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Some anti-inflammatory drugs affect more than their targets

Some anti-inflammatory drugs affect more than their targets

Researchers have discovered that three commonly used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, alter the activity of enzymes within cell membranes. Their finding suggests that, if taken at higher-than-approved doses and/or for long periods of time, these prescription-level NSAIDs and other drugs that affect the membrane may produce wide-ranging and unwanted side effects. More positively, the researchers say, their work provides the basis for a test that drug developers can use to predict and perhaps avoid these side effects in new medicines they make Continue reading

Children with autism have extra synapses in brain: May be possible to prune synapses with drug after diagnosis

Children with autism have extra synapses in brain: May be possible to prune synapses with drug after diagnosis

Children and adolescents with autism have a surplus of synapses in the brain, and this excess is due to a slowdown in a normal brain “pruning” process during development, according to a study by neuroscientists at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). Continue reading

Novel gene predicts both breast cancer relapse, response to chemotherapy

Novel gene predicts both breast cancer relapse, response to chemotherapy

Scientists have made it easier to predict both breast cancer relapses and responses to chemotherapy, through the identification of a unique gene. Continue reading

Gene therapy protects mice from lethal heart condition, researchers find

Gene therapy protects mice from lethal heart condition, researchers find

A new gene therapy developed by researchers at the University of Missouri School of Medicine has shown to protect mice from a life-threatening heart condition caused by muscular dystrophy. “This is a new therapeutic avenue,” said Yi Lai, PhD, the leading author of the study and assistant research professor in the MU School of Medicine’s Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology. “This is just a first step, but we hope this could lead to a treatment for people with this devastating heart condition, which is a leading cause of death for people with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.” About one in 3,500 children, mostly boys, are born with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) Continue reading

Coronary arteries hold heart-regenerating cells

Coronary arteries hold heart-regenerating cells

Endothelial cells residing in the coronary arteries can function as cardiac stem cells to produce new heart muscle tissue, Vanderbilt University investigators have discovered. The findings, published recently in Cell Reports , offer insights into how the heart maintains itself and could lead to new strategies for repairing the heart when it fails after a heart attack. The heart has long been considered to be an organ without regenerative potential, said Antonis Hatzopoulos, Ph.D., associate professor of Medicine and Cell and Developmental Biology Continue reading

Pygmy phenotype developed many times, adaptive to rainforest

Pygmy phenotype developed many times, adaptive to rainforest

The small body size associated with the pygmy phenotype is probably a selective adaptation for rainforest hunter-gatherers, according to an international team of researchers, but all African pygmy phenotypes do not have the same genetic underpinning, suggesting a more recent adaptation than previously thought. “I’m interested in how rainforest hunter-gatherers have adapted to their very challenging environments,” said George H Continue reading

500 million year reset for immune system

500 million year reset for immune system

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics (MPI-IE) in Freiburg re-activated expression of an ancient gene, which is not normally expressed in the mammalian immune system, and found that the animals developed a fish-like thymus. To the researchers surprise, while the mammalian thymus is utilized exclusively for T cell maturation, the reset thymus produced not only T cells, but also served as a maturation site for B cells — a property normally seen only in the thymus of fish. Thus the model could provide an explanation of how the immune system had developed in the course of evolution. Continue reading

Bats bolster brain hypothesis, maybe technology, too

Bats bolster brain hypothesis, maybe technology, too

Amid a neuroscience debate about how people and animals focus on distinct objects within cluttered scenes, some of the newest and best evidence comes from the way bats “see” with their ears, according to a new paper in the Journal of Experimental Biology . In fact, the perception process in question could improve sonar and radar technology. Continue reading

New ways to treat solid tumors using protein

New ways to treat solid tumors using protein

An international team of scientists has shown that an antibody against the protein EphA3, found in the micro-environment of solid cancers, has anti-tumor effects. As EphA3 is present in normal organs only during embryonic development but is expressed in blood cancers and in solid tumors, this antibody-based approach may be a suitable candidate treatment for solid tumors. The researchers from Monash University and Ludwig Cancer Research, in Australia, and KaloBios Pharmaceuticals, in the US, have had their findings published in the journal Cancer Research . Continue reading

Personal, public costs of scientific misconduct calculated

Personal, public costs of scientific misconduct calculated

Much has been assumed about the private and public damage of scientific misconduct. Yet few have tried to measure the costs to perpetrators and to society. A recent study calculated some of the career impacts, as well as federal funding wasted, when biomedical research papers are retracted Continue reading