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Association between virus, bladder cancers detected

September 11, 2013 7:59 am | News | Comments

A Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory-developed biological detection technology has been employed as part of an international collaboration that has detected a virus in bladder cancers. The research is believed to be the first study to demonstrate an association between Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), also known as human herpesvirus 8, and bladder cancers.

Study suggests early signs of multiple sclerosis in spinal fluid

September 10, 2013 5:01 pm | by LAURAN NEERGAARD - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

New research suggests it might be possible to spot early signs of multiple sclerosis in patients' spinal fluid, findings that offer a new clue about how this mysterious disease forms. The study released Tuesday was small and must be verified by additional research. But if it pans out, the finding suggests scientists should take a closer look at a different part of the brain than is usually linked to MS.

Alzheimer’s missing link found

September 5, 2013 8:03 am | News | Comments

Yale Univ. School of Medicine researchers have discovered a protein that is the missing link in the complicated chain of events that lead to Alzheimer’s disease. They report the discovery in Neuron. Researchers also found that blocking the protein with an existing drug can restore memory in mice with brain damage that mimics the disease.

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Some flu vaccines promise a little more protection

September 2, 2013 8:23 am | by LAURAN NEERGAARD - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Flu vaccination is no longer merely a choice between a jab in the arm or a squirt in the nose. This fall, some brands promise a little extra protection. For the first time, certain vaccines will guard against four strains of flu rather than the usual three. Called quadrivalent vaccines, these brands may prove more popular for children than their parents. That's because kids tend to catch the newly added strain more often.

Scientists find clue to age-related memory loss

August 28, 2013 2:04 pm | by LAURAN NEERGAARD - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Scientists have found a compelling clue in the quest to learn what causes age-related memory problems. Wednesday's report offers evidence that age-related memory loss really is a distinct condition from pre-Alzheimer's—and offers a hint that what we now consider the normal forgetfulness of old age might eventually be treatable.

Study provides strongest clues to date for causes of schizophrenia

August 26, 2013 11:23 am | News | Comments

A new genome-wide association study (GWAS) estimates the number of different places in the human genome that are involved in schizophrenia. In particular, the study identifies 22 locations, including 13 that are newly discovered, that are believed to play a role in causing schizophrenia.

Study reveals how SARS virus hijacks host cells

August 22, 2013 12:26 pm | News | Comments

Univ. of California, Irvine infectious disease researchers have uncovered components of the SARS coronavirus that allow it to take over host cells in order to replicate. This insight is critical for a full understanding of any outbreaks caused by such viruses and may prove beneficial in the development of therapies not only for human coronavirus infections but for other pathogenic illnesses as well.

Tuberculosis genomes portray secrets of pathogen’s success

August 22, 2013 8:07 am | News | Comments

By any measure, tuberculosis (TB) is a wildly successful pathogen. It infects as many as two billion people in every corner of the world, with a new infection of a human host estimated to occur every second. Now, thanks to a new analysis of dozens of tuberculosis genomes gathered from around the world, scientists are getting a more detailed picture of why TB is so prevalent and how it evolves to resist countermeasures. 

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Brain circuit can tune anxiety

August 22, 2013 7:27 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Anxiety disorders affect 40 million American adults in a given year. Currently available treatments, such as antianxiety drugs, are not always effective and have unwanted side effects. To develop better treatments, a more specific understanding of the brain circuits that produce anxiety is necessary. Researchers have now discovered a communication pathway between the amygdala and the ventral hippocampus that appears to control anxiety.

Biophysicists zoom in on pore-forming toxin

August 15, 2013 7:43 am | News | Comments

A new study by Rice Univ. biophysicists offers the most comprehensive picture yet of the molecular-level action of melittin, the principal toxin in bee venom. The research could aid in the development of new drugs that use a similar mechanism as melittin’s to attack cancer and bacteria.

Immunomedics reports positive study of cancer drug

August 14, 2013 12:23 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Shares of Immunomedics jumped Wednesday after announcing that its treatment for a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma helped to extend the lives of patients that used it in combination with another drug. The company said patients with newly diagnosed follicular lymphoma responded well to a combination of its epratuzumab and Roche's drug, Rituxan.

Neutron’s view of hydrogen yields insight into HIV drug design

August 14, 2013 8:23 am | News | Comments

A new study from an international team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory is guiding drug designers toward improved pharmaceuticals to treat HIV. The scientists used neutrons and x-rays to study the interactions between HIV protease, a protein produced by the HIV virus, and an antiviral drug commonly used to block virus replication.

New evidence that cancer cells change while moving throughout body

August 13, 2013 8:04 am | News | Comments

For cancer patients, it’s not the primary tumor that is deadly, but the spread or “metastasis” of cancer cells from the primary tumor to secondary locations throughout the body that is the problem. That’s why a major focus of contemporary cancer research is how to stop or fight metastasis. Studies suggest that metastasizing cancer cells undergo a major molecular change when they leave the primary tumor—a process called EMT.

