Lab Report

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 11 March, 2013, 10:39am

Open season on salt 

A new study published in the journal Nature is the first to show that a diet high in salt could be driving the increased incidence of autoimmune diseases worldwide. In tests on mice, an international team of researchers found that salt dramatically boosts - by up to 10 times - the induction of aggressive immune cells that are involved in triggering and sustaining autoimmune diseases, in which the immune system attacks healthy tissue instead of fighting pathogens. Mice with an increased salt intake suffered a more severe form of multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system.

Better red than dead

Raise a glass to this: researchers say they've confirmed that the red wine compound resveratrol directly activates a protein that promotes health and longevity. Using animal models, they also uncovered the molecular mechanism for this interaction, paving the way for drugs that could treat and prevent diseases related to ageing in people. Resveratrol directly activates SIRT1 in cells, a protein that protects the body from diseases by revving up mitochondria, a kind of cellular battery that slowly runs down with age. The study is published in the journal Science.


Purple patch

Enlighten for Epilepsy, the local charity in aid of people affected by epilepsy, has launched its annual awareness campaign. This month, the public is encouraged to "Paint the Town Purple" - by dining at supporting eateries with special purple food and drink, participating in events ranging from quizzes to comedies, or just wearing purple. Find out more at