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Fat metabolism in animals altered to prevent most common type of heart disease

Fat metabolism in animals altered to prevent most common type of heart disease

Working with mice and rabbits, Johns Hopkins scientists have found a way to block abnormal cholesterol production, transport and breakdown, successfully preventing the development of atherosclerosis, the main cause of heart attacks and strokes and the number-one cause of death among humans. The condition develops when fat builds inside blood vessels over time and renders them stiff, narrowed and hardened, greatly reducing their ability to feed oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle and the brain. In a series of experiments, described April 7 in the journal Circulation , the Johns Hopkins team says it identified and halted the action of a single molecular culprit responsible for a range of biological glitches that affect the body’s ability to properly use, transport and purge itself of cholesterol — the fatty substance that accumulates inside vessels and fuels heart disease Continue reading

Researchers identify a new variant of Ebola virus in Guinea

Researchers identify a new variant of Ebola virus in Guinea

In an article which appeared in The New England journal of Medicine on 16 April, researchers from Inserm (Jean Mérieux-Inserm BSL-4 Laboratory, Lyon) and the Institut Pasteur have published their initial findings on the characteristics of the Ebola virus discovered in Guinea. Initial virological investigations enabled them to identify Zaire ebolavirus as the pathogen responsible for this epidemic. Performed in less than a month, sequencing of the complete genome and subsequent phylogenetic analysis show that the virus present in Guinea forms a clade (variant) that is distinct from strains previously identified in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Gabon. Continue reading

ADHD: Scientists discover brain’s anti-distraction system

ADHD: Scientists discover brain’s anti-distraction system

Two Simon Fraser University psychologists have made a brain-related discovery that could revolutionize doctors’ perception and treatment of attention-deficit disorders. This discovery opens up the possibility that environmental and/or genetic factors may hinder or suppress a specific brain activity that the researchers have identified as helping us prevent distraction. The Journal of Neuroscience has just published a paper about the discovery by John McDonald, an associate professor of psychology and his doctoral student John Gaspar, who made the discovery during his master’s thesis research. Continue reading

New standards proposed for gauging muscle decline in older adults

New standards proposed for gauging muscle decline in older adults

Sarcopenia — the age-related loss of muscle mass and strength — may put up to 50 percent of seniors at greater risk for disability, yet there is no consensus within the medical community for how this condition should be measured. However, a new collection of articles appearing in The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences (volume 69, number 5) lays out an empirically derived set of criteria for diagnosing sarcopenia. These recommendations are a result of the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health Biomarkers Consortium Sarcopenia Project, which includes scientists and grantees from the National Institutes of Health, along with other partners in government, academia, and the private sector. Continue reading

New standards proposed for gauging muscle decline in older adults

New standards proposed for gauging muscle decline in older adults

Sarcopenia — the age-related loss of muscle mass and strength — may put up to 50 percent of seniors at greater risk for disability, yet there is no consensus within the medical community for how this condition should be measured. However, a new collection of articles appearing in The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences (volume 69, number 5) lays out an empirically derived set of criteria for diagnosing sarcopenia Continue reading

Experimental blood test spots recurrent breast cancers, monitors response to treatment

Experimental blood test spots recurrent breast cancers, monitors response to treatment

Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center investigators report they have designed a blood test that accurately detects the presence of advanced breast cancer and also holds promise for precisely monitoring response to cancer treatment. Continue reading

Hereditary trauma: Inheritance of traumas and how they may be mediated

Hereditary trauma: Inheritance of traumas and how they may be mediated

Extreme and traumatic events can change a person — and often, years later, even affect their children. Continue reading

Possible target to combat muscle wasting

Possible target to combat muscle wasting

The pathological atrophy of skeletal muscle is a serious biomedical problem for which no effective treatment is currently available. Those most affected populations are the elderly diagnosed with sarcopenia and patients with cancer, AIDS, and other infectious diseases that develop cachexia. A study by scientists at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB), headed by Antonio Zorzano, also full professor of the University of Barcelona, reveals a potential therapeutic target to tackle muscle wasting in these risk populations Continue reading

Natural protein Elafin against gluten intolerance?

Natural protein Elafin against gluten intolerance?

Scientists from INRA and INSERM (France) in collaboration with scientists from McMaster University (Canada) and the Ecole polytechnique fédérale of Zurich (Switzerland) have shown that Elafin, a human protein, plays a key role against the inflammatory reaction typical of celiac disease (gluten intolerance). They have also developed a probiotic bacterium able to deliver Elafin in the gut of mice. This innovation, published online in the American Journal of Gastroenterology on 8 April 2014, paves the way to new strategies to treat gluten intolerance. Continue reading

Breakthrough technology can repair severe tissue damage

Breakthrough technology can repair severe tissue damage

A breakthrough by Israeli researchers could speed recovery and limit scarring and disfigurement for patients who have suffered large soft tissue trauma — as often occurs with serious injury or cancer surgery. By biomedically engineering a muscle flap that includes a patient’s own blood vessels, the team has created tissue that could one day be transferred to other parts of the body along with the patient’s blood supply, speeding recovery and limiting scarring for patients who have suffered serious tissue trauma Continue reading