Riviste scientifiche

First fully approved ‘off the shelf’ stem cells launch in Japan

New Scientist - %age fa
The long anticipated age of the stem cell is upon us. Temcell prevents organ transplants attacking their hosts but will be followed by therapies for more common problems









‘Dark sunshine’ could illuminate the search for dark matter

New Scientist - %age fa
If there’s dark matter hiding in our sun, it could be giving off dark photons. The best part is we already have a detector in space that could spot them









Effect of Short-Term Supplementation with Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food or Micronutrients for Children after Illness for Prevention of Malnutrition: A Randomised Controlled Trial in Nigeria

PLoS Medicine - Ma, 09/02/2016 - 23:00

by Saskia van der Kam, Nuria Salse-Ubach, Stephanie Roll, Todd Swarthout, Sayaka Gayton-Toyoshima, Nma Mohammed Jiya, Akiko Matsumoto, Leslie Shanks

Background

Globally, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) treats more than 300,000 severely malnourished children annually. Malnutrition is not only caused by lack of food and poor infant and child feeding practices but also by illnesses. Breaking the vicious cycle of illness and malnutrition by providing ill children with nutritional supplementation is a potentially powerful strategy for preventing malnutrition that has not been adequately investigated. Therefore, MSF investigated whether incidence of malnutrition among ill children <5 y old could be reduced by providing a fortified food product or micronutrients during their 2-wk convalescence period. Two trials, one in Nigeria and one in Uganda, were conducted; here we report on the trial that took place in Goronyo, a rural region of northwest Nigeria with high morbidity and malnutrition rates.

Methods and Findings

We investigated the effect of supplementation with ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) and a micronutrient powder (MNP) on the incidence of malnutrition in ill children presenting at an outpatient clinic in Goronyo during February to September 2012. A three-armed, partially-blinded, randomised controlled trial was conducted in children diagnosed as having malaria, diarrhoea, or lower respiratory tract infection. Children aged 6 to 59 mo were randomised to one of three arms: one sachet/d of RUTF; two sachets/d of micronutrients or no supplement (control) for 14 d for each illness over 6 mo. The primary outcome was the incidence of first negative nutritional outcome (NNO) during the 6 mo follow-up. NNO was a study-specific measure used to indicate occurrence of malnutrition; it was defined as low weight-for-height z-score (<−2 for non-malnourished and <−3 for moderately malnourished children), mid-upper arm circumference <115 mm, or oedema, whichever came first.Of the 2,213 randomised participants, 50.0% were female and the mean age was 20.2 (standard deviation 11.2) months; 160 (7.2%) were lost to follow-up, 54 (2.4%) were admitted to hospital, and 29 (1.3%) died. The incidence rates of NNO for the RUTF, MNP, and control groups were 0.522 (95% confidence interval (95% CI), 0.442–0.617), 0.495 (0.415–0.589), and 0.566 (0.479–0.668) first events/y, respectively. The incidence rate ratio was 0.92 (95% CI, 0.74–1.15; p = 0.471) for RUTF versus control; 0.87 (0.70–1.10; p = 0.242) for MNP versus control and 1.06 (0.84–1.33, p = 0.642) for RUTF versus MNP. A subgroup analysis showed no interaction nor confounding, nor a different effectiveness of supplementation, among children who were moderately malnourished compared with non-malnourished at enrollment. The average number of study illnesses for the RUTF, MNP, and control groups were 4.2 (95% CI, 4.0–4.3), 3.4 (3.2–3.6), and 3.6 (3.4–3.7). The proportion of children who died in the RUTF, MNP, and control groups were 0.8% (95% CI, 0.3–1.8), 1.8% (1.0–3.3), and 1.4% (0.7–2.8).

Conclusions

A 2-wk supplementation with RUTF or MNP to ill children as part of routine primary medical care did not reduce the incidence of malnutrition. The lack of effect in Goronyo may be due to a high frequency of morbidity, which probably further affects a child’s nutritional status and children’s ability to escape from the illness–malnutrition cycle. The duration of the supplementation may have been too short or the doses of the supplements may have been too low to mitigate the effects of high morbidity and pre-existing malnutrition. An integrated approach combining prevention and treatment of diseases and treatment of moderate malnutrition, rather than prevention of malnutrition by nutritional supplementation alone, might be more effective in reducing the incidence of acute malnutrition in ill children.

