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Scientists Discover Brain’s Anti-distraction System

April 16, 2014 1:38 pm | News | Comments

Psychologists have presented the first study to reveal that our brains rely on an active suppression mechanism to avoid being distracted by salient irrelevant information when we want to focus on a particular item or task.         

DNA Looping Damage Tied to HPV Cancer

April 16, 2014 1:26 pm | News | Comments

It’s long been known that certain strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) cause cancer. Now, researchers have determined a new way that HPV might spark cancer development– by disrupting the human DNA sequence with repeating loops when the virus is inserted into host-cell DNA as it replicates.

Breaking News: Marijuana Use Linked to Brain Abnormalities

April 16, 2014 8:30 am | News | Comments

Young adults who used marijuana only recreationally showed significant abnormalities in two brain regions that are important in emotion and motivation. This is the first study to show casual use of marijuana is related to major brain changes.  

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Limiting a Certain Protein in the Brain Reverses Alzheimer's Symptoms in Mice

April 15, 2014 12:18 pm | News | Comments

Limiting a certain protein in the brain reverses Alzheimer’s symptoms in mice, report neuroscientists at MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory. Researchers found that the overproduction of the protein known as p25 may be the culprit behind the sticky protein-fragment clusters that build up in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.

Young Dads at High Risk of Depression, Too

April 15, 2014 12:07 pm | News | Comments

Depression can hit young fathers hard- with symptoms increasing dramatically during some of the most important years of their children’s lives, a new study has found.                        

Targeting Cancer with a Triple Threat

April 15, 2014 11:55 am | News | Comments

Delivering chemotherapy drugs in nanoparticle form could help reduce side effects by targeting the drugs directly to the tumors. In recent years, scientists have developed nanoparticles that deliver one or two chemotherapy drugs, but it has been difficult to design particles that can carry any more than that in a precise ratio. Now chemists have devised a new way to build such nanoparticles.

Gene Panel Effectively Screens Dozens of Genes for Cancer-associated Mutations

April 15, 2014 11:45 am | News | Comments

As many as 10 percent of women with a personal or family history of breast or ovarian cancer have at least one genetic mutation that, if known, would prompt their doctors to recommend changes in their care, according to a new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Drawing a Ring Around Antiviral Immunity

April 15, 2014 11:37 am | News | Comments

If you follow cancer biology, then you’ve probably heard of ubiquitin before. In a recent paper researchers provided a structural rationale for how ubiquitin helps RIG-I do its job— and how that might help keep the immune system from getting out of hand.

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Study Says We’re Over the Hill at 24

April 15, 2014 11:28 am | News | Comments

It’s a hard pill to swallow, but if you’re over 24 years of age you’ve already reached your peak in terms of your cognitive motor performance, according to a new Simon Fraser University study. In one of the first social science experiments to rest on big data, researchers investigated when we start to experience an age-related decline in our cognitive motor skills and how we compensate for that.

Central Ohio Mumps Outbreak Tops 200 Cases

April 14, 2014 8:18 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A mumps outbreak in central Ohio has grown to more than 200 confirmed cases, public health officials said. A total of 212 cases of the contagious viral illness, with 132 of those linked to Ohio State University, have been reported.    

MicroRNA Could be Key Target for Bowel Cancer Treatment

April 14, 2014 2:42 pm | News | Comments

A tiny genetic molecule known as a microRNA plays a central role in bowel cancer and could be key to developing new treatments for the disease, a new study concludes. Scientists found that the molecule, called microRNA 135b, is a vital ‘worker’ employed by several important cancer genes to drive the growth of bowel cancers.

Brain Activity May Mark the Beginning of Memories

April 14, 2014 2:30 pm | Videos | Comments

By tracking brain activity when an animal stops to look around its environment, neuroscientists at Johns Hopkins University believe they can mark the birth of a memory. Using lab rats on a circular track, a team of brain scientists, noticed that the rats frequently paused to inspect their environment with head movements as they ran.

Virus-fighting Genes Linked to Mutations in Cancer

April 14, 2014 2:15 pm | News | Comments

Researchers have found a major piece of genetic evidence that confirms the role of a group of virus-fighting genes in cancer development. The APOBEC family of genes control enzymes that are believed to have evolved in humans to fight off viral infections. Scientists have speculated that these enzymes are responsible for a very distinct signature of mutations that is present in approximately half of all cancer types.

