Bio-engineering approach towards making a living heart valve

Qatar University researchers have made advancement in creating living heart valves that can grow after implantation in the human heart. The bioengineering cardiac valves were developed using a mix of nanotechnology, 3D printing, and tissue engineering. The valves shall be inserted into the body where they continue to grow until the valve is fully integrated with the native tissues of the patient. The process showed that the tissue-engineered heart valves imitate the functions of natural heart valves, effectively opening and closing at speeds and pressures close to those available commercially. The researchers plan to test the valves in living animals under different conditions to determine whether they are safe for humans to examine.

Reference Link: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-01-bioengineering-heart-valves.html

Molecular memory in plants

Plants utilize a set of precise sensory systems to screen the significant factors, for improving the growth, improvement, metabolism, morphogenesis, and behavior in their environment. Plants acquire remarkable capabilities to utilize chemical occurrences to defend themselves against predators and notify the neighboring plants of the danger.

Do plants have a memory?

Plants do not have a brain or nervous system as humans do but acquire a “molecular” memory. Molecular memory is the elaborate mechanisms enabling plants to respond to environmental changes. The responses of the plant are regulated at a molecular level by alternations in gene expression. All memory functions have a molecular basis, like in signal reception and transduction, and in the storage of information.

In what way, the memory works?

Experiences on certain environmental events can be stored in the form of chemical molecules. The transformation in the chemical nature of a cell includes the change in protein content, the supplementation of the primary as well as secondary metabolic products, or the medication of enzyme activity in the plant cell. The plant immune memory shapes immunological memory similar to competent immunity as in mammals. All of these processes can be used to store experiences in organisms without a nervous system.

Role of epigenetic mechanism

Plants are unable to move freely, so try to get control of environmental stresses by timing their physiological processes. For this reason, epigenetics comes to play. The role of epigenetic regulation responses to environmental stimuli, particularly in response to stresses. Hence, plants have advanced epigenetic machinery that controls their flowering scheduling.

Vernalization

Vernalizationassistancesthe plants regulate the correct time to bloom flowers. Researchers have established that some plants can recall the experiences they had of drought and dehydration, cold and heat, excess light, acidic soil, exposure to short-wave radiation, and simulation of insects eating their leaves. If they face with similar situations again, the plants adapt themselves accordingly. They may keep extra water, become more sensitive to light, or develop their acceptance to salt or cold. Sometimes, these memories are even handed over to the next generation by spreading information in form of chemicals or electric charges through the air or from their roots.

“Root-brain” hypothesis

The knowledge that plants display intricate and flexible behavior that involves intellectual procedures is not firsthand. Actually, scientist Charles Darwin had recognized the intellectual sensitivity of plants when he suggested the “root-brain” hypothesis that the tip of plant roots acts like the brain of some. The recent studies verify the earlier Darwinian insights and demonstrate that most of the behavior of plants are adaptive, thus confirming their existence.

Evidently, plants do not have a nervous system like animals; therefore, the ways of response to all the environmental changes are unlike from other animals. However, plants are confronted with similar types of tasks as per animals and have progressed methods to understand the situation in order to resolve it.

Selecting the right journal for publication

Authors need to optimize between many criterions before reaching a conclusion to publish a paper. You need to follow few tips to select the best journal for publication. Firstly, make a list of the journals available. Subsequently check the impact of the journal, confirm the requirement of journal, and verify the journals’ peer-review process. Following the above points in mind you can proceed to choose the best probable journal for your publication.

Reference Link: https://blog.typeset.io/choose-right-journal-early-stage-researchers-guide-ea2cf236dde4

A novel approach of gene therapy

Exosomes to amend disease processes: Researchers have established a novel gene therapy method by converting human cells into bulk creators of mini-sized nano-particles poised of hereditary material that has the capability to alter disease progressions. The technique uses exosomes; that are bio-friendly transporters of beneficial ingredients that make a way for cells to connect with other cells. This technique depends on patented skill that stimulates contributed adult stem cells to produce millions of exosomes that work as nanocarriers comprising a drug. When these exosomes are inserted into the blood, they are well aware of where to target, even though it is the brain. These exosomes collected from adult human cells, functions as nano-carriers containing a drug.

Application of tissue Nano transfection : In 2017, James Lee, professor emeritus and colleagues at the Ohio State University made impressions with news broadcast of tissue nano transfection (TNT); a regenerative medicine discovery. This technique is based on a nanotechnology-based piece to transport biological load straight into the skin, and changes adult cells into the desired cells. This was also adapted by Zhaogang Yang, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, termed cellular nanoporation.

