New findings reveal how a mutation, a change in the genetic code that causes neurodegeneration, alters the shape of DNA, making cells more vulnerable to stress and more likely to die. The particular mutation, in the C9orf72 gene, is the most common cause for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), and frontotemporal degeneration (FTD), the second most common type of dementia in people under 65.
Obese adolescents not getting enough sleep? A new study shows they could be increasing...
Scientists have modified genes in the blood cells of HIV patients to help them resist the AIDS...
How Individual Staphylococcus Cells Adhere to Nanostructures Could Lead to New Ways to Thwart InfectionsMarch 5, 2014 1:22 pm | News | Comments
The bacterium Staphylococcus Aureus (S. aureus) is a common source of infections that occur after surgeries involving prosthetic joints and artificial heart valves. The grape-shaped microorganism adheres to medical equipment, and if it gets inside the body, it can cause a serious and even life-threatening illness called a Staph infection. The recent discovery of drug-resistant strains of S. aureus makes matters even worse.
In a study that began in a pair of infant siblings with a rare heart defect, Johns Hopkins researchers say they have identified a key molecular switch that regulates heart cell division and normally turns the process off around the time of birth. Their research, they report, could advance efforts to turn the process back on and regenerate heart tissue damaged by heart attacks or disease.
At least two camps have formed in the “breast cancer stem cell” world. One camp believes most cancers may come from stem cells—or stem-like progenitors—gone awry. Others agree cancers can be most virulent when reaching a stem cell-like state—but believe they may come from both stem cells and mature cells gone awry.
Researchers have revived a giant virus more than 30,000 years old, recovered from the permafrost of northeast Siberia. The virus poses no threat to people. Although it is considered a giant when compared to other viruses, it is microscopic and infects amoebas.
In a new study that could help doctors extend the lives of patients awaiting liver transplants, a Rice University-led team of researchers examined the metabolic breakdown that takes place in liver cells during late-stage cirrhosis and found clues that suggest new treatments to delay liver failure.
A drug that unleashes the immune system to attack cancer can produce lasting remissions and hold the disease in check – for more than two years, in some cases – in many patients with advanced melanoma, according to a new study. The study provides the longest-term look so far at how melanoma patients have fared since receiving the drug, nivolumab, in a Phase 1 clinical trial.
Veterans exposed to explosions who do not report symptoms of traumatic brain injury (TBI) may still have damage to the brain's white matter comparable to veterans with TBI, according to researchers at Duke Medicine and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The findings suggest that a lack of clear TBI symptoms following an explosion may not accurately reflect the extent of brain injury.
A of researchers has found evidence that photosensitizing a virus's membrane covering can inhibit its ability to enter cells and potentially lead to the development of stronger, cheaper medications to fight a host of tough viruses. The UCLA AIDS Institute study is part of ongoing research on a compound called LJ001, a "broad-spectrum" antiviral that can attack a wide range of microbes.
In space, things don’t always behave the way we expect them to. In the case of cancer, researchers have found that this is a good thing: some tumors seem to be much less aggressive in the microgravity environment of space compared to their behavior on Earth.
Johns Hopkins researchers report that people with chronic insomnia show more plasticity and activity than good sleepers in the part of the brain that controls movement. They found that the motor cortex in those with chronic insomnia was more adaptable to change - more plastic - than in a group of good sleepers. They also found more "excitability" among neurons in the same region of the brain among those with chronic insomnia.
A team of researchers developed a material that could help prevent blood clots associated with catheters, heart valves, vascular grafts and other implanted biomedical devices. Blood clots at or near implanted devices are thought to occur when the flow of nitric oxide, a naturally occurring clot-preventing agent generated in the blood vessels, is cut off. When this occurs, the devices can fail.
The experiences that we accumulate throughout life build expectations that are associated with different scents. These expectations are known to influence how the brain uses and stores sensory information. But researchers have long wondered how the process works in reverse: how do our memories shape the way sensory information is collected?
The bark of the Amur cork tree (Phellodendron amurense) has traveled a centuries-long road with the healing arts. Now it is being put through its paces by science in the fight against pancreatic cancer, with the potential to make inroads against several more.
Since its introduction to the U.S. in 1999, West Nile virus has spread rapidly across North America, threatening wildlife populations and posing a serious health risk to humans. In 2012, there were more than 5,500 human cases of the disease reported in 48 states, the highest number in more than a decade. Now, a team of researchers has created a model to help predict where the disease may occur under future climate change.
A team of researchers identified mutations in a gene that can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, even in people who have risk factors such as obesity and old age. The results focus the search for developing novel therapeutic strategies for type 2 diabetes; if a drug can be developed that mimics the protective effect of these mutations, it could open up new ways of preventing this devastating disease.
In an advance for HIV vaccine research, a scientific team has discovered how the immune system makes a powerful antibody that blocks HIV infection of cells by targeting a site on the virus called V1V2. The new findings point the way toward a potentially more effective vaccine that would generate V1V2-directed HIV neutralizing antibodies.
A protein that controls the metamorphosis of the common fruit fly could someday play a role in reversing brain injuries. This protein directs both the early development and regrowth of the tiny branches that relay information from neuron to neuron. Known as dendrites, these thin structures that resemble tree branches are responsible for receiving electrical impulses that flash throughout the body.
Scientist have carried out the first studies of living biological cells using high-energy X-rays. The new method shows clear differences in the internal cellular structure between living and dead, chemically fixed cells that are often analyzed.
A collaboration of researchers found an unusual mutation has been found that is strongly linked to one such disease: a rare liver cancer that affects teens and young adults. The results suggest that the mutation plays a key role in the development of the disease, called fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma, and may also underlie more common cancers as well.
Tau proteins, which are responsible for Alzheimer’s disease, bind to the folding protein Hsp90. The molecular recognition mechanisms that play a role here, have been unveiled by an international team of scientists led by the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) and the Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen. This might open the door for new approaches for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
When a cell is exposed to dangerous environmental conditions such as high temperatures or toxic substances, the cellular stress response, also called heat shock response, is initiated. Scientists could uncover an entire network of cellular helpers and thus identify new regulatory mechanisms of this stress response.
In two new studies, the so-called “obesity hormone” leptin and hormones used for birth control are being examined for their potential role in the development of multiple sclerosis (MS).
New research suggests that a protein only recently linked to cancer has a significant effect on the risk that breast cancer will spread, and that lowering the protein’s level in cell cultures and mice reduces chances for the disease to extend beyond the initial tumor.
Researchers report that one tiny variation in the sequence of a gene may cause some people to be more impaired by traumatic brain injury (TBI) than others with comparable wounds. The study measured general intelligence in a group of 156 Vietnam War veterans who suffered penetrating head injuries during the war. All of the study subjects had damage to the prefrontal cortex.
In the heart, as in the movies, 3D action beats the 2D experience hands down. In 3D, healthy hearts do their own version of the twist. Rather than a simple pumping action, they circulate blood as if they were wringing a towel. The bottom of the heart twists as it contracts in a counterclockwise direction while the top twists clockwise. Scientists call this the left ventricular twist—and it can be used as an indicator of heart health.
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