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Building Heart Tissue that Beats

March 19, 2014 11:59 am | News | Comments

When a heart gets damaged, such as during a major heart attack, there’s no easy fix. But scientists working on a way to repair the vital organ have now engineered tissue that closely mimics natural heart muscle that beats, not only in a lab dish but also when implanted into animals.

Lost Sleep Leads to Lost Neurons

March 19, 2014 11:34 am | News | Comments

Using a mouse model of chronic sleep loss, a new Penn Medicine study shows disturbing evidence that chronic sleep loss may be more serious than previously thought and may even lead to irreversible physical damage to and loss of brain cells.

Cardiologists Define New Heart Failure Symptom: Shortness of Breath While Bending Over

March 19, 2014 10:56 am | News | Comments

UT Southwestern Medical Center cardiologists have defined a novel heart failure symptom in advanced heart failure patients: shortness of breath while bending over, such as when putting on shoes. The condition, which UT Southwestern cardiologists named “bendopnea,” is an easily detectable symptom that can help doctors diagnose excessive fluid retention in patients with heart failure.

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Scientists Slow Development of Alzheimer's Trademark Cell-killing Plaques

March 18, 2014 2:44 pm | Videos | Comments

University of Michigan researchers have learned how to fix a cellular structure called the Golgi that mysteriously becomes fragmented in all Alzheimer's patients and appears to be a major cause of the disease. They say that understanding this mechanism helps decode amyloid plaque formation in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.

Bacterial Reporters that Get the Scoop

March 18, 2014 2:36 pm | News | Comments

Problems arise when bad gut bacteria overtake friendly ones, or when the immune system is thrown off balance, as in Crohn's disease, celiac disease, and colorectal cancer. Doctors have struggled to diagnose these conditions early and accurately. But now a new engineered strain of E. coli bacteria could deliver status updates from this complex landscape to help keep gastrointestinal diseases at bay.

Breaking News: Dark Chocolate Health Mystery Solved

March 18, 2014 2:30 pm | News | Comments

The health benefits of eating dark chocolate have been extolled for centuries, but the exact reason has remained a mystery. Now, researchers are reporting that certain bacteria in the stomach gobble dark chocolate and ferment it into anti-inflammatory compounds that are good for the heart. 

New Evidence Raises Questions About the Link Between Fatty Acids and Heart Disease

March 18, 2014 2:27 pm | News | Comments

A new study raises questions about current guidelines which generally restrict the consumption of saturated fats and encourage consumption of polyunsaturated fats to prevent heart disease. Researchers analyzed existing cohort studies and randomized trials on coronary risk and fatty acid intake. They showed that current evidence does not support guidelines that restrict the consumption of saturated fats in order to prevent heart disease.

Archaeologists Discover the Earliest Complete Example of a Human with Cancer

March 18, 2014 2:10 pm | News | Comments

Archaeologists have found the oldest complete example in the world of a human with metastatic cancer in a 3,000 year-old skeleton. The skeleton of the young adult male was found by a Durham University PhD student in a tomb in modern Sudan in 2013 and dates back to 1200BC.

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How the Science of Deer Hunting Can Help Patients with Diabetes

March 17, 2014 2:35 pm | News | Comments

Body odor is a deer hunter’s worst enemy, an alert to animals that an ominous presence is lurking, but the science behind suppressing it to give hunters an edge oddly enough could help researchers develop a life-saving device for diabetes patients.

Fighting Antibiotic Resistance with ‘Molecular Drill Bits’

March 17, 2014 2:10 pm | News | Comments

In response to drug-resistant “superbugs” that send millions of people to hospitals around the world, scientists are building tiny, “molecular drill bits” that kill bacteria by bursting through their protective cell walls. They presented some of the latest developments on these drill bits, better known to scientists as antimicrobial peptides (AMPs).

Cancer Therapy May Be Too Targeted

March 17, 2014 2:01 pm | News | Comments

Researchers have identified two novel cancer genes that are associated with the development of a rare, highly aggressive, cancer of blood vessels. These genes may now act as markers for future treatments and explain why narrowly targeted therapies that are directed at just one target fail.

Novel Approach Finds New Gene Linked to Heart Attack Risk

March 17, 2014 11:56 am | News | Comments

Scientists have discovered a previously unrecognized gene variation that makes humans have healthier blood lipid levels and reduced risk of heart attacks- a finding that opens the door to new testing or treatment of high cholesterol and other lipid disorders.

Major ‘Third-hand Smoke’ Compound Causes DNA Damage

March 17, 2014 11:43 am | News | Comments

Scientists are reporting that one compound from “third-hand smoke,” which forms when second-hand smoke reacts with indoor air, damages DNA and sticks to it in a way that could potentially cause cancer.              

