Can too much vitamin B cause acne?

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Too much vitamin B12 may cause acne, or at least make it worse, according to a new study in the US.

"I think there's a link" between vitamin B12 and acne, Huiying Li, of UCLA, a co-author of the study, told Live Science.

The pharmacology professor found a molecular pathway that could explain the nexus, although that needs to be confirmed.

"There's still a lot to be studied in order to really understand if B12 causes acne," she said.

The study found that, in the presence of vitamin B12, the skin bacteria that are commonly linked to acne start pumping out inflammatory molecules known to promote pimples.
In the study, scientists investigated the differences between skin bacteria from people prone to acne and bacteria from people with clear-skinned faces. The researchers looked at the bacteria's gene expression, hoping to figure out why Propionibacterium acnes, which is the most common skin microbe, causes pimples in some people but not in others.
They found that vitamin B12 changed the gene expression of the skin bacteria, which is what could have led to the acne-promoting inflammation.

British pilot first to take off in F35 using 'ski jump'

BAE Systems test pilot Peter Wilson flies F-35B from land based ski jump ramp for the first time. It is designed for vertical landing but not take-off.

The F-35 Lightning II – also known as the Joint Strike Fighter or JSF–  is a multirole aircraft project conceived and developed by the Pentagon since 1996 by manufacturer Lockheed Martin, with the principal partners Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems.

Below is a video taken early in June of the aircraft landing on an aircraft carrier flight deck during Marine Corps tests.

New dinosaur discovered in South Africa

A reconstruction of the new dinosaur's skeleton. [Credit: Wits University]

A reconstruction of the new dinosaur's skeleton. [Credit: Wits University]

South African and Argentinian palaeontologists have discovered a new 200 million year old dinosaur from South Africa, and named it Sefapanosaurus, from the Sesotho word "sefapano", meaning "cross".

The researchers from South Africa's University of Cape Town (UCT) and the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits University), and from the Argentinian Museo de La Plata and Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio made the announcement in the scientific journal, Zoological Journal of the Linnaean Society.

The specimen was found in the late 1930s in the Zastron area of South Africa's Free State province, near the Lesotho border, but it had been lost among other fossils at Wits University.

When re-discovered a few years ago, scientists considered that it was the remains of another South African dinosaur, Aardonyx. Closer study since then has revealed that it is a completely new animal.

"The discovery of Sefapanosaurus shows that there were several of these transitional early sauropodomorph dinosaurs roaming around southern Africa about 200 million years ago," says Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan, co-author and Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at UCT.

The dinosaur helps to fill the gap between the earliest sauropodomorphs and the gigantic sauropods, Dr Alejandro Otero, Argentinian palaeontologist and lead author, says.

"Sefapanosaurus constitutes a member of the growing list of transitional sauropodomorph dinosaurs from Argentina and South Africa that are increasingly telling us about how they diversified."

The remains of the Sefapanosaurus include limb bones, foot bones, and several vertebrae. 

PTSD may raise stroke and heart disease risk in women

[Credit: Getty Images]

[Credit: Getty Images]

Women who develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may have a greater risk of future cardiovascular disease than women with no traumatic history, according to research published today in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

In the first major study of PTSD and onset of cardiovascular disease – both heart attacks and strokes – exclusively in women, researchers examined about 50,000 participants in the Nurses' Health Study over 20 years.

The scientists found that women with four or more PTSD symptoms had 60% higher rates of cardiovascular disease compared to women who weren't exposed to traumatic events.

Women with no PTSD symptoms, but who reported traumatic events, had 45% higher rates of cardiovascular disease.

Almost half of the association between elevated PTSD symptoms and cardiovascular disease was accounted for by unhealthy behaviours such as smoking, obesity, lack of exercise and medical factors such as high blood pressure.

"PTSD is generally considered a psychological problem, but the take-home message from our findings is that it also has a profound impact on physical health, especially cardiovascular risk," said Jennifer Sumner, lead author from Columbia University.

"This is not exclusively a mental problem – it's a potentially deadly problem of the body as well."

Most studies of cardiovascular disease risk in PTSD patients have been conducted in men who have served in the military or among disaster survivors.

See also the Cosmos cover story on the surprising possible causes of PTSD, Healing a battle-scarred mind.

