Research showed microbiome may be used to track impact of injuries and recovery timeline —


A lately printed examine by Houston Methodist scientists suggests telltale indicators of concussions could be discovered within the intestine. By taking blood, stool and saliva samples from 33 Rice College soccer gamers, the researchers have been in a position to look at the diagnostic potential of the intestine’s microbiome. They are saying their findings show {that a} easy, goal diagnostic take a look at could possibly be developed to trace the affect of concussions and sign when it is secure to return to motion.

The findings of this examine are described in a paper titled “Alterations to the intestine microbiome after sport-related concussion in a collegiate soccer gamers cohort: A pilot examine” showing within the Could problem of Mind, Conduct, & Immunity — Well being, a peer-reviewed journal of the Psychoneuroimmunology Analysis Society with an emphasis on analysis that has translational affect and medical implications. Sonia Villapol, Ph.D., an assistant professor of neurosurgery on the Heart for Neuroregeneration within the Houston Methodist Analysis Institute, is the corresponding writer on the examine.

Whereas mind motion throughout the cranium might trigger damage to nerve cells, such microscopic mobile accidents are usually not seen on imaging assessments like X-rays, CT scans and MRIs, that are extra able to find accidents on the dimensions of cranium fractures, mind bleeding or swelling. So, probably the most generally used take a look at for diagnoses of concussions depends completely on self-reported signs like blurry imaginative and prescient, dizziness, nausea and complications, which may be very obscure, subjective and sometimes underreported by athletes who wish to proceed enjoying. This could make them notoriously tough to diagnose.

The examine, performed over the course of 1 season, discovered a post-concussion drop-off of two bacterial species usually present in abundance in stool samples of wholesome people. It additionally discovered a correlation between traumatic mind damage linked proteins within the blood and one mind damage linked bacterial species within the stool.

Whereas there have been dozens of mind damage biomarkers recognized, there was restricted success in growing industrial blood assessments delicate sufficient to detect tiny will increase in biomarker concentrations. Nonetheless, the central nervous system can be intimately linked to the enteric nervous system, occurring within the intestines, and head trauma invariably results in adjustments within the intestine microbiota, Villapol stated.

After a concussion, the accidents trigger irritation, sending small proteins and molecules circulating by the blood that breach the intestinal barrier and trigger adjustments within the intestine, affecting metabolism.

She stated these adjustments within the microbiota might provide a possibility to amass a readout of the continued damage to the central nervous system.

“Till your intestine microbiome has returned to regular, you have not recovered,” Villapol stated. “For this reason learning the intestine is so helpful. It would not lie. And that’s the reason there may be a lot curiosity in utilizing it for diagnostic functions.”

Whereas solely 4 of the gamers within the examine have been recognized with main concussions, the researchers say the outcomes will should be confirmed in a bigger pattern measurement. In addition they plan to conduct the same examine quickly utilizing ladies’s soccer athletes, who equally have frequent head trauma.

“Men and women do not have the identical immunities or intestine microbiomes, and as a lady and a mom of daughters, I’d hate to be that researcher who solely seems to be at males’s points whereas overlooking ladies,” Villapol stated. “Ladies soccer gamers have very excessive charges of concussions, as effectively, and all the identical issues in terms of current diagnostic strategies.”

Villapol’s collaborators on this examine have been Rice College investigators Kristen Curry, Qi Wang, Michael Nute, Elizabeth Reeves, Sarah Schodrof and Todd Treangen from the pc science and?athletics departments; and Houston Methodist colleagues Sirena Soriano, Saeed S. Sadrameli, Rasadul Kabir, Jonathan Wiese, Amber Criswell, Gavin W. Britz, Rajan Gadhia and Kenneth Podell.

This work was supported by the Nationwide Institute for Neurological Problems and Stroke (grant quantity R21NS106640), Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering Hamill Innovation Award, Nationwide Institute of Allergy and Infectious Illnesses (grant quantity P01AI152999-01) and funds from the Houston Methodist Analysis Institute.

A portable MRI system for early detection of sports injuries —


For some sports activities comparable to tennis, the wrist is incessantly below stress, and an harm to the wrist can forestall an athlete from competing. To help within the early detection of wrist accidents, researchers on the College of Tsukuba have developed a transportable MRI system that permits athletes to be screened for accidents earlier than they exhibit any signs.

