Τρίτη, 27 Μαΐου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

How DNA is 'edited' to correct genetic diseases

Posted: 26 May 2014 03:27 PM PDT

A major step forward in our understanding of how enzymes 'edit' genes has been made by an international team of researchers, paving the way for correcting genetic diseases in patients. Researchers have observed the process by which a class of enzymes called CRISPR -- pronounced 'crisper' -- bind and alter the structure of DNA. The results provide a vital piece of the puzzle if these genome editing tools are ultimately going to be used to correct genetic diseases in humans.

Inhaling hypertonic saline decreases hospital admissions in children with bronchiolitis

Posted: 26 May 2014 03:26 PM PDT

Infants with bronchiolitis who were treated with inhaled hypertonic saline in the emergency department (ED) were less likely to require admission to the hospital compared to infants treated with normal saline. Bronchiolitis is a respiratory infection common in infants and young children that results in approximately 150,000 hospitalizations each year, with an estimated cost of $500 million.

Implications of mandatory flu vaccinations for health-care workers

Posted: 26 May 2014 10:06 AM PDT

Vaccination rates among health care workers are less than 50%, well below the level necessary for herd immunity. Employers planning to implement mandatory influenza vaccination policies for health-care workers need to understand the implications, according to experts. In Canada, condition-of-service policies must comply with employment law, provincial human rights codes and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Condition-of-service policies that apply to unionized employees must be consistent with collective labour agreements, and vaccination policies should allow exemptions for religious beliefs and practices.

Melatonin makes old bones stronger, research shows

Posted: 26 May 2014 10:06 AM PDT

Melatonin supplements may make bones stronger in old rats, research shows. This suggests a possible avenue for the prevention of osteoporosis. Bones are built up by certain cells known as osteoblasts during the daytime and broken down by others (osteoclasts) at night. As we age, we sleep less, and so the cells that break down the bones are more active. By giving old rats melatonin supplements to regulate their circadian rhythms, the researchers have been able to make their bones denser, less brittle and more flexible.

Neurons can use local stores for communication needs

Posted: 26 May 2014 07:18 AM PDT

Neurons can utilize a supremely localized internal store of calcium to initiate the secretion of neuropeptides, one class of signaling molecules through which neurons communicate with each other and with other cells, researchers have shown. Neuropeptides are released from neurons through a process that—like other secretory events—is triggered primarily by the influx of calcium into the neuron through voltage-gated channels.

Immune system precursor cells that fight infection discovered

Posted: 26 May 2014 07:18 AM PDT

The innate immune system recognizes infectious agents such as viruses and bacteria. A group of lymphocytes known as "innate lymphoid cells" or ILCs plays a central role in the defense of the human body against infective agents, researchers have found. They have discovered previously unidentified ILCs that are able to protect epithelial surfaces, such as those of the intestinal mucosa, against infection. The results provide important additional insights into how the immune system functions.

Packaged batches of stem cells for regenerative medicine

Posted: 26 May 2014 07:17 AM PDT

The Spanish start-up Aglaris Cell is close to launching onto the market the world's first bioreactor that cultures cell in a fully automated way, without using toxic additives. Researchers created a start-up company a little over two years ago with the aim of developing a device that would automate stem cell cultures thereby making advances in the production of 'live' medicines.

Insights into genetics of cleft lip

Posted: 26 May 2014 07:17 AM PDT

A specific stretch of DNA controls far-off genes to influence the formation of the face, researchers have found. The new study, outlining how this is done, helps understand the genetic causes of cleft lip and cleft palate, which are among the most common congenital malformations in humans.

Immunotherapy for prostate cancer in sight

Posted: 26 May 2014 07:16 AM PDT

Patients with advanced prostate cancer have now been given some hope from a new study. In just a few years' time, Ipilumumab could be approved as a treatment for the world's third-most common type of cancer, researchers predict. Worldwide, prostate cancer is the third-most common form of cancer and is globally the sixth-most common cause of death from cancer among men.

Novel drug target linked to insulin secretion, type 2 diabetes treatment found

Posted: 26 May 2014 07:15 AM PDT

A signal that promotes insulin secretion and reduces hyperglycemia in a type 2 diabetes animal model is enhanced by the inhibition of a novel enzyme recently discovered researchers. Insulin is an important hormone in our body that controls glucose and fat utilization. Insufficient insulin release by the beta-cells of the pancreas and interference with the action of insulin lead to type 2 diabetes. The secretion in the blood of insulin is dependent upon the utilization of glucose and fat by the beta-cells and the production of a novel signal that they discovered named monoacylglycerol.

