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Pigs’ hearts transplanted into baboon hosts remain viable more than a year

Pigs’ hearts transplanted into baboon hosts remain viable more than a year

Investigators from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have successfully transplanted hearts from genetically engineered piglets into baboons’ abdomens and had the hearts survive for more than one year, twice as long as previously reported. This was achieved by using genetically engineered porcine donors and a more focused immunosuppression regimen in the baboon recipients, according to a study published in The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery , an official publication of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery. Cardiac transplantation is the treatment of choice for end stage heart failure. Continue reading

New treatment for obstructive sleep apnea

New treatment for obstructive sleep apnea

University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center is the first in Ohio and among the first in the United States to begin offering a new FDA-approved treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Continue reading

Molecular competition drives adult stem cells to specialize, study shows

Molecular competition drives adult stem cells to specialize, study shows

Adult organisms ranging from fruit flies to humans harbor adult stem cells, some of which renew themselves through cell division while others differentiate into the specialized cells needed to replace worn-out or damaged organs and tissues. Continue reading

Flores bones show features of Down syndrome, not a new ‘Hobbit’ human

Flores bones show features of Down syndrome, not a new ‘Hobbit’ human

In October 2004, excavation of fragmentary skeletal remains from the island of Flores in Indonesia yielded what was called “the most important find in human evolution for 100 years.” Its discoverers dubbed the find Homo floresiensis, a name suggesting a previously unknown species of human. Now detailed reanalysis by an international team of researchers including Robert B. Eckhardt, professor of developmental genetics and evolution at Penn State, Maciej Henneberg, professor of anatomy and pathology at the University of Adelaide, and Kenneth Hsü, a Chinese geologist and paleoclimatologist, suggests that the single specimen on which the new designation depends, known as LB1, does not represent a new species. Continue reading

New clues to brain’s wiring found by scientists

New clues to brain’s wiring found by scientists

New research provides an intriguing glimpse into the processes that establish connections between nerve cells in the brain. Continue reading

Drug’s effect on Alzheimer’s may depend on severity of disease

Drug’s effect on Alzheimer’s may depend on severity of disease

A cancer drug that has shown promise against Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in mice and has begun early clinical trials has yielded perplexing results in a novel mouse model of AD that mimics the genetics and pathology of the human disease more closely than any other animal model. The drug, bexarotene, was found to reduce levels of the neurotoxic protein amyloid-beta in experimental mice with late-stage Alzheimer’s but to increase levels during early stages of disease. The finding, by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, was reported July 16 at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Copenhagen by Mary Jo LaDu, who in 2012 developed a transgenic mouse that is now regarded as the best animal model of the human disease. Continue reading

3D printed anatomy to mark a new era for medical training

3D printed anatomy to mark a new era for medical training

The creators of a unique kit containing anatomical body parts produced by 3D printing say it will revolutionize medical education and training, especially in countries where cadaver use is problematical. Continue reading

3-D computer model may help refine target for deep brain stimulation therapy for dystonia

3-D computer model may help refine target for deep brain stimulation therapy for dystonia

Although deep brain stimulation can be an effective therapy for dystonia — a potentially crippling movement disorder — the treatment isn’t always effective, or benefits may not be immediate. Precise placement of DBS electrodes is one of several factors that can affect results, but few studies have attempted to identify the “sweet spot,” where electrode placement yields the best results. Continue reading

Poor coverage of specific gene sets in exome sequencing gives cause for concern

Poor coverage of specific gene sets in exome sequencing gives cause for concern

With services based on exome sequencing becoming affordable to patients at a reasonable price, the question of the quality of the results provided has become increasingly important. The exome is the DNA sequence of genes that are translated into protein. Continue reading

Surgeons ‘light up’ GI tract to safely remove gall bladder

Surgeons ‘light up’ GI tract to safely remove gall bladder

A green fluorescent dye is helping surgeons at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System perform robotic gall bladder surgery more safely. UI Health surgeons used near-infrared light to make the indocyanine green dye light up, allowing them to better see the biliary tract. Continue reading