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Tag Archives: Scientists

Low-dose natural antimicrobial exacerbates chronic lung infection in cystic fibrosis

Low-dose natural antimicrobial exacerbates chronic lung infection in cystic fibrosis

Respiratory failure caused by chronic lung infection with Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria is a common cause of death in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF), a genetic disease that is common in individuals of European descent. A study published on April 24th in PLOS Pathogens demonstrates that an antimicrobial peptide produced by human immune cells can promote mutations in the bacterium that make it more lethal. Continue reading

New type of protein action found to regulate development

New type of protein action found to regulate development

Johns Hopkins researchers report they have figured out how the aptly named protein Botch blocks the signaling protein called Notch, which helps regulate development. In a report on the discovery, to appear online April 24 in the journal Cell Reports , the scientists say they expect the work to lead to a better understanding of how a single protein, Notch, directs actions needed for the healthy development of organs as diverse as brains and kidneys Continue reading

New type of protein action found to regulate development

New type of protein action found to regulate development

Johns Hopkins researchers report they have figured out how the aptly named protein Botch blocks the signaling protein called Notch, which helps regulate development. In a report on the discovery, to appear online April 24 in the journal Cell Reports , the scientists say they expect the work to lead to a better understanding of how a single protein, Notch, directs actions needed for the healthy development of organs as diverse as brains and kidneys Continue reading

Male or female? First sex-determining genes appeared in mammals some 180 million years ago

Male or female? First sex-determining genes appeared in mammals some 180 million years ago

Man or woman? Male or female? In humans and other mammals, the difference between sexes depends on one single element of the genome: the Y chromosome Continue reading

Some astronauts at risk for cognitive impairment, animal studies suggest

Some astronauts at risk for cognitive impairment, animal studies suggest

Johns Hopkins scientists report that rats exposed to high-energy particles, simulating conditions astronauts would face on a long-term deep space mission, show lapses in attention and slower reaction times, even when the radiation exposure is in extremely low dose ranges. The cognitive impairments — which affected a large subset, but far from all, of the animals — appear to be linked to protein changes in the brain, the scientists say. The findings, if found to hold true in humans, suggest it may be possible to develop a biological marker to predict sensitivity to radiation’s effects on the human brain before deployment to deep space Continue reading

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 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