Women have a reason to feel proud today as new research shows the reason why they tend to live longer than men is due to their cells. TheTelegraph reports that faults in a part of the ‘engine rooms’ of cells known as the mitochondria have a greater effect on men than women, according to research published in the journal Current Biology.
Mitochondria are inherited only from mothers, never from fathers, so they slip through the net of natural selection and there is no way to weed out mutations that damage a male’s prospects.
The Australian researchers, who made their discovery after studying fruit flies, say they will be doing further investigations to find out how men can arm themselves against the harmful mutations.
Another big story hitting the headlines today is all about a ‘spray-on skin’ developed by scientists to help chronic leg ulcers. According to reports in both The Telegraph and the BBC, the spray consists of skin cells suspended in blood-clotting proteins that can be sprayed on a wound.
US scientists found that patients with venous leg ulcers who received the spray were 52% more likely to see their ulcer clear up after three months than untreated patients.
Dr Herbert Slade, one of the authors of the study of 228 patients, published in the Lancet, said that the treatment had the ‘potential to vastly improve recovery times and overall recovery from leg ulcers without the need for a skin graft’.
Meanwhile, research carried out closer to home has revealed the long-term effects of meningitis. The Guardian reports that researchers from University College London who studied children who had the meningococcal group B disease found that one in three youngsters who are treated for the disease will suffer mental health problems, epilepsy or learning difficulties.
One in five children will have anxiety or behavioural disorders, while some are five times more likely to have speech and communication problems. The disease has also been found to effect children’s long- and short-term memory, with some left with a borderline low IQ.