1 March 2010
Dietary factors influence ovarian cancer survival rates
2009 estimates projected that in the United States alone 21,550 new cases of ovarian cancer would be diagnosed and 14,600 women would die of the disease. Often diagnosed in late stages, ovarian cancer has an asymptomatic onset and a relatively low 5-year survival rate of about 45%. Consequently investigation linked to survivorship is critical. A study published in the March 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, is among the first to evaluate possible diet associations with ovarian cancer survival. Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago determined that there is a strong relationship between healthy eating and prolonged survival.
If you take simvastatin to control cholesterol, watch out for infection says new report
Simvastatin might help us control our cholesterol, but when it comes to infection, it's an entirely different story says a new research study published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology. In the research report, scientists from Italy show that simvastatin delivers a one-two punch to the immune system. First it impairs the ability of specialized immune cells, called macrophages, to kill pathogens. Then, it enhances production of molecules, called cytokines, which trigger and sustain inflammation. more
Preventing or reversing inflammation after heart attack, stroke may require 2-pronged approach
Researchers at Albany Medical College are releasing results of a study this week that they say will help refocus the search for new drug targets aimed at preventing or reversing the devastating tissue inflammation that results after heart attack and stroke. more
Regular analgesic use increases hearing loss in men
In a study published in the March 2010 issue of The American Journal of Medicine, researchers determined that regular use of aspirin, acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) increases the risk of hearing loss in men, particularly in younger men, below age 60. more
Hormone thought to slow aging associated with increased risk of cancer death
According to a new study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), older men with high levels of the hormone IGF-I (insulin-like growth factor 1) are at increased risk of cancer death, independent of age, lifestyle and cancer history.
UM School of Medicine finds prenatal cocaine exposure not severely damaging to growth, learning
Children exposed to cocaine in the womb face serious consequences from the drug, but fortunately not in certain critical physical and cognitive areas as previously believed, according to a new comprehensive review of research on the subject from scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. When a pregnant woman uses cocaine, it can interrupt the flow of nutrients and oxygen to the baby, putting such children at risk for premature birth, low birth weight and many other problems. more
Researchers determine how ATP, molecule bearing 'the fuel of life,' is broken down in cells
Researchers at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center have figured out how ATP is broken down in cells, providing for the first time a clear picture of the key reaction that allows cells in all living things to function and flourish.
27 February 2010
New cancer treatment gives hope to lymphoma and leukemia patients
Cancer researchers have high hopes for a new therapy for patients with certain types of lymphoma and leukemia.
Increasing neurogenesis might prevent drug addiction and relapse
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center hope they have begun paving a new pathway in the fight against drug dependence. Their hypothesis – that increasing the normally occurring process of making nerve cells might prevent addiction – is based on a rodent study demonstrating that blocking new growth of specific brain nerve cells increases vulnerability for cocaine addiction and relapse. more
Gene signature may improve colon cancer treatment
A gene signature, first identified in mouse colon cancer cells, may help identify patients at risk of colon cancer recurrence, according to a recent study by Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center researchers. more
The most frequent error in medicine
The most frequent error in medicine seems to occur nearly one out of three times a patient is referred to a specialist. A new study found that nearly a third of patients age 65 and older referred to a specialist are not scheduled for appointments and therefore do not receive the treatment more
Breast cancer screening: No added value through mammography
Do we need a revision of current recommendations for breast cancer screening? According to a recent prospective multicenter cohort study published in the "Journal of Clinical Oncology", this appears advisable at least for young women carrying an increased risk of breast cancer. The results of the EVA trial confirm once more that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is substantially more accurate for early diagnosis of breast cancer than digital mammography or breast ultrasound: MRI is three times more sensitive for breast cancer than digital mammography. For the EVA trial, almost 700 women were enrolled.
Scanning for skin cancer: Infrared system looks for deadly melanoma
Johns Hopkins researchers have developed a noninvasive infrared scanning system to help doctors determine whether pigmented skin growths are benign moles or melanoma, a lethal form of cancer. more
Smoking significantly increases risk of aneurysm in people with certain genes
For people who carry common gene variants, cigarette smoking greatly increases the risk that a blood vessel in the brain will weaken and balloon out – called an aneurysm – which could be life-threatening if it ruptures, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2010.
26 February 2010
Personalized medicine in warfarin therapy
Researchers from the Ohio State University have developed a rapid, multiplexed genotyping method to identify the single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that affect warfarin dose. The related report by Yang et al, "Rapid Genotyping of SNPs Influencing Warfarin Drug Response by SELDI-TOF Mass Spectrometry," appears in the March 2010 issue of the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics.
Accelerated radiation therapy reduces toxicity in patients with advanced head and neck cancers
Using an accelerated, shorter course of radiation therapy for patients with advanced head and neck cancer allows doctors to reduce the amount of chemotherapy, thus reducing toxicity, according to a study presented at the Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium, sponsored by AHNS, ASCO, ASTRO and SNM. more
Childhood stress such as abuse or emotional neglect can result in structural brain changes
New research using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) shows that childhood stress such as abuse or emotional neglect, in particular when combined with genetic factors, can result in structural brain changes, rendering these people more vulnerable to developing depression. The study led by scientists at Trinity College Dublin has just been published in the international scientific journal, Neuropsychopharmacology. more
Effective prostate cancer treatment discovery
Monash University biomedical scientists have identified a new way to treat castrate resistant cells in prostate cancer sufferers – the most common cancer in Australian men. more
Why symptoms of schizophrenia emerge in young adulthood
In reports of two new studies, researchers led by Johns Hopkins say they have identified the mechanisms rooted in two anatomical brain abnormalities that may explain the onset of schizophrenia and the reason symptoms don't develop until young adulthood. Both types of anatomical glitches are influenced by a gene known as DISC1, whose mutant form was first identified in a Scottish family with a strong history of schizophrenia and related mental disorders. The findings could lead to new ways to treat, prevent or modify the disorder or its symptoms.
Notch-blocking drugs kill brain cancer stem cells, yet multiple therapies may be needed
Working with mice, Johns Hopkins scientists who tested drugs intended to halt growth of brain cancer stem cells – a small population of cells within tumors that perpetuate cancer growth – conclude that blocking these cells may be somewhat effective, but more than one targeted drug attack may be needed to get the job done. more
Emerging tick-borne disease
Stories of environmental damage and their consequences always seem to take place far away and in another country, usually a tropical one with lush rainforests and poison dart frogs.
25 February 2010
Children can have recurrent strokes
Children can have strokes, and the strokes can recur, usually within a month, according to pediatric researchers. Unfortunately, the strokes often go unrecognized the first time, and the child does not receive treatment before the recurrence.
Rapamycin rescues learning, memory in Alzheimer's mouse model
Rapamycin, a drug that keeps the immune system from attacking transplanted organs, may have another exciting use: fighting Alzheimer's disease. more
Stem cells restore sight in mouse model of retinitis pigmentosa
An international research team led by Columbia University Medical Center successfully used mouse embryonic stem cells to replace diseased retinal cells and restore sight in a mouse model of retinitis pigmentosa. This strategy could potentially become a new treatment for retinitis pigmentosa, a leading cause of blindness that affects approximately one in 3,000 to 4,000 people, or 1.5 million people worldwide. more
Total fat, trans fat linked to higher incidence of ischemic stroke
Post-menopausal women who reported consuming the most daily dietary fat had a 40 percent higher incidence of clot-caused strokes compared to women who ate the least amount, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2010. more
Vitamin B3 shows early promise in treatment of stroke
An early study suggests that vitamin B3 or niacin, a common water-soluble vitamin, may help improve neurological function after stroke, according to Henry Ford Hospital researchers.
An electrifying discovery: New material to harvest electricity from body movements
When a gene implicated in human autism is disabled in mice, the rodents show learning problems and obsessive, repetitive behaviors, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found. more
Dementia in extreme elderly population expected to become epidemic according to the 90+ study
University of California researchers found that the incidence rate for all causes of dementia in people age 90 and older is 18.2% annually and significantly increases with age in both men and women. This research, called "The 90+ Study," is one of only a few to examine dementia in this age group, and the first to have sufficient participation of centenarians. Findings of the study appear in the February issue of Annals of Neurology, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American Neurological Association.
24 February 2010
Protecting the brain from a deadly genetic disease
Huntington's disease (HD) is a cruel, hereditary condition that leads to severe physical and mental deterioration, psychiatric problems and eventually, death. Currently, there are no treatments to slow down or stop it. HD sufferers are born with the disease although they do not show symptoms until late in life. In a new study published in The Journal of Neuroscience, Stephen Ferguson and Fabiola Ribeiro of Robarts Research Institute at The University of Western Ontario identified a protective pathway in the brain that may explain why HD symptoms take so long to appear. The findings could also lead to new treatments for HD.
Gene regulation: Can we stomach it?
A breakthrough in decoding gene regulation of Helicobacter pylori has been made by an international research team led by Jörg Vogel of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin. Using a newly developed sequencing technique, the re-searchers discovered 60 small ribonucleic acids (sRNAs) - tiny RNA-particles which can regulate genes - in the genome of this human pathogen. These findings could facilitate the development of new therapeutic strategies against this wide-spread pathogen. more
Prednisolone not beneficial in most cases of community-acquired pneumonia
Patients hospitalized with mild to moderate community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) should not be routinely prescribed prednisolone, a corticosteroid, as it is associated with a recurrence of symptoms after its withdrawal, according to the first randomized double-blind clinical trial to address the subject. more
SIBLING proteins may predict oral cancer
The presence of certain proteins in premalignant oral lesions may predict oral cancer development, Medical College of Georgia researchers said. more
Startling new childhood asthma data
Researchers from The George Washington University, School of Public Health and Health Services (GW) said today that asthma, a largely manageable and chronic disease, is on the rise in America and released new data on the magnitude of the asthma crisis, the surging cost of treatment, and the more than 1 million children with asthma who are uninsured.
Gene mutation is linked to autism-like symptoms in mice, UT Southwestern researchers find
When a gene implicated in human autism is disabled in mice, the rodents show learning problems and obsessive, repetitive behaviors, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found. more
Arsenic exposure activates an oncogenic signaling pathway; leads to increased cancer risk
Researchers have found a new oncogenic signaling pathway by which the environmental toxin arsenic may lead to adverse health effects, including bladder cancer. These study results are published in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
23 February 2010
New synthetic supplement improves memory and staves off age-related memory loss
Those who live in industrialized countries have easy access to healthy food and nutritional supplements, but magnesium deficiencies are still common. That's a problem because new research from Tel Aviv University suggests that magnesium, a key nutrient for the functioning of memory, may be even more critical than previously thought for the neurons of children and healthy brain cells in adults.
Husbands’ hostile, anti-social behaviors increase wives’ symptoms of depression, MU researchers find
In the United States, nearly 10 percent of the population suffers from a depressive disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. While the causes of depression vary, a new study at the University of Missouri reveals that marital hostility is a contributing factor. MU researcher, Christine Proulx, found that husbands’ hostile and anti-social behaviors increased their wives’ symptoms of depression over time. more
Synthetic lethality: A new way to kill cancer cells
Ovarian and breast cancer treatments being developed that mix a protein inhibitor and traditional anticancer drugs are showing signs of success, according to a new review for Faculty of 1000 Biology Reports. more
MRI: Non-invasive diagnostic tool for diagnosing testicular cancer
Researchers have found that non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a good diagnostic tool for the evaluation and staging of testicular cancer and may improve patient care by sparing some men unnecessary surgery, according to a study in the March issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology (www.ajronline.org). more
IOM report declares high blood pressure a neglected disease, calls for strategies to change Americans' lifestyles and diets to curb hypertension
Public health officials and health care providers need to step up their efforts to reduce Americans' increasing rates of high blood pressure and better treat those with the condition, which triggers more than one-third of heart attacks and almost half of heart failures in the United States each year, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine.
Tumor mechanism identified
Researchers from the Peninsula Medical School in Plymouth (UK), the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, Cornell University in New York, Weil Medical College in New York and the Center for Neural Tumour Research in Los Angeles, have for the first time identified a key mechanism that makes certain cells become tumorous in the brain. The resulting tumours occur most often spontaneously but can also occur in numbers as part of the inherited disease Neurofibromatosis type 2. more
New DNA technique leads to a breakthrough in child cancer research
Researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden and Karolinska Institutet have used novel technology to reveal the different genetic patterns of neuroblastoma, an aggressive form of childhood cancer. This discovery may lead to significant advances in the treatment of this malignant disease, which mainly affects small children.
22 February 2010
Common gene variant may increase risk for a type of cardiac arrhythmia
An international research team has identified a common gene variant associated with a form of the irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation. In their report in the journal Nature Genetics, being published online, the investigators describe finding that variations affecting a protein that may help control the heart's electrical activity appear to increase the risk of what is called lone atrial fibrillation (AF), a type seen in younger individuals with no other form of heart disease.
When the heart gets out of step
Atrial fibrillation is a cardiac arrhythmia – a chronic irregularity of heartbeat – which affects an estimated 1 million people in Germany. Although the condition is not acutely life-threatening, it does increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses, such as cardiac insufficiency, stroke and dementia. In the third of a series of genomewide asssociation studies, an international team of researchers, led by LMU physician PD Dr. Stefan Kääb, now reports the identification of a new gene locus that has a significant influence on risk for atrial fibrillation. The product of this gene is a so-called potassium channel, which plays a role in coordinating the electrical impulses that control heartbeat. more
Inadequate access to opioid-based pain relief is a human rights issue for cancer patients
Many cancer patients in Europe are being denied access to adequate pain relief because of over-zealous regulations restricting the availability and accessibility of opioid-based drugs such as morphine. more
New tool illuminates connections between stem cells and cancer
Researchers have a new tool to understand how cancers grow -- and with it a new opportunity to identify novel cancer drugs. They've been able to break apart human prostate tissue, extract the stem cells in that tissue, and alter those cells genetically so that they spur cancer. more
Enzyme deficiency protects hepatitis C patients from treatment-related anemia
Many people who undergo treatment for hepatitis C develop hemolytic anemia, a disorder that destroys red blood cells. In some cases, it is so severe they have to reduce their medication or stop therapy altogether. But now, scientists in Duke University's Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy (IGSP) have discovered two genetic alterations linked to a benign enzyme condition that keep some patients anemia-free.
Optimizing chemotherapy with bevacizumab for ovarian cancer
Women with ovarian cancer usually undergo surgery to determine the cancer’s stage and to remove as much malignant tissue as possible. Following surgery, these women are treated with chemotherapy in an effort to eliminate remaining cancer cells. more
“Brain bank” to foster research, treatment of major psychiatric diseases
Johns Hopkins Children’s Center neurovirologist Robert Yolken, M.D., and collaborators from the Stanley Medical Research Institute have developed a large repository of brain and tissue samples to advance the understanding and treatment of bipolar disorder, major depression and schizophrenia.
21 February 2010
The role of sleep in brain development
Marcos Frank, PhD, associate professor of Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, will present information on early brain development and the importance of sleep during early life when the brain is rapidly maturing and highly changeable.
