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Spotting a molecular warhead for disease in the human gut

April 7, 2015 12:20 pm | by Jim Shelton, Yale Univ. | News | Comments

Yale Univ. scientists are using new chemical tools to identify and understand molecules in the human gut that alter DNA and regulate inflammatory bowel diseases and colorectal cancers. In a recent article, researchers describe the chemical structures of 32 such molecules from the bacterial colibactin pathway, found in select strains of E. coli in the gut.

Office inkjet printer could produce simple tool to identify infectious diseases

April 7, 2015 12:03 pm | by Michelle Donovan, McMaster Univ. | News | Comments

Consumers are one step closer to benefiting from packaging that could give simple text warnings when food is contaminated with deadly pathogens like E. coli and Salmonella, and patients could soon receive real-time diagnoses of infections such as C. difficile right in their doctors' offices, saving critical time and trips to the lab.

Cancer genes turned off in deadly brain cancer

April 6, 2015 10:55 am | by Marla Paul, Northwestern Univ. | News | Comments

Northwestern Medicine scientists have identified a small RNA molecule called miR-182 that can suppress cancer-causing genes in mice with glioblastoma mulitforme (GBM), a deadly and incurable type of brain tumor. While standard chemotherapy drugs damage DNA to stop cancer cells from reproducing, the new method stops the source that creates those cancer cells: genes that are overexpressing certain proteins.

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Electroconvulsive therapy changes key areas of the brain that play roles in memory and emotion

April 2, 2015 3:18 pm | by UCLA | News | Comments

Scientists know that depression affects the brain, but they still don’t know why some people respond to treatment and others do not. Now UCLA researchers have shown for the first time in a large cohort of patients that electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT, changes certain areas of the brain that play a role in how people feel, learn and respond to positive and negative environmental factors.

How a rare form a liver cancer arises

April 2, 2015 10:20 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

In the 1970s, epidemiologists found that workers in factories using vinyl chloride had unusually high rates of a rare form of liver cancer called angiosarcoma. Biologists later identified a mutation that appears to be associated with this cancer, which originates in cells of the blood vessels that feed the liver.

Diagnosis by keyboard

April 1, 2015 2:05 pm | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | Videos | Comments

Analyzing people’s keystrokes as they type on a computer keyboard can reveal a great deal of information about the state of their motor function, according to a new study. In the study, the researchers found that their algorithm for analyzing keystrokes could distinguish between typing done in the middle of the night, when sleep deprivation impairs motor skills, and typing performed when fully rested.

Experimental cancer drug restores memory in mouse model of Alzheimer’s

March 31, 2015 11:12 am | by Bill Hathaway, Yale Univ. | News | Comments

Memory and as well as connections between brain cells were restored in mice with a model of Alzheimer’s given an experimental cancer drug, Yale School of Medicine researchers reported in the Annals of Neurology. The drug, AZD05030, developed by Astra Zeneca proved disappointing in treating solid tumors but appears to block damage triggered during the formation of amyloid-beta plaques, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.

Disrupted biological clock linked to Alzheimer’s disease

March 27, 2015 11:58 am | by David Stauth, Oregon State Univ. | News | Comments

New research has identified some of the processes by which molecules associated with neurological diseases can disrupt the biological clock, interfere with sleep and activity patterns and set the stage for a spiral of health concerns that can include a decreased lifespan and Alzheimer’s disease.

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Researchers master gene editing technique in mosquito that transmits deadly diseases

March 27, 2015 11:09 am | by Zach Veilleux, Rockefeller Univ. | News | Comments

Traditionally, to understand how a gene functions, a scientist would breed an organism that lacks that gene, “knocking it out”, then ask how the organism has changed. Are its senses affected? Its behavior? Can it even survive? Thanks to the recent advance of gene editing technology, this gold standard genetic experiment has become much more accessible in a wide variety of organisms.

HIV can lodge quickly in brain after infection

March 27, 2015 10:29 am | by Bill Hathaway, Yale Univ. | News | Comments

HIV can establish itself in the brain as soon as four months after initial infection; a finding that dampens hopes of an impending cure for a disease that afflicts more than 35 million people. Within two years of infection, a genetically distinct version of HIV replicates in the brains of as many as one in four patients.

New pox discovered in Eastern Europe, but not deadly

March 25, 2015 6:06 pm | by Mike Stobbe, AP Medical Writer, Associated Press | News | Comments

Health officials have discovered a new germ in Eastern Europe that is related to the dreaded smallpox and monkeypox viruses but so far seems far less threatening. The germ caused two cattle herders to suffer fever, swollen lymph nodes and painful boils on their hands and arms in 2013.

Science, patients driving rare disease drug research surge

March 25, 2015 12:10 pm | by Linda A. Johnson, AP Business Writer, Associated Press | News | Comments

The global pharmaceutical industry is pouring billions of dollars into developing treatments for rare diseases, which once drew little interest from major drugmakers but now point the way toward a new era of innovative therapies and big profits. The investments come as researchers harness recent scientific advances.

