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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

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 Continue reading

What’s your status? Health risks of low social status

What’s your status? Health risks of low social status

In western society, where keeping up with the Joneses — or, better yet, surpassing them — is expected and even encouraged, status matters. So important is it that for many people, physical and emotional wellbeing are directly connected to their place in the social hierarchy Continue reading

What’s your status? Health risks of low social status

What’s your status? Health risks of low social status

In western society, where keeping up with the Joneses — or, better yet, surpassing them — is expected and even encouraged, status matters. So important is it that for many people, physical and emotional wellbeing are directly connected to their place in the social hierarchy. That’s hardly news to anthropologists at UC Santa Barbara, but they were taken by surprise when research findings indicated that the same relationship exists among the Tsimane, an egalitarian society of forager-farmers in the Bolivian Amazon Continue reading

Reproducibility score for SNPs associated with human disease in GWAS

Reproducibility score for SNPs associated with human disease in GWAS

To reduce false positives when identifying genetic variations associated with human disease through genome-wide association studies (GWAS), Dartmouth researchers have identified nine traits that are not dependent on P values to predict single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) reproducibility as reported in Human Genetics on October 2, 2014. Continue reading

Mind-controlled prosthetic arms that work in daily life are now a reality

Mind-controlled prosthetic arms that work in daily life are now a reality

For the first time, robotic prostheses controlled via implanted neuromuscular interfaces have become a clinical reality. A novel osseointegrated (bone-anchored) implant system gives patients new opportunities in their daily life and professional activities. In January 2013 a Swedish arm amputee was the first person in the world to receive a prosthesis with a direct connection to bone, nerves and muscles. Continue reading

Conspicuous tRNA lookalikes riddle the human genome

Conspicuous tRNA lookalikes riddle the human genome

Transfer RNAs (tRNAs) are ancient workhorse molecules and part of the cellular process that creates the proteins, critical building blocks of life that keep a cell running smoothly. A new discovery suggests that the number of human genomic loci that might be coding for tRNAs is nearly double what is currently known. Most of the newly identified loci resemble the sequences of mitochondrial tRNAs suggesting unexpected new links between the human nuclear and mitochondrial genomes, links that are not currently understood Continue reading

Potential link between breast cancer genes, salivary gland cancer

Potential link between breast cancer genes, salivary gland cancer

The risk of developing cancer in a salivary gland might be higher in people with mutations in either of two genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer, according to a new study by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center — Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC — James) Continue reading