Mice produce eggs later in life
Earlier this week Chinese scientists Kang Zhou and Ji Wu of Shanghai Jiao Tong University detected, in young and old mice, germ-line cells that produce unfertilized eggs. This defies the long-held assumption that women cannot produce eggs after birth. The researchers scanned the mouse cells for a protein called vasa homolog that is found only in the germ-lines in a mouse’s ovaries. The germ-line cells generate all the eggs a woman has in her lifetime.
After the researchers detected the vasa-producing cells, the cells were removed and tagged with a fluorescent protein. When these fluorescent germ-line cells were injected inside mice, the mice produced some offspring that were green. This indicates that the offspring were produced from eggs made by the injected germ-line cells.
Source: The New York Times
Epilepsy drug harms newborns
A new study has shown that the children of mothers who took the epilepsy drug Valproate during pregnancy have been shown to have lower IQs than children whose mothers took other anti-seizure medication. It has been known for a while that this drug may be linked to other birth defects, such as spina bifida. However this study is the biggest one to prove a connection between Valproate and lower IQ.
The study followed women in United States and the United Kingdom and found that toddlers of mothers who took Valporate had IQs of 92, while toddlers whose mothers took Lamotrigine or phenytoin had IQs between 98 and 101.
Source: The Washington Post
Broccoli helps prevent cancer
A study in Japan has found that eating two and a half ounces of baby broccoli for two months may protect people against a common stomach bug linked to gastritis, ulcers, and stomach cancers. Broccoli contains sulforaphane, a biochemical that seems to trigger that production of enzymes that protects the gut from oxygen radicals, DNA-damaging chemicals, and inflammation.
In this study, researchers gave 25 people in Japan infected with the bacteria 70 grams of broccoli sprouts per day for two months. Another 25 infected people got alfalfa sprouts (that do not have sulforaphane). Those eating broccoli sprouts showed reduced levels of infection and inflammation.
Diabetes may give rise to dementia
Kaiser Permanente researchers tracked the health records of more than 16,000 people with diabetes type II and studied episodes of severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). They then followed patients to track diagnoses of dementia.
The patients with one severe hypoglycemia episode had a 26 percent increased risk of dementia as compared to those without hypoglycemia, while those with two episodes had an 80 percent increased risk.
The reasons for this increased risk are still not clear, but researchers think that diabetes drugs that induce hypoglycemia may cause grain-cell death in older people.