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Probability of Blindness from Glaucoma Has Nearly Halved

January 22, 2014 8:30 am | News | Comments

The probability of blindness due to the serious eye disease glaucoma has decreased by nearly half since 1980, according to a new study.  The researchers speculate that advances in diagnosis and therapy are likely causes for the decrease.  

Happy People Are Healthier, Too

January 22, 2014 8:30 am | News | Comments

People who enjoy life maintain better physical function in their daily activities and keep up faster walking speeds as they age, compared with people who enjoy life less, according to a new study.               

Genetic Technique Dramatically Improves Pregnancy Rates of Older Women

January 21, 2014 9:36 am | by Cynthia Fox | Articles | Comments

A large global team of reproduction experts has found a way to even the score for older women seeking pregnancy using a process called preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD).                      


Spirituality Linked to Thicker Brain Cortex, Depression Protection

January 21, 2014 8:37 am | News | Comments

A thickening of the brain cortex associated with regular meditation or other spiritual or religious practice could be the reason those activities guard against depression– particularly in people who are predisposed to the disease, according to new research.

FAK Protein Helps Tumor Cells Enter Bloodstream

January 21, 2014 8:32 am | News | Comments

Cancer cells have something that every prisoner longs for— a master key that allows them to escape. A study describes how a protein that promotes tumor growth also enables cancer cells to use this key and metastasize.          

Activation of a Single Neuron Type Triggers Eating

January 21, 2014 8:30 am | News | Comments

Activation of a single type of neuron in the prefrontal cortex can spur a mouse to eat more— a finding that may pinpoint an elusive mechanism the human brain uses to regulate food intake.                  

Sun Exposure May Reduce Blood Pressure

January 21, 2014 8:30 am | News | Comments

Exposing skin to sunlight may help to reduce blood pressure by altering levels of the small messenger molecule nitric oxide (NO) in the skin and blood, thus cutting the risk of heart attack and stroke, a new study says.       

DNA of Infectious, Blood-sucking Worm Decoded

January 21, 2014 8:30 am | News | Comments

Researchers have decoded the genome of the hookworm, Necator americanus, finding clues to how it infects and survives in humans and to aid in development of new therapies to combat hookworm disease.               


Study IDs New Drug Targets for Cocaine Addiction

January 21, 2014 8:30 am | News | Comments

Researchers have identified a new molecular mechanism by which cocaine alters the brain's reward circuits and causes addiction. The research reveals how an enzyme and synaptic gene affect a key reward circuit in the brain, changing the ways genes are expressed.

Smart Socks: Biosensors in Clothes May Someday Warn of Sickness

January 21, 2014 8:30 am | News | Comments

As the country settles in for yet another winter full of colds and flu, imagine if your undershirt or socks not only kept you warm but also warned you about an oncoming infection.                      

Clever Chemistry and a New Class of Antibiotics

January 17, 2014 2:43 pm | News | Comments

As concerns about bacterial resistance to antibiotics grow, researchers are racing to find new kinds of drugs to replace ones that are no longer effective. One promising new class of molecules called acyldepsipeptides — ADEPs — kills bacteria in a way that no marketed antibacterial drug does — by altering the pathway through which cells rid themselves of harmful proteins.

New Insights into Facial Transplantation

January 17, 2014 1:48 pm | News | Comments

In 2009, the first face transplant was performed at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and lead surgeon, Dr. Bohdan Pomahac has been pioneering the procedure since. However, understanding the challenges, particularly around how the recipient accepts or rejects the donated face, is just beginning. Following any transplant, including facial transplant, T cells in the recipient mount an immune response to the donated tissue, threatening rejection.

Same Cell Death Pathway Involved in Three Forms of Blindness

January 17, 2014 10:41 am | News | Comments

Gene therapies developed by University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine researchers have worked to correct different forms of blindness. While effective, the downside to these approaches to vision rescue is that each disease requires its own form of gene therapy to correct the particular genetic mutation involved, a time consuming and complex process.


Google Develops Contact Lens Glucose Monitor

January 17, 2014 10:08 am | by Martha Mendoza - AP National Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Google unveiled a contact lens that monitors glucose levels in tears, a potential reprieve for millions of diabetics who have to jab their fingers to draw their own blood as many as 10 times a day. The prototype, which Google says will take at least five years to reach consumers, is one of several medical devices being designed by companies to make glucose monitoring for diabetic patients more convenient.

