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Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have discovered a mechanism through which meningitis-causing bacteria can evade our immune system. In laboratory tests, they found that Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae respond to increasing temperatures by producing safeguards that keep them from getting killed. This may prime their defenses against our immune system and increase their chances of survival, the researchers say. The findings are published in PLoS Pathogens.
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Researchers at Karolinska Institutet and the Public Health Agency of Sweden have studied newborn babies whose mothers tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 during pregnancy or childbirth. The results show that although babies born of test-positive mothers are more likely to be born early, extremely few were infected with COVID-19. The study, which is published in the esteemed journal JAMA, supports the Swedish recommendation not to separate mother and baby after delivery.
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Be resilient, work hard – and have fun! In a conversation about their journey to becoming professors, Erika Franzén and Maria Hagströmer gave good advice to junior researchers.
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Niklas Björkström at the Department of Medicine, Huddinge (MedH), Karolinska Institutet, receives the Ascending Investigator Grant at 13.5 M from Novo Nordisk Fonden for his project "Dissecting immune-endocrine mechanisms affecting endometrial physiology and pregnancy outcome".
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In almost ten per cent of myocardial infarctions, no obvious cause in the coronary artery can be found. Some of the patients are diagnosed with broken-heart syndrome, while others are left without a diagnosis. A new study from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden suggests that early magnetic resonance (MR) imaging of the heart can greatly increase the rate of diagnosis. The study has been published in the journal JACC Cardiovascular Imaging.
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Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have found links between certain blood groups and a total of 49 diseases, including a new finding that having blood group B seems to be a protective factor against kidney stones. The study, which includes data on more than five million people and over 1,000 diseases, confirms previously identified connections between certain blood groups and increased risk of blood clots, bleeding conditions or pregnancy-induced hypertension. The result is published in eLife.
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Researchers at the Centre for Psychiatry Research at Karolinska Institutet have completed a large study evaluating a screening instrument for assessing the risk of suicide in connection with a visit to an emergency psychiatric clinic. The researchers found a link between screening score and suicide risk a short time after the emergency visit. The study is published in the journal Psychological Medicine.
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This weekend marks five years since KI alumnus, researcher, and Swedish citizen, Ahmadreza Djalali was arrested and imprisoned in connection with a lecture tour in Iran. After a trial that can only be considered a legal scandal, with fabricated accusations and with no real chance of defending himself, Djalali was sentenced to death.
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Karolinska Institutet has been granted renewed funding from the Swedish Institute (SI) to implement two capacity building training programmes for professionals in Sub-Saharan Africa. The training programmes will be offered online during 2021 - 2022.
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On 13 April, KI Professor Sten Linnarsson was elected member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
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Although hemorrhoids are a common health problem, relatively little is known about the field, possibly because many people find them difficult to talk about. Researchers linked to Karolinska Institutet have been involved in a study that has analysed the genomes of almost a million people and found previously unknown causes of severe hemorrhoids. The study, which is published in the journal Gut, also reveals links to other gastrointestinal diseases.
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New biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease are a priority area for researchers seeking to learn more about the disease and find possible methods of early diagnosis. Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have now studied a new PET tracer that is an important diagnostic tool for the disease. The study on the tracer substance BU99008, which is published in Molecular Psychiatry, can play a key part in the early identification of signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
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Patients with atherosclerosis today usually receive preventive treatment only after a heart attack or stroke because diagnostic methods that can identify individuals and atherosclerotic plaques with high-risk are lacking. In addition, the choice of treatment, both surgical and medical, is based on large patient studies and the possibilities for individualizing treatment are small.
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Malin Nygren-Bonnier, docent and head of the Division of Physiotherapy has been awarded a research grant from the Swedish Heart-Lung Foundation.
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Researchers from the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at Karolinska Institutet, together with researchers from Uppsala University, the University of Eastern Finland and King's College London, have been awarded a research grant from Foundation for Research in Rheumatology (Foreum), for their project entitled "Autoimmune and molecular mechanisms for pain and fatigue in fibromyalgia".
