Science and knowledge
New frog discovered in New York City
Why the 'Man in the Moon' faces Earth
Jilted fruit flies turn to alcohol
Fertilisers behind increase in N2O levels
Early Earth hazy one day, clear the next
Could air pollution be making us fat?
Frog skin protein may help fight superbugs
Electrotherapy dampens brain connections
Satellite images spot early settlements
Chemistry helps sperm find the right egg
Social butterflies find safety in numbers
Ibuprofen reduces altitude sickness: study
Mercury findings raise new questions
Megafauna collapse led to mega changes
New device invisible to magnetic fields
Travelling gnome answers weighty question
Study throws Moon theory up in the air
James Cameron reaches bottom of Pacific
Link builds between extremes and warming
Some chocolate-eaters have lower BMI
Dingoes, devils may be angels in disguise
Barefoot running less energy efficient
Dolphin males share human social network
Recycled spectacles twice that of new: study
Aspirin's fat burning mechanism found
It may be great for curing a splitting headache, but scientists have now discovered that aspirin also activates an enzyme that burns fat, a finding that could unlock its cancer fighting properties, according to a new study.

Previous research has shown that once ingested, aspirin breaks down into salicylate, a compound derived from plants such as willow bark, and used as a drug for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians recorded the medicinal use of willow bark in their manuscripts.

In the 1890s, pharmaceutics developed a modified form of salicylate to make it less irritating to the stomach - creating the drug aspirin.

More recently, research has known that salicylate triggers a molecular pathway that leads to pain relief.

Now a team led by Professor Grahame Hardie, a cell biologist at the University of Dundee in Scotland, has discovered how salicylate affects metabolism. They report their findings today in the journal Science.

Hardie and his team suspected that salicylate affected an enzyme known as AMPK, which is a key regulator of cell metabolism.

To test this, researchers compared a control group of mice, with another group that lacked a sub-unit of the AMPK enzyme. They injected both groups of mice with salicylate and measured the rate at which they utilised fat.

They found that the mice with AMPK were able to burn fat at a faster rate. This indicated that salicylate switches on AMPK, increasing the breakdown of fat.

"It's exciting that we've discovered salicylates are working in a new and different way to what we originally thought," says Hardie.
Implications for cancer

Hardie says recent studies have shown that people who take aspirin over long time periods appear to have a lower incidence of cancer. But doctors warn against prolonged aspirin use, which can cause stomach bleeding.

"I'm particularly interested in these protective effects against cancer," says Hardie. "Further research may help us discover another way of taking salicylate, other than aspirin, which has fewer side-effects."

He explains that anti-cancer effects may be due to the activity of AMPK, as diabetic drugs that target AMPK in cells are also associated with a reduced incidence of cancer.

Dr Briony Forbes, a biochemist at the University of Adelaide, says findings in this study are likely to explain recently identified protective effects against cancer by aspirin.

"The surprising finding that salicylate promotes AMPK activity also opens up exciting avenues for diabetes prevention and treatment."

The study was supported by the Wellcome Trust.

Для печати
Astronomers uncover stardust origins
Guns make people seem bigger
Traditional Chinese medicines under scrutiny
Baboons leave scientists spell-bound
Mars Viking robots 'found life'
Nothing helps create pure randomness
Jet lagged bees may help patient recovery
Study calls for regulating salt in fast foods
NASA clears SpaceX for space supply run
Egg size was dinos ultimate undoing
Peripheral vision snaps brain 'video' power
Study raises hopes of cure for baldness
Cosmic rays leave scientists in the dark
Bone-protecting protein discovered
Thylacine DNA reveals lacks of diversity
Aspirin's fat burning mechanism found
Polar bears are no new kids on the block
Calls back evolutionary gender theory
Asteroid impact pushes life underground
Arctic Ocean could be source of methane
Statins don't reduce melanoma risk
Facebook beauty is more than screen deep
Your brain could become your password
One hit of ecstasy 'resets body clock'
Antacid armour key to tetrapod survival
Fathers just as likely to get baby blues
Maths explains left-handed boxer success
Scientist claims to have found G-spot
Sprawling cities pressure environment
Fossil raindrops reveal early atmosphere
Fossil find reveals steps back in time
Report suggests new formula for Earth
Handprints may give away your height, gender
Monster solar tornadoes discovered
Study reveals why some soccer players dive
Teen brains undergo neural pruning
Martian dark spots reveal heart of glass
Cave holds earliest sign of fire-use
Stress may alter body's immune response
Japanese bees cook enemy in 'bee ball'
Tired locusts hold breath to rest their brains
X-rays shed new light on lung function
Mutant bird flu 'much less lethal'
T-rex had a giant feathered ancestor
Carbon dioxide ended last Ice Age: study
Saving ships from Titanic's fate
Dental x-rays linked to brain tumours
Fire-free farming in pre-Columbian Amazon
Teamwork made humans brainier: study
Drug data should be made public: report
Omega-3 pills may not help heart disease
Pigeons' sixth sense eludes scientists
Visit Statistics