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Breast Cancer Gene Protects Against Obesity, Diabetes

March 12, 2014 2:24 pm | News | Comments

The gene known to be associated with breast cancer susceptibility, BRCA 1, plays a critical role in the normal metabolic function of skeletal muscle, according to a new study. The team is the first to identify that the BRCA1 protein is expressed in the skeletal muscle of both mice and humans, and that it plays a key role in fat storage, insulin response, and mitochondrial function in skeletal muscle cells.

Cellular Alchemy: Study Shows How to Make Insulin-Producing Cells from Gut Cells

March 12, 2014 2:04 pm | News | Comments

Destruction of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas is at the heart of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Transplanting islet cells to restore normal blood sugar levels in patients with severe type 1 diabetes is one approach to treating the disease, and using stem cells to create beta cells is another area of investigation. However, both of these strategies have limitations.

Finding Hiding Place of Virus Could Lead to New Treatments

March 12, 2014 1:32 pm | News | Comments

Discovering where a common virus hides in the body has been a long-term quest for scientists. Up to 80 percent of adults harbor the human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), which can cause severe illness and death in people with weakened immune systems. Now, researchers report that stem cells that encircle blood vessels can be a hiding place, suggesting a potential treatment target.

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Bacterium and Fungus Team Up to Cause Virulent Tooth Decay in Toddlers

March 12, 2014 1:15 pm | News | Comments

Early childhood caries, a highly aggressive and painful form of tooth decay that frequently occurs in preschool children, especially from backgrounds of poverty, may result from a nefarious partnership between a bacterium and a fungus. The resulting tooth decay can be so severe that treatment frequently requires surgery.

Cancer Cells Don’t Engage in ‘Drunken’ Walks as They Spread Through the Body in 3D

March 11, 2014 1:41 pm | Videos | Comments

Because of results seen in flat lab dishes, biologists have believed that cancers cells move through the body in a slow, aimless fashion, resembling an intoxicated person who cannot walk in a straight line. This pattern, called a random walk, may hold true for cells traveling across two-dimensional lab containers, but researchers have discovered that for cells moving through 3-D spaces within the body, the “drunken” model doesn’t hold true.

Researchers Identify Decision-making Center of Brain

March 11, 2014 1:35 pm | News | Comments

Although choosing to do something because the perceived benefit outweighs the financial cost is something people do daily, little is known about what happens in the brain when a person makes these kinds of decisions. Studying how these cost-benefit decisions are made when choosing to consume alcohol, a researcheridentified distinct profiles of brain activity that are present when making these decisions.

A New Cell Type is Implicated in Epilepsy Caused by Traumatic Brain Injury

March 11, 2014 1:25 pm | News | Comments

Traumatic brain injury is a risk factor for epilepsy, though the relationship is not understood. A new study in mice identifies increased levels of a specific neurotransmitter as a contributing factor connecting traumatic brain injury to post-traumatic epilepsy. The findings suggest that damage to brain cells called interneurons disrupts neurotransmitter levels and plays a role in the development of epilepsy after a traumatic brain injury.

UV Light Aids Cancer Cells that Creep Along the Outside of Blood Vessels

March 11, 2014 1:08 pm | News | Comments

A new study by adds further proof to earlier findings that deadly melanoma cells can spread through the body by creeping like tiny spiders along the outside of blood vessels without ever entering the bloodstream. In addition, the new research demonstrates that this process is accelerated when the skin cancer cells are exposed to ultraviolet light.

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Researchers Model a Key Breaking Point Involved in Traumatic Brain Injury

March 11, 2014 12:06 pm | News | Comments

Even the mildest form of a traumatic brain injury, better known as a concussion, can deal permanent, irreparable damage. Now, an interdisciplinary team of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania is using mathematical modeling to better understand the mechanisms at play in this kind of injury, with an eye toward protecting the brain from its long-term consequences.

Breaking News: New Gene for Bipolar Discovered

March 11, 2014 12:00 pm | News | Comments

An international group of researchers discovered two new gene regions which are connected with bipolar disorder. They were also able to confirm three additional suspect genes.                     

A Signal to Spread: Scientists Identify Potent Driver of Metastasis

March 10, 2014 2:03 pm | News | Comments

An international team of researchers led by scientists at The Wistar Institute have discovered and defined LIMD2, a protein that can drive metastasis, the process where tumors spread throughout the body. Their study defines the structure of LIMD2 and correlates the protein in metastatic bladder, melanoma, breast, and thyroid tumors. 

Alzheimer’s Research Team Employs Stem Cells to Understand Disease Processes and Study New Treatments

March 10, 2014 12:53 pm | News | Comments

A team of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital has been able to study the underlying causes of AD and develop assays to test newer approaches to treatment by using stem cells derived from related family members with a genetic predisposition to AD.

