They identify 214 neurotoxic that affect neural development in children and adolescents

30 10 2014

Researchers have identified 214 neurotoxic to have negative consequences on the brain development of children and adolescents, even from the prenatal stage. Philippe Grandjean, Professor of the Harvard Medical School (United States), speaking of a “silent epidemic”, that represents an annual expenditure of 9.300 million euros in Europe by the loss of intellectual capacity due to mercury, of which 4.500 million euros in Spain.

(B)·Debate, an initiative Biocat and Social work “La Caixa”, gathered the past days 16 and 17 in October the best experts in epidemiology and Neuroscience at CosmoCaixa to discuss neuroimaging techniques in analyzing the effects of environmental factors on brain development, from the prenatal stage through adolescence.

“We want to know if these environmental effects, as the air pollution, food or chemicals, they have an effect on the brain development and behavior of children and adolescents”, summarizes Jordi Sunyer, scientific leader of this B·Debate and Co-Director of the Center for research in environmental epidemiology (CREAL), ISGlobal Research Center.

Environmental elements affect the IQ of children. Although the variation may be small, population-level moves the distribution of this cognitive ability, affecting groups of endpoints. While the number of children with learning disabilities can increase up to a 50%, gifted children would be a 57%.

The experts agreed on the need to include the techniques of neuroimaging to large population studies to understand normal patterns of functioning and neural development. “Neuroscientists from different disciplines need to identify the correlation between the factors of neurodevelopment and environmental”, says about the advantages of neuroimaging Jordi Júlvez, Scientific Coordinator of this B·Discussion and research of CREAL. [en línea] Barcelona (ESP):, 30 de octubre de 2014 [REF. 17 October of 2014] Available on Internet: http://es_noticies/349/cientificos-identifican-214-neurotoxicos-que-afectan-al-desarrollo-neuronal-de-ninos-y-adolescentes

New Discovery in Regulating Autoimmune Diseases

27 10 2014

A natural molecule delays disease onset and reverses disease progression


Photomicrograph of a demyelinating MS-Lesion. Image from Creative Commons

The main function of the immune system is to protect against diseases and infections. For unknown reasons our immune system attacks healthy cells, tissues and organs in a process called autoimmunity, which can result in diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Type 1 Diabetes, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. There are currently no existing cures for these diseases.

Now, in a new study by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a potential treatment may be on the horizon. Researchers found that NAD , a natural molecule found in living cells, plants and food, protects against autoimmune diseases by altering the immune response and turning “destructive” cells into “protective” cells. The molecule is also able to reverse disease progression by restoring damaged tissue caused by the autoimmunity process.

“Our study is the first to show that NAD can tune the immune response and restore tissue integrity by activating stem cells,” said Abdallah ElKhal, HMS instructor in surgery at Brigham and Women’s Division of Transplant Surgery and Transplantation Surgery Research Laboratory and senior study author. “These findings are very novel and may serve for the development of novel therapeutics.”

The study is published online October 7, 2014, in Nature Communications.

The scientists performed preclinical trials using experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, a preclinical model for human multiple sclerosis. They showed that NAD can block acute or chronic inflammation by regulating how immune cells, called CD4 T cells, differentiate. Mice receiving CD4 T cells along with NAD present had a significant delayed onset of disease, as well as a less severe form, therefore demonstrating the molecule’s protective properties.

“This is a universal molecule that can potentially treat not only autoimmune diseases but other acute or chronic conditions such as allergy, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, sepsis and immunodeficiency,” said Stefan G. Tullius, HMS professor of surgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s chief of Transplant Surgery, director of Transplantation Surgery Research and lead study author.

Moreover, the researchers demonstrated that NAD can restore tissue integrity which may benefit patients that have advanced tissue damage caused by autoimmune diseases. In terms of next steps, ElKhal notes that the lab is currently testing additional pathways and the clinical potential of NAD .

“Since this is a natural molecule found in all living cells, including our body, we hope that it will be well-tolerated by patients,” said ElKhal. “Thus, we hope that its potential as a powerful therapeutic agent for the treatment of autoimmune diseases will facilitate its use in future clinical trials.”

The Transplant Surgery Research Laboratory and Dr. ElKhal’s work is supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Carlos Slim Foundation.