A midday nap markedly boosts the brain's learning capacity
If you see a student dozing in the library or a co-worker catching 40 winks in her cubicle, don't roll your eyes. New research from the University of California, Berkeley, shows that an hour's nap can dramatically boost and restore your brain power. Indeed, the findings suggest that a biphasic sleep schedule not only refreshes the mind, but can make you smarter. more
Neuroscientist: Think twice about cutting music in schools
At an 11 a.m. press briefing, Saturday, Feb. 20, at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting, a Northwestern University neuroscientist argued that music training has profound effects that shape the sensory system and should be a mainstay of K-12 education. more
Better care at any hour for palliative patients
Accessing out of hours care is still a challenge for UK palliative care patients, even several years after the introduction of phone help line services like NHS24 and NHS Direct. Scottish researchers have specific recommendations for a more detailed and regular communication strategy to improve patients' care, which are published by SAGE in the journal Palliative Medicine. more
Contrast-enhanced MRI could play a key role in differentiating between common types of arthritis
Contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may help physicians differentiate between rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis in the hand and wrist enabling more targeted therapies unique to each condition, according to a study in the March issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology. Contrast-enhanced MRI uses contrast media to improve the visibility of internal bodily structures.
Mild traumatic brain injury, not so mild after all
Douglas Smith, MD, director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair and professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, will present information on the molecular mechanism at play in mild TBI (mTBI), commonly called concussions. Although mTBI affects over 1 million people each year in the United States, it is generally ignored as a major health issue. However, this 'mild' form of injury induces persisting neurological and cognitive problems in many of these patients, exacting an enormous emotional and financial toll on society. more
Comparison shows robot-assisted option offers advantages for kidney surgery
A comparison of two types of minimally invasive surgery to repair kidney blockages that prevent urine from draining normally to the bladder found that robot-assisted surgery was faster and resulted in less blood loss and shorter hospital stays.
20 February 2010
How nerve cells grow
Brain researcher Hiroshi Kawabe has discovered the workings of a process that had been completely overlooked until now, and that allows nerve cells in the brain to grow and form complex networks. The study, which has now been published in the journal Neuron, shows that an enzyme which usually controls the destruction of protein components has an unexpected function in nerve cells: it controls the structure of the cytoskeleton and thus ensures that nerve cells can form the tree-like extensions that are necessary for signal transmission in the brain.
Scientists identify critical enzyme in healthy heart function
Scientists are reporting the first-ever data to show that the enzyme calcineurin is critical in controlling normal development and function of heart cells, and that loss of the protein leads to heart problems and death in genetically modified mice. more
UCR researcher identifies mechanism malaria parasite uses to spread among red blood cells
Malaria remains one of the most deadly infectious diseases. Yet, how Plasmodium, the malaria parasite, regulates its infectious cycle has remained an enigma despite decades of rigorous research. more
Exercise helps protect brain of multiple sclerosis patients
Highly fit multiple sclerosis patients perform significantly better on tests of cognitive function than similar less-fit patients, a new study shows. more
Increased HAART coverage associated with 50 percent drop
A comprehensive population-based study, conducted by the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE) and presented at the 17th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in San Francisco, shows that expanded highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) coverage was associated with a 50% decrease in new yearly HIV infections among injection drug users.
NIH stem cell guidelines should be modified, UCSF team reports
A UCSF team, led by bioethicist Bernard Lo, MD, recommends that the National Institutes of Health ethics guidelines for embryonic stem cell research be modified to better protect the rights of individuals donating egg or sperm to patients undergoing in vitro fertilization. more
Penn researchers find genetic link to leukemias with an unknown origin
Although leukemia is one of the best studied cancers, the cause of some types is still poorly understood. Now, a newly found mutation in acute myeloid leukemia patients could account for half of the remaining cases of adult acute leukemia with an unknown origin.
19 February 2010
UC study supports alternative anti-seizure medication following acute brain injury
A study by researchers at the University of Cincinnati Neuroscience Institute (UCNI) at University Hospital supports the use of an alternative medication to prevent seizures in patients who have suffered a life-threatening traumatic brain injury or bleeding stroke.
Sorting the drivers from the passengers in the cancer genome
A new study of mutations in cancer genomes shows how researchers can begin to distinguish the 'driver' mutations that push cells towards cancer from the 'passenger' mutations that are a by-product of cancer cell development. The study also shows that at least one in nine genes can be removed without killing human cells. more
Small liquid sensor may detect cancer instantly, could lead to home detection kit
What if it were possible to go to the store and buy a kit to quickly and accurately diagnose cancer, similar to a pregnancy test? A University of Missouri researcher is developing a tiny sensor, known as an acoustic resonant sensor, that is smaller than a human hair and could test bodily fluids for a variety of diseases, including breast and prostate cancers. more
MU researchers collaborate to develop standard of care for breast cancer survivors with lymphedema
Lymphedema, a chronic swelling condition that can appear after breast cancer surgery, is a risk for 1.3 million breast cancer survivors. Although lymphedema can cause lifelong swelling in the arms, back, neck and chest, there is no national standard of diagnosis or care. Now, University of Missouri researchers are leading the American Lymphedema Framework Project (ALFP), a national, multi-disciplinary collaboration to develop comprehensive guidelines for the assessment, treatment, and management of lymphedema. more
Computer simulation of protein malfunction related to Alzheimer's disease
Researchers at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) and University of Stockholm have created a computer modelling of the structural malfunctioning of the ApoE4 protein when it enters into contact with the Amyloid beta molecule, the main cause of Alzheimer's disease. The research, published in PLoS Computational Biology, supports experimental evidence that links ApoE4 with this pathology and opens up new exploration possibilities in understanding and fighting against the disease.
New drug for kidney transplant recipients effective in humans
Initial results of a study conducted at 100 centers worldwide indicate that belatacept, a first-in-class costimulation blocker can prevent the immune system rejecting new organs. The results also suggest that it may provide similar patient and graft survival to cyclosporine but with fewer side effects and superior kidney function after 12 months. The study, published today in the American Journal of Transplantation, provides the first findings to come from BENEFIT (Belatacept Evaluation of Nephroprotection and Efficacy as First-line Immunosuppression Trial). more
UC studies show marijuana has therapeutic value, reports to legislature
Researchers from the University of California's Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR) have found "reasonable evidence that cannabis is a promising treatment" for some specific, pain-related medical conditions.
18 February 2010
Influenza vaccines: Poor evidence for effectiveness in elderly
Evidence for the safety and efficacy of influenza vaccines in the over 65s is poor, despite the fact that vaccination has been recommended for the prevention of influenza in older people for the past 40 years. These are the conclusions of a new Cochrane Systematic Review.
Daclizumab shows potential for new immunoregulatory approach to treating MS
Biogen Idec and Facet Biotech Corporation today announced the publication of Phase 2 data showing that the addition of daclizumab to interferon beta (IFNß) led to a significant reduction in the number of new or enlarged multiple sclerosis (MS) lesions when compared to IFNß alone in patients with active relapsing forms of MS. The trial, called CHOICE, also showed that daclizumab led to an increase in a subset of the natural killer (NK) cells that help regulate the immune system. These data were published in Online First, the online edition of The Lancet Neurology, and will be published in the April issue of the Lancet Neurology. more
Autism's earliest symptoms not evident in children under 6 months
A study of the development of autism in infants, comparing the behavior of the siblings of children diagnosed with autism to that of babies developing normally, has found that the nascent symptoms of the condition — a lack of shared eye contact, smiling and communicative babbling — are not present at 6 months, but emerge gradually and only become apparent during the latter part of the first year of life. more
Study examines family lineage of King Tut, his possible cause of death
Using several scientific methods, including analyzing DNA from royal mummies, research findings suggest that malaria and bone abnormalities appear to have contributed to the death of Egyptian pharaoh King Tutankhamun, with other results appearing to identify members of the royal family, including King Tut's father and mother, according to a study in the February 17 issue of JAMA. more
Use of multiple genetic markers not linked with better risk prediction of CVD
Creation of a genetic risk score comprised of multiple genetic markers associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) was not associated with significant improvement in CVD risk prediction in a study that included more than 19,000 women, according to a study in the February 17 issue of JAMA.
A primer on migraine headaches
Migraine headache affects many people and a number of different preventative strategies should be considered, states an article in CMAJ. The article, a primer for physicians, outlines various treatments and approaches for migraine headaches. more
Study reveals genetic link between mammographic density and breast cancer
A University of Melbourne study has revealed that certain breast cancer genetic variants increase mammographic density, confirming the link between mammographic breast density and breast cancer.
17 February 2010
Tobacco use linked to worse outcomes in HPV-positive head and neck cancer, U-M study finds
Patients with head and neck cancer linked to high risk human papillomavirus, or HPV, have worse outcomes if they are current or former tobacco users, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Medicare data reveals differences in orthopedic surgical outcomes
The more specialized a hospital is in orthopedic surgical care, the better the outcomes appear to be for patients undergoing hip and knee replacement surgery, University of Iowa researchers report in a new study of Medicare patients. more
New study possibly links cognitive and motor delays with 'flat head syndrome' in young babies
In a new study, infants averaging six months of age who exhibited positional plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome) had lower scores than typical infants in observational tests used to evaluate cognitive and motor development. Positional or deformational plagiocephaly may occur when external forces shape an infant's skull while it is still soft and malleable, such as extended time spent lying on a hard surface or in one position. This is the first controlled study to suggest that babies who have flattened areas on the back of their heads during the first year of life may be at risk for developmental delay. more
Bacteria-killing proteins cover blood type blind spot
A set of proteins found in our intestines can recognize and kill bacteria that have human blood type molecules on their surfaces, scientists at Emory University School of Medicine have discovered. more
Cleveland Clinic, CWRU dental researcher finds switch that turns on the spread of cancer
Reporting in Nature Cell Biology, researchers describe the discovery of a specific protein called disabled-2 (Dab2) that switches on the process that releases cancer cells from the original tumor and allows the cells to spread and develop into new tumors in other parts of the body.
Biologists image birth of blood-forming stem cells in embryo
Biologists at UC San Diego have identified the specific region in vertebrates where adult blood stem cells arise during embryonic development. more
Shifting cellular energy metabolism may help treat cardiovascular disease
Drugs that target the way cells convert nutrients into energy could offer new approaches to treating a range of conditions including heart attack and stroke. Using a new way to screen for potential drugs, a team led by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers has identified several FDA-approved agents, including an over-the-counter anti-nausea drug, that can shift cellular energy metabolism processes in animals. Their findings, being published online in Nature Biotechnology, may open the door to new therapeutic strategies for several serious health problems.
15 February 2010
Melanoma drugs have unintended effects in some tumors
Some patients with advanced melanoma have had dramatic responses to a new class of targeted drugs in early stage clinical trials. While the long-term effects of these drugs, called BRAF inhibitors, are not yet known, two reports suggest that these drugs may have unintended consequences in patients whose tumors lack mutations in the BRAF gene.
Symptoms of ovarian cancer may not help early detection
Some women with ovarian cancer report symptoms before diagnosis, including abdominal pain, bloating, and feeling full. But a new study concludes that monitoring women for these relatively nonspecific symptoms would be of limited value in detecting the disease. Doctors would have to evaluate 100 women with these symptoms to find one ovarian cancer, the researchers reported online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute on January 28. more
Trastuzumab benefits women with locally advanced, inflammatory breast cancer
Findings from an international clinical trial suggest a new treatment option for some women with aggressive types of breast cancer. In the trial, women treated with trastuzumab (Herceptin) and chemotherapy before surgery (neoadjuvant) and trastuzumab again after surgery (adjuvant) had a reduced risk of the disease recurring or progressing after 3 years compared with women who received pre-surgical chemotherapy but no trastuzumab. The findings were published in the January 30 Lancet. more
Tumor-targeting antibodies against glycoproteins may be markers of early cancer
In a proof-of-concept study, researchers from the NCI-funded Alliance of Glycobiologists for Detection of Cancer and Cancer Risk showed that autoantibodies targeting abnormal glycoproteins (proteins with sugar molecules attached) produced by tumors may serve as biomarkers for cancer detection. Autoantibodies are antibodies directed against the body’s own tissues, including tumor cells. The findings were published February 2 in Cancer Research. The work was coordinated by Dr. Karl Krueger of the Cancer Biomarkers Research Group (CBRG) in NCI’s Division of Cancer Prevention. more
Experts recommend steps to increase colorectal cancer screening in primary care
Nearly 50,000 people die of colorectal cancer (CRC) each year in the United States, a rate second only to lung cancer deaths. Evidence shows that screening for CRC can reduce mortality and that CRC can be prevented by identifying and removing precancerous lesions known as adenomatous polyps. Guidelines recommend regular screening for adults older than age 50 who are at average risk, yet “screening is underused,” concluded an independent panel of experts at an NIH State-of-the-Science conference last week.
CMS proposes no medicare coverage for virtual colonoscopy
Under a proposed decision memorandum issued on February 11 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), virtual colonoscopy—also known as CT colonography—for colorectal cancer screening would not be covered by Medicare. In the memo, CMS said the “evidence is inadequate to conclude that CT colonography is an appropriate colorectal cancer screening test” to be covered for Medicare beneficiaries. more
Compounds found in green tea block Bortezomib
Bortezomib (Velcade), a drug approved to treat multiple myeloma and being tested in clinical trials to treat several other cancer types, works by interfering with the activity of proteasomes, cellular structures that break down unneeded proteins. Based on laboratory data, scientists have proposed that compounds found in green tea, including epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), may increase the effectiveness of bortezomib when given concurrently.
14 February 2010
Muscle loss finding may one day save physiques
Remember muscle shirts? After the age of 40 that meager part of our wardrobes usually is obsolete. Yes, at the big 4-0 we begin to lose muscle, and by age 80 up to a third of it may be gone. It's an inevitable process of aging called sarcopenia.
Research highlights role of protein pair in obesity regulation
New research by University of Cincinnati (UC) scientists implicates a new protein in obesity development and highlights a protein pair’s “team effort” in regulating obesity and insulin resistance. more
Catching calcium waves could provide Alzheimer insights
New insights on what causes Alzheimer’s disease could arise from a recent discovery made by bioengineers from the University of California, San Diego. The finding concerns the infamous amyloid beta peptides (Aß)—fragments of which form plaques thought to play a role in Alzheimer’s disease. The bioengineers found that amyloid beta peptides (Aß) spontaneously trigger calcium waves in purified cultures of astrocyte cells extracted from the cortex region of rat brains and grown in the lab. These calcium waves could be relevant for understanding the origin of Alzheimer’s disease. The accumulation of Amyloid beta fragments and sustained disruption of the calcium balance within cells are leading hypotheses for what causes Alzheimer’s disease. more
Hypnosis can relieve symptoms in children with respiratory diseases
Hypnosis has potential therapeutic value in children with respiratory disorders for alleviating symptoms such as habit cough or unexplained sensations of difficulty breathing and for lessening a child's discomfort during medical procedures. Proper utilization of hypnosis as an adjunct to conventional treatment and its ability to use the mind-body connection to bring about physiological changes are explored in a provocative paper in Pediatric Asthma, Allergy & Immunology, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. The paper is available free online. more
Yale scientists synthesize unique family of anti-cancer compounds
Yale University scientists have streamlined the process for synthesizing a family of compounds with the potential to kill cancer and other diseased cells, and have found that they represent a unique category of anti-cancer agents. Their discovery appears in this week’s online edition of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
Quitting smoking especially difficult for select groups
With the national trend toward quitting smoking flat, psychologists are finding some success with treatments aimed at helping smokers from underserved groups, including racial and ethnic minorities and those with psychiatric disorders. more
New clue why autistic people don't want hugs
Why do people with fragile X syndrome, a genetic defect that is the best-known cause of autism and inherited mental retardation, recoil from hugs and physical touch – even from their parents?
