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Africans’ ability to digest milk linked to spread of cattle raising

Africans’ ability to digest milk linked to spread of cattle raising

Babies are born with the ability to digest lactose, the sugar found in milk, but most humans lose this ability after infancy because of declining levels of the lactose-digesting enzyme lactase. People who maintain high levels of lactase reap the nutritive benefits of milk, however, offering a potential evolutionary advantage to lactase persistence, or what is commonly known as lactose tolerance. A new study led by University of Pennsylvania researchers — constituting the largest examination ever of lactase persistence in geographically diverse populations of Africans — investigated the genetic origins of this trait and offers support to the idea that the ability to digest milk was a powerful selective force in a variety of African populations which raised cattle and consumed the animals’ fresh milk. Continue reading

Africans’ ability to digest milk linked to spread of cattle raising

Africans’ ability to digest milk linked to spread of cattle raising

Babies are born with the ability to digest lactose, the sugar found in milk, but most humans lose this ability after infancy because of declining levels of the lactose-digesting enzyme lactase. People who maintain high levels of lactase reap the nutritive benefits of milk, however, offering a potential evolutionary advantage to lactase persistence, or what is commonly known as lactose tolerance. A new study led by University of Pennsylvania researchers — constituting the largest examination ever of lactase persistence in geographically diverse populations of Africans — investigated the genetic origins of this trait and offers support to the idea that the ability to digest milk was a powerful selective force in a variety of African populations which raised cattle and consumed the animals’ fresh milk. Continue reading

‘Velcro protein’ found to play surprising role in cell migration

‘Velcro protein’ found to play surprising role in cell migration

Studying epithelial cells, the cell type that most commonly turns cancerous, Johns Hopkins researchers have identified a protein that causes cells to release from their neighbors and migrate away from healthy mammary, or breast, tissue in mice. They also found that deletion of a cellular “Velcro protein” does not cause the single-celled migration expected. Their results, they say, help clarify the molecular changes required for cancer cells to metastasize Continue reading

Scientists ‘herd’ cells in new approach to tissue engineering

Scientists ‘herd’ cells in new approach to tissue engineering

Sometimes it only takes a quick jolt of electricity to get a swarm of cells moving in the right direction. Researchers at UC Berkeley found that an electrical current can be used to orchestrate the flow of a group of cells, an achievement that could establish the basis for more controlled forms of tissue engineering and for potential applications such as “smart bandages” that use electrical stimulation to help heal wounds. In the experiments, described in a study published this week in the journal Nature Materials , the researchers used single layers of epithelial cells, the type of cells that bind together to form robust sheathes in skin, kidneys, cornea and other organs. Continue reading

Quantum dots deliver vitamin D to tumors for possible inflammatory breast cancer treatment

Quantum dots deliver vitamin D to tumors for possible inflammatory breast cancer treatment

Feb. 1, 2013 — The shortened daylight of a Maine winter may make for long, dark nights — but it has shone a light on a novel experimental approach to fighting inflammatory breast cancer (IBC), an especially deadly form of breast cancer. The new approach enlists the active form of Vitamin D3, called calcitriol, which is delivered therapeutically by quantum dots Continue reading

Genetically modified tobacco plants produce antibodies to treat rabies

Genetically modified tobacco plants produce antibodies to treat rabies

Feb. 1, 2013 — Smoking tobacco might be bad for your health, but a genetically altered version of the plant might provide a relatively inexpensive cure for the deadly rabies virus. In a new research report appearing in The FASEB Journal , scientists produced a monoclonal antibody in transgenic tobacco plants that was shown to neutralize the rabies virus. Continue reading

New study sheds light on link between dairy intake and bone health

New study sheds light on link between dairy intake and bone health

Feb. Continue reading

Spread of hepatitis C pinpointed

Spread of hepatitis C pinpointed

31 January 2013 Last updated at 22:57 ET Scientists say they have, for the first time, worked out the pattern of spread of hepatitis C, showing early diagnosis is key to preventing epidemics. A study in injecting drug users in Greece indicated that each infected person spread the disease to 20 others – 10 of these in the first two years Continue reading

Spread of hepatitis C pinpointed

Spread of hepatitis C pinpointed

31 January 2013 Last updated at 22:57 ET Scientists say they have, for the first time, worked out the pattern of spread of hepatitis C, showing early diagnosis is key to preventing epidemics. A study in injecting drug users in Greece indicated that each infected person spread the disease to 20 others – 10 of these in the first two years Continue reading

Scientists unveil a superbug’s secret to antibiotic resistance

Scientists unveil a superbug’s secret to antibiotic resistance

Jan. Continue reading