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…

Research support

Stem cell therapy for traumatic injury on the horizon

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) has received funding through a public/private partnership for the first-ever clinical trial investigating a stem cell therapy for…

Gender differences

Migraines: Why women suffer more frequently

Of the more than 38 million Americans who experience migraine headaches, 28 million are women. Compared to men, women also experience more frequent and severe migraines and don’t respond as well to…

Research

Patient immune response could prevent heart failure

Patients’ own immune response has the potential to prevent the development and progression of heart failure, according to research presented at Frontiers in CardioVascular Biology (FCVB) 2018, a…

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New report

Advanced development of primary pancreatic organoid tumor models for high-throughput phenotypic drug screening

A multidisciplinary team of scientists share recent advancements in innovative in-vitro cancer biology methods for screening drug-like molecules in cancer tissue relevant models in a new report published online ahead-of-print at SLAS Discovery. Entitled Advanced Development of Primary Pancreatic Organoid Tumor Models for High-Throughput Phenotypic Drug Screening, the report can be accessed for…

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Epidemiological study

Vitamin D deficiency linked to increased diabetes risk

An epidemiological study conducted by researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Seoul National University suggests that persons deficient in vitamin D may be at much greater risk of developing diabetes. The scientists studied a cohort of 903 healthy adults (mean age: 74) with no indications of either pre-diabetes or diabetes during clinic visits from 1997 to 1999,…

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Wisdom tooth indeed

This electronic high-tech tooth could predict diseases

An interdisciplinary team of researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the School of Engineering & Applied Science is redefining the notion of a wisdom tooth. The team is developing a smart-tooth technology that could someday be used to detect early signs of certain diseases in high-risk patients by analyzing saliva or gingival crevicular fluid.…

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Study

Novel biomarker test accurately predicting high-grade prostate cancer

ProteoMediX AG announced results from a retrospective study that showed the correlation of its prostate cancer diagnosis test with cancer aggressiveness in patients scheduled for prostate biopsies. The study findings presented at the 2018 European Association of Urology (EAU) congress in Copenhagen, Denmark showed that the test has the potential to avoid a large number of biopsies. “Correlation…

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Matrix-forming proteins

Experimental targeted therapy might prevent heart failure

Scientists used an experimental targeted molecular therapy to block a matrix-forming protein in heart cells damaged by heart attack, reducing levels of scarred muscle tissue and saving mouse models from heart failure. Researchers at the Cincinnati Children’s Heart Institute report in the journal Circulation testing a manufactured peptide called pUR4 to block the fibronectin protein in human…

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Equipment

A tiny, more cost-effective white blood cell counter might be available soon

A thin copper wire wrapped around a channel slightly thicker than a strand of hair could be the key to manufacturing a compact electronic device capable of counting white blood cells from the comfort of one’s home, a Kennesaw State University researcher says. Hoseon Lee, an assistant professor of electrical engineering in the Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering…

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Personalized medication

An edible QR code might be the pill of the future

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have developed a new method for the production of medicine. They print medical drugs in QR coded patterns onto an edible material. The production can be tailored to fit each patient and has the potential to protect against wrong medication and fake medicine according to the researchers. For the last 100 years, researchers have constantly pushed the…

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Immunological memory

Our brains 'remember' inflammation and diseases

Inflammatory reactions can change the brain’s immune cells in the long term – meaning that these cells have an ‘immunological memory’. This memory may influence the progression of neurological disorders that occur later in life, and is therefore a previously unknown factor that could influence the severity of these diseases. Scientists at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases…

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Immunotherapy

Promising vaccine suppresses peanut allergies in mice

A vaccine may successfully turn off peanut allergy in mice, a new study shows. Just three monthly doses of a nasal vaccine protected the mice from allergic reactions upon exposure to peanut, according to research from the Mary H. Weiser Food Allergy Center at the University of Michigan. The study, funded by grants from Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) and the Department of Defense, was…

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Enigmatic enzyme

How bacteria recover from antibiotics exposure

Beta-lactam antibiotics, including penicillin, are one of the most widely used classes of antibiotics in the world. Though they’ve been in use since the 1940s, scientists still don’t fully understand what happens when this class of drugs encounters bacteria. Now, researchers at the University of Notre Dame have elucidated how an enzyme helps bacteria rebound from damage inflicted by…

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Dynamic spine brace

First robotic spine exoskeleton to help treat deformities

Spine deformities, such as idiopathic scoliosis and kyphosis (also known as “hunchback”), are characterized by an abnormal curvature in the spine. The children with these spinal deformities are typically advised to wear a brace that fits around the torso and hips to correct the abnormal curve. Bracing has been shown to prevent progression of the abnormal curve and avoid surgery. The…

