Here are the top medical news for the day:
Mechanism behind measles virus causing fatal encephalitis unfolded in Japanese study
Researchers in Japan have uncovered the mechanism for how the measles virus can cause subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, or SSPE, a rare but fatal neurological disorder that can occur several years after a measles infection.
Although the normal form of the measles virus cannot infect the nervous system, the team found that viruses that persist in the body can develop mutations in a key protein that controls how they infect cells. The mutated proteins can interact with its normal form, making it capable of infecting the brain. Their findings were reported in the journal Science Advances.
Collective Fusion Activity Determines Neurotropism of an en Bloc Transmitted Enveloped Virus,Science Advances,10.1126/sciadv.adf3731
Blood-based test holds potential to detect Alzheimer’s disease 3.5 years before clinical diagnosis
New research from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London has established a blood-based test that could be used to predict the risk of Alzheimer’s disease up to 3.5 years before clinical diagnosis.
The study, published in the journal Brain, supports the idea that components in the human blood can modulate the formation of new brain cells, a process termed neurogenesis. Neurogenesis occurs in an important part of the brain called the hippocampus that is involved in learning and memory.
To understand the early changes, researchers collected blood samples over several years from 56 individuals with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI).Of the 56 participants in the study, 36 went on to receive a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.
Predicting progression to Alzheimer’s disease with human hippocampal progenitors exposed to serum,Brain,10.1093/brain/awac472
Poor literacy and worse mental health linked worldwide: Study
People with poor literacy battle more mental health problems worldwide, according to new research from the University of East Anglia. A new study published recently is the first to look at the global picture of literacy and mental health.
Fourteen percent of the world’s population still has little or no literacy – and the study finds that they are more likely to suffer mental health issues such as loneliness, depression, and anxiety.
The team, from UEA’s Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychological Therapies (CPPT), say their findings disproportionately affect women, who account for two-thirds of the world’s illiterate.
Dr Lucy Hunn et al,Literacy and Mental Health Across the Globe: A Systematic Review,Mental Health and Social Inclusion