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Less toxicant cigarettes can cut health risks

Researchers have shown in their first clinical study of their novel prototype cigarettes that it is possible to reduce smokers’ exposure to certain smoke toxicants.

The only way to be certain of avoiding the risks of smoking is not to smoke. And reducing the health risks of smoking has been the overriding aim of tobacco research for many years.

It is known that the risk of developing smoking-related disease is greater in people who smoke more cigarettes per day and for longer periods.

Several decades have been spent researching the nature of tobacco smoke, identifying key toxicants and developing technologies to reduce the levels of some toxicants in smoke.

Laboratory tests show that the technologies successfully reduce levels of some, though not all, toxicants in smoke.

This is the first clinical study of test products and it shows an average reduction in smokers’ exposure to certain toxicants over the study period.

Hunger-spiking neurons can treat autoimmune diseases

Neurons that control hunger in the central nervous system also regulate immune cell functions, implicating eating behavior as a defense against infections and autoimmune disease development, a new study has found.

 Autoimmune diseases have been on a steady rise in the United States.

These illnesses develop when the body’s immune system turns on itself and begins attacking its own tissues.

The interactions between different kinds of T cells are at the heart of fighting infections, but they have also been linked to autoimmune disorders.

“We’ve found that if appetite-promoting AgRP neurons are chronically suppressed, leading to decreased appetite and a leaner body weight, T cells are more likely to promote inflammation-like processes enabling autoimmune responses that could lead to diseases like multiple sclerosis,” lead author Tamas Horvath, the Jean and David W. Wallace Professor of Biomedical Research and chair of comparative medicine at Yale School of Medicine, said.

Marine bacteria as microscopic bio-batteries

A team of scientists from the UK and the US have identified the power-generating mechanism used by well-known marine bacteria.

University of East Anglia collaborated with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington on the research project.

Dr Tom Clarke, a lecturer at the school of biological sciences at the UEA, who led the research, told the BBC that the bacterium Shewanella oneidensis had been seen influencing levels of minerals in lakes and seas but no-one really knew how it did it.

The bacterium occurred globally in rivers and seas and are everywhere from the Amazon to the Baltic seas.

Clarke said that the scientists noticed that iron and manganese levels in the lake changed with seasons and happened in co-ordination with the bacteria’s growth patterns.

However, he said, what was not known was the method through which they brought about these changes in mineral concentrations.

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