The retina's power supply that makes vision possible

Fluorescently labeled microtubules extend from the tips of the dendrites (top) into the axon and down into the giant synaptic terminal (bottom) of a single isolated goldfish retinal bipolar cell. A loop of microtubules encircles the inner plasma membrane of the terminal and anchors mitochondria. [Credit: Graffe et al., 2015]  

Fluorescently labeled microtubules extend from the tips of the dendrites (top) into the axon and down into the giant synaptic terminal (bottom) of a single isolated goldfish retinal bipolar cell. A loop of microtubules encircles the inner plasma membrane of the terminal and anchors mitochondria. [Credit: Graffe et al., 2015]

 

A thick band of microtubules in certain neurons in the retina help provide energy required for visual processing, researchers now believe.

The discovery of the pathways for mitochondria is published in The Journal of General Physiology.

The retina contains specialised neurons called bipolar cells that transmit information from light-sensitive photoreceptor cells to ganglion neurons, which send information to the brain for interpretation as images.

Unlike most neurons, bipolar cells are continuously active and so require a constant supply of energy. The discovery could explain how they do it.

researchers from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and Yale University used cutting-edge 3D microscopy to examine the subcellular architecture in retinal bipolar cells of live goldfish.

Unexpectedly, the team discovered a thick band of microtubules, a component of the cell's cytoskeleton, that extended from the axon of the neuron into the synaptic terminal and then looped around the interior periphery of the terminal.
The microtubule band appeared to associate with mitochondria – organelles known for providing energy to cells – in the synaptic terminal. When the researchers administered drugs to inhibit the movement of certain "motor" proteins that transport mitochondria and other cargo within the cell by traveling along microtubules, the mitochondria accumulated in the axon of the neuron and never made it to the synaptic terminal.
 

Hubble spots near-by planet bleeding giant cloud of hydrogen

An artist's concept shows an enormous comet-like cloud of hydrogen bleeding off of a warm, Neptune-sized planet just 30 light-years from Earth. [Credits: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI)]

 

Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have discovered an immense cloud of hydrogen dubbed "The Behemoth" bleeding from a planet orbiting a nearby star.

The planet is about the size of Neptune and the cloud of gas 50 times as large.

enormous, comet-like feature is about 50 times the size of the parent star. The hydrogen is evaporating from a warm, Neptune-sized planet, due to extreme radiation from the star.

This phenomenon where hydrogen evaporates away due to the heat of a star has never been seen around a planet so small.

Astronomers say it may offer clues to how other planets with hydrogen-enveloped atmospheres could have their outer layers evaporated by their parent star, leaving behind solid, rocky cores.

"This cloud is very spectacular, though the evaporation rate does not threaten the planet right now," explains the study's leader, David Ehrenreich of the Observatory of the University of Geneva in Switzerland.

"But we know that in the past, the star, which is a faint red dwarf, was more active. This means that the planet evaporated faster during its first billion years of existence because of the strong radiation from the young star. Overall, we estimate that it may have lost up to 10 percent of its atmosphere over the past several billion years."

The planet, named GJ 436b, is considered to be a "Warm Neptune", because of its size and because it is much closer to its star than Neptune is to our sun. Although it is in no danger of having its atmosphere completely evaporated and stripped down to a rocky core, this planet could explain the existence of so-called Hot Super-Earths that are very close to their stars.

These hot, rocky worlds were discovered by the Convection Rotation and Planetary Transits (CoRoT) and NASA's Kepler space telescope. Hot Super-Earths could be the remnants of more massive planets that completely lost their thick, gaseous atmospheres to the same type of evaporation.

Because the Earth's atmosphere blocks most ultraviolet light, astronomers needed a space telescope with Hubble's ultraviolet capability and exquisite precision to find "The Behemoth."

High-performance microscope shows detail of pores in cell nucleus

The nuclear pore complex is comprised of several layered rings: the cytoplasmic ring (gold), the spoke ring within the pore (blue) and the nucleoplasmic ring (green). [Credit: UZH]

A new, high-resolution image of the nuclear pore structure could help us understand better how some diseases involving defective transportation to the nuclear pores - such as intestinal, ovarian and thyroid cancer.

The new imaging, pioneered by an Zürich University (UZH) research team headed by Professor Ohad Medaliait, gives a better picture of why certain molecules are allowed to pass through the nuclear pores while others are turned away.

"We discovered a previously unobserved structure inside the nuclear pore that forms a kind of molecular gate, which can only be opened by molecules that hold the right key," explains Medalia.

This "molecular gate" consists of a fine lattice, which enables small molecules to slip through unobstructed.

Molecules are transported into the nucleus or from the nucleus into the cytoplasm. In a human cell, more than a million molecules are transported in this way every minute.