By MARJORIE MONTEMAYOR-QUELLENBERG [en línea] Cambridge, MA (USA):, 27 de octubre de 2014 [REF. 14 October of 2014] Available on Internet:

New endoscopic technique of Fetal surgery on Spina Bifida

23 10 2014

Vall d ’ Hebron opera prenatally affected fetuses of spina bifida with a new endoscopic technique that allows to reduce prematurity and the subsequent consequences of disease


Pediatric surgeons and obstetricians who are part of the program of surgery Fetal of the Hospital Vall D'hebron, and with the collaboration of the unit of Spina Bifida, three years ago that operate successfully diagnosed fetuses of myelomeningocele or spina bifida, a congenital disorder that affects the central nervous system and causing paralysis of the lower extremities, with difficulty or inability to walk as well as bladder or bowel incontinence, by the progressive lesion of neural tissue exposed to the amniotic fluid during pregnancy. The standard treatment for these interventions, a high complexity, is open fetal surgery. It is necessary to open the womb of the mother halfway through the pregnancy as if it were a c-section, expose the fetus back to operate and surgically correct the defect. Then, You must close the uterus.

From a year ago, a multidisciplinary team of the Hospital with specialists in fetal surgery, obstetrics, neurosurgery, Orthopedics, anesthesia, Radiology, Neonatology, rehabilitation, Urology, nursing, etc., performs these interventions via fetoscopica; a minimally invasive technique (not open surgery) which consists of entering the womb of the mother by two small holes (without opening it) to reach the lumbar area of the fetus and operate malformation. Once released in the absence of fetal bone marrow, It is protected with a few patches biocompatible which replace the layers that are missing. Then the area of the defect closes with a sealant bioadhesive which protects the spinal cord in contact with the amniotic fluid. As the fetus grows, the skin just by replacing the adhesive and covering the patch. When is the child born, the defect, that it has been protected., It can be closed and covered with skin. This innovative technique to seal the defect in the fetus was conceived and developed by theBioengenieria group, Orthopedics and paediatric surgery of Vall d' Hebrón Research InstituteAfter years of experimentation with surgery in animal models.


The combination of these two pioneering techniques -operate by fetoscopy the fetus and protect your spinal cord by placing a special patch that will close the defect taking advantage of fetal healing - has given good results in the 9 cases in which there has been so far, Since 6 of them were born at term (reduction of prematurity), reduced complications in the mother, as well as the consequences to the fetus. This antenatal intervention prevents further deterioration of nerves and their function, to achieve the improvement of the March and, also, It appears to improve the Chiari II malformation, Hydrocephalus and, Therefore, the risk of mental decline.

Two centers in the world are these interventions via fetoscopica; but the Vall D'hebron University Hospital is the only one who is developing an experimental technique (fetoscopy and special patch on the defect in the fetus bone marrow) It allows to operate before patients, in the week 20 gestation, and with positive preliminary results.

The next step is to validate these results in other patients and contrast them through a prospective comparative study with the results achieved with the open fetal surgery, together with the Children completo Hospital of Cincinnati, to standardize the technique.

It's another step in the consolidation of the Fetal surgery of the Hospital program, Thanks to the implementation of new techniques, collaboration with research projects and the experience of its professionals.



Spina bifida is the second leading cause of disability in children

Myelomeningocele better known as spina bifidaIt is a very complex congenital malformation affecting the closure of the spinal column, the spinal cord and all their nerves which, to be in contact with the amniotic fluid during pregnancy, you have added deterioration worsening the level of paralysis. Even today, It represents the second cause of physical disability in childhood and the most frequent sequelae are: in the engine field (trouble walking), toilet training (not control the sphincters of the urine and feces) and brain, Chiari II malformation and hydrocephalus (accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain and herniation of the cerebellum). In Spain this malformation affects to 1 of each 1.000 live births.

The classic treatment of myelomeningocele is the postnatal closure (shortly after birth) defect, but the problem is that the damage is done because the nerves have been damaged and no longer work. For this reason, a prenatal treatment is made (before birth, When is the fetus in the womb of the mother), prior diagnosis by ultrasound and MRI, consisting of close defect plugging the cord so that it is not in contact with the amniotic fluid and do not cross. Also to prevent the escape of cerebrospinal fluid, that worsens the cerebral malformations.



