The venom from one of the largest spiders in the world may bring the hope to ease the gut pain suffered by millions of people with the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to a new research.
Australian researchers disclosed the findings on Monday, reports Xinhua.
IBS is an intestinal disorder causing pain in the stomach which affects the internal organs. The causes of IBS remain unknown.
The lead researcher, Professor Richard Lewis from the University of Queensland's Institute for Molecular Bioscience said current treatment targeting gut pain had some drawbacks.
"All pains are complex but gut pain is particularly challenging to treat and affects around 20 percent of the world's population," Lewis said.
"Current drugs are failing to produce effective pain relief in many patients before side effects limit the dose that can be administered."
There were hundreds of mini proteins known as peptides contained in spider's venom which has the capability of blocking the pain. However, not all of them were able to specifically block the chronic visceral pain caused by IBS, according to Lewis.
"Our goal was to find more specialized pain blockers that are potent and target pain sodium channels for chronic visceral pain, but not those that are active in the heart and other channels," he said.
Researchers screened venom from 28 spiders and identified two peptides from the venom of the Venezuelan Pinkfoot Goliath tarantula - which has a leg-span of up to 30 centimeters were most promising, with one nearly stopping chronic visceral pain in a model of IBS.
"The highly selective ones have potential as treatments for pain, while others are useful as new research tools to allow us to understand the underlying drivers of pain in different diseases," Lewis said.
Three broad categories of tests are commonly used to detect coronavirus.
Two among these diagnose whether you have an active infection and a third indicates if you previously had the virus, reports AP.
Here’s how they work:
Most tests look for bits of the virus’ genetic material, and require a nasal swab that is taken by a health professional and then sent to a lab.
This is considered the most accurate way to diagnose an infection, but it's not perfect.
The swab has to get a good enough sample so any virus can be detected.
These tests usually take hours at the lab and the results take at least a day, though a handful of rapid tests take about 15 minutes on site.
Other genetic tests use saliva, instead of a swab.
Bangladesh RT-PCR Test, a real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) test, to detect Covid-19.
A newer type of test looks for proteins found on the surface of the coronavirus, rather than the virus itself.
These antigen tests are just hitting the market, and experts hope they'll help expand testing and speed up results.
Antigen tests aren't as accurate as genetic tests, but are cheaper, faster and require less specialised laboratory equipment. They still require a nasal swab by a health professional.
Rapid antigen tests perform best when the person is tested in the early stages of infection with SARS-CoV-2 when viral load is generally highest, CDC says.
Bangladesh on Monday announced allowing antigen tests to detect Covid-19.
Antibody tests look for proteins that the body makes to fight off infections in a patient's blood sample.
Antibodies are a sign that a person previously had Covid-19.
Scientists don’t yet know if antibodies protect people from another infection, or how long that protection might last. So antibody tests are mostly useful for researchers measuring what portion of the population was infected.
The demand for hand sanitiser skyrocketed with the spread of Covid-19. But with too many sanitisers to choose from, people are often confused what they should look for in a sanitiser.
It’s simple in fact: Pick one that contains mostly alcohol, and has a few other ingredients.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says hand sanitisers should be at least 60 percent ethyl alcohol or 70 percent isopropyl alcohol.
Other approved ingredients may include sterile distilled water, hydrogen peroxide and glycerin, according to the US Food and Drug Administration, reports AP.
You should avoid anything with methanol or 1-propanol, both of which can be highly toxic. The FDA also warns people to watch out for hand sanitisers packaged in food and drink containers, since accidentally ingesting them could be dangerous.
Health officials also suggest avoiding hand sanitisers that replace alcohol with benzalkonium chloride, which is less effective at killing certain bacteria and viruses.
But experts also don’t encourage people to make their own sanitisers since the wrong mix of chemicals can be ineffective or cause skin burns.
“You should only use hand sanitiser when you can’t wash your hands with soap and water,” says Barun Mathema, an infectious disease researcher at Columbia University.
Hand washing is better at removing more germs, experts say.
Also read: Hand sanitiser vs soap and water
Doctors in central China's Hunan Province have used 3D printing technology to greatly reduce risks related to a complex skull reconstruction surgery for a 19-month-old child, reports Xinhua.
The patient nicknamed Doudou suffered from narrow cranial disease, also known as craniosynostosis, a birth defect where the bones in a baby's skull join together too early.
The disease results in visible deformation and various brain dysfunctions, and surgery is the only way to treat it, said Fu Xing, a neurosurgeon with Changsha Central Hospital, affiliated with the University of South China.
To reduce the risks of this complicated operation, doctors applied 3D printing technology.
Doudou underwent a high-precision CT scan so that doctors could create a 3D reconstruction of the child's skull and print a replica. The surgery team conducted a "simulated operation" on the skull model and finally determined a safe and effective surgical plan.
The surgery took place in early September and lasted around four hours, the hospital announced on Monday.
"The surgery was very successful. Doudou's brain development will not be hindered in the future," said Fan Tianyu, a member of the surgical team.
In a retrospective study of patients tested for COVID-19, researchers at the University of Chicago (UChicago) Medicine found an association between vitamin D deficiency and the likelihood of becoming infected with the coronavirus.
The researchers looked at 489 patients at UChicago Medicine whose vitamin D level had been measured within a year before being tested for COVID-19, reports Xinhua.
Patients who had vitamin D deficiency, defined as less than 20 nanograms per milliliter of blood, that was not treated were almost twice as likely to test positive for COVID-19 compared to patients who had sufficient levels of the vitamin.
"Vitamin D is important to the function of the immune system and vitamin D supplements have previously been shown to lower the risk of viral respiratory tract infections," said David Meltzer, Chief of Hospital Medicine at UChicago Medicine and lead author of the study. "Our statistical analysis suggests this may be true for the COVID-19 infection."
Half of Americans are thought to be deficient in vitamin D, with much higher rates seen in African Americans, Hispanics and individuals living in areas like Chicago where it is difficult to get enough sun exposure in winter.
"Understanding whether treating vitamin D deficiency changes COVID-19 risk could be of great importance locally, nationally and globally," said Meltzer. "Vitamin D is inexpensive, generally very safe to take, and can be widely scaled."
The researchers are planning further clinical trials. They emphasize the importance of experimental studies to determine whether vitamin D supplementation can reduce the risk, and potentially severity, of COVID-19, as well as the need for studies of what strategies for vitamin D supplementation may be most appropriate in specific populations.
The study was posted on UChicago's website on Tuesday.