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Fruit fly research may reveal what happens in female brains during courtship, mating

Fruit fly research may reveal what happens in female brains during courtship, mating

What are the complex processes in the brain involved with choosing a mate, and are these processes different in females versus males? It’s difficult to study such questions in people, but researchers are finding clues in fruit flies that might be relevant to humans and other animals. Continue reading

Fighting parasitic infection inadvertently unleashes dormant virus

Fighting parasitic infection inadvertently unleashes dormant virus

Signals from the immune system that help repel a common parasite inadvertently can cause a dormant viral infection to become active again, a new study shows. Further research is necessary to understand the clinical significance of the finding, but researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis said the study helps illustrate how complex interactions between infectious agents and the immune system have the potential to affect illness. Continue reading

False negative results found in prognostic testing for breast cancer

False negative results found in prognostic testing for breast cancer

A recent study evaluating HER2 testing in a large cohort of women with breast cancer found important limitations in the conventional way HER2 testing is performed in the US and internationally. Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center physicians and researchers retested tumor samples from a large group of women and found that 22 out of 530 women had their tumor type incorrectly classified Continue reading

Blocking brain’s ‘internal marijuana’ may trigger early Alzheimer’s deficits, study shows

Blocking brain’s ‘internal marijuana’ may trigger early Alzheimer’s deficits, study shows

A new study led by investigators at the Stanford University School of Medicine has implicated the blocking of endocannabinoids — signaling substances that are the brain’s internal versions of the psychoactive chemicals in marijuana and hashish — in the early pathology of Alzheimer’s disease. A substance called A-beta — strongly suspected to play a key role in Alzheimer’s because it’s the chief constituent of the hallmark clumps dotting the brains of people with Alzheimer’s — may, in the disease’s earliest stages, impair learning and memory by blocking the natural, beneficial action of endocannabinoids in the brain, the study demonstrates. Continue reading

Blocking brain’s ‘internal marijuana’ may trigger early Alzheimer’s deficits, study shows

Blocking brain’s ‘internal marijuana’ may trigger early Alzheimer’s deficits, study shows

A new study led by investigators at the Stanford University School of Medicine has implicated the blocking of endocannabinoids — signaling substances that are the brain’s internal versions of the psychoactive chemicals in marijuana and hashish — in the early pathology of Alzheimer’s disease. A substance called A-beta — strongly suspected to play a key role in Alzheimer’s because it’s the chief constituent of the hallmark clumps dotting the brains of people with Alzheimer’s — may, in the disease’s earliest stages, impair learning and memory by blocking the natural, beneficial action of endocannabinoids in the brain, the study demonstrates. Continue reading

Single dose of century-old drug approved for sleeping sickness reverses autism-like symptoms in mice

Single dose of century-old drug approved for sleeping sickness reverses autism-like symptoms in mice

In a further test of a novel theory that suggests autism is the consequence of abnormal cell communication, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report that an almost century-old drug approved for treating sleeping sickness also restores normal cellular signaling in a mouse model of autism, reversing symptoms of the neurological disorder in animals that were the human biological age equivalent of 30 years old. The findings, published in the June 17, 2014 online issue of Translational Psychiatry , follow up on similar research published last year by senior author Robert K. Continue reading

Alcohol abuse damage in neurons at a molecular scale identified for first time

Alcohol abuse damage in neurons at a molecular scale identified for first time

Joint research between the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) and the University of Nottingham has identified, for the first time, the structural damage caused at a molecular level to the brain by the chronic excessive abuse of alcohol. Continue reading

Hemorrhagic Fevers Can Be Caused by Body’s Antiviral Interferon Response

Hemorrhagic Fevers Can Be Caused by Body’s Antiviral Interferon Response

Hemorrhagic fevers caused by Lassa, dengue and other viruses affect more than one million people annually and are often fatal, yet scientists have never understood why only some virus-infected people come down with the disease and others do not. But now, virologists and immunologists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have found a major clue to the mystery of “hemorrhagic fever” syndromes. In findings reported this week in an Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , the team showed that Interferon Type I (IFN-I) immune proteins are key drivers of a viral syndrome in mice that closely mimics these human hemorrhagic fevers Continue reading

Hemorrhagic Fevers Can Be Caused by Body’s Antiviral Interferon Response

Hemorrhagic Fevers Can Be Caused by Body’s Antiviral Interferon Response

Hemorrhagic fevers caused by Lassa, dengue and other viruses affect more than one million people annually and are often fatal, yet scientists have never understood why only some virus-infected people come down with the disease and others do not. But now, virologists and immunologists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have found a major clue to the mystery of “hemorrhagic fever” syndromes Continue reading

Poor coverage of specific gene sets in exome sequencing gives cause for concern

Poor coverage of specific gene sets in exome sequencing gives cause for concern

With services based on exome sequencing becoming affordable to patients at a reasonable price, the question of the quality of the results provided has become increasingly important. The exome is the DNA sequence of genes that are translated into protein. Continue reading