A type of ‘friendly bacteria’ has been the key for researchers at the University of Dundee who have just developed a treatment that offers the opportunity of new therapies for the management of one of the UKs most common forms of inflammatory bowel disease - ulcerative colitis. Results from a four-week patient trial led by Professor George Macfarlane showed that many of the patients’ symptoms were dramatically reduced to near normal levels.
Affecting an estimated fifty thousand people in the UK, with a particularly high incidence rate in north east Scotland, ulcerative colitis is an acute and chronic disease that causes inflammation and sores, called ulcers, in the lining of the large bowel.
After studying the bowel wall of colitis patients and healthy volunteers, the team made an important discovery. The levels of a specific type of friendly bacteria were 30 times less in colitis patients than in healthy people. As well as stimulating the immune system and offering anti-cancer properties, many of these organisms have anti-inflammatory effects, and after noting that the particular types of this bacteria were also different in colitis patients, the researchers set about developing substitute organisms that could help colitis patients.
Angela Durcan | alfa
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For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
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Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
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Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
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Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
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