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The international collaboration project “Management of chronIc cardiometabolic disease and treatment discontinuity in adult adhd patients” (TIMESPAN) has received a large grant from the European Commission Horizon 2020 programme.
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New World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines and handbook on systematic screening for active tuberculosis were published in March 2021. The handbook cites two studies from PhD students Olivia Biermann’s doctoral thesis, which she collaborated on with researchers from the department and members of the IMPACT TB project.
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Hans-Gustaf Ljunggren, Director, will participate in the digital event - Cell & Gene Therapy 2021, May 18-19. Hans-Gustaf will present one of the Competence Center’s projects - Autologous NK Cells as Consolidation Therapy in Multiple Myeloma.
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The European Renal Association – European Dialysis and Transplant Association has just announced their annual awards and Professor Juan-Jesus Carrero from the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Karolinska Institutet will receive the ERA-EDTA Award for Research Excellence for his work in kidney epidemiology, on June 7, 2021 at the 58th ERA-EDTA Congress.

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Last autumn, KI announced an new internal funding for work on sustainable development initiatives. After fierce competition, five applications have now been selected to share one million SEK.
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The causes of the serious muscle disease ALS still remain unknown. Now, researchers at Karolinska Institutet and KTH Royal Institute of Technology, among others, have examined a type of cell in the brain blood vessels that could explain the unpredictable disease origins and dynamics. The results indicate a hitherto unknown connection between the nervous and vascular systems. The study, published in Nature Medicine, has potential implications for earlier diagnoses and future treatments.
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Karolinska Institutet has signed an agreement with Wellcome Leap that enabled KI to join the Leap Health Breakthrough Network. This global network comprises many leading academic and research institutions across six continents, that are committed to solving the world’s most serious global health challenges.
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Since March 2020, healthcare has acted "front line" in the fight against COVID-19. Many KI students have worked extra in healthcare during this period, and at the same time, they had to adapt to new routines with distance learning. One of the students who managed to juggle distance learning with an extra job within healthcare is the medical student Oscar Dwyer.
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Francesca Castoldi, at the Department of Biosciences and Nutrition (BioNut), KI, has been awarded a research grant of 300 000 SEK from the Alex and Eva Wallström Foundation for scientific research and education.
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Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, NAFLD, is associated with several health risks. According to a new registry study led by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, NAFLD is linked to a 17-fold increased risk of liver cancer. The findings, published in Hepatology, underscore the need for improved follow-up of NAFLD patients with the goal of reducing the risk of cancer.
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Histones are tiny proteins that bind to DNA and hold information that can help turn on or off individual genes. Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have developed a technique that makes it possible to examine how different versions of histones bind to the genome in tens of thousands of individual cells simultanously. The technique was applied to the mouse brain and can be used to study epigenetics at a single-cell level in other complex tissues. The study is published in Nature Biotechnology.
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Good cholesterol, which is transported in HDLs (high-density lipoproteins), plays a key part in the prevention of atherosclerosis and thus the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, according to a new paper co-authored by researchers at Karolinska Institutet and published in the journal Circulation, the anti-inflammatory properties of HDLs could be an even better biomarker for future cardiovascular events.
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New weapon in the fight against Covid-19, while waiting for the vaccine. Listen to what Professor Qiang Pan-Hammarström at the Department of Biosciences and Nutrition, Karolinska Institutet, says in an interview in the newspaper Expressen.
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A study involving researchers at Karolinska Institutet and IMBA – Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences – demonstrates how zika and herpes viruses can lead to brain malformations during early pregnancy. The researchers used 3D models of human brains to study which mechanisms are involved in virus-induced microcephaly, a condition where babies are born with smaller-than-usual heads. The results are published in the journal Cell Stem Cell.
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Jaakko Patrakka and his research group at the Department of Laboratory Medicine have together with Professor Rickard Sandberg's group at the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology got a publication accepted in Nature Communications about single cell sequencing unravels molecular identity of rare renal cell types.
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Hi there Emma Granström and congratulations to recently defending your thesis "From patient to person – Perspectives on the role of quality data, patient experience and patient involvement in the improvement of chronic care".
Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself and your research?