13 February 2010
Low levels of natural antibodies behind stroke
The chances of suffering a stroke are linked to the presence of a certain type of antibody in the immune system, a new study from Karolinska Institutet shows. The researchers hope to be able to develop a vaccine that can mobilise the body´s own defence against arteriosclerosis and stroke.
Chocolate lovers could be lowering their risk of stroke: Study
Giving chocolates to your Valentine on February 14th may help lower their risk of stroke based on a preliminary study from researchers at St. Michael's Hospital. The study, which is being presented at the American Academy of Neurology in April, also found that eating chocolate may lower the risk of death after suffering a stroke. more
Master gene SRC-3 enables breast cancer growth, invasion
The master gene called SRC-3 (steroid receptor coactivator 3) not only enhances estrogen-dependent growth of cancer cells by activating and encouraging the transcription of a genetic message into a protein, it also sends a signal to the cell membrane to promote cell motility or movement – a key element of cancer spread or metastasis, said Baylor College of Medicine researchers and collaborators in a report that appears in the current issue of the journal Molecular Cell. more
Researchers create drug to keep tumor growth switched off
A novel – and rapid – anti-cancer drug development strategy has resulted in a new drug that stops kidney and pancreatic tumors from growing in mice. Researchers at the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego, have found a drug that binds to a molecular "switch" found in cancer cells and cancer-associated blood vessels to keep it in the "off" position. more
Compound shows promise against intractable heart failure
A chemical compound found normally in the blood has shown promise in treating and preventing an intractable form of heart failure in a mouse model of the disease, report researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine.
ASU scientists develop universal DNA reader to advance faster, cheaper sequencing efforts
Arizona State University scientists have come up with a new twist in their efforts to develop a faster and cheaper way to read the DNA genetic code. They have developed the first, versatile DNA reader that can discriminate between DNA's four core chemical components?the key to unlocking the vital code behind human heredity and health. more
Dartmouth researchers describe how the cholera bacteria becomes infectious
In a new study, Dartmouth researchers describe the structure of a protein called ToxT that controls the virulent nature of Vibrio cholerae, the bacteria that causes cholera. Buried within ToxT, the researchers were surprised to find a fatty acid that appears to inhibit ToxT, which prevents the bacteria from causing cholera. Cholera, which causes acute diarrhea, can be life threatening, and, according to the World Health Organization, cholera remains a serious threat to global health.
12 February 2010
The cost of being on your toes
Humans, other great apes and bears are among the few animals that step first on the heel when walking, and then roll onto the ball of the foot and toes. Now, a University of Utah study shows the advantage: Compared with heel-first walking, it takes 53 percent more energy to walk on the balls of your feet, and 83 percent more energy to walk on your toes.
Parents often wait too long to treat children's asthma symptoms
Parents of young children with asthma often recognize signs that their child is about to have an asthma attack but delay home treatment until the attack occurs, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis report. more
Researchers develop dietary formula that maintains youthful function into old age
Researchers at McMaster University have developed a cocktail of ingredients that forestalls major aspects of the aging process. more
Low levels of antibiotics cause multidrug resistance in 'superbugs'
For years, doctors have warned patients to finish their antibiotic prescriptions or risk a renewed infection by a "superbug" that can mount a more powerful defense against the same drug. But a new study by Boston University biomedical engineers indicates that treating bacteria with levels of antibiotics insufficient to kill them produces germs that are cross-resistant to a wide range of antibiotics. more
Brain study offers insight into causes of autism
Scientists are a step closer to understanding how abnormalities in brain development might lead to autism and behavioural disorders.
New screening system for hepatitis C
A newly designed system of identifying molecules for treating hepatitis C should enable scientists to discover novel and effective therapies for the dangerous and difficult-to-cure disease of the liver, says Zhilei Chen, a Texas A&M University assistant professor of chemical engineering who helped develop the screening system. more
Less is more in cancer imaging
When one diagnoses a cancer patient, it's important to gather as much information about that person as possible. But who would have thought an accurate diagnosis would depend on throwing some of that information away?
11 February 2010
People with anxiety disorder less able to regulate response to negative emotions, study shows
People with generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, have abnormalities in the way their brain unconsciously controls emotions. That's the conclusion of a new Stanford University School of Medicine study, and the study authors say the findings could open up new avenues for treatments and change our understanding of how emotion is regulated in everyday life.
Bowel disease link to blood clots
People living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) are known to be at high risk of blood clots when admitted to hospital during a flare-up of their disease but now new research by scientists at The University of Nottingham has shown that those who are not admitted to hospital during flare-ups are also at risk. more
Researchers discover new way to kill pediatric brain tumors
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown once again that "ready, fire, aim," nonsensical though it may sound, can be an essential approach to research. more
IQ among strongest predictors of CVD -- second only to cigarette smoking in large population study
While lower intelligence scores - as reflected by low results on written or oral tests of IQ - have been associated with a raised risk of cardiovascular disease, no study has so far compared the relative strength of this association with other established risk factors such as obesity, smoking and high blood pressure. Now, a large study funded by Britain's Medical Research Council, which set out to gauge the relative importance of IQ alongside other risk factors, has found that lower intelligence scores were associated with higher rates of cardiovascular disease and total mortality at a greater level of magnitude than found with any other risk factor except smoking. more
Popular antidepressant blocks the beneficial effects of tamoxifen in breast cancer
Women with breast cancer who take the antidepressant paroxetine at the same time as tamoxifen are at an increased risk of death
Glaucoma medications may be associated with reduced risk of death over 4-year period
Glaucoma patients who take medication for the condition appear to have a reduced likelihood of death more
Medication appears well-tolerated, beneficial in Huntington's disease patients
A medication previously studied in patients with Alzheimer's disease (latrepirdine) appears well tolerated and may improve thinking, learning and memory skills among individuals with Huntington's disease.
10 February 2010
An analysis of genetic and clinical data for nearly 800 patients with non-small cell lung cancer has identified differences in genetic characteristics that are associated with age and sex specific patterns of increased or decreased recurrence-free survival, according to a study in the February 10 issue of JAMA.
Patients with advanced dementia more likely to receive feeding tube at larger, for-profit hospitals
Despite being of questionable benefit for patients with advanced dementia, new research finds that hospitals with certain characteristics, such as those that are larger or for-profit, are more likely to have a higher rate of feeding tube placement, according to a study in the February 10 issue of JAMA. more
Low forms of cyclin E reduce breast cancer drug's effectiveness
Overexpression of low-molecular-weight (LMW-E) forms of the protein cyclin E renders the aromatase inhibitor letrozole ineffective among women with estrogen-receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancers, researchers from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center report in Clinical Cancer Research. more
Molecular pathways linked to sex, age affect outcomes in lung cancer
The biology of lung cancer differs from one patient to the next, depending on age and sex, according to scientists at Duke University Medical Center. The findings may help explain why certain groups of patients do better than others, even though they appear to have the same disease. more
Drinking milk during pregnancy may lower baby's risk of MS
Drinking milk during pregnancy may help reduce your baby's chances of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) as an adult, according to a preliminary study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 62nd Annual Meeting in Toronto April 10 to April 17, 2010.
Communication breakdown: what happens to nerve cells in Parkinson’s disease
A new study from The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital – The Neuro - at McGill University is the first to discover a molecular link between Parkinson’s disease and defects in the ability of nerve cells to communicate. The study, published in the prestigious journal Molecular Cell and selected as Editor’s Choice in the prominent journal Science, provides new insight into the mechanisms underlying Parkinson’s disease, and could lead to innovative new therapeutic strategies. more
A common cholesterol drug fights cataracts, too
Statins, a class of drugs used to lower cholesterol levels, have been successfully fighting heart disease for years. A new study from Tel Aviv University has now found that the same drugs cut the risks of cataracts in men by almost 40%.
9 February 2010
Study examines course and treatment of unexplained chest pain
Fewer than half of individuals who have "non-specific" chest pain (not explained by a well-known condition) experience relief from symptoms following standard medical care, according to a report in the February 8 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. In addition, one-tenth of those with persistent chest pain undergo potentially unnecessary diagnostic testing.
Usual care often not consistent with clinical guidelines for low back pain
Australian general practitioners often treat patients with low back pain in a manner that does not appear to match the care endorsed by international clinical guidelines, according to a report in the February 8 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. more
Lower detection of prostate cancer with PSA screening in US than in a European randomized trial
Fewer prostate cancers were detected by prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening in the U.S. than in a European randomized trial because of lower screening sensitivity, according to a new brief communication published online February 8 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. more
Marker of Ewing sarcoma: Potential new drug target?
Ewing sarcoma (EWS) is a bone tumor of unknown cellular origin that affects children and young adults. The protein CD99 is highly expressed in most cases of EWS, but its function in the disease is unknown. Now, Katia Scotlandi and colleagues, at SSN Emilia Romagna Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli IRCCS, Bologna, Italy, have identified a crucial role for CD99 in the development of EWS and suggest that targeting CD99 or its downstream molecular pathway may be a new therapeutic approach for EWS. more
Nicotine replacement therapy is over-promoted since most ex-smokers quit unassisted
Health authorities should emphasize the positive message that the most successful method used by most ex-smokers is unassisted cessation, despite the promotion of cessation drugs by pharmaceutical companies and many tobacco control advocates.
Soft drink consumption may increase risk of pancreatic cancer
Consuming two or more soft drinks per week increased the risk of developing pancreatic cancer by nearly twofold compared to individuals who did not consume soft drinks, according to a report in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. more
Research reveals link between beer and bone health
A new study suggests that beer is a significant source of dietary silicon, a key ingredient for increasing bone mineral density. Researchers from the Department of Food Science & Technology at the University of California, Davis studied commercial beer production to determine the relationship between beer production methods and the resulting silicon content, concluding that beer is a rich source of dietary silicon.
8 February 2010
Scientists identify first genetic variant linked to biological aging in humans
Scientists announced today (7 Feb) they have identified for the first time definitive variants associated with biological ageing in humans. The team analyzed more than 500,000 genetic variations across the entire human genome to identify the variants which are located near a gene called TERC.
Inhibiting serotonin in gut could cure osteoporosis
An investigational drug that inhibits serotonin synthesis in the gut, administered orally once daily, effectively cured osteoporosis in mice and rats reports an international team led by researchers from Columbia University Medical Center, in the Feb. 7 issue of Nature Medicine. Serotonin in the gut has been shown in recent research to stall bone formation. The finding could lead to new therapies that build new bone; most current drugs for osteoporosis can only prevent the breakdown of old bone. more
Virus-free technique enables Stanford scientists to easily make stem cells pluripotent
Tiny circles of DNA are the key to a new and easier way to transform stem cells from human fat into induced pluripotent stem cells for use in regenerative medicine, say scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Unlike other commonly used techniques, the method, which is based on standard molecular biology practices, does not use viruses to introduce genes into the cells or permanently alter a cell's genome. more
Nearly half of Americans believe H1N1 outbreak is over, poll finds
The latest poll from researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) shows that almost half of Americans believe the H1N1 flu outbreak is over (44%), and levels of concern about getting sick with the virus continue to decline. Few (18%) think it is "very likely" there will be another widespread outbreak of the H1N1 virus in the U.S. during the next 12 months, although a larger share of the population (43%) does say such an outbreak is "somewhat likely." After an initial period of vaccine shortage, 70% of adults said there is now enough vaccine in their community for everyone who wants it. more
Moms' depression in pregnancy tied to antisocial behavior in teens
Children from urban areas whose mothers suffer from depression during pregnancy are more likely than others to show antisocial behavior, including violent behavior, later in life. Furthermore, women who are aggressive and disruptive in their own teen years are more likely to become depressed in pregnancy, so that the moms' history predicts their own children's antisocial behavior.
Public health information regarding weight not getting through, doesn't help, could hurt
A Monash University-led nationwide study into the health beliefs and behaviors of obese people has found that the more severely obese a person is, the less likely they feel they can reduce their weight. more
Cocaine or ecstasy consumption during adolescence increases risk of addiction
Exposure to ecstasy or cocaine during adolescence increases the "reinforcing effects" that make people vulnerable to developing an addiction. This is the main conclusion of a research team from the University of Valencia (UV), which has shown for the first time how these changes persist into adulthood.
7 February 2010
Study finds higher risk of stillbirth in women with fibroids
In a study to be presented today at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's (SMFM) annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting ™, in Chicago, researchers will unveil findings that show that there is an increased risk of intrauterine fetal death (IUFD), commonly known as stillbirth, in women who have fibroids.
Blacks with MS have more severe symptoms, decline faster than whites, new study shows
Fewer African Americans than Caucasians develop multiple sclerosis (MS), statistics show, but their disease progresses more rapidly, and they don't respond as well to therapies, a new study by neurology researchers at the University at Buffalo has found. more
Learning “curves”: Bioethics memory aid can help assess patient decision-making capacity in medical emergencies
Physicians in training and bioethicists at Johns Hopkins have created an easy-to-remember checklist to help medical students and clinicians quickly assess a patient’s decision-making capacity in an emergency. more
Carnegie Mellon physicist the first to measure energy released from a virus during infection
Within a virus's tiny exterior is a store of energy waiting to be unleashed. When the virus encounters a host cell, this pent-up energy is released, propelling the viral DNA into the cell and turning it into a virus factory. For the first time, Carnegie Mellon University physicist Alex Evilevitch has directly measured the energy associated with the expulsion of viral DNA, a pivotal discovery toward fully understanding the physical mechanisms that control viral infection and designing drugs to interfere with the process. more
Screening for short cervix could improve pregnancy outcomes and reduce preterm birth
Using ultrasound to screen all pregnant women for signs of a shortening cervix improves pregnancy outcomes and is a cost-effective way to reduce preterm birth, Yale School of Medicine researchers report in a new study.
News brief: HPV vaccines may reduce a wide range of genital diseases
High-coverage human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations among adolescents and young women may result in a rapid reduction of genital warts, cervical cell abnormalities, and diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, researchers report in a new study published online February 5 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Some of these genital abnormalities are precursors of cervical, vulvar, and vaginal cancers. more
Antibodies against abnormal glycoproteins identified as possible biomarkers for cancer detection
Scientists have found that cancer patients produce antibodies that target abnormal glycoproteins (proteins with sugar molecules attached) made by their tumors. The result of this work suggests that antitumor antibodies in the blood may provide a fruitful source of sensitive biomarkers for cancer detection. The study, supported in part by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, appears in the Feb. 15, 2010 issue of the journal Cancer Research.
6 February 2010
Distinct demographic profiles between Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
Although inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) [comprising mainly Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC)] is thought to affect about 150 000 people in the United Kingdom, the prevalence of severe IBD is not known. Mortality following hospitalization for IBD is significant but little has been reported on long-term follow-up.
