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A Faster Way to Flag Bacteria-tainted Food and Prevent Illness

January 29, 2014 12:02 pm | News | Comments

The regular appearance of food poisoning in the news, including a recent event that led to the recall of more than 33,000 pounds of chicken, drives home the need for better bacterial detection long before meats and produce make it to the dinner table. On the horizon is a new approach for pathogen screening that is far faster than current commercial methods.

Scientists Reveal Cause of One of the Most Devastating Pandemics in Human History

January 28, 2014 2:08 pm | Videos | Comments

An international team of scientists has discovered that two of the world’s most devastating plagues – the plague of Justinian and the Black Death, each responsible for killing as many as half the people in Europe—were caused by distinct strains of the same pathogen, one that faded out on its own, the other leading to worldwide spread and re-emergence in the late 1800s.

Critical Protein Discovered for Healthy Cell Growth in Mammals

January 28, 2014 1:46 pm | News | Comments

A team of researchers has discovered a protein that is required for the growth of tiny, but critical, hair-like structures called cilia on cell surfaces. The discovery has important implications for human health because lack of cilia can lead to serious diseases such as polycystic kidney disease, blindness, and neurological disorders.

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Scientists Find Genetic Mechanism Linking Aging to Specific Diets

January 28, 2014 1:39 pm | News | Comments

Your best friend swears by the Paleo Diet. Your boss loves Atkins. Your sister is gluten-free, and your roommate is an acolyte of Michael Pollan. So who’s right? Maybe they all are. Researchers identified a collection of genes that allow an organism to adapt to different diets and showed that without the genes, even minor tweaks to diets can cause premature aging and death.

FDA Says Nutrition Facts Label Will Get a Makeover

January 24, 2014 5:07 am | by Mary Clare Jalonick - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

After 20 years, the nutrition facts label on the back of food packages is getting a makeover. Knowledge about nutrition has evolved since the early 1990s, and the Food and Drug Administration says the labels need to reflect that. Nutritionists and other health experts have their own wish list for label changes.

Drug Discovery Potential of Natural Microbial Genomes

January 23, 2014 12:58 pm | News | Comments

Scientists at UCSD developed a new genetic platform that allows efficient production of naturally occurring molecules, and have used it to produce a novel antibiotic compound. The scientists harvested a set of genes predicted to encode a natural product from ocean bacteria, then used synthetic biology technology to identify and test a new antibiotic – taromycin A – found to be effective in fighting drug-resistant MRSA.

Detecting Sickness by Smell

January 23, 2014 12:35 pm | News | Comments

A new study shows that humans are able to smell sickness in someone whose immune system is highly active within just a few hours of exposure to a toxin. The researchers say there is anecdotal and scientific evidence suggesting that diseases have particular smells.

Hearing Loss Linked to Brain Tissue Loss

January 23, 2014 12:29 pm | News | Comments

Although the brain becomes smaller with age, the shrinkage seems to be fast-tracked in older adults with hearing loss, according to the results of a new study.                          

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Can Fish Oil Preserve Brain Cells?

January 23, 2014 11:50 am | News | Comments

People with higher levels of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil may also have larger brain volumes in old age equivalent to preserving one to two years of brain health, according to a new study.                

Nuts Were All Our Big Brains Needed Millions of Years Ago

January 22, 2014 9:35 am | by Cynthia Fox | Articles | Comments

Nuts are in the news: a recent study has offered evidence for a big reason our bodies are so nuts for nuts. They are apparently almost all our big brains needed to survive— thus almost all we ate— from 1.4 to 2.4 million years ago.    

'Icy' Technique Improves Robotic Kidney Transplants

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

A collaboration of surgeons successfully transplanted kidneys into 50 recipients using an innovative robot-assisted procedure in which the organ is cooled with sterile ice during the operation.                 

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.               

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Genome of Intestinal Disease Bacteria to be Sequenced

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

Researchers are set to decipher the genomes of a main bacterial cause of food poisoning, which results in over 21,000 hospital admissions and 100 deaths each year.                           

Mistimed Sleep Disrupts Human Molecular Clock

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

A new study conducted by sleep and systems biology researchers has found that the daily rhythms of many genes are disrupted when sleep times shift.                              

Quality Control of Mitochondria Could be Defense Against Disease

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

Scientists have discovered that two genes linked to hereditary Parkinson’s disease are involved in the early-stage quality control of mitochondria.                             

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.          

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.                      

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.               

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.

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