Health care

  • Article
    | Open Access

    Maternal diet affects DNA methylation in the developing offspring, leading to phenotypic changes. Here, Dominguez-Salas et al. exploit seasonal variation in the diet of Gambian women to show that maternal methyl donor nutrient status around the time of conception predicts methylation levels at metastable epialleles in infants.

    • Paula Dominguez-Salas
    • , Sophie E. Moore
    •  & Branwen J. Hennig
  • Article
    | Open Access

    D-Glucosamine is a dietary supplement widely used for the treatment of osteoarthritis. Here Weimer et al. show that D-glucosamine extends the life span of Caenorhabditis elegans and of mice by mimicking the molecular effects of a diet low in carbohydrates.

    • Sandra Weimer
    • , Josephine Priebs
    •  & Michael Ristow
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The potential of extracellular vesicles (EVs) as cancer biomarkers is substantial. Here, Yoshioka et al. describe a sensitive technique to analyse EVs directly from blood samples of patients with colorectal cancer, highlighting a liquid biopsy technique with cancer-detection possibilities.

    • Yusuke Yoshioka
    • , Nobuyoshi Kosaka
    •  & Takahiro Ochiya
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Caloric restriction extends the lifespan of various organisms but whether it works in monkeys is controversial. Here, Colman et al.report that caloric restriction reduces all-cause mortality of rhesus macaques, and perform a weight comparison that aims to reconcile their findings with contradictory results from a similar study.

    • Ricki J. Colman
    • , T. Mark Beasley
    •  & Rozalyn M. Anderson
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Ionizing radiation damages small intestinal crypt cells, including epithelial stem cells and their progeny. Here the authors show that radiation-induced crypt cell death is amplified by the release of cellular RNA from apoptotic epithelial cells, which then triggers pro-apoptotic TLR3 signalling on neighbouring cells.

    • Naoki Takemura
    • , Takumi Kawasaki
    •  & Satoshi Uematsu
  • Article |

    Ionizing radiation damages the gastrointestinal system, but the cell types involved in intestinal damage and repair are controversial. Here the authors use bone marrow transplantation models and various irradiation regimes to rule out a role of bone marrow-derived cells in acute gastrointestinal injury and recovery in mice.

    • Brian J. Leibowitz
    • , Liang Wei
    •  & Jian Yu
  • Article |

    Plasmodium vivax, the leading cause of human malaria in Asia and Latin America, is thought to have an Asian origin. Here, the authors show that wild chimpanzees and gorillas in Africa are infected with parasites that are closely related to P. vivax, indicating an African origin for this species.

    • Weimin Liu
    • , Yingying Li
    •  & Paul M. Sharp
  • Article |

    Many studies provide evidence of genes that are associated with cancer prognosis but a global view of these genes is lacking. Using data from ‘The Cancer Genome Atlas’, Yang et al.investigate the network properties of prognostic genes and show that these genes tend to be within highly interconnected groups but not the most connected nodes in the gene co-expression network.

    • Yang Yang
    • , Leng Han
    •  & Han Liang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Studies on Patient H.M. showed that bilateral resection of the hippocampus results in impaired consolidation of long-term memory. Annese et al.create a digital map of Henry Molaison’s brain and find that a significant portion of the posterior hippocampus is actually histologically intact.

    • Jacopo Annese
    • , Natalie M. Schenker-Ahmed
    •  & Suzanne Corkin
  • Article |

    New classes of antitubercular drugs are in constant demand as drug-resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis become more prevalent. Here, the authors characterize a class of drugs that are active against various M. tuberculosisstrains, including those resistant to currently used antituberculars.

    • Shichun Lun
    • , Haidan Guo
    •  & William R. Bishai
  • Article |

    Our ability to accurately predict the spread of infectious diseases is still in its infancy. Here, Shamanet al.develop a model framework that produces accurate real-time forecasts of influenza peak timing for over a hundred cities in the USA.

    • Jeffrey Shaman
    • , Alicia Karspeck
    •  & Marc Lipsitch
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Induction of protective immunity mediated by CD8+ T cells has been a long sought goal in vaccinology. Here, Ewer et al. report induction of protective efficacy against Plasmodium falciparummalaria in a phase IIa prime-boost vaccine trial where efficacy correlates strongly with induced CD8 T-cell responses.

    • Katie J. Ewer
    • , Geraldine A. O’Hara
    •  & Adrian V. S. Hill
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The structure of the human gut microbiota has been shown to vary between populations. Tyakht et al.analyse the gut microbiota assembly from Russian individuals living in urban and rural areas, and compare these with previously studied populations.

    • Alexander V. Tyakht
    • , Elena S. Kostryukova
    •  & Vadim M. Govorun
  • Article |

    Magnetic stimulation is used therapeutically for neurological disorders, but its effectiveness is hindered by efficacy and safety limitations due to large device sizes. Here the authors show that sub-millimetre, micro-magnetic coils effectively stimulate hamster cochlear neurons, with minimal side effects.

