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Sugar uptake could lead to cancer

Researchers have said that a dramatic increase in sugar uptake could be a cause of oncogenesis - a process by which normal cells are transformed into cancer cells.

Mina Bissell, Distinguished Scientist with Berkeley Lab’s Life Sciences Division, said that through a series of painstaking analysis, they discovered two new pathways through which increased uptake of glucose could itself activate other oncogenic pathways.

She said that this discovery provides possible new targets for diagnosis and therapeutics.
Bissell’s team examined the expression of glucose transporter proteins in human breast cells.

The focus was on the glucose transporter known as GLUT3, the concentrations of which Onodera and Bissell showed are 400 times greater in malignant than in non-malignant breast cells.

The study was carried out using a 3D culture assay developed earlier by Bissell and her group for mouse mammary cells and later with her collaborator, Ole Petersen, for human breast cells. The assay enables actual reproduction of breast cells to form structural units and for malignant cells to form tumor-like colonies.

Bissell said that they found that overexpression of GLUT3 in the non-malignant human breast cells activated known oncogenic signaling pathways and led to the loss of tissue polarity and the onset of cancerous growth.

Wearable `alertness tracker` to save drivers from dozing off

Researchers have developed a new gadget that could help keep drivers from dozing off.
The makers of the new wearable device, Vigo, have claimed that it will be able to put an end to untimely sleepiness by measuring alertness and nudging the user awake if necessary, the New York Daily News reported.

Vigo, a headset, uses an infrared sensor to track blinking patterns and eye movement to determine how awake the user is.

The device, designed by three students at the University of Pennsylvania, starts vibrating softly, flashing a light or playing a pre-selected music track if it senses the wearer is falling asleep.

It monitors data constantly by taking into account blink rate, blink duration and the ratio of time an eye is open versus closed.

Vigo, which weighs around 20 grams, is activated through Bluetooth 4.0 and it works with any iOS or Android device, including phones and tablets.

Weight loss may cut  risk in middle-aged women

A new study has suggested that modest weight loss over 2 years in overweight or obese, middle-aged women may reduce risk factors for heart disease and diabetes.

In a study of 417 women participating in weight loss programs for up to 24 months, those who sustained a 10 percent or more loss of their body weight for two years reduced their total cholesterol, LDL “bad” cholesterol, HDL “good” cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin, glucose and inflammation markers.

Women who had the highest levels of risk at the start of the study benefitted the most from modest weight loss. “It is challenging to lose weight, but if women commit to losing 10 percent of their body weight and sustain that over time, it can have a large impact on overall risk factors associated with heart disease and diabetes,” Cynthia A. Thomson from the University of Arizona Canyon Ranch Center for Prevention and Health Promotion in Tucson, said.

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