Athletes have a threat of sports activities accidents, which might affect their capacity to proceed coaching and competing. For accidents comparable to cartilage tears, early detection and therapy are essential for enabling athletes to proceed enjoying sports activities, as a result of an absence of therapy could have an effect on their capacity to compete. Complete-body MRI scanners can determine cartilage accidents; furthermore, MRI scans of asymptomatic sufferers have proven a excessive price of cartilage harm, that means that MRI scans can determine accidents earlier than athletes are even conscious of them. When an harm is detected early, therapy could be began earlier than the harm turns into extra problematic. Sadly, utilizing a whole-body MRI scanner, which is giant and costly, will not be sensible for screening athletes exterior of healthcare settings.

To deal with this downside, the analysis workforce on the College of Tsukuba lately developed a transportable MRI system for baseball elbow accidents. “As a result of this technique is moveable, athletes could be shortly screened at a distant location, comparable to their observe subject,” explains Professor Yasuhiko Terada. “Thus, this machine can remove the necessity for gamers to go to a hospital for analysis.”

Now, the analysis workforce has improved upon their earlier machine and particularly developed a system to diagnose wrist accidents. Their enhancements embrace an efficient shielding technique for acquiring high-quality photographs and an outlet-free energy system, so there is no such thing as a want for a industrial energy provide.

The investigators employed their MRI scanner at a tennis faculty, the place they imaged the wrists of female and male tennis gamers aged 8-18 years previous. Among the many athletes screened, a number of had been discovered to have cartilage harm, although a few of these athletes had no different signs of an harm. Thus, this machine can present an early screening instrument that’s handy for athletes and can assist to stop additional harm or harm.

“As future work, additional units could be developed for different joints, such because the ankle or knee,” says Professor Terada. Owing to its comfort, this newly developed machine could result in the event of comparable techniques for stopping and treating accidents amongst athletes in all sorts of sports activities.

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Findings in mice have potential to advance treatment of some brain injuries and illnesses —


In a novel set of experiments with mice educated to do a sequence of actions and “change course” on the spur of the second, Johns Hopkins scientists report they’ve recognized areas of the animals’ brains that work together to regulate the flexibility to carry out advanced, sequential actions, in addition to to assist the mice rebound when their actions are interrupted with out warning.

The analysis, they are saying, might in the future assist scientists discover methods to focus on these areas in individuals and restore motor operate brought on by damage or sickness.

Outcomes of the Johns Hopkins-led experiments had been printed March 9 in Nature.

Primarily based on mind exercise measurements of the specifically educated rodents, the investigators discovered that three principal areas of the cortex have distinct roles in how the mice navigate by a sequence of actions: the premotor, major motor and first somatosensory areas. All are on the highest layers of the mammals’ brains and organized in a basically comparable trend in individuals.

The staff concluded that the first motor and first somatosensory areas are concerned in controlling the fast actions of the mice in actual time, whereas the premotor space seems to regulate a complete deliberate sequence of actions, in addition to how the mice react and regulate when the sequence is unexpectedly disrupted.

Because the animals carry out sequential actions, the researchers say, it is seemingly that the premotor space sends electrical alerts by way of particular nerve cells to the 2 different sensorimotor cortex areas, and extra research are deliberate to chart the paths of these alerts between and among the many cortical layers.

“Whether or not it is an Olympian practising a downhill ski run or an individual doing an on a regular basis chore reminiscent of driving, many duties contain realized sequences of actions made time and again,” says Daniel O’Connor, Ph.D., affiliate professor of neuroscience on the Johns Hopkins College Faculty of Medication. O’Connor led the analysis staff. Such sequential actions could appear commonplace and easy, he says, however they contain advanced group and management within the mind, and the mind should not solely direct every motion appropriately but additionally arrange them into a complete collection of linked actions.

When sudden issues occur to interrupt an ongoing sequence, O’Connor says, the mind should adapt and direct the physique to re-configure the sequence in actual time. Failure of this course of may end up in catastrophe — a fall or automotive accident, for instance.

Neuroscientists have lengthy studied how mammals compensate when a person motion — reminiscent of reaching for a espresso cup — is disrupted, however the brand new research was designed to handle the challenges of monitoring what occurs when advanced sequences of a number of actions should be reorganized in actual time to compensate for sudden occasions.

Within the case of the Olympic skier, for instance, the skier expects to carry out a deliberate collection of actions to method and cross by gates alongside a downhill run, however there’ll seemingly be moments when an impediment disrupts the skier’s trajectory and forces a change after all.

