Catnip is for pleasure and purpose, according to a new study

The main bioactive compound in catnip seems to protect cats from mosquitoes. It might protect humans, too.

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  • For centuries, humans have observed that cats exhibit strange behaviors when exposed to catnip and silver vine.
  • A new study examined how the main bioactive compound in these plants affects cats' opioid systems and protects them against mosquito bites.
  • The findings suggest that the compound nepetalactol could be used to develop new mosquito repellents for humans.
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These are the world’s greatest threats in 2021

We look back at a year ravaged by a global pandemic, economic downturn, political turmoil and the ever-worsening climate crisis.

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Billions are at risk of missing out on the digital leap forward, as growing disparities challenge the social fabric.

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Ginger may guard against the progression of some autoimmune diseases

A new study on mice showed that ginger may counter certain autoimmune disorders such as lupus and antiphospholipid syndrome.

  • A new Michigan Medicine study on mice suggests that the primary bioactive compound of ginger root, 6-gingerol, could help counter the autoimmune disorders lupus and antiphospholipid syndrome.
  • The researchers found that the mice had lower levels of NETs (which play a role in the pathogenesis of lupus and antiphospholipid syndrome by stimulating autoantibody formation) after being giving 6-gingerol.
  • 6-gingerol won't be able to be the primary therapy for individuals with lupus or active antiphospholipid syndrome, but the research team is eager to see if the natural supplement offers help to those at high risk for developing the diseases.
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4 microbes may lead to new type 2 diabetes probiotics

A new study suggests that maintaining gut health to avoid diabetes may be little simpler than previously believed.

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  • Four out of trillions of gut microbes have been identified as being especially important for health.
  • The microbes may play a role in obesity that can result in type 2 diabetes.
  • Understanding the microbes' roles may lead to new probiotics for preventing and treating type 2 diabetes.
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New type of dual-acting antibiotic shows promise

A new antibiotic hits germs with a two pronged attack.

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  • Antibiotic resistance is a big problem, but not many new drugs are currently under development.
  • A recent discovery may give us a new antibiotic that is effective against a wide range of germs, including those resistant to other drugs.
  • The new drug's mechanism also appears to signal the immune system, helping to amplify its response.
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