Early abuse tied to more depression in children
Although children can be depressed for many reasons, new evidence suggests that there are physiological differences among depressed children based on their experiences of abuse before age 5. Early abuse may be especially damaging due to the very young age at which it occurs. more
Link between birth defect gastroschisis and the agricultural chemical atrazine found
In a study to be presented today at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's (SMFM) annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting ™, in Chicago, researchers will unveil findings that demonstrate a link between the birth defect gastroschisis and the agricultural chemical atrazine. more
Yale researchers may have uncovered the mechanism by which progesterone prevents preterm birth
Researchers at Yale School of Medicine believe they may have discovered how the hormone progesterone acts to prevent preterm birth. more
Road mapping could be key to curing TB
The complex chain of metabolic events in bacteria that lead to fatal diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) may be better understood using mathematical models, according to an article published in the February issue of Microbiology Today.
New study finds possible source of beta cell destruction that leads to type 1 diabetes
Doctors at Eastern Virginia Medical School's Strelitz Diabetes Center have been stalking the culprit responsible for Type 1 diabetes. Now, they are one step closer. more
Compound created at OSU could become important new antidepressant
Chemists at Oregon State University have discovered and synthesized a new compound that in laboratory and animal tests appears to be similar to, but may have advantages over one of the most important antidepressant medications in the world.
5 February 2010
Panel calls for reducing colorectal cancer deaths by striking down barriers to screening
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Despite evidence and guidelines supporting the value of screening for this disease, rates of screening for colorectal cancer are consistently lower than those for other types of cancer, particularly breast and cervical. Although the screening rates in the target population of adults over age 50, have increased from 20-30 percent in 1997 to nearly 55 percent in 2008 — the rates are still too low. An NIH state-of-the-science panel was convened this week to identify ways to further increase the use and quality of colorectal cancer screening in the United States.
ASTRO, ACR issue IGRT, SBRT guidelines
The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) and the American College of Radiology (ACR) have released practice guidelines for image guided radiation therapy (IGRT) and stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) in the February issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics, the official journal of ASTRO. more
Rice physicists kill cancer with 'nanobubbles'
Using lasers and nanoparticles, scientists at Rice University have discovered a new technique for singling out individual diseased cells and destroying them with tiny explosions. The scientists used lasers to make "nanobubbles" by zapping gold nanoparticles inside cells. In tests on cancer cells, they found they could tune the lasers to create either small, bright bubbles that were visible but harmless or large bubbles that burst the cells. more
First discovery of the female sex hormone progesterone in a plant
In a finding that overturns conventional wisdom, scientists are reporting the first discovery of the female sex hormone progesterone in a plant. Until now, scientists thought that only animals could make progesterone. A steroid hormone secreted by the ovaries, progesterone prepares the uterus for pregnancy and maintains pregnancy. A synthetic version, progestin, is used in birth control pills and other medications. more
Patients with mild gallstone pancreatitis can undergo surgery sooner, shortening hospital stays
Patients with mild gallstone pancreatitis usually stay in the hospital for several days, waiting for the symptoms to subside, before undergoing surgery to remedy the condition. A new study from researchers at Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute (LA BioMed) indicates patients may no longer have to wait so long for surgery and could leave the hospital sooner.
Melatonin precursor stimulates growth factor circuits in brain
Scientists at Emory University School of Medicine have discovered unexpected properties for a precursor to melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep cycles. more
'Artificial pancreas' a step nearer for children with type 1 diabetes
Scientists in Cambridge have made a significant step towards developing a so-called "artificial pancreas" system for managing type 1 diabetes in children. The team has developed and successfully tested a new algorithm, providing a stepping stone to home testing for the artificial pancreas.
4 February 2010
Tiny constraints in heart blood flow: a better sign of blood vessel narrowing and early coronary artery disease
Cardiologists and heart imaging specialists at 15 medical centers in eight countries, and led by researchers at Johns Hopkins, have enrolled the first dozen patients in a year-long investigation to learn whether the subtle squeezing of blood flow through the inner layers of the heart is better than traditional SPECT nuclear imaging tests and other diagnostic radiology procedures for accurately tracking the earliest signs of coronary artery clogs.
Risk of stroke lower for recent Ontario immigrants: study
Recent immigrants to Ontario have a 30 per cent lower risk of stroke than long term residents, according to preliminary study results from researchers at St. Michael's Hospital and the Institute of Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES). more
Cord blood-derived CD133+ cells improve cardiac function after myocardial infarction
Researchers at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná and Instituto Carlos Chagas have evaluated the therapeutic potential of purified and expanded CD133+ cells human umbilical cord blood (HUCB)-derived in treating myocardial infarction by intramyocardially injecting them into a rat model. Patients who have high cardiovascular risks have fewer endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) and their EPCs exhibit greater in vitro senescence. HUCB-derived EPCs could be an alternative to rescue impaired stem cell function in the sick and elderly. The results, which appear in the January 2010 issue of Experimental Biology and Medicine, show that expanded cells ex vivo exhibited increased expression of mature endothelial cells markers and formed tubule-like structures in vitro. Only the expanded cells expressed VEGF mRNA. more
Older female cancer survivors have added health issues compared to their counterparts
As cancer survivors live longer, questions arise about what kind of care long-term survivors require. more
Alterations in the brain's reward system related to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
Until now, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was related to alterations in the brain affecting attention and cognitive processes. Researchers at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and the Vall d'Hebron University Hospital for the first time have discovered anomalies in the brain's reward system related to the neural circuits of motivation and gratification. In children with ADHD, the degree of motivation when carrying out an activity is related to the immediacy with which the objectives of the activity are met. This would explain why their attention and hyperactivity levels differ depending on the tasks being carried out.
Violence is part of the job say nurses as study shows only 1 in 6 incidents are reported
Three-quarters of nurses providing private and public care experienced workplace violence, but only one in six incidents were formally reported, according to study published in the February issue of the Journal of Clinical Nursing. more
Some morbidly obese people are missing genes, shows new research
A small but significant proportion of morbidly obese people are missing a section of their DNA, according to research published today in Nature. The authors of the study, from Imperial College London and ten other European Centres, say that missing DNA such as that identified in this research may be having a dramatic effect on some people's weight.
3 February 2010
The month of your birth influences your chances of becoming a professional sportsperson, an Australian researcher has found.
Diabetes patients rank health concerns differently than their doctors, U-M survey shows
About one-third of doctors and their patients with diabetes do not see eye to eye on the most important health conditions to manage, according to a survey by the University of Michigan Medical School. more
Excessive Internet use is linked to depression
People who spend a lot of time browsing the net are more likely to show depressive symptoms, according to the first large-scale study of its kind in the West by University of Leeds psychologists. more
SIDS linked to low levels of serotonin
The brains of infants who die of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) produce low levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that conveys messages between cells and plays a vital role in regulating breathing, heart rate, and sleep, reported researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health. more
New way to lose fat, keep the lean
Researchers reporting in the February 3rd issue of Cell Metabolism may have a new way to trick the body into consuming more energy. The target in this case is an enzyme that indirectly controls the activity of what the researchers refer to as the "energy master switch." It boils down to this: When you give mice a chemical that blocks the function of the enzyme known as Fyn kinase, they almost immediately begin burning more fat.
Cholesterol's link to heart disease gets clearer -- and more complicated
By considering molecular-level events on a broader scale, researchers now have a clearer, if more complicated, picture of how one class of immune cells goes wrong when loaded with cholesterol. The findings reported in the February 3rd issue of Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press publication, show that, when it comes to the development of atherosclerosis and heart disease, it's not about any one bad actor—it's about a network gone awry. more
Immediate risk of suicide and cardiovascular death after a prostate cancer diagnosis
Being diagnosed with prostate cancer may increase a man's risk of suicide or cardiovascular death, especially right after diagnosis, according to a new study published online February 2 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
2 February 2010
Researchers find 'broad spectrum' antiviral that fights multitude of viruses
Viruses are insidious creatures. They differ from each other in many ways, and they can mutate — at times seemingly at will, as with HIV — to resist a host of weapons fired at them. Complicating matters further is that new viruses are constantly emerging.
New adhesive device could let humans walk on walls
Could humans one day walk on walls, like Spider-Man? A palm-sized device invented at Cornell that uses water surface tension as an adhesive bond just might make it possible. more
Scripps Research scientists create new way to screen libraries of 10 million or more compounds
The search for new drug compounds is probably worse than looking for a needle in a haystack because scientists are limited in the size of the haystacks they can rummage through—time and money make it virtually impossible to screen or search through super-large libraries of potential compounds. This is a serious problem, because there is enormous interest in identifying synthetic molecules that bind to proteins for applications in drug discovery, biology, and proteomics, and larger libraries should mean higher odds of success. more
Of swine, birds and men -- pandemic H1N1 flu
Current research suggests that pandemic H1N1 influenza of swine origin has distinct means of transmission from the seasonal flu, yet does not result in the pathogenic severity of avian flu viruses. The related report by Chan et al, "Tropism and Innate Host Responses of the 2009 Pandemic H1N1 Influenza Virus in ex Vivo and in Vitro Cultures of Human Conjunctiva and Respiratory Tract," appears published online ahead of print in the April 2010 issue of The American Journal of Pathology. more
Double agent: Glial cells can protect or kill neurons, vision
Scientists have identified a double agent in the eye that, once triggered, can morph from neuron protector to neuron killer. The discovery has significant health implications since the neurons killed through this process results in vision loss and blindness.
'Starving' fat suppresses appetite
Peptides that target blood vessels in fat and cause them to go into programmed cell death (termed apoptosis) could become a model for future weight-loss therapies, say University of Cincinnati (UC) researchers. more
Genetic mutations associated with suicide risk among patients with depression
Single mutations in genes involved with nerve cell formation and growth appear to be associated with the risk of attempting suicide among individuals with depression, according to a report posted online today that will appear in the April print issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
1 February 2010
Adjuvant chemotherapy may benefit older patients with colorectal cancer
A new analysis of results from a large clinical trial indicates that some patients with colorectal cancer who are age 70 or older may have improved outcomes with post-surgical chemotherapy that includes newer agents. The finding, presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium, runs counter to the results of a data analysis from another clinical trial, published last year, that found no such benefit.
Brain cancer, like other cancers, has distinct subtypes
A survey of genomic changes in several hundred brain tumors revealed two new molecular subtypes of the disease and confirmed two previously known subtypes. The findings, from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Research Network, indicate that glioblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumor in adults, includes at least four distinct forms that are recognizable by their genetic signatures. In additional work, the researchers found that the response to aggressive therapies for glioblastoma varied by subtype, according to their report in the 19 January Cancer Cell. more
Strategy may enhance umbilical cord blood transplants
A new study offers a potential way to help restore blood cells and the immune systems of patients who have had treatments, such as chemotherapy, that deplete normal cells along with tumor cells. The method increases the numbers of hematopoietic stem cells that can be obtained from umbilical cord blood by stimulating the Notch signaling pathway of cord blood stem/progenitor cells in the laboratory (ex vivo). These cells can then be transplanted into patients, where they give rise to new blood cells, including the white blood cells of the immune system. more
Acupuncture reduces joint pain in some women with breast cancer
In a small randomized clinical trial, breast cancer patients experiencing joint pain and stiffness from aromatase inhibitor (AI) treatment reported an improvement in pain from acupuncture. Eighty percent of women receiving acupuncture reported at least a 2-point improvement on a 10-point pain scale, compared with 22 percent of women who received a sham treatment. These results were published January 25 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. more
Genome scans for pancreatic cancer yield clues to risk
A genome-wide association study for pancreatic cancer has, for the first time, identified regions on three chromosomes that may harbor risk factors for the disease. Researchers now have new leads for investigating genetic factors involved in this deadly disease. One of the regions, on chromosome 5, has been associated with multiple diseases and may have a role in various cancers, the study authors reported online in Nature Genetics on 24 January.
St. Jude, Washington University launch genome project for childhood cancers
Researchers at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have launched the Pediatric Cancer Genome Project to sequence the genomes of at least 600 children with cancer over the next 3 years. The collaboration marks the first time that whole-genome sequencing will be used on a large scale to discover genetic changes driving pediatric cancers. more
A conversation about sequencing cancer genomes with Dr. Elaine Mardis
Dr. Elaine Mardis is co-director of The Genome Center at Washington University in St. Louis. As director of technology development, she leads the center’s efforts to explore progress in next-generation sequencing technologies. Dr. Mardis was part of the team that sequenced the genomes of two adults with leukemia, and she is now working on the Pediatric Cancer Genome Project, which is a partnership between Washington University and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
31 January 2010
New paper describes important advance in imaging of cell death
For quite some time, the "Holy Grail" in medical imaging has been the development of an effective method to image cell death as a means to intervene early in diseases and rapidly determine the effectiveness of treatments. A new paper by researchers at the University of Notre Dame and the Washington University School of Medicine describes important progress in using a synthetic probe to target dead and dying cells in mammary and prostate tumors in living animals.
Most patients gain weight after getting a new knee, UD study finds
You'd think folks who've had knee replacement surgery -- finally able to walk and exercise without pain -- would lose weight instead of put on pounds, but surprisingly that's not the case, according to a University of Delaware study. more
New computational tool for cancer treatment
Many human tumors express indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO), an enzyme which mediates an immune-escape in several cancer types. Researchers in the Molecular Modeling group at the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics and Dr. Benoît J. Van den Eynde's group at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research Ltd (LICR) Brussels Branch developed an approach for creating new IDO inhibitors by computer-assisted structure-based drug design. The study was presented in the January 2010 online issue of the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. more
Grandpa's broken hip may mean weaker bones for his grandsons
The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, shows that hip fractures in grandfathers are linked to low bone density and reduced bone size in their grandsons. more
Multiple sclerosis risk changes with the season
Previous studies have shown multiple sclerosis (MS) patients are more often born in spring than in any other season, indicating that there is an environmental risk factor for the disease. A paper in the journal Neurology, reviewed for f1000 Medicine by Emmanuelle Waubant and Ellen Mowry, now suggests that this seasonal effect is mediated by the gene HLA-DRB1.
Biomarker could help doctors tailor treatment for rheumatoid arthritis
Investigators have identified a biomarker that could help doctors select patients with rheumatoid arthritis who will benefit from therapy with drugs such as Enbrel, a tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-antagonist drug. The study, led by researchers at Hospital for Special Surgery in collaboration with rheumatologists at University of Southern California, appears in the February issue of the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism. more
New 'suicide' molecule halts rheumatoid arthritis
A researcher from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine has invented a novel way to halt and even reverse rheumatoid arthritis. He developed an imitation of a suicide molecule that floats undetected into overactive immune cells responsible for the disease.
30 January 2010
Immune memory formation seen in early stages of viral infection
In an acute viral infection, most of the white blood cells known as T cells differentiate into cells that fight the virus and die off in the process. But a few of these "effector" T cells survive and become memory T cells, ensuring that the immune system can respond faster and stronger the next time around.
