High levels, low levels

How caffeine may help diagnose Parkinson’s disease

Testing the level of caffeine in the blood may provide a simple way to aid the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, according to a study published in the online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study found that people with Parkinson’s disease had significantly lower levels of caffeine in their blood than people without the disease, even if they…

Rhabdomyosarcoma

Muscle cancer - or is it?

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital oncologists have discovered the cell type that gives rise to rhabdomyosarcoma, the most prevalent soft tissue cancer in children. Previously, scientists thought the cancer arose from immature muscle cells, because the tumor resembled muscle under the microscope. However, the St. Jude researchers discovered the cancer arises from immature progenitors that…

Mirror neuron activity

This is where your brain makes up its mind about moral dilemmas

It is wartime. You and your fellow refugees are hiding from enemy soldiers, when a baby begins to cry. You cover her mouth to block the sound. If you remove your hand, her crying will draw the attention of the soldiers, who will kill everyone. If you smother the child, you’ll save yourself and the others. If you were in that situation, which was dramatized in the final episode of the ’70s and ’80s TV series “M.A.S.H.,” what would you do? The results of a new UCLA study suggest that scientists could make a good guess based on how the brain responds when people watch someone else experience pain. The study found that those responses predict whether people will be inclined to avoid causing harm to others when facing moral dilemmas.

Macrophages

How immune cells help early breast cancer spread

Mount Sinai researchers have discovered that normal immune cells called macrophages, which reside in healthy breast tissue surrounding milk ducts, play a major role in helping early breast cancer…

Ophthalmology

Researchers explore way to reverse diabetic blindness

Johns Hopkins researchers have discovered a cell signaling pathway in mice that triggers vision loss in patients with diabetic retinopathy and retinal vein occlusion – diseases characterized by the…

Natural system

Papillomaviruses promote skin cancer

UV radiation has been known for a long time to be a risk factor for the development of skin cancer. Simultaneous infection with human papillomaviruses (HPV) has also been suspected to promote skin…

Protein quality control system

Cellular power outage

A common feature of neurodegenerative diseases are deposits of aggregated proteins in the patient's cells that cause damage to cellular functions. Scientists report that, even in normal cells,…

Regeneration

Immune cells help rebuild damaged nerves

Immune cells are normally associated with fighting infection but in a new study, scientists have discovered how they also help the nervous system clear debris, making way for nerve regeneration after…

Early diagnostics

Sixty-five new genetic risk markers for breast cancer discovered

Until now, familial breast cancer has only partly been linkable to genetic risk markers. In a worldwide joint effort, researchers have now identified further genetic variants that affect the risk for…

Nationwide cohort study

Can an aspirin a day keep liver cancer away?

A new study presented this week at The Liver Meeting held by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases found that daily aspirin therapy was significantly associated with a reduced risk…

Cell activity

Individual receptors caught at work

G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are among the "hottest” targets for the therapy of diseases such as hypertension, asthma or Parkinson's. These receptors are the site of action of many…

Prenatal care

Fever itself in early pregnancy might cause birth defects

Duke researchers now have evidence to suggest the fever itself, not its root source, could interfere with the development of the heart and jaw during the first three to eight weeks of pregnancy.…

Nutrition

Fermenting fish to reduce cholesterol

Compounds in a fermented fish paste used as a condiment in Indonesia efficiently inhibit an enzyme involved in cholesterol synthesis, reports a study published in the Pertanika journal Tropical…

Cancer research

Researchers release the brakes on the immune system

Many tumors possess mechanisms to avoid destruction by the immune system. For instance, they misuse the natural “brakes” in the immune defense mechanism, which normally prevent an excessive…

Cancer research

Esophageal cancer “cell of origin” identified

Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) researchers have identified cells in the upper digestive tract that can give rise to Barrett’s esophagus, a precursor to esophageal cancer. The discovery…

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Research discovery

New blood test may diagnose breast cancer

In a potential major breakthrough in breast cancer research, scientists at the Center for Translational Cancer Research (CTCR) at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute of…

Psychology

Stress makes it harder for us to sense new dangers

Being under stress diminishes our abilities to predict new dangers that we face, a team of psychology researchers finds. Its work runs counter to the conventional view that stress enhances our…

Study

Zika virus could be used to treat brain cancer

Recent outbreaks of Zika virus have revealed that the virus causes brain defects in unborn children. But researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of…

Pediatrics

Kawasaki disease: Gaining new insights into a mysterious illness

Texas Biomedical Research Institute and The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio have joined forces to cure a mysterious condition called Kawasaki disease. The illness which affects young children is…