    • Hyun-Joo Park
    • , Giorgio Bonmassar
    •  & John T. Gale
  • Article |

    The anti-diabetic drug metformin has been shown to increase lifespan of some model organisms, but results have been conflicting. Here, Martin-Montalvo et al. administer one of two doses of metformin to male mice and show that the lower dose increases healthspan and lifespan, while the higher dose is toxic.

    • Alejandro Martin-Montalvo
    • , Evi M. Mercken
    •  & Rafael de Cabo
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Transmission-blocking interventions aim to interrupt progression of Plasmodium parasites from the vertebrate host to the mosquito. Blagborough et al. demonstrate that only partially reducing transmission can be sufficient to eliminate experimental Plasmodiuminfection in successive mosquito and mice populations when biting rates are low.

    • A. M. Blagborough
    • , T. S. Churcher
    •  & R. E. Sinden
  • Article |

    A debilitating side effect of radiotherapy in patients with head and neck cancers is xerostomia as a result of salivary gland dysfunction. Here Liu et al. show that activation of the calcium channel TRPM2 in salivary gland cells contributes to irradiation-induced loss of salivary fluid secretion.

    • Xibao Liu
    • , Ana Cotrim
    •  & Indu Ambudkar
  • Article |

    Photo-stimulation can be used to control neuronal circuits, but current strategies lack optimal precision and resolution. Reutsky-Gefen et al. demonstrate a potential approach for vision restoration via holographically patterned, optogenetic stimulation of retinal ganglion cells, with temporal precision.

    • Inna Reutsky-Gefen
    • , Lior Golan
    •  & Shy Shoham
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Diagnostic microfluidic devices often require complicated optical systems and computers to quantify results. Here, Qin and colleagues link enzymatic biomarker detection with the displacement of ink, resulting in a device that displays quantitative results as bar graphs directly on the device.

    • Yujun Song
    • , Yuanqing Zhang
    •  & Lidong Qin
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Malaria can persist at levels that escape detection by standard microscopy, but can be detected by PCR. Okell et al.now show that rates of submicroscopic infection can be predicted using more widely available microscopy data, and are most epidemiologically significant in areas with low malaria transmission.

    • Lucy C. Okell
    • , Teun Bousema
    •  & Chris J. Drakeley
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Seasonal malaria chemoprevention can lower the incidence of malaria in areas where transmission is highly periodical. Combining data on rainfall, population and malaria endemicity, Cairnset al. identify geographical areas in sub-Saharan Africa where this intervention is likely to be effective and cost-effective.

    • Matthew Cairns
    • , Arantxa Roca-Feltrer
    •  & Brian M. Greenwood
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The incidence of bovine tuberculosis in the UK is increasing despite efforts to eradicate the disease. The authors of this paper show that infection of cattle with the parasiteFasciola hepaticaimpedes the diagnosis of tuberculosis, which may in part explain why the current eradication campaign is failing.

    • Jen Claridge
    • , Peter Diggle
    •  & Diana J.L. Williams
  • Article |

    The treatment ofMycobacterium tuberculosis with drugs such as isoniazid often results in drug resistance, but the mechanisms leading to the resistance are not fully known. In this study, an M. tuberculosisstrain lacking the sigma factor I is shown to be resistant to isoniazid.

    • Jong-Hee Lee
    • , Nicole C. Ammerman
    •  & William R. Bishai
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Membrane repair of myocytes is important to prevent such disease as muscular dystrophy but the properties of this repair are not well characterised. In this study, vitamin E is shown to be important in the repair of myocyte cell membranes in cultured cells and in intact muscle.

    • Amber C. Howard
    • , Anna K. McNeil
    •  & Paul L. McNeil
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The activity of serine proteases, including CAP1/Prss8, is altered in some human skin disorders; however, the downstream effectors of these proteins are relatively unknown. Here, using animal models, the authors show that protease-activated receptor-2 is a critical component of the CAP1/Prss8 signalling cascade.

    • Simona Frateschi
    • , Eric Camerer
    •  & Edith Hummler
  • Article |

    Invasive species are usually thought to originate from outside a country's borders. Here, using a self-organizing map, Paini and co-workers show that the species most likely to 'invade' the USA are already firmly established within the country, suggesting the need for biosecurity measures within national borders.

    • Dean R. Paini
    • , Susan P. Worner
    •  & Matthew B. Thomas
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Recent work has shown that the transmission of malaria from mosquito to human is inefficient. In this study, an analysis of published literature is used to understand this inefficiency, which is likely due to heterogeneous biting, where 20% of people receive 80% of the bites.

    • David L. Smith
    • , Chris J. Drakeley
    •  & Simon I. Hay