Month: August 2017

The Effectiveness of Emergency Obstetric Referral Interventions in Developing Country Settings: A Systematic Review

Pregnancy complications can be unpredictable and many women in developing countries cannot access health facilities where life-saving care is available. This study assesses the effects of referral interventions that enable pregnant women to reach health facilities during an emergency, after the decision to seek care is made.

The Cellular and Molecular Basis of Bitter Tastant-Induced Bronchodilation

Bronchodilators are a standard medicine for treating airway obstructive diseases, and β2 adrenergic receptor agonists have been the most commonly used bronchodilators since their discovery. Strikingly, activation of G-protein-coupled bitter taste receptors (TAS2Rs) in airway smooth muscle (ASM) causes a stronger bronchodilation in vitro and in vivo than β2 agonists, implying that new and better bronchodilators could be developed. A critical step towards realizing this potential is to understand the mechanisms underlying this bronchodilation, which remain ill-defined.

The Ethics of Switch/Simplify in Antiretroviral Trials: Non-Inferior or Just Inferior?

The efficacy of new antiretroviral therapy (ART) drugs is established in phase 3 trials, including in patients with virological failure (i.e., ongoing viral replication) on existing ART. In these trials, a new drug generally demonstrates improved virological control relative to placebo. Improved ART efficacy over the last 15 years has led to a dramatic decrease in the numbers of treatment-experienced patients with virological failure [1].

The Billion Cell Construct: Will Three-Dimensional Printing Get Us There?

How structure relates to function—across spatial scales, from the single molecule to the whole organism—is a central theme in biology. Bioengineers, however, wrestle with the converse question: will function follow form? That is, we struggle to approximate the architecture of living tissues experimentally, hoping that the structure we create will lead to the function we desire. A new means to explore the relationship between form and function in living tissue has arrived with three-dimensional printing, but the technology is not without limitations.

Human Cyclophilin 40 Unravels Neurotoxic Amyloids

Most mammalian proteins have intrinsic sequences that promote amyloid fibril formation [1]. This is believed to be a natural process to prevent the formation of more toxic amorphous, intermediate structures [1,2]. However, in some cases such as neurodegenerative disease, aberrant amyloid formation promotes proteotoxicity

Active Control of Acoustic Field-of-View in a Biosonar System

Active-sensing systems abound in nature, but little is known about systematic strategies that are used by these systems to scan the environment. Here, we addressed this question by studying echolocating bats, animals that have the ability to point their biosonar beam to a confined region of space.

Targeting Global Protected Area Expansion for Imperiled Biodiversity

Governments have agreed to expand the global protected area network from 13% to 17% of the world’s land surface by 2020 (Aichi target 11) and to prevent the further loss of known threatened species (Aichi target 12). These targets are interdependent, as protected areas can stem biodiversity loss when strategically located and effectively managed.

Surveillance of Infection Severity: A Registry Study of Laboratory Diagnosed Clostridium difficile

Changing clinical impact, as virulent clones replace less virulent ones, is a feature of many pathogenic bacterial species and can be difficult to detect. Consequently, innovative techniques monitoring infection severity are of potential clinical value.

A Welcome Chink in Drug Resistance

Given the alarming news about drug-resistant super bugs, it’s a relief to know that at least one drug still works even after 50 years of clinical use. Even better, researchers think they finally know why. The drug is amphotericin B and it kills the fungus Candida albicans, a common hospital-acquired infection that can be life-threatening.

Structural and Functional Insights into the Mode of Action of a Universally Conserved Obg GTPase

Obg proteins are a family of P-loop GTPases, conserved from bacteria to human. The Obg protein in Escherichia coli (ObgE) has been implicated in many diverse cellular functions, with proposed molecular roles in two global processes, ribosome assembly and stringent response. Here, using pre-steady state fast kinetics we demonstrate that ObgE is an anti-association factor, which prevents ribosomal subunit association and downstream steps in translation by binding to the 50S subunit

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