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Study to Test 'Chocolate' Pills for Heart Health

March 17, 2014 2:16 am | by Marilynn Marchione - AP Chief Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

It won't be nearly as much fun as eating candy bars, but a big study is being launched to see if pills containing the nutrients in dark chocolate can help prevent heart attacks and strokes.                 

Brain Mapping Confirms Patients with Schizophrenia Have Impaired Ability to Imitate

March 14, 2014 2:21 pm | News | Comments

The results of a brain-mapping experiment conducted by a team of neuroscientists at Vanderbilt University strengthen the theory that an impaired ability to imitate may underlie the profound and enduring difficulty with social interactions that characterize schizophrenia.

Halting Immune Response Could Save Brain Cells After Stroke

March 14, 2014 1:57 pm | News | Comments

A new study in animals shows that using a compound to block the body’s immune response greatly reduces disability after a stroke. The study also showed that particular immune cells—CD4+ T-cells produce a mediator, called interleukin (IL)-21 that can cause further damage in stroke tissue.

Gene Family Proven to Suppress Prostate Cancer

March 14, 2014 1:45 pm | News | Comments

Cornell researchers report they have discovered direct genetic evidence that a family of genes, called MicroRNA-34 (miR-34), are bona fide tumor suppressors. Previous research has shown that another gene, called p53, acts to positively regulate miR-34. Mutations of p53 have been implicated in half of all cancers. miR-34 is also frequently silenced by mechanisms other than p53 in many cancers, including those with p53 mutations.

New Findings Show Link Between Diabetes and Pancreatic Cancer

March 14, 2014 1:10 pm | News | Comments

Researchers from the University of Melbourne have shown that there is an association between pancreatic cancer and diabetes. In a new study, clinicians worked with mathematicians to review data from 1973 to 2013 to conclude there was a time-dependent link between being diagnosed with diabetes and pancreatic cancer.

Post-heart Attack Biological Events Provide Cardioprotection

March 13, 2014 2:50 pm | News | Comments

Heart attack and stroke are among the most serious threats to health. But novel research at UT Southwestern Medical Center has linked two major biological processes that occur at the onset of these traumatic events and, ultimately, can lead to protection for the heart.

Researchers Find Reason Why Many Vein Grafts Fail

March 13, 2014 2:40 pm | News | Comments

NIH researchers have identified a biological pathway that contributes to the high rate of vein graft failure following bypass surgery. Using mouse models of bypass surgery, they showed that excess signaling via the Transforming Growth Factor Beta (TGF-Beta) family causes the inner walls of the vein become too thick, slowing down or sometimes even blocking the blood flow that the graft was intended to restore.

How Tumors Escape

March 13, 2014 2:28 pm | News | Comments

About 90 percent of cancer deaths are caused by tumors that have spread from their original locations. This process, known as metastasis, requires cancer cells to break loose from their neighbors and from the supportive scaffold that gives tissues their structure. Cancer biologists have now discovered that certain proteins in this structure, known as the extracellular matrix, help cancer cells make their escape.

Nicotine Withdrawal Weakens Brain Connections Tied to Self-Control Over Cigarette Cravings

March 13, 2014 2:13 pm | News | Comments

A new brain imaging study shows how smokers suffering from nicotine withdrawal may have more trouble shifting from a key brain network—known as default mode, when people are in a so-called “introspective” or “self-referential” state— and into a control network, the so-called executive control network, that could help exert more conscious, self-control over cravings and to focus on quitting for good.

What Happened When? How the Brain Stores Memories by Time

March 13, 2014 2:04 pm | Videos | Comments

Before I left the house this morning, I let the cat out and started the dishwasher. Or was that yesterday? Very often, our memories must distinguish not just what happened and where, but when an event occurred—and what came before and after. New research shows that a part of the brain called the hippocampus stores memories by their "temporal context"—what happened before, and what came after.

Heart Scans Only Useful in Prescribing Statins Under Certain Conditions

March 13, 2014 1:55 pm | News | Comments

As long as inexpensive statins, which lower cholesterol, are readily available and patients don’t mind taking them, it doesn’t make sense to do a heart scan to measure how much plaque has built up in a patient’s coronary arteries before prescribing the pills, according to a new study.

Breaking News: Forgetting is Actively Regulated

March 13, 2014 12:00 pm | News | Comments

Through memory loss, unnecessary information in the brain is deleted and the nervous system retains its plasticity. Previously, it was not clear if this process was active or passive, but scientists have now discovered a molecular mechanism that actively regulates the process of forgetting.

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