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23 Sep 2022
Asia Research News monitors the latest research news in Asia. Some highlights that caught our attention this week are the effects of extreme weather becoming more likely due to climate change and leading to sinking cities, putting googly eyes on cars that help pedestrian safety, and how many ants there are on Earth.
22 Sep 2022
Researchers led by Osaka University developed a novel fluorescent sensor to detect and monitor levels of the neuropeptide oxytocin, also known as the “happy hormone.” The OT sensor facilitated the successful measurement of OT dynamics in the brains of living animals and may serve as a foundation for the development of therapeutics for the treatment of neurological disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.
22 Sep 2022
A pathway that malfunctions in advanced non-alcoholic fatty liver disease could be fixed with the aid of spermidine, a compound naturally found in bodily cells and certain whole foods.
22 Sep 2022
Scientists have uncovered how Coxsackievirus B3, the most common cause for viral heart inflammation, takes advantage of a specific heart sensor to trigger chronic inflammation that can lead to heart failure.
20 Sep 2022
Researchers from The Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo have developed a streamlined photo-uncaging system for photodynamic cancer therapy, using a pulse of light for tumor-specific activation of a cancer-fighting agent
15 Sep 2022
Cellular structures called mitochondria depend on microproteins to assist and control the assembly of a protein chain that extracts energy from nutrients, according to a new study by scientists in Singapore.
15 Sep 2022
It is commonly believed that patients with chronic kidney disease should limit their protein intake given that excessive protein worsens kidney function. However, a new study by Osaka Metropolitan University scientists indicates that changes in skeletal muscle mass are positively correlated with protein intake, suggesting the necessity of adequate protein intake to improve muscle mass after kidney transplantation.
14 Sep 2022
Various approaches for treating lymph node metastasis exist. But now, a research team from Tohoku University has combined two forms of therapy to create a superior treatment method than conventional chemotherapy.
13 Sep 2022
A commentary in Nature Medicine advocates the proper application of artificial intelligence in healthcare and warns of the dangers when machine learning algorithms are misused.
13 Sep 2022
The Memorandum of Understanding signed between The Ngee Ann Kongsi and Duke-NUS Medical School emphasises the need for more research as treatment and prevention options are currently limited for conditions such as Parkinson’s disease.
13 Sep 2022
An estimated 1208 excess suicide deaths for men and 1825 for women were recorded during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Japan through December 2021, with the impact being greatest in women and younger age groups.
Study suggests natural disasters may be a risk factor for acute migraine
13 Sep 2022
Research shows that natural catastrophes may trigger or exacerbate attacks of incapacitating migraine in disaster victims.
12 Sep 2022
Microglia acts as the first line of defense in the central nervous system, constantly scanning for pathogens and abnormalities. Now, Tohoku University scientists have demonstrated that microglial genes associated with the synapse—structures that allow neurons to pass signals to one another—undergo changes in response to the brain processing traumatic memories.
09 Sep 2022
While the primary site of SARS-CoV-2 infection is in the nose, most antiviral immunity studies have been performed with peripheral blood. T-cell analysis of nasal swab samples suggests getting infected with SARS-CoV-2 following vaccination could confer potentially more robust, nasal-based immunity.
09 Sep 2022
Osaka Metropolitan University scientists developed a new method to isolate hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), which play a significant role in liver cancer progression. With enzymatic cold perfusion and utilization of an antibody against CD49a, a reliable HSC surface marker, the new method allows HSC isolation with high yield and purity from livers with various conditions, be they normal or fatty tumor-prone, from both mice and humans. The findings are expected to contribute to the development of efficient tools for characterizing NASH- or fatty liver-based liver cancer.
02 Sep 2022
Even a small temperature drop in the tropical climate of Singapore increases the risk of heart attack among people aged 65 and above, say researchers from Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore’s National Environment Agency and collaborators.
29 Aug 2022
Osaka Metropolitan University scientists developed a simple, rapid method for identifying food poisoning-inducing bacteria based on color differences in the scattered light of composite structures consisting of gold, silver, and copper nanoparticles and polymer particles. Using these composites as test labels bound to specific bacteria, the researchers detected food poisoning bacteria E. coli O26, E. coli O157, and S. aureus as white, red, and blue scattered light, respectively, under the microscope. This new method enables simultaneous identification of multiple bacterial species within one hour, significantly shortening the usual 48-hour time requirement for conventional bacterial tests.
Editor's Choice
26 Aug 2022
Researchers have made perovskite solar cells more efficient and stable, A new cause of Parkinson's related cell death, Hibernating superpower is in the blood, Common mechanism for cancer and atherosclerosis, COVID-19 antibody skin-based test. Read all in the August's Editor's Choice plus an Interview with Prof Sutee Yoksan on The story behind the new dengue vaccine & this month's Asia Research News 2022 magazine pick - The evolutionary history of puddle frogs.
