Research Highlights: Superbug Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Existed in Hedgehogs Before the Introduction of Antibiotics

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Superbug Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Existed in Hedgehogs Before the Introduction of Antibiotics

  • Human health significantly improved after antibiotics were discovered 80 years ago.
  • Antibiotic resistance in environmental bacteria is pretty well-known; however, resistance in human pathogenic bacteria is considered to be a modern occurrence that is caused by antibiotics.
  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA is a well-known human pathogenic bacteria.
  • Researchers discovered that a particular lineages of MRSA existed in European hedgehogs before antibiotics were introduced.
  • Researchers also discovered that a fungus on these hedgehogs produces antibiotics that can eliminate susceptible bacteria but not MRSA.
  • The results suggest that the pre-antibiotic resistance emerged as an adaptation of S. aureus to the fungus-infected hedgehogs.
  • The discovery highlights One Health approach in which the health of human is closely related to the health of animals and the shared environment.
  • One Health approach in very important for our understanding and managing antibiotic resistance.


Larsen, J., Raisen, C.L., Ba, X. et al. Emergence of methicillin resistance predates the clinical use of antibiotics. Nature (2022).

Research Highlights: Women Who Breastfeed May Have Better Mental Health At The Age of 50

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Women Who Breastfeed May Have Better Mental Health At The Age of 50

  • Breastfeeding may give long-term health benefits to women in addition to the known benefits on the child.
  • Breastfeeding can also influence mental health.
  • However, breastfeeding has been diminishing after the industrial era; thus, it is important to understand the effects of breastfeeding on our lifespan.
  • Researchers studied how breastfeeding influences mental health in women.
  • The research involved neuropsychological test battery and interviewed Southern California women age 50 and above.
  • A neuropsychological test battery is a test used to evaluate the condition and function of the brain, including the cause of abnormalities, the type, and localization/lateralization of brain injury.[1][2]
  • The results showed that women who breastfed exhibited better mental performances compared to women who did not breastfeed.
  • Previous studies have shown that breastfeeding is correlated to a lower risk of certain diseases such as type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and breast cancer.
  • Researchers speculated that most women in the past after their menopausal stage have better cognitive performance due to the prevalence of breastfeeding.


Molly Fox, Ph.D, Prabha Siddarth, Ph.D, Hanadi Ajam Oughli, M.D, Sarah A Nguyen, M.D, Michaela M Milillo, B.S, Yesenia Aguilar, M.S, Linda Ercoli, Ph.D, Helen Lavretsky, M.D., M.S, Women who breastfeed exhibit cognitive benefits after age 50, Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health, 2021;, eoab027,

[1] Walsh, K.W. (1991). Understanding Brain Damage: A Primer of Neuropsychological Evaluation (2nd. ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone

[2] Darby, D., & Walsh, K.W. (2005). Walsh’s Neuropsychology: A Clinical Approach, (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Elsevier/Churchill Livingstone.

Research Highlights: Gut Bacteria Promote Therapy Resistant Prostate Cancer

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Gut Bacteria Promote Therapy Resistant Prostate Cancer

  • Androgens such as testosterone are important for male sexual and reproductive function.
  • Androgens play a role in the growth of prostate cancer cells.
  • Decreasing androgens by means of castration or hormone suppression is the current treatment for prostate cancer.
  • Castration refers to the process of removing the testicles in males.
  • The microbiota consist of microorganisms that inhabit a particular environment or location in or on the host.
  • Microbiota contains different types of organisms which includes symbiotic, commensal, and pathogenic microorganisms.
  • The role of the gut microbiota to the emergence of castration-resistance prostate cancer has not yet been addressed.
  • Researchers discovered that deprivation of androgen in mice and humans encourages the expansion of some commensal microbiota that helps to begin the castration resistance.
  • They found that when the body was deprived of androgens during the therapy, the gut microbiome could produce androgens from androgen precursors.
  • When the gut microbiota was removed by antibiotic therapy, the emergence of castration resistance was delayed even when mice are immunodeficient.
  • Fecal microbiota transplantation from castration-resistance prostate cancer mice and patients gave mice harboring prostate cancer resistant to castration.
  • In contrast, the growth of tumor was controlled by fecal microbiota transplantation from patients with hormone-sensitive prostate cancer.
  • Fecal microbiota transplantation, also known as a stool transplant, is the process of transferring fecal bacteria from a healthy individual into another individual.
  • The results suggest that the commensal gut bacteria contributes to endocrine resistance in castration-resistance prostate cancer by providing an alternative source of androgens.


Pernigoni, N., Zagato, E., Calcinotto, A., Troiani, M., Mestre, R. P., Calì, B., Attanasio, G., Troisi, J., Minini, M., Mosole, S., Revandkar, A., Pasquini, E., Elia, A. R., Bossi, D., Rinaldi, A., Rescigno, P., Flohr, P., Hunt, J., Neeb, A., Buroni, L., … Alimonti, A. (2021). Commensal bacteria promote endocrine resistance in prostate cancer through androgen biosynthesis. Science (New York, N.Y.), 374(6564), 216–224.