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Odilorhabdin

A new class of antibiotics to combat drug resistance

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Nosopharm, a biotechnology company based in Lyon, France, are part of an international team reporting on the discovery of a new class of antibiotics. The antibiotic, first identified by Nosopharm, is unique and promising on two fronts: its unconventional source and its distinct way of killing bacteria, both of which suggest the compound…

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Biomaterial research

These cellular insights could make our bones heal faster

Most of us don’t think about our teeth and bones until one aches or breaks. A team of engineers at Washington University in St. Louis looked deep within collagen fibers to see how the body forms new bone and teeth, seeking insights into faster bone healing and new biomaterials. Young-Shin Jun, professor of energy, environmental & chemical engineering in the School of Engineering &…

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Tuberculosis

New blood test predicts TB onset up to two years in advance

A new blood test has been found to more accurately predict the development of tuberculosis up to two years before its onset in people living with someone with active TB, according to research published online in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, an American Thoracic Society journal. Those living with someone with active TB are at highest risk for developing the…

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Long-term caffeine

There's a catch to your daily coffee intake, study finds

A study coordinated by the Institute of Neuroscience of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Inc-UAB) and in collaboration with the Karolinska Institutet (KI) in Sweden provides evidence that a long-term consumption of caffeine has negative effects for Alzheimer’s disease, worsening the neuropsychiatric symptoms appearing in the majority of those affected by the disorder. The research was…

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Smoking cessation

Common diabetes drug may also help with nicotine withdrawal

In a mouse study, a drug that has helped millions of people around the world manage their diabetes might also help people ready to kick their nicotine habits. In a report published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), investigators say metformin, an inexpensive drug commonly used to treat patients with type 2 diabetes, appears to block…

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Life expectancy

Mole-rats might teach us how to become old and healthy

Humans and other mammals have a lot in common. Depending on race, 80 to 98% of mammalian genetic makeup is identical to the human one. Nevertheless, the variety of life expectancy among mammals is huge; and so far, it was unclear, which impact the genetic makeup has on a species’ life span. In rodents, differences in life expectancy and morbidity during aging are particularly high: Despite…

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Place matters

Obesity and the "ecology of disadvantage"

Nearly 70 percent of the U.S. adult population meets the definition of overweight or obese, but a new study by University of Arkansas researchers shows the problem isn’t randomly distributed across the country. Instead, obesity is concentrated in areas with social and demographic factors that create what researchers term an “ecology of disadvantage.” “Our results indicate a clear…

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Abdominal fat

For women with kidney cancer, belly fat matters

Belly fat affects the odds of women surviving kidney cancer but not men, according to a new study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Half of female kidney cancer patients with substantial abdominal fat at the time of diagnosis died within 3 1/2 years, while more than half of women with little belly fat were still alive 10 years later, the researchers found.…

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Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s

The role of misfolded proteins in neurodegenerative diseases

Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease may have more in common than their effects on the functions of the brain and spinal cord. And finding that common thread could lead to a treatment that could work for all three. A recent study by David Smith, associate professor of biochemistry in the West Virginia University School of Medicine, suggests that at the heart of all three…

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Harmful chemicals

Phthalates: increased exposure through dining out

Dining out more at restaurants, cafeterias and fast-food outlets may boost total levels of potentially health-harming chemicals called phthalates in the body, according to a new study. Phthalates, a group of chemicals used in food packaging and processing materials, are known to disrupt hormones in humans and are linked to a long list of health problems. The study is the first to compare…

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Medical myths

Joint cracking: Is it healthy?

It’s not unusual for your body to make “popping” or “cracking” sounds as you lean over, twist or reach for something. Fortunately, it’s also typically not a cause for worry. Dr. Aman Dhawan, an orthopedic sports medicine specialist at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, said complaints about such joint sounds are common, but are usually nothing to be concerned about.…

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DNA research

Stroke: largest-ever genetic study provides new insight

An international research group, including scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, studying 520,000 people from around the world has identified 22 new genetic risk factors for stroke, tripling the number of gene regions known to affect stroke risk. The results show that stroke shares genetic influences with other vascular conditions, especially blood pressure, but also…

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ACE inhibitor side effects

Lowering blood pressure comes at a price

The recent ACC/AHA Guidelines have increased the number of patients said to have hypertension by up to 40 percent (new 130/80 mmHg). The international recommendation is to treat hypertension with angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs). These drugs, however, have significant adverse effects: Often a chronic dry cough leads to patients withdrawing from treatment. On rare occasions, ACEIs…

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Antibiotic overuse

Could a paper device diagnose infectious disease?

Imagine a small paper device that can rapidly reveal from a drop of blood whether an infection is bacterial or viral. The device could help reduce the overuse of antibiotics – which kill bacteria, not viruses. Misuse of antibiotics has led to antimicrobial resistance, a growing global public health issue. Senior biomedical engineering students at Rutgers University–New Brunswick came up with…

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