Certain people can sleep less thanks to mutated genes

There are people who sleep fewer hours than others without suffering sleep deprivation. For many years this aspect has left scientists and neurobiologists surprised, and a genetic cause has also been proposed among the various theories. This theory was then partially confirmed when in 2009 a study conducted by Ying-Hui Fu, a professor of neurology, led to the discovery of the DEC2 gene. The researchers found that this gene, with its particular mutation, allowed people to sleep only 6.25 hours per night while those who did not show this mutation slept an average of 8.06 hours.

The theory concerns the genetic cause behind the so-called “natural short sleep” that is now again corroborated by a new study produced by the same team of scientists at the University of California at San Francisco, led once again by Fu. Also, in this case, the scientists claim to have discovered a gene related to short sleep, the second after DEC2.

And this is a completion of the theory because the first gene could explain short sleep only for a few people, not for all, because of a rare mutation. Some people who showed short sleep did not have this mutation of the DEC2 gene (and there was no other cause arising from various diseases or conditions that could explain the short sleep in these people).

“We didn’t think there was just one gene or brain region that told our bodies to sleep or wake up,” says Louis Ptáček, senior author of this new study.

The new gene discovered is ADRB1. A mutated version is linked to the duration of sleep, as scientists saw during experiments performed on mice.

People with a natural short sleep experience better sleep quality and efficiency, as Fu said.

Bacteria in the body can contribute to heart problems, researchers find

Even the microbes in the body can contribute to the risk of heart attack according to research presented at the 2019 world cardiology congress.

The study analyzed the bacteria present in the coronary plaques. Researchers have discovered that, unlike bacteria in other areas of the body, such as those in the intestinal microbiome, these bacteria can be pro-inflammatory.

The study analyzed 30 patients with acute coronary syndrome and another 10 patients with stable angina. The researchers took intestinal bacteria from the stool and coronary plaque bacteria.

They then compared the two microbiomes and realized that while the fecal bacteria showed a mostly heterogeneous composition and a greater presence of Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes, the Koranic plaque bacteria mainly contained microbes with pro-inflammatory phenotypes belonging to proteobacteria and actinobacteria.

The first author of the study, Eugenia Pisano, of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome, comments on the results in the press release published on the website of the European Society of Cardiology: “This suggests a selective retention of pro-inflammatory bacteria in atherosclerotic plaques, which could cause an inflammatory response and plaque rupture.”

However, the same researcher states that further research will have to be done to understand if these human microbiomes can become a target, to be treated for example with antibiotics, to prevent negative cardiovascular events.

This is why Chikungunya fever virus continues to cause joint pain for years to come

Joint pains caused by the chikungunya virus can also last for years after the initial infection according to a study published in PLOS Pathogens. The chikungunya virus causes an infection that results in fever, severe joint pain and any swelling and rash that usually occurs two to 12 days after exposure. The virus is spread in the human body by two species of mosquito, Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti.

According to the study produced by Deborah Lenschow, a researcher at the Washington University medical school in St. Louis, this is due to the fact that cells can survive the infection while continuing to host most of the virus’s RNA.

The researchers came to this conclusion by performing experiments on mice. Inside the body of the rats, they have marked the cells that survived the infection of the chikungunya virus, a mixture of muscle and skin cells. The researchers found that these cells continued to exist in the body of mice for at least 112 days after the initial inoculation of the virus.

After blocking the infection, the cells continued to contain most of the virus’s RNA.

This study will probably prove useful to better study the mechanisms underlying this chronic disease that occurs mainly in Asia and Africa and that was identified for the first time in Tanzania in 1952.

Scientists develop gene therapy that makes obese mice lose 20% of their weight

A group of researchers has developed a new gene therapy that “specifically reduces adipose tissue” in rats, a characteristic for which it may be thought that it may be useful for human beings as well to counteract the obesity and all the diseases associated with it, such as stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer.

The same gene therapy, discussed in a study on Genome Research, seems to reverse the metabolic disease related to obesity in obese mice. The study was developed to try to overcome the side effects, which can sometimes be serious, linked to the anti-obesity drugs currently on the market.