Coronary Artery Imaging May Be “Tremendously Significant”

January 16, 2014 1:51 pm | by Cynthia Fox | Articles | Comments

A major mystery in heart disease—why most people who develop serious heart disease have normal blood pressure and cholesterol—may have been solved in a “tremendously significant” study. Some are already calling the study “important” and “frame-shifting.” The study—Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis—found that coronary artery calcium scans can often more accurately predict heart disease than cholesterol and blood pressure readings.

Early Gene Therapy Trial for Blindness Promising

January 15, 2014 7:10 pm | by MARIA CHENG - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

A small, preliminary study using gene therapy to treat a rare form of blindness is promising and could trigger similar efforts for other causes of vision loss, British doctors say.  They studied just six patients. Of those, two have had dramatic improvements in their vision and none has reported any serious side effects. The study was only designed to test the treatment's safety, not its effectiveness.  

Study Dispels 'Obesity Paradox' Idea for Diabetics

January 15, 2014 5:57 pm | by MARILYNN MARCHIONE - AP Chief Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

The controversial notion that being overweight might actually be healthier for some people with diabetes — seems to be a myth, researchers report. A major study finds there's no survival advantage to being large, and a disadvantage to being very large.

Training T Cells to Fight Their Own Cancers

January 15, 2014 1:48 pm | by Cynthia Fox | Articles | Comments

Immunotherapy—the art and science of training peoples’ immune systems to fight their own cancers—was named Breakthrough of the Year by Science. Prominently mentioned was an approach seeing clinical success: genetically tweaking patients’ own T cells to make them more potent, proliferative, and targeted.

Multihormone Reverses Metabolic Damage of High Calorie Diet

January 15, 2014 11:44 am | News | Comments

A single molecule, which acts equally on the receptors of the metabolic hormones glucagon and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) improves body weight and diabetes through restored function of the anti-obesity hormone leptin.  Scientists found out that treatment of obese mice with this GLP-1/Glucagon co-agonist improves metabolism and body weight associated with restored function of the weight lowering hormone leptin.

Personal Care Products Possible Sources of Potentially Harmful Parabens for Babies

January 15, 2014 11:00 am | News | Comments

Through lotions, shampoos, and other personal care products (PCPs), infants and toddlers are likely becoming exposed to potentially harmful substances, called parabens, at an even higher level than adult women in the U.S., researchers have reported.

Tricky Protein May Help HIV Vaccine Development

January 14, 2014 11:53 am | News | Comments

Duke scientists have taken aim at what may be an Achilles' heel of the HIV virus. Combining expertise in biochemistry, immunology and advanced computation, researchers at Duke University have determined the structure of a key part of the HIV envelope protein, the gp41 membrane proximal external region (MPER), which previously eluded detailed structural description.

Study Demonstrates Need to Change Scoring System for Heart Disease

January 14, 2014 11:44 am | News | Comments

A study led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine shows that one of the most widely used systems for predicting risk of adverse heart events should be re-evaluated. A surprise finding was that coronary artery calcium (CAC) density may be protective against cardiovascular events.

Benefits of Cognitive Training Can Last 10 Years in Older Adults

January 14, 2014 11:35 am | Videos | Comments

Exercises meant to boost mental sharpness can benefit older adults as many as 10 years after they received the cognitive training, researchers said. A multi-institutional team of researchers reported that older adults who had participated in the mental exercise programs reported less difficulty with everyday tasks of living than were those who had not participated, even after 10 years had passed.

Fish Derived Serum Omega-3 Fatty Acids Help Reduce the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

January 14, 2014 11:12 am | News | Comments

High concentrations of serum long-chain omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a University of Eastern Finland study. The sources of these fatty acids are fish and fish oils. The Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD) determined the serum omega-3 fatty acid concentrations of 2,212 men between 42 and 60 years of age at the onset of the study, in 1984–1989.

Swedish Doctors Transplant Wombs into 9 Women

January 13, 2014 2:15 am | by MALIN RISING - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

Nine women in Sweden have successfully received transplanted wombs donated from relatives and will soon try to become pregnant, the doctor in charge of the pioneering project has revealed. The women were born without a uterus or had it removed because of cervical cancer. Most are in their 30s and are part of the first major experiment to test whether it's possible to transplant wombs into women so they can give birth to their own children.

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