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    [–] The next trick for CRISPR is gene-editing pain away - The new approach to pain eradication, which mimics a rare DNA mutation in a Pakistani family that feels no pain, has been demonstrated in mice. mvea 3 points ago in Futurology

    The source preprint paper:

    Long-lasting Analgesia via Targeted in vivo Epigenetic Repression of Nav1.7

    Ana M. Moreno, Glaucilene F. Catroli, Fernando Alemán, Andrew Pla, Sarah A. Woller, Michael Hu, Tony Yaksh, Prashant Mali

    Link: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/711812v1

    doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/711812

    Abstract:

    Current treatments for chronic pain rely largely on opioids despite their unwanted side effects and risk of addiction. Genetic studies have identified in humans key targets pivotal to nociceptive processing, with the voltage-gated sodium channel, NaV1.7 (SCN9A), being perhaps the most promising candidate for analgesic drug development. Specifically, a hereditary loss-of-function mutation in NaV1.7 leads to insensitivity to pain without other neurodevelopmental alterations. However, the high sequence similarity between NaV subtypes has frustrated efforts to develop selective inhibitors. Here, we investigated targeted epigenetic repression of NaV1.7 via genome engineering approaches based on clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-dCas9 and zinc finger proteins as a potential treatment for chronic pain. Towards this end, we first optimized the efficiency of NaV1.7 repression in vitro in Neuro2A cells, and then by the lumbar intrathecal route delivered both genome-engineering platforms via adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) to assess their effects in three mouse models of pain: carrageenan-induced inflammatory pain, paclitaxel-induced neuropathic pain and BzATP-induced pain. Our results demonstrate: one, effective repression of NaV1.7 in lumbar dorsal root ganglia; two, reduced thermal hyperalgesia in the inflammatory state; three, decreased tactile allodynia in the neuropathic state; and four, no changes in normal motor function. We anticipate this genomically scarless and non-addictive pain amelioration approach enabling Long-lasting Analgesia via Targeted in vivo Epigenetic Repression of Nav1.7, a methodology we dub pain LATER, will have significant therapeutic potential, such as for preemptive administration in anticipation of a pain stimulus (pre-operatively), or during an established chronic pain state.

    One sentence summary In situ epigenome engineering approach for genomically scarless, durable, and non-addictive management of pain.

    [–] Poo transplants are helping expand koala microbiomes, allowing them to eat a wider range of eucalypts and possibly survive habitat loss, suggests new study. Koalas that preferred to only eat a specific type of tree started to eat another type after faecal transplants from wild koalas that ate them. mvea 164 points ago in science

    The title of the post is a copy and paste from the first paragraph of the linked academic press release here:

    Poo transplants are helping expand koala microbiomes, allowing the marsupials to eat a wider range of eucalypts and possibly survive habitat loss.

    Journal Reference:

    Michaela D. J. Blyton, Rochelle M. Soo, Desley Whisson, Karen J. Marsh, Jack Pascoe, Mark Le Pla, William Foley, Philip Hugenholtz, Ben D. Moore.

    Faecal inoculations alter the gastrointestinal microbiome and allow dietary expansion in a wild specialist herbivore, the koala.

    Animal Microbiome, 2019; 1 (1)

    Link: https://animalmicrobiome.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s42523-019-0008-0

    DOI: 10.1186/s42523-019-0008-0

    Abstract

    Background

    Differences between individuals in their gastrointestinal microbiomes can lead to variation in their ability to persist on particular diets. Koalas are dietary specialists, feeding almost exclusively on Eucalyptus foliage but many individuals will not feed on particular Eucalyptus species that are adequate food for other individuals, even when facing starvation. We undertook a faecal inoculation experiment to test whether a koala’s gastrointestinal (GI) microbiome influences their diet. Wild-caught koalas that initially fed on the preferred manna gum (Eucalyptus viminalis) were brought into captivity and orally inoculated with encapsulated material derived from faeces from koalas feeding on either the less preferred messmate (E. obliqua; treatment) or manna gum (control).

    Results

    The gastrointestinal microbiomes of wild koalas feeding primarily on manna gum were distinct from those feeding primarily on messmate. We found that the gastrointestinal microbiomes of koalas were unresponsive to dietary changes because the control koalas’ GI microbiomes did not change even when the nocturnal koalas were fed exclusively on messmate overnight. We showed that faecal inoculations can assist the GI microbiomes of koalas to change as the treatment koalas’ GI microbiomes became more similar to those of wild koalas feeding on messmate. There was no overall difference between the control and treatment koalas in the quantity of messmate they consumed. However, the greater the change in the koalas’ GI microbiomes, the more messmate they consumed after the inoculations had established.

