Lab Report

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 March, 2014, 9:45am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 March, 2014, 9:45am

Super sutures

Stitches embedded with stem cells could lead to quicker and stronger healing of Achilles tendon tears than traditional sutures, according to a study published in Foot & Ankle International. In tests on rats, US researchers from MedStar Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore compared traditional surgery, surgery with stem cells injected into the injury area, and surgery with special stitches embedded with stem cells. The results showed that the group receiving the stem cell sutures healed better four weeks after surgery. Achilles tendon injuries are common among athletes.

Gestational diabetes linked to risk of heart disease

Women who experience gestational diabetes may face an increased risk of early heart disease later in life, even if they do not develop type-2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome after their pregnancy, a 20-year study in the Journal of the American Heart Association has found. The study involved nearly 900 women, aged 18 to 30, who later gave birth one or more times. About 12 years after pregnancy, ultrasound was used to measure the thickness of the walls of their carotid artery, which is an early measure of atherosclerosis - plaque build-up in arteries - and predicts heart attack and stroke in women. A larger average wall thickness was found in study participants with a history of gestational diabetes and who did not develop diabetes or metabolic syndrome during the 20-year follow-up, compared to those who never experienced gestational diabetes.

Genes bring music to your ears

Not musically talented? Blame it on your genes. A combination of genes involved in the auditory pathway is reportedly linked to musical aptitude, according to a study in Molecular Psychiatry. The study analysed the genomes of 767 people belonging to 76 families characterised by the ability to discriminate pitch, duration and sound patterns. The function of the genes implicated ranges from inner-ear development to auditory neurocognitive processes. The researchers note that musical aptitude is a complex behavioural trait not fully captured by the sound perception tests used in this study, and that environmental factors, such as culture and music education, likely play an important role here.