Scientists at Cincinnati Children’s used human intestinal organoids grown from stem cells to discover how our bodies control the absorption of nutrients from the food we eat. They further found that one hormone might be able to reverse a congenital disorder in babies who cannot adequately absorb nutrients and need intravenous feeding to survive.
Heather A. McCauley, PhD, a research associate at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, found that the hormone peptide YY, also called PYY, can reverse congenital malabsorption in mice. With a single PYY injection per day, 80% of the mice survived. Normally, only 20% to 30% survive.
This indicates PYY might be a possible therapeutic for people with severe malabsorption.
Poor absorption of macronutrients is a global health concern, underlying ailments such as malnutrition, intestinal infections and short-gut syndrome. So, identification of factors regulating nutrient absorption has significant therapeutic potential, the researchers noted.
When a baby reaches for one stuffed animal in a room filled with others just like it, that seemingly random choice is very bad news for those unpicked toys: the baby has likely just decided she doesn’t like what she didn’t choose.
Though researchers have long known that adults build unconscious biases over a lifetime of making choices between things that are essentially the same, the new Johns Hopkins University finding that even babies engage in this phenomenon demonstrates that this way of justifying choice is intuitive and somehow fundamental to the human experience.
“The act of making a choice changes how we feel about our options,” said co-author Alex Silver, a former Johns Hopkins undergraduate who’s now a graduate student in cognitive psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. “Even infants who are really just at the start of making choices for themselves have this bias.”
An international team led by current and former McMaster University researchers has developed an artificial lung to support pre-term and other newborn babies in respiratory distress.
The group has proven the concept using a live piglet, a major step along the route toward approval for use in humans, where the portable device could save many lives and prevent catastrophic damage by taking up some of the placenta’s role in oxygenating the blood until babies are able to breathe independently.
“This technology, which is complicated to create but simple to use, is going to create a situation where more and more of these babies can be saved, and that is what is driving all of us to do this,” says Ravi Selvaganapathy, a professor of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at McMaster who holds the Canada Research Chair in Biomicrofluidics.
The device, designed to be connected to a newborn’s umbilical cord, uses