Virus-like particle vaccine protects monkeys from chikungunya virus
An experimental vaccine developed using non-infectious virus-like particles (VLP) has protected macaques and mice against chikungunya virus, a mosquito-borne pathogen that has infected millions of people in Africa and Asia and causes debilitating pain, researchers at the National Institutes of Health have found. more
Curing more cervical cancer cases may be in the math
Cervical cancer is highly curable when caught early. But in a third of cases, the tumor responds poorly to therapy or recurs later, when cure is much less likely. more
Non-invasive testing, earlier surgery can stop seizures in tuberous sclerosis complex
When medication fails to control seizures in children with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), a rare genetic disorder that affects multiple organ systems and frequently causes epilepsy, surgery to remove part of the brain is often necessary. But pre-surgical testing, which involves the implanting of electrodes into a child's head, can lead to longer hospital stays and greater risks from surgery. more
Review and approval of oncology and hematology drugs at FDA from 2005 to 2007
Over a two and half year period, beginning in 2005 when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's oncology drug product's office began reviewing marketing applications, a total of 60 new oncology and hematology drugs were reviewed, of which 53 were approved, according to a new article published online January 29 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Promising new neuroimaging techniques for early detection of Alzheimer's disease
Investigators from the International Center for Biomedicine and the University of Chile, in collaboration with the Center for Bioinformatics of the Universidad de Talca, have discovered that two drugs, the benzimidazole derivatives lanzoprazole and astemizole, may be suitable for use as PET (positron emission tomography) radiotracers and enable imaging for the early detection of Alzheimer's Disease. The study is published in the current issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. more
UC Davis researchers identify brain protein for synapse development
A new study from UC Davis Health System identifies for the first time a brain protein called SynDIG1 that plays a critical role in creating and sustaining synapses, the complex chemical signaling system responsible for communication between neurons. The research, published in the 14 January issue of the journal Neuron, fills a major gap in understanding the molecular foundations of higher cognitive abilities as well as some brain disorders.
29 January 2010
Improved air quality linked to fewer pediatric ear infections
A new study by researchers at UCLA and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston suggests that improvements in air quality over the past decade have resulted in fewer cases of ear infections in children.
UCLA researchers image earliest signs of Alzheimer's, before symptoms appear: Findings could allow for early interventions for the disease
Estimates are that some 10 percent of people over the age of 65 will develop Alzheimer's disease, the scourge that robs people of their memories and, ultimately, their lives. more
Secrets of immunologic memory: New understanding of CD44 receptor's role in immune cell survival
Investigators at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham) have discovered a new way the cell surface protein, CD44, helps specific T helper (Th1) cells develop immunologic memory. Linda Bradley, Ph.D., Bas Baaten, Ph.D., and colleagues determined that without CD44, Th1 cells died off during their initial immune response and were unable to generate immunologic memory. This is the first time scientists have identified this unique CD44 function on Th1 cells, making the protein a potential target to treat a variety of diseases. The study was published online on January 14 in the journal Immunity. more
What you eat after exercise matters
Many of the health benefits of aerobic exercise are due to the most recent exercise session (rather than weeks, months and even years of exercise training), and the nature of these benefits can be greatly affected by the food we eat afterwards, according to a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology. more
Potential new target for drugs to treat iron deficiency and overload discovered
The discovery of a major player in the body's regulation of iron levels should provide a new target for drugs that prevent common iron deficiency as well as rare, potentially deadly iron overload, researchers said.
Study offers evidence that spongiform brain diseases are caused by aberrant protein
Scientists have determined how a normal protein can be converted into a prion, an infectious agent that causes fatal brain diseases in humans and mammals. more
'Overweight' adults age 70 or older are less likely to die over a 10-year period
Adults aged over 70 years who are classified as overweight are less likely to die over a ten year period than adults who are in the 'normal' weight range, according to a new study published today in the Journal of The American Geriatrics Society.
28 January 2010
Landmark heart treatment study: Catheter treatment works dramatically better than drugs for common heart rhythm disorder
Treating a common heart rhythm disorder by burning heart tissue with a catheter works dramatically better than drug treatments, according to a landmark study published in the 27 January issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Intensive insulin therapy for septic shock patients does not show survival benefit
Treating adults with septic shock with intensive insulin therapy to counter elevated blood glucose levels associated with corticosteroid therapy did not result in a reduced risk of in-hospital death, compared to patients who received conventional insulin therapy, according to a study in the January 27 issue of JAMA. The researchers also found that adding a 2nd corticosteroid to treatment did not significantly reduce the risk of death within the hospital. more
New software provides 3-D views of arteries in catheterization lab
New technology that allows doctors to see three-dimensional images of heart arteries in the catheterization lab passed its first major testing hurdle — moving doctors closer to understanding its impact on clinical practice, researchers report in Circulation: Cardiovascular Interventions, an American Heart Association journal. more
Study links reduced fertility to flame retardant exposure
Women with higher blood levels of PBDEs, a type of flame retardant commonly found in household consumer products, took longer to become pregnant compared with women who have lower PBDE levels, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley. more
New potential to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is defined by emphysema and/or chronic bronchitis. It destroys the normal architecture of the lung and inhibits the mechanical aspects of breathing, which prevents necessary gas exchange. Patients suffer from coughing fits, wheezing, and increased incidence of lung infections. These symptoms are associated with changes in the architecture of the lung. The air sacs, which usually inflate with air during breathing as they loose their elasticity, becoming rigid and unable to inflate. The lung becomes inflamed and increases its mucus production, which further inhibits gas exchange, and prevents the patient's ability to be physically active.
Losing sleep, losing brain?
Chronic and severely stressful situations, like those connected to depression and posttraumatic stress disorder, have been associated with smaller volumes in "stress sensitive" brain regions, such as the cingulate region of the cerebral cortex and the hippocampus, a brain region involved in memory formation. A new study, published by Elsevier in Biological Psychiatry, suggests that chronic insomnia may be another condition associated with reduced cortical volume. more
Vitamin D supplements could fight Crohn's disease
A new study has found that Vitamin D, readily available in supplements or cod liver oil, can counter the effects of Crohn's disease. John White, an endocrinologist at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, led a team of scientists from McGill University and the Université de Montréal who present their findings about the inflammatory bowel disease in the latest Journal of Biological Chemistry.
27 January 2010
Clinical trial of nutritional drink for Alzheimer's
Rush University Medical Center is leading a nationwide clinical trial of a nutritional drink to determine whether it can improve cognitive performance in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's.
Control of herpes symptoms does not reduce HIV transmission, international study found
Research from a five-year international clinical study shows that acyclovir, a commonly prescribed drug used to suppress symptoms of the herpes virus, does not affect HIV transmission by people with both viruses. more
A gimmick-free weight-loss pill in the works
A Université de Montréal research team is developing a pill composed of leptin, the protein that tells our brain to stop eating. "Mice deprived of leptin will not stop eating. They become so big they have trouble moving around," says Moïse Bendayan, a pathology professor at the Université de Montréal Faculty of Medicine who has studied the leptin protein extensively. more
Treating depression by stimulating the pleasure center
Even with the best of available treatments, over a third of patients with depression may not achieve a satisfactory antidepressant response. Deep brain stimulation (DBS), a form of targeted electrical stimulation in the brain via implanted electrodes, is now undergoing careful testing to determine whether it could play a role in the treatment of patients who have not sufficiently improved during more traditional forms of treatment. more
New measurement technique will help in fight against cancer
A new technique to catch cancer early has taken an important step forward thanks to the National Physical Laboratory (NPL). NPL's 'phantoms' will ensure an exciting new screening technique can be relied upon by hospitals to identify early signs of cancer.
Genetic variability in a tumor as an indicator of patient risk
Every cell within a tumor is not genetically identical and this genetic heterogeneity is thought to underlie tumor progression and resistance to therapeutics. A team of researchers, at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, has now developed methods to quantitatively describe intratumor genetic heterogeneity in primary human tumors. more
Low-carb diet effective at lowering blood pressure
In a head-to-head comparison, two popular weight loss methods proved equally effective at helping participants lose significant amounts of weight. But, in a surprising twist, a low-carbohydrate diet proved better at lowering blood pressure than the weight-loss drug orlistat, according to researchers at Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Duke University Medical Center.
26 January 2010
Obesity ups cancer risk, and here's how
Recognizing faces is an important social skill, but not all of us are equally good at it. Some people are unable to recognize even their closest friends (a condition called prosopagnosia), while others have a near-photographic memory for large numbers of faces. Now a twin study by collaborators at MIT and in Beijing shows that Preventing deadly ruptures of the blood vessels in the brain is the aim of a new Mayo Clinic project to help radiologists detect aneurysms with far greater speed and accuracy..
Characteristics of young age gastric cancer patients
Two percent to fifteen percent of patients with gastric cancer (GC) are younger than 45 years of age and there has been an increase in the relative proportion of young age GC compared with older age GC, especially in young females. The question of whether young age GC is different from that of older patients has been raised but remains unresolved. more
Breakthrough breast cancer therapy reduces mastectomies; saves breast
A new treatment developed and tested by University of Oklahoma researchers not only killed large cancer tumors, but reduced the need for mastectomies by almost 90 percent. The latest results appear in an upcoming issue of the Annals of Surgical Oncology. more
A variant of the gene GFI1 predisposes to a subtype of blood cancer
A large international research group led by Dr. Tarik Möröy, a researcher at the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM), has discovered that a variant of the gene "Growth Factor Independence 1" (GFI1) predisposes humans to develop acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a certain subtype of blood cancer. This study was coordinated by Dr. Möröy at the IRCM in collaboration with multiple international study groups located throughout Germany, the Netherlands and the United States. This new finding has been prepublished online in Blood, the Journal of the American Society of Hematology. more
New insights into deadly brain cancer are important step towards personalized therapy
New research suggests that the most common form of malignant brain cancer in adults, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), is probably not a single disease but a set of diseases, each with a distinct underlying molecular pathology. The study, published by Cell Press in the January issue of the journal Cancer Cell, provides a solid framework for investigation of future targeted therapies that may improve the near uniformly fatal prognosis of this devastating cancer.
Mayo Clinic and IBM advance early detection of brain aneurysms
Preventing deadly ruptures of the blood vessels in the brain is the aim of a new Mayo Clinic project to help radiologists detect aneurysms with far greater speed and accuracy. The new method uses analytics technology developed by the Mayo and IBM collaboration, Medical Imaging Informatics Innovation Center and has proven a 95 percent accuracy rate in detecting aneurysms, compared with 70 percent for manual interpretation. more
Genes found linked to breast cancer drug resistance could guide future treatment choices
Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have discovered a gene activity signature that predicts a high risk of cancer recurrence in certain breast tumors that have been treated with commonly used chemotherapy drugs.
25 January 2010
Face recognition ability inherited separately from IQ
Recognizing faces is an important social skill, but not all of us are equally good at it. Some people are unable to recognize even their closest friends (a condition called prosopagnosia), while others have a near-photographic memory for large numbers of faces. Now a twin study by collaborators at MIT and in Beijing shows that face recognition is heritable and is inherited separately from general intelligence or IQ.
Iowa State University researcher discovers Ebola’s deadly secret
Research at Iowa State University has led scientists to uncover how the deadly Zaire Ebola virus decoys cells and eventually kills them. more
Clot-causing heart pouch may raise stroke risk
UC Irvine cardiologists have found a pouchlike structure inside the heart's left atrial chamber that may be a potent source of stroke-causing blood clots. more
Researchers find a treatment for deadly brain tumor
New research at Rhode Island Hospital has identified a treatment in animal models for glioblastomas – deadly brain tumors which, once diagnosed, offer a poor prognosis and relatively short life expectancy. Using a synthetic form of a naturally-occurring hormone combined with chemotherapy, researchers were able to inhibit tumor growth and achieve a 25 percent cure rate. The study and their findings are published in the Journal of Oncology. more
Gene linked to schizophrenia may reduce cancer risk
People who inherit a specific form of a gene that puts them on a road to schizophrenia may be protected against some forms of cancer, according to a new study by scientists at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research.
Society of Interventional Radiology supports treatment for spine fractures: Patient selection key
Given the current controversy over vertebroplasty—a minimally invasive treatment performed by interventional radiologists in individuals with painful osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures that fail to respond to conventional medical therapy—what's a patient to do? Trust your medical team to decide if you are an appropriate candidate for vertebroplasty and trust the experience of hundreds of thousands of other patients who have undergone the spine treatment successfully and received life-improving effects, says the Society of Interventional Radiology. more
Prenatal exposure to flame-retardant compounds affects neurodevelopment of young children
Prenatal exposure to ambient levels of flame retardant compounds called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) is associated with adverse neurodevelopmental effects in young children, according to researchers at the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health (CCCEH) at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.
24 January 2010
Blood test for schizophrenia could be ready this year
A blood test for diagnosing schizophrenia — the most serious form of mental illness — could be available this year, according to an article in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News, ACS' weekly newsmagazine. The disorder, with symptoms that can include hallucinations and delusional thoughts, affects more than two million people in the United States and millions more worldwide.
Counterfeit Internet drugs pose significant risks and discourage vital health checks
Men who buy fake internet drugs for erection problems can face significant risks from potentially hazardous contents and bypassing healthcare systems could leave associated problems like diabetes and high blood pressure undiagnosed. That's the warning just published online by IJCP, the International Journal of Clinical Practice. more
New treatment shown to reduce recurrence of debilitating diarrhea
A combination of two fully human monoclonal antibodies was shown to reduce recurrence of a debilitating form of diarrhea by 72 percent in patients enrolled in a Phase 2 clinical trial. The results of the trial are reported in the article "Treatment with Monoclonal Antibodies against Clostridium difficile Toxins" to be published January 21, 2010 in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). more
Little pill means big news in the treatment of MS
A new drug for multiple sclerosis promises to change the lives of the 100,000 people in the UK who have the condition, say researchers at Queen Mary, University of London. more
Potential new class of drugs to combat hepatitis C identified by Stanford scientists
Stanford University School of Medicine scientists have discovered a novel class of compounds that, in experiments in vitro, inhibit replication of the virus responsible for hepatitis C. If these compounds prove effective in infected humans as well, they may dramatically accelerate efforts to confront this virus's propensity to rapidly acquire drug resistance, while possibly skirting some of the troubling side effects common among therapies in current use and in late-stage development.
New gene discovered for recessive form of brittle bone disease
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions have discovered the third in a sequence of genes that accounts for previously unexplained forms of osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), a genetic condition that weakens bones, results in frequent fractures and is sometimes fatal. more
Scientists show how brain tumors outsmart drugs
Researchers at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (LICR) at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Moores UCSD Cancer Center have shown one way in which gliomas, a deadly type of brain tumor, can evade drugs aimed at blocking a key cell signaling protein, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR),that is crucial for tumor growth. In a related finding, they also proved that a particular EGFR mutation is important not only to initiate the tumor, but for its continued growth or "maintenance" as well.
23 January 2010
Slow breathing reduces pain
Research performed by a scientist at Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center has shown that controlled breathing at a slowed rate can significantly reduce feelings of pain.
