Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2010 July 5

Articles

Scientists create plastic antibodies

IRVINE, Calif. (UPI) — U.S. scientists say they’ve developed the first plastic antibodies that have been successfully employed in live organisms to stop the spread of bee venom.
University of California-Irvine researchers say they designed the tiny polymeric particles to match and encase melittin — a peptide in bee venom that causes cells to rupture. Large quantities of melittin can lead to organ failure and death.
The researchers led by Professor Kenneth Shea and project scientist Yu Hoshino said they prepared the nanoparticles by molecular imprinting — a technique similar to plaster casting:
The scientists said they linked melittin with small molecules called monomers, solidifying the two into a network of long polymer chains. After the plastic hardened, they removed the melittin, leaving nanoparticles with minuscule melittin-shaped holes.
When injected into mice given high doses of melittin, the nanoparticles enveloped the matching melittin molecules before they could disperse and wreak havoc, thereby greatly reducing deaths among the rodents.
"Never before have synthetic antibodies been shown to effectively function in the bloodstream of living animals," Shea said. "This technique could be utilized to make plastic nanoparticles designed to fight more lethal toxins and pathogens."
The study that included Takashi Kodama of Stanford University and Hiroyuki Koide, Takeo Urakami, Hiroaki Kanazawa and Naoto Oku of Japan’s University of Shizuoka was published in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

Yawning may signal desire for sex

PARIS (UPI) — Yawning can indicate more than just a desire to sleep, scientists say, and may even be a sign of sexual desire and other emotions.
The suggestion was put forward at the first International Conference on Yawning held in Paris Thursday, The Daily Telegraph reported.
The average person yawns 240,000 times in a lifetime, but much about yawning is still a mystery, one scientist says.
"We can send a man to the Moon but we cannot explain this most trivial of acts," Wolter Seuntjens, a Dutch academic who is a pioneer in chasmology (the science of yawn studies), said.
About the only things researchers are sure of, they say, is that the common theory saying yawning provides extra oxygen to the brain is completely wrong.
Yawning may in fact demonstrate a range of emotions including interest, stress and even wanting to have sex, Seuntjens said.
Seuntjens noted many sexologists reported people who said they yawned during sex or foreplay.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

Bees may help fight deadly infections

GLASGOW, Scotland (UPI) — Scientists looking for new treatments to fight a deadly drug-resistant infection say they may have found a new ally — bees.
A substance known as beeglue or propolis, found in beehives, was found to be effective against Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium that causes several difficult-to-treat infections in humans, a release Monday from Scotland’s University of Strathclyde said.
"MRSA can have a devastating impact on people who contract it and on their families, often compounding illnesses they already have," said Dr. Veronique Seidel, a lecturer in natural products chemistry at Strathclyde.
"We investigated propolis because bees use it as an antiseptic glue to seal gaps between honeycombs and preserve their hives from microbial contamination," she said.
"Beeglue is also a natural remedy widely used in folk medicine for a variety of ailments but little has been known until now about its capacity to target MRSA," she said.
"We will be taking our research further to understand how active substances in propolis work," Seidel said, "and to seek the treatments which patients urgently require."

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

 

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