DIY testing

Self-sampling identifies twice as many women at risk of cervical cancer

Using self-sampling followed by HPV testing, more than twice as many women at risk of developing cervical cancer could be identified and offered preventive treatment. This is shown by researchers at…

Gene editing

CRISPR-based technology DETECTR can detect viral DNA

A powerful genome editing tool can be deployed as an ace DNA detective, able to sniff out DNA snippets that signal viral infections, cancer, or even defective genes. This genetic detective, developed…

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A map to the heart

The meaning of heart geometry in surgery

Geometry is often referenced for matters of the heart. Marriage has been described as “two parallel lines,” and others have compared love to an “irrational equation” or as unending as “pi.” But when it comes to the medical matters of the heart, geometry can be a lonely and dangerous affair. “The shape and size of a heart is not the same for every person, and a diseased heart, such…

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Cognitive improvement

Researchers successfully reverse Alzheimer’s disease in mice

A team of researchers from the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute have found that gradually depleting an enzyme called BACE1 completely reverses the formation of amyloid plaques in the brains of mice with Alzheimer’s disease, thereby improving the animals’ cognitive function. The study, which will be published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, raises hopes that drugs targeting…

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Discovery

'Selfish' gene may protect against heart disease

Scientists have identified a gene that may play a protective role in preventing heart disease. Their research revealed that the gene, called MeXis, acts within key cells inside clogged arteries to help remove excess cholesterol from blood vessels. Published in the journal Nature Medicine, the UCLA-led study in mice found that MeXis controls the expression of a protein that pumps cholesterol out…

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Researchers investigate

Kidney stones on the rise

Kidney stones are a painful health condition, often requiring multiple procedures at great discomfort to the patient. Growing evidence suggests that the incidence of kidney stones is increasing steadily, especially in women. Using data from the Rochester Epidemiology Project, Mayo Clinic researchers investigated the rise in stone formers to determine if this is a new trend, or simply an…

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Idiot box

Too much TV at age 2 makes for less healthy adolescents

Watching too much television at age 2 can translate into poorer eating habits in adolescence and poorer performance in school, researchers at Université de Montréal’s School of Psychoeducation have found. In a new longitudinal study published in Preventive Medicine, graduate student Isabelle Simonato and her supervisor, Professor Linda Pagani, looked at a birth cohort of nearly 2,000 Quebec…

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Responsive or not?

Breast cancer: Near-infrared light shows chemo beneficiaries

A new optical imaging system developed at Columbia University uses red and near-infrared light to identify breast cancer patients who will respond to chemotherapy. The imaging system may be able to predict response to chemotherapy as early as two weeks after beginning treatment. Findings from a first pilot study of the new imaging system—a noninvasive method of measuring blood flow dynamics in…

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HER2 breast cancer

‘Soft’ chemotherapy plus targeted treatment spell new hope for elderly patients

Avoidance of side-effects of chemotherapy is particularly important in the elderly, but finding the balance between reduced toxicity and maximum effectiveness is not always easy. A trial carried out by the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer, published in The Lancet Oncology, shows that, in older patients with HER2 positive metastatic breast cancer (an aggressive breast…

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Facing your fear

Google's effect on cancer screening

Although modern medicine has made progress in the fight against cancer, the fear of cancer diseases is widespread. Still, regular screenings are no matter of course. Only almost every fifth person over 55 years has undergone a colonoscopy even though it is recommend for this age group as cancer prevention. What influences people to undergo these screenings? Screening or not? In making this…

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Immunotherapy

The DNA mismatch repair mechanism

A new genetic study by UK-based scientists suggests that immunotherapy drugs could prove to be an effective treatment for some breast cancer patients. Scientists from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, near Cambridge – one of the world’s leading genome centres – and their collaborators, have identified particular genetic changes in a DNA repair mechanism in breast cancer. Led by Dr Serena…

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No more joint replacement?

Small molecule could make a big difference for arthritis patients

Will there come a time when a patient with arthritis can forgo joint replacement surgery in favor of a shot? Keck School of Medicine of USC scientist Denis Evseenko, MD, PhD, has reason to be optimistic. In a new publication in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases, Evseenko’s team describes the promise of a new molecule aptly named “Regulator of Cartilage Growth and Differentiation,” or RCGD…

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New approach

Starving liver cancer

Scientists at the University of Delaware and the University of Illinois at Chicago have found a new way to kill liver cancer cells and inhibit tumor growth. First, they silence a key cellular enzyme, and then they add a powerful drug. They describe their methods in a new paper published in Nature Communications. This research could accelerate the development of new treatments for liver cancer,…

