The colour of dragonfly communities reacts to seasonal variation in solar radiation. Over the last 30 years, however, this colour pattern has changed – probably as a result of climate change.
From eye problems and thunderstorm asthma to anxieties about the future – Part 2 of the Status Report on Climate Change
The second part of the new German status report „Climate Change and Health“ focuses on non-communicable diseases. The six articles in the fourth issue of the Journal of Health Monitoring ( S4/2023) range from health risks due to heat and other extreme weather events, the influence of climate change on allergic diseases and mental health, tothe health consequences of changed UV radiation and increased air pollution. The 37 authors from 23 institutions review diverse risk and protective factors, risk groups, the impact of climate change on health care and infrastructures, and provide recommendations for action.
„Climate change is the greatest challenge facing humanity“ – new status report on climate change and health
More heat-related deaths, new and increasing infectious diseases, increased exposure to allergens, a rise in antibiotic resistance, more lung diseases as a result of increasing air pollution, more skin cancer due to increased UV radiation – these are some of the negative consequences of climate change for public health. A new report, coordinated by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), provides an overview of the health impacts of climate change and ways to counteract them. The publication was coordinated through the project KlimGesundAkt, which is funded by the Federal Ministry of Health.
Global study by the University of Bayreuth shows influences of climate change on terrestrial ecosystems
In a study published in Nature Geoscience, plant ecologists at the University of Bayreuth have shown how global climate change is impacting the Earth’s terrestrial ecosystems. Changes in vegetation activity could in most cases be explained by temperature and soil moisture changes, while changes in solar radiation and atmospheric CO₂ levels seldom played a dominant role. In some of the ecosystems studied, years of increased vegetation activity have been followed by decreases. Such trend reversals raise the question of whether terrestrial ecosystems will continue to make large contributions to the sequestration of atmospheric carbon.
Anti-inflammatory, therapeutic effects, but also risks – the radioactive noble gas radon contains both at the same time. Radon and especially its short-living progeny are considered to be responsible for about half of the annual radiation exposure from natural sources and are classified as carcinogenic. Researchers from the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung now have proven in a paper published in the “International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health” that face masks – both FFP2 and surgical masks – strongly reduce lung exposure and thus the dose.
It is still a glimpse into the future: Astronauts could be put into artificial hibernation and in this state be better protected from cosmic radiation. At present, there are already promising approaches to follow up such considerations. An international research team led by the Biophysics Department of the GSI Helmholtzzentrum in Darmstadt now has found decisive indications of the possible benefits of artificial hibernation for radiation resistance. The research partners from Germany, Japan, Italy, the UK and the USA have recently published their results in „Scientific Reports“, a journal of the Nature Publishing Group.
Irradiation with fast protons is a more effective and less invasive cancer treatment than X-rays. However, modern proton therapy requires large particle accelerators, which has experts investigating alternative accelerator concepts, such as laser systems to accelerate protons. Such systems are deployed in preclinical studies to pave the way for optimal radiation therapy. A research team has now successfully tested irradiation with laser protons on animals.
Researchers have uncovered how a process involved in the regeneration of tissue damaged by radiation can aid the spread of cancer.
Light therapy may accelerate the healing of skin damage from radiation therapy by up to 50%, according to a recent study.
Recent discoveries by stem cell scientists may help make cancer treatment more efficient and shorten the time it takes for people to recover from radiation and chemotherapy.
A new study shows that treatment with an immune-boosting protein called interleukin 7 (IL-7) in combination with radiation improves survival in mice with glioblastoma. The study in mice suggests promise for a phase 1/2 clinical trial that is investigating a long-acting type of IL-7 in patients with glioblastoma.
Scientists describe T. adhaerens‘ unusual behavior, including its capacity to repair its DNA even after significant radiation damage and to extrude injured cells, which later die. The findings advance scientific investigations of natural cancer-suppression mechanisms across life. Insights gleaned from these evolutionary adaptations may find their way into new and more effective therapies for this leading killer.
Immune checkpoint inhibitors strengthen the immune response against cancer cells, but the medications are ineffective against certain tumors. Results from a new clinical trial indicate that adding radiation may overcome this resistance to immune checkpoint inhibitors.
Which are the best applications for tumor therapy with charged particles to realize its great potential for the future? In which cases can it be used most effectively? These aspects belong to the most exciting questions in radiation biology and medical physics. A group of top-class experts now evaluated and summarized the state-of-the-art of heavy ion radiotherapy and presented a review article in the world-renowned online journal „Nature Reviews“. Main author of the text with the title „Physics and biomedical challenges of cancer therapy with accelerated heavy ions“ is Professor Marco Durante, Head of the GSI Biophysics Research Department.
Studying mice, researchers have developed a method of stem cell transplantation that does not require radiation or chemotherapy. Instead, the strategy takes an immunotherapeutic approach, combining the targeted elimination of blood-forming stem cells in the bone marrow with immune-modulating drugs to prevent the immune system from rejecting the new donor stem cells.
Treatment with arginine, one of the amino-acid building blocks of proteins, enhanced the effectiveness of radiation therapy in cancer patients with brain metastases, in a proof-of-concept, randomized clinical trial.
Researchers have developed a new test to more easily diagnose medulloblastoma, the most common malignant childhood brain tumor. The test — which can distinguish between extremely high-risk medulloblastoma cases that need radiation therapy from those that are lower-risk and do not need radiation — could help pave the way for personalized treatment options for children suffering from the disease. It relies on an antibody-based technique called immunohistochemistry which is widely available in clinical laboratories around the world.
New X-ray technology first used with patients – Dark-field X-ray technology improves diagnosis of pulmonary ailments
For the first time, researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have successfully used a new X-ray method for respiratory diagnostics with patients. Dark-field X-rays visualize early changes in the alveolar structure caused by the lung disease COPD and require only one fiftieth of the radiation dose typically applied in X-ray computed tomography. This permits broad medical application in early detection and treatment follow-up of respiratory ailments.
Researchers fabricate gold nanoparticles with a rapidly decaying radioisotope that can be internalized by cancer cells. Because the radiation remains strongly localized, high doses can be administered without concern for side effects. This research may lead to safer and more effective treatments for many types of cancer.
Known as pediatric radiation-induced high-grade gliomas (RIGs), this specific type of brain tumor is caused by cranial radiation therapy for other cancers, most often brain cancers. They account for nearly 4% of all childhood brain tumor deaths, but there have not been many studies on RIGs and how to treat them.
New research suggests that radiation therapy can reprogram heart muscle cells to what appears to be a younger state, fixing electrical problems that cause a life-threatening arrhythmia without the need for a long-used, invasive procedure.
Cancer physicians are pioneering a new PULSAR radiation-therapy strategy that improves tumor control compared with traditional daily therapy.
As the complexity of radiation therapy has grown, so too has the amount of data that goes into treatment machines. With more data comes more opportunity for errors in data transfer. A medical physics researcher is working to make those errors less likely.