LAB REPORT

Flu vaccine protects against bird flu; diabetes fogs your brain

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 February, 2015, 6:16am
UPDATED : Monday, 23 February, 2015, 6:16am

Flu vaccine offers cross-protection against H7N9

Antibodies that protect against H7N9 bird flu have been isolated in people who received seasonal flu shots. These antibodies account for a small percentage of the total immune response, but appear to broadly neutralise H7 viruses in tests on mice, report scientists from the University of Chicago and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. "The challenge is to exploit this response on a larger scale to make vaccines or therapeutics that offer broad protection against influenza strains," says Patrick Wilson, study co-senior author and associate professor of medicine.

Diabetes linked to poor cognitive performance

Type 2 diabetes is associated with worse performance on cognitive tests measuring executive functions, says a new study from the University of Waterloo. The executive functions inhibit habitual thinking patterns, knee-jerk emotional reactions and reflexive behaviour such as making impulse purchases or automatically following social cues. Researchers arrived at the finding after reviewing 60 studies comparing about 9,800 type 2 diabetes sufferers nearly 70,000 healthy controls. People with type 2 diabetes are encouraged to consistently monitor their dietary choices, check their blood sugar and adhere to medication schedules.

Cerebral palsy may be genetic

At least one in seven cerebral palsy cases are likely caused by a genetic mutation, says an international research group led by University of Adelaide. Cerebral palsy is a neuro-developmental disorder that disrupts movement control. Occurring in one in 400 children, it has long been the belief that cerebral palsy occurs when a child experiences a lack of oxygen during pregnancy or at birth. This latest study, published in Molecular Psychiatry, mapped the DNA from cerebral palsy families. The scientists say their research will lead to early diagnosis of some cerebral palsies.