We have to get very ill in order to get well more quickly

HZI researchers discover possible reason why the flu takes longer in elderly people. Elderly people get the flu more often and suffer from the symptoms for longer than younger people. Why this is the case was unclear – until now. Researchers at Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig, Germany, discovered a possible reason: Influenza virus proliferates slowly in …


Outgrowing emotional egocentricity

Max Planck researchers discover a region of the brain that enables children to overcome emotional self-centeredness as they mature. Children are more egocentric than adults. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig have demonstrated for the first time that children are also worse at putting themselves in other people’s emotional shoes. According to …


Does the moon affect our sleep?

Max Planck scientists find no correlation between moon phases and human sleep. Popular beliefs about the influence of the moon on humans widely exist. Many people report sleeplessness around the time of full moon. In contrast to earlier studies, scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich did not observe any correlation between human sleep and the lunar …


Environmental change leaves its footprint in the epigenome

High-fat diets and long daylight periods alter epigenetic markers in wild mice. Monozygotic twins look more similar when they are young than later in life. One of the reasons for this is epigenetic change in the form of chemical modifications of the DNA or its packaging proteins. Environmental factors can influence these modifications over a lifetime. Scientists at the Max …


Making new species without sex

Plants can transfer their entire genetic material to a partner in an asexual manner. Occasionally, two different plant species interbreed with each other in nature. This usually causes problems since the genetic information of both parents does not match. But sometimes nature uses a trick. Instead of passing on only half of each parent’s genetic material, both plants transmit the …


Well-rested flies

Therapeutic agent reduces age-related sleep problems in fruit flies. Elderly flies do not sleep well – they frequently wake up during the night and wander around restlessly. The same is true of humans. For researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing in Cologne, the sleeplessness experienced by the fruit fly Drosophila is therefore a model case for …


Blocking cancer stem cells in the brain prolongs survival in mice

In a study of malignant brain tumors in mice, scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) have identified a key molecule that is responsible for the dangerous properties of tumor stem cells. When this stem cell marker was switched off, cancerous mice survived longer. Switching off the marker in human brain tumor cells causes cancer stem cells …


Implanted infection prevention

Hospital germs can be fatal, since they are resistant to antibiotics. As a result, alternative methods of defense against bacteria are in demand. Fortunately, a German-French research team has been able to develop bone implants that keep the germs at bay.

Your stress is my stress

Merely observing stressful situations can trigger a physical stress response Stress is contagious. Observing another person in a stressful situation can be enough to make our own bodies release the stress hormone cortisol. This is the conclusion reached by scientists involved in a large-scale cooperation project between the departments of Tania Singer at the Max Planck Institute for Cognitive and …


Life-style determines gut microbes

An international team of researchers has for the first time deciphered the intestinal bacteria of present-day hunter-gatherers. The gut microbiota is responsible for many aspects of human health and nutrition, but most studies have focused on “western” populations. An international collaboration of researchers, including researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, has for the first …


Artificial lung the size of a sugar cube

What medications can be used to treat lung cancer, and how effective are they? Until now, drug companies have had to rely on animal testing to find out. But in the future, a new 3D model lung is set to achieve more precise results and ultimately minimize – or even completely replace – animal testing. From June 23-26, researchers will …


Competition among cells prevents cancer

T lymphocytes arise from the thymus gland, which plays an important role in the immune system. In this organ, immature progenitor cells originating in the bone marrow mature into immune system cells. The bone marrow constantly produces new progenitor cells that migrate into the thymus, where they replace older, „worn-out“ progenitors. Scientists at the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, …


How cancer viruses protect their host cells against tumor therapies

Certain types of human papillomaviruses (HPV) cause cervical cancer by settling in a body cell and inducing it to divide in an out-of-control process. Scientists at the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) have now discovered a mechanism by which HPV protects cancer cells from undergoing DNA damage and dying as a result of cancer therapies.

Plant compound protects healthy cells from chemotherapy drugs

Chemotherapy drugs attack not only cancer cells but more generally rapidly dividing tissues. This can cause side effects ranging from hair loss to nausea to deadly infections. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) have now discovered that the plant compound rocaglamide protects healthy cells from the toxic effects of chemotherapy drugs.

Abnormal blood stem cells reprogram their environment

Blood arises from stem cells in the bone marrow; in patients with a myelodysplastic disorder (MDS), defective stem cells reprogram their neighbors in the marrow to create a “niche” that promotes their own survival. A recent report by scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) in collaboration with colleagues from the University Medical Centre Mannheim, suggests that …


Analyzing living cells quickly and accurately

In order to investigate inflammation, tumors or stem cells, medical practitioners analyze living cells. Non-invasive optical procedures such as Raman spectroscopy accelerate this procedure. Researchers have now developed it to industrial scale.