Unseen waste in our waterways: a hidden environmental problem

By Brittany Maule, Indiana Department of Environmental Management, USA

Coffee is the most popular beverage in the world. Americans in the U.S. consume 400 million coffee cups per day, and about 30% of those coffee drinkers add some sort of sugar or sweetener to their drink. Where does all that caffeine and sweetener go? What about all the other stuff we use every day? The answer that is becoming more and more concrete is in our waterways.

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Are we taking the epidemic nature of diabetes seriously enough?

By Debosree Pal, JNCASR, India

Dating back to around 1500 B.C, diabetes had found its first mention in Egyptian manuscripts. It was only much later, in the first century A.D. that the term diabetes meaning ‘siphon’ was coined by Aretaeus. Mellitus meaning ‘honey’ was coined by the British Surgeon-General John Rollo later in 1798 to refer to the high glucose content found in the urine of people with the condition.

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The metabolic benefits of exercise

By Ralitsa Madsen, Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge, UK

RalitsaM2Iris, the Greek Goddess messenger between humans on Earth and the Gods on Mount Olympus, has made an entry into human biology by providing inspiration for the name of a skeletal muscle-derived hormone. Irisin belongs to the class of myokines, which are molecules released by skeletal muscle in response to exercise and act as messengers to other tissues, including liver, fat and the brain. Given the beneficial effects of exercise, particularly in the context of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes, major efforts have been invested into discovering myokines of potential therapeutic value. Irisin seems to have it all, with multiple animal studies confirming its metabolic benefits such as lowering of blood glucose and lipid levels. Continue reading “The metabolic benefits of exercise”

Blood vessel growth and metabolic stress

By Sayan Chakraborty, Senior Researcher at the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, A-STAR, Singapore

In our hectic modern lifestyle, we are constantly subjected to stress of many kinds including the stress experienced by our body from weight-gain. From the physiological perspective, these symptoms are managed by signalling molecules present in the body that control energy expenditure and form new blood vessels (angiogenesis) to cope with increased ‘cellular stress’ levels. These physiological consequences can be precursors to conditions such as type 2 diabetes, one symptom of which is increased angiogenesis.

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Proliferative retinopathy, an advanced form of diabetic retinopathy, occurs when abnormal new blood vessels and scar tissue form on the surface of the retina. (Credit: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, USA) Continue reading “Blood vessel growth and metabolic stress”