    Conclusions

    The results suggest that dietary changes can only lead to changes in the GI microbiomes of koalas if the appropriate microbial species are present, and/or that the koala gastrointestinal microbiome influences diet selection.

    [–] If you want a mental break, you may want to avoid your cell phone, suggests new research (n = 414). Using a cellphone to take a break during mentally challenging tasks does not allow the brain to recharge effectively and may result in poorer performance. mvea 2 points ago in science

    The title of the post is a copy and paste from the title and first paragraph of the linked academic press release here:

    Need a mental break? Avoid Your Cellphone, Rutgers Researchers Say

    Using a cellphone to take a break during mentally challenging tasks does not allow the brain to recharge effectively and may result in poorer performance, Rutgers researchers found.

    Journal Reference:

    Sanghoon Kang, Terri R. Kurtzberg.

    Reach for your cell phone at your own risk: The cognitive costs of media choice for breaks.

    Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 2019; 1

    Link: https://akademiai.com/doi/10.1556/2006.8.2019.21

    DOI: 10.1556/2006.8.2019.21

    Abstract

    Introduction

    Since there is steady increase in cell phone addiction, the act of reaching for a phone between tasks, or even mid-task, is becoming more commonplace, without a true understanding about the potential cognitive costs of taking a break in this way as opposed to taking a break through another medium.

    Methods

    This experimental study included 414 participants who completed a cognitively demanding task (solving anagrams) either on paper or on a computer screen. Participants in three of four randomly assigned conditions engaged in a break task (selecting items for a hypothetical shopping list) either on a cell phone, a larger computer screen, or on a paper in the middle of the task. The fourth condition had participants engaging in both halves of the cognitive task with no break.

    Results

    The results show that using cell phone for a break did not allow brain to recharge as effectively as the other types of breaks, both in terms of being able to perform quickly and efficiently in the second half of the task (how long it took to complete), and in terms of performance (how many anagrams were successfully solved in the second half).

    Discussion and conclusions

    As people are increasingly addicted to their cell phones, it is important to know the unintended costs associated with reaching for this device every spare minute. Although people may assume that it is not different from any other kind of interaction or break, this study shows that the phone might be more cognitively taxing than expected.

    [–] If you want a mental break, you may want to avoid your cell phone, suggests new research (n = 414). Using a cellphone to take a break during mentally challenging tasks does not allow the brain to recharge effectively and may result in poorer performance. mvea 1 points ago in psychology

    The title of the post is a copy and paste from the title and first paragraph of the linked academic press release here:

    Need a mental break? Avoid Your Cellphone, Rutgers Researchers Say

    Using a cellphone to take a break during mentally challenging tasks does not allow the brain to recharge effectively and may result in poorer performance, Rutgers researchers found.

    Journal Reference:

    Sanghoon Kang, Terri R. Kurtzberg.

    Reach for your cell phone at your own risk: The cognitive costs of media choice for breaks.

    Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 2019; 1

    Link: https://akademiai.com/doi/10.1556/2006.8.2019.21

    DOI: 10.1556/2006.8.2019.21

    Abstract

    Introduction

    Since there is steady increase in cell phone addiction, the act of reaching for a phone between tasks, or even mid-task, is becoming more commonplace, without a true understanding about the potential cognitive costs of taking a break in this way as opposed to taking a break through another medium.

    Methods

    This experimental study included 414 participants who completed a cognitively demanding task (solving anagrams) either on paper or on a computer screen. Participants in three of four randomly assigned conditions engaged in a break task (selecting items for a hypothetical shopping list) either on a cell phone, a larger computer screen, or on a paper in the middle of the task. The fourth condition had participants engaging in both halves of the cognitive task with no break.

    Results

    The results show that using cell phone for a break did not allow brain to recharge as effectively as the other types of breaks, both in terms of being able to perform quickly and efficiently in the second half of the task (how long it took to complete), and in terms of performance (how many anagrams were successfully solved in the second half).

    Discussion and conclusions

    As people are increasingly addicted to their cell phones, it is important to know the unintended costs associated with reaching for this device every spare minute. Although people may assume that it is not different from any other kind of interaction or break, this study shows that the phone might be more cognitively taxing than expected.