Here you can read the latest research and clinical trials news

Here at the British Research Panel, we try to keep you updated with the latest breakthroughs and news within the world of research. Below, we bring a selection of articles regarding recent developments.

Could Prostate Drugs Reduce Parkinson’s Disease Risk?

New study suggests that repurposing glycolysis-enhancing drugs such as terazosin, which is typically used to treat an enlarged prostate, may reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease in men.

A 2019 study about people with Parkinson’s disease taking the terazosin drug, found that it delayed the development of the disease and reduced complications.

Investigations in the US and Denmark between 1996 and 2017 found that people who took glycolysis-enhancing drugs had a 12% lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease in the Danish cohort and a 37% lower risk in the US cohort, compared with people who took tamsulosin.

Read the full article here:

COVID’s Mental-Health Toll

Researchers are using huge data sets to link changes in mental health and a surge in depression to coronavirus response measures.

More than 42% of surveyed adults in the US reported symptoms of anxiety and depression in December 2020, compared to 11% the previous year. Furthermore, in the UK only 10% of adults reported symptoms of depression between July 2019 and March 2020. This increased to 19% by June 2020.

The distress in the pandemic stems from limited social interactions. It is noticeable that younger people are more vulnerable to psychological distress, possibly because their need for social interactions is stronger.

Read more here:

What Have We Learnt from the World’s Largest Nutrition Study?

The NutriNet-Santé study is an ongoing investigation into the relationship between nutrition and health that began in 2009 and is currently collecting data from over 171,000 people.

Findings include:

  • A 10% increase in the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet is associated with a significant increase of greater than 10% in risks of overall and breast cancer
  • Association found between higher concentration of organic food and lower risk of breast cancer, lymphoma, obesity and metabolic syndrome

Want to read more about the NutriNet-Santé study and its findings? Click here:

Preventing Obesity Earlier in Life May Reduce Alzheimer’s Damage

A recent study showed that people with mild Alzheimer’s Disease who maintained a healthy body weight retained some of the brain structures that typically degrade during the disease such as grey matter, white matter integrity and blood flow.

It also suggested that having obesity during a cognitively healthy state may lead to negative consequences by worsening the cognitive decline that can occur later in life.

Want to read more about how a healthy body weight is beneficial, click the link below:

Link Between Nutrition and Mental Health

Mediterranean diet associated with 32% reduced risk of depression.

Another review of 21 studies from 10 countries also suggested a healthy diet characterized by high intakes of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, antioxidants and low intakes of animal foods was associated with reduced risk of depression.

Meanwhile a Western diet consisting of high intakes of processed meats and refined sugars was linked with a significantly increased risk of depression.

Nutritional psychiatry is an emerging area of research specifically looking at the role of nutrition in the development and treatment of mental health problems. Interested in reading more? Click on the link below:

Paralyzed Mice Walk Again After Cytokine Treatment

Researchers used a “designer cytokine” to regenerate injured nerves in the spinal cords of mice with paraplegia. The treatment restored the ability to walk after only 2–3 weeks.

The German researchers delivered a designer version of IL-6 cytokine using a genetically engineered virus to motor neurons in the outer region of the brain. The protein was the distributed via axions to more distant, inaccessible parts of the central nervous system that are essential for movement, where it triggers regeneration.

Paralyzed animals that received a single injection of the virus began to walk again after 2–3 weeks.

Read more here:

Coffee consumptions associated with lower risk of prostate cancer

Researchers analysed 16 studies with over 1 million men to find an association between increased coffee consumption and decreased risk of prostate cancer.

The results suggested that the highest category of coffee consumption was associated with a 9% decrease in the risk of prostate cancer when compared with the lowest category. Furthermore, each single cup of coffee was associated with a 1% decrease in prostate cancer risk.

Approximately one in eight men will receive a prostate cancer diagnosis and it is also the second leading cause of death in the US.

Read the full article here:

New UK Variant May Be Deadlier

“The new variant may be associated with a higher degree of mortality”, announced Boris Johnson at a Downing Street news conference. Scientists have also suggested that the new variant could increase the risk of death by 30%.

Britain continues to roll out the vaccines and they are on track to achieve Johnson’s goal of 15 million vulnerable people vaccinated by mid-February.

Despite the hope brought about by the vaccinations, Johnson states, “We really can’t begin considering unlocking until we’re confident the vaccination program is working”.

Read more here:

What Does Brexit Mean for Science?

