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Gene therapy protects mice from lethal heart condition, researchers find

Gene therapy protects mice from lethal heart condition, researchers find

A new gene therapy developed by researchers at the University of Missouri School of Medicine has shown to protect mice from a life-threatening heart condition caused by muscular dystrophy. “This is a new therapeutic avenue,” said Yi Lai, PhD, the leading author of the study and assistant research professor in the MU School of Medicine’s Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology. “This is just a first step, but we hope this could lead to a treatment for people with this devastating heart condition, which is a leading cause of death for people with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.” About one in 3,500 children, mostly boys, are born with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) Continue reading

Coronary arteries hold heart-regenerating cells

Coronary arteries hold heart-regenerating cells

Endothelial cells residing in the coronary arteries can function as cardiac stem cells to produce new heart muscle tissue, Vanderbilt University investigators have discovered. The findings, published recently in Cell Reports , offer insights into how the heart maintains itself and could lead to new strategies for repairing the heart when it fails after a heart attack. The heart has long been considered to be an organ without regenerative potential, said Antonis Hatzopoulos, Ph.D., associate professor of Medicine and Cell and Developmental Biology Continue reading

Engineering bone growth: Coated tissue scaffolds help body grow new bone to repair injuries or congenital defects

Engineering bone growth: Coated tissue scaffolds help body grow new bone to repair injuries or congenital defects

MIT chemical engineers have devised a new implantable tissue scaffold coated with bone growth factors that are released slowly over a few weeks. When applied to bone injuries or defects, this coated scaffold induces the body to rapidly form new bone that looks and behaves just like the original tissue. Continue reading

Fruit, vegetable intake still too low; human nutritionist says to focus on lunch

Fruit, vegetable intake still too low; human nutritionist says to focus on lunch

Changes to a supplemental nutrition program are improving the number of fruits eaten daily by children, but kids and adults still aren’t reaching the recommended daily intake amounts. A Kansas State University human nutritionist says to reach that amount, you need to focus on lunch. Continue reading

Intimacy a strong motivator for PrEP HIV prevention

Intimacy a strong motivator for PrEP HIV prevention

Men in steady same-sex relationships where both partners are HIV negative will often forgo condoms out of a desire to preserve intimacy, even if they also have sex outside the relationship. But the risk of HIV still lurks. In a new study of gay and bisexual men who reported at least one instance of condomless anal sex in the last 30 days, researchers found that the same desire for intimacy is also a strong predictor of whether men would be willing to take antiretroviral medications to prevent HIV, an emerging practice known as pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP Continue reading

The difficult question of Clostridium difficile

The difficult question of Clostridium difficile

The bacterium Clostridium difficile causes antibiotic-related diarrhea and is a growing problem in the hospital environment and elsewhere in the community. Continue reading

Taking pulse of aging of the brain

Taking pulse of aging of the brain

Researchers at the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a new technique that can noninvasively image the pulse pressure and elasticity of the arteries of the brain, revealing correlations between arterial health and aging. Brain artery support, which makes up the cerebrovascular system, is crucial for healthy brain aging and preventing diseases like Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Continue reading

Quasi-legal drug 15 times stronger than heroin hides in plain sight

Quasi-legal drug 15 times stronger than heroin hides in plain sight

Emergency physicians should expect “an upswing in what on the surface appear to be heroin overdoses,” but are actually overdoses tied to acetyl fentanyl, an opiate that is mixed into street drugs marketed as heroin. The looming threat of another unregulated quasi-legal drug is detailed today online in Annals of Emergency Medicine . “What’s frightening about this emerging street drug is that users themselves may not be aware that they are ingesting it,” said lead study author John Stogner, Ph.D Continue reading

Advances in preterm birth

Advances in preterm birth

The Aug. 15 edition of the journal Science features a major article about the most important problem in obstetrics: preterm labor. The article, “Preterm labor: one syndrome, many causes,” delivers a powerful message: preterm birth is not one condition, but many, and provides a framework for meeting this challenge. Continue reading

Do gut bacteria rule our minds?  In an ecosystem within us, microbes evolved to sway food choices

Do gut bacteria rule our minds? In an ecosystem within us, microbes evolved to sway food choices

It sounds like science fiction, but it seems that bacteria within us — which outnumber our own cells about 100-fold — may very well be affecting both our cravings and moods to get us to eat what they want, and often are driving us toward obesity. In an article published this week in the journal BioEssays , researchers from UC San Francisco, Arizona State University and University of New Mexico concluded from a review of the recent scientific literature that microbes influence human eating behavior and dietary choices to favor consumption of the particular nutrients they grow best on, rather than simply passively living off whatever nutrients we choose to send their way Continue reading