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New insights on an ancient plague could improve treatments for infections

New insights on an ancient plague could improve treatments for infections

Dangerous new pathogens such as the Ebola virus invoke scary scenarios of deadly epidemics, but even ancient scourges such as the bubonic plague are still providing researchers with new insights on how the body responds to infections. In a study published online Sept Continue reading

Small, fast, and crowded: Mammal traits amplify tick-borne illness

Small, fast, and crowded: Mammal traits amplify tick-borne illness

In the U.S., some 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease annually. Thousands also suffer from babesiosis and anaplasmosis, tick-borne ailments that can occur alone or as co-infections with Lyme disease Continue reading

A new quality control pathway in the cell

A new quality control pathway in the cell

Proteins are important building blocks in our cells and each cell contains millions of different protein molecules. They are involved in everything from structural to regulatory aspects in the cell Continue reading

How pneumonia bacteria can compromise heart health

How pneumonia bacteria can compromise heart health

Bacterial pneumonia in adults carries an elevated risk for adverse cardiac events (such as heart failure, arrhythmias, and heart attacks) that contribute substantially to mortality — but how the heart is compromised has been unclear. A study published on September 18th in PLOS Pathogens now demonstrates that Streptococcus pneumoniae , the bacterium responsible for most cases of bacterial pneumonia, can invade the heart and cause the death of heart muscle cells. Carlos Orihuela, from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, USA, and colleagues initially studied the reasons for heart failure during invasive pneumococcal disease (when S. Continue reading

New molecule allows for up to 10-fold increase in stem cell transplants

New molecule allows for up to 10-fold increase in stem cell transplants

Investigators from the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) at the Université de Montréal have just published, in the journal Science , the announcement of the discovery of a new molecule, the first of its kind, which allows for the multiplication of stem cells in a unit of cord blood. Umbilical cord stem cells are used for transplants aimed at curing a number of blood-related diseases, including leukemia, myeloma and lymphoma. Continue reading

Tolerating, not fighting, viruses a viable survival strategy

Tolerating, not fighting, viruses a viable survival strategy

In ecology, disease tolerance is defined as a host strategy not to fight a pathogen tooth and nail, but rather tolerate it to live (and survive) better in the long term. One key feature of tolerance is that the disease only progresses very slowly — if at all — even if the host carries a high pathogen load. Roland Regoes, a senior scientist at ETH Zurich’s Institute of Theoretical Biology, has now transferred this approach to HIV Continue reading

Melanoma risk found to have genetic determinant

Melanoma risk found to have genetic determinant

A leading Dartmouth researcher, working with The Melanoma Genetics Consortium, GenoMEL, an international research consortium, co-authored a paper published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute that proves longer telomeres increase the risk of melanoma. “For the first time, we have established that the genes controlling the length of these telomeres play a part in the risk of developing melanoma,” said lead author of the study Mark Iles, PhD, School of Medicine at the University of Leeds (UK). Telomeres are a part of the genome that function like the plastic caps of your shoelaces, which prevent the laces from fraying Continue reading

Second look at glaucoma surgery: Anti-inflammatory medications after glaucoma laser surgery not helpful or necessary

Second look at glaucoma surgery: Anti-inflammatory medications after glaucoma laser surgery not helpful or necessary

New research led by Queen’s University professor Robert Campbell (Ophthalmology) has revealed using anti-inflammatory medications after glaucoma laser surgery is not helpful or necessary. Glaucoma is the most common cause of irreversible blindness in the world and about 400,000 Canadians are afflicted with the disease, which is mainly caused by pressure within the eye being high enough to damage the optic nerve. The optic nerve is responsible for sending messages from the eye to the brain and is a vital part of vision. Continue reading

Kids eat better if their parents went to college

Kids eat better if their parents went to college

Children of college-educated parents eat more vegetables and drink less sugar, according to a new study from the University of British Columbia. But it’s still not enough, the study goes on to say, as all kids are falling short when it comes to eating healthier at school The research suggests a parent’s educational attainment, an indicator of socioeconomic status, may inform a child’s diet. The study found Vancouver school children whose parents completed some post-secondary education were 85 per cent more likely to eat vegetables during the school week than those with parents who completed high school or less. Continue reading

Americans rate losing eyesight as having greatest impact on their lives

Americans rate losing eyesight as having greatest impact on their lives

Many Americans across racial and ethnic groups describe losing eyesight as potentially having the greatest impact on their day-to-day life, more so than other conditions including: loss of limb, memory, hearing and speech (57% of African-Americans, 49% of non-Hispanic whites, 43% of Asians and 38% of Hispanics). When asked which disease or ailment is the worst that could happen to them, blindness ranked first among African-Americans followed by AIDS/HIV. Continue reading