Trial Registration

clinicaltrials.gov NCT01154803

Effect of Short-Term Supplementation with Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food or Micronutrients for Children after Illness for Prevention of Malnutrition: A Randomised Controlled Trial in Uganda

PLoS Medicine - Ma, 09/02/2016 - 23:00

by Saskia van der Kam, Stephanie Roll, Todd Swarthout, Grace Edyegu-Otelu, Akiko Matsumoto, Francis Xavier Kasujja, Cristian Casademont, Leslie Shanks, Nuria Salse-Ubach

Background

Globally, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) treats more than 300,000 severely malnourished children annually. Malnutrition is not only caused by lack of food but also by illnesses and by poor infant and child feeding practices. Breaking the vicious cycle of illness and malnutrition by providing ill children with nutritional supplementation is a potentially powerful strategy for preventing malnutrition that has not been adequately investigated. Therefore, MSF investigated whether incidence of malnutrition among ill children <5 y old could be reduced by providing a fortified food product or micronutrients during their 2-wk convalescence period. Two trials, one in Nigeria and one in Uganda, were conducted; here, we report on the trial that took place in Kaabong, a poor agropastoral region of Karamoja, in east Uganda. While the region of Karamoja shows an acute malnutrition rate between 8.4% and 11.5% of which 2% to 3% severe malnutrition, more than half (58%) of the population in the district of Kaabong is considered food insecure.

Methods and Findings

We investigated the effect of two types of nutritional supplementation on the incidence of malnutrition in ill children presenting at outpatient clinics during March 2011 to April 2012 in Kaabong, Karamoja region, Uganda, a resource-poor region where malnutrition is a chronic problem for its seminomadic population. A three-armed, partially-blinded, randomised controlled trial was conducted in children diagnosed with malaria, diarrhoea, or lower respiratory tract infection. Non-malnourished children aged 6 to 59 mo were randomised to one of three arms: one sachet/d of ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF), two sachets/d of micronutrient powder (MNP), or no supplement (control) for 14 d for each illness over 6 mo. The primary outcome was the incidence of first negative nutritional outcome (NNO) during the 6 mo follow-up. NNO was a study-specific measure used to indicate progression to moderate or severe acute malnutrition; it was defined as weight-for-height z-score <−2, mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) <115 mm, or oedema, whichever came first.Of the 2,202 randomised participants, 51.2% were girls, and the mean age was 25.2 (±13.8) mo; 148 (6.7%) participants were lost to follow-up, 9 (0.4%) died, and 14 (0.6%) were admitted to hospital. The incidence rates of NNO (first event/year) for the RUTF, MNP, and control groups were 0.143 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.107–0.191), 0.185 (0.141–0.239), and 0.213 (0.167–0.272), respectively. The incidence rate ratio was 0.67 (95% CI, 0.46–0.98; p = 0.037) for RUTF versus control; a reduction of 33.3%. The incidence rate ratio was 0.86 (0.61–1.23; p = 0.413) for MNP versus control and 0.77 for RUTF versus MNP (95% CI 0.52–1.15; p = 0.200). The average numbers of study illnesses for the RUTF, MNP, and control groups were 2.3 (95% CI, 2.2–2.4), 2.1 (2.0–2.3), and 2.3 (2.2–2.5). The proportions of children who died in the RUTF, MNP, and control groups were 0%, 0.8%, and 0.4%.The findings apply to ill but not malnourished children and cannot be generalised to a general population including children who are not necessarily ill or who are already malnourished.

Conclusions

A 2-wk nutrition supplementation programme with RUTF as part of routine primary medical care to non-malnourished children with malaria, LRTI, or diarrhoea proved effective in preventing malnutrition in eastern Uganda. The low incidence of malnutrition in this population may warrant a more targeted intervention to improve cost effectiveness.

