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Scientists sniff out unexpected role for stem cells in the brain

Scientists sniff out unexpected role for stem cells in the brain

For decades, scientists thought that neurons in the brain were born only during the early development period and could not be replenished. More recently, however, they discovered cells with the ability to divide and turn into new neurons in specific brain regions. The function of these neuroprogenitor cells remains an intense area of research Continue reading

Greater rates of mitochondrial mutations discovered in children born to older mothers

Greater rates of mitochondrial mutations discovered in children born to older mothers

The discovery of a “maternal age effect” by a team of Penn State scientists that could be used to predict the accumulation of mitochondrial DNA mutations in maternal egg cells — and the transmission of these mutations to children — could provide valuable insights for genetic counseling. These mutations cause more than 200 diseases and contribute to others such as diabetes, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease Continue reading

Greater rates of mitochondrial mutations discovered in children born to older mothers

Greater rates of mitochondrial mutations discovered in children born to older mothers

The discovery of a “maternal age effect” by a team of Penn State scientists that could be used to predict the accumulation of mitochondrial DNA mutations in maternal egg cells — and the transmission of these mutations to children — could provide valuable insights for genetic counseling. These mutations cause more than 200 diseases and contribute to others such as diabetes, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease Continue reading

Chemical derived from broccoli sprouts shows promise in treating autism

Chemical derived from broccoli sprouts shows promise in treating autism

Results of a small clinical trial suggest that a chemical derived from broccoli sprouts — and best known for claims that it can help prevent certain cancers — may ease classic behavioral symptoms in those with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). The study, a joint effort by scientists at MassGeneral Hospital for Children and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, involved 40 teenage boys and young men, ages 13 to 27, with moderate to severe autism. In a report published online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences during the week of Oct Continue reading

Chemical derived from broccoli sprouts shows promise in treating autism

Chemical derived from broccoli sprouts shows promise in treating autism

Results of a small clinical trial suggest that a chemical derived from broccoli sprouts — and best known for claims that it can help prevent certain cancers — may ease classic behavioral symptoms in those with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). The study, a joint effort by scientists at MassGeneral Hospital for Children and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, involved 40 teenage boys and young men, ages 13 to 27, with moderate to severe autism. In a report published online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences during the week of Oct Continue reading

Moderate levels of ‘free radicals’ found beneficial to healing wounds

Moderate levels of ‘free radicals’ found beneficial to healing wounds

Long assumed to be destructive to tissues and cells, “free radicals” generated by the cell’s mitochondria — the energy producing structures in the cell — are actually beneficial to healing wounds. That’s the conclusion of biologists at UC San Diego who discovered that “reactive oxygen species” — chemically reactive molecules containing oxygen, such as peroxides, commonly referred to as free radicals — are necessary for the proper healing of skin wounds in the laboratory roundworm C. elegans. Continue reading

Moderate levels of ‘free radicals’ found beneficial to healing wounds

Moderate levels of ‘free radicals’ found beneficial to healing wounds

Long assumed to be destructive to tissues and cells, “free radicals” generated by the cell’s mitochondria — the energy producing structures in the cell — are actually beneficial to healing wounds. That’s the conclusion of biologists at UC San Diego who discovered that “reactive oxygen species” — chemically reactive molecules containing oxygen, such as peroxides, commonly referred to as free radicals — are necessary for the proper healing of skin wounds in the laboratory roundworm C. elegans. Continue reading

Atomic map reveals clues to how cholesterol is made

Atomic map reveals clues to how cholesterol is made

In spite of its dangerous reputation, cholesterol is in fact an essential component of human cells. Manufactured by the cells themselves, it serves to stiffen the cell’s membrane, helping to shape the cell and protect it Continue reading

Neural stem cell overgrowth, autism-like behavior linked, mice study suggests

Neural stem cell overgrowth, autism-like behavior linked, mice study suggests

People with autism spectrum disorder often experience a period of accelerated brain growth after birth. Continue reading

Mineralization of sand particles boosts microbial water filtration

Mineralization of sand particles boosts microbial water filtration

Mineral coatings on sand particles actually encourage microbial activity in the rapid sand filters that are used to treat groundwater for drinking, according to a paper published ahead of print in Applied and Environmental Microbiology . These findings resoundingly refute, for the first time, the conventional wisdom that the mineral deposits interfere with microbial colonization of the sand particles. “We find an overwhelmingly positive effect of mineral deposits on microbial activity and density,” says corresponding author Barth F. Continue reading