Rounding up science's latest discoveries
SUPER SENIORS WHO ARE IMMUNE TO ALZHEIMER'S
Some elderly people are naturally immune to the symptoms of Alzheimer's even when they have the full-blown disease, scientists found.
Researchers at Northwestern Medicine in the United States were amazed that several "super-agers" in their 90s ,who showed no sign of mental decline or memory loss before their deaths, were all found to have the signature plaques and tangles in their brains that are signs of Alzheimer's.
The results, presented at the Society for Neuroscience 2016 annual conference in San Diego, showed that there are some factors protecting these "super-agers" and their brains and memories against the Alzheimer's pathology of plaques and tangles.
The scientists are now looking for genetic, dietary or environmental reasons responsible, because if they can find a protective factor, it could help elderly people avoid the devastating symptoms of the disease.
1 IN 100 HEALTHY PEOPLE HAS FAULTY HEART GENE
One in every 100 healthy people has a faulty gene that could trigger a dangerous heart condition, a recent study found.
Researchers at the Imperial College London and the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre said these people are at risk of heart failure when the organ is placed under stress, in situations ranging from pregnancy to alcoholism.
The study, published in the journal Nature Genetics on Monday, looked at rats with a faulty version of a gene called titin.
It was found that although the rats appeared healthy, placing abnormal stress on the heart triggered a rare heart muscle condition called dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), which causes heart failure.
DCM is a disease that stretches and thins the heart muscle. It then becomes unable to pump blood around the body efficiently, and it is the most common cause of heart transplants.
The researchers also looked at the genes of 1,400 healthy adults, and created detailed 3D computer models using scans of their hearts at the MRC centre in London.
WINE BEFORE SMOKING 'CAN PREVENT DAMAGE'
A glass of red wine before lighting up can prevent some of the harm caused by smoking, German researchers claimed. It contains chemicals that protect against short-term damage to the lining of blood vessels, they said.
Scientists from the University of Saarland, Homburg, investigated the effects of smoking on the blood and arteries of 20 healthy non-smokers who volunteered to inhale from three cigarettes.
Half had a drink of red wine an hour before smoking, consuming an amount calculated to produce a blood alcohol level of 0.75 per cent.
It was found that drinking the wine prevented the release of micro-particles from artery walls, platelets and white blood cells that is known to indicate smoking damage.
It also reduced inflammation, and slowed down a genetic ageing process in cells.