In the process, special pores embedded in the nucleus membrane act as transport gates. These nuclear pores are among the largest and most complex structures in the cell and comprise more than 200 individual proteins, which are arranged in a ring.

They contain a transportation channel, through which small molecules can pass unobstructed, while large molecules have to meet certain criteria to be transported.

The imaging was achieved using cryo-electron tomography – a method to render cell structures three-dimensionally visible in their natural environment in high resolution using both electron microscopy and computer imaging.

The cells are shock-frozen in liquid nitrogen at -190°C.

Botanic gardens focus on saving Australia's native orchids

The Spiral Sun-orchid Thelymitra matthewsii is a small, colorful, seasonal terrestrial orchid occurring in south-eastern Australia. Currently there are about 30 populations containing about 1,500 plants and it is listed as Vulnerable. [Credit: RBG]

The Spiral Sun-orchid Thelymitra matthewsii is a small, colorful, seasonal terrestrial orchid occurring in south-eastern Australia. Currently there are about 30 populations containing about 1,500 plants and it is listed as Vulnerable. [Credit: RBG]

The Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria has teamed up with the state's biggest centre for the conservation of rare and threatened orchids. 

The Orchid Conservation Program, led by Dr Noushka Reiter, is responsible for the propagation and re-introduction of some of south-eastern Australia’s most threatened orchids and has brought many species of native orchid back from the brink of extinction.

Reiter will speak at a seminar next Wednesday 1 July explaining the program and its work and focus on three of the more than 20 species re-introduced since 2007.

She will also look into the programs future and the focus for coming months and years. 

The seminar is open to the public at 1pm in Mueller Hall, the National Herbarium of Victoria at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne. No RSVP required.

Grandfather of all turtles found in a German quarry

Pappochelys had a long tail and fed on small insects and worms in what is now southern Germany. [Credit: Rainer Schoch]

A 240-million-year-old lizard-like animal discovered in a quarry in southern Germany is a key missing link in the evolutionary history of turtles.

The 20-centimetre long animal has been named Pappochelys, or "grandfather turtle".

“The mystery of how the turtle got its shell has been a long-standing question in evolutionary biology,” said Hans-Dieter Sues, curator of vertebrate paleontology in the Department of Paleobiology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

“In the case of Pappochelys, we see that its belly was protected by an array of rod-like bones, some of which are already fused to each other," he told Smithsonian Science News

"Such a stage in the evolution of the turtle shell had long been predicted by embryological research on present-day turtles but had never been observed in fossils—until now.”

Sues and palaeontologist Rainer Schoch of Germany's State Museum of Natural History Stuttgart have been studying more 18 fossils of the creature. Their findings are published in Nature. 

The new fossil is 20 million years older than the previous earliest-known turtle, Odontochelys from China, which carried a rudimentary shell on its back.

Eunotosaurus, considered the oldest precursor of turtles, dates back to 260 million years ago and lived in present-day South Africa. It features many characteristics only found in turtles, including broad ribs and a lack of intercostal muscles, which attach between the rib bones. Eunotosaurus also has a long slender tail. By comparison, Odontochelys lived in present-day China 220 million years ago and has a fully developed plastron, a long tail and jaws with small teeth. Pappochelys fits neatly between these two turtle precursors at 240 million years, sharing some characteristics with Eunotosaurus but having only a partially fused plastron.

It's not chlorine in the pool that is making your eyes red

[Credit: Getty Images]

[Credit: Getty Images]

Chlorine on its own won't make your eyes red. But when it reacts with human urine it forms chemical compounds that will.

As the Northern Hemisphere summer gets into full swing, Quartz has a disturbing report on the cleanliness of the public swimming pool. 

The research on the red-eye condition was carried out for the Healthy Swimming Program, a collaboration between the US Centers for Disease Control, the Water Quality and Health Council, and the National Swimming Pool Foundation.

Red eyes may be the least of the problems, however. The research found that chlorine’s reaction with two chemicals in urine — urea and uric acid — creates two poisonous gases that can hurt people’s lungs, hearts, and central nervous systems.

The program found that chlorine itself might not be the answer to keeping pools clean, either.

It found that the chemical does not kill some of the most insidious types of bacteria fast enough to prevent infections – the bacteria Cryptosporidium can live in chlorinated pools for days.

In spite of widespread chlorine use, outbreaks of recreational water illnesses (RWIs) have climbed in the past decade, says the CDC. During that time, more than 20,000 people have picked up diarrheal illnesses from water they swallowed in US swimming pools, water parks, and other disinfected swimming venues.