Rounding up science's latest discoveries
KISSING MAY CAUSE INFERTILITY
Be careful who you kiss.
Italian scientists suspect that a little-known virus in the saliva, which they believe is transmitted by kissing,is linked to unexplained infertility in women.
The discovery offers hope for women wanting to get pregnant but previously could not.
The researchers at the University of Ferrara examined the uteruses of women with an unexplained inability to bear a child, and found that 2 in 5 were infected by HHV-6A, one of the human herpes viruses. The virus was not found in any of the women whose fertilities were normal.
It is typically not detectable in the blood or saliva, so its true prevalence is unknown. But it replicates in the salivary glands, and previous research indicated that it could be transmitted by kissing.
The team said more research is needed to confirm the findings, which came from a cohort of 66 women, and to determine if antiviral treatment can help women with such uterine infections.
FEWER ALLERGIES FROM THUMB-SUCKING, NAIL-BITING
Thumb-sucking and nail-biting are regarded by most parents as bad habits, but a new study suggested that these habits in children aged five to 11 may increase their immunities against allergies.
From an ongoing study of 1,037 New Zealanders born in 1972 and 1973, it was found that children who frequently sucked a thumb or bit their nails were significantly less likely to have positive allergic skin tests.
Furthermore, those with both habits were less likely to have a positive allergic skin test than those with only one of the two habits.
The study's participants were tested for a range of common allergens including dust mites, grass, cats, dogs, horses and common mold.
The study took into consideration pets, parents with allergies, breast-feeding, socioeconomic status, and more.
Although the former thumb-suckers and nail-biters were less likely to show allergic sensitisations, there was no significant difference in their likelihood of having asthma or hay fever.
GUT FEEL FOR CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME
Suffering from debilitating tiredness is not just something in your head.
Scientists found that the bacteria in your gut may have something to do with chronic fatigue syndrome.
In a study published in the journal Microbiome, researchers from Cornell University looked at the stool and blood samples of 48 people diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome.
Through DNA sequencing, they found that their stool samples had less diversity in bacteria present in the gut.
Their blood samples also showed markers of inflammation, which the researchers believe may be due to intestinal problems that allowed bacteria to enter the blood.
The researchers said that it was unclear if these were causes or consequences of the disease, but the discovery can be used to help diagnose the condition as they were present in 8 out of 10 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.
The finding also suggested that diet and probiotics may be a way to help treat the disease by getting the gut back in balance.