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Novel treatment strengthens bones in genetic disease neurofibromatosis type-1

Novel treatment strengthens bones in genetic disease neurofibromatosis type-1

An enzyme therapy may prevent skeletal abnormalities associated with the genetic disorder neurofibromatosis type-1, Vanderbilt investigators have discovered. The researchers demonstrated in a mouse model of the disorder that the enzyme asfotase-alpha improves bone growth, mineralization and strength. Continue reading

Tests to Diagnose Invasive Aspergillosis with 100% Accuracy

Tests to Diagnose Invasive Aspergillosis with 100% Accuracy

The fungal infection invasive aspergillosis (IA) can be life threatening, especially in patients whose immune systems are weakened by chemotherapy or immunosuppressive drugs. Despite the critical need for early detection, IA remains difficult to diagnose. A study in The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics compared three diagnostic tests and found that the combination of nucleic acid sequence-based amplification (NASBA) and real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) detects aspergillosis with 100% accuracy. Continue reading

Growing human GI cells may lead to personalized treatments

Growing human GI cells may lead to personalized treatments

A method of growing human cells from tissue removed from a patient’s gastrointestinal (GI) tract eventually may help scientists develop tailor-made therapies for inflammatory bowel disease and other GI conditions. Reporting online recently in the journal Gut , researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis said they have made cell lines from individual patients in as little as two weeks. Continue reading

Flores bones show features of Down syndrome, not a new ‘Hobbit’ human

Flores bones show features of Down syndrome, not a new ‘Hobbit’ human

In October 2004, excavation of fragmentary skeletal remains from the island of Flores in Indonesia yielded what was called “the most important find in human evolution for 100 years.” Its discoverers dubbed the find Homo floresiensis, a name suggesting a previously unknown species of human. Now detailed reanalysis by an international team of researchers including Robert B. Eckhardt, professor of developmental genetics and evolution at Penn State, Maciej Henneberg, professor of anatomy and pathology at the University of Adelaide, and Kenneth Hsü, a Chinese geologist and paleoclimatologist, suggests that the single specimen on which the new designation depends, known as LB1, does not represent a new species. Continue reading

Genetic cause of common breast tumors found

Genetic cause of common breast tumors found

A multi-disciplinary team of scientists from the National Cancer Centre Singapore, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore, and Singapore General Hospital have made a major breakthrough in understanding the molecular basis of fibroadenoma, one of the most common breast tumors diagnosed in women. Continue reading

Drug’s effect on Alzheimer’s may depend on severity of disease

Drug’s effect on Alzheimer’s may depend on severity of disease

A cancer drug that has shown promise against Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in mice and has begun early clinical trials has yielded perplexing results in a novel mouse model of AD that mimics the genetics and pathology of the human disease more closely than any other animal model. The drug, bexarotene, was found to reduce levels of the neurotoxic protein amyloid-beta in experimental mice with late-stage Alzheimer’s but to increase levels during early stages of disease. The finding, by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, was reported July 16 at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Copenhagen by Mary Jo LaDu, who in 2012 developed a transgenic mouse that is now regarded as the best animal model of the human disease. Continue reading

Prostate cancer in young men: More frequent, more aggressive?

Prostate cancer in young men: More frequent, more aggressive?

The number of younger men diagnosed with prostate cancer has increased nearly 6-fold in the last 20 years, and the disease is more likely to be aggressive in these younger men, according to a new analysis from researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. Continue reading

New compound treats both blindness, diabetes in animal studies

New compound treats both blindness, diabetes in animal studies

In a new study led by UC San Francisco (UCSF) scientists, a chemical compound designed to precisely target part of a crucial cellular quality-control network provided significant protection, in rats and mice, against degenerative forms of blindness and diabetes. Continue reading

Bacteria hijack plentiful iron supply source to flourish

Bacteria hijack plentiful iron supply source to flourish

In an era of increasing concern about the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant illness, Case Western Reserve researchers have identified a promising new pathway to disabling disease: blocking bacteria’s access to iron in the body. The scientists showed how bacterial siderophore, a small molecule, captures iron from two abundant supply sources to fan bacterial growth — as well as how the body launches a chemical counterassault against this infection process. Their findings appear in a recent edition of The Journal of Experimental Medicine . Continue reading

Personality and heart attacks: A new look

Personality and heart attacks: A new look

A new study published in the current issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics has addressed the relationship between personality and heart attacks. Distressed (type D) personality (TDP), characterized by high negative affectivity (NA) and social inhibition (SI), along with depression, anxiety and other negative affects (such as demoralization, hopelessness, pessimism and rumination) have been implicated as potential risk factors for coronary artery disease Continue reading