Why men may have more severe COVID-19 symptoms, and using bacteria to track contaminated food


Welcome, science. I've Casper June two thousand and twenty I'm Sarah Crespi. First up this speak staff writer Meredith. Bodman discusses a link between Corona. Virus, sex hormones and male pattern baldness. It turns out. This link might be behind the higher numbers of men dying from the infection next we have researcher Jason Chen he talks about a system for tracking objects using DNA. Bar coded bacterial spores. We spray the spores on something like lettuce, and then if you ever need to know where that led us came from, perhaps if it was contaminated with dangerous bacteria, you can collect the spores and read out the bar. Now, Ashraf writer Meredith Bodman. She wrote this week in science on a potential source of the male bias. We've been seeing in severe cases of Corona. Virus even corona virus deaths. Hi Meredith Hi Sarah. How are you? I'm okay I. GonNa, Say Okay for now this has been a mysterious, but persistent skew, and the number of deaths with regards to men. How big is the spy us? Well, it's considerable on. It's consistent from the very first days that we getting reports out of Ruhan China. Men have been made sicker by covid nineteen in the died at higher rates than women. From covid nineteen at the same time, children have been largely spared that two lines up with this theory that some researchers putting forward that Andrew Johns which are male hormones may have a role to play in how badly people get sick from woven So there's this new research linking sex hormones and the severity of coronavirus. Where did this idea come from? At first blush. It really landed with a paper that was published in cell online in early March. And it designated or describe a role for a particular enzyme that is bound in cell membranes called temperatures to. And it is an enzyme that cleaves the spy protein on the virus, and in doing that it allows the virus to enter host cells, so it's important for viral entry now. A bunch of prostate cancer researchers looked at the cell pay per and said Whoa. Wait a minute. We know that protein know that protein. They knew the protein because years ago. It was described as being culprit in prostate cancer, this very same t. m., P. R. S. S. two or temperature to enzyme in a mutated form. It was discovered early in this century was responsible for about fifty percent of prostate cancers PSA. Prostate researchers were intimately familiar with this this enzyme in one of the things. Things, they knew about it was that it was controlled by male hormones. At least in the prostate gland, known as Andrew Jackson's of which testosterone as the most famous, actually increased the production of this enzyme in the prostate gland when the enzyme was in a mutated form, it causes prostate cancer, basically in simple definition, and so from that you can take away that if you have more testosterone or other androgen, you're going to have more of temptress to, and so that's kind of the thinking behind this that you might have something that makes it easier for infection to take place, absolutely more tempus to on the cell membrane more opportunities for the virus to knock an inter-. It's almost that simple. Though, of course, it's way more complicated, but basically right and there's there's some other interesting observations that a link to this in your story, and one of them out relates to male pattern baldness. How does that fit in? There's not a clear scientific explanation for why it would be that a couple of studies in Spain have observed that man with male pattern baldness seemed to be over represented in male patients who are hospitalized with covid nineteen, and that's not related to age. No, interestingly, the peak baldness decade among these Spanish patients was in the fifties. Fifties whereas male baldness, typically as most common in the eighties or even older, and there's a link between baldness and temperatures. Well, that's what's not entirely clear. What is known is that one very powerful male hormone named dihydrotestosterone or D. H. T. for short, which is a derivative of testosterone, is abundant and thought to be causative of male pattern baldness. When there's lots of it in the SCALP, it's not causative on its own. It also take some genetic predisposition had a couple of conditions, but one of them is high levels of this hormone dht, and that is. Is the hormone that returning to the prostate we know binds androgen receptor, which in turn kicks up production of T.. N., P. R. S. to compress too

Coming up next