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Protein Researchers Closing in on the Mystery of Schizophrenia

April 11, 2014 2:20 pm | News | Comments

Schizophrenia is a severe disease for which there is still no effective medical treatment. In an attempt to understand exactly what happens in the brain of schizophrenic people, researchers from the University of Southern Denmark have analyzed proteins in the brains of rats that have been given hallucinogenic drugs.

How Nerve Cells Flexibly Adapt to Acoustic Signals

April 11, 2014 2:06 pm | News | Comments

Depending on the input signal, neurons generate action potentials either near or far away from the cell body. This flexibility improves our ability to localize sound sources. In order to process acoustic information with high temporal fidelity, nerve cells may flexibly adapt their mode of operation according to the situation.

How the Brain Pays Attention

April 11, 2014 1:46 pm | Videos | Comments

Picking out a face in the crowd is a complicated task: Your brain has to retrieve the memory of the face you’re seeking, then hold it in place while scanning the crowd, paying special attention to finding a match. A new study reveals how the brain achieves this type of focused attention on faces or other objects.

Enzyme ‘Wrench’ Could Be Key to Stronger, More Effective Antibiotics

April 11, 2014 1:21 pm | News | Comments

Builders and factory workers know that getting a job done right requires precision and specialized tools. The same is true when you’re building antibiotic compounds at the molecular level. New findings from North Carolina State University may turn an enzyme that acts as a specialized “wrench” in antibiotic assembly into a set of wrenches that will allow for greater customization.

Tumor-suppressor Connects with Histone Protein to Hinder Gene Expression

April 11, 2014 1:06 pm | News | Comments

A tumor-suppressing protein acts as a dimmer switch to dial down gene expression.  It does this by reading a chemical message attached to another protein that’s tightly intertwined with DNA, a team led by scientists at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center reports. The findings provide evidence in support of the “histone code" hypothesis.

Researchers Discover Possible New Target To Attack Flu Virus

April 11, 2014 12:52 pm | News | Comments

Scientists at The University of Texas at Austin have discovered that a protein produced by the influenza A virus helps it outwit one of our body's natural defense mechanisms. That makes the protein a potentially good target for antiviral drugs directed against the influenza A virus.

Genetic Defect May Confer Resistance to Certain Viral Infections

April 10, 2014 2:27 pm | News | Comments

A study reports that a rare genetic disease, while depleting patients of infection-fighting antibodies, may actually protect them from certain severe or recurrent viral infections. Researchers found that HIV and influenza viruses replicate in the cells of people with congenital disorder of glycosylation type IIb (CDG-IIb) at a much lower rate than in healthy donor cells, creating fewer and less infectious viruses.

Bone Marrow Stem Cells Show Promise in Stroke Treatment

April 10, 2014 2:19 pm | News | Comments

Stem cells culled from bone marrow may prove beneficial in stroke recovery. In an analysis of published research, neurologist Dr. Steven Cramer and biomedical engineer Weian Zhao identified 46 studies that examined the use of mesenchymal stromal cells—a type of multipotent adult stem cells mostly processed from bone marrow—in animal models of stroke. They found MSCs to be significantly better than control therapy in 44 of the studies.

Identified Epigenetic Factors Associated with an Increased Risk of Developing Cancer

April 10, 2014 1:51 pm | News | Comments

In the last decade, hundreds of studies have been conducted looking for polymorphisms associated with a greater propensity to suffer some of the most frequent human tumors. These tests, called GWAS, have found a common problem: many times the tiny genetic change observed appears to have no activity or function to explain because it is associated with more cancer.

Blocking DNA Repair Mechanisms Could Improve Radiation Therapy for Brain Cancer

April 9, 2014 2:38 pm | News | Comments

UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have demonstrated in both cancer cell lines and in mice that blocking critical DNA repair mechanisms could improve the effectiveness of radiation therapy for highly fatal brain tumors called glioblastomas.

Lipid Levels During Prenatal Brain Development Impact Autism

April 9, 2014 2:22 pm | News | Comments

Researchers have found that abnormal levels of lipid molecules in the brain can affect the interaction between two key neural pathways in early prenatal brain development, which can trigger autism. And, environmental causes such as exposure to chemicals in some cosmetics and common over-the-counter medication can affect the levels of these lipids, according to the researchers.

Potential Link Between Brain Development and Breast Cancer Gene

April 9, 2014 2:09 pm | Videos | Comments

Scientists at the Salk Institute have uncovered details into a surprising—and crucial—link between brain development and a gene whose mutation is tied to breast and ovarian cancer. Aside from better understanding neurological damage associated in a small percentage of people susceptible to breast cancers, the new work also helps to better understand the evolution of the brain.

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