Herpes medication does not reduce risk of HIV transmission, UW-led international study finds
A five-year international multi-center clinical trial has found that acyclovir, a drug widely used as a safe and effective treatment taken twice daily to suppress herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2), which is the most common cause of genital herpes, does not reduce the risk of HIV transmission when taken by people infected with both HIV and HSV-2. The results of the study are published in the New England Journal of Medicine online today, and will appear in the Feb. 4, 2010 issue of the publication. more
COPD, even when mild, limits heart function
A common lung condition, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) diminishes the heart's ability to pump effectively even when the disease has no or mild symptoms, according to research published in the Jan. 21 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The study is the first time researchers have shown strong links between heart function and mild COPD. The research was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health. more
New way to generate abundant functional blood vessel cells from human stem cells discovered
In a significant step toward restoring healthy blood circulation to treat a variety of diseases, a team of scientists at Weill Cornell Medical College has developed a new technique and described a novel mechanism for turning human embryonic and pluripotent stem cells into plentiful, functional endothelial cells, which are critical to the formation of blood vessels. Endothelial cells form the interior "lining" of all blood vessels and are the main component of capillaries, the smallest and most abundant vessels. In the near future, the researchers believe, it will be possible to inject these cells into humans to heal damaged organs and tissues. more
Older brains make good use of 'useless' information
A new study has found promising evidence that the older brain's weakened ability to filter out irrelevant information may actually give aging adults a memory advantage over their younger counterparts.
Retail meat linked to urinary tract infections: Strong new evidence
Chicken sold in supermarkets, restaurants and other outlets may place young women at risk of urinary tract infections (UTI), McGill researcher Amee Manges has discovered. Samples taken in the Montreal area between 2005 and 2007, in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada and the University of Guelph, provide strong new evidence that E. coli (Escherichia coli) bacteria originating from these food sources can cause common urinary tract infections. more
Switch that turns on the allergic response in people
A new study in human cells has singled out a molecule that specifically directs immune cells to develop the capability to produce an allergic response. The signaling molecule, called thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), is key to the development of allergic diseases such as asthma, atopic dermatitis (eczema), and food allergy.
22 January 2010
Researchers identify a new gene involved in autophagy, the cellular recycling program
All cells are equipped with a recycling program to collect and remove unnecessary cellular components. Autophagy sequesters and digests aged organelles, damaged proteins and other components, which, if not disintegrated and recycled, threaten cell viability. Researchers at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) led by Antonio Zorzano, head of the Molecular Medicine program and senior professor of the University of Barcelona, have identified a new gene that favours cell autophagy.
Heart attack victims who have ECGs in the field experience shorter time-to-treatment
A recent study found that individuals experiencing chest pain who had electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) assessments prior to arriving at the hospital experienced a significantly reduced time-to-treatment or door-to-balloon (D2B) time. When EMS personnel responding to cardiac emergencies obtained ECGs of the subjects in the field, the mean D2B time was 60.2 minutes compared with 90.5 minutes for in-hospital ECGs. This advanced assessment significantly reduced D2B by allowing patients to bypass the ER and be transported directly to the cardiac catheterization laboratory (CCL) for reperfusion treatment. more
Stain repellent chemical linked to thyroid disease in adults
A study by the University of Exeter and the Peninsula Medical School for the first time links thyroid disease with human exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). PFOA is a persistent organic chemical used in industrial and consumer goods including nonstick cookware and stain- and water-resistant coatings for carpets and fabrics. more
Unwanted guests: How herpes simplex virus gets rid of the cell's security guards
A viral infection is like an uninvited, tenacious houseguest in the cell, using a range of tricks to prevent its eviction. Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have identified one of the key proteins allowing herpes simplex virus (HSV) DNA to fly under the radar of their hosts' involuntary hospitality. more
Low Vitamin D levels are associated with greater risk of relapse in childhood-onset multiple sclerosis
Low vitamin D blood levels are associated with a significantly higher risk of relapse attacks in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) who develop the disease during childhood, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of California, San Francisco.
Reducing salt intake -- even in small amounts -- could mean fewer heart attacks, strokes and deaths
Reducing salt in the American diet by as little as one-half teaspoon (or three grams) per day could prevent nearly 100,000 heart attacks and 92,000 deaths each year, according to a new study. Such benefits are on par with the benefits from reductions in smoking and could save the United States about $24 billion in healthcare costs, the researchers add. more
A novel brain-based computational model of how Parkinson's disease and dopamine medications affect learning and attention
A new brain-based computational model is helping to understand how Parkinson's disease and dopamine medications—used to treat motor symptoms caused by the disease— can affect learning and attention.
21 January 2010
First evidence that blueberry juice improves memory in older adults
Scientists are reporting the first evidence from human research that blueberries — one of the richest sources of healthful antioxidants and other so-called phytochemicals — improve memory. They said the study establishes a basis for comprehensive human clinical trials to determine whether blueberries really deserve their growing reputation as a memory enhancer. A report on the study appears in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a bi-weekly publication.
Consumers over age 50 should consider steps to cut copper and iron intake
With scientific evidence linking high levels of copper and iron to Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, and other age-related disorders, a new report in ACS' Chemical Research in Toxicology suggests specific steps that older consumers can take to avoid build up of unhealthy amounts of these metals in their bodies. "This story of copper and iron toxicity, which I think is reaching the level of public health significance, is virtually unknown to the general medical community, to say nothing of complete unawareness of the public," George Brewer states in the report. more
Brain abnormalities in Parkinson's patients develop before symptoms occur
Scientists who have identified brain networks damaged in Parkinson's disease have new evidence that these systems become abnormal a few years before symptoms appear. And what's more, parts of the network appear to respond in a last ditch attempt to rescue the brain. more
Mind reading, brain fingerprinting and the law
What if a jury could decide a man's guilt through mind reading? What if reading a defendant's memory could betray their guilt? And what constitutes 'intent' to commit murder? These are just some of the issues debated and reviewed in the inaugural issue of WIREs Cognitive Science, the latest interdisciplinary project from Wiley-Blackwell, which for registered institutions will be free for the first two years. more
Post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosed with magnetism
A group of 74 US veterans has been involved in clinical trials which appear to have objectively diagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), something conventional brain scans, be it X-ray, CT or MRI, have thus far failed to do.
Communication problems in the brain
For brain cells to communicate, the contacts to each other must function. The protein molecule neuroligin-1 plays an important role in this as it stimulates the necessary maturation processes at the contact sites (synapses) of the nerves. A synaptic maturation disorder is possibly involved in the development of autism. more
The human brain uses a grid to represent space
'Grid cells' that act like a spatial map in the brain have been identified for the first time in humans, according to new research by UCL scientists which may help to explain how we create internal maps of new environments.
20 January 2010
Traumatic brain injuries: Motor deficits can persist even after what appears to be a full recovery
Even after regaining normal walking speed, traumatic brain injury (TBI) victims have not necessarily recovered all their locomotor functions, according to a study supervised by Université Laval's Bradford McFadyen and recently published in Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
New data show cardiac respiratory stress test can quickly detect significant coronary artery disease
Testing a patient's cardiac respiratory stress response (RSR) can quickly and accurately detect the presence of significant coronary artery disease (S-CAD), according to new research published in the current issue of Cardiovascular Revascularization Medicine. The results found patients with S-CAD had a significantly lower RSR compared to patients without (6.7% vs. 17.4%, respectively) suggesting RSR is a strong indicator for the disease. more
The Cancer Genome Atlas identifies distinct subtypes of deadly brain cancer
The most common form of malignant brain cancer in adults, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), is not a single disease but appears to be four distinct molecular subtypes, according to a study by The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Research Network. The researchers of this study also found that response to aggressive chemotherapy and radiation differed by subtype. Patients with one subtype treated with this strategy appeared to succumb to their disease at a rate approximately 50 percent slower than patients treated with less aggressive therapy. This effect was seen to a lesser degree in two of the subtypes and not at all in the fourth subtype. more
Link examined between omega-3 fatty acid levels and biological aging marker in patients with CHD
Patients with coronary heart disease who had higher omega-3 fatty acid blood levels had an associated lower rate of shortening of telomere length, a chromosome marker of biological aging, raising the possibility that these fatty acids may protect against cellular aging, according to a study in the January 20 issue of JAMA. more
Tobacco smoke causes lung inflammation, promotes lung cancer growth
Repeated exposure to tobacco smoke makes lung cancer much worse, and one reason is that it steps up inflammation in the lung. Scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have found that mice with early lung cancer lesions that were repeatedly exposed to tobacco smoke developed larger tumors – and developed tumors more quickly – than unexposed animals. The key contributing factor was lung tissue inflammation.
Lighter sedation for elderly during surgery may reduce risk of confusion, disorientation after
A common complication following surgery in elderly patients is postoperative delirium, a state of confusion that can lead to long-term health problems and cause some elderly patients to complain that they “never felt the same” again after an operation. But a new study by Johns Hopkins researchers suggests that simply limiting the depth of sedation during procedures could safely cut the risk of postoperative delirium by 50 percent. more
Low socioeconomic status affects cortisol levels in children over time
It’s no surprise that children from low socioeconomic backgrounds may be at risk for numerous health problems in the future. Scientists speculate that these health problems, including increased risk for depression, anxiety and substance abuse, arise from the physiological toll that the environment has on the children’s bodies.
19 January 2010
Staring, sleepiness, other mental lapses more likely in patients with Alzheimer's
Cognitive fluctuations, or episodes when train of thought temporarily is lost, are more likely to occur in older persons who are developing Alzheimer's disease than in their healthy peers, according to scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
Appendicitis may be related to viral infections
Can you catch appendicitis? And if you do, is it necessarily an emergency that demands immediate surgery? Yes and no, according to a new study by UT Southwestern Medical Center surgeons and physicians. more
Childhood harms can lead to lung cancer
Adverse events in childhood have been linked to an increase in the likelihood of developing lung cancer in later life. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Public Health describe how the link is partly explained by raised rates of cigarette smoking in victims of childhood trauma, but note that other factors may also be to blame. more
Fish oil not snake oil
A randomised controlled trial of fish oil given intravenously to patients in intensive care has found that it improves gas exchange, reduces inflammatory chemicals and results in a shorter length of hospital stay. Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open access journal Critical Care investigated the effects of including fish oil in the normal nutrient solution for patients with sepsis, finding a significant series of benefits. more
Model estimates risks and benefits of bariatric surgery for severely obese
A computerized model suggests that most morbidly obese individuals would likely live longer if they had gastric bypass surgery, according to a report in the January issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. However, the best decision for individual patients varies based on factors such as age, increasing body mass index and the effectiveness of surgery.
Higher opioid dose linked to overdose risk in chronic pain patients
More and more Americans with chronic pain not caused by cancer are taking medically prescribed opioids like Oxycontin (oxycodone) and Vicodin (hydrocodone). The January 19 Annals of Internal Medicine features the first study to explore the risk of overdose in patients prescribed opioids for chronic noncancer pain in general health care. The study links risk of fatal and nonfatal opioid overdose to prescription use—strongly associating the risk with the prescribed dose. more
New nanoparticles target cardiovascular disease
Researchers at MIT and Harvard Medical School have built targeted nanoparticles that can cling to artery walls and slowly release medicine, an advance that potentially provides an alternative to drug-releasing stents in some patients with cardiovascular disease.
18 January 2010
Newly identified genes influence insulin and glucose regulation
An international research consortium has found 13 new genetic variants that influence blood glucose regulation, insulin resistance, and the function of insulin-secreting beta cells in populations of European descent. Five of the newly discovered variants increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes.
New gene variants associated with glucose, insulin levels, some with diabetes risk
A major international study with leadership from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers has identified 10 new gene variants associated with blood sugar or insulin levels. Two of these novel variants and three that earlier studies associated with glucose levels were also found to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. Along with a related study from members of the same research consortium, associating additional genetic variants with the metabolic response to a sugary meal, the report will appear in Nature Genetics and has been released online. more
From biological basics to diabetes discovery
In two major studies published in Nature Genetics today, researchers use biological understanding to dissect the genetics of diabetes. An international team comprising researchers from more than 100 institutions analysed vast suites of genetic data from more than 100,000 people of European descent to uncover the associations. more
First successful use of expanded umbilical-cord blood units to treat leukemia
Scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have cleared a major technical hurdle to making umbilical-cord-blood transplants a more widely-used method for treating leukemia and other blood cancers. more
Genetic risk factor identified for Parkinson’s disease: Gene variant influences vitamin B6 metabolism
An international team of doctors and human geneticists has identified a new genetic risk factor for Parkinson’s disease. The institutions involved in the study were the Institute of Human Genetics of Helmholtz Zentrum München and Technische Universität München, the Neurological Clinic of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich (LMU) and the Mitochondrial Research Group of Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
Researchers find new insights into inherited retinal disease
An international team of scientists, led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered new links between a common form of inherited blindness affecting children and a gene known as Abelson helper integration site-1 (AHI1). Their findings, which may lead to new therapies and improved diagnostics for retinal disease, will appear online in advance of publication in the journal Nature Genetics on January 17. more
Scientists hope to end sleeping sickness by making parasite that causes it self-destruct
After many years of study, a team of researchers is releasing data today that it hopes will lead to new drug therapies that will kill the family of parasites that causes a deadly trio of insect-borne diseases and has afflicted inhabitants of underdeveloped and developing nations for centuries.
17 January 2010
Studies implicate damage inflicted by amyloid protein as shared disease mechanism
Nearly 20 years ago Huntington Potter kicked up a storm of controversy with the idea that Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s were the same disease. Now the evidence is in: He was right.
Cancer stem cells suppress immune response against brain tumor
Cancer-initiating cells that launch glioblastoma multiforme, the most lethal type of brain tumor, also suppress an immune system attack on the disease, scientists from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center report in a paper featured on the cover of the Jan. 15 issue of Clinical Cancer Research. more
Oral sodium phosphate laxative inducing hyperphosphatemia relates with weight?
Colon cleansing is used widely for colonoscopic exploration and colonic and gynecological surgery. Oral sodium phosphate (OSP) solution is the osmotic laxative most commonly used for this purpose. It is known that OSP can induce severe hyperphosphatemia and hypocalcemia due to excessive absorption of phosphates, and there have been reports of deaths and irreversible dialysis-requiring renal insufficiency. However, no prospective studies have investigated the prevalence of hyperphosphatemia in low-risk patients. more
A novel and simple formula to predict treatment success in chronic hepatitis C
The likelihood of treatment success of 48 wk peg-interferon (PEG-IFN) plus ribavirin (RBV) therapy for chronic hepatitis C may be predicted by viral kinetics on therapy. In particular, recent studies have shown that sustained virological response (SVR) can be predicted by a rapid virological response (RVR), and an early virological response (EVR). Nevertheless, the current dosing regimens could potentially under-treat some patients and additional measurements of viral response is needed to facilitate individualization of therapy. Among predictive factors already reported, many are not readily available from daily clinical assessment, because they require genomic analyses and/or advanced experimental methods. The prediction with simply available data may be useful. more
McGill-CHUM study: 56 percent of young adults in a new sexual relationship infected with HPV
A groundbreaking study of couples led by Professor Eduardo Franco, Director of McGill University's Cancer Epidemiology Unit, in collaboration with a team of colleagues from McGill and Université de Montréal/Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM), found more than half (56 per cent) of young adults in a new sexual relationship were infected with human papillomavirus (HPV). Of those, nearly half (44 per cent) were infected with an HPV type that causes cancer.
