PRESS-NEWS.org - Press Release Distribution
FREE PRESS RELEASES DISTRIBUTION

Important element in the fight against sleeping sickness found

Important element in the fight against sleeping sickness found
2014-11-24
(Press-News.org) Researchers from Aarhus University have taken an important step in the fight against sleeping sickness, a disease that is a major problem in parts of Africa. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the disease threatens approximately 60 million people and the treatment options are poor.

The deadly disease is caused by a parasite that is transferred to people via the bite of the African tsetse fly. The parasite lives in the bloodstream where it absorbs haemoglobin from human red blood cells. However, if left untreated it can infect the central nervous system and cause a coma-like state. Haemoglobin is important for the parasite as it contains what are known as 'haem groups', which it cannot produce itself. The researchers have now discovered precisely how the parasite finds this crucial haemoglobin in humans. With the new knowledge it will be possible to develop targeted treatments and fight the disease much more effectively.

The results have recently been published in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

Desperate need for better treatment The new knowledge makes it possible to improve the treatment of sleeping sickness.

"The drugs currently being used are not very effective and have many side-effects. The treatment is particularly difficult once the parasite has infected the central nervous system. At this point, as many as five per cent of the patients die from the side effects. Our discovery certainly provides new perspectives for a more effective treatment with fewer side effects, something that is very much needed," says Associate Professor Christian Brix Folsted Andersen from Aarhus University, who is one of researchers behind the study.

Sleeping sickness parasite recognises haemoglobin The researchers have mapped how the parasite recognises the haemoglobin it requires in order to survive.

"The parasite has developed a mechanism so that it can directly recognise haemoglobin. It does this via a receptor on the cell, that's to say a molecule, which binds very strongly to the haemoglobin. We have now uncovered precisely how the receptor binds to the haemoglobin," explains postdoc Kristian Stødkilde-Jørgensen from Aarhus University, who has also participated in the study.

This knowledge can be utilised in the development of new medicines.

"Now that we know how the receptor interacts with the haemoglobin we have the possibility to develop targeted medicines. For example, an artificial haemoglobin coupled to a toxin that will kill the parasite. Or a compound that blocks the interaction between receptor and haemoglobin so that the parasite cannot absorb haemoglobin" says Christian Brix Folsted Andersen.

INFORMATION:

Facts about sleeping sickness Sleeping sickness is a serious infection in the blood which ends up attacking the central nervous system. The disease is caused by a parasite that can be transferred via the bite of the tsetse fly. The symptoms are confusion, a disturbed circadian rhythm, dementia, seizures and increasing drowsiness and finally coma. There is no vaccine or medicinal prevention against the disease which is fatal if not treated. The WHO estimates that between 30,000 and 50,000 people are affected by the disease and that a further 60 million people are threatened by it. The fly and the parasite can be found in a wide belt around the African equator. Read more Read the scientific article Structural basis for tryponosomal haeme acquisition and susceptibility to the host innate immune system in Nature Communications.


[Attachments] See images for this press release:
Important element in the fight against sleeping sickness found

ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:

Study finds provider-focused intervention improves HPV vaccination rates

2014-11-24
(Boston)--Changing the way doctors practice medicine is difficult, however a new study has shown that combining traditional education with quality improvement and incentives improves Human Papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination rates in boys and girls. The study, which appears on-line in the journal Vaccine, has the potential to produce sustained improvements in these vaccination rates. Every year, approximately three million Americans seek treatment for HPV related diseases. Twenty-seven thousand Americans develop HPV-related cancer while more than 5,000 people die from this ...

'Good fat' could help manage type 2 diabetes

2014-11-24
A special type of fat found in some people could be used to manage type 2 diabetes. Scientists from Monash University and Stockholm University have discovered that brown fat, nicknamed the 'good fat' because it warms up the body in cold temperatures, burning up calories in the process, also 'hoovers up' excess sugar. The findings, published in The Journal of Cell Biology, are significant for people with type 2 diabetes, whose bodies are unable to respond to insulin properly, resulting in elevated blood glucose levels. Researchers believe that if brown fat cells can ...

Football players found to have brain damage from mild 'unreported' concussions

Football players found to have brain damage from mild unreported concussions
2014-11-24
Beer-Sheva, Israel, Nov. 24, 2014 - A new, enhanced MRI diagnostic approach was, for the first time, able to identify significant damage to the blood-brain barrier (BBB) of professional football players following "unreported" trauma or mild concussions. Published in the current issue of JAMA Neurology, this study could improve decision making on when an athlete should "return to play." According to Dr. Alon Friedman, from the Ben-Gurion University Brain Imaging Research Center and discoverer of the new diagnostic, "until now, there wasn't a diagnostic capability to identify ...

Breaking with tradition: The 'personal touch' is key to cultural preservation

2014-11-24
"Memetics," or the study of memes, is a very popular discipline among cultural researchers now, particularly as it concerns new media like viral videos. But no one seems to know what a meme really is. Originally coined by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, the "meme" transfers cultural information much the way that genes inherit biological properties. Pharrell Williams' feel-good hit "Happy" (2013), one of the top-selling singles of all time, is a recent example of a wildly popular meme. Originally tucked away in the soundtrack of the film Despicable Me 2, the song ...

