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Cells put off protein production during times of stress

Cells put off protein production during times of stress

Living cells are like miniature factories, responsible for the production of more than 25,000 different proteins with very specific 3-D shapes. And just as an overwhelmed assembly line can begin making mistakes, a stressed cell can end up producing misshapen proteins that are unfolded or misfolded. Now Duke University researchers in North Carolina and Singapore have shown that the cell recognizes the buildup of these misfolded proteins and responds by reshuffling its workload, much like a stressed out employee might temporarily move papers from an overflowing inbox into a junk drawer Continue reading

Intestinal bacteria needed for strong flu vaccine responses in mice

Intestinal bacteria needed for strong flu vaccine responses in mice

Mice treated with antibiotics to remove most of their intestinal bacteria or raised under sterile conditions have impaired antibody responses to seasonal influenza vaccination, researchers have found. The findings suggest that antibiotic treatment before or during vaccination may impair responses to certain vaccines in humans Continue reading

Intestinal bacteria needed for strong flu vaccine responses in mice

Intestinal bacteria needed for strong flu vaccine responses in mice

Mice treated with antibiotics to remove most of their intestinal bacteria or raised under sterile conditions have impaired antibody responses to seasonal influenza vaccination, researchers have found. Continue reading

New payment model for gene therapy needed, experts say

New payment model for gene therapy needed, experts say

Hoping to encourage sufficient investments by pharmaceutical companies in expensive gene therapies, which often consist of a single treatment, a Penn researcher and the chief medical officer of CVS Health outline an alternative payment model in this month’s issue of Nature Biotechnology . They suggest annuity payments over a defined period of time and contingent on evidence that the treatment remains effective Continue reading

Statins may protect against microvascular complications of diabetes

Statins may protect against microvascular complications of diabetes

The development of common diabetes complications that can lead to blindness and amputations could be reduced by taking statins, indicates new research published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. It is well established that statins via cholesterol lowering effectively reduce the risks of heart attack and stroke in people with type 2 diabetes, but whether statin use affects the development of small blood vessel (or microvascular) complications, such as eye, nerve, and kidney disease in individuals with diabetes is not known. “Since high levels of blood glucose, the hallmark of diabetes, are linked with microvascular disease, and since statins are suspected of raising glucose levels, we tested the hypothesis that individuals taking a statin before a diagnosis of diabetes might be at increased risk of developing microvascular complications,” explains study author Professor Børge G Nordestgaard, Chief Physician in Clinical Biochemistry at Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark. Continue reading

Multiple sclerosis researchers find role for working memory in cognitive reserve

Multiple sclerosis researchers find role for working memory in cognitive reserve

Kessler Foundation scientists have shown that working memory may be an underlying mechanism of cognitive reserve in multiple sclerosis (MS). This finding informs the relationships between working memory, intellectual enrichment (the proxy measure for cognitive reserve) and long-term memory in this population. “Working memory mediates the relationship between intellectual enrichment and long-term memory in multiple sclerosis: An exploratory analysis of cognitive reserve”  was published online ahead of print by the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society on July 14. Continue reading

Biologists delay the aging process by ‘remote control’

Biologists delay the aging process by ‘remote control’

UCLA biologists have identified a gene that can slow the aging process throughout the entire body when activated remotely in key organ systems. Working with fruit flies, the life scientists activated a gene called AMPK that is a key energy sensor in cells; it gets activated when cellular energy levels are low Continue reading

In one of nature’s innovations, a single cell smashes and rebuilds its own genome

In one of nature’s innovations, a single cell smashes and rebuilds its own genome

Life can be so intricate and novel that even a single cell can pack a few surprises, according to a study led by Princeton University researchers. The pond-dwelling, single-celled organism Oxytricha trifallax has the remarkable ability to break its own DNA into nearly a quarter-million pieces and rapidly reassemble those pieces when it’s time to mate, the researchers report in the journal Cell. Continue reading

Ultraviolet light-induced mutation drives many skin cancers, researchers find

Ultraviolet light-induced mutation drives many skin cancers, researchers find

A genetic mutation caused by ultraviolet light is likely the driving force behind millions of human skin cancers, according to researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Continue reading

Targeting protein-making machinery to stop harmful bacteria

Targeting protein-making machinery to stop harmful bacteria

One challenge in killing off harmful bacteria is that many of them develop a resistance to antibiotics. Continue reading