societies in the last half century. It also provides insights into why many individuals, who are genetically prone to these diseases, are never affected and how certain environmental factors can produce inflammation in individuals already at risk.

Researchers at the University of Chicago found that concentrated milk fats, which are abundant in processed and confectionary foods, alter the composition of bacteria in the intestines.
These changes can disrupt the delicate truce between the immune system and the complex but largely beneficial mix of bacteria in the intestines. The emergence of harmful bacterial strains in this setting can unleash an unregulated tissue-damaging immune response that can be difficult to switch off.

Restoring vision with stem cell gives hope to blind

Human-derived stem cells can spontaneously form the tissue that develops into the part of the eye that allows us to see, a new study has revealed.

 Transplantation of this 3D tissue in the future could help patients with visual impairments see clearly. “This is an important milestone for a new generation of regenerative medicine,” Yoshiki Sasai, senior author of the study from the RIKEN Centre for Developmental Biology, said.
“Our approach opens a new avenue to the use of human stem cell-derived complex tissues for therapy, as well as for other medical studies related to pathogenesis and drug discovery,” Sasai said.

During development, light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye, called the retina, forms from a structure known as the optic cup. In the new study, this structure spontaneously emerged from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs)—cells derived from human embryos that are capable of developing into a variety of tissues—thanks to the cell culture methods optimised by Sasai and his team.

Robot learns through conversation with humans

Scientist demonstrated how a robot analogous to a child between 6 and 14 months old can develop rudimentary linguistic skills through interaction with a human participant.

By engaging in a few minutes of “conversation” with humans, in which the participants were instructed to speak to the robot as if it were a small child, the robot moved from random syllabic babble to producing some salient wordforms, the names of simple shapes and colours.
The participants were not researchers involved in the project, and were asked to use their own words, rather than any prescribed lines.

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