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Archive - Jan 31, 2019

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Fasting Ramps Up Human Metabolism & Boosts Antioxidants; May Increase Longevity

Fasting may help people lose weight, but new research suggests going without food may also boost human metabolic activity, generate antioxidants, and help reverse some effects of aging. Scientists at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) and Kyoto University identified 30 previously-unreported substances whose quantity increases during fasting and indicate a variety of health benefits. “We have been researching aging and metabolism for many years and decided to search for unknown health effects in human fasting,” said Dr. Takayuki Teruya, first author of the paper and a technician in the OIST G0 Cell Unit, led by Professor Mitsuhiro Yanagida. “Contrary to the original expectation, it turned out that fasting induced metabolic activation rather actively.” The new study, published online on January 29, 2019 in Scientific Reports, presents an analysis of whole human blood, plasma, and red blood cells drawn from four fasting individuals. The researchers monitored changing levels of metabolites -- substances formed during the chemical processes that provide organisms energy and allow them to grow. The results revealed 44 metabolites, including 30 that were previously unrecognized, that increased universally among subjects between 1.5- to 60-fold within just 58 hours of fasting. The open-access article is titled “Diverse Metabolic Reactions Activated During 58-Hr Fasting Are Revealed by Non-Targeted Metabolomic Analysis of Human Blood.” In previous research, the G0 Cell Unit had identified various metabolites whose quantities decline with age, including three known as leucine, isoleucine, and ophthalmic acid.

Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation of Key Circuit Between Prefrontal Cortex & Cerebellum Alleviates Chronic, Treatment-Resistant Negative Symptoms of Schizophrenia in New Study

Schizophrenia is a chronic and disabling mental illness that affects more than three million Americans. Anti-psychotic medication can control schizophrenia’s psychotic symptoms, including the hallucinations and delusions that are well-known hallmarks of the disease. However, there are no effective treatments for the disease’s ‘negative symptoms’ – so-called because they involve a loss of normal function. The negative symptoms of schizophrenia include an inability to feel pleasure, a lack of motivation, and difficulty with non-verbal communication. These symptoms can seriously impact patients’ employment prospects, housing, relationships, and overall quality of life. In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston used imaging data to determine the underlying anatomical cause of schizophrenia’s negative symptoms and then applied non-invasive brain stimulation to ameliorate them. The scientists found, as they reported in an article published online on January 30, 2019 in the American Journal of Psychiatry, that these symptoms arise from a breakdown in a network between the brain’s prefrontal cortex and the cerebellum. Moreover, the team demonstrated that a novel type of non-invasive brain stimulation restored this crucial network’s function, which in turn improved schizophrenia’s most debilitating and treatment-resistant symptoms in patients with the disease.

Acoustic Liquid Handling Company (Labcyte) Acquired by Beckman Coulter Life Sciences to Expand Lab Automation Business

On January 30, 2019, Beckman Coulter Life Sciences announced its acquisition of Labcyte, a privately held, acoustic liquid handling company based in San Jose, California. Labcyte is best known for its Echo® acoustic droplet ejection technology, which uses sound waves to transfer tiny amounts of liquid with unequalled speed and accuracy. This technology—the centerpiece of Labcyte's Echo Liquid Handlers—enables walkaway convenience and integration capabilities. Labcyte technology enables faster and more cost-effective laboratory workflows in applications such as drug discovery and genomics. "Labcyte's unique product portfolio complements our existing liquid handling and laboratory automation business. It provides new opportunities to develop and enhance time-saving solutions for customer workflows," said Jonathan Pratt, President, Beckman Coulter Life Sciences. "Labcyte and Beckman Coulter Life Sciences share a common vision of advancing science through discovery, enabling the faster discovery and development of life-changing advances in medicine. Together we will make a powerful team, and an invaluable resource for current and future customers around the world." "It has been an exciting journey—from developing acoustic liquid-dispensing technology in a garage to establishing a global presence, and now to be joining forces with a life sciences technology leader," said Richard Ellson, CTO and a Founder of Labcyte. "Acoustic liquid handling is quickly becoming the backbone for high-throughput, automated workflows, and we look forward to accelerating growth and innovation as part of the Beckman Coulter Life Sciences team." Labcyte will transition into Beckman Coulter Life Sciences under the larger Danaher Life Sciences platform of companies, which generates approximately $6.5 billion in annual revenue.