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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

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

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

How cellular guardians of the intestine develop

How cellular guardians of the intestine develop

Even the most careful chosen meal can contain surprises. To defend against infectious microbes, viruses or other potential hazards that find their way to the intestines, a dedicated contingent of immune cells keeps watch within the thin layer of tissue that divides the contents of the gut from the body itself Continue reading

Some anti-inflammatory drugs affect more than their targets

Some anti-inflammatory drugs affect more than their targets

Researchers have discovered that three commonly used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, alter the activity of enzymes within cell membranes. Their finding suggests that, if taken at higher-than-approved doses and/or for long periods of time, these prescription-level NSAIDs and other drugs that affect the membrane may produce wide-ranging and unwanted side effects. More positively, the researchers say, their work provides the basis for a test that drug developers can use to predict and perhaps avoid these side effects in new medicines they make Continue reading

Space station inspired robot to help heal sick children

Space station inspired robot to help heal sick children

Children love robots. In all shapes, sizes, “personalities” and “smarts,” these electronic wonders have been found under Christmas trees by kids and unwrapped on birthdays for years. The gift of space-inspired robotics now goes beyond toys Continue reading

Severing nerves may shrink stomach cancers: Botox injections slow growth of stomach tumors in mice

Severing nerves may shrink stomach cancers: Botox injections slow growth of stomach tumors in mice

Research from Columbia University Medical Center shows that nerves may play a critical role in stomach cancer growth and that blocking nerve signals using surgery or Botox® (onabotulinumtoxinA) could be an effective treatment for the disease. Continue reading

More than just X and Y: a new genetic basis for sex determination

More than just X and Y: a new genetic basis for sex determination

Men and women differ in plenty of obvious ways, and scientists have long known that genetic differences buried deep within our DNA underlie these distinctions. In the past, most research has focused on understanding how the genes that encode proteins act as sex determinants Continue reading

New mouse model points to therapy for liver disease

New mouse model points to therapy for liver disease

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a common affliction, affecting almost 30 percent of Americans, with a significant number suffering from its most severe form, called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis or NASH, which can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer. In recent years, NASH has become the leading cause of liver transplantation Continue reading