Fighting cancer with dietary changes

Posted: 26 May 2014 07:15 AM PDT

Calorie restriction during treatment for breast cancer changes cellular programming in a way that lowers the chance of metastases in mice. Breast cancer patients are often treated with hormonal therapy to block tumor growth, and steroids to counteract the side effects of chemotherapy. However, both treatments can cause a patient to have altered metabolism which can lead to weight gain. In fact, women gain an average of 10 pounds in their first year of treatment. Recent studies have shown that too much weight makes standard treatments for breast cancer less effective, and those who gain weight during treatment have worse cancer outcomes.

Promising approach to slow brain degeneration in Huntington's disease uncovered

Posted: 25 May 2014 05:44 PM PDT

Blocking a specific class of glutamate receptors can improve motor learning and coordination, and prevent cell death in animal models of Huntington's disease, research shows. As Huntington's disease is an inherited condition that can be detected decades before any clinical symptoms are seen in humans, this research could lead to preventive treatments that will delay the onset of symptoms and neurodegeneration.

Refugees struggling to access cancer treatment, experts warn

Posted: 25 May 2014 05:44 PM PDT

There is a high demand for costly cancer treatment among refugees from the recent conflicts in Iraq and Syria, with host countries struggling to find the money and the medicine to treat their new patients, new research concludes. The findings have prompted calls from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Chief Medical Expert, for innovative financing schemes to improve access to affordable high-quality cancer care for refugees.

Sound and vision: Visual cortex processes auditory information, too

Posted: 25 May 2014 12:53 PM PDT

"Seeing is believing," so the idiom goes, but new research suggests vision also involves a bit of hearing too. "So, for example, if you are in a street and you hear the sound of an approaching motorbike, you expect to see a motorbike coming around the corner. If it turned out to be a horse, you'd be very surprised," researchers said.

Cancer immunotherapy: Potential new target found

Posted: 25 May 2014 12:47 PM PDT

Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), are found abundantly in the microenvironment around tumors. They interfere with immune response, promoting cancer progression. Now scientists have found a way to target elusive cells that suppress immune response, depleting them with peptides that spare other important cells and shrink tumors in preclinical experiments.

How signals trigger cancer cells to spread

Posted: 25 May 2014 12:47 PM PDT

A signaling pathway in cancer cells that controls their ability to invade nearby tissues in a finely orchestrated manner has been discovered by researchers. The findings offer insights into the early molecular events involved in metastasis, the deadly spread of cancer cells from primary tumor to other parts of the body.

Gene mutation found for aggressive form of pancreatic cancer

Posted: 25 May 2014 12:47 PM PDT

A mutated gene common to adenosquamous carcinoma (ASC) tumors has been discovered by researchers -– the first known unique molecular signature for this rare, but particularly virulent, form of pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States, with roughly 45,220 new cases diagnosed and more than 38,400 deaths annually. Both numbers are rising. ASC cases are infrequent, but typically have a worse prognosis than more common types of pancreatic cancer.

Mice with 'mohawks' help scientists link autism to two biological pathways in brain

Posted: 25 May 2014 12:47 PM PDT

"Aha" moments are rare in medical research, scientists say. As rare, they add, as finding mice with Mohawk-like hairstyles. But both events happened in a lab, months after an international team of neuroscientists bred hundreds of mice with a suspect genetic mutation tied to autism spectrum disorders.

Brain imaging reveals clues about chronic fatigue syndrome

Posted: 23 May 2014 04:24 PM PDT

A brain imaging study showed differences in the basal ganglia when chronic fatigue syndrome patients (CFS) vs. healthy controls played a card game. The findings suggest that chronic fatigue syndrome is associated with changes in the brain involving brain circuits that regulate motor activity and motivation. This reduction of basal ganglia activity was also linked with the severity of fatigue symptoms.

Social marketing at the movies

Posted: 23 May 2014 11:53 AM PDT

Word-of-mouth marketing is recognized as a powerful route from long-tail sales to blockbuster, whether one is talking about the latest fishy ice cream flavor or a Hollywood romantic comedy. In the age of social media and online networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, the potential for spreading the word could mean the difference between consumers seeing a product as the best thing since sliced bread or the most rotten of tomatoes.

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