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Encyclopedia of how genomes function gets much bigger

Encyclopedia of how genomes function gets much bigger

A big step in understanding the mysteries of the human genome was unveiled today in the form of three analyses that provide the most detailed comparison yet of how the genomes of the fruit fly, roundworm, and human function. The research, appearing August 28 in in the journal Nature, compares how the information encoded in the three species’ genomes is “read out,” and how their DNA and proteins are organized into chromosomes. The results add billions of entries to a publicly available archive of functional genomic data Continue reading

Malaria symptoms fade on repeat infections due to loss of immune cells

Malaria symptoms fade on repeat infections due to loss of immune cells

Children who repeatedly become infected with malaria often experience no clinical symptoms with these subsequent infections, and a team led by UC San Francisco researchers has discovered that this might be due at least in part to a depletion of specific types of immune cells. Working in Uganda, one of the most malaria-plagued nations in Africa and one in which individuals are repeatedly exposed to the malaria parasite, UCSF scientists found that a depletion of immune cells known as gamma delta T cells diminishes inflammatory responses in infected children — responses that when unabated can become debilitating or deadly. “These inflammatory immune cells are depleted in children with repeated malaria exposure, and those that remain behave differently than the same cell types in children who have not previously been infected,” said Prasanna Jagannathan, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at UCSF, who conducted the lab analysis as part of a study team led by Margaret Feeney, MD, a UCSF professor of experimental medicine and pediatrics. Continue reading

Xenon exposure shown to erase traumatic memories

Xenon exposure shown to erase traumatic memories

McLean Hospital researchers are reporting that xenon gas, used in humans for anesthesia and diagnostic imaging, has the potential to be a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other memory-related disorders. “In our study, we found that xenon gas has the capability of reducing memories of traumatic events,” said Edward G. Meloni, PhD, assistant psychologist at McLean Hospital and an assistant professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Continue reading

Expanding age of eligibility for measles vaccination could increase childhood survival in Africa

Expanding age of eligibility for measles vaccination could increase childhood survival in Africa

Expanding the age of eligibility for measles vaccination from 12 to 15 months could have potentially large effects on coverage in Africa, according to a new report published by Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Continue reading

New statin guidelines an improvement, study shows

New statin guidelines an improvement, study shows

New national guidelines can improve the way statin drugs are prescribed to patients at risk for cardiovascular disease, a Yale University study has found. The research, published Aug. 25 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology , also showed the new guidelines produce only a modest increase in the number of patients being given the drugs Continue reading

Weekend hospitalization linked to longer stay for pediatric leukemia patients

Weekend hospitalization linked to longer stay for pediatric leukemia patients

Weekend admission to the hospital for pediatric patients newly diagnosed with leukemia was associated with a longer length of stay, slightly longer wait to start chemotherapy and higher risk for respiratory failure but weekend admissions were not linked to an increased risk for death. Leukemia is a common childhood cancer that accounts for about 30 percent of all pediatric cancer diagnoses. Previous research has indicated an increased risk of death in adults with leukemia whose first admission was on a weekend Continue reading

Aspirin may reduce the risks of reoccurring blood clots

Aspirin may reduce the risks of reoccurring blood clots

Aspirin may be a promising alternative for those who can’t take long-term anticoagulant drugs that prevent clots from reoccurring in the veins, according to new research in the American Heart Association journal Circulation. In a combined analysis of two similar independent studies, 1,224 patients who received 100 mg of aspirin a day to treat blood clots were monitored for at least two years. Continue reading

Repurposing anti-depressant medication to target medulloblastoma

Repurposing anti-depressant medication to target medulloblastoma

An international research team reports in Nature Medicine a novel molecular pathway that causes an aggressive form of medulloblastoma, and suggests repurposing an anti-depressant medication to target the new pathway may help combat one of the most common brain cancers in children. Continue reading

Women with severe, chronic health issues are screened for breast cancer less often

Women with severe, chronic health issues are screened for breast cancer less often

Women with severe disabilities and multiple chronic conditions are screened for breast cancer less often than women with no disabilities or no chronic conditions, a new study has found. They are also screened less often than women with moderate disabilities or women with only one chronic condition, according to Dr. Sara Guilcher, an affiliate scientist with the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St Continue reading

Low birth weight linked to higher incidence of type 2 diabetes in African American women

Low birth weight linked to higher incidence of type 2 diabetes in African American women

African American women born at a low or very low birth weight may be at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes. The findings, which appear in Diabetes Care , may explain in part the higher occurrence of type 2 diabetes in African American populations, which has a high prevalence of low birth weight. Continue reading