Research Highlights: Vitamin B12 May Alleviate Parkinson’s Disease

Verywell / Katie Kerpel

Vitamin B12 May Alleviate Parkinson’s Disease

  • Cobalamin, also known as Vitamin B12, is a water-soluble vitamin associated with metabolism.[2]
  • Vitamin B12 plays an important role in the normal functioning of the nervous system.[2]
  • Myelin works as an insulator of nerve cell axon to increase the rate of electrical impulses.[3]
  • Severe vitamin B12 deficiencies have been associated to damage of learning and memory ability, cognitive decline, and neurological diseases.
  • Alpha-synuclein is a protein with unknown function usually found in neural tissue making up as much as 1% of all proteins in the cytosol of brain cells.[4]
  • Alpha-synuclein is predominantly expressed in the neocortex, hippocampus, substantia nigra, thalamus, and cerebellum.[5]
  • Defective and clustering of alpha-synuclein into insoluble fibrils is linked with the beginning and progression of Parkinson’s disease.
  • Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological movement disorder which affects tens of millions of elderly patients around the world.
  • One topic of intense research is the development of new inhibitory drugs that can obstruct the clustering of alpha-synuclein.
  • Researchers analyzed the inhibitory capability of vitamin B12 against the development of fibrils and cytotoxicity of alpha-synuclein.
  • Results suggest that vitamin B12 could inhibit alpha-synuclein fibril development in a dose-dependent manner.
  • Data suggest that vitamin B12 delays the conversion of alpha-synuclein into β-sheet rich structures.
  • As a result, vitamin B12 significantly reduced the cytotoxicity of alpha-synuclein clusters.
  • Additionally, vitamin B12 was found to disassemble preexisting mature alpha-synuclein fibrils and reduce the subsequent cytotoxicity.
  • The study provides a comprehensive understanding of the inhibitory capability of vitamin B12 on alpha-synuclein fibril development and identify an important nutrient source that possesses significant potential to be developed as a new functional food ingredient to help relieve Parkinson’s disease.


Jia, L., , Wang, Y., , Wei, W., , Zhao, W., , Lu, F., , & Liu, F., (2019). Vitamin B12 inhibits α-synuclein fibrillogenesis and protects against amyloid-induced cytotoxicity. Food & function10(5), 2861–2870.


[3] Bean, Bruce P. (June 2007). “The action potential in mammalian central neurons”. Nature Reviews Neuroscience. 8 (6): 451–465. doi:10.1038/nrn2148. ISSN 1471-0048. PMID 17514198. S2CID 205503852

[4] Iwai A, Masliah E, Yoshimoto M, Ge N, Flanagan L, de Silva HA, et al. (February 1995). “The precursor protein of non-A beta component of Alzheimer’s disease amyloid is a presynaptic protein of the central nervous system”. Neuron. 14 (2): 467–75. doi:10.1016/0896-6273(95)90302-X. PMID 7857654. S2CID 17941420


Be An Open-Minded Person

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Be An Open-Minded Person

Problems today run the complete scale from domestic to foreign of all kinds. Abortion, gun control, climate change, equal pay, immigration, minimum wage, terrorism, racism, you name it. Have you ever thought why can’t we just get along and understand each other? Maybe we can by practicing open-mindedness.

First, lets talk about closed-mindedness because it is a very real danger according to The following are signs of closed-minded people and how they can be a problem in our society:

Closed-minded people generalize everything – If they see a couple of rude people in a group, they will generalize all the people in that group are rude. Generalization can inhibit further thought.

Closed-minded people are judgmental – They skip to conclusion or preconceived ideas without legitimate reasons. Being judgmental will limit yourself in the experiences to which you are exposed.

Closed-minded people enjoy pinpointing the shortcomings – Blaming others can contribute to feeling of helplessness, powerlessness, anger, and depression as well.

Closed-minded people do not like new ideas – They are unwilling to expose themselves to new opinions even if they are based from facts. They see change as inherently negative and they are unable to move forward.

Closed-minded people are obsessed of being always right – They are unwilling to admit that their opinions, ideas, or ways of doing things are flawed. They may be difficult to talk and they get offended quickly.

Closed-mindedness may be the root cause to some of our problems and by simply switching to being open-minded may hold the key to fix this dilemma.

Why do we need to practice open-mindness? Because according to, minds are like parachutes, it functions better when open. The following is a list of ways to become an open-minded person:

Explore the unknown – Embrace something that is foreign to you. You can try different route or try something new. Try to get out of your comfort zone.

Avoid assumptions – Don’t form any negative opinions on things you have never tried. If there is no evidence to prove, you should try things yourself before you say anything. Hearing other’s opinion is not a form of confirmation.

Learn to examine situations in multiple perspectives – You may think that your way is the best way, but you should listen to some arguments from the other side to see what the other people are saying. You may find that they may have some good ideas on their own too.

Always think more positive than negative – You can always find good in almost all situation, even bad situations. Most people stay away from problems. If you have an open mind, you see problems as an opportunity rather than a bad thing.

Try a new hobby – Try something you have not tried before. Learn a foreign language. Your new hobby may turn into a passion and will change the way you look at the world.

