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Infant Diet Has Lasting Effects on Immune System

Understanding the effects of early diet on immunity may help researchers explain why some people respond differently to vaccines or are more vulnerable to infection or autoimmune disease. Dennis Hartigan-O’Connor, along with Amir Ardeshir and colleagues examined the effects of both breastfeeding and formula feeding on immune function during the first six months of life in infant monkeys. The results hint that commensal gut bacteria — which are shaped by early diet —- leave a lasting imprint on the immune system that may affect how a person responds to infection later in life.

Read more about this research from the 3 September issue of Science Translational Medicine here.

[Image courtesy of David A. Mills. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.


Bacteria’s Communication System Can Kill Cancer

Cancer, while always dangerous, truly becomes life-threatening when the cancerous cells begin to spread to different areas throughout the body. Now, researchers at the Univ. of Missouri have discovered that a molecule used as a communication system by bacteria can be manipulated to prevent cancer cells from spreading. Senthil Kumar, an assistant research professor and assistant director of the Comparative Oncology and Epigenetics Laboratory at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, says this communication system can be used to “tell” cancer cells how to act, or even to die on command.

“During an infection, bacteria release molecules which allow them to ‘talk’ to each other,” says Kumar, the lead author of the study. “Depending on the type of molecule released, the signal will tell other bacteria to multiply, escape the immune system or even stop spreading. We found that if we introduce the ‘stop spreading’ bacteria molecule to cancer cells, those cells will not only stop spreading; they will begin to die as well.”

Read more:


Tuesday night (September 23rd, 2014), the Indian Space Research Organisation successfully put their Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) in orbit around the Red Planet. With this mission, India became the first nation to successfully put a spacecraft into Mars orbit on the first attempt. Congratulations and welcome to Mars!

More information about the mission:

Follow @isro and @MarsOrbiter on Twitter for MOM updates!


Neurons in a zebrafish embryo

Zebrafish have proven invaluable for understanding what we know about nerves and the brain. Observing brain development and interrogating how growing neurons find their correct targets are possible thanks to the transparent, genetically malleable nature of zebrafish embryos. Recently, scientists have developed a technique called “Brainbow" that individually colors each neuron, allowing researchers to map the start and end points of neural circuits. Applying Brainbow to zebrafish will allow researchers to visualize how neurons connect with one another during development and how different diseases disrupt this process.

Image by Dr. Albert Pan, Harvard University.


From Daily Anatomy

"This is an electron micrograph of a T-lymphocyte killer cell (small cell at left), attacking a large cancer tumour cell. The T- lymphocyte, a white blood cell, must make intimate contact with the tumour cell. It does so by recognizing antigens on the tumour’s surface.

Following contact the tumour cell undergoes distinct structural changes; loss of microvilli (small projections), perforation & ultimately death. The tumour cell may survive, however, by budding off a number of blebs or blisters (seen here), which form a protective barrier between itself & the lymphocyte, preventing any contact.”

Magnification: X 2,500 

(Source: brains-and-bodies)

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