The importance of diagnosis and prenatal treatment

The diagnosis of this pathology is performed using ultrasound and is usually done in the week ultrasound 20, that is the morphological screening. Before a so severe as this alteration, until now only we could offer the postnatal service or interruption of gestation. On the other hand, We can now offer a prenatal treatment. It goes without saying, However, that currently prenatal treatment greatly improve the prognosis of these cases, but not get yet a cure to the 100%. This makes that these children have to be followed in the unit of Spina Bifida; a multidisciplinary and without age limit unit to make the comprehensive patient monitoring and rehabilitation which aims both to the improvement of the March, as the control of sphincters. This unit operates from ago 30 years and is conceptually the only statewide.






Vhebron.NET [en línea] Barcelona (ESP): vhebron.NET, 23 de octubre de 2014 [REF. 08 October of 2014] Available on Internet:;JSESSIONID = 49EA8D7340D7B482293379CF9BBDD3F0?redirect=;jsessionid=49EA8D7340D7B482293379CF9BBDD3F0?p_p_id=101_INSTANCE_gCy8&p_p_lifecycle=0&p_p_state=normal&p_p_mode=view&p_p_col_id=column-2&p_p_col_pos=1&p_p_col_count=2

IEEE Predicts Top Technologies for 2022

20 10 2014

Machine learning, computational biology, bioinformatics, nanotechnology and the Internet of things are on IEEE’s list of top technologies for 2022.

Curious about what the technology landscape will look like in 2022? The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), which represents more than 400,000 engineers, has come up with a report that looks to the future and predicts what the hot technologies of 2022 will be.


Indeed, nine technologists led by IEEE Computer Society President Dejan Milojicic spent a large part of this year pondering this question. The results can be found in the IEEE CS 2022 Report, which looks at 23 future technologies that could change the world by 2022. The report can be found here.


“These technologies, tied into what we call seamless intelligence, present a view of the future,” said IEEE’s Milojicic, in a statement. “Technology is the enabler. What humanity takes out of it really depends on human society.”


The following contributed to sections of the report: Mohammed AlQuraishi, Harvard Medical School; Angela Burgess, IEEE Computer Society; David Forsyth, Cornell University; Hiroyasu Iwata, Waseda University; Rick McGeer, Communications and Design Group, SAP America; and John Walz, retired from Lucent/AT&T.


IEEE said the intent of the report is to predict the future disruptive technologies, aid researchers in understanding the future impact of various technologies and help laymen understand where technology is evolving.


Some of the predictions include that multicore will allow users to recharge their smartphones only once a month. The Internet of things will enable people to dress in clothes that monitor all their activities. Nanotechnology will enable lives to be saved by digestible cameras and machines made from particles 50,000 times as small as a human hair. And with the exponential growth of big data there will be increasing concerns about balancing convenience and privacy.


The report also recognizes the importance of quantum computing and indicates that universal memory replacements for DRAM will cause a tectonic shift in architectures and software. In addition, 3D printing will create a revolution in fabrication, with many opportunities to produce designs that would have been prohibitively expensive, the study showed.


According to the report, machine learning will play an increasingly important role in the lives of people–whether it is ranking search results, recommending products or building better models of the environment. And medical robotics will lead to new lifesaving innovations, from autonomous delivery of hospital supplies to telemedicine and advanced prostheses.



Meanwhile, with energy consumption increasing along with the world’s population, electric cars, LEDs, smart grids, smart cities, dark silicon, new battery technology, and new ways of cooling data centers are some areas where advances in sustainability are expected. Silicon photonics will address bandwidth, latency and energy challenges, and developments at all levels of the network stack will continue to drive research and the Internet economy, the report said. And in the area of software-defined networks, OpenFlow and SDN will make networks more secure, transparent, flexible and functional.


The Open Intellectual Property movement, according to the report, will influence everything from academic publishing and educational models to software, standards, and programming languages. Massively Online Open Courses (MOOCs) also threaten to change the role of faculty, students, and teaching assistants as more institutions embrace the new learning platforms.


The 2022 Report covers security, cross-cutting issues, open intellectual prop­erty movement, sustainability, massively online open courses, quantum computing, device and nanotechnology, 3D integrated circuits, multicore, pho­tonics, universal memory, networking and interconnectivity, software-defined networks, high-performance computing, cloud computing, the Internet of things, natural user interfac­es, 3D printing, big data and analytics, machine learning and intelligent systems, computer vision and pattern recognition, life sciences, computational biology and bioinformatics, and robotics for medical care.