The researchers, led by Jee Young Chung, carried out experiments on mice. They developed, through CRISPR technology, a gene silencing therapy against the Fabp4 gene, a gene that metabolizes fatty acids. In essence, they reduced their expression and therefore also reduced the storage of lipids in adipocytes.

As a result, the researchers achieved a 20% reduction in body weight of mice as well as an improvement in insulin resistance after six weeks.

The same researchers then noted other improvements such as a reduction in the deposition of fatty lipids in the liver and a reduction in triglycerides.

Marine bacteria carried out of the water by storms contribute to cloud formation

An interesting phenomenon was analyzed by a scientist at the State University of Colorado in Fort Collins.

The researcher has studied that the algae bacteria present in the Arctic ocean are projected into the atmosphere due to sea currents and storms. Once in the atmosphere, these bacteria enter the process of cloud formation.

The study, published in Geophysical Research Letters, confirms that bacteria, specifically those that live in the sea, can also contribute to cloud formation, as well as non-biological particles that make up the so-called aerosol.

The researchers analyzed various water samples taken from the Bering Strait and analyzed them finding bacteria that usually live near the bottom of the sea. According to the researchers, the same ocean currents and atmospheric turbulences contribute to the dispersion of these bacteria in the atmosphere.

Specifically, they found bacteria from a phytoplankton bloom in the Bering Strait both at the flowering point and 150 miles away to the northwest. It was therefore clear that it was a storm that carried the bacteria from the depths of the ocean up to almost 2 km high to hundreds of kilometers away in water droplets.

“These special types of aerosols can actually ‘seed’ clouds, a bit like a seed makes a plant grow. Some of these seeds are really effective in forming ice crystals of clouds,” says Jessie Creamean, the atmospheric scientist who made the discovery and who is the municipal author of the study.

Among other things, the clouds that form on the Arctic affect the meteorological conditions of the entire northern part of the planet and therefore it can be said that these bacteria, splashed out of the water In a fortuitous way due to storms, potentially influence the climate of Worldwide.

Quantum entanglement: photon sent 30 miles away on optical fiber

An important step in the context of the possible use of quantum networks in computer science was carried out by a group of researchers according to what was published in a statement published on the website of the University of Innsbruck.

According to the release, a distance of 30 miles was covered for the first time, using fiber optic cables, as regards the transfer of quantum entanglement between matter and light. The experiment was performed by the team of the experimental physicist Ben Lanyon who has been studying the phenomena of the quantum world for years to understand any applications in real computing, particularly in computer networks.

The researchers trapped a calcium atom in an ion trap. Then, using laser beams, they excited the ion that emitted a photon in which quantum information is stored after the quantum states of the atom and the same light particle entered the entanglement state; that is, they remained “connected.”

The researchers then succeeded in sending this photon through a 50 km long fiber optic line. Following the submission, the researchers measured the state of the atom and of the light particle that arrived at its destination, certifying that they were still in the entanglement state.

The same researchers believe that it is possible, by creating two nodes that each send a photon entanglement over a distance of 50 km, to obtain a dispatch of 100 km, a distance that would allow the construction of the first true intercontinental quantum network.

“Only a handful of ion trap systems along the way would be needed to establish a quantum network between Innsbruck and Vienna,” report the scientists.

Even Alexandria in Egypt risks being submerged due to the rising sea level

Rising sea levels threaten coastal cities and one of these is Alexandria, a city that has survived invasions, earthquakes and fires over the last 2000 years but may not withstand seawater.

Alexandria, which is washed by the Mediterranean Sea, is home to more than 5 million people and is one of Egypt’s main industrial centers. The first changes, as declared by the Egyptian water resources ministry, are already visible today: the sea level has indeed risen by 1.8 mm every year until 1993. From 1993 to 2012 it rose by 2.1 mm to year and from 2012 onwards of 3.2 mm per year, increases that may seem insignificant but that could indicate a substantial acceleration in raising the water level.

To favor the sinking of the land are also the various dams built on the Nile river, in particular upstream, which are exacerbating the same effects of rising sea levels with consequences that could be catastrophic in a few decades.

The area of ​​the citadel of Qaitbay which houses a medieval fortress built on the ruins of the lighthouse could be particularly vulnerable.

Even the citizens experience these climatic changes: every year that passes the waves are always higher and the winters are getting colder as well as the increasingly hot summers.