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An apple a day could keep obesity away

An apple a day could keep obesity away

Scientists at Washington State University have concluded that nondigestible compounds in apples — specifically, Granny Smith apples — may help prevent disorders associated with obesity. The study, thought to be the first to assess these compounds in apple cultivars grown in the Pacific Northwest, appears in October’s print edition of the journal Food Chemistry. “We know that, in general, apples are a good source of these nondigestible compounds but there are differences in varieties,” said food scientist Giuliana Noratto, the study’s lead researcher. Continue reading

Spastic paraplegia: New light shed on cause

Spastic paraplegia: New light shed on cause

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have discovered that a gene mutation linked to hereditary spastic paraplegia, a disabling neurological disorder, interferes with the normal breakdown of triglyceride fat molecules in the brain. The TSRI researchers found large droplets of triglycerides within the neurons of mice modeling the disease. The findings, reported this week online ahead of print by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , point the way to potential therapies and showcase an investigative strategy that should be useful in determining the biochemical causes of other genetic illnesses. Continue reading

Ancient human genome from southern Africa throws light on our origins

Ancient human genome from southern Africa throws light on our origins

The skeleton of a man who lived 2,330 years ago in the southernmost tip of Africa tells us about ourselves as humans, and throws some light on our earliest common genetic ancestry. Continue reading

Trastuzumab should remain as standard of care for HER2-positive breast cancer, trial suggests

Trastuzumab should remain as standard of care for HER2-positive breast cancer, trial suggests

Analysis of more than 8,000 women who participated in the world’s largest study of two treatments for HER2-positive breast cancer reinforces other findings from the clinical trial showing that trastuzumab (Herceptin) should remain the standard of care for this cancer, says a Mayo Clinic researcher. This study, being presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2014 Congress in Madrid, reveals that when used as a single HER2-targeted therapy in addition to standard chemotherapy, trastuzumab offers a better outcome than does lapatinib (Tykerb), says Edith A. Continue reading

Protein that causes frontotemporal dementia also implicated in Alzheimer’s disease

Protein that causes frontotemporal dementia also implicated in Alzheimer’s disease

Researchers at the Gladstone Institutes have shown that low levels of the protein progranulin in the brain can increase the formation of amyloid-beta plaques (a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease), cause neuroinflammation, and worsen memory deficits in a mouse model of this condition. Continue reading

Investigating ‘underground’ habitat of Listeria bacteria

Investigating ‘underground’ habitat of Listeria bacteria

The literature describes Listeria as ubiquitous bacteria with widespread occurrence. Yet they only become a problem for humans and animals when they contaminate food processing facilities, multiply, and enter the food chain in high concentrations. An infection with Listeria monocytogenes can even be fatal for humans or animals with weakened immune systems. Continue reading

Promising results shown with targeted approaches in  subsets of non-small cell lung cancer

Promising results shown with targeted approaches in subsets of non-small cell lung cancer

The BRAF inhibitor dabrafenib has significant anti-tumour activity in patients with advanced BRAF V600E mutant non-small cell lung cancer whose disease has progressed after chemotherapy, according to phase II data presented at the ESMO 2014 Congress in Madrid, Spain. “Reports of lung cancers bearing mutations in BRAF have generated considerable interest because these mutations may be associated with increased sensitivity to BRAF tyrosine-kinase inhibiting agents,” says lead author Dr David Planchard, pulmonary oncologist at the Gustav-Roussy Cancer Campus, Paris, France. Planchard says studies suggest that activating BRAF mutations are present in around 2% of lung carcinomas — approximately 80% of which are V600E mutations. Continue reading

Mesothelioma: New Findings On Treatment Options

Mesothelioma: New Findings On Treatment Options

Treating patients with high-dose radiotherapy after chemotherapy and surgery for malignant pleural mesothelioma does not achieve improvements in local relapse and overall survival, according to data from a prospective randomized phase II trial presented at ESMO 2014 Congress in Madrid. Continue reading

Human genome was shaped by an evolutionary arms race with itself

Human genome was shaped by an evolutionary arms race with itself

New findings by scientists at the University of California, Santa Cruz, suggest that an evolutionary arms race between rival elements within the genomes of primates drove the evolution of complex regulatory networks that orchestrate the activity of genes in every cell of our bodies. The arms race is between mobile DNA sequences known as “retrotransposons” (a.k.a Continue reading

Early sign of pancreatic cancer identified by researchers

Early sign of pancreatic cancer identified by researchers

Scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and other institutions have discovered a sign of the early development of pancreatic cancer – an upsurge in certain amino acids that occurs before the disease is diagnosed and symptoms appear. The research is being published online today by the journal Nature Medicine . Although the increase isn’t large enough to be the basis of a new test for early detection of the disease, the findings will help researchers better understand how pancreatic cancer affects the rest of the body, particularly how it can trigger the sometimes deadly muscle-wasting disease known as cachexia. Continue reading