Weekly Roundup: biotechin.asia

18th – 24th January 2016

First Zika virus case detected in Taiwan, experts say Singapore ‘extremely vulnerable’

A 24-year old northern Thai man has been hospitalised in Taiwan after being confirmed as having the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which is spreading throughout Central and South America. Taiwan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare told the country’s Central News Agency on Tuesday that a Thai national coming there to work for the first time was stopped at Taoyuan International Airport on Jan 10 after setting off temperature scanners upon arrival in Taipei. He is currently being held for observation at a local hospital. (Read more)

Singapore ‘has 2nd-highest proportion of diabetics’

Singapore has the second-highest proportion of diabetics among developed nations, a new report by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) revealed. It said 10.53 per cent of people in Singapore aged between 20 and 79 are estimated to have the chronic disease, after correcting for age differences between the countries. Only the United States fared worse, with a percentage of 10.75. (Read more)

Flower blooms in space

On Saturday (January 16, 2016), International Space Station (ISS) astronaut Scott Kelly tweeted out an image of what he described as the first flower grown in space. The orange zinnia – a plant related to the sunflower – is from a small garden on the ISS in the VEG-01 module – known as “Veggie” – an experiment focused on growing plants in space. The plant in the picture is the first of the zinnia’s to successfully flower. (Read more)

Brain Cancers Reveal Novel Genetic Disruption in DNA

Brain cancer has been extensively studied for years, yet doctors have made little progress in treating this disease. Recently, a research team led by Dr. Bradley E. Bernstein from the Broad Institute has suggested that a housekeeping gene encoding a humdrum metabolic enzyme is responsible for a series of downstream cascades that eventually lead to cells turning cancerous. This discovery suggests that long-existing small molecule chemotherapeutics might come back into use and might be powerful enough as a cure. “What this tells me is that I know a lot less than I did before,” said Dr. Jeremy Rich, a brain cancer expert at the Cleveland Clinic. (Read more)

National disaster declared upon drying up of Lake Poopo

Bolivia’s second largest lake has dried up with devastating impacts, proving that financial support from the European Union was not enough to save the high-altitude saltwater ecosystem of Bolivia’s Lake Poopo prompting local authorities to declare a national disaster, local media reported Sunday.  The saline lake had been ebbing away for years, thanks to a combination of factors but had at least been able to retain some of its water, until now. (Read more)

Eating healthily during the week but binging on weekends is not OK for your gut

A relatively healthy but complex community is living together peacefully, until an unruly mob of hooligans begins unsettling the community’s residents and disturbing the peace every weekend. This scenario could be playing out in the human gut every time you go on a junk food binge. Yo-yoing between eating well during the week and bingeing on junk food over the weekend is likely to be just as bad for your gut health as a consistent diet of junk. (Read more)

Categories: Highlights, News, Research

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