Trial Registration

clinicaltrials.gov NCT01497236

Surge in obesity and diabetes could be linked to food additives

New Scientist - Ma, 09/02/2016 - 18:30
Volunteers are being enrolled in the first human trial to investigate if emulsifiers in processed foods really do inflame the gut and cause metabolic disorders









Iberian lynx beats extinction as cats are released to the wild

New Scientist - Ma, 09/02/2016 - 18:18
A reintroduction programme is boosting one of the world's most endangered cat species. Campaigners also hope to return its cousin, the Eurasian lynx, to the UK









Planets with too much carbon dioxide could lose oceans to space

New Scientist - Ma, 09/02/2016 - 17:00
Adding vast amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere could heat a planet to the point where it leaks so much water that its oceans eventually disappear









Mind-reading tech helps beginners quickly learn to play Bach

New Scientist - Ma, 09/02/2016 - 16:35
A system involving brain sensors allowed a group of beginners to quickly learn to play a piano piece by Bach, and the tech could speed up other kinds of learning









People today are still dying early from high 1970s air pollution

New Scientist - Ma, 09/02/2016 - 01:05
Exposure to UK urban pollution 40 years ago is raising death rates today as a result of bronchitis, emphysema and pneumonia









Your brain activity for memory tasks changes with the seasons

New Scientist - Lu, 08/02/2016 - 21:00
It's well known that for some people, mood is tied to the time of year. Now it seems something similar happens for other cognitive functions









Sleep deprivation linked to false confession in milestone study

New Scientist - Lu, 08/02/2016 - 21:00
The first study to show lack of sleep can lead to false confessions could be used in court to prevent miscarriages of justice, predict legal experts









Latest rumour of gravitational waves is probably true this time

New Scientist - Lu, 08/02/2016 - 19:34
Has the LIGO experiment seen gravitational waves? New Scientist has probed public observation logs, and here is our exclusive look at where they might be









125-year mini ice age linked to the plague and fall of empires

New Scientist - Lu, 08/02/2016 - 17:00
The Game of Thrones-like cold spell that started in AD 536 went on much longer than thought, and may help explain historical events in Europe and Asia









Inside the cloning factory that creates 500 new animals a day

New Scientist - Lu, 08/02/2016 - 16:47
A controversial Korean lab led by Woosuk Hwang is moving from cloning pets to endangered animals. But will cloning help or hurt these species?









3D-printed display lets blind people explore images by touch

New Scientist - Lu, 08/02/2016 - 15:40
A new kind of display called Linespace 3D-prints images in near real time, allowing blind people to examine them by touch









Homebrew biology kit brings synthetic biology to the masses

New Scientist - Lu, 08/02/2016 - 13:54
A desktop bioreactor that lets you hack DNA to create glow-in-the-dark paint, and soon bread and beer, hits the market









Invasive raccoon dogs harbour parasites that can infect people

New Scientist - Lu, 08/02/2016 - 11:40
Raccoon dogs are making inroads into Europe's wilderness, where they affect native wildlife and harbour potentially lethal parasites









[Editorial] Screening for perinatal depression: a missed opportunity

The Lancet - Sa, 06/02/2016 - 00:00
All pregnant and post-partum women should be routinely screened for depression, according to a new statement from the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). This controversial recommendation is part of the USPSTF's updated 2016 guidance recommending routine screening for depression in adults, published on Jan 26, which for the first time has been expanded to include information related to pregnant and post-partum women. The task force's proposals were widely welcomed by the mainstream media—but given the limited evidence in this area, are such bold recommendations warranted?

[Editorial] Ending the death penalty for juveniles

The Lancet - Sa, 06/02/2016 - 00:00
Last week, Amnesty International published a distressing report on the death penalty for juvenile offenders in Iran. 73 such executions have been recorded in 2005–15, mostly for murder, rape, drug-related offences, and “enmity against God”, a vaguely defined offence related to national security. Most individuals have spent, on average, 7 years on death row, after often superficial trials that relied on “confessions” extracted through threats, torture, and abuse. Many died without being informed of the right to seek retrial.
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