Study reveals predictors of long-term opioid use for back pain
Despite limited evidence of long-term success in using opioid pain medications for chronic low back pain, opioid prescribing has increased in recent years for back pain and other non-cancer pain indications. The implications are controversial as published studies provide little evidence indicating which patients will benefit from long-term opioid treatment. more
How sunlight causes skin cells to turn cancerous
Most skin cancers are highly curable, but require surgery that can be painful and scarring.
15 January 2010
Pitt researchers raise concern over frequency of surveillance colonoscopy
How often patients receive surveillance colonoscopy may need to be better aligned with their risks for colorectal cancer, according to two papers published this month by University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine researchers. The studies provide evidence that colonoscopy is both overused and underused in particular patient populations with serious implications for health care spending.
Obstructive sleep apnea may worsen diabetes
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) adversely affects glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes, according to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago. more
Does electro-acupuncture prevent prolonged postoperative ileus?
A research article to be published on January 7 , 2010 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology addresses this question. In this prospective randomized clinical trial, the authors examined if acupuncture could prevent prolonged postoperative ileus (PPOI) after intraperitoneal surgery among patients with colon cancer in Shanghai, China. Acupuncture did not prevent PPOI in this population. Subset analyses in patients who developed PPOI also suggested acupuncture was not useful in this setting to treat PPOI once it developed. more
Seeing a diagnosis: How an eye test could aid Alzheimer's detection
A simple and inexpensive eye test could aid detection and diagnosis of major neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's at an earlier stage than is currently possible, according to new research by UCL scientists. more
Genetic study of lymphoma tumors points to possible therapies
A genetic study of lymphoma tumors has revealed the importance of a signaling pathway long suspected of playing a role in certain forms of the disease. DNA mutations were found in two components of the B-cell receptor signaling pathway in a subset of patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (DLBCL). In additional experiments, the researchers showed that drugs could kill these lymphoma cells by blocking signals from this pathway.
Vaccine kills residual leukemia cells in patients treated with imatinib
In an early phase clinical trial testing a therapeutic vaccine in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) who were taking the drug imatinib (Gleevec), no cancer cells could be detected in 7 out of 19 participants for a median period of 22 months. The trial results were published in the January 1 Clinical Cancer Research. more
Physicians urged to consider active surveillance in prostate cancer
The most explicit call to date for expanding the use of active surveillance in the treatment of prostate cancer was made last week by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), a not-for-profit alliance of leading cancer centers. Updated guidelines froman NCCN panel urge clinicians to offer active surveillance to their patients whose prostate cancers are at low risk of progressing to life-threatening disease.
14 January 2010
New study raises the possibility that some antiviral drugs could make diseases worse
As the flu season continues in full-swing, most people can appreciate the need for drugs that stop viruses after they take hold in the body. Despite this serious need for new drugs, a team of researchers from the University of Texas at Austin raise serious concerns about an emerging strategy for stopping viral infections. According to their research report appearing in the January 2010 issue of the journal GENETICS, medications that cause viruses to die off by forcing their nucleic acid to mutate rapidly might actually, in some instances, cause them to emerge from the process stronger, perhaps even more virulent than before drug treatment.
Toward a less expensive version of the anti-flu drug Tamiflu
Scientists have developed an alternative method for producing the active ingredient in Tamiflu®, the mainstay for fighting H1N1 and other forms of influenza. The new process could expand availability of the drug by reducing its cost, which now retails for as about $8 per dose. Their study is in ACS' Organic Letters, a bi-weekly journal. more
1 in 4 patients have lost bone around their implants
Bone loss around dental implants is far more common than previously realised, reveals a thesis from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Around a quarter of patients loose some degree of supporting bone around their implants. more
Thyme oil can inhibit COX2 and suppress inflammation
For those who do not drink, researchers have found that six essential oils –from thyme, clove, rose, eucalyptus, fennel and bergamot—can suppress the inflammatory COX-2 enzyme, in a manner similar to resveratrol, the chemical linked with the health benefits of red wine. They also identified that the chemical carvacrol was primarily responsible for this suppressive activity. more
Scientists put psoriasis drugs to the test
Clinical trials to test the effectiveness of two prescription drugs for the debilitating skin condition psoriasis have revealed significant differences that should help inform physicians treating patients with the condition.
Surplus of serotonin receptors may explain failure of antidepressants in some patients
An excess of one type of serotonin receptor in the center of the brain may explain why antidepressants fail to relieve symptoms of depression for 50 percent of patients, a new study from researchers at Columbia University Medical Center shows. more
Stress triggers tumor formation, Yale researchers find
Stress induces signals that cause cells to develop into tumors, Yale researchers have discovered. The research, published online Jan. 13 in the journal Nature, describes a novel way cancer takes hold in the body and suggests new ways to attack the deadly disease.
13 January 2010
Expert panel calls on US research agencies to develop policies for providing free public access to federally sponsored research results
An expert panel of librarians, library scientists, publishers, and university academic leaders today called on federal agencies that fund research to develop and implement policies that ensure free public access to the results of the research they fund "as soon as possible after those results have been published in a peer-reviewed journal."
Gladstone scientists identify role of key protein in ALS and frontotemporal dementia
Scientists at the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease (GIND) have identified the reason a key protein plays a major role in two neurodegenerative diseases. In the current edition of the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers in the laboratory of GIND Associate Director Steven Finkbeiner, MD, PhD have found how the protein TDP-43 may cause the neurodegeneration associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin-positive inclusion bodies (FTLDu). TDP-43, is the major component of protein aggregates in patients with these diseases. Mutations in the TDP-43 gene are also associated with familial forms of ALS and FTLDu. more
Independent public health evaluations could save lives
New child survival programs must engage evaluation teams from the start to identify the major causes of child mortality in intervention areas and to ensure that appropriate resources are available to scale up coverage and treatment, according to a retrospective evaluation led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The study—the first in a series of articles to focus on evidence from large-scale evaluations—will appear in the January 16 issue of the Lancet and is now available online. The new recommendations will help governments and donor agencies invest new funding to avert childhood deaths and reach the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. more
Scripps research scientists find cancer cells co-opt fat metabolism pathway to become more malignant
An enzyme that normally helps break down stored fats goes into overdrive in some cancer cells, making them more malignant, according to new findings by a team at The Scripps Research Institute. more
Hypertension linked to dementia in older women
Older women with hypertension are at increased risk for developing brain lesions that cause dementia later in life, according to data from the Women's Health Initiative Memory Study (WHIMS). The findings were published in the December 2009 online issue of the Journal of Clinical Hypertension.
Monitoring of high-risk medications unchanged despite FDA warnings
A new study concludes that many doctors appear to have largely ignored a Food and Drug Administration warning to screen users of new antipsychotic drugs for high blood sugar and cholesterol, which poses risks to their health and raises questions about the efficacy of warning protocols in general. more
Women with breast cancer may benefit from autologous stem cell transplantation
Compared to conventional chemotherapy, autologous stem cell transplantation can extend "event-free survival” for breast cancer patients. Clinical trials provide proof of this for breast cancer with and without distant metastases. However, there are indications that this type of stem cell transplantation can more frequently give rise to severe complications affecting almost all organ systems. This is the conclusion of the final report of the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) published on 16 December 2009.
12 January 2010
Workers' comp research provides insight into curbing health-care costs
Analyzing physicians' practice patterns may hold valuable clues about how to curb the nation's rising health care costs, according to a study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Growth factor hit by cancer drugs also protects heart
A growth factor that is a common target of cancer drugs also plays an important role in the heart's response to stress, researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center report online this week in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. more
Disconnect between brain regions in ADHD
Two brain areas fail to connect when children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder attempt a task that measures attention, according to researchers at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain and M.I.N.D. Institute. more
Excess protein in urine is indicator of heart disease risk in whites, but not blacks
The cardiovascular risk that is associated with proteinuria, or high levels of protein in the urine, a common test used by doctors as an indicator of increased risk for progressive kidney disease, heart attack and stroke, has race-dependent effects, according to a new study by researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. more
New target discovered for treatment of cancer
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have discovered a new way of blocking the formation of blood vessels and halting the growth of tumours in mice. A substance that exploits this mechanism could be developed into a new treatment for cancer.
FDA warnings associated with reduced atypical antipsychotic use among older adults with dementia
The use of atypical antipsychotics to treat elderly patients with dementia appears to have decreased following a 2005 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory regarding the risks of these medications in this population, according to a report in the January 11 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. more
Neuroimaging may shed light on how Alzheimer's disease develops
Current Alzheimer's disease (AD) research indicates that accumulation of amyloid-beta (Aß) protein plaques in the brain is central to the development of AD. Unfortunately, presence of these plaques is typically confirmed only at autopsy. In a special issue of the journal Behavioural Neurology, researchers review the evidence that Positron Emission Tomography (PET) can image these plaques during life. This exciting new technique provides researchers with an opportunity to test the amyloid hypothesis as it occurs in living patients.
11 January 2010
Study explains why light worsens migraine headaches
Ask anyone who suffers from migraine headaches what they do when they're having an attack, and you're likely to hear "go into a dark room." And although it's long been known that light makes migraines worse, the reason why has been unclear.
UT rheumatologists advance genetic research related to disabling form of arthritis
Work done in part by researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston has led to the discovery of two new genes that are implicated in ankylosing spondylitis (AS), an inflammatory and potentially disabling disease. In addition, the international research team pinpointed two areas along stretches of DNA that play an important role in regulating gene activity associated with the arthritic condition. more
Research adds to evidence that autism is a brain 'connectivity' disorder
Studying a rare disorder known as tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), researchers at Children's Hospital Boston add to a growing body of evidence suggesting that autism spectrum disorders, which affect 25 to 50 percent of TSC patients, result from a miswiring of connections in the developing brain, leading to improper information flow. The finding may also help explain why many people with TSC have seizures and intellectual disabilities. Findings were published online in Nature Neuroscience on January 10. more
Researchers discover molecular security system that protects cells from potentially harmful DNA
Researchers at the University of Minnesota have discovered a molecular security system in human cells that deactivates and degrades foreign DNA. This discovery could open the door to major improvements in genetic engineering and gene therapy technologies. more
Study sheds light on role of stem cells in children's brain tumor
New research from scientists at Queen Mary, University of London shows how the most common type of children's brain cancer can arise from stem cells.
Discovery of enzyme activation process could lead to new heart attack treatments
Researchers at the Indiana University and Stanford University schools of medicine have determined how a "chemical chaperone" does its job in the body, which could lead to a new class of drugs to help reduce the muscle damage caused by heart attacks. more
Molecule repairs alcohol metabolism enzyme
An experimental compound repaired a defective alcohol metabolism enzyme that affects an estimated 1 billion people worldwide, according to research supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). The findings, published Jan. 10, 2010 in the advance online edition of Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, suggest the possibility of a treatment to reduce the health problems associated with the enzyme defect.
9 January 2010
Deep brain stimulation successful for treatment of severely depressive patient
Neurosurgeons in Heidelberg perform the world’s first operation on the “habenula” to treat depression/ Cooperation with psychiatrists from the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim
Healthy older adults with subjective memory loss may be at increased risk for MCI and dementia
Forgot where you put your car keys? Having trouble recalling your colleague's name? If so, this may be a symptom of subjective cognitive impairment (SCI), the earliest sign of cognitive decline marked by situations such as when a person recognizes they can't remember a name like they used to or where they recently placed important objects the way they used to. Studies have shown that SCI is experienced by between one-quarter and one-half of the population over the age of 65. A new study, published in the January 11, 2010, issue of the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia, finds that healthy older adults reporting SCI are 4.5 times more likely to progress to the more advanced memory-loss stages of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia than those free of SCI. more
New approach to fighting Alzheimer's shows potential in clinical trial
In the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, patients typically suffer a major loss of the brain connections necessary for memory and information processing. Now, a combination of nutrients that was developed at MIT has shown the potential to improve memory in Alzheimer's patients by stimulating growth of new brain connections. more
UCF Alzheimer's discovery could lead to long-sought preventive treatment
Despite a massive global research effort, many basics of Alzheimer's disease onset remain elusive. This has hampered development of treatments effective during the earliest stages of the disease, when prevention is most likely. more
Sleeping beauty hooks up with herpes to fight brain disease
Neuroscientists have forged an unlikely molecular union as part of their fight against diseases of the brain and nervous system.
Observation about how nervous system learns and encodes motion could improve stroke recovery
Bioengineers have taken a small step toward improving physical recovery in stroke patients by showing that a key feature of how limb motion is encoded in the nervous system plays a crucial role in how new motor skills are learned. more
Blood test could improve graft-vs.-host disease treatment
Discovery will enable doctors to accurately diagnose and treat skin rashes in bone marrow transplant patients and personalize GVHD treatment
8 January 2010
Study finds increased presence, severity of coronary artery plaques in HIV-infected men
A Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) study has found that relatively young men with longstanding HIV infection and minimal cardiac risk factors had significantly more coronary atherosclerotic plaques – some involving serious arterial blockage – than did uninfected men with similar cardiovascular risk. The investigation appearing in the January 2010 issue of the journal AIDS is the first to use CT angiography to identify coronary artery plaques in HIV-infected participants.
Researchers discover genetic differences between lethal and treatable forms of leukemia
A tumor's genetic profile is often useful when diagnosing and deciding on treatment for certain cancers, but inexplicably, genetically similar leukemias in different patients do not always respond well to the same therapy. Weill Cornell Medical College researchers believe they may have discovered what distinguishes these patients by evaluating the "epigenetic" differences between patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). more
Blood glucose self-monitoring: No benefit for non-insulin-dependent patients with type 2 diabetes
Contrary to the widely-held belief, there is no proof that non-insulin-dependent patients with type 2 diabetes benefit from glucose self-monitoring. Moreover, it remains unclear whether an additional benefit is displayed by the blood test compared to the urine test or vice versa, in other words, whether one or other of the tests might offer an advantage to patients. The current data are quantitatively and qualitatively inadequate: the few trials that are suitable for investigating these questions have not included or have insufficiently reported many outcomes important to patients. more
Abnormal blood calcium levels deadly for kidney disease patients
Abnormally high or low blood calcium levels are linked to an increased chance of premature death in non-dialysis kidney disease patients, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology (CJASN). The findings indicate the potential importance of finding drugs or other treatments that maintain normal blood calcium levels in non-dialysis patients. more
Study finds H1N1 virus spreads easily by plane
Viruses love plane travel. They get to fly around the world inside a closed container while their infected carrier breathes and coughs, spreading pathogens to other passengers, either by direct contact or through the air. And once people deplane, the virus can spread to other geographical areas.
Study investigates immune system alterations in the brain
Using laboratory mice that had been bred to have brain changes similar to Alzheimer's disease, scientists were able to reduce two characteristic features of the disease by modifying the mice's immune systems with a special peptide (MOG45D) related to the myelin sheath that insulates nerve cells and nerve fibers. As a result, anti-inflammatory cells were recruited from the blood into the brain, dampening the local inflammatory response. more
Periodic paralysis study reveals gene causing disorder
Scientists have identified a gene underlying a disease that causes temporary paralysis of skeletal muscle. The finding, they say, illustrates how investigations of rare genetic diseases can drive insights into more common ones.
