Having your appendix removed could lower the risk of developing Parkinson’s, is being immune to CRISPR a bad thing, and when is the best time to eat your Halloween candy?

The appendix is implicated in Parkinson’s disease

(Science News, 10/31/2018, Aimee Cunningham)

According to WebMD, the function of the appendix is unknown. There are actually a few theories on what it does, however, not all of them healthy necessarily A recent study shows that the appendix may contribute to a person’s chances of developing Parkinson’s disease. An analysis of data from nearly 1.7 million Swedes found that those who’d had their appendix removed had a lower overall risk of Parkinson’s disease. Also, samples of appendix tissue from healthy individuals revealed protein clumps similar to those found in the brains of Parkinson’s patients, researchers report online Oct. 31 in Science Translational Medicine. Together, the findings suggest that the appendix may play a role in the early events of Parkinson’s disease, Viviane Labrie, a neuroscientist at the Van Andel Research Institute in Grand Rapids, Mich., said at a news conference on Oct. 30.        

Pre-existing CRISPR immunity found in 96% of humans in study

(Fast Company, 10/31/2018, Melissa Locker)

CRISPR has been hailed as a potential way to treat cancer and other genetic diseases, but what if you have a pre-existing immunity to it? In a new study published in Nature Medicine, researchers took blood samples from 48 healthy volunteers and exposed them to Cas9, the DNA-cutting enzyme derived from Streptococcus pyogenes which is one of the most commonly used in CRISPR research. As Xconomy first reported, the researchers found that 96% of the people were immune to Cas9, and 85% had antibodies against it. While being immune to CRISPR sounds bad, CRISPR’s gene editing is typically built on the use of the bacterial protein Cas9. Scientists get the Cas9 from either Staphylococcus aureus, which is either harmless or the cause of staph infections, or from Streptococcus pyogenes, which causes strep throat and can lead to so-called flesh-eating bacteria if it spreads to other parts of the body. So it’s good that your body is immune, even it makes CRISPR’s seeming miracle slightly harder to achieve. For now, scientists are developing work-arounds for those of us with an immunity to CRISPR proteins, including using other enzymes to cut and paste DNA.

The right time to eat your Halloween candy, according to science

(Click Orlando, 10/31/2018, Michelle Ganley)

We all have our favorite Halloween candy. Mine is an old-fashioned peanut butter cup. According to dietary experts,  one of the best ways to enjoy your Halloween candy haul is to pair it  with your post-workout protein shake. “After a workout, your cells are basically looking to replenish themselves,” said Toronto dietitian Christy Brissette. “(Physical activity burns through glycogen — a stored form of glucose) And you can quickly replace that by having more of a fast-absorbing sugar. You want to have that together with some protein that’s going to help rebuild and repair any muscle tearing that happened during the exercise.” Perfect!

 

 

—Compiled by Social Media Specialist Jillian Scola