what's the buzz

what's the buzz

Amino acid in salmon could beat diabetes

New research has suggested that the amino acid arginine, which is found in foods like salmon, eggs and nuts is able to boost the body’s ability to metabolise glucose. Arginine stimulates a hormone linked to the treatment of type 2 diabetes. 

More than 371 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes, of whom 90 percent are affected by lifestyle-related diabetes mellitus type 2 (type 2 diabetes). In new experiments, researchers from the University of Copenhagen working in collaboration with a research group at the University of Cincinnati, USA, have demonstrated that the amino acid arginine improves glucose metabolism significantly in both lean (insulin-sensitive) and obese (insulin-resistant) mice. 

Postdoc Christoffer Clemmensen said that the amino acid is just as effective as several well-established drugs for type 2 diabetics. 

To test the effect of the amino acid arginine, researchers subjected lean and obese animal models to a so-called glucose tolerance test, which measures the body’s ability to remove glucose from the blood over time.  Clemmensen said that the team have demonstrated that both lean and fat laboratory mice benefit considerably from arginine supplements. 

He said that they improved glucose metabolism by as much as 40 percent in both groups and can also see that arginine increases the body’s production of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), an intestinal hormone which plays an important role in regulating appetite and glucose metabolism. 

Autoimmune diseases may soon become history

An immunologist has said that with some prompting, the protein STING can turn down the immune response or even block its attack on healthy body constituents like collagen, insulin and the protective covering of neurons - targets of the debilitating diseases. 

Medical College of Georgia researchers saw STING’s critical role play out after they injected into the bloodstream submicroscopic DNA nanoparticles, engineered carriers for delivering drugs or genes into cells. They learned that the magic is in STING, which recognises the molecule that senses the DNA then prompts release of IDO, or indoleomine 2,3-dioxyegenase. 

Dr. Andrew L. Mellor, immunologist at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University said that the fact that STING is actually part of the DNA-sensing pathway tells us something we did not know before. DNA nanoparticles apparently look to the body a lot like the debris that results when dying cells release DNA from their nucleus. In the bloodstream, there are a lot of immune cells called phagocytes that ingest the submicroscopic particles that wind up in the fluid portion of the cell, called the cytoplasm, where most cellular activity happens. There, sensors detect the DNA and trigger signaling that leads to expression of IDO. In this complex interplay, STING appears essential to recognizing the molecule that recognizes the DNA.
Coffee grounds may serve as future energy resource

Researchers have discovered that an ingredient in our old coffee grounds might someday serve as a cheaper and cleaner energy source. 

Yang Liu, a graduate student in environmental engineering in UC’s College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS), used a three-pronged approach to converting waste coffee grounds into energy sources including biodiesel and activated carbon by extracting oil from the waste, drying the waste coffee grounds after oil removal to filter impurities in biodiesel production and burning what was left as an alternative energy source for electricity, similar to using biomass. The researchers launched the project in 2010, gathering waste coffee grounds in a five-gallon bucket from a Starbucks store on UC’s campus. After collection, they removed the oil from the waste coffee grounds and converted triglycerides (oil) into biodiesel and the byproduct, glycerin. The coffee grounds were then dried and used to purify the biodiesel they derived from the waste coffee grounds.