The reason exosomes are designated to avert diseases: In in-vitro conditions, the artificial DNA force-fed to giver cells is imitated into a different fragment containing messenger RNA that holds the commands required to yield a definite protein. Every exosome foam comprising messenger RNA is converted into a nanoparticle prepared for transference, with no blood-brain barrier to worry about. Lee said, “We don’t want the exosomes to go to the wrong place. They’re programmed not only to kill cancer cells but to know where to go to find the cancer cells. You don’t want to kill the good guys.”

Light of Hope in the therapy: The best part for this is that they exosomes do pass the blood-brain barrier; maximum drugs can’t. An additional benefit that it occurs is zero toxicity; they do not induce an immune response. This drug-delivery method has the potential for the imminent uses in neurological ailments such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Expectantly, someday this can probably be used to treat the deadly diseases.

Combining neurologic and blood pressure drugs reduce breast tumor development in mice

According to a new study combining drugs used to treat bipolar disorder and migraines to a blood pressure medicine reversed some aspects of breast cancer in the offspring of mice at high risk of the disease because of the high-fat diet fed to their mothers during pregnancy. Valproic acid was the main drug in the study protocol, which inhibits histone deacetylase (HDAC), an essential gene epigenetic silencer. The research finding indicates how impactful the addition or subtraction from DNA of an epigenetic methyl group can be along with the diet which plays a major role in cancer risk patients.

Reference link: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-12-combining-neurologic-blood-pressure-drugs.html

A professional guide to research paper writing

Research is not only about investigating, proving a theory, or discovering scientific novelties; it is also about sharing these findings and discoveries with fellow researchers and other interested parties. To achieve this, researchers must write and publish the implications of their research findings.

Writing a research paper requires a completely different skillset from writing an essay or drafting an email to your professor and friend. Hence, it is a good idea for every researcher to keep learning how to improve research writing. Moreover, even native English speakers struggle to write a standard research paper.

From the researcher’s point of view, there are five standard steps that need to be considered for writing a quality research paper in order to achieve research funding, publication in a renowned journal, university credit or other professional goals. They are:

  1. Choosing a topic
  2. Understanding the topic and creating a list of relevant research topics
  3. Preparing an outline
  4. Preparing the first draft
  5. Proofreading and finalizing the draft

  1. Choosing a topic

Selecting a topic is the first step of writing the paper. Notably,a good and relevant topic must be selected with a narrow and interesting focus area, and yet wide enough to find sufficient data.

  1. Understanding the topic and creating a list of relevant research topics

To understand a topic, a list of keywords must be created. Keywords can be located in search engines (Google Scholar) or databases (PubMed, SCOPUS, Elsevier, etc.) and background information may be found in thesis libraries or eBooks. After creating the keywords list, relevant research and review papers can be searched in the article databases. The most relevant articles must be selected and sorted as the references, which will help in the writing process.

  1. Preparing an outline

Once the list of relevant articles is created, it is important to note down all the information or ideas that must have come to mind while going through the articles. Moreover, while conducting the research,tons of great ideas also must have appeared. Now it should be organized as an impressive presentation. This is a vital step for making a paper more focused and this will further help you revise the draft later.

Key points must be noted down to support the research statement. These key points can be used as subheadings for the body of the paper. Make sure you include only the relevant information that fit under your sub-headings and directly support your research implications.

  1. Preparing the first draft

The next step is to organize the information collected. A rough draft must be prepared where the ideas are written in an unfinished form. This step helps organize ideas and determines the final format of the paper. The draft must be revised as many times as possible to create a final product. The final document thus created is the first draft of the research paper. The next step requires citation of the sources (references). Citing the sources provides proper credit to the authors of the papers referred by you. As per the general guidelines of the most reputed journals, MLA and the APA styles are the most recommended citation formats.

  1. Proofreading and finalizing the draft

To prepare the final draft of the paper, the output, scientific knowledge, flow, and transitions must be checked. The paper can be revised by adding useful knowledge that might have been skipped or by rewriting and rearranging certain paragraphs for greater clarity. The ideas must be completely developed and all relevant references must be cited. After the revision of the paper, the next step is to edit the content to check and eliminate filler words and phrases and improve the overall word selection. The paper must also be proofread for errors in punctuation and grammar.

