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Vitamin D supplements  not to reduce depressionResearchers have suggested that Vitamin D supplements may not be able to decrease depression.

The review, by Jonathan A Shaffer, PhD, assistant professor of medical sciences at Columbia University Medical Centre (CUMC), and team at CUMC’s Centre for Cardiovascular Behavioral Health, found that only seven trials with a total of approximately 3200 participants compared the effect of vitamin D supplementation on depression with no vitamin D supplementation.Nearly all of these trials were characterised by methodological limitations, and all but two involved participants without clinically significant depression at the start of the study. The overall improvement in depression across all trials was small and not clinically meaningful.

However, additional analyses of the clinical data by Dr Schaffer hinted that vitamin D supplements may help patients with clinically significant depression, particularly when combined with traditional antidepressant medication. New well-designed trials that test the effect of vitamin D supplements in these patients are needed to determine if there is any clinical benefit.

The authors note that supplementation with vitamin D also may be effective only for those with vitamin D deficiency. They also recommend future studies to consider how vitamin D dosing and mode of delivery contribute to its effects on depression.
Chickens and quail likely sources of spread of H7N9Researchers have suggested that among the copious species of poultry in China, quail and chickens are the likely sources of infection of H7N9 influenza virus to humans

The H7N9 avian influenza virus was first reported in humans in March 2013 in China. Since then over 375 human cases have been confirmed and over 100 have died. Only one case has been reported outside of China: A woman from Guangdong Province who was traveling in Malaysia and is presumed to have contracted the virus in China. According to the World Health Organisation, most known human infections have resulted from direct or indirect contact with poultry.

Corresponding author David Suarez, of the US Department of Agriculture, laboratory originally became concerned about H7N9 after sequences from several isolates were made available in public databases, early in the outbreak.

In the study, Suarez and his collaborators first infected seven species of poultry with a human isolate of the Chinese H7N9 virus. The virus replicated well in quail and chickens, and the former quickly infected their cage-mates, says Suarez.

The virus replicated less well in other poultry species, and did not transmit efficiently. Pigeons were notably resistant to becoming infected. In additional experiments, quail transmitted virus efficiently, while pekin ducks and pigeons did not.
Eyes could reveal features of early-stage Alzheimer’s diseaseResearchers have discovered eye abnormalities that may help reveal features of early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

Using a laboratory rat model of Alzheimer’s disease and high-resolution imaging techniques, researchers correlated variations of the eye structure, to identify initial indicators of the disease. Shaomei Wang, MD, PhD, lead author of the study and an associate professor in the Regenerative Medicine Institute and Department of Biomedical Sciences, said detecting changes in the brain that indicate Alzheimer’s disease can be a  challenging task.

She said by using the eye as a window to brain activity and function, we may be able to diagnose patients sooner and give them more time to prepare for the future. Using both animal models and postmortem human retinas from donors with Alzheimer’s disease, researchers found changes in the retinal pigment epithelial layer, which harbors the supportive cells located in the back of the eye, and in the thickness of the choroidal layer that has blood vessels providing nutrients to the retina. Changes in these two regions were detected using sophisticated, state-of-the-art imaging and immunological techniques.

With high-resolution, microscopic imaging and visual acuity measurements, investigators were able to monitor tissue degeneration in the cell layer and vascular layer at the back of the eye, as well as decline in visual function, that were strongly associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

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