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Researchers Identify Brain Differences Linked to Insomnia

March 4, 2014 11:36 am | News | Comments

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.

Researchers Create Coating Material to Prevent Blood Clots Associated with Implanted Devices

March 3, 2014 11:40 am | News | Comments

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.

Research Reveals First Glimpse of a Brain Circuit that Helps Experience to Shape Perception

March 3, 2014 11:34 am | News | Comments

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?

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Ancient Chinese Medicine Put Through its Paces for Pancreatic Cancer

March 3, 2014 11:29 am | News | Comments

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.

Is West Nile Virus Coming to Your Town?

March 3, 2014 11:20 am | News | Comments

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.

Study Pinpoints Protective Mutations for Type 2 Diabetes

March 3, 2014 11:03 am | News | Comments

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.

Study of Antibody Evolution Charts Course Toward HIV Vaccine

March 3, 2014 10:58 am | News | Comments

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.

Fruit Fly's Pruning Protein Could Be Key to Treating Brain Injury

February 28, 2014 1:47 pm | News | Comments

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.

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Researchers X-Ray Living Cancer Cells

February 28, 2014 1:40 pm | News | Comments

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.

Researchers Discover Unusual Genetic Mutation Linked to Adolescent Liver Cancer

February 28, 2014 1:27 pm | News | Comments

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.

Dangerous Mistaken Identity

February 28, 2014 1:19 pm | News | Comments

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.

Emergency Alert in the Cell

February 28, 2014 12:10 pm | News | Comments

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.

Breaking News: Do Obesity, Birth Control Pills Up MS Risk?

February 27, 2014 4:00 pm | News | Comments

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).                   

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Breast Cancer Cells Less Likely to Spread When One Gene is Turned Off

February 27, 2014 2:17 pm | News | Comments

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.

One Gene Influences Recovery from Traumatic Brain Injury

February 27, 2014 2:01 pm | News | Comments

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.

Artificial Muscles That Do the Twist

February 27, 2014 1:55 pm | Videos | Comments

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.

Experimental Treatment Eradicates Acute Leukemia in Mice

February 27, 2014 1:49 pm | News | Comments

A team of scientists from UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center has developed an experimental treatment that eradicates an acute type of leukemia in mice without any detectable toxic side effects. The drug works by blocking two important metabolic pathways that the leukemia cells need to grow and spread.

Can a Simple Handshake Predict Cancer Survival Rates?

February 27, 2014 1:35 pm | News | Comments

New acquaintances are often judged by their handshake. Research has now recognized the simple squeeze as an important diagnostic tool in assessing strength and quality of life among critical care patients. In a recent study, Concordia professor Robert Kilgour and his colleagues at the McGill Nutrition and Performance Laboratory confirmed a link between handgrip strength and survival rates.

Cancer Vaccine Could Use Immune System to Fight Tumors

February 27, 2014 1:22 pm | News | Comments

Cincinnati Cancer Center (CCC) and UC Cancer Institute researchers have found that a vaccine, targeting tumors that produce a certain protein and receptor responsible for communication between cells and the body’s immune system, could initiate the immune response to fight cancer.

Finding a Few Foes Among Billions of Friends

February 26, 2014 2:40 pm | News | Comments

A team of chemists is reporting a new way to detect just a few lurking tumor cells, which can be outnumbered a billion to one in the bloodstream by healthy cells. The researchers have constructed an ultrasensitive nanoprobe that can electrochemically sense as few as four circulating tumor cells, and it doesn’t require any enzymes to produce a detectable signal.

Nanoparticles and Magnetic Fields Train Immune Cells to Fight Cancer in Mice

February 26, 2014 2:21 pm | News | Comments

Using tiny particles designed to target cancer-fighting immune cells, Johns Hopkins researchers have trained the immune systems of mice to fight melanoma, a deadly skin cancer. The experiments represent a significant step toward using nanoparticles and magnetism to treat a variety of conditions, the researchers say.

3-D Printer Creates Transformative Device for Heart Treatment

February 26, 2014 2:14 pm | News | Comments

Using a 3-D printer, biomedical engineers have developed a custom-fitted, implantable device with embedded sensors that could transform treatment and prediction of cardiac disorders. An international team of biomedical engineers and materials scientists have created a 3-D elastic membrane made of a soft, flexible, silicon material that is precisely shaped to match the heart’s epicardium, or the outer layer of the wall of the heart.

Researchers Generate New Neurons in Brains, Spinal Cords of Living Adult Mammals

February 26, 2014 2:06 pm | News | Comments

Researchers created new nerve cells in the brains and spinal cords of living mammals without the need for stem cell transplants to replenish lost cells. Although the research indicates it may someday be possible to regenerate neurons from the body’s own cells to repair traumatic brain injury or spinal cord damage, it is too soon to know whether the neurons created in these initial studies resulted in any functional improvements.

Nuclear Stiffness Keeps Stem Cells and Cancer Cells in Place

February 26, 2014 1:50 pm | News | Comments

Adult stem cells and cancer cells have many things in common, including an ability to migrate through tiny gaps in tissue. Both types of cells also experience a trade-off when it comes to this ability; having a flexible nucleus makes migration easier but is worse at protecting the nucleus’ DNA compared to a stiffer nucleus.

A Paper Diagnostic for Cancer

February 25, 2014 2:16 pm | News | Comments

MIT engineers have developed a simple, cheap, paper test that could improve diagnosis rates and help people get treated earlier. The diagnostic, which works much like a pregnancy test, could reveal within minutes, based on a urine sample, whether a person has cancer.

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