Researchers in Biomedical Informatics at IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute) and at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) have recently published a study in eLife showing that RNA called non-coding (IncRNA) plays an important role in the evolution of new proteins, some of which could have important cell functions yet to be discovered.
Ribosomes produce proteins from the instructions found in an RNA molecule. However, only 2% of the human genome is RNA containing information for the synthesis of proteins, meaning it is coding. Other parts of the genome that are transcribed could be “evolutionary noise”, parts of the DNA that are copied to RNA randomly but with no concrete biological function. Now, a new sequencing technique has revealed that many of these transcripts (IncRNAs) may also translate into proteins, leading to an intense debate.
Mental disorders and brain disease represent a high cost in Europe and around the world. Researchers from IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute) have recently published in the PLOS ONE journal the results of a study that estimates that the cost of disorders of the brain in Spain is the equivalent of 84 billion Euros per year. This figure is far higher than the Spanish expenditure in health, which was 73 billion Euros in 2012.
When referring to the cost of a disease, this not only includes the direct health cost – resources used for primary healthcare, specialised care, hospital stays, medication, preventive programmes, etc. –but also direct non-medical costs of these disorders and diseases –for instance, the cost of carers –and the indirect costs or potential loss of productivity for death, permanent or temporary disability, lost or decreased leisure, etc.
For this study, a group of nineteen disorders and diseases of the brain were included, encompassing neurological diseases –dementia, epilepsy, headache, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, strokes and neuromuscular diseases – and also mental diseases –anxiety disorders, humour disorders and psychotic disorders – to reach a global and individual estimate of their impact.