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Sleep ‘boosts brain cell numbers’

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~~~~BBCNewsHealth1
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Scientists believe they have discovered a new reason why we need to sleep – it replenishes a type of brain cell.

Sleep ramps up the production of cells that go on to make an insulating material known as myelin which protects our brain’s circuitry.

The findings, so far in mice, could lead to insights about sleep’s role in brain repair and growth as well as the disease MS, says the Wisconsin team.

The work is in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Dr Chiara Cirelli and colleagues from the University of Wisconsin found that the production rate of the myelin making cells, immature oligodendrocytes, doubled as mice slept.

The increase was most marked during the type of sleep that is associated with dreaming – REM or rapid eye movement sleep – and was driven by genes.

In contrast, the genes involved in cell death and stress responses were turned on when the mice were forced to stay awake.

Precisely why we need to sleep has baffled scientists for centuries. It’s obvious that we need to sleep to feel rested and for our mind to function well – but the biological processes that go on as we slumber have only started to be uncovered relatively recently.

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Tiny stem-cell livers grown in laboratory

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~~~~BBCNewsHealth1

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Tiny functioning human livers have been grown from stem cells in the laboratory by scientists in Japan.

They said they were “gobsmacked” when liver buds, the earliest stage of the organ’s development, formed spontaneously.

The team, reporting their findings in Nature, hope that transplanting thousands of liver buds could reverse liver failure.

Experts welcomed the findings, describing them as “exciting”.

Scientists around the world are trying to grow organs in the lab to overcome a shortage of organ donors.

Some patients already have bladders made from their own cells, but dense solid organs such as the liver and kidneys are much harder to produce.

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Drayson Racing electric car sets new world speed record

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~~~~BBC NewsSTechnology1

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Drayson Racing Technologies has broken the world land speed record for a lightweight electric car.

Its Lola B12 69/EV vehicle hit a top speed of 204.2mph (328.6km/h) at a racetrack at RAF Elvington in Yorkshire.

Chief executive Lord Drayson, who was behind the wheel, said the achievement was designed to highlight electronic vehicle technology’s potential.

The previous 175mph record was set by Battery Box General Electric in 1974.

Drayson Racing is not the only electric vehicle-maker hoping to use motorsport to spur on adoption of the technology.

Last week Nissan unveiled the Zeod RC (Zero Emission On Demand Racing Car), which can switch between electric and petrol power.

The firm intends to enter the vehicle into next year’s Le Mans 24 race saying the competition would act as a “challenging test bed” for technologies that could eventually find their way into road cars.

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Judge moves Sarah Murnaghan onto adult lung list

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~~~~BBCNewsUS&Canada1

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A US federal judge has allowed a severely-ill 10-year-old girl a prime spot on the list to receive an adult lung transplant, despite her young age.

Sarah Murnaghan has been in hospital for three months with end-stage cystic fibrosis, but children under 12 are given last priority for adult lungs.

The Obama administration had declined to intervene. Analysts warn the judge’s decision sets a dangerous precedent.

The judge’s order does not guarantee a lung for Sarah.

“We are beyond thrilled,” Janet Murnaghan, the girl’s mother, told the Associated Press. “Obviously we still need a match.”

Some medical analysts say the judge’s intervention creates a dangerous precedent for others on organ transplant lists.

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DR Congo toughest place for mothers – Save the Children

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~~~~BBC NEWS

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The Democratic Republic of Congo is the world’s toughest place to raise children, Save the Children reports.

Finland was named the best place to be a mother, with Sweden and Norway following in second and third places.

The charity compared factors such as maternal health, child mortality, education and income in 176 countries.

In India, over 300,000 babies die within 24 hours of being born, accounting for 29% of all newborn deaths worldwide, the report says.

The 10 bottom-ranked countries were all from sub-Saharan Africa, with one woman in 30 dying from pregnancy-related causes on average and one child in seven dying before his or her fifth birthday.

In DR Congo, war and poverty have left mothers malnourished and unsupported at the most vulnerable time of their lives.

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-22430608

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Smart bracelet protects aid workers

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~~~~BBC NewsSTechnology1

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A hi-tech bracelet could soon be helping civil rights and aid workers at risk of being kidnapped or killed.

When triggered, the personal alarm uses phone and sat-nav technology to warn that its wearer is in danger.

Warnings are sent in the form of messages to Facebook and Twitter to rally support and ensure people do not disappear without trace.

The first bracelets are being given out this week and funding is being sought to make many more.

The bracelets have been developed by the Civil Rights Defenders campaign group in a bid to help workers in war zones and other areas of conflict.

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Body’s anti-HIV ‘training manual’ offers vaccine hopes

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~~~~BBCNewsHealth1

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The body’s own “training manual” for attacking HIV has been recorded by US scientists and it is hoped it can be used to design vaccines.

HIV mutates in order to survive the onslaught of a patient’s immune system.

However, some patients develop highly effective antibodies that can neutralise huge swathes of HIV mutants.

A North Carolina team analysed the arms race between body and virus, published in the journal Nature, and has shown how these antibodies are made.

When someone is infected with HIV, their body produces antibodies to attack it. But the virus mutates and evades the offensive, so the body produces new antibodies that the virus then evades and the war goes on.

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-22002455

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