Medicinal cannabis oil is useful in children with severe epilepsy

A group of researchers, through a study published in Frontiers in Neurology, announces that they have achieved good results by experimentally using medicinal cannabis oil, containing both cannabidiol and minimal amounts of THC, in cases of children with severe seizure episodes due to epilepsy.

According to the researchers, after taking small amounts of medicinal cannabis oil, the children also showed a general improvement in the quality of life, including in terms of communication skills with family members. The compound used by the researchers had 95% cannabidiol and 5% THC (the latter, in higher doses, can be toxic).

In addition to not detecting particular side effects, the researchers did not notice any trace of THC intoxication, which could make this new therapy an interesting treatment option for those children with severe epileptic episodes for which the drugs are not helpful, as specified Richard Huntsman, a pediatric neurologist who led the study.

The children on whom this new therapy was tested did not respond to different anti-convulsive drugs and continued to have multiple seizures.

In one of the cases, a child with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a severe epileptic form, who lived a lethargic life and who suffered attacks substantially throughout the day, started to show clear improvements regarding the frequency of crises once who started taking the compound.

New metal alloy created that can change shape with a magnetic field

A new type of metal alloy that can change shape under the influence of a magnetic field was created by the research group of the Polytechnic University of St. Petersburg. Specifically, this new metal alloy, in addition to emitting and absorbing heat simultaneously, can change volume and size in a magnetic field which causes these changes at the structure level.

This is a new alloy which, according to the researchers, could prove very useful in industrial or medical fields. The study, published in Key Engineering Materials, describes a new metal alloy subject to the phenomenon of magnetostriction, a phenomenon that occurs when a body changes its volume or its dimensions when it is subjected to a specific magnetic field.

By changing various properties of the latter, it is also possible to modulate the changes in the body itself. This new alloy, composed of terbium, dysprosium, gadolinium, cobalt and aluminum, can be used to develop magnetostrictive transducers. These, in turn, can be used in devices such as sensors that use the magnetic field to carry out measurements.

An example made by researchers sees those devices that help to find air bubbles inside building structures or constructions. Precisely these bubbles can over time create larger and larger cracks and cause very serious damage.

“The transducers based on our alloys will be more durable and durable than the existing ones and will work in a wide range of magnetic fields. In addition, alloys can be used in medicine as they can change their shape under the influence of magnetic fields that are safe for human health,” specifies Alexey Filimonov, one of the researchers working on the project.

Scientists discover that longer telomeres denote better health

A discovery concerning telomeres, sections of DNA found in the final part of the chromosome, was carried out by a research group from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, a pediatric research institute in Melbourne.

By analyzing the DNA of 1800 children and their parents from various parts of Australia, the researchers, led by John Nguyen, have discovered that longer and larger telomeres turn out to be healthier than the shorter or “frayed” ones. Less healthy telomeres are in turn a characteristic sign of aging and diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

This is because these small sections of chromosome become a little smaller each time there is a cell division: the more time passes, the shorter they become.

To understand the concept, Nguyen brings up the shoelaces: the telomeres themselves can be compared to those hard plastic ends located at the end of the laces. If this end breaks, frays or otherwise gets damaged, the laces themselves begin to fray, failing in their functions.

The length of telomeres, according to Nguyen, is partly due to genetics but can also be influenced by environmental factors. However, other studies will have to be carried out to understand “the complex inheritance patterns of telomere length and the link between telomere shortening and disease.”

Largest algae flowering in the world identified

It has already been defined as the largest algae flowering in the world identified by a research group of the University of South Florida. This real “belt” of brown macroalgae of the genus Sargassum was identified last year.

According to the same researchers, more than 20 million tons of this seaweed belt floated on surface waters in the Gulf of Mexico, off the east coast of Florida and in the tropical Atlantic. The related study then appeared the other day in Science.

The researchers performed various analyzes and found that this algae belt is formed seasonally in response to two key events. First of all, because the Amazon during the spring and summer discharges large quantities of nutrients that are excellent for algae into the ocean. This contribution of nutrients is then amplified, according to the researchers, by the increase in deforestation from the use of fertilizers.

This is the hypothesis made by Chuanmin Hu, one of the researchers involved in the study, who also used satellite data collected since 2006 to explain the true invasion of algae of this kind off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. According to Woody Turner, director of the Ecological Forecasting Program at NASA, the vastness of these algal blooms is so great that one must use satellite images to understand their dynamics over time but also to detect their extension.

If for different marine species greater quantities of algae can mean a greater quantity of food or habitat, for other species quantities of widespread and intricate algae can become real marine prisons where it becomes difficult to move even breathe. This is the case, for example, of corals and seagrasses, other species of marine plants.

Sargassum also releases a number of gases, including hydrogen sulfide, which can become a serious problem for the environment, even for human beings who go to the beaches and who already suffer from respiratory diseases, such as asthma.

Intermittent fasting diet can prevent diabetes

The intermittent fasting diet is already known because it can improve insulin sensitivity and because it protects from fatty liver. Now a new study conducted by the Deutsches Zentrum fuer Diabetesforschung (DZD) of the German Institute of Human Nutrition (DIFE), Germany, reveals that it can also help keep pancreatic fat levels low, as they saw in experiments performed on mice.

In fact, Annette Schürmann and Tim J. Schulz found that overweight mice with a predisposition to diabetes present an extraordinary accumulation of fat cells inside the pancreas. The researchers initially divided the mice into two groups: the rodents of the first group could eat as much as they wanted whenever they wanted. The second group was instead placed in an intermittent fasting regime on the basis of which they received unlimited portions one day and nothing the next day.

After five weeks of experimentation, the researchers observed differences in the pancreas of mice. Fat cells accumulated in the pancreas of group 1 mice whereas group 2 mice had very few deposits in this organ. Then analyzing the pancreatic adipocytes of the mice, the researchers discovered “that the increase in insulin secretion causes the islands of Langerhans of animals at risk of diabetes to run out faster and, after a while, to completely cease functioning,” as reported by Schürmann.

The study therefore suggests that it is necessary to limit fat not only in the liver, but also in the pancreas to prevent type 2 diabetes, and to limit the fat in the pancreas it could be very useful to carry on a diet that involves intermittent fasting.

It is a diet that is fairly easy to follow, non-invasive and that above all does not require drugs.