Inspired by natural materials such as bone—a matrix of minerals and other substances, including living cells—MIT engineers have coaxed bacterial cells to produce biofilms that can incorporate nonliving materials, such as gold nanoparticles and quantum dots.
Women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant and taking a folic acid supplement may be at risk of reducing their folate benefit through sun exposure, a new QUT study has warned. A study of 45 young healthy women in Brisbane aged 18 to 47, showed high rates of sun exposure accounted up to a 20 per cent reduction in folate levels.
Scientists of the KIT and the University of Kiev have produced an antibiotic, whose biological activity can be controlled with light. Thanks to the robust diarylethene photoswitch, the antimicrobial effect of the peptide mimetic can be applied in a spatially and temporally specific manner. This might open up new options for the treatment of local infections, as side effects are reduced.
Scientists in Göttingen have solved the high-resolution structure of the molecular transporter TSPO, which introduces cholesterol into mitochondria. This protein also serves as a docking site for diagnostic markers and different drugs, such as Valium. The detailed knowledge of its three-dimensional shape and function opens up new diagnostic and therapeutic perspectives.
Is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) caused by genetics, diet, past trauma, anxiety? All are thought to play a role, but now, for the first time, researchers have reported a defined genetic defect that causes a subset of IBS. Researchers found that patients with a subset of IBS have a specific genetic defect, a mutation of the SCN5A gene. This defect causes patients to have a disruption in bowel function.
For the first time, researchers have identified a receptor on human cells that specifically recognizes crystals. It is found on immune cells and binds uric acid crystals, which trigger gout but also control immune responses.By discovering the immune receptor for uric acid crystals, the researchers have gained an understanding of the fundamental mechanism by which the immune system recognizes crystals.
Researchers at the University of Adelaide say addictive behavior such as drug and alcohol abuse could be associated with poor development of the so-called "love hormone" system in our bodies during early childhood. The idea resulted from a review of worldwide research into oxytocin, known as the "love hormone" or "bonding drug" because of its important role in enhancing social interactions, maternal behavior and partnership.
Almost half of Americans ages 40 to 75 and nearly all men over 60 qualify to consider cholesterol-lowering statin drugs under new heart disease prevention guidelines, an analysis concludes. It's the first independent look at the impact of the guidelines issued in November and shows how dramatically they shift more people toward treatment.
Small protein fragments, also called peptides, are promising as drugs because they can be designed for very specific functions inside living cells. Insulin and the HIV drug Fuzeon are some of the earliest successful examples, and peptide drugs are expected to become a $25 billion market by 2018. However, a major bottleneck has prevented peptide drugs from reaching their full potential: Manufacturing the peptides takes several weeks.
Genetically modifying a key protein complex in plants could lead to improved crops for the production of cellulosic biofuels, a Purdue University study says. Clint Chapple, distinguished professor of biochemistry, and fellow researchers generated a mutant Arabidopsis plant whose cell walls can be converted easily into fermentable sugars but does not display the stunted growth patterns of similar mutants.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
New UCLA research suggests that the more muscle mass older Americans have, the less likely they are to die prematurely. The findings add to the growing evidence that overall body composition—and not the widely used body mass index, or BMI—is a better predictor of all-cause mortality.
Ten projects that will enable non-government researchers to conduct clinical research at the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md. were announced. Through these three-year, renewable awards of up to $500,000 per year, scientists from institutions across the United States will collaborate with government scientists in a highly specialized hospital setting.
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.
In a recent study, researchers found that beneficial gut bacteria were necessary for the development of innate immune cells—specialized types of white blood cells that serve as the body's first line of defense against invading pathogens.
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.
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.
In 2010, scientists reported that a woman and her daughter showed a puzzling array of disabilities, including epilepsy and cleft palate. The research team noted that the mother and daughter were missing a large chunk of DNA on their X chromosome. Researchers were unable to definitively show that the problems were tied to that genetic deletion. Now a team has confirmed that those patients’ ailments resulted from the genetic anomaly.
Sometimes it only takes a quick jolt of electricity to get a swarm of cells moving in the right direction. Researchers found that an electrical current can be used to orchestrate the flow of a group of cells, an achievement that could establish the basis for more controlled forms of tissue engineering and for potential applications such as “smart bandages” that use electrical stimulation to help heal wounds.
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.
Organ-transplant recipients often reject donated organs, but a new, two-pronged strategy to specifically weaken immune responses that target transplanted tissue has shown promise in controlled experiments on mice. The hope is that using this novel treatment strategy at the time of transplantation surgery could spare patients from lifelong immunosuppressive treatments and their side effects.