Thursday, May 5, 2022

A very specific kind of brain cell dies off in people with Parkinson’s


Parkinson's Disease Pathophysiology

What is Parkinson's Disease? it is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects a person's movement. Symptoms gradually begin slowly because at first, it is barely noticeable but later on, a tremor will occur. How? well, in the early stages of Parkinson's, a person's face may show no expression at all, and also their speech will become slurred, but let us look at this in a deeper context. Researchers from the University Feinburg School of Medicine in Chicago looked at brain cells that seem to be affected by this disease. There is also a way of stopping Parkinson's' and it is by "A single-cell genomic profiling of human dopamine neurons identifies a population that selectively degenerates in Parkinson's disease. The loss of dopamine neurons is a pathological hallmark of this disease. Parkinson's steals the ability from people so they won't be able to move slowly, have balance problems, and have tremors. In the US, almost 1 million people are estimated to have this disease. Scientists even predict that for decades these symptoms come with the death of the nerve cells in the substantial nigra. A psychiatrist and neuroscientist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston have looked into substantial nigra neurons in the brain, in people who have passed away from this disease or are related to low body dementia, thus they have discovered that one of the 10 cell types was drastically destroyed. Both psychiatrists have come to the conclusion that they can perform a new study that involves a small number of brains, that have been affected with Parkinson's and learn much more concepts and seek into dopamine making neurons in the brains of those who have parkinson's. 

Scientists Believe Drug-Resistant Bacteria First Evolved on Hedgehogs



The use of antibiotics in medicine to treat bacterial infections undoubtedly saved thousands, if not millions of lives since Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928. Unfortunately, due to bacteria’s ability to harbor multiple generations and multiply by the millions within days, these prokaryotes have evolved to resist antibiotics in a time-frame in which eukaryotes could only dream of. However, modern medicine might not be to blame for the acceleration of resistant bacteria.  

Beneath the spines of European hedgehogs – Erinaceus eropaeus and Erinaceus roumanicus - lies the infamous Staphylococcus aureus, the epidermal bacterium responsible for the menacing and potentially life-threatening Staph Infection. Along side the staphylococcus a natural antibiotic producing fungus resides on the skin, which may have created an environment that bolstered the staph’s resistance to modern antibiotics hundreds of years prior to their discovery. The fungus known as T. erinacei has lived symbiotically with the bacteria, producing penicillin to prevent being consumed by its neighboring prokaryotes.

    A study in which 276 hedgehogs residing from 10 different European countries and New Zealand were swabbed and found to contain 16 strains of mecC-MRAS – the antibiotic resistant staphylococcus – on their skin and noses. Through genome analysis and comparison of mutations throughout all 16 strains, scientists traced lineages dating back as far as the 1800’s, confirming the bacteria’s evolution prior to modern medicine.

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Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Chromosomal Gene Analysis of Cephalopods Give Scientists a Sneak Peek Into the Their Evolution


A Cephalopods nervous system is about as weird as the creatures’ external features. The evolutionary pathway that led to this infinitely complex nervous system has long been cloudy and less understood than other aquatic species. Recently, chromosomal assemblies of three cephalopod species – two squids  know as Doryteuthis pealeii and Euprymna scolopes along with an octopus species known as Octopus bimaculoides – have allowed scientists to better recognize which specific genes are present and in what order. This newfound knowledge can allow geneticists to further study components within the genome that are driving the expression of these genes (Nature).

Cephalopod genomes are notably different than those found in humans. Genomes within the two species of squid were found to be about 1.5 times larger than that of humans. While the Octopus’ genes more closely resemble a humans at about 90% size. Furthermore, it is found that while humans evolved through meiosis, a process in which two rounds of genome duplication occurs, a cephalopods evolution does not involve whole genome duplication, but instead undergoes “immense genome rearrangements” according to a Science Daily article. Which makes sense given that cephalopods started evolving 300 million years before humans existed. Discovery of this difference in duplication is a foot forward in finding out how these complex and highly intelligent creatures have evolved and thrived.