In this issue, we explore a study on the potential use of the drug Navitoclax for treating lower back pain, a research finding on virologic rebound in patients taking the antiviral medication Paxlovid, groundbreaking research on the longevity of neutralizing antibodies in HIV-1-infected individuals, the benefits of delayed cord clamping for premature babies, and crucial insights into the growth of mosses under elevated CO2 levels. Additionally, we discuss how our perception of other people's actions relies more on what we expect to happen. Read the full issue for more detailed information on these topics.
A new study has found that a drug called Navitoclax could potentially be used to treat lower back pain. The drug targets senescent osteoclasts (sleeping bone cells), which are cells that break down damaged bone tissue and are believed to play a role in the development of back pain. The drug was able to eliminate these cells in mice and significantly reduce spinal pain. Further research is needed to determine if Navitoclax can be used as a treatment for humans with lower back pain.
Study Links Paxlovid Usage
A new study has found that one in five people taking the antiviral medication Paxlovid for severe COVID-19 symptoms experienced a phenomenon known as virologic rebound. This means that they tested positive for the virus and were shedding live, potentially contagious virus even after they had initially recovered. The study, conducted by researchers from Mass General Brigham, suggests that virologic rebound may be more common than previously thought. However, the researchers note that Paxlovid remains an effective medication for preventing hospitalization and death in high-risk patients. They recommend that patients taking Paxlovid be informed about the risk of virologic rebound and be advised to re-test and isolate if necessary.
Neutralizing Antibody Dynamics
Scientists have conducted groundbreaking research into the longevity of neutralizing antibodies in HIV-1-infected individuals. They discovered that the level of these antibodies depends on the amount of virus in the patient's body. This knowledge is crucial in the development of an effective HIV-1 vaccine, as it helps to understand how long these antibodies can last and provides insights into strategies for vaccination. The study involved over 2,300 patients from various countries, and the findings suggest that a potential HIV-1 vaccine could generate a long-lasting immune response.
Premature Baby Survival Doubles with Delayed Cord Clamping
New research published in The Lancet suggests that delaying clamping of the umbilical cord for at least two minutes after birth could reduce the risk of death for premature babies. The study analysed data from thousands of premature babies and found that delaying the clamping of the cord decreased the risk of death by more than half compared to immediately clamping the cord. The findings support the recommendation of delayed cord clamping for full-term babies and could lead to updated guidelines for premature babies in the near future. However, more research is needed for situations involving immediate resuscitation or limited medical resources.
Crucial for Climate Models
Did you know that mosses cover almost four million square miles of the earth? That's as big as Canada! And it turns out that mosses are really important for our planet. They help to retain rainwater, which is great for our ecosystems. They also increase carbon storage in soil, which is really good for the environment. Mosses even play a role in climate change predictions. But here's the thing: we don't know much about how mosses are affected by higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. That's where a research team from the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center comes in. They studied a type of moss called Physcomitrium patens and found that it actually benefits from elevated CO2 levels. It grows three times more in these conditions! The researchers also discovered that the moss is really smart about balancing its growth depending on the availability of nutrients. Their work is helping us understand more about mosses and how they might respond to climate change. Mosses are vital for storing carbon and maintaining our planet's natural systems, so it's really important that we keep learning about them.
Expectation, not Reality, Shapes Our Perceptions
Researchers at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience have discovered that our perception of other people's actions relies more on what we expect to happen than previously believed. Many assumptions have been made about how the brain processes other people's actions, but this study reveals that our brains increasingly ignore what comes into our eyes and rely more on predictions of what should happen next, derived from our own motor system. This conclusion was reached by observing epilepsy patients' brain activity while they watched videos of people performing everyday actions. The findings show that our brain has a predictive nature and suppresses expected sensory input. However, if what we see violates our expectations, this suppression fails and we become aware of what we actually see.
I hope you enjoyed reading issue #20 of smuklok. I am constantly trying to improve every issue. If you have any feedback, suggestions or criticism for me, please send them to my email at
Sampath Amitash Gadi