26 Aug 2022
Osaka Metropolitan University researchers have clarified that an adenosine analog—the antibiotic toyocamycin—is taken up into cells by a concentrative nucleoside transporter (CNT) in Candida albicans, an opportunistic yeast fungus that causes candidiasis infections. This was also true of the human CNT3 protein. They found that C. albicans CNT and human CNT3 proteins take up similar molecules at different rates depending on their molecular size and structure. These results are expected to lead to the development of new antifungal drugs that are effective only against C. albicans and safe for humans.
Regenerated meniscus stained with toluidine blue, using an Achilles tendon graft.
26 Aug 2022
The meniscus—a cartilage cushion in the knee—can be damaged by sports injuries or aging, but rarely heals on its own. A torn meniscus is often treated with resection, which is doomed to degeneration of the articular cartilage. For knees that have had the meniscus resected, meniscus reconstruction using autologous tendons has been performed in some countries, including Japan, but the results have not been consistent. A research group at the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka Metropolitan University discovered an extra step that changes transplanted tendon tissue to make it similar to the original meniscus, providing better knee cartilage protection. They found that parathyroid hormone, a drug used to treat osteoporosis, acted on tendon-derived cells to promote chondrogenic differentiation, which recreated a meniscus-like tissue.
25 Aug 2022
Giants in History: The first Thai woman to receive a degree in medicine, Margaret Lin Xavier (29 May 1898 – 6 December 1932), is best remembered for her compassion towards her less privileged patients.
24 Aug 2022
A group of researchers in Thailand has replicated "Hydroxy-xanthones", the vital extracts rich in antioxidants found in mangosteen peels that kill germs and halt infections in the intestinal mucosa. It hopes to expand to include health products for humans and animals in the future.
23 Aug 2022
Takeda’s tetravalent dengue vaccine (TAK-003) is now the only dengue vaccine approved in Indonesia for use regardless of previous dengue exposure and without the need for pre-vaccination testing. This approval marks Takeda’s first marketed vaccine outside of Japan.
Wastewater sample being collected from a manhole in the village (Photo: Masaaki Kitajima).
22 Aug 2022
Scientists show that there is a close association between clinical cases of COVID-19 and viral loads in wastewater, with the viral loads picking up to two days before the cases were detected.
19 Aug 2022
Adults self-report their pain on a one to 10 numerical score, while children can point to an equivalent face scale — from a green smiling face to a red crying face — to indicate their pain. Newborns, however, cannot say a number or point to a face, leaving it up to their caregivers to identify and evaluate any pain they may be in. Until the turn of this century, a significant number of clinicians did not recognize that neonates could even experience pain, resulting in infrequent, nonstandard training for medical workers. Now, researchers are reporting that a flexible e-learning program improves neonate pain management knowledge and skills for nurses.
19 Aug 2022
Asia Research News monitors the latest research news in Asia. Some highlights that caught our attention this week are particles from the Ryugu asteroid that look like water, mating strategies used by male spiders, and the effect of trimming mouse whiskers on their social development.
18 Aug 2022
Osaka Metropolitan University researchers conducted a large-scale clinical study to identify long-term rebleeding rates and predictors of rebleeding after capsule endoscopy (CE) in patients with obscure gastrointestinal bleeding (OGIB). The results revealed that the overall cumulative rebleeding rate in the five years after CE was as high as 41.7%, and they also suggested the need for particularly careful follow-up in patients with liver cirrhosis, those taking anticoagulants, or those with previous massive bleeding. The study offers an important finding in considering the long-term follow-up regarding OGIB, and might contribute to future clinical guidelines for OGIB treatment.
15 Aug 2022
A two-year nationwide survey in El Salvador signals potential active transmission of Chagas disease and identifies areas where insect vectors have high parasite infection rates.
12 Aug 2022
Asia Research News monitors the latest research news in Asia. Some highlights that caught our attention this week are the potential use of fish ear bones to tell us about the seawater temperature millions of years ago, how hotter nights can lead to an increase in global mortality, and how Japanese children’s walking development differs to other countries.
06 Aug 2022
Osaka Metropolitan University scientists revealed quadriceps tendon-patellar bone (QTB) grafts as a more suitable option than bone-patellar tendon-bone (BPTB) grafts for anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction. Examinations in human cadavers and ACL reconstruction patients showed that the QTB graft is more similar to the ACL at the femoral insertion site than the BPTB graft. The difference between graft bending angle (GBA) and an angle corresponding to GBA showed that the QTB graft bends less than the BPTB graft, suggesting a lower risk of excessive stress on the insertion site and thereby a lower probability of ACL reconstruction failures. These findings contribute to potential improvement in ACL reconstruction for knee injury patients.