Teens prescribed anti-anxiety or sleep medications more likely to abuse those drugs illegally

2014-11-24
WASHINGTON - Teens prescribed anti-anxiety or sleep medications may be up to 12 times more likely to abuse those drugs illegally than teens who have never received a prescription, often by obtaining additional pills from friends or family members, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association. Based on surveys of more than 2,700 high school and middle school students from the Detroit area, almost 9 percent had been prescribed a potentially addictive benzodiazepine anti-anxiety medication (e.g., Xanax, Valium or Klonopin) or sleep medication ...

Sorting through recycling bins to learn about alcohol use

2014-11-24
COLUMBUS, Ohio - When researchers wanted to verify alcohol-use survey results at a senior housing center, they came up with a novel way to measure residents' drinking: Count the empty bottles in recycling bins. Scientists compared the recycling bin results with two residential surveys gauging drinking habits of people living in a San Diego complex for low-income, older adults. "We were able to check how much the residents said they were drinking with the empty beer, wine and liquor containers they were actually putting in the recycling bins," said John Clapp, co-author ...

Mimics do not substitute for the 'real thing' for bomb-sniffing dogs

2014-11-24
When it comes to teaching dogs how to sniff out explosives, there's nothing quite like the real thing to make sure they're trained right. That's the message from William Kranz, Nicholas Strange and John Goodpaster of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) in the US, after finding that dogs that are trained with so-called "pseudo-explosives" could not reliably sniff out real explosives (and vice versa). Their findings are published online in Springer's journal Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. Genuine explosive materials are traditionally used ...

Experience with family verbal conflict as a child can help in stressful situations as an adult

2014-11-24
Washington, DC (November 26, 2014) - The holiday season gives people the opportunity to reconnect with friends and family each year. Sometimes these interactions can be stressful, especially around the Thanksgiving table where a heated debate can occur. How come some people are better at handling these stressful interactions than others? A recent study published in the journal Human Communication Research by researchers at Rollins College and The Pennsylvania State University found that individuals who were exposed to intense verbal aggression as children are able to handle ...

New treatments for cancer, diabetes, and heart disease -- you may have a pig to thank

New treatments for cancer, diabetes, and heart disease -- you may have a pig to thank
2014-11-24
New Rochelle, NY, November 24, 2014--Genetically engineered pigs, minipigs, and microminipigs are valuable tools for biomedical research, as their lifespan, anatomy, physiology, genetic make-up, and disease mechanisms are more similar to humans than the rodent models typically used in drug discovery research. A Comprehensive Review article entitled "Current Progress of Genetically Engineered Pig Models for Biomedical Research," describing advances in techniques to create and use pig models and their impact on the development of novel drugs and cell and gene therapies, is ...

New volume documents the science at the legendary snowmastodon fossil site in Colorado

2014-11-24
DENVER--Nov. 24, 2014-- Four years ago, a bulldozer operator turned over some bones during construction at Ziegler Reservoir near Snowmass Village, Colorado. Scientists from the Denver Museum of Nature & Science were called to the scene and confirmed the bones were those of a juvenile Columbian mammoth, setting off a frenzy of excavation, scientific analysis, and international media attention. This dramatic and unexpected discovery culminates this month with the publication of the Snowmastodon Project Science Volume in the international journal Quaternary Research. Fourteen ...

LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES:

Scientists model 'true prevalence' of COVID-19 throughout pandemic

New breakthrough to help immune systems in the fight against cancer

Through the thin-film glass, researchers spot a new liquid phase

Administering opioids to pregnant mice alters behavior and gene expression in offspring

Brain's 'memory center' needed to recognize image sequences but not single sights

Safety of second dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines after first-dose allergic reactions

Changes in disparities in access to care, health after Medicare eligibility

Use of high-risk medications among lonely older adults

65+ and lonely? Don't talk to your doctor about another prescription

Exosome formulation developed to deliver antibodies for choroidal neovascularization therapy

Second COVID-19 mRNA vaccine dose found safe following allergic reactions to first dose

Plant root-associated bacteria preferentially colonize their native host-plant roots

Rare inherited variants in previously unsuspected genes may confer significant risk for autism

International experts call for a unified public health response to NAFLD and NASH epidemic

International collaboration of scientists rewrite the rulebook of flowering plant genetics

Improving air quality reduces dementia risk, multiple studies suggest

Misplaced trust: When trust in science fosters pseudoscience

Two types of blood pressure meds prevent heart events equally, but side effects differ

New statement provides path to include ethnicity, ancestry, race in genomic research

Among effective antihypertensive drugs, less popular choice is slightly safer

Juicy past of favorite Okinawan fruit revealed

Anticipate a resurgence of respiratory viruses in young children

Anxiety, depression, burnout rising as college students prepare to return to campus

Goal-setting and positive parent-child relationships reduce risk of youth vaping

New research identifies cancer types with little survival improvements in adolescents and young adul

Oncotarget: Replication-stress sensitivity in breast cancer cells

Oncotarget: TERT and its binding protein: overexpression of GABPA/B in gliomas

Development of a novel technology to check body temperature with smartphone camera

The mechanics of puncture finally explained

Extreme heat, dry summers main cause of tree death in Colorado's subalpine forests

[Press-News.org] Important element in the fight against sleeping sickness found