Caffeine increases the levels of an enzyme thought to be protective against dementia

Dementia is a disease that mainly affects older people and is characterized by difficulties with coordination and speech, memory distortions, restlessness, and problems with perception. People with dementia also suffer from behavioural changes which can include depression, irritability, anxiety, apathy, and agitation. 20-40% of people over the age of 85 will be diagnosed with dementia…

Genetic material from your food is not absorbed by your body

A report in 2012, published in the journal Cell Research, seemed to suggest that genetic material, specifically microRNA, could pass from a person’s small intestine and into their blood stream. These microRNAs are small pieces of genetic code that cells use to modify the expression of certain genes. Think of them as dimmer switches on…

Sea sponges produce a compound that can kill superbug MRSA

Antibiotic resistance is a problem that affects every country in the world. Bacteria are evolutionary melting pots and in a short amount of time are able to acquire genes that allow them break down antibiotics and survive our current treatments. This can result in life threatening infections that are resistant to all known drugs. MRSA…

Cancer cells can force their neighbours to feed them

Cancer is formed when a cell mutates and develops the ability to grow uncontrollably. This uncontrollable growth means that cancer cells are energy hogs, they require copious amounts of fuel to drive their growth and movement. Many chemotherapeutics target the food supplies of cancer cells in an effort to starve them. Typically, nutrients are provided to cancer…

One third of adults with asthma may be misdiagnosed

You go to your family doctor complaining of difficulty breathing, wheezing, tightness in your chest, and a cough. Your doctor listens to your chest, makes some notes and diagnoses you with asthma. You get some inhalers to control the symptoms and carry on your way. Surprisingly, there was never a test done to determine if…

Indoor smoking ban resulted in fewer emergency department visits for children with asthma

Exposure to certain triggers can cause patients with asthma to suffer exacerbations and become hospitalized with an asthma attack. These stays in hospital can be long and in severe cases can result in visits to the intensive care unit. Triggers of exacerbations include allergens (animal dander, pollen, mold), weather changes, chest infections, influenza, and cigarette smoke…