The report’s authors include Hasan Alkhatib of SSN Services LLC; Paolo Faraboschi of HP Labs, Spain; Eita Frachtenberg of Facebook; Hironori Kasahara of Waseda University; Danny Lange of Microsoft; Phil Laplante of Pennsylvania State University; Arif Merchant of Google; Dejan Milojicic of HP Labs, Palo Alto, and Karsten Schwan of Georgia Tech.

By Darryl K. Taft [en línea] Foster City, CA (USA):, 20 October of 2014 [REF. 02 de septiembre de 2014] Available on Internet:

Is it possible a Test diagnosis of the syndrome of Irritable Bowel?

16 10 2014

A team of researchers from the Vall d' Hebrón Research Institute (VHIR), directed by Dra. maría Vicario and Dr. Javier Santos, He has discovered that patients with irritable bowel syndrome (SII) and diarrhea are more immune activity in your small intestine than people without the disease. The results of the study have been published recently in the journal Gut and featured in Nature Reviews, Gastroenterology and Hepatology.


From left to right: Bruno Rodino, Seville César, Maria vicar, Javier Santos, Ana Gonzalez, Eloisa except

“Surprisingly, We have found that patients with this disease have more antibody-producing cells in the jejunum that healthy people”, explains the Dra. Vicar. The majority of these antibodies are immunoglobulins of the lgG type, they are more effective than other types of antibodies, and they occur when an Antigen stimulates the producing cells.


To detect the presence of antibodies in the intestine, researchers conducted an analysis of gene expression revealed alterations at molecular and cellular levels that had not been described previously and that are associated with the severity of the symptomatology. “We have discovered that the more active patients have the defenses of your intestine, suffer more symptoms”, highlights the Dra. Vicar. The main symptoms of IBS are pain or discomfort in the lower part of the abdomen and modifications in the form or in the frequency of bowel movements.


Today, the diagnosis of IBS is established only by clinical criteria and after exclusion of other diseases. There are no reliable and therefore biomarkers, Dr. Santos insists that “the results of this study opens the door to the design of a test that can diagnose disease, through the detection of immune activity in the intestine of patients”. Elevated immune activity is detected in the jejunum of the patients, and not in your blood, It is a local phenomenon that explains why routine analysis of patients typically leave absolutely normal. [en línea] Barcelona (ESP):, 16 de octubre de 2014 [REF. 01 October of 2014] Available on Internet: salapremsa/mitjans/mitjans_detall.asp?any = 2014&NUM = 199&MV1 = 5&MV2 = 1&Language = is&title = the people with % EDndrome del s

ADHD brain study finds slower development of key connections

13 10 2014

Slow to mature, quick to distract: ADHD brain study finds slower development of key connections.

Brain networks to handle internal & external tasks mature more slowly in ADHD.

A peek inside the brains of more than 750 children and teens reveals a key difference in brain architecture between those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and those without.


The new research may help lead to the development of a ‘neuromarker’ — a way to use brain imaging to improve diagnosis and treatment of ADHD.

Kids and teens with ADHD, a new study finds, lag behind others of the same age in how quickly their brains form connections within, and between, key brain networks.

The result: less-mature connections between a brain network that controls internally-directed thought (such as daydreaming) and networks that allow a person to focus on externally-directed tasks. That lag in connection development may help explain why people with ADHD get easily distracted or struggle to stay focused.

What’s more, the new findings, and the methods used to make them, may one day allow doctors to use brain scans to diagnose ADHD — and track how well someone responds to treatment. This kind of neuroimaging “biomarker” doesn’t yet exist for ADHD, or any psychiatric condition for that matter.

The new findings come from a team in the University of Michigan Medical School’s Department of Psychiatry. They used highly advanced computing techniques to analyze a large pool of detailed brain scans that were publicly shared for scientists to study. Their results are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Lead author Chandra Sripada, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues looked at the brain scans of 275 kids and teens with ADHD, and 481others without it, using “connectomic” methods that can map interconnectivity between networks in the brain.

The scans, made using function magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanners, show brain activity during a resting state. This allows researchers to see how a number of different brain networks, each specialized for certain types of functions, were “talking” within and amongst themselves.

The researchers found lags in development of connection within the internally-focused network, called the default mode network or DMN, and in development of connections between DMN and two networks that process externally-focused tasks, often called task-positive networks, or TPNs. They could even see that the lags in connection development with the two task-related networks — the frontoparietal and ventral attention networks –were located primarily in two specific areas of the brain.


The new findings mesh well with what other researchers have found by examining the physical structure of the brains of people with and without ADHD in other ways.

