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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.

Soil Microbes Alter DNA in Response to Warming

January 17, 2014 11:10 am | News | Comments

As scientists forecast the impacts of climate change, one missing piece of the puzzle is what will happen to the carbon in the soil and the microbes that control the fate of this carbon as the planet warms. Scientists studying grasslands in Oklahoma have discovered that an increase of 2 degrees Celsius in the air temperature above the soil creates significant changes to the microbial ecosystem underground. 

Special Yeast Reduce Alcohol, Improve Wine

January 17, 2014 10:56 am | News | Comments

A team of Australian researchers has taken a step towards controlling a growing problem in the wine community.  They have identified special yeast that produce a lower level of alcohol, helping to preserve the flavor. The alcoholic content of wine has crept gradually northward in the last 10-15 years, from 12-12.5 percent to beyond 15 percent and is seen by some as a disturbing trend, threatening the flavor and character of some wines.

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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.

Carlyle Group Makes $4.15B Offer for J&J Business

January 16, 2014 2:42 pm | by LINDA A. JOHNSON - AP Business Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Johnson & Johnson has been offered $4.15 billion by The Carlyle Group for its Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics business, a year after J&J began reviewing strategic options for the blood-testing unit as part of a routine pruning of its extensive family of businesses. J&J has until March 31 to decide whether to accept the offer.

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.  

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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.

Amgen, Illumina Team on Personalized Medicine Test

January 15, 2014 5:19 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Biotech drugmaker Amgen and Illumina, a maker of genetic testing equipment, said Wednesday they are developing a test that will identify patients who might be helped by Amgen's colon cancer drug Vectibix. Vectibix is approved as a treatment for colorectal cancer that has spread and hasn't rresponded to chemotherapy.

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.

Researchers Identify Key Molecular Components Linking Circadian Rhythms and Cell Division Cycles

January 15, 2014 1:24 pm | News | Comments

Researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) have identified key molecular components linking circadian rhythms and cell division cycles in Neurospora crassa, providing insights that could lead to improved disease treatments and drug delivery.

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.

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First Comprehensive Test to Detect Genetic Modification in Food

January 15, 2014 11:26 am | News | Comments

As the abundance of genetically modified (GM) foods continues to grow, so does the demand for monitoring and labeling them. The genes of GM plants used for food are tweaked to make them more healthful or pest-resistant, but some consumers are wary of such changes.

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.

Authenticating Premium Chocolate

January 15, 2014 10:31 am | News | Comments

For some people, nothing can top a morsel of luxuriously rich, premium chocolate. But until now, other than depending on their taste buds, chocolate connoisseurs had no way of knowing whether they were getting what they paid for. Scientists are now reporting a method to authenticate the varietal purity and origin of cacao beans, the source of chocolate’s main ingredient, cocoa.

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.

Y Chromosome "Going to Stick Around," Study Says

January 10, 2014 12:31 pm | News | Comments

A comparison of Y chromosomes in eight African and eight European men dispels the common notion that the Y‘s genes are mostly unimportant and that the chromosome is destined to dwindle and disappear.                

Study Shows Promise for Preventing Resistance in Tumors

January 10, 2014 12:25 pm | News | Comments

A new study suggests that activating the tumor suppressor p53 in normal cells causes them to secrete Par-4, another potent tumor suppressor protein that induces cell death in cancer cells.                  

Blood Cells Take on Many-Sided Shape During Clotting

January 10, 2014 11:46 am | News | Comments

Researchers have found a new role in stemming bleeding and preventing obstruction of blood flow, explaining the need for speed in busting harmful clots.                             

New Approach to Studying How Variants Affect Gene Expression

January 10, 2014 11:40 am | News | Comments

Researchers have now developed a novel approach to study the ways in which genetic differences affect how strongly certain genes are "expressed"— that is, how they are translated into the proteins that do the actual work in cells.      

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