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Heart Scans Only Useful in Prescribing Statins Under Certain Conditions

March 13, 2014 1:55 pm | News | Comments

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.

Scientists Confirm Link Between Missing DNA and Birth Defects

March 12, 2014 1:44 pm | News | Comments

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.

Scientists ‘Herd’ Cells in New Approach to Tissue Engineering

March 12, 2014 1:24 pm | Videos | Comments

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.

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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.

New Organ Transplant Strategy Aims to Better Prevent Rejection

March 11, 2014 1:47 pm | News | Comments

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.

A Tale of Two Data Sets: New DNA Analysis Strategy Helps Researchers Cut through the Dirt

March 11, 2014 1:00 pm | Videos | Comments

For soil microbiology, it is the best of times. While no one has undertaken an accurate census, a spoonful of soil holds hundreds of billions of microbial cells, encompassing thousands of species. Researchers have now published the largest soil DNA sequencing effort to date.

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.                     

Study: 2 Percent of Americans Have New Hips, Knees

March 11, 2014 1:17 am | by Marilynn Marchione - AP Chief Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

It's not just grandma with a new hip and your uncle with a new knee. More than 2 of every 100 Americans now have an artificial joint, doctors are reporting. Among those over 50, it's even more common: Five percent have replaced a knee and more than 2 percent, a hip.

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Nasal Filter Looks Promising for Allergy Sufferers

March 10, 2014 11:41 am | News | Comments

A small filter the size of a contact lens could possibly make life easier for some of the estimated 500 million people worldwide who suffer from itching, sneezing, and a runny nose as soon as the pollen season starts. A clinical study from Aarhus University concludes that a newly developed Danish mini-filter—Rhinix—appears to be significantly more effective against the discomfort of seasonal hay fever than a filterless placebo.

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.

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.

Energy Drinks Linked to Teen Health Risks

March 7, 2014 1:15 pm | News | Comments

The uplifting effects of energy drinks are well advertised, but a new report finds consumption among teenagers may be linked with poor mental health and substance use. Researchers are calling for limits on teen’s access to the drinks and reduction in the amount of the caffeine in each can.

New Shrinking Gel Steers Tooth Tissue Formation

March 6, 2014 3:01 pm | Videos | Comments

A bit of pressure from a new shrinking, sponge-like gel is all it takes to turn transplanted unspecialized cells into cells that lay down minerals and begin to form teeth. The bioinspired gel material could one day help repair or replace damaged organs, such as teeth and bone, and possibly other organs as well.

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Higher Levels of Omega-3 in Diet Associated with Better Sleep

March 6, 2014 2:36 pm | News | Comments

A randomized placebo-controlled study by the University of Oxford suggests that higher levels of omega-3 DHA, the group of long-chain fatty acids found in algae and seafood, are associated with better sleep. The researchers explored whether 16 weeks of daily 600mg supplements of algal sources would improve the sleep of 362 children.

Hop Leaves—Discarded in Beer Brewing—Could Fight Dental Diseases

March 5, 2014 1:13 pm | News | Comments

Beer drinkers know that hops are what gives the drink its bitterness and aroma. Recently, scientists reported that the part of hops that isn’t used for making beer contains healthful antioxidants and could be used to battle cavities and gum disease.

Female Fertility: What’s Testosterone Got To Do With It?

March 5, 2014 12:33 pm | News | Comments

Several fertility clinics across the country are beginning to administer testosterone, either through a patch or a gel on the skin, to increase the number of eggs produced by certain women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF). Women are also purchasing the over-the-counter supplement DHEA, which is converted by the body into testosterone, to boost their chances of pregnancy with IVF.

Liver Metabolism Study Could Help Patients Awaiting Transplants

March 4, 2014 1:17 pm | News | Comments

In a new study that could help doctors extend the lives of patients awaiting liver transplants, a Rice University-led team of researchers examined the metabolic breakdown that takes place in liver cells during late-stage cirrhosis and found clues that suggest new treatments to delay liver failure.

Immune System-based Therapy Produces Lasting Remissions in Melanoma Patients

March 4, 2014 12:59 pm | News | Comments

A drug that unleashes the immune system to attack cancer can produce lasting remissions and hold the disease in check – for more than two years, in some cases – in many patients with advanced melanoma, according to a new study. The study provides the longest-term look so far at how melanoma patients have fared since receiving the drug, nivolumab, in a Phase 1 clinical trial.

Prevalence of Allergies the Same, Regardless of Where You Live

March 4, 2014 12:05 pm | News | Comments

In the largest, most comprehensive, nationwide study to examine the prevalence of allergies from early childhood to old age, scientists from the National Institutes of Health report that allergy prevalence is the same across different regions of the United States, except in children 5 years and younger.

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.

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.

As One Food Allergy Resolves, Another May Develop

March 3, 2014 11:08 am | News | Comments

Some children who outgrow one type of food allergy may then develop another type of allergy, more severe and more persistent, to the same food. A new study by pediatric allergy experts suggests that healthcare providers and caregivers carefully monitor children with food allergies to recognize early signs of eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), a severe and often painful type of allergy that has been increasing in recent years.

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.

Google Glass Could Help Stop Emerging Public Health Threats Around the World

February 28, 2014 1:32 pm | News | Comments

Google Glass could potentially save lives, especially in isolated or far-flung locations, say scientists. They are reporting development of a Google Glass app that takes a picture of a diagnostic test strip and sends the data to computers, which then rapidly beam back a diagnostic report to the user.

High-calorie Feeding May Slow Progression of ALS

February 28, 2014 10:21 am | by Mass General | News | Comments

Increasing the number of calories consumed by patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) may be a relatively simple way of extending their survival.  A phase 2 clinical trial led by Massachusetts General Hospital physicians found that ALS patients receiving a high-calorie, high-carbohydrate tube-feeding formula lived longer with fewer adverse events than participants who received a standard formula designed maintain their weight.

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