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Ten researchers at Karolinska Institutet are granted funding through the Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation's latest funding call, which in total distributes a little more than SEK 65 million. The grants include a six-year research position and several postdoctoral positions.
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Eight months after mild COVID-19, one in ten people still has at least one moderate to severe symptom that is perceived as having a negative impact on their work, social or home life. The most common long-term symptoms are a loss of smell and taste and fatigue. This is according to a study published in the journal JAMA, conducted by researchers at Danderyd Hospital and Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.
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On April 29, KI will host a digital event focusing on cancer research, where researchers and professors will gather to talk about their ground-breaking research. Yvonne Wengström is one of the organizers and hopes for strong participation and an interactive dialogue on research in the field.
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Santhilal Subhash at the Department of Biosciences and Nutrition has received a three-year grant for post-doctoral studies in medical science from the Swedish Society for Medical Research.
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As the pandemic lingers on, more and more emphasis is being placed on the indirect, negative effects (i.e. collateral damage) of the pandemic and related restrictions. Sweden took a relatively lenient approach towards mitigating the pandemic during the spring of 2020, relying on voluntary adherence to recommendations and encouraging elderly to stay at home, avoid social gatherings and public transportation, and to remain physically active outdoors in a safe manner.
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The European Commission has chosen COVID-X as project of the month. The project is supporting SMEs to advance their solutions in the fight against COVID-19.
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The symposium is a joint mini symposium between the NextGenNK partners Karolinska Institutet and Sanofi.
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New findings show that the effects of the menstrual cycle may not be limited to the endometrium, but can also affect the oral health.
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Earlier studies have shown that supplementary vitamin D seems to provide a certain degree of protection against respiratory infections. A new study involving researchers from Karolinska Institutet has now made the most comprehensive synthesis to date of this connection. The study, which is published in the journal Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, confirms that vitamin D protects against respiratory infections, a result that can have significance for the healthcare services.
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As one of two partners from KI in the CUREX project, LIME/HIC invites you to a workshop on Cyber Hygiene, and especially on the human aspects related to raising the cybersecurity and data privacy awareness of the workforce in the healthcare sector.
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Infertility is a well-known sequela of cancer treatment. Despite guidelines recommending early discussions about risk of fertility impairment and fertility preservation options, not all patients of reproductive age receive such information.
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Joanna Kvist and Maria Eriksson has been appointed professors at the Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institutet.
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The standard treatment for advanced metastatic prostate cancer (PCa) is androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). And even if this is efficient in the short term, 1/3 of PCa will become resistant to ADT and develop castration-resistant prostate cancer. A new study, by Karolinska Institutet and others, shows that estrogen receptor β (ERβ) agonists together with ADT could be considered useful in the treatment.
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Researchers from Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital, and The Wenner-Gren Institute at Stockholm University have conducted research within the field of bacterial meningitis and found how bacteria interact with neurons causing neuronal cell death. The results of their study, which started in 2019, were recently published in PloS Pathogens.
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Cholinesterase inhibitors are a group of drugs recommended for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, but their effects on cognition have been debated and few studies have investigated their long-term effects. A new study involving researchers from Karolinska Institutet and published in the journal Neurology shows persisting cognitive benefits and reduced mortality for up to five years after diagnosis.
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Hi there Ying Shang, PhD student at the Aging Research Center (ARC). You will be defending your thesis entitled “How can older adults combat diabetes to achieve a longer and healthier life?” on 16 April 2021. Could you tell us a little more about it?
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Enoch Yi-Tung Chen has been awarded the Swedish Society for Medical Statistics (Föreningen för Medicinsk Statistik, FMS) prize for best student project in the area of medical statistics during 2020. The prize, which includes an award of 5000 SEK, was announced at the FMS annual general meeting on 25 March 2021.
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An international consortium that includes researchers at Karolinska Institutet has developed a ‘double antibody’ that targets two different sites of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, thereby preventing the virus from mutating to resist the therapy. A study published in the scientific journal Nature shows that the antibody potently neutralises SARS-CoV-2 and its variants and protects against COVID-19 in mice.
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Authors: Anna Beronius, Penny Nymark and Emma Wincent
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2021-06-08