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A worm’s-eye view of immunity

August 13, 2013 7:37 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

In 1998, scientists published the first complete genome of a multicellular organism—the worm Caenorhabditis elegans. At the same time, new technologies were emerging to help researchers manipulate genes and learn more about their functions.

New findings in the transmission of viruses

August 12, 2013 10:50 am | News | Comments

Outbreaks such as the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS) have afflicted people around the world, yet many people think these trends are on the decline. Quite the opposite is true. The efforts to combat this epidemic are being spearheaded by a team of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists.

Study ties higher blood sugar to dementia risk

August 7, 2013 5:28 pm | by MARILYNN MARCHIONE - AP Chief Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Higher blood-sugar levels, even those well short of diabetes, seem to raise the risk of developing dementia, a major new study finds. Researchers say it suggests a novel way to try to prevent Alzheimer's disease—by keeping glucose at a healthy level.

Scientists plan controversial lab-made bird flu

August 7, 2013 1:25 pm | by LAURAN NEERGAARD - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Scientists who sparked an outcry by creating easier-to-spread versions of the bird flu want to try such experiments again using a worrisome new strain known as H7N9. Since it broke out in China in March, the bird flu strain has infected more than 130 people and killed 43. Researchers say that genetically engineering this virus in the lab could help track whether it's changing in the wild to become a bigger threat.

Battelle team wins DARPA contract to build medical device to treat sepsis

August 6, 2013 9:48 am | News | Comments

At Battelle, supporting America’s military personnel is woven into the fabric of its business. In that pursuit, a team consisting of Battelle, NxStage Medical Inc. and Aethlon Medical has won a contract from DARPA to develop an innovative, new medical device that may save the lives of soldiers—and civilians as well—by treating sepsis.

Univ. Of Maryland, Baltimore's licensing deals fuel local life sciences community

August 6, 2013 8:30 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Univ. of Maryland Ventures announced agreements between Univ. of Maryland, Baltimore and five different life sciences companies across the Baltimore/Washington metropolitan region. The companies include Rexahn Pharmaceuticals, Plasmonix, IGI Technologies, A&G Pharmaceuticals and BioAssay Works.

Research reveals how the brain keeps eyes on the prize

August 5, 2013 10:15 am | by McGovern Institute for Brain Research | News | Comments

“Are we there yet?” As anyone who has traveled with young children knows, maintaining focus on distant goals can be a challenge. A new study from Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggests how the brain achieves this task, and indicates that the neurotransmitter dopamine may signal the value of long-term rewards.

China, Russia halt some imports in botulism scare

August 4, 2013 9:52 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

China and Russia have halted imports of some New Zealand dairy products in response to a botulism scare, according to New Zealand government officials. New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra announced Saturday that up to 1,000 tons of infant formula, sports drinks and other products sold in seven countries could be tainted after tests turned up bacteria in whey protein that could cause botulism.

Controlling contagion by restricting mobility

July 31, 2013 7:50 am | by Denise Brehm, Civil and Environmental Engineering | News | Comments

In an epidemic or a bioterrorist attack, the response of government officials could range from a drastic restriction of mobility to moderate travel restrictions in some areas or simple suggestions that people remain at home. Deciding to institute any measure would require officials to weigh the costs and benefits of action, but at present there’s little data to guide them. However, a new study comparing contagion rates may come in handy.

Pfizer sells key vaccine cheaply to poor countries

July 29, 2013 6:34 am | by LINDA A. JOHNSON - AP Business Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Drugmaker Pfizer Inc. has agreed to provide hundreds of millions of doses of its lucrative vaccine against pneumonia and meningitis at a fraction of the usual price for young children in poor countries. The deal to provide 260 million shots of its Prevnar 13 vaccine for a few dollars each is Pfizer's third agreement under an innovative program.

Discovery of gene function may help prevent kidney stones

July 25, 2013 10:35 am | News | Comments

The discovery of a gene's function in E. coli and other bacteria might lead to a probiotic to prevent the most common type of kidney stone, according to a Purdue Univ. study. Human cells can't metabolize oxalate, an acidic chemical found in nearly all plants we eat, so any oxalate we absorb from food must be excreted from the body. Calcium-oxalate urinary stones can form when oxalate reaches a high concentration in the kidneys.

NIH funds new grants exploring use of genome sequencing in patient care

July 24, 2013 12:21 pm | News | Comments

The National Institutes of Health has awarded four grants for up to four years to multidisciplinary research teams to explore the use of genome sequencing in medical care. The awards total approximately $6.7 million in the first year and, if funding remains available, approximately $27 million in total.

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