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New culprit identified in metabolic syndrome

New culprit identified in metabolic syndrome

A new study suggests uric acid may play a role in causing metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors that increases the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Uric acid is a normal waste product removed from the body by the kidneys and intestines and released in urine and stool. Continue reading

No extra mutations in modified stem cells, study finds

No extra mutations in modified stem cells, study finds

The ability to switch out one gene for another in a line of living stem cells has only crossed from science fiction to reality within this decade. As with any new technology, it brings with it both promise–the hope of fixing disease-causing genes in humans, for example–as well as questions and safety concerns. Now, Salk scientists have put one of those concerns to rest: using gene-editing techniques on stem cells doesn’t increase the overall occurrence of mutations in the cells Continue reading

Overall survival benefit for patients with Stage III soft tissue sarcomas

Overall survival benefit for patients with Stage III soft tissue sarcomas

Fox Chase Cancer Center researchers have carried out the first retrospective analysis of adjuvant chemotherapy’s impact on overall survival in patients with stage III soft tissue sarcomas (STS), adjusted for socioeconomic status and other variables. Continue reading

Functional nerve cells from skin cells

Functional nerve cells from skin cells

A new method of generating mature nerve cells from skin cells could greatly enhance understanding of neurodegenerative diseases, and could accelerate the development of new drugs and stem cell-based regenerative medicine. The nerve cells generated by this new method show the same functional characteristics as the mature cells found in the body, making them much better models for the study of age-related diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, and for the testing of new drugs. Eventually, the technique could also be used to generate mature nerve cells for transplantation into patients with a range of neurodegenerative diseases Continue reading

Blood cells reprogrammed into blood stem cells in mice

Blood cells reprogrammed into blood stem cells in mice

Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital have reprogrammed mature blood cells from mice into blood-forming hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), using a cocktail of eight genetic switches called transcription factors. Continue reading

Blood cells reprogrammed into blood stem cells in mice

Blood cells reprogrammed into blood stem cells in mice

Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital have reprogrammed mature blood cells from mice into blood-forming hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), using a cocktail of eight genetic switches called transcription factors. Continue reading

The long and the short of telomeres: Loneliness impacts DNA repair, parrot study shows

The long and the short of telomeres: Loneliness impacts DNA repair, parrot study shows

Scientists at the Vetmeduni Vienna examined the telomere length of captive African grey parrots. They found that the telomere lengths of single parrots were shorter than those housed with a companion parrot, which supports the hypothesis that social stress can interfere with cellular aging and a particular type of DNA repair Continue reading

Bacterial gut biome may guide colon cancer progression

Bacterial gut biome may guide colon cancer progression

Colorectal cancer develops in what is probably the most complex environment in the human body, a place where human cells cohabitate with a colony of approximately 10 trillion bacteria, most of which are unknown. At the 2014 American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting in San Diego, researchers from The Wistar Institute will present findings that suggest the colon “microbiome” of gut bacteria can change the tumor microenvironment in a way that promotes the growth and spread of tumors. Their results suggest that bacterial virulence proteins may suppress DNA repair proteins within the epithelial cells that line the colon. Continue reading

New class of malaria drugs using essential calcium enzyme developed

New class of malaria drugs using essential calcium enzyme developed

Dec. 27, 2012 — Calpain, a calcium-regulated enzyme, is essential to a host of cellular processes, but can cause severe problems in its overactivated state. It has been implicated as a factor in muscular dystrophy, AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and cancer Continue reading

Body language, not facial expressions, broadcasts what’s happening to us

Body language, not facial expressions, broadcasts what’s happening to us

ScienceDaily (Nov. 29, 2012) — If you think that you can judge by examining someone’s facial expressions if he has just hit the jackpot in the lottery or lost everything in the stock market — think again. Continue reading