Brain tumor cells decimated by mitochondrial 'smart bomb'

March 24, 2015 10:25 am | by Houston Methodist | News | Comments

An experimental drug that attacks brain tumor tissue by crippling the cells' energy source called the mitochondria has passed early tests in animal models and human tissue cultures, say Houston Methodist scientists.

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Air pollutants could boost potency of common airborne allergens

March 23, 2015 11:43 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

A pair of air pollutants linked to climate change could also be a major contributor to the unparalleled rise in the number of people sneezing and wheezing during allergy season. The gases, nitrogen dioxide and ground-level ozone, appear to provoke chemical changes in certain airborne allergens that could increase their potency. That, in combination with changes in global climate, could explain why airborne allergies are more common.

Malaria test for ancient human remains

March 18, 2015 10:21 am | by Jim Shelton, Yale Univ. | News | Comments

Ancient malaria patients, the anthropologist will see you now. A Yale Univ. scientist has developed a promising new method to identify malaria in the bone marrow of ancient human remains. It is the first time researchers have been able to establish a diagnostic, human skeletal profile for the disease, which is transmitted by mosquitoes and continues to infect millions of people a year.

How rocket science may improve kidney dialysis

March 17, 2015 2:03 pm | by Jason Socrates Bardi, American Institute of Physics | News | Comments

A team of researchers in the U.K. has found a way to redesign an artificial connection between an artery and vein, known as an Arterio-Venous Fistulae, which surgeons form in the arms of people with end-stage renal disease so that those patients can receive routine dialysis, filtering their blood and keeping them alive after their kidneys fail.

Additive manufacturing could greatly improve diabetes management

March 17, 2015 8:55 am | by David Stauth, Oregon State Univ. | News | Comments

Engineers at Oregon State Univ. have used additive manufacturing to create an improved type of glucose sensor for patients with Type 1diabetes, part of a system that should work better, cost less and be more comfortable for the patient. A key advance is use of electrohydrodynamic jet, or “e-jet” printing, to make the sensor.

A better way to study the stomach flu

March 17, 2015 7:52 am | by Jade Boyd, Rice Univ. | News | Comments

Rice Univ. bioengineers are teaming with colleagues from Baylor College of Medicine and MD Anderson Cancer Center to apply the latest techniques in tissue engineering toward the study of one of the most common and deadly human illnesses: the stomach flu. The bacteria and viruses that cause acute gastroenteritis often come from contaminated food or water and result in cramps, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.

Sweet nanoparticles target stroke

March 13, 2015 11:42 am | by Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology | News | Comments

Materials resulting from chemical bonding of glucosamine, a type of sugar, with fullerenes, kind of nanoparticles known as buckyballs, might help to reduce cell damage and inflammation occurring after stroke. A team from the Max Planck Institute in Germany has tested this on mice, opening the door to potential new drugs for the cerebrovascular accident.

FDA wants more info on scopes linked to "superbug" outbreaks

March 12, 2015 8:05 pm | by Matthew Perrone, AP Health Writer, Associated Press | News | Comments

Federal health officials are stepping up their oversight of medical scopes linked to potentially fatal "superbug" outbreaks. The Food and Drug Administration released stricter guidelines for manufacturers of reusable medical instruments, including specialized endoscopes used in about a half-million U.S. medical procedures each year.

Tetanus shot may aid treatment of deadly brain cancer

March 11, 2015 4:05 pm | by Malcolm Ritter, AP Science Writer, Associated Press | News | Comments

Can a tetanus shot help treat brain cancer? A dose of tetanus vaccine let patients live longer when added to an experimental treatment for the most common and deadly kind of brain tumor, researchers report.

Swine flu outbreak in India raises concern

March 11, 2015 12:54 pm | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Since December, an outbreak of swine flu in India has killed more than 1,200 people, and a new study suggests that the strain has acquired mutations that make it more dangerous than previously circulating strains of H1N1 influenza. The findings contradict previous reports from Indian health officials that the strain has not changed from the version of H1N1 that emerged in 2009 and has been circulating around the world ever since.

Research Sheds Light on Secrets of Nature's Locomotive

March 10, 2015 8:55 am | by The Scripps Research Institute | News | Comments

Scientists have determined the basic structural organization of a molecular motor that hauls cargoes and performs other critical functions within cells. Biologists have long wanted to know how this molecular motor works. But the complex’s large size, myriad subunits and high flexibility have until now restricted structural studies to small pieces of the whole.

Neuropeptide Puts Brakes on Binge Drinking

March 10, 2015 8:32 am | by Univ. of North Carolina School of Medicine | News | Comments

A new study has identified both where and how a protein in the brain, called Neuropeptide Y (NPY), can act to suppress binge alcohol drinking. The find suggests that restoring NPY may be useful for treating alcohol use disorders and may also protect some individuals from becoming alcohol dependent.

Researchers Untangle DNA

March 9, 2015 8:51 am | by Florida International Univ. | News | Comments

While today’s human body contains a variety of these proteins, a marine sciences professor believes they evolved from a single ancestor millions of years ago. This find is pivotal in unraveling the mysteries of DNA organization and regulation, and could someday lead to innovative biomonitoring strategies and therapies targeting a variety of diseases including cancer.

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