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Ohio State Implants First Brain Pacemaker to Treat Alzheimer's

February 7, 2013 4:55 pm | News | Comments

During a five-hour surgery last October at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Kathy Sanford became the first Alzheimer’s patient in the United States to have a pacemaker implanted in her brain. She is the first of up to 10 patients who will be enrolled in an FDA-approved study at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center to determine if using a brain pacemaker can improve cognitive and behavioral functioning in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

Scientists Identify Genetic Mechanism That Contributed to Irish Famine

February 7, 2013 11:23 am | News | Comments

When a pathogen attacks a plant, infection usually follows after the plant’s immune system is compromised. A team of researchers at the University of California, Riverside focused on Phytophthora, the pathogen that triggered the Irish Famine of the 19th century, and deciphered how it succeeded in crippling the potato plant’s immune system.

VGH First in Canada to Use Superbug-killing Robot

February 6, 2013 11:14 am | News | Comments

She’s just 5’5” and quiet, but don’t let her demure looks fool you—she’s a ruthless killer who moves at the speed of light. Meet Tru-D, the newest member of Vancouver General Hospital’s (VGH) Housekeeping and Infection Control teams. Tru-D SmartUVC, or “Trudi” as staff affectionately call her, is a superbug slaying robot being piloted at VGH.


Aztec Conquest Altered Genetics among Early Mexico Inhabitants, New DNA Study Shows

January 31, 2013 11:25 am | News | Comments

For centuries, the fate of the original Otomí inhabitants of Xaltocan, the capital of a pre-Aztec Mexican city-state, has remained unknown. Researchers have long wondered whether they assimilated with the Aztecs or abandoned the town altogether. According to new anthropological research, the answers may lie in DNA.

A Safer Way to Vaccinate

January 29, 2013 11:26 am | News | Comments

Vaccines usually consist of inactivated viruses that prompt the immune system to remember the invader and launch a strong defense if it later encounters the real thing. However, this approach can be too risky with certain viruses, including HIV.

Researchers Map Emotional Intelligence in the Brain

January 23, 2013 11:24 am | News | Comments

A new study of 152 Vietnam veterans with combat-related brain injuries offers the first detailed map of the brain regions that contribute to emotional intelligence – the ability to process emotional information and navigate the social world.

Four-stranded ‘Quadruple Helix’ DNA Structure Proven to Exist in Human Cells

January 21, 2013 12:55 pm | News | Comments

In 1953, Cambridge researchers Watson and Crick published a paper describing the interweaving ‘double helix’ DNA structure – the chemical code for all life. Now, in the year of that scientific landmark’s 60th Anniversary, Cambridge researchers have published a paper proving that four-stranded ‘quadruple helix’ DNA structures – known as G-quadruplexes – also exist within the human genome.

Novel Technique Reveals Dynamics of Telomere DNA Structure

January 18, 2013 10:45 am | News | Comments

Biomedical researchers studying aging and cancer are intensely interested in telomeres, the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes. In a new study, scientists at UC Santa Cruz used a novel technique to reveal structural and mechanical properties of telomeres that could help guide the development of new anti-cancer drugs.


New Key to Organism Complexity Identified

January 18, 2013 10:40 am | News | Comments

The diverse complexity seen amongst individual species within the animal kingdom evolved from a surprisingly small gene pool. The key to morphological and behavioral complexity, a growing body of scientific evidence suggests, is the regulation of gene expression by a family of DNA-binding proteins called “transcription factors.”

Better Features for Biobanks

January 16, 2013 1:33 pm | by Mike May, PhD | Articles | Comments

Collecting specimens in biobanks provides little value unless the samples can be easily used. As Mark A Collins, PhD, director of marketing at BioFortis, says, “People have invested a lot of money in biobanks and the specimens in them. Now, they are looking to best leverage those specimens to drive clinical research, personalized medicine and clinical trials.”

Fetal Exposure to PVC Plastic Chemical Linked to Obesity in Offspring

January 15, 2013 1:28 pm | News | Comments

Exposing pregnant mice to low doses of the chemical tributyltin can lead to obesity for multiple generations without subsequent exposure, a study has found. After exposing pregnant mice to TBT in concentrations similar to those found in the environment, researchers saw increased body fat, liver fat and fat-specific gene expression in their offspring over multiple generations.

The Secrets of a Tadpole's Tail and the Implications for Human Healing

January 14, 2013 1:13 pm | News | Comments

A recent study on how tadpoles re-grow their tails identified which genes were activated during tail regeneration and showed that several genes that are involved in metabolism are activated, in particular those that are linked to the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) - chemically reactive molecules containing oxygen that are commonly believed to be harmful to cells.