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Experimental drug

Fighting Hepatitis B with 'virus-cracking' molecules

Indiana University researchers have made an important step forward in the design of drugs that fight the hepatitis B virus, which can cause liver failure and liver cancer. It's estimated that 2 billion people worldwide have had a hepatitis B virus infection in their lifetime, with about 250 million -- including 2 million Americans -- living with chronic infection. Although a vaccine exists, there…

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Broken immune clock

Why shift work might be to blame for obesity and diabetes

About 15 million Americans don’t have a typical nine-to-five workday, and many of these—nurses, firefighters and flight attendants, among many other professions—may see their schedule change drastically one week to the next. As a result, these shift workers’ biological clocks, which keep track of the time of day, cannot keep accurate time, potentially making the negative effects of a high…

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In wine, there’s health

Low levels of alcohol might actually be good for your brain

While a couple of glasses of wine can help clear the mind after a busy day, new research shows that it may actually help clean the mind as well. The new study, which appears in the journal Scientific Reports, shows that low levels of alcohol consumption tamp down inflammation and helps the brain clear away toxins, including those associated with Alzheimer’s disease. “Prolonged intake of…

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Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS)

Stem cells might be the key to treating rare cardiac defect

Children's Hospital Los Angeles is announcing participation in the first-ever clinical trial using stem cells from umbilical cord blood to delay or even prevent heart failure in children born with a rare congenital heart defect that leaves them with half a heart. The Phase I study is part of a multi-center collaboration dedicated to employing innovative therapies to improve outcomes for children…

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AEC syndrome

Cause of severe genetic disease identified

Mutations in the p63 protein lead to a number of disorders, but none is as severe as the AEC syndrome. Scientists at Goethe University Frankfurt in collaboration with a research group from the University of Naples Federico II have now discovered that this syndrome resembles diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or ALS more closely than it does other p63-based syndromes. Their results,…

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Beyond skepticism

Why vaccines are an especially tough sell on conspiracy theorists

People who believe Princess Diana was murdered or that John F. Kennedy’s assassination was an elaborate plot are more likely to think that vaccines are unsafe, despite scientific evidence to the contrary, according to research published by the American Psychological Association. “Vaccinations are one of society’s greatest achievements and one of the main reasons that people live about 30…

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Cardiovascular MR

Standard medical tests miss nearly two-thirds of heart attack diagnoses

Standard medical tests miss nearly two-thirds of heart attack diagnoses, reveals research presented at CMR 2018. “Unrecognised MI has a poor short-term prognosis but until now the long-term outlook was unknown,” said lead author Dr Tushar Acharya, a cardiologist at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, US. “This study investigated long-term…

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In sheep's clothing

Research examines a different culprit behind Alzheimer's disease

What if one of the prime suspects behind Alzheimer’s disease was a case of mistaken identity? Amyloid plaques, sticky buildup that accumulates in and around neurons in the brain, have long been believed to be an indicator of neurodegenerative disease. Most clinical drug trials for Alzheimer’s disease treatment have failed, presumably because they target these plaques. But according to Raymond…

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Risk assessment

Can a colonoscopy cause appendicitis?

Although the incidence of appendicitis in the United States has been in decline for many years, the condition still affects approximately seven percent of Americans annually. A research team at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences, found that there is evidence to suggest that a colonoscopy can “prompt” appendicitis up to one week after the procedure, in at least certain patients.

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Regulatory B cells

Researchers identify new marker for autoimmune disorders

The immune system is a complex and precisely regulated system. Various activating and inhibiting signals ensure that the immune cells combat pathogenic agents without eliciting a potentially harmful response to its own structures and cells. However, if those two forces are imbalanced, the immune cells may attack and damage cells and tissue of the body itself, which will result in the development…

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Research

High-cholesterol diet leads to colon cancer – let's find out why

New research from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) could help explain the link between a high-cholesterol diet and an elevated risk for colon cancer. In a study of mice, scientists from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA discovered that boosting the animals’ cholesterol levels spurred intestinal stem cells to divide more quickly, enabling tumors to form 100 times…

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Cardiovascular risk

One cigarette a day can't do much harm – or can it?

Smoking just one cigarette a day carries a much higher risk of developing coronary heart disease and stroke than expected – about half the risk of smoking 20 per day –concludes a University College London (UCL)-led review of the evidence. The researchers say their findings, published in the BMJ, have important consequences for many smokers and health professionals who believe that smoking…

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Stealthy survivors

Tracing the evolution of E. coli

Bacteria are stealthy organisms. They can multiply in minutes and evolve to survive what we throw at them—including antibiotics. The World Health Organization calls antibiotic resistance “one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today.” Each year, about 2 million people in the United States become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, according to…

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