Improving the health of your gut microbiome may be simpler than you thought, wiping out dengue fever, and can the amount of blue light you consume effect your eyesight?

Australian city wipes out dengue fever using modified mosquitoes

(Earth.com, 8/6/2018, Kay Vandette)

Dengue fever, a mosquito-borne disease that ranks as the leading cause of illness and death in the subtropics and tropics, finally has a potent microbial foe. Four years ago, researchers infected the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes responsible for spreading dengue with a bacteria called Wolbachia that prevents mosquitoes from spreading dengue to humans. Then they then released four million anti-virus mosquitos in Townsville, Australia where dengue fever is rampant. Eventually, the infected mosquitoes bred with wild mosquitos and the virus-inhibiting bacteria spread to the offspring, continuing to keep dengue at bay. The good news? The city of Townsville has not had a single case of dengue in the four years since the Wolbachia mosquitoes were first introduced

For a Healthy Gut, Put a Cherry on Top

(GEN News Highlights, 8/7/2018)

The meaning of putting a cherry on top means metaphorically that something small and special is added to something else that is also very nice to make it just that much more enriched. Well, new evidence from investigators at the University of Arkansas suggests that Montmorency tart cherries can be added to the list of gut-friendly foods and may play an important role in improving gut health. Researchers conducted both human and laboratory experiments to determine the impact of Montmorency tart cherries on the microbiome. In the human trial, nine healthy adults, 23-30 years old, drank 8 ounces of Montmorency tart cherry juice (from concentrate) daily for five days. These individuals were nonsmokers and had not taken antibiotics (which can affect the microbiome) in the 12 weeks prior and during the study. Using stool samples, the participants’ microbiome was analyzed before and after the dietary intervention, and food frequency questionnaires were used to evaluate their overall diet.

Can Too Much Blue Light Blind You?

(Lab Roots, 8/9/2018, Brenda Kelley Kim)

It might be time to put down those smartphones because blue light is all around us in the digital devices we use. From cell phones and tablets to laptops and video games, the amount of blue light the average person is exposed to every day can add up to dangerous levels. A new study from researchers at the University of Toledo suggests that all this exposure to digital light sources could lead to more cases of macular degeneration, a common cause of blindness in the US. The researchers at UT found that shining blue light on retinal causes it to malfunction, in a bad way. Rather than triggering the photoreceptor cells, blue light causes retinal to create molecules in the photoreceptor cells that are deadly. When these molecules cause enough photoreceptor cells to die, vision is impaired and eventually blindness results. Photoreceptor cells are finite. Once they are gone, the body does not regenerate them, so keeping them healthy and functional is vital.

 

—Compiled by Social Media Specialist Jillian Scola