Such research has already shown alterations in regions within DMN and TPNs. So, the new findings build on that understanding and add to it.

The findings are also relevant to thinking about the longitudinal course of ADHD from childhood to adulthood. For instance, some children and teens “grow out” of the disorder, while for others the disorder persists throughout adulthood. Future studies of brain network maturation in ADHD could shed light into the neural basis for this difference.

“We and others are interested in understanding the neural mechanisms of ADHD in hopes that we can contribute to better diagnosis and treatment,” says Sripada, an assistant professor and psychiatrist who holds a joint appointment in the U-M Philosophy department and is a member of the U-M Center for Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics. “But without the database of fMRI images, and the spirit of collaboration that allowed them to be compiled and shared, we would never have reached this point.”

Sripada explains that in the last decade, functional medical imaging has revealed that the human brain is functionally organized into large-scale connectivity networks. These networks, and the connections between them, mature throughout early childhood all the way to young adulthood. “It is particularly noteworthy that the networks we found to have lagging maturation in ADHD are linked to the very behaviors that are the symptoms of ADHD,” he says.

Studying the vast array of connections in the brain, a field called connectomics, requires scientists to be able to parse through not just the one-to-one communications between two specific brain regions, but the patterns of communication among thousands of nodes within the brain. This requires major computing power and access to massive amounts of data – which makes the open sharing of fMRI images so important.

“The results of this study set the stage for the next phase of this research, which is to examine individual components of the networks that have the maturational lag,” he says. “This study provides a coarse-grained understanding, and now we want to examine this phenomenon in a more fine-grained way that might lead us to a true biological marker, or neuromarker, for ADHD.”

Sripada also notes that connectomics could be used to examine other disorders with roots in brain connectivity – including autism, which some evidence has suggested stems from over-maturation of some brain networks, and schizophrenia, which may arise from abnormal connections. Pooling more fMRI data from people with these conditions, and depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and more could boost connectomics studies in those fields.


Volunteers needed for research:

To develop such a neuromarker, Sripada has embarked on follow-up research. One study is enrolling children between the ages of 7 and 17 who have ADHD and a comparison group of those without it; information is at Another study is enrolling adults between the ages of 18 and 35 who have ADHD and a comparison group of those without it; information is at Of note, fMRI scans do not expose a person to radiation. Anyone interested in these studies can email or call (734) 232-0353; for the study of children, parents should make the contact and consent to research on behalf of their children.

Besides Sripada, the study’s authors are Psychiatry computer specialists Daniel Kessler and Mike Angstadt. Kessler, a graduate of U-M with a degree in neuroscience and statistics, helped develop the key connectomic methods used in the study and plans to pursue this research further in a graduate program starting in 2015. The research was funded by a National Institutes of Health grant (AA020297), a UMCCMB pilot grant, and the John Templeton Foundation. It used fMRI scans from the ADHD-200 and ABIDE projects.



By ANN ARBOR [en línea] Ann Arbor, MI (USA):, 13 October of 2014 [REF. 15 de septiembre de 2014] Available on Internet:

Why live vaccines may be most effective for preventing Salmonella infections

9 10 2014

Vaccines against Salmonella that use a live, but weakened, form of the bacteria are more effective than those that use only dead fragments because of the particular way in which they stimulate the immune system, according to research from the University of Cambridge published today.


The BBSRC-funded researchers used a new technique that they have developed where several populations of bacteria, each of which has been individually tagged with a unique DNA sequence, are administered to the same host (in this case, a mouse). This allows the researchers to track how each bacterial population replicates and spreads between organs or is killed by the immune system. Combined with mathematical modelling, this provides a powerful tool to study infections within the host. The findings are published today in the journal PLOS Pathogens


“We effectively ‘barcode’ the bacteria so that we can see where in the body they go and how they fare against the immune system,” explains Dr Pietro Mastroeni from the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Cambridge, who led the study. “This has provided us with some important insights into why some vaccines are more effective than others.”


The multidisciplinary research team led by Dr Mastroeni used the new technique to look at the effectiveness of vaccines against infection by the bacterium Salmonella enterica, which causes diseases including typhoid fever, non-typhoidal septicaemia and gastroenteritis in humans and animals world-wide. Current measures to control S. enterica infections are limited and the emergence of multi-drug resistant strains has reduced the usefulness of many antibiotics. Vaccination remains the most feasible means to counteract S. enterica infections.


