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Development of new cell models that report circadian clock function

Development of new cell models that report circadian clock function

Researchers at the University of Memphis and University of Pennsylvania report the development of robust new liver and fat cell models that report circadian clock function. These models are amenable to high throughput drug screening and could be used to find promising small molecules to resynchronize or help body clocks function normally. The consequences of modern life, eating and staying up later, shift work, cell phone addiction, and travel across time zones, all disturb internal clocks. Continue reading

Stressful environments genetically affect African American boys

Stressful environments genetically affect African American boys

Stressful upbringings can leave imprints on the genes of children as young as age 9, according to a study led by Princeton University and Pennsylvania State University researchers. Such chronic stress during youth leads to physiological weathering similar to aging. A study of 40 9-year-old black boys, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , shows that those who grow up in disadvantaged environments have shorter telomeres — DNA sequences that generally shrink with age — than their advantaged peers Continue reading

Mortality risks of being overweight or obese are underestimated

Mortality risks of being overweight or obese are underestimated

New research by Andrew Stokes, a doctoral student in demography and sociology in the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, suggests that many obesity studies substantially underestimate the mortality risks associated with excess weight in the United States. His study, “Using Maximum Weight to Redefine Body Mass Index Categories in Studies of The Mortality Risks of Obesity,” was published in the March issue of the open-access journal Population Health Metrics Continue reading

Common breast cancer subtype may benefit from personalized treatment approach

Common breast cancer subtype may benefit from personalized treatment approach

The second-most common type of breast cancer is a very different disease than the most common and appears to be a good candidate for a personalized approach to treatment, according to a multidisciplinary team led by scientists at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI), a partner with UPMC CancerCenter. Invasive lobular carcinoma, characterized by a unique growth pattern in breast tissue that fails to form a lump, has distinct genetic markers which indicate drug therapies may provide benefits beyond those typically prescribed for the more common invasive ductal carcinoma. The results recently were published in Cancer Research and will be expanded upon on Tuesday at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2014 Continue reading

Nicotine withdrawal weakens brain connections tied to self-control over cigarette cravings

Nicotine withdrawal weakens brain connections tied to self-control over cigarette cravings

People who try to quit smoking often say that kicking the habit makes the voice inside telling them to light up even louder, but why people succumb to those cravings so often has never been fully understood. Now, a new brain imaging study in this week’s JAMA Psychiatry from scientists in Penn Medicine and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Intramural Research Program shows how smokers suffering from nicotine withdrawal may have more trouble shifting from a key brain network — known as default mode, when people are in a so-called “introspective” or “self-referential” state — and into a control network, the so-called executive control network, that could help exert more conscious, self-control over cravings and to focus on quitting for good Continue reading

Link between missing DNA, birth defects confirmed

Link between missing DNA, birth defects confirmed

In 2010, scientists in Italy reported that a woman and her daughter showed a puzzling array of disabilities, including epilepsy and cleft palate. Continue reading

Cellular alchemy: How to make insulin-producing cells from gut cells

Cellular alchemy: How to make insulin-producing cells from gut cells

Destruction of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas is at the heart of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. “We are looking for ways to make new beta cells for these patients to one day replace daily insulin injections,” says Ben Stanger, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Continue reading

Transmission of tangles in Alzheimer’s mice provides more authentic model of tau pathology

Transmission of tangles in Alzheimer’s mice provides more authentic model of tau pathology

Jan. Continue reading

Cancer suppressor gene links metabolism with cellular aging

Cancer suppressor gene links metabolism with cellular aging

Jan. 13, 2013 — It is perhaps impossible to overstate the importance of the tumor suppressor gene p53. It is the single most frequently mutated gene in human tumors. Continue reading

Next steps in potential stem cell therapy for diabetes: Study looks at differentiation of hESCs in endocrine cell progression

Next steps in potential stem cell therapy for diabetes: Study looks at differentiation of hESCs in endocrine cell progression

Jan. 10, 2013 — Type 1 and type 2 diabetes results when beta cells in the pancreas fail to produce enough insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar. One approach to treating diabetes is to stimulate regeneration of new beta cells Continue reading