Educate yourself – You have to broaden your horizon any way you can by going to school or reading books. Being educated will make you more informed and less likely to form closed-minded opinions.

Travel as much as you can – You should make a habit of traveling if you have the budget. If you cannot afford to travel, watch Travel Channel or National Geographics so you can see how people live in other countries.

Ask a lot of questions – Don’t be that know-it-all person. Surround yourself with people smarter than you and ask a lot of questions. You will be amazed by how much you will learn.

Befriend with a person from different interest or culture – It will give you insight into different perspectives on the world.

Open-mindedness will give new meanings in your everyday life, and not only that, it also comes with advantages. The following is a list of benefits for having an open-mind:

You free your minds from limiting thoughts – You can challenge the belief that is holding you back. Sometimes your belief is the one blocking you to become successful.

Open-mindedness can strengthen yourself – It can provide a platform on which you can pile up ideas on top of another.

You can have a strong sense of self – You are able to gain confidence as you learn more and more about the world around you.

You will have more fun – You are willing to try new and exciting things, and you will have more experiences.

It will be easier to find solution to a problem – You don’t get stuck trying the same thing over and over again. You can easily think outside the box.

You are in a position to be loved and become a leader.

You have a higher tolerance level.

You have more energy.

You will be smarter.

I encourage you to open your eyes, see things in different perspective, and have an open mind. Once you have an open mind, share it to your family and friends. It does not demand a major investment of your time but rather, a fresh new way of thinking. Open-mindedness makes you more intelligent and it is something that you can do right now. “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change,” said Albert Einstein.


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How To Use An AED?

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How To Use An AED?

It’s a normal day and you are walking in the mall with a friend when suddenly, a person near you clutches his chest and collapse. Just like that, you are in the middle of cardiac emergency. What should you do to help?

AED stands for automated external defibrillator. defines AED as a portable lightweight device that delivers an electric shock to the heart. AED is a very sophisticated device and can be used to help people experiencing cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest results from the failure of the heart to pump blood effectively. The lack of blood flow to the brain causes the person to faint and loss consciousness. AED can increase the survival rate for cardiac arrest. The survival rate for cardiac arrest is less than 10%. If the victim receives defibrillation within the first minute, the survival rate is 90%. For every minute without defibrillation, survival rate decreases by 10%, thus time is critical when saving a person from cardiac arrest. states that many people misunderstood how an AED works. AED will produce the shock only when the heart is quivering. Normally, an electrical system controls the heart so it pumps in a rhythmic pattern. Disorganized or abnormal electrical activity in the heart can cause irregular heartbeat or the heart beats rapidly or erratically leading to cardiac arrest. When the victim’s heart behaves erratically, then the shock from an AED is useful. AED can automatically diagnose different types of heartbeat. The device knows if the heart needs to be shocked or not.

What does the shock do to the heart? When a quivering heart is detected, the AED will prepare itself for shock delivery. The shock from an AED depolarizes the heart muscle, meaning it actually stops the heart. That’s what AED does. It shocks and stops all the electrical activity in the heart. After the heart stops, amazingly, it has the ability to reset its natural pacemaker and hopefully, the problem disappears so that the heart can beat normally again. AED is a very sophisticated device and it is very important during cardiac arrest.

The following are the steps in using an automated external defibrillator.

  1. First, make sure the victim is having cardiac arrest. Confirm cardiac arrest if the person is unresponsive, not breathing, and no pulse.
  2. After assessing the emergency situation, call 911 and let them know you are planning to use an AED.
  3. If you are alone, start CPR right away, if you are not, have another person perform CPR while you locate and setup the AED.
  4. Before using AED, make sure the victim is not wet. If the victim is wet, dry them off. If the immediate area is present with water, move the victim to a dry place.
  5. Turn on the AED. It will give you vocal instructions on how to handle the situation.
  6. Prepare the chest area. Most AED comes with a razor and a scissors. Cut through the shirt exposing the chest. Remove certain items from the victim such as metal jewelries and accessories. Shave the chest if there’s a lot of hair.
  7. Apply the AED pads. Peel off the backing of the pads. Place one pad on the upper right side of the chest just below the collarbone. Place the other pad below the left breast and slightly along the side. If there are any implanted devices such as pacemaker or piercing, the pads should be placed one inch from them.
  8. Let the AED analyze the victim. Clear the victim and let everyone move back. Press the analyze button and the AED will analyze the heart rhythm of the victim. The device may tell you to shock the victim or continue doing CPR.
  9. Shock the victim if necessary. Once again, make sure that the victim is clear. Push the shock button on the AED. Expect the victim to move slightly with the electrical force.
  10. Once the shock has been delivered, continue performing CPR for 2 minutes. Then press the analyze button again to recheck the heart rhythm. Keep this up until emergency services arrive.

Using an AED may sound intimidating but it was designed so that anyone, even a layperson can use it. According to California State law, volunteer responders are not liable for the harm or death of a victim due to unsuccessful rescue attempt, so don’t be afraid to use an AED when necessary. “People who happen to be in the area during a cardiac arrest play a critical role in saving lives. Their actions can mean the difference between life and death,” says Dr. Gerald Koenig from Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital.


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