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Science

Blood vessels of women age before those of men

Women’s blood vessels appear to age faster than men’s according to a new study conducted by researchers at the Smidt Heart Institute. Among other things, this study could explain why, with regard to different heart diseases, women heal at different times than men.

The study, published in JAMA Cardiology, shows in particular that the blood arteries, both the larger ones and the smaller ones, seem to age faster, which confirms a different physiology also with regard to the blood system of women than men. Researcher Susan Channing, senior author of the study, together with colleagues analyzed data from 145 blood pressure measurements collected over a period of 43 years from a total of 32,833 patients aged between 5 and 98 years, so a fairly large and diverse database.

Comparing the data of women with those of men, the researchers found that the evolution of the vascular function of females is “very different” from that of males. For example, women showed levels of increased blood pressure earlier in life than men. This means that if the same danger thresholds for hypertension are used for both males and females, a 30-year-old woman with hypertension is still at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease than a man of the same age and with the same level of hypertension.

These are concepts that should make us rethink the methods that are used today to treat the various heart diseases and in general make us rethink female cardiovascular health. Specifically, as Christine Albert, President of the Department of Cardiology at the aforementioned institute, explains, different aspects of today’s cardiovascular therapies must be adapted specifically for women.

Moreover, the results obtained from studies conducted on men cannot be applied directly to women.

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Science

Arctic permafrost: imminent thawing more serious than previously thought

Scientists have repeatedly mentioned the dangers associated with melting Arctic permafrost. This type of soil is a risk that stems from the fact that it is a truly massive carbon deposit that increases dramatically when released into the environment and has unpredictable effects. The amount of carbon dioxide in the air further accelerates the ongoing global warming process.

A new warning has been issued, published today at Nature Climate Change. This is a study with a decisive tone, saying that permafrost is melting more and more in the northern part of the planet, and is probably releasing much more carbon than previously calculated. The same researchers predict that CO2 emissions in the environment will increase by 17% “in moderate mitigation scenarios” until 2100.

Permafrost carbon network researchers analyzed more than 100 sites in the Arctic and estimated that permafrost released an average of 1662 teragrams of carbon in the winter of 2003-2017. This is far more than previous studies had estimated.

And due to the lack of sites considered in view of the vastness of areas where permafrost is expanding, it is still a limited study. For example, if you consider the entire Arctic, the results can be even more alarming.


Related articles & sources:

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/10/global-impacts-thawing-arctic-permafrost-may-be-imminent

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-019-0592-8

Image Souce:

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Science

New materials can convert sulfur dioxide from toxic gases to useful products

Researchers have shown that thanks to new materials composed of specific polymers, harmful sulfur dioxide can be “trapped” and turned into useful compounds. This system can reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by selectively trapping contaminant molecules in a specially designed “cage.”

This trapped gas must not be stored, but can be used for various industrial processes and various types of products after conversion. The material is made up of porous molecules, also known as organic molecular structures (MOFs), inside which are spaces that function as cages. Researchers have found that they can be very efficiently separated from gas mixtures at high temperatures, including the presence of water, by exposing them to lab-simulated vehicle exhaust.

According to the same researchers, this new method is much more efficient than other methods to capture sulfur dioxide. In fact, other methods disperse many solid and liquid wastes, removing up to 95% of harmful gases. Furthermore, as Gemma Smith, the lead author of this study pointed out, “The regeneration pass is very efficient in terms of energy compared to what has been reported in other studies. Sulfur is released at room temperature to convert it into a useful product, while the organometallic structure can be reused for more separation cycles.”

Sulfur dioxide pollution is caused by human activities, particularly those related to power plants, industrial activities, trains, ships and heavy machinery. This research was published in Nature Materials.


Related articles & sources:

https://www.manchester.ac.uk/discover/news/transforming-sulphur-dioxide-from-harmful-to-useful/

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41563-019-0495-0

Image Souce:

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/c5/a1/09/c5a1098cf5b338e8a2da4639311d01cb.jpg

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Science

Diabetes: scientists discover new possible treatments to limit collateral damage of insulin

A group of researchers at the University of Geneva has identified proteins that can function as regulators of blood glucose and lipids under certain conditions. This protein, called S100A9, may counteract the side effects of insulin given to diabetics.

This study, published at Nature Communications, has the potential to be a new treatment for diabetes and generally states that it can significantly improve the quality of daily life of tens of millions of people.

In fact, millions of people must use insulin injections for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Overdose can cause hypoglycemia and lower blood sugar, but overdose is also dangerous for high blood sugar.

Scientists have found in mice that improved glucose management and better control of ketones and lipids can be achieved by administering S100A9 to diabetic insulin-deficient rats. They then discovered that this protein seems to work only when there is TLR4, a receptor located in the membranes of certain cells, including adipocytes and cells of the immune system.

Currently, Roberto Coppari, one of the authors of the study with Giorgio Ramadori, is working with his team to understand the function of the S100A9 protein. In this regard, they have devised a new treatment that combines S100A9 with a low dose of insulin and understands whether it can better control glucose and ketones and limit the same negative side effects of insulin.

“We also want to decipher the exact role of TLR4 to provide a therapeutic strategy that achieves the delicate balance of optimal blood sugar, ketone and lipid control,” Coppari explains in a press release.


Related articles & sources:

https://www.unige.ch/communication/communiques/en/2019/diabete-des-traitements-de-nouvelle-generation-bientot-disponibles/

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-11498-x

Image Souce:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/content/images/articles/321/321097/a-doctor-writing-the-word-diabetes.jpg