Finally, the paper should be sent to a friend or professor to go through and give their inputs.

The first U.S. adult heart transplant after circulatory death

Doctors at Duke University Hospital in America have performed the country’s first-ever adult heart transplant through a process called donation after circulatory death (DCD). Traditionally, heart transplants rely on donations after brain death while the rest of their body continues to function, to perform the procedure. On the contrary, the approach used at Duke relies on hearts that have stopped beating and are essentially revived using a machine called the TransMedics Organ Care System. According to the surgeons involved, the process could expand the heart transplant donor pool by as much as 30%.

Reference Link: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-12-donation-circulatory-death-heart-transplant.html

Selecting the Right Journal for Your Manuscript

You have completed your research, collected your data and information, and written your paper, but what’s next?

Publications are the primary metric for your success as a researcher. Ergo, a researcher’s ultimate aim is to publish his work in a high-impact and peer-reviewed scholarly journal. One major impediment in that process is improper journal selection or submission to a wrong journal. To avoid that mistake, you need to consider some key factors.

Peer-Reviewed Journals vs. Predatory Journals

Journals with a peer-review approach have eminent subject experts on their editorial board who review and evaluate the submitted articles prior to acceptance for publication. Peer reviewers reject unscientific or poor-quality research articles by maintaining the integrity of a scholarly publisher.

On the contrary, predatory journals do not manage an honest and suitable peer-review approach. Most papers published in such journals are not only unscientific but raw, unformatted, and often half-cooked.

Hence, it is recommended to examine the nature of the journal you are targeting for your paper and stay away from predatory journals. This can be ascertained by checking the status of the journal or publisher in Jeffrey Beall’s list.

Scope of the Journal

You must verify the scope of the target journal. Even a remarkable, novel research work is likely to face rejection if the research topic doesn’t align with the scope of the journal. Hence, you must take some time to study the aim and scope of the journal, which are easily available on the journal’s website.

Journal Indexing

The quality of any journal is assessed based on the number of abstracting and indexing services that include that journal. Popular and reputed databases (SCOPUS, MEDLINE, SCI, etc.) that index the journals take several factors into consideration, such as the regularity (issue release frequency), type of review process (peer-reviewed or not), and reputation of the journal.

You can confirm whether your target journal is indexed in a database by visiting the following sites:

For SCOPUS: https://www.scopus.com/sources.uri

For MEDLINE: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/nlmcatalog

For SCI: https://mjl.clarivate.com/search-results

Journal Impact Factor

Impact factor (IF) of a journal is an indicator of the significance of a journal in its category (field). Though the journal impact factor is not associated with factors like quality of the peer review process and quality of the journal’s content, it is a significant benchmark to convey the average number of citations received by the articles published in the journal in a particular time period. IF can be calculated after completing at least three years of publication; that explains why IF cannot be calculated for new journals.

As the author, you must evaluate the potential of your paper with an unbiased approach before targeting a high impact factor journal. Submitting the paper to a high impact factor journal carries a higher risk of rejection. In the process, you also stand to lose valuable time and would need to reformat the paper for resubmission to a different journal. Hence, for new authors, it is recommended to adopt a balanced and realistic approach while choosing the best journal.

New software tool uses AI to identify cancer cells

A team of researchers from UT Southwestern has developed a software that employs Artificial Intelligence to recognize cancer cells from digital pathology images. The software named as ConvPath, identify cells based on their appearance in the pathology images using an AI algorithm that learns from human pathologists. The algorithm effectively converts a pathology image into a “map” that displays the three-dimensional distributions and interactions of tumor cells, stromal cells, and lymphocytes in tumor tissue. The researchers believe that such information can help doctors customize treatment plans and pinpoint the right immunotherapy.

Reference Linkhttps://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-12-software-tool-ai-doctors-cancer.html

Protein level in blood can predict a person’s age

A team of researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine has developed a new method for estimating a person’s age using the proteins circulating in the blood. The scientists refer to it as the’ proteomic clock’ that relies on protein levels that rise and fall in the lifetime of a person. The scientists conclude that such changes in the levels of various proteins may not only characterize the aging process, but may also possibly cause it. They developed the clock by looking at composite levels of proteins within groups of people rather than doing so individually. The study proved capable of predicting people’s ages within a range of three years.

Reference Link: https://www.futurity.org/aging-protein-levels-blood-2226992/