Daniel Lemire's blog

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Science and Technology links (May 18th 2019)

  1. Though depression has genetic components, the previous studies that identified “depression genes” are probably all bogus. They are the results of poorly conducted research, using underpowered studies to reach untenable conclusions.
  2. Many species of salmons die shortly after procreation, a bit like annual plants. Both can be viewed as an example of programmed aging and death. It turns out that if salmons gets infected by a larval parasite, the salmon will go on to live much older. (Credit: P. D. Mangan)
  3. The blood plasma of young and old mammals differ. We believe that old mammals have higher levels of “aging agents” in their blood. It appears that VCAM1 is one such agent in the blood plasma of old mice. Removing VCAM1 has a rejuvenating effect (in mice):

Systemic administration of anti-VCAM1 antibody or genetic ablation of Vcam1 in BECs counteracts the detrimental effects of plasma from aged individuals on young brains and reverses aging aspects, including microglial reactivity and cognitive deficits, in the brains of aged mice. Together, these findings establish brain endothelial VCAM1 at the blood–brain barrier as a possible target to treat age-related neurodegeneration.

(Source: Nature)

  1. Fibromyalgia, a terrible and slightly mysterious disease, might be closely related to diabetes.
  2. You are almost 50 times more likely to undergo harmful treatments after prostate cancer test than to have your life extended:

1410 men would need to be screened and 48 additional cases of prostate cancer would need to be treated to prevent one death from prostate cancer

  1. In a large colorectal cancer study (over 40,000 people) that went on for 18 years, they found that 26.8% of the people offered screening died while 26.7% of the people not offered the screening died.