An immune ‘fingerprint’ reveals path for better treatment of autoimmune diseases
Most autoimmune diseases are easy to diagnose but hard to treat. A paper published in Science proposes using your unique immune cell fingerprint to rapidly identify which treatments will work for your autoimmune disease.
‘We analysed the genomic profile of over one million cells from 1,000 people to identify a fingerprint linking genetic markers to diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, type 1 diabetes, spondylitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and Crohn’s disease,’ says Professor Joseph Powell, joint lead author at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. ‘We were able to do this using single cell sequencing, a new technology that allows us to detect subtle changes in individual cells,’ he says.
Continue reading An immune ‘fingerprint’ reveals path for better treatment of autoimmune diseases
RMIT researcher calls for reducing ‘microplastics’ in bathroom products
Mussels in Port Phillip Bay near Melbourne are ingesting microscopic pieces of plastic used in cosmetics. And it’s affecting their ability to grow and reproduce, an RMIT University eco-toxicologist has found.
The microplastics travel from our bathroom sinks to the ocean, where they are easily confused with algae or seaweeds. Because they cannot tell the difference, the mussels take in the plastic along with their normal diet of algae.
But, says researcher Dr Charlene Trestrail, the plastics affect the action of four of their key digestive enzymes which means the mussels then struggle to break down starch into the simple sugars they need to survive.
“We don’t think the plastic affects mussels directly, but it does reduce their ability to digest the real food in their gut, which means they miss out on energy and nutrients,” says Dr Trestrail.
Continue reading Eating plastic makes for smaller mussels
A glove is being trialled at Liverpool Hospital that gives surgical trainees instant and accurate feedback. Researchers say the gloves could also be used by musicians and artists.
Engineers at Western Sydney University have invented a new surgical glove built around low-cost sensors which can record hand movements in fine detail, giving trainee surgeons and their mentors actionable data to evaluate and improve on intricate surgical procedures.
The research team are working closely with surgeons and students at Liverpool Hospital to develop the technology, which will augment rather than replace traditional surgical training.
Continue reading Smart glove to train young surgeons
Work, housing and friendships are core factors to feeling included.
By identifying the early signs of isolation and loneliness, support can be provided to prevent more serious mental ill-health.
In mental healthcare, simple screening tools for common conditions like depression and anxiety make it possible to diagnose people quickly and get help sooner.
A new tool developed at Orygen does the same, but for social inclusion: the F-SIM (Filia Social Inclusion Measure), developed by Dr Kate Filia and being presented in Hobart this week at the Society for Mental Health Research conference, could help to pinpoint the causes of isolation and social exclusion,
Continue reading A new tool to measure social inclusion to save lives
For the first time in Australia, archaeobotany has been used by researchers from UWA to examine charcoal from ancient campfires in the Western Desert.
They found wattle and other Acacias which proves it was (and still is) used by Indigenous people for tools, food and medicine.
The iconic wattle isn’t just about sports uniforms and the coat of arms – new finds in the oldest archaeological site on the land of the Martu in the Western Desert shows how wattle has defined culture and been important to Australians for over 50,000 years.
Continue reading Ancient campfires reveal a 50,000 year old grocer and pharmacy
A new DNA test, developed by researchers at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney and collaborators from Australia, UK and Israel, has been shown to identify a range of hard-to-diagnose neurological and neuromuscular genetic diseases quicker and more-accurately than existing tests.
‘We correctly diagnosed all patients with conditions that were already known, including Huntington’s disease, fragile X syndrome, hereditary cerebellar ataxias, myotonic dystrophies, myoclonic epilepsies, motor neuron disease and more,’ says Dr Ira Deveson, Head of Genomics Technologies at the Garvan Institute and senior author of the study.
The diseases covered by the test belong to a class of over 50 diseases caused by unusually-long repetitive DNA sequences in a person’s genes – known as ‘Short Tandem Repeat (STR) expansion disorders’.
Continue reading Single test for over 50 genetic diseases will cut diagnosis from decades to days