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Medical implants may soon get better at preventing life-threatening clogs and bacterial infections thanks to an unusual coating that is being developed from mussels, according to researchers at Northwestern University. They have developed a two-sided coating: one side is a sticky glue based on adhesive proteins secreted by mussels, the other is a special repellant. While the sticky side is designed to attach securely to the surface of the implant, the repellant side prevents the build-up of cells and proteins that typically foul implant devices such as cardiac stents, urinary catheters and dialysis tubing.
Researchers in Leicester, England and Michigan will begin tests on a new cancer prevention drug, based on a natural compound found in red wine. The compound, resveratrol, is a natural agent found in grapes, peanuts and several berries. It is present in fruit juice from these berries and in wine. Consumption of resveratrol has been proposed as one possible explanation for the low incidence of cardiovascular disease in Southern European countries with high red wine consumption, and resveratrol has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activity in experimental models.
A compound that enables squirrels to hibernate may one day help minimize brain damage that results from stroke. In an animal model for stroke, delta opioid peptide reduced by as much as 75 percent the damage to the brain's striatum, the deeper region of the brain and a major target for strokes, according to researchers. In fact, evidence suggests that the compound, which puts cells in a temporary state of suspended animation, may help protect brain cells from the ravages of Parkinson's disease as well.