There are two main classes of vaccine: live attenuated vaccines and non-living vaccines. Live attenuated vaccines use a weakened form of the bacteria or virus to stimulate an immune response – however, there are some concerns that the weakened pathogen may become more virulent when used in patients with compromised immune systems, for example people infected with HIV, malaria or TB. Non-living vaccines, on the other hand, are safer as they usually use inactive bacteria or viruses, or their fragments – but these vaccines are often less effective. Both vaccines work by stimulating the immune system to recognise a particular bacterium or virus and initiate the fight back in the event of future infection.


Using their new technique, Dr Mastroeni and colleagues showed that live Salmonella vaccines enhance the ability of the immune system to prevent the bacteria from replicating and spreading to other organs. They can also prevent the spread of the bacteria into the bloodstream, which causes a condition known as bacteraemia, a major killer of children in Africa.


They also found that the antibody response induced by live vaccines enhances the ability of immune cells known as phagocytes to kill bacteria in the very early stages of infection, but that a further type of immune cell known as the T-cell – again stimulated by the live vaccine – is subsequently necessary for control and clearance of the bacteria from the blood and tissues. The killed vaccine, whilst able to boost the phagocyte response via the production of antibodies, did not stimulate a protective form of T-cell immunity and was unable to prevent the subsequent bacterial growth in infected organs or the development of bacteraemia, and was unable to control the spread of the bacteria in the body.


Dr Chris Coward, first author on the study, says: “We have used a collaboration between experimental science and mathematical modelling to examine how vaccines help the immune system control infection. We found that, for Salmonella infections, the immune response induced by a killed vaccine initially kills a proportion of the invading bacteria but the surviving bacteria then replicate resulting in disease. The live vaccine appears superior because it induces a response that both kills the bacteria and restrains their growth, leading to elimination of the infection.”


Dr Mastroeni adds: “There is a big push towards the use of non-living vaccines, which are safer, particularly in people with compromised immune systems – and many of the infections such as Salmonella are more prevalent and dangerous in countries blighted by diseases such as HIV, malaria and TB. But our research shows that non-living vaccines against Salmonella may be of limited use only and are not as effective as live vaccines. Therefore more efforts are needed to improve the formulation and delivery of non-living vaccines if these are to be broadly and effectively used to combat systemic bacterial infections. We have used Salmonella infections as a model, but our research approaches can be extended to many pathogens of humans and domestic animals.”


The research was carried out Dr Mastroeni, Dr Coward and colleagues Dr Andrew Grant, Dr Oliver Restif, Dr Richard Dybowski and Professor Duncan Maskell. It was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, which has recently awarded Dr Mastroeni funding  to extend this research to the study of how antibiotics work. The new research aims to optimise treatments and reduce the appearance of antibiotic resistance.


Professor Melanie Welham, BBSRC’s Science Director, said: “To protect our health and the health of animals we rely on, such as livestock, effective vaccines are needed against disease. This new technique provides unique insights that will help us compare vaccines produced in different ways to ensure the best disease prevention strategies.”



Coward, C et al. The Effects of Vaccination and Immunity on Bacterial Infection Dynamics In Vivo. PLOS Pathogens; 18 Sept 2014 [en línea] Cambridge (UK):, 09 October of 2014 [REF. 18 de septiembre de 2014] Available on Internet:

Individual’s unique microbial ‘fingerprint’ drastically affects home environment

6 10 2014

A person’s home is their castle, and they populate it with their own subjects: millions and millions of bacteria.


A recent study investigated the complex interplay between the teeming communities of microbes that are unique to each person and the bacteria found in their homes. Courtesy of Argonne National Laboratory

A study published last week in Science provides a detailed analysis of the microbes that live in houses and apartments. The study was conducted by researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago.


The results shed light on the complicated interaction between humans and the microbes that live on and around us. Mounting evidence suggests that these microscopic, teeming communities play a role in human health and disease treatment and transmission.


“We know that certain bacteria can make it easier for mice to put on weight, for example, and that others influence brain development in young mice,” said Argonne microbiologist Jack Gilbert, who led the study. “We want to know where these bacteria come from, and as people spend more and more time indoors, we wanted to map out the microbes that live in our homes and the likelihood that they will settle on us.


“They are essential for us to understand our health in the 21st century,” he said.


