Sweating is just a nasty annoyance to many modern-day people. Sure, it keeps you from overheating during exercise or if you are exposed to extremely hot weather. But most often, perspiration is seen as a negative body secretion to be stopped whenever possible with chemical-laden antiperspirants. On the positive side, many traditional cultures have used induced sweating – such as sitting in sweat lodges – Continue reading
Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin. It helps to keep bones and teeth healthy and keeps your muscles strong. Recent research has also pointed to vitamin D’s role in boosting the immune system. In the latest health news, researchers at the University of California have discovered another health breakthrough about vitamin D: it plays a critical role in your body’s ability to fight off infections. And not just any infection, but a potentially life-threatening one like tuberculosis (TB). Continue reading
ITHICA – Scientists from Weill Cornell Medical College have identified certain compounds that would inhibit the sophisticated mechanism used by tuberculosis bacteria for surviving dormant in infected cells.
The researchers said most of the people infected with TB remain symptom-free because the Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the disease-causing bacteria, is kept in check within immune system cells.
These cells produce compounds such as nitric oxide, which scientists believe damage or destroy the bacteria’s proteins. If these compounds are allowed to accumulate, the damaged proteins would kill the bacteria.
However, a protein-cleaving complex known as a proteasome breaks down that damaged proteins and allows the bacteria to remain dormant.
The researchers suggest that finding drugs to disable the proteasome would be a new way to fight TB.
During the study, the researchers examined 20,000 compounds for TB proteasome inhibition activity, and identified and synthesized a group of inhibitors, which they then tested for their ability to inhibit the proteasome inside the mycobacteria.
“We believe these findings represent a new approach for developing antibiotics in the fight against TB,” Nature magazine quoted Dr. Carl Nathan, senior author and chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, R.A. Rees Pritchett Professor of Microbiology and director of the Abby and Howard P.
Milstein Program in Chemical Biology of Infectious Disease at Weill Cornell Medical College, as saying
“This is important because we are running out of effective antibiotics that are currently available. There are few drugs that successfully combat TB in its dormant stage, which makes the bacterium so resilient in the body.
“More important, there are many antibiotics that kill bacteria by blocking the synthesis of proteins, but there are none that kill bacteria by interfering with protein breakdown, as we have found here,”
LONDON – An autopsy that started in 1825 has finally reached a conclusion, determining that the cause of the death of an ancient Egyptian mummy was tuberculosis.
The mummy, of a woman named ‘Irtyersenu’, who died in Thebes around 600 BC, aged about 50, was discovered by
It was the first mummy to be subjected to a scientific autopsy, and Granville concluded that she died of ovarian cancer.
But around 20 years ago, the remains of the mummy were rediscovered and subjected to new tests.
These suggested that the ovarian tumor was benign, and that the mummy also had malaria and signs of inflammation in the lungs, which could have been caused by pneumonia or tuberculosis.
The mystery has been particularly difficult to resolve because of the way the body was mummified.
In standard mummification, organs were either removed and preserved independently, or a chemical enema was inserted into the anus to dissolve the organs in situ.
In contrast, the mummy of Irtyersenu contains organs, but the whole body seems to be coated in a mysterious waxy substance.
“The material is exceedingly difficult to work with,” said
“It is soft and brown, and when you try to extract anything there’s an oily substance there that interferes with molecular analysis,” she said.
This had made it near impossible to extract DNA from the mummy until now.
But, according to a report in New Scientist, when Donoghue and colleagues from the University of Birmingham, UK, combined DNA amplification with a recently developed technique to search for a short repetitive section of DNA from Mycobacterium tuberculosis, they identified the organism in tissue from the lungs, bone and gall bladder.
They also found biomarkers specific to the cell wall of the bacterium in the lungs and bones.
“Together, these results suggest that TB infection had spread from her lungs to the rest of her body – so-called disseminated TB. In ancient Egypt, this would have been fatal,” said Donoghue.
The team found no further evidence of malaria, and the test that originally detected it has since been withdrawn as it can sometimes cross-react with other substances.