“How the mammalian mind can take a sensory cue and, nearly immediately, use it to utterly change from one ongoing sequence of actions to a different stays largely a thriller.” O’Connor labored with Duo Xu, Ph.D., a former graduate scholar in O’Connor’s laboratory, to design a set of experiments in mice to trace the mind areas that course of the “change course” cue.

For the research, the researchers first created a “course” for mice that had been educated to stay out their tongues and contact a “port” — a metallic tube. When the investigators moved the port, the mice realized to the touch the port once more. Over the span of the course, when the port was moved to its ultimate location, the mice that touched it with their tongues received a reward. All of this coaching was meant to simulate a repeated and anticipated sequence of realized actions, a lot because the skier’s downhill run.

To check how an sudden cue can immediate the mind to alter course, the researchers had the mice carry out what scientists name a “backtracking trial.” As an alternative of shifting the port to the subsequent in-sequence location, the researchers moved the port to an earlier location, in order that when the mice prolonged their tongues, they failed to seek out the port, prompting them to reverse course, discover the port, and progress by the course to get the deal with.

“Every sequence of port licks entails a collection of advanced actions that the mouse’s mind wants to prepare right into a motion plan after which carry out appropriately, but additionally to quickly reorganize once they discover that the anticipated port is not there,” says O’Connor.

In the course of the experiments, the researchers used mind electrodes to trace and file electrical alerts amongst neurons within the sensorimotor cortex, which controls total motion. A rise in electrical exercise corresponds to elevated mind exercise. As a result of many areas of the cortex may very well be activated when the mice moved by the course within the experiment, the researchers used mice bred with genetically engineered mind cells that, in sure components of the cortex, will be selectively “silenced” or deactivated. Thus, the scientists might slim down the placement of mind areas instantly concerned within the actions.

“The outcomes present a brand new image of how a hierarchy amongst neural networks within the sensorimotor cortex are managing sequential actions,” says O’Connor. “The extra we study these interacting neural networks, the higher positioned we’re to grasp sensorimotor dysfunction in people and the way to right it.”

Along with Xu and O’Connor, the next Johns Hopkins scientists contributed to the analysis: Mingyuan Dong, Yuxi Chen, Angel Delgado, Natasha Hughes and Linghua Zhang.

The analysis was supported by the Nationwide Institutes of Well being (R01NS089652, 1R01NS104834-01, P30NS050274).

Losartan is not effective in reducing COVID-19 lung injuries, researchers find —


A examine revealed in JAMA Community Open, from the College of Minnesota, discovered {that a} widespread blood stress remedy — losartan — just isn’t efficient in decreasing lung damage in sufferers with COVID-19.

This drug was investigated based mostly on early reviews suggesting profit in preclinical fashions of the 2003 SARS virus, an in depth member of the family to the present SARS-CoV-2 virus. This examine was carried out throughout 12 U.S. tutorial analysis establishments.

The U of M Medical College and College of Public Well being analysis workforce sought to find out if a standard blood stress remedy would possibly lower lung damage in sufferers admitted to the hospital with COVID-19. Their outcomes discovered that losartan remedy didn’t cut back lung damage in sufferers admitted with COVID-19, and had no impact on mortality.

The researchers additionally discovered that critically-ill sufferers handled with losartan wanted further, short-term blood stress help — although this didn’t result in worse outcomes general.

“Although this explicit drug was not efficient for the remedy of COVID-19, repurposing cheap and comparatively protected drugs stays an essential strategy to comprise healthcare prices,” stated Michael Puskarich, MD, an affiliate professor in emergency medication on the U of M Medical College and co-author of this examine.

“Discovering efficient remedies for COVID-19 that may be broadly used throughout each the developed and growing world stays an essential ongoing space of investigation,” Puskarich stated, who can also be an emergency doctor at Hennepin Healthcare.

This examine was funded by the Invoice and Melinda Gates Basis. The researchers notice that extra research of protein and mobile signaling from ALPS-COVID trial members are ongoing.

“We hope that future examine findings of those proteins might present insights into why the physique responds the way in which it does to COVID-19,” stated Christopher Tignanelli, MD, MS, FACS, FAMIA, an assistant professor in surgical procedure on the U of M Medical College and co-author on this examine. “Critically, this can assist us perceive why some folks develop extreme illness following COVID-19 an infection and others are asymptomatic.”

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