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Giants in history

Chinese biochemist Chi Che Wang (1894 - 1979), one of the first Chinese women to study abroad, advanced to prominent research positions at American institutions including the University of Chicago and the Northwestern University Medical School.
Ruby Sakae Hirose (1904 – 1960) was a Japanese-American scientist whose research contributed significantly to our understanding of blood clotting, allergies and cancer.
Flora Zaibun Majid ( 1939–2018) was an accomplished Bangladeshi researcher in botany and nutrition science and the first female chairperson of the Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.
Iranian physician and bacteriologist Azar Andami (8 December 1926 – 19 August 1984) developed a cholera vaccine to combat an outbreak that swept through the Middle East, India, Southeast Asia, and Africa in 1937.
Irene Ayako Uchida’s (8 April 1917 – 30 July 2013) strides to understand genetic diseases such as Down syndrome paved the way for early screening of chromosomal abnormalities in foetuses.
Baron Kitasato Shibasaburo (29 January 1856 – 13 June 1931) was a Japanese physician and bacteriologist whose work led to a new understanding of preventing and treating tetanus, diphtheria and anthrax.
Maggie Lim (5 January 1913 – November 1995) was a Singaporean physician who promoted family planning and expanded the access to clinics to improve the quality of life for mothers and children in Singapore’s early days.
By isolating soil microorganisms and studying the compounds they produce, Satoshi Omura (born 1935) discovered almost 500 organic compounds with unique properties that were produced by these microorganisms, including many new antibiotics.
The founder of the Adyar Cancer Institute in India, Muthulakshmi Reddy (30 July 1886 – 22 July 1968), fought to uplift women and girls from impoverished situations.
Chinese-American virologist and molecular biologist Flossie Wong-Staal (27 August 1946 – 8 July 2020) was the first scientist to clone HIV and determine the function of its genes.
Maharani Chakravorty (1937 – 2015) was one of India’s earliest molecular biologists whose research paved the way for advances in the treatment of bacterial and viral infections.
Archana Sharma (16 February 1932 - 14 January 2008) conducted research into plant and human genetics that expanded the understanding of both botany and human health. In relation to botany, she uncovered the means by which asexually-reproducing plants evolve into new species.
The first Thai woman to receive a degree in medicine, Margaret Lin Xavier (29 May 1898 – 6 December 1932), is best remembered for her compassion towards her less privileged patients.
In 1915, pathologist Katsusaburo Yamagiwa and his research assistant Koichi Ichikawa became the first to prove that chronic exposure to chemicals can cause cancer.
Filipino chemist and pharmacist Manuel A. Zamora (29 March 1870 – 9 July 1929) is best remembered for his discovery of the tiki-tiki formula to combat beriberi, a disease caused by Vitamin B1 deficiency.
After witnessing death and suffering as a youth in his home village during World War II, Nguyễn Tài Thu (6 April 1931 – 14 February 2021) set his sights on alleviating pain by becoming a doctor. After studying Traditional Chinese Medicine in China in the 1950s, Thu returned to Vietnam to serve in military hospitals. Eventually, he became the country’s foremost practitioner of acupuncture, a technique he first learned by inserting needles into himself.
David T. Wong (born 1936) is a Hong Kong-born American neuroscientist who is best known for discovering the antidepressant drug fluoxetine, better known as Prozac.
Indian organic chemist Asima Chatterjee (1917 to 2006) studied the medicinal properties of plant products, especially compounds known as vinca alkaloids.
Hsien Wu (24 November 1893 – 8 August 1959) is widely regarded as the founder of biochemistry and nutrition science in China. He was the first to propose that protein denaturation was caused by the unfolding of the protein, instead of chemical alteration.
Umetaro Suzuki (7 April 1874 – 20 September 1943) was a Japanese scientist best remembered for his research on beriberi, a disease caused by vitamin B1 deficiency, characterized by limb stiffness, paralysis and pain.
Syed Qasim Mehdi (13 February 1941 – 28 September 2016) was a Pakistani molecular biologist who was a founding member of the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP), which assessed human diversity by studying human migration, mutation rates, relationships between different populations, genes involved in height and selective pressure.
Tsai-Fan Yu (1911 – 2 March 2007) was a Chinese-American physician and researcher who was the first female full professor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. She discovered that gout, a condition characterized by the painful inflammation of joints, was caused by elevated levels of uric acid in the bloodstream.
Min Chueh Chang (10 October 1908 – 5 June 1991) was a Chinese-American biologist who studied fertilization in mammalian reproduction.
A Japanese surgeon, Tetsuzo Akutsu (20 August 1922 – 9 August 2007) built the first artificial heart capable of keeping an animal alive.
Ogino Ginko (3 March 1851 – 23 June 1913) was the first registered female doctor to practise modern medicine in Japan.