Infect to Protect

January 10, 2013 1:16 pm | by Skip Derra | Articles | Comments

Roy Curtiss wants to vaccinate children and animals alike in the far regions of the world from the most basic scourges of the Earth—typhoid fever, pneumonia, influenza, tuberculosis. But to do that, he must get them to swallow Salmonella-laced liquids.


Study Shows that Human Hearts Generate New Cells After Birth

January 10, 2013 11:33 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital have found, for the first time that young humans (infants, children and adolescents) are capable of generating new heart muscle cells. These findings refute the long-held belief that the human heart grows after birth exclusively by enlargement of existing cells.

Used Coffee Grounds are a Rich Source of Healthful Antioxidants

January 9, 2013 1:28 pm | News | Comments

To plant food, insect repellant and other homespun uses for spent coffee grounds, scientists are adding an application that could make the gunk left over from brewing coffee a valuable resource for production of dietary supplements. Their new report concludes that used coffee grounds are a rich source of healthful antioxidant substances.

China to Boost Biotech Industry

January 9, 2013 1:16 pm | News | Comments

The Chinese government will give a boost to the biotechnology industry in order to tackle problems related to population growth, food safety, energy conservation and environmental protection, the State Council said. The government aims to double the share of GDP that the sector's value-added output accounts for by 2015 from the 2010 level.

Parasitic Worms May Help Treat Diseases Associated with Obesity

January 8, 2013 11:14 am | News | Comments

On the list of undesirable medical conditions, a parasitic worm infection surely ranks fairly high. Although modern pharmaceuticals have made them less of a threat in some areas, these organisms are still a major cause of disease and disability throughout much of the developing world. But parasites are not all bad, according to new research by a team of scientists.

Advancing Oncology Research: Novel Assays for Epigenetics Drug Discovery

January 7, 2013 11:38 am | by David Titus, PhD and Eric Morreale PhD, Life Sciences and Technology, PerkinElmer | Articles | Comments

Epigenetics research has expanded rapidly over the last several years, as evidenced by the exponential increase in published literature in this field. Breakthroughs have been made in the elucidation of basic epigenetic mechanisms such as histone modification, and with these advances have come an understanding of the critical role epigenetic modifications play in the development and progression of cancer.

Study Uncovers Protein Key to Fighting and Preventing Obesity

January 7, 2013 10:54 am | News | Comments

University of Florida researchers and colleagues have identified a protein that, when absent, helps the body burn fat and prevents insulin resistance and obesity. The discovery could aid development of drugs that not only prevent obesity, but also spur weight loss in people who are already overweight.

Dopamine-receptor Gene Variant Linked to Human Longevity

January 4, 2013 11:05 am | News | Comments

A variant of a gene associated with active personality traits in humans seems to also be involved with living a longer life. This derivative of a dopamine-receptor gene – called the DRD4 7R allele – appears in significantly higher rates in people more than 90 years old and is linked to lifespan increases in mouse studies.

Houston, We Have Another Problem: Study Shows that Space Travel is Harmful to the Brain

January 3, 2013 10:41 am | News | Comments

As if space travel was not already filled with enough dangers, a new study shows that cosmic radiation – which would bombard astronauts on deep space missions to places like Mars – could accelerate the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Strange Behavior: New Study Exposes Living Cells to Synthetic Protein

January 2, 2013 11:39 am | News | Comments

One approach to understanding components in living organisms is to attempt to create them artificially. A suite of techniques—collectively referred to as synthetic biology—have been used to produce self-replicating molecules, artificial pathways in living systems, and organisms bearing synthetic genomes. In a new twist, a researcher fabricated an artificial protein in the laboratory and examined the ways living cells respond to it.

Study Shows Early Cognitive Problems Among Those Who Eventually Get Alzheimer's

January 2, 2013 11:15 am | News | Comments

People who study or treat Alzheimer’s disease and its earliest clinical stage, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), have focused attention on the obvious short-term memory problems. But a new study suggests that people on the road to Alzheimer’s may actually have problems early on in processing semantic or knowledge-based information.

Frog-in-bucket of Milk Folklore Leads to Potential New Antibiotics

December 19, 2012 3:25 pm | News | Comments

Following up on an ancient Russian way of keeping milk from going sour — by putting a frog in the bucket of milk — scientists have identified a wealth of new antibiotic substances in the skin of the Russian Brown frog. Amphibians secrete peptides through their skin. These compounds make up the majority of their skin secretions and act as a first line of defense against bacteria and other microorganisms.

Are Bacteria Making You Hungry?

December 19, 2012 3:16 pm | News | Comments

Over the last half decade, it has become increasingly clear that the normal gastrointestinal (GI) bacteria play a variety of very important roles in the biology of human and animals. Now researchers propose yet another role for GI bacteria: that they exert some control over their hosts’ appetites.

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