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Potential link between assisted reproduction, autism: No link found

Potential link between assisted reproduction, autism: No link found

When prospective parents have trouble conceiving and decide to seek medical help, they typically experience more than a little anxiety and have a host of questions: What are the potential risks to the mother and the baby? What kinds of diseases or other problems are associated with assisted reproduction? And, is one of those problems autism Continue reading

Stillbirth gap closing between indigenous, non-indigenous women, shows Australian study

Stillbirth gap closing between indigenous, non-indigenous women, shows Australian study

The gap in stillbirth rates between indigenous and non-indigenous women in Queensland, Australia, is closing, however indigenous women are still at risk of stillbirth due to preventable causes, find researchers in a new study published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology ( BJOG ). Continue reading

Scientists call for investigation of mysterious cloud-like collections in cells

Scientists call for investigation of mysterious cloud-like collections in cells

About 50 years ago, electron microscopy revealed the presence of tiny blob-like structures that form inside cells, move around and disappear. But scientists still don’t know what they do — even though these shifting cloud-like collections of proteins are believed to be crucial to the life of a cell, and therefore could offer a new approach to disease treatment. In the Journal of Cell Biology , two researchers are issuing a call to investigators from various backgrounds, from biophysics to cell biology, to focus their attention on the role of these formations — for which they coin a new unifying term “assemblages.” “I want to know what these assemblages are doing in Ewing sarcoma, the disease I concentrate on — and I would think all other researchers who study human biology would want to know their functions in both health and disease,” says Jeffrey Toretsky, MD, professor in the department of oncology and pediatrics at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. Continue reading

Sniffing-out smell of disease in feces: ‘Electronic nose’ for rapid detection of clostridum difficile infection

Sniffing-out smell of disease in feces: ‘Electronic nose’ for rapid detection of clostridum difficile infection

A fast-sensitive “electronic-nose” for sniffing the highly infectious bacteria C-diff, that causes diarrhea, temperature and stomach cramps, has been developed by a team at the University of Leicester. Using a mass spectrometer, the research team has demonstrated that it is possible to identify the unique ‘smell’ of C-diff which would lead to rapid diagnosis of the condition. What is more, the Leicester team say it could be possible to identify different strains of the disease simply from their smell — a chemical fingerprint — helping medics to target the particular condition. Continue reading

Electric current to brain boosts memory: May help treat memory disorders from stroke, Alzheimer’s, brain injury

Electric current to brain boosts memory: May help treat memory disorders from stroke, Alzheimer’s, brain injury

Stimulating a particular region in the brain via non-invasive delivery of electrical current using magnetic pulses, called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, improves memory, reports a new Northwestern Medicine® study. The discovery opens a new field of possibilities for treating memory impairments caused by conditions such as stroke, early-stage Alzheimer’s disease, traumatic brain injury, cardiac arrest and the memory problems that occur in healthy aging Continue reading

Avatars make the Internet sign to deaf people

Avatars make the Internet sign to deaf people

It is challenging for deaf people to learn a sound-based language, since they are physically not able to hear those sounds. Hence, most of them struggle with written language as well as with text reading and comprehension. Continue reading

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

What can 14th century Venice teach us about Ebola, other emerging threats?

What can 14th century Venice teach us about Ebola, other emerging threats?

The way in which the Italian city of Venice dealt with the outbreak of the plague in the fourteenth century holds lessons on how to even mitigate the consequences of today’s emerging threats, like climate change, terrorism and highly infectious or drug-resistant diseases. So says Dr. Igor Linkov of the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center, and a visiting professor of the Ca Foscari University in Italy Continue reading

Advances in preterm birth

Advances in preterm birth

The Aug. 15 edition of the journal Science features a major article about the most important problem in obstetrics: preterm labor. The article, “Preterm labor: one syndrome, many causes,” delivers a powerful message: preterm birth is not one condition, but many, and provides a framework for meeting this challenge. Continue reading

PTSD can develop even without memory of the trauma, study concludes

PTSD can develop even without memory of the trauma, study concludes

There are many forms of memory and only some of these may be critical for the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), reports a new study by researchers at the University at Albany and the University of California Los Angeles. Their findings, published in the current issue of Biological Psychiatry, suggest that even with no explicit memory of an early childhood trauma, symptoms of PTSD can still develop in adulthood. There are case reports of people who have experienced terrible life events that resulted in brain damage, some of whom developed syndromes similar to PTSD even though they had no recollection of the event itself. Continue reading