The Home Microbiome Project followed seven families, which included eighteen people, three dogs and one cat, over the course of six weeks. The participants in the study swabbed their hands, feet and noses daily to collect a sample of the microbial populations living in and on them. They also sampled surfaces in the house, including doorknobs, light switches, floors and countertops.


Then the samples came to Argonne, where researchers performed DNA analyses to characterize the different species of microbes in each sample.


“We wanted to know how much people affected the microbial community on a house’s surfaces and on each other,” Gilbert said.


They found that people substantially affected the microbial communities in a house—when three of the families moved, it took less than a day for the new house to look just like the old one, microbially speaking.


Regular physical contact between individuals also mattered—in one home where two of the three occupants were in a relationship with one another, the couple shared many more microbes. Married couples and their young children also shared most of their microbial community.


Within a household, hands were the most likely to have similar microbes, while noses showed more individual variation.


Adding pets changed the makeup as well, Gilbert said—they found more plant and soil bacteria in houses with indoor-outdoor dogs or cats.


In at least one case, the researchers tracked a potentially pathogenic strain of bacteria called Enterobacter, which first appeared on one person’s hands, then the kitchen counter and then another person’s hands.


“This doesn’t mean that the countertop was definitely the mode of transmission between the two humans, but it’s certainly a smoking gun,” Gilbert said.


“It’s also quite possible that we are routinely exposed to harmful bacteria—living on us and in our environment—but it only causes disease when our immune systems are otherwise disrupted.”


Home microbiome studies also could potentially serve as a forensic tool, Gilbert said. Given an unidentified sample from a floor in this study, he said, “we could easily predict which family it came from.”


The research also suggests that when a person (and their microbes) leaves a house, the microbial community shifts noticeably in a matter of days.

“You could theoretically predict whether a person has lived in this location, and how recently, with very good accuracy,” he said.


Researchers used Argonne’s Magellan cloud computing system to analyze the data; additional support came from the University of Chicago Research Computing Center.


The study was funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Additional funding also came from the National Institutes of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Science Foundation.


Other Argonne researchers on the study included Argonne computational biologist Peter Larsen, postdoctoral researchers Daniel Smith, Kim Handley and Nicole Scott, and contractors Sarah Owens and Jarrad Hampton-Marcell. UChicago graduate students Sean Gibbons and Simon Lax contributed to the paper, as well as collaborators from Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Colorado at Boulder.
 [en línea] Chicago, IL (USA):, 06 October of 2014 [REF. 02 de septiembre de 2014] Available on Internet:

Implant bone in amputees femoral

2 10 2014

It is marketed the implant created at the Hospital de Mataró, which improves the living conditions of femoral amputees.

The device facilitates that amputees have more autonomy and can make life away from home, since they may have the prosthesis more time, they get less tired when they walk and do not suffer so much pain.

With the new implant, a person who has the leg to the height of femur has amputated can go much farther in two minutes than before -122,5 meters with implant, 98,4 metres without- and you can do it faster. Specifically, If the average of the March of an amputee patient without the implant is of 49,2 meters per minute, with this device you can get to the 61,3.


More hours with prosthetics and less pain

People carrying the implant also may carry the prosthesis for longer, up to the 13 horas: the average in femoral amputees is of 10 horahoursspite the increase in time, the pain is less than that would be if not. The patients included in the study to test the femoral implant rated the pain that they usually felt around the 3 about 10, a score that with the implant was reduced to the 0,4.


Good results

The implant has achieved the CE marker, authorizing your marketing, as a result of carrying out a clinical trial, still open, done in the service of rehabilitation of the Hospital de Mataró-that is who has designed the implant with the collaboration of Vascular Surgery and Traumatology service. The study involved about patients thirty of the Hospital de Mataró, of the Hospital La Fe de Valencia and of the Hospital our Lady of the Candelaria de Tenerife, aged between the 30 and the 87 years. The manufacture of the implant the Valencian company has done TEQUIR SL.


Clinical trial in two phases

The first phase of the trial has been the placement of the device, It is implanted into the bone and allows you to support the weight of the leg amputated in the fit of the prosthesis. The patient, once given high after two days, is 14 months in follow-up and attended several sessions of rehabilitation.

In a second phase, It will begin in a few months, external placement will be made, without income, a second device, also designed by the team of rehabilitation of the Hospital de Mataró. The objective of this second device is connected directly to the prosthesis without lace, that is what causes most discomfort and sores in amputees. [en línea] Mataró (ESP):, 02 October of 2014 [REF. 10 in July of 2014] Available on Internet: