Riviste scientifiche

The perfectionism trap: How to avoid burn out, anxiety and stress

New Scientist - Me, 14/08/2019 - 07:00
We investigate the growing epidemic of perfectionism, a misunderstood personality trait with serious implications for mental and physical health

Lack of sleep is more of a problem for teen girls than social media

New Scientist - Me, 14/08/2019 - 00:30
Parents shouldn’t worry about how much time teens are spending on social media as long as they are getting plenty of sleep and exercise and aren’t being bullied

A novel nutritional supplement to reduce plasma homocysteine in nonpregnant women: A randomised controlled trial in The Gambia

PLoS Medicine - Ma, 13/08/2019 - 23:00

by Philip T. James, Ousubie Jawla, Nuredin I. Mohammed, Kabiru Ceesay, Fatai M. Akemokwe, Bakary Sonko, Ebrima A. Sise, Andrew M. Prentice, Matt J. Silver


Infant DNA methylation profiles are associated with their mother’s periconceptional nutritional status. DNA methylation relies on nutritional inputs for one-carbon metabolic pathways, including the efficient recycling of homocysteine. This randomised controlled trial in nonpregnant women in rural Gambia tests the efficacy of a novel nutritional supplement designed to improve one-carbon-related nutrient status by reducing plasma homocysteine, and assesses its potential future use in preconception trials.

Methods and findings

We designed a novel drink powder based on determinants of plasma homocysteine in the target population and tested it in a three-arm, randomised, controlled trial. Nonpregnant women aged between 18 and 45 from the West Kiang region of The Gambia were randomised in a 1:1:1 allocation to 12 weeks daily supplementation of either (a) a novel drink powder (4 g betaine, 800 μg folic acid, 5.2 μg vitamin B12, and 2.8 mg vitamin B2), (b) a widely used multiple micronutrient tablet (United Nations Multiple Micronutrient Preparation [UNIMMAP]) containing 15 micronutrients, or (c) no intervention. The trial was conducted between March and July 2018. Supplementation was observed daily. Fasted venepuncture samples were collected at baseline, midline (week 5), and endline (week 12) to measure plasma homocysteine. We used linear regression models to determine the difference in homocysteine between pairs of trial arms at midline and endline, adjusted for baseline homocysteine, age, and body mass index (BMI). Blood pressure and pulse were measured as secondary outcomes. Two hundred and ninety-eight eligible women were enrolled and randomised. Compliance was >97.8% for both interventions. At endline (our primary endpoint), the drink powder and UNIMMAP reduced mean plasma homocysteine by 23.6% (−29.5 to −17.1) and 15.5% (−21.2 to −9.4), respectively (both p < 0.001), compared with the controls. Compared with UNIMMAP, the drink powder reduced mean homocysteine by 8.8% (−15.8 to −1.2; p = 0.025). The effects were stronger at midline. There was no effect of either intervention on blood pressure or pulse compared with the control at endline. Self-reported adverse events (AEs) were similar in both intervention arms. There were two serious AEs reported over the trial duration, both in the drink powder arm, but judged to be unrelated to the intervention. Limitations of the study include the use of a single targeted metabolic outcome, homocysteine.


The trial confirms that dietary supplements can influence metabolic pathways that we have shown in previous studies to predict offspring DNA methylation. Both supplements reduced homocysteine effectively and remain potential candidates for future epigenetic trials in pregnancy in rural Gambia.

Trial registration

Clinicaltrials.gov Reference NCT03431597.

Sperm sorting method could prevent girls being born, scientists warn

New Scientist - Ma, 13/08/2019 - 20:00
A new way of sorting sperm could lead to products that couples could use at home to make them less likely to conceive a girl, scientists have warned

Graphene inventor Andre Geim: No-deal Brexit would destroy UK science

New Scientist - Ma, 13/08/2019 - 15:54
Fanatics who want no-deal Brexit and remainers who refuse to compromise are risking science and the UK’s future in the process, says Nobel prizewinning physicist Andre Geim

We could put enough wind turbines on European land to power the world

New Scientist - Ma, 13/08/2019 - 14:53
An analysis has found there is enough land in Europe to host 11.6 million wind turbines, with a capacity three times that of estimates made a decade ago

Ebola breakthrough: two drugs could treat up to 90 per cent of cases

New Scientist - Ma, 13/08/2019 - 13:02
A drug trial has found two experimental drugs for Ebola to be so effective that scientists have stopped the trial early so that more people can receive these drugs

Chlamydia vaccine shown to be safe in first ever human trial

New Scientist - Ma, 13/08/2019 - 00:30
First ever clinical trial of chlamydia vaccine shows the drug is safe for women and triggers an immune response against the bacteria that causes the infection

No sign radiation from a missile explosion has spread beyond Russia

New Scientist - Lu, 12/08/2019 - 18:49
An explosion at a Russian missile testing range led to local spikes in radiation, but it doesn’t seem to have spread to Europe as it did during the Chernobyl incident

Google's hate speech-detecting AI appears to be racially biased

New Scientist - Lu, 12/08/2019 - 13:13
AIs that spot abusive online content are up to twice as likely to identify tweets as offensive when by people who identify as African American

Hackers could use Wi-Fi to install ransomware on DSLR cameras

New Scientist - Do, 11/08/2019 - 20:00
Digital cameras with built-in Wi-Fi let people quickly send images to other devices. But a vulnerability in the process could leave people’s cameras exposed

A company has used trees to find gold deep underground in Australia

New Scientist - Do, 11/08/2019 - 09:00
A technique that uses trees to spot minerals in the ground has had one of its first major successes, after a company struck gold in South Australia

Ibuprofen and other common drugs may help antibiotic resistance spread

New Scientist - Do, 11/08/2019 - 08:00
We’ve long known that bacteria can evolve resistance to antibiotics but now it looks like other drugs, including ibuprofen, may help this resistance spread

I tried to eat myself smarter at a brain-boosting supper club

New Scientist - Sa, 10/08/2019 - 08:00
Nutrients like omega-3 are claimed to support healthy brain function, but there is little good evidence that they really improve cognition

[Editorial] Improving occupational health in China

The Lancet - Sa, 10/08/2019 - 00:00
China has the largest working population in the world—about 776 million in 2018, and most workers spend half their lives working. The Chinese Government prioritised occupational health in the action plan of Healthy China 2030 as one of its 15 major health projects. Last week, the National Health Commission (NHC) announced the latest official data on the country's occupational health status and unveiled China's strategy to address the challenges in occupational health. More than 975 000 cases of occupational illness occurred in 2018, and 90% of reported occupational diseases were pneumoconiosis.

[Editorial] A call for paediatricians to tackle racism

The Lancet - Sa, 10/08/2019 - 00:00
A very important first policy document, released by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on July 29, addresses one of the most neglected social determinants of child and adolescent health—racism. Although some progress has been made to recognise racial inequities, the potential for paediatricians and child health workers to disrupt lifelong and intergenerational disadvantages detrimental to health and development has so far not been realised in a systematic way. This policy document is a much needed wake-up call and guide at a time when in many countries the political climate and cultural environment threatens to reverse the little progress that has been made to date.

[Editorial] Bolsonaro threatens survival of Brazil's Indigenous population

The Lancet - Sa, 10/08/2019 - 00:00
Deforestation in the Brazilian rainforest has accelerated at an alarming pace, imperilling the country's Indigenous people, who depend entirely on the land for survival, and also weakening the rainforest's crucial role in stabilising the global climate. According to the most recent satellite data, from July 1 to 25, 2019, 1864 km2 of Amazon forest were destroyed, more than triple that for all of July, 2018.

[Editorial] Bolsonaro ameaça a sobrevivência da população Indígena no Brasil

The Lancet - Sa, 10/08/2019 - 00:00
O desmatamento da floresta tropical do Brasil tem acelerado em ritmo alarmante, ameaçando a população Indígena, que depende inteiramente da terra para sobreviver, e também enfraquecendo o papel crucial da floresta tropical de estabilizar o clima global. De acordo com os dados de satélite mais recentes, de 1 a 25 de Julho, 1864 km2 de floresta amazônica foi destruída, mais do que o triplo de todo mês de Julho de 2018.

[Comment] The Lancet Group's commitments to gender equity and diversity

The Lancet - Sa, 10/08/2019 - 00:00
6 months ago, The Lancet published a theme issue on women in science, medicine, and global health (#LancetWomen) that raised concerns about systemic gender bias impeding the advancement of, and equity for, women within these fields. We called for urgent action to create institutional change.1 Whether with a social justice or a business lens, the case for gender equity and diversity is clear: teams that are diverse in terms of gender, ethnicity, and social background produce better health science, are more highly cited, generate a broader range of ideas and innovations, and better represent society.

[Comment] Introducing The Penumbra

The Lancet - Sa, 10/08/2019 - 00:00
There are few topics that cause as much discomfort as inequities, particularly those related to race, gender, and other social identifiers. As a frequent lecturer, I've found the issue of how inequities shape one's experience in the health-care system, whether as a patient or in the workforce, often elicits avoidance, dismissiveness, defensiveness, or even anger. Health-care curricula typically neglect discussion of structural racism or sexism, and relegate race, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability to the vague and misplaced category of risk factors.
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