Aging, Author Interviews, Environmental Risks, Nature / 30.07.2022 Interview with: Dr. Jaga Giebultowicz Professor Emeritus, Department of Integrative Biology Oregon State University Corvallis, OR 97331  What is the background for this study?  Where is blue light commonly found? Response: Our study in short-lived model organism Drosophila revealed that cumulative, long-term exposure to blue light impacts brain function, accelerates the aging process and significantly shortens lifespan compared to flies maintained in constant darkness or in white light with blue wavelengths blocked. Blue light is predominantly produced by the light-emitting diodes (LEDs); it appears white due to the addition of yellow fluorescent powder which is activated by blue light. LEDs has become a main source of  display screens (phones, laptops, desktops, TV),  and ambient lights. Indeed, humans have become awash in LEDs for most of their waking hours. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, NIH / 30.06.2022 Interview with: Nihal Altan-Bonnet, Ph.D. Chief of the Laboratory of Host-Pathogen Dynamics NHLBI  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings? Response: Enteric viruses such as norovirus, rotavirus and astrovirus are responsible for nearly 1.5 billion global infections per year resulting in gastrointestinal illnesses and sometimes leading to death in the very young, in the elderly and in the immunocompromised. These viruses have been thought to traditionally infect and replicate only in the intestines, then shed into feces and transmit to others via the oral-fecal route (e.g. through ingestion of fecal contaminated food items). Our findings reported in Nature, using animal models of norovirus, rotavirus and astrovirus infection, challenge this traditional view and reveal that these viruses can also replicate robustly in salivary glands, be shed into saliva in large quantities and transmit through saliva to other animals. In particular we also show infected infants can transmit these viruses to their mothers mammary glands via suckling and this leads to both an infection in their mothers mammary glands but also a rapid immune response by the mother resulting in a surge in her milk antibodies. These milk antibodies may play a role in fighting the infection in their infants .  (more…)
Author Interviews, Nature, Neurology / 05.05.2022 Interview with: Juan Piantino, M.D., MCR Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Division of Neurology, School of Medicine Director, Inpatient Child Neurology Oregon Health Sciences University  What is the background for this study?    Response: Astronauts are exposed to several stressors during spaceflight, including radiation, lack of gravity, and sleep deprivation. The effects of those stressors on the brain remain unknown. Is it safe to travel to space? For how long can humans survive in space? What are the effects of spending months under zero gravity? With more extended missions, and an increased number of civilians traveling to space, there is increased interest in understanding what happens to our brains when we leave earth. (more…)