Study Links BPA and Breast Cancer Tumor Growth

March 10, 2014 11:58 am | News | Comments

UT Arlington biochemists say their newly published study brings researchers a step closer to understanding how the commonly used synthetic compound bisphenol-A (BPA) may promote breast cancer growth. The researchers found that when breast cancer and mammary gland cells were exposed to BPA in lab tests, the BPA worked together with naturally present molecules, including estrogen, to create abnormal amounts of HOTAIR expression.

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Chemists Discover New Class of Antibiotics

March 10, 2014 11:06 am | News | Comments

A team of University of Notre Dame researchers discovered a new class of antibiotics to fight bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other drug-resistant bacteria that threaten public health.  The new class, called oxadiazoles, was discovered in silico (by computer) screening and has shown promise in the treatment of MRSA in mouse models of infection.

Researchers Create New Tool to Unravel Mysteries of Metastasis

March 10, 2014 10:26 am | News | Comments

Researchers at the UNC School of Medicine have devised a new biochemical technique that will allow them and other scientists to delve much deeper than ever before into the specific cellular circuitry that keeps us healthy or causes disease. The method helps researchers study how specific proteins called kinases interact to trigger a specific cellular behavior, such as how a cell moves. 

Blood Test Identifies Those at Risk for Cognitive Decline, Alzheimer’s Within Three Years

March 10, 2014 9:44 am | Videos | Comments

Researchers have discovered and validated a blood test that can predict with greater than 90 percent accuracy if a healthy person will develop mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease within three years. It is the first known published report of blood-based biomarkers for preclinical Alzheimer’s disease.

Bone Turnover Markers Predict Prostate Cancer Outcomes

March 7, 2014 2:16 pm | News | Comments

Biomarkers for bone formation and resorption predict outcomes for men with castration-resistant prostate cancer, a team of researchers have found. Their study also found that the markers identified a small group of patients who responded to the investigational drug atrasentan. The markers’ predictive ability could help clinicians match treatments with individual patients, track their effectiveness and affect clinical trial design.

Inherited Alzheimer’s Damage Greater Decades Before Symptoms Appear

March 7, 2014 2:00 pm | News | Comments

The progression of Alzheimer’s may slow once symptoms appear and do significant damage, according to a study investigating an inherited form of the disease. Professor Colin Masters from the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health and University of Melbourne—and colleagues in the UK and US—have found rapid neuronal damage begins 10 to 20 years before symptoms appear.

Severe Diarrheal Illness in Children Linked to Antibiotics Prescribed in Doctor’s Offices

March 7, 2014 1:48 pm | News | Comments

The majority of pediatric Clostridium difficile infections, which are bacterial infections that cause severe diarrhea and are potentially life-threatening, occur among children in the general community who recently took antibiotics prescribed in doctor’s offices for other conditions, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cells Appearing Normal May Actually be Harbingers of Lung Cancer

March 7, 2014 1:42 pm | News | Comments

Seemingly healthy cells may hide clues that lung cancer will later develop, according to a study led by researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Examination of gene expression in patients with non-small cell lung cancer showed the area adjacent to tumors is rich with cancer markers. In addition, researchers discovered the previously unknown role of a cancer-promoting gene in the airways of smokers with lung cancer.

Vitamin D Increases Breast Cancer Patient Survival

March 7, 2014 1:31 pm | News | Comments

Breast cancer patients with high levels of vitamin D in their blood are twice as likely to survive the disease as women with low levels of this nutrient. Previous studies showed that low vitamin D levels were linked to a high risk of premenopausal breast cancer. That finding prompted research that questioned the relationship between 25-hydroxyvitamin D and breast cancer survival rates.

In First Moments of Infection, a Division and a Decision

March 7, 2014 1:21 pm | News | Comments

Using technologies and computational modeling that trace the destiny of single cells, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine describe for the first time the earliest stages of fate determination among white blood cells called T lymphocytes, providing new insights that may help drug developers create more effective, longer-lasting vaccines against microbial pathogens or cancer.

3-D Changes in DNA May Lead to a Genetic Form of Lou Gehrig’s Disease

March 6, 2014 2:26 pm | News | Comments

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.

Inadequate Sleep Predicts Risk of Heart Disease, Diabetes in Obese Adolescents

March 6, 2014 2:16 pm | News | Comments

Obese adolescents not getting enough sleep? A new study shows they could be increasing their risk for developing diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Lack of sleep and obesity have been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases in adults and young children. However, the association is not as clear in adolescents.

Gene Therapy Seems Safe, May Help Control HIV

March 5, 2014 5:18 pm | by Marilynn Marchione - AP Chief Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Scientists have modified genes in the blood cells of HIV patients to help them resist the AIDS virus, and say the treatment seems safe and promising. The results give hope that this approach might one day free at least some people from needing medicines to keep HIV under control, a form of cure.

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