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.
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.
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.
The research described in this article has been published as a working paper but has not yet been peer-reviewed by experts in the field.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.
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.
While your skeleton helps your body to move, fine skeleton-like filaments within your cells likewise help cellular structures to move. Now, Salk researchers have developed a new imaging method that lets them monitor a small subset of these filaments, called actin.
Widespread use of pesticides and other agrochemicals can speed the transmission of the debilitating disease schistosomiasis, while also upsetting the ecological balances in aquatic environments that prevent infections, finds a new study led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.
A big advance in carbon capture technology could provide an efficient and inexpensive way for natural gas power plants to remove carbon dioxide from their flue emissions, a necessary step in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to slow global warming and climate change.
Changes in blood platelets triggered by COVID-19 could contribute to the onset of heart attacks, strokes, and other serious complications in some patients who have the disease, according to University of Utah Health scientists. The researchers found that inflammatory proteins produced during infection significantly alter the function of platelets, making them “hyperactive” and more prone to form dangerous and potentially deadly blood clots.
An overactive defense response may lead to increased blood clotting, disease severity, and death from COVID-19. A phenomenon called NETosis—in which infection-fighting cells emit a web-like substance to trap invading viruses—is part of an immune response that becomes increasingly hyperactive in people on ventilators and people who die from the disease.