Thursday March 6, 2014
Credit: Alexander Stein / Public Domain
Research has shown that dark chocolate is good for cardiovascular health. A study published in The FASEB Journal indicates that dark chocolate improves cardiovascular health by helping to keep arteries flexible and preventing white blood cells from getting stuck to blood vessel walls. This helps to reduce blood pressure and increase blood flow to the heart and brain.
According to researcher Diederik Esser, "We provide a more complete picture of the impact of chocolate consumption in vascular health and show that increasing flavanol content has no added beneficial effect on vascular health. However, this increased flavanol content clearly affected taste and thereby the motivation to eat these chocolates." Flavanol is the antioxidant in dark chocolate that is responsible for improving cardiovascular health.
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Wednesday March 5, 2014
|Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) Bacteria
Credit: CDC/ Janice Haney Carr/ Jeff Hageman, M.H.S.
Berkeley Lab scientists and other researchers are attempting to discover a way to stop Staph infections by studying how Staphylococcus aureus bacteria adhere to surfaces. These bacteria can adhere to medical equipment and cause serious illness if they enter the body and cause an infection. Some strains, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), are even more threatening as they have developed resistance to antibiotics.
According to researcher Mohammad Mofrad, "By understanding the preferences of bacteria during adhesion, medical implant devices can be fabricated to contain surface features immune to bacteria adhesion, without the requirement of any chemical modifications." The researchers discovered that S. aureus cells can adhere to various types of surfaces, including horizontal surfaces and highly curved surfaces. Bacteria are able to adhere to surfaces due to the presence of cell adhesion molecules located just outside of the bacterial cell wall.
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Thursday February 27, 2014
Image Credit: Cell Image Library
All cells of the nervous system are comprised of neurons. A neuron, or nerve cell, consists of two major parts: a cell body and nerve processes. The cell body is the largest part of a neuron and contains the neuron's nucleus, associated cytoplasm, and other cell structures. The cell body produces proteins needed for the construction of other parts of the neuron.
Nerve processes are "finger-like" projections from the cell body that are able to conduct and transmit signals. There are two types of nerve processes: axons and dendrites. Axons typically carry signals away from the cell body. They are long nerve processes that may branch out to convey signals to various areas. Dendrites typically carry signals toward the cell body. Dendrites are usually more numerous, shorter and more branched than axons. Axons and dendrites are bundled together into what are called nerves. These nerves send signals between the brain, spinal cord, and other body organs via nerve impulses.
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Thursday February 20, 2014
Could garlic be the key to stopping antibiotic resistance? Researchers have discovered that a chemical substance found in garlic effectively kills antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The substance, ajoene, prevents Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria from releasing a toxic substance that destroys white blood cells.
According to researcher Tim Holm Jakobsen, "Ajoene supports and improves treatment with conventional antibiotics. We have clearly demonstrated this on biofilm cultivated in the laboratory and in trials involving mice. When we add antibiotics to biofilm they have very little effect, and ajoene alone barely makes any difference. It is only when the two are combined that something significant happens." The combined treatment of ajoene and antibiotics was found to kill 90 percent of bacterial biofilm.
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