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Finding turns neuroanatomy on its head: Researchers present new view of myelin

Finding turns neuroanatomy on its head: Researchers present new view of myelin

Harvard neuroscientists have made a discovery that turns 160 years of neuroanatomy on its head. Myelin, the electrical insulating material long known to be essential for the fast transmission of impulses along the axons of nerve cells, is not as ubiquitous as thought, according to a new work lead by Professor Paola Arlotta of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) and the University’s Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, in collaboration with Professor Jeff Lichtman, of Harvard’s Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. “Myelin is a relatively recent invention during evolution,” says Arlotta. Continue reading

ADHD: Scientists discover brain’s anti-distraction system

ADHD: Scientists discover brain’s anti-distraction system

Two Simon Fraser University psychologists have made a brain-related discovery that could revolutionize doctors’ perception and treatment of attention-deficit disorders. This discovery opens up the possibility that environmental and/or genetic factors may hinder or suppress a specific brain activity that the researchers have identified as helping us prevent distraction. The Journal of Neuroscience has just published a paper about the discovery by John McDonald, an associate professor of psychology and his doctoral student John Gaspar, who made the discovery during his master’s thesis research. Continue reading

Mom’s diet mirrors child’s food allergies

Mom’s diet mirrors child’s food allergies

A long-term study evaluating maternal diet’s impact on food allergy in later life is expected to uncover causes of allergy in children. About 20 million Europeans are subject to food allergies. Continue reading

Target for treating dengue fever discovered

Target for treating dengue fever discovered

Two recent papers by a University of Colorado School of Medicine researcher and colleagues may help scientists develop treatments or vaccines for Dengue fever, West Nile virus, Yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and other disease-causing flaviviruses. Jeffrey S. Continue reading

Malaria pathogen’s cellular skeleton under super-microscope

Malaria pathogen’s cellular skeleton under super-microscope

The tropical disease malaria is caused by the Plasmodium parasite. For its survival and propagation, Plasmodium requires a protein called actin. Scientists of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Germany used high-resolution structural biology methods to investigate the different versions of this protein in the parasite in high detail Continue reading

Novel stapled peptide nanoparticle combination prevents RSV infection, study finds

Novel stapled peptide nanoparticle combination prevents RSV infection, study finds

New therapies are needed to prevent and treat respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) — a potentially lethal respiratory infection that can severely affect infants, young children and the elderly. Despite a wide range of anti-RSV efforts, there are no vaccines or drugs on the market to effectively prevent or treat the infection. Now researchers at the Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center and Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA, and the James A. Continue reading

Tracking flu levels with Wikipedia

Tracking flu levels with Wikipedia

Can monitoring Wikipedia hits show how many people have the flu? Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital, USA, have developed a method of estimating levels of influenza-like illness in the American population by analysing Internet traffic on specific flu-related Wikipedia articles. David McIver and John Brownstein’s model, publishing in PLOS Computational Biology on April 17th, estimates flu levels in the American population up to two weeks sooner than data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention becomes available, and accurately estimates the week of peak influenza activity 17% more often than Google Flu Trends data Continue reading

Deadly human pathogen Cryptococcus fully sequenced

Deadly human pathogen Cryptococcus fully sequenced

Within each strand of DNA lies the blueprint for building an organism, along with the keys to its evolution and survival. These genetic instructions can give valuable insight into why pathogens like Cryptococcus neoformans — a fungus responsible for a million cases of pneumonia and meningitis every year — are so malleable and dangerous Continue reading

Fighting malaria drug resistance: Scientists find new way

Fighting malaria drug resistance: Scientists find new way

An anti-malarial treatment that lost its status as the leading weapon against the deadly disease could be given a new lease of life, with new research indicating it simply needs to be administered differently. The findings could revive the use of the cheap anti-malarial drug chloroquine in treating and preventing the mosquito-bourne disease, which claims the lives of more than half a million people each year around the world. The parasite that causes malaria has developed resistance to chloroquine, but research carried out at the Australian National University (ANU) and Germany’s University of Heidelberg has shown that the parasite protein that causes resistance has an Achilles’ heel Continue reading

HIV and schistosomiasis coinfection in African children: More research needed

HIV and schistosomiasis coinfection in African children: More research needed

Researchers from LSTM have called for more research to be carried out into HIV and schistosomiasis coinfection in children in sub-Saharan Africa. In a paper in The Lancet Infectious Diseases LSTM’s Professor Russell Stothard, working with colleagues in the department of Parasitology and researchers from Cape Western Reserve University, in Cleveland Ohio, University of Cambridge and the Royal Veterinary College looked at previous research into the joint burden of HIV/AIDS and schistosomiasis of children, and found that while disease-specific control interventions are continuing, potential synergies in the control efforts for the two diseases have not been investigated. Continue reading