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Reprogramming immune cells to reduce inflammation, promote tissue repair

Macrophages are white blood cells that, depending on the signals they get from the immune system, become specialized in either increasing or decreasing inflammation. When macrophages are programmed to be pro-inflammatory, they help to increase inflammation, which is beneficial for fighting infections; when they are programmed to be anti-inflammatory, they help to decrease inflammation.

Key brain region was “recycled” as humans developed the ability to read

Part of the visual cortex dedicated to recognizing objects appears predisposed to identifying words and letters, a study finds.

Humans began to develop systems of reading and writing only within the past few thousand years. Our reading abilities set us apart from other animal species, but a few thousand years is much too short a timeframe for our brains to have evolved new areas specifically devoted to reading.

A new tool for modeling the human gut microbiome

Several thousand strains of bacteria live in the human gut. Some of these are associated with disease, while others have beneficial effects on human health. Figuring out the precise role of each of these bacteria can be difficult, because many of them can’t be grown in lab studies using human tissue.

Masks mandates have major impact, study finds

The research described in this article has been published as a working paper but has not yet been peer-reviewed by experts in the field.

Masks reduce the spread of Covid-19. But just how much of an effect do they have? A study co-authored by an MIT professor finds that if the U.S. had introduced a uniform national mask mandate for employees of public-facing businesses on April 1, the number of deaths in the U.S. would likely have been 40 percent lower on June 1.

NEW MOLECULE REVERSES ALZHEIMER’S-LIKE MEMORY DECLINE

A drug candidate developed by Salk researchers, and previously shown to slow aging in brain cells, successfully reversed memory loss in a mouse model of inherited Alzheimer’s disease. The new research, published online in July 2020 in the journal Redox Biology, also revealed that the drug, CMS121, works by changing how brain cells metabolize fatty molecules known as lipids.