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Experts denounce clinical trials of unscientific, ‘alternative’ medicines

Experts denounce clinical trials of unscientific, ‘alternative’ medicines

Experts writing in the Cell Press journal Trends in Molecular Medicine on August 20th call for an end to clinical trials of “highly implausible treatments” such as homeopathy and reiki. Continue reading

New shock-and-kill approach could eradicate barrier to curing HIV

New shock-and-kill approach could eradicate barrier to curing HIV

Despite tremendous progress in combatting HIV-1 infection with antiretroviral therapy, there is still no cure for the disease because these drugs do not kill a hidden reservoir of infected cells in the body. Continue reading

Dementia risk quadrupled in people with mild cognitive impairment

Dementia risk quadrupled in people with mild cognitive impairment

In a long-term, large-scale population-based study of individuals aged 55 years or older in the general population researchers found that those diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) had a four-fold increased risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease (AD) compared to cognitively healthy individuals. Several risk factors including older age, positive APOE-ɛ4 status, low total cholesterol levels, and stroke, as well as specific MRI findings were associated with an increased risk of developing MCI. Continue reading

Dementia risk quadrupled in people with mild cognitive impairment

Dementia risk quadrupled in people with mild cognitive impairment

In a long-term, large-scale population-based study of individuals aged 55 years or older in the general population researchers found that those diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) had a four-fold increased risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease (AD) compared to cognitively healthy individuals. Several risk factors including older age, positive APOE-ɛ4 status, low total cholesterol levels, and stroke, as well as specific MRI findings were associated with an increased risk of developing MCI. Continue reading

Grizzly research offers surprising insights into diabetes-obesity link

Grizzly research offers surprising insights into diabetes-obesity link

While diabetes rates are on the rise and are having serious effects on millions of people’s health, researchers studying grizzly bears have now discovered a natural state of diabetes that serves a real biological purpose and is also reversible. Investigators reporting in the August 5 issue of the Cell Press journal Cell Metabolism note that grizzly bears are obese but not diabetic in the fall, become diabetic only weeks later in hibernation, and then somehow become “cured” of diabetes when they wake up in the spring. The research reveals how natural biology, through evolutionary experimentation, can teach us new things about how animals naturally cope with conditions that would cause disease in humans. Continue reading

Declining intelligence in old age linked to visual processing

Declining intelligence in old age linked to visual processing

Researchers have uncovered one of the basic processes that may help to explain why some people’s thinking skills decline in old age. Age-related declines in intelligence are strongly related to declines on a very simple task of visual perception speed, the researchers report in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on August 4. The evidence comes from experiments in which researchers showed 600 healthy older people very brief flashes of one of two shapes on a screen and measured the time it took each of them to reliably tell one from the other. Continue reading

New strategy could uncover genes at the root of psychiatric illnesses

New strategy could uncover genes at the root of psychiatric illnesses

Understanding the basis of psychiatric disorders has been extremely challenging because there are many genetic variants that may increase risk but are insufficient to cause disease. Now investigators reporting in the July 3rd issue of the Cell Press journal Cell Stem Cell describe a strategy that may help reveal how such “subthreshold” genetic risks interact with other risk factors or environmental exposures to affect the development of the nervous system Continue reading

Explaining ‘healthy’ obesity

Explaining ‘healthy’ obesity

Up to one-quarter of individuals currently labeled as obese are actually metabolically healthy and do not have a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Though obesity is a major risk factor for diabetes, the two conditions aren’t always linked. A study published by Cell Press July 3rd in the journal Cell sheds light on a possible explanation, revealing that high levels of a molecule called heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) are linked to poor metabolic health and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in obese humans Continue reading

Fruit fly research may reveal what happens in female brains during courtship, mating

Fruit fly research may reveal what happens in female brains during courtship, mating

What are the complex processes in the brain involved with choosing a mate, and are these processes different in females versus males? It’s difficult to study such questions in people, but researchers are finding clues in fruit flies that might be relevant to humans and other animals. Continue reading

Deep brain stimulation improves non motor symptoms in Parkinson’s disease as well as motor symptoms

Deep brain stimulation improves non motor symptoms in Parkinson’s disease as well as motor symptoms

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has become a well-recognized non-pharmacologic treatment that improves motor symptoms of patients with early and advanced Parkinson’s disease. Evidence now indicates that DBS can decrease the number and severity of non motor symptoms of patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) as well, according to a review published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease Continue reading