7 January 2010
Coal from mass extinction era linked to lung cancer mystery
The volcanic eruptions thought responsible for Earth's largest mass extinction — which killed more than 70 percent of plants and animals 250 million years ago — is still taking lives today. That's the conclusion of a new study showing, for the first time, that the high silica content of coal in one region of China may be interacting with volatile substances in the coal to cause unusually high rates of lung cancer.
Silencing brain cells with yellow and blue light
Neuroscientists at MIT have developed a powerful new class of tools to reversibly shut down brain activity using different colors of light. When targeted to specific neurons, these tools could potentially lead to new treatments for the abnormal brain activity associated with disorders such as chronic pain, epilepsy, brain injury, and Parkinson's disease. more
High antiretroviral therapy adherence associated with lower health care costs
High antiretroviral therapy adherence,, which has been shown to be a major predictor of HIV disease progression and survival, is now associated with lower health care costs, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Researchers examined the effect of antiretroviral therapy adherence on direct health care costs and found that antiretroviral therapy improves health outcomes for people infected with HIV, saving a net overall median monthly health care cost of $85 per patient. more
Multiple patient samples of an analyte improve detection of changes in clinical status
Clinicians rely on laboratory tests to monitor the progression or remission of disease, or to identify pathologic alterations in physiology that may precede clinical events. Monitoring quantitative laboratory results represents a crucial component in the assessment of response to therapy. Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have developed a mathematical methodology to reduce the effect of biologic variation on the difference necessary to detect changes in clinical status. more
New brain scan better detects earliest signs of Alzheimer's disease in healthy people
A new type of brain scan, called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), appears to be better at detecting whether a person with memory loss might have brain changes of Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study published in the January 6, 2010, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
Study examines interval colorectal cancer despite surveillance colonoscopy
A new study examines the occurrence of interval colorectal cancer despite regular colonoscopy and highlights the importance of close follow-up for patients who have a history of advanced adenomas, which are precancerous polyps. Researchers studied the rate of interval colorectal cancer in patients participating in the Polyp Prevention Trial Continued Follow-up Study and found that nine cases of colorectal cancer were diagnosed over 7,626 person-years of observation for an incidence rate of 1.2 per 1,000 person-years of observation. Of patients in whom colorectal cancer developed, 78 percent had a history of advanced adenoma. The majority of the cancers detected were early stage (78 percent were stage I or II) and therefore highly curable. The study appears in the January issue of GIE: Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, the monthly peer-reviewed scientific journal of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. more
Team finds link between stomach-cancer bug and cancer-promoting factor
Researchers report that Helicobacter pylori, the only bacterium known to survive in the harsh environment of the human stomach, directly activates an enzyme in host cells that has been associated with several types of cancer, including gastric cancer.
6 January 2010
URMC study links vitamin D, race, and cardiac deaths
Vitamin D deficiency may contribute to a higher number of heart and stroke-related deaths among black Americans compared to whites, according to a University of Rochester Medical Center study.
Prenatal ultrasonography has increased 55 percent for pregnant women, even in low-risk pregnancies
Current use of prenatal ultrasounds in women with singleton pregnancies is 55% greater than in 1996, even in low-risk pregnancies. More than one-third (37%) of pregnant women now receive 3 or more ultrasound tests in the second and third trimesters of a given pregnancy, found an article in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). The increase in the use of multiple ultrasound scans per pregnancy has been more pronounced in low-risk than high-risk pregnancies, suggesting a need to review current practices. more
Sharing a hospital room increases risk of 'super bugs'
Staying in a multi-bed hospital room dramatically increases the risk of acquiring a serious infectious disease, Queen's University researchers have discovered. more
Caffeine consumption associated with less severe liver fibrosis
Researchers from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) determined that patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) who consumed more than 308 mg of caffeine daily had milder liver fibrosis. The daily amount of caffeine intake found to be beneficial is equivalent to 2.25 cups of regular coffee. Other sources of caffeine beyond coffee did not have the same therapeutic effect. Details of this study are available in the January 2010 issue of Hepatology. more
Before or after birth, gene linked to mental health has different effects
Scientists have long eyed mutations in a gene known as DISC1 as a possible contributor to schizophrenia and mood disorders, including depression and bipolar disorder. Now, new research led by Johns Hopkins researchers suggests that perturbing this gene during prenatal periods, postnatal periods or both may have different effects in mice, leading to separate types of brain alterations and behaviors with resemblance to schizophrenia or mood disorders.
Natural compounds in pomegranates may prevent growth of hormone-dependent breast cancer
Eating fruit, such as pomegranates, that contain anti-aromatase phytochemicals reduces the incidence of hormone-dependent breast cancer, according to results of a study published in the January issue of Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. more
Leptin-controlled gene can reverse diabetes
Researchers have found that even a very little bit of the fat hormone leptin goes a long way when it comes to correcting diabetes. The hormone controls the activity of a gene known as IGFBP2 in the liver, which has antidiabetic effects in animals and could have similar therapeutic effect in humans, according to a report published by Cell Press in the January issue of Cell Metabolism.
5 January 2010
New ALS drug slips through telling 'phase II' clinical trials
A drug already used to treat symptoms of epilepsy has potential to slow the muscle weakening that comes with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), scientists report after completing a Phase II clinical trial—an early, small-scale test to show if the drug works and continues to be safe.
Radiofrequency ablation safe and effective for reducing pain from bone metastases
Image-guided radiofrequency ablation (RFA), a minimally invasive cancer treatment which can be performed in the outpatient setting, significantly reduced the level of pain experienced by cancer patients with bone (osseous) metastases, limiting the need for strong narcotic pain management, and supporting improved patient frame of mind, according to results of an American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN) study published online in the journal Cancer. more
Pain management failing as fears of prescription drug abuse rise
Millions of Americans with significant or chronic pain associated with their medical problems are being under-treated as physicians increasingly fail to provide comprehensive pain treatment – either due to inadequate training, personal biases or fear of prescription drug abuse. more
Researchers develop “nano cocktail” to target and kill tumors
A team of researchers in California and Massachusetts has developed a “cocktail” of different nanometer-sized particles that work in concert within the bloodstream to locate, adhere to and kill cancerous tumors. more
New key factor identified in the development of Alzheimer's disease
Inheritance of an extra copy of the gene- ß -amyloid precursor protein, APP, in individuals with Down syndrome leads to the inevitable development of early onset Alzheimer's disease, known to be linked to the deposition of Amyloid ß peptide or Aß in the brain. However, a new study published online by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences identifies ßCTF, a small protein found in APP, as a novel factor for the development of Alzheimer's disease related endosome abnormalities, which have also been tied previously to the loss of brain cells in Alzheimer's disease.
Blocking inflammation receptor kills breast cancer stem cells, U-M study finds
Scientists at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center have uncovered an important link between inflammation and breast cancer stem cells that suggests a new way to target cells that are resistant to current treatments. more
New research findings may help stop age-related macular degeneration at the molecular level
Researchers at University College London say they have gleaned a key insight into the molecular beginnings of age-related macular degeneration, the No. 1 cause of vision loss in the elderly, by determining how two key proteins interact to naturally prevent the onset of the condition.
4 January 2010
First release of global adult tobacco survey results by Bangladesh
Bangladesh this week released its first Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) results. Many countries conduct surveys to monitor adult tobacco use, but until recently, no one standard global survey for adults has consistently tracked tobacco use, exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke, and tobacco control measures.
Voluntary non-safety-related recall of specific lots of nasal spray vaccine for 2009 H1N1 influenza
As part of its quality assurance program, the manufacturer of the nasal spray monovalent 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine, MedImmune, performs routine, ongoing stability testing of the vaccine. Stability testing means measuring the strength (also called potency) of the vaccine over time to make sure it does not go below a pre-specified limit during the vaccine’s “shelf life.” On December 18 and 21, the manufacturer notified CDC and FDA that the potency in 13 batches (called “lots”) of nasal spray vaccine had decreased below the pre-specified limit or were at risk of falling below that limit within the upcoming week. more
Household responses to pandemic (H1N1) 2009–related school closures, Perth, Western Australia
School closure is often purported to reduce influenza transmission, but little is known about its effect on families. We surveyed families affected by pandemic (H1N1) 2009–related school closures in Perth, Western Australia, Australia. Surveys were returned for 233 (58%) of 402 students. more
FDA, health organizations to study safety of medications taken during pregnancy
A new research program called the Medication Exposure in Pregnancy Risk Evaluation Program (MEPREP) will fund research to study the effects of prescription medications used during pregnancy. The program is a collaboration among the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and researchers at the HMO Research Network Center for Education and Research in Therapeutics (CERT), Kaiser Permanente’s multiple research centers and Vanderbilt University. more
Negative pressure wound devices draw FDA notice, advice
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has notified health professionals, and advised patients, about rare but serious complications—including deaths—from the use of negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT).
Information for patients: E. Coli, ground beef and food safety
Questions about "ground meat" or "hamburger" have always been in the top five food topics of calls to the USDA's Meat and Poultry Hotline. Here are the most frequently asked questions. more
Indoor tanning: The risks of ultraviolet rays
Sunlamps and tanning beds promise consumers a bronzed body year-round, but the ultraviolet (UV) radiation from these devices poses serious health risks.
3 January 2010
Restricting sugary food may lead to overeating
Many people try to lose weight by periodically forbidding themselves from eating certain foods. But depriving yourself of tasty food can backfire, new research in rats suggests. It can activate the brain's stress system, causing anxiety and withdrawal-like symptoms, and leading you to overeat the forbidden foods when you get a chance.
Genes that protect chromosome tips may boost longevity
By studying the genes of dozens of people who've lived to 100, scientists have found gene variants that appear to protect chromosome caps, or telomeres, from deteriorating with age. Longer telomeres were associated with both longer lives and healthier aging. more
Insights into how HIV evades immune system
New details about how antibodies bind the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) may help bring researchers closer to creating an effective HIV vaccine. more
Wide variety of bacteria mapped across the human body
By analyzing bacterial communities in and on several people, scientists have begun to create an atlas of bacterial diversity that documents the different types of microbes that thrive in distinct regions of the human body. This research sets the stage for determining how changes in bacterial communities help to cause or prevent disease. more
Gene mutations linked to early-onset inflammatory bowel disease
An international team has discovered that mutations in either of 2 related genes cause a severe and rare form of inflammatory bowel disease in young children. The discovery allowed the researchers to successfully treat one of the study patients with a bone marrow transplant.
Protein-making errors may help defend cells
Anyone who's taken a biology class knows that a gene's sequence precisely dictates the order of amino acids that must be linked together to make a protein. A new study reveals that, in the face of an invading virus or bacteria—or an irritating chemical—the cell's protein-making machinery goes off-script, inserting more of an amino acid known to help defend proteins against damage. more
Information for patients: Don’t fear the flu - Arm yourself with the facts
Scary stories about the 2009 H1N1 flu are sure to get your attention. A lot of people are worried and confused as this new virus spreads across the globe. But it’s not fundamentally different from the seasonal flu we see every year. Learn the facts about H1N1 and how to prevent it from striking your family.
2 January 2010
Disinfectants may promote growth of superbugs
Using disinfectants could cause bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics as well as the disinfectant itself, according to research published in the January issue of Microbiology. The findings could have important implications for how the spread of infection is managed in hospital settings.
A new ally in the battle against cocaine addiction
A recent study shows that a bacterial protein may help cocaine addicts break the habit. more
US-German team measures how quickly genomes change
Mutations are the raw material of evolution. Charles Darwin already recognized that evolution depends on heritable differences between individuals: those who are better adapted to the environment have better chances to pass on their genes to the next generation. A species can only evolve if the genome changes through new mutations, with the best new variants surviving the sieve of selection. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, Germany, and Indiana University in Bloomington have now been able to measure for the first time directly the speed with which new mutations occur in plants. Their findings shed new light on a fundamental evolutionary process. They explain, for example, why resistance to herbicides can appear within just a few years. more
Fewer left-sided colorectal tumors observed after colonoscopies
The prevalence of left-sided advanced colorectal neoplasms was lower in participants in a community setting, but not right-sided advanced neoplams, who had received a colonoscopy in the preceding 10 years, according to a new study published online December 30 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. more
Small molecules found to protect cells in multiple models of Parkinson's disease
Several structurally similar small molecules appear capable of protecting cells from alpha-synuclein toxicity in multiple models of Parkinson's disease, according to Whitehead Institute researchers. Misfolded copies of the alpha-synuclein protein in brain cells are a hallmark of Parkinson's disease.
'Notch'ing up a role in the multisystem disease tuberous sclerosis complex
Two independent teams of researchers have identified a role for enhanced activation of the signaling protein Notch in tumors characterized by inactivation of either the TSC1 or the TSC2 protein. As indicated by Warren Pear, at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, in an accompanying commentary, these data provide a rationale for testing whether Notch inhibitors are of benefit to those with TSC-associated tumors. more
Common mechanism underlies many diseases of excitability
Inherited mutations in voltage-gated sodium channels (Navs) are associated with many different human diseases, including genetic forms of epilepsy and chronic pain. Theodore Cummins and colleagues, at Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, have now determined the functional consequence of three such mutations. As noted by Stephen Cannon and Bruce Bean, in an accompanying commentary, these results suggest that there might be a common mechanism for many channelopathies, diseases arising from mutations in ion channel genes such as those analyzed by Cummins and colleagues.
1 January 2010
Unusual protein modification involved in muscular dystrophy, cancer
With the discovery of a new type of chemical modification on an important muscle protein, a University of Iowa study improves understanding of certain muscular dystrophies and could potentially lead to new treatments for the conditions.
Scripps Florida scientists show 'lifeless' prions capable of evolutionary change and adaptation
Scientists from The Scripps Research Institute have determined for the first time that prions, bits of infectious protein devoid of DNA or RNA that can cause fatal neurodegenerative disease, are capable of Darwinian evolution. more
Carbon nanotubes show promise for high-speed genetic sequencing
Faster sequencing of DNA holds enormous potential for biology and medicine, particularly for personalized diagnosis and customized treatment based on each individual's genomic makeup. At present however, sequencing technology remains cumbersome and cost prohibitive for most clinical applications, though this may be changing, thanks to a range of innovative new techniques. more
Chronic sinusitis patients experience improved quality of life after endoscopic sinus surgery
Upwards of 76 percent of patients with chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) experienced significant quality of life (QOL) improvements after undergoing endoscopic sinus surgery (ESS), according to new research in the January 2010 issue of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. more
Children more likely to catch swine flu, says new research
Young people aged under 18 years are more likely than adults to catch swine flu from an infected person in their household, according to a new study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine. However, the research also shows that young people are no more likely than adults to infect others with the pandemic H1N1 virus.
Trial suggests new first-line treatment option for slow-growing lymphomas
Results from a phase III clinical trial conducted in Germany suggest that the standard initial treatment for patients with slow developing (or indolent) types of B-cell lymphoma should be changed. more
Use of levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system safe and effective after five years
Women who have a popular levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine device removed after several years can immediately have another one inserted if they wish, according to a report from Finland.