What we’re reading Better-quality relationships are associated with a reduced dementia risk By the University of East Anglia New research shows that receiving negative support from adult children is associated with an increased risk of developing dementia. The University of East Anglia’s Dr. Mizanur Khondoker, who led the research, suggests that positive social support is linked with a reduced risk of dementia. uea.ac.uk What’s the latest frontier in the fight against homelessness? Your spare room By Nicole Ireland Tim Grimes and Catherine Pawlick-Grimes of Richmond Hill, Ontario, are among the first Canadian families to open their extra bedrooms to homeless young people as part of the Nightstop program. Started in Leeds, England, in 1987, Nightstop has since spread to more than 30 cities and communities across Britain. According to the UK-based head of the program, more than 600 volunteer households opened their homes to almost 1,400 young people nationally last year. cbc.ca Treating epilepsy’s toughest cases By David Noonan Current medicines fail to relieve seizures in about a third of people with epilepsy. For people who do not respond to existing drugs, new ones that might help will be a long time coming. “There aren’t any major drugs in the pipeline at the moment,” says neurologist Michael Rogawski after a 2013 joint report from epilepsy research organizations explained that “because the marketplace is already awash with [antiseizure drugs], many pharmaceutical companies now refrain from the expensive enterprise of developing new compounds.” In the laboratory, meanwhile, researchers are working with mice, fruit flies, worms and computers to develop new and better models of epilepsy in animals, in an effort to find a drug discovery. scientificamerican.com Lasers used to detect risk of heart attack and stroke By The University of Warwick Patients at risk of heart attacks and strokes may be spotted earlier thanks to a diagnosis tool that uses near-infrared light to identify high-risk arterial plaques, according to research carried out at the University of Warwick, the Baker Institute and Monash University. Scientists found that when they increased the wavelength of the light currently used to visualize the fatty build-up found in arteries (atherosclerotic plaques), they could selectively identify the rupture-prone deposits that commonly lead to blood clots, heart attacks and strokes. warwick.ac.uk Gut bacteria influence the brain indirectly, study shows By Maria Cohut Researchers from the University of Illinois have found that there is a three-way relationship between a type of gut bacteria, cortisol and brain metabolites. This relationship, the study hypothesizes, may potentially lead to further insight into autism, but more in-depth studies are needed. medicalnewstoday.com Common acne medication offers a new treatment for multiple sclerosis By Alanna Smith A clinical trial led by Drs. Luanne Metz and Wee Yong from the University of Calgary has shown that the common acne medicine minocycline can slow the process of multiple sclerosis in people who have experienced its initial symptoms. Similar to minocycline’s application to acne, where it prevents inflammation in the skin, the medicine can be used to decrease the ability of inflammatory cells to cross the barrier between the bloodstream and the brain, explains Metz. It may also save Canadians time and cost thousands less. Current medications are upwards of $20,000 per year, minocycline costs just $600, averaging about $2 a day. calgaryherald.com New study is an advance toward preventing a ‘post-antibiotic era’ By Stuart Wolpert Responding to a landmark World Health Organization report which claimed that antiobiotic resistance has become a serious global threat to public health, a team of UCLA biologists began exploring possible ways to defeat life-threatening antibiotic resistant bacteria. They reported that combinations of three different antibiotics can often overcome bacteria’s resistance to antibiotics, even when none of the three antibiotics on its own is effective. Their latest work, published in the Royal Society Interface, extends their understanding of that phenomenon and identifies two combinations of drugs that are unexpectedly successful in reducing the growth of E. coli bacteria. newsroom.ucla.edu
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