A last-minute deal between the United Kingdom and the European Union was reached on 24th December after more than 4 years of uncertainty.

The deal has enabled UK researchers to participate in Europe’s €85-billion research programme, Horizon Europe. The UK will also become an associate member of the Euratom nuclear research programme, as well as remaining part of the Copernicus Earth-observation satellite programme.

Furthermore, tariffs should be avoided on laboratory supplies and the UK and EU have agreed to recognise each other’s quality standards and inspections of medicines. This will mean that extra safety checks won’t be needed when transporting drugs across borders with the hope of reducing delays in the transport process.

To learn more about how Brexit will impact science and research in the UK, click on the link below.

Existing drugs may cut off ‘fuel supply’ to an aggressive brain cancer

New research in cell cultures has found that mitochondrial brain cancer may respond to treatment with mitochondria inhibiting drugs.

Mitochondrial brain cancer is a type of glioblastoma that relies on overactive mitochondria to grow. Researchers found that up to 20% of glioblastomas have overactive mitochondria and that their cells are relying on them for all their energy. They also found that mitochondria-inhibiting drugs had a powerful antitumor effect in cultures of the cells growing in the laboratory.

Further research showed that the drugs are also effective against this type of glioblastoma in mice. This promising class of drugs is now undergoing clinical trials in people with a rare genetic condition that sends their mitochondria into overdrive.

Read more here.

Specific Gut Bacteria Provide Hope in Treating Type 2 Diabetes

Study reveals potential probiotic strains for treatment of type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Researchers fed mice either a regular diet, or a diet high in saturated fats and refined sugars, equivalent to a Western diet. The mice receiving the Western diet developed glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, contributing to type 2 diabetes.

The mice on the Western diet then received diets containing different strains of Lactobacillus found in fermented foods and dairy foods. They experienced improved glucose tolerance, reduced body fat and improved mitochondrial health in the liver.

Read the full article here:

Could Ginger Ease Lupus Symptoms?

A recent study on rodents suggests that ginger may help treat people with lupus and those vulnerable to forming dangerous blood clots.

Researchers investigated the main bioactive compound of ginger, 6-gingerol. The compound prevented the release of neutrophil extracellular traps, NETs, which drive lupus and boost the formation of blood clots.

The anti-inflammatory activity of 6-gingerol, reduced autoantibodies, providing hope that this ginger compound can break the cycle of inflammation caused by lupus, and potentially work as a treatment.

Read the full article here:

How the Thalidomide Scandal Led to Safer Drugs

Between 1957 and 1962, more than 10,000 babies were born with physical abnormalities caused by the drug thalidomide. The drug altered human embryo development, led to the death of approximately half of the babies affected and increased pregnancy loss.

Since then, the UK has created the 1968 Medicines Act, improving regulation of prescription medicines. The Yellow Card system was also introduced, allowing doctors to report previously unknown side effects, as well as mandating that companies provide evidence that a new drug is safe for pregnant women, before marketing it to them.

Read more below about how drug companies have since then improved their safety measures.

Britain Takes a Gamble with Covid-19 Vaccines

After a stronger variant of the coronavirus emerged in the UK, the country’s plans were to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible.

The British have now announced that they will stretch out the interval between administration of the two doses from 3 to 4 weeks to potentially 3 months. They will also permit the first and second dose for one person to be from different vaccine manufacturers, if the matching vaccine is unavailable.

Virologist, Bieniasz, fears that this approach could be fostering vaccine-resistant forms of the virus.

Interested in reading more? Click on the link below.

Studies Suggest that Gut Microbiota can Influence Mood and Mental Health

Researchers submitted genetically identical mice to unpredictable, chronic, mild stress (UCMS), causing them to experience depression. Samples of their gut microbiota were transplanted into healthy mice. These healthy mice then developed depression like symptoms and had a reduced number of new brain stem cells and neurons in their hippocampus.

These findings suggest that certain bacteria could act as a natural antidepressant and influence brain function by restoring microbial health.

For the full story, click below!

Oxford-AstraZeneca Vaccine Administered to First People in UK Since Approval

Brian Pinker, 82 was the first person to receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on the morning of the 4th of January. Being a patient at Churchill hospital, on dialysis for kidney disease, he said that he is now looking forward to being able to spend his anniversary with his wife Shirley in February.

53,000 doses have been initially rolled out and the government hopes to deliver tens of millions of doses within weeks.

Want to read more? Click below.