Research

When scientific curiosity paves the way for improved healthcare: Read more about promising studies and trials that lead to more effective drugs, procedures as well as medical guidelines.

Power to the pacemaker

Harvesting the heart's energy to power life-saving devices

The heart's motion is so powerful that it can recharge devices that save our lives, according to new research from Dartmouth College. Using a dime-sized invention developed by engineers at the Thayer…

The blunt truth

A few joints may not harm men’s sperm

Researchers investigating the effect of cannabis smoking on men’s testicular function have made the unexpected discovery that it is linked to higher sperm counts and higher testosterone levels…

Hope for diabetics

Insulin-producing cells grown in lab

UC San Francisco researchers have for the first time transformed human stem cells into mature insulin-producing cells, a major breakthrough in the effort to develop a cure for type 1 (T1) diabetes.…

Accuracy improvement

Predicting prostate cancer with radiomics and machine learning

A team of researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California (USC) have developed a novel machine-learning framework that distinguishes between low- and high-risk prostate cancer with more precision than ever before. The framework, described in a Scientific Reports paper, is intended to help physicians—in particular, radiologists—more accurately identify treatment options for prostate cancer patients, lessening the chance of unnecessary clinical intervention. Prostate cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death in American men, second only to lung cancer. While recent advances in prostate cancer research have saved many lives, objective prediction tools have, until now, remained an unmet need.

Tiny threat

Nanoparticles may promote cancer metastasis

Nanoparticles can be found in processed food (e.g. food additives), consumer products (e.g. sunscreen) and even in medicine. While these tiny particles could have large untapped potential and novel…

Morphine addiction

New pathway target for addiction therapy found

Activating a neural pathway from the Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA) to the Dorsal Raphe Nucleus (DRN) could significantly reduce morphine addiction while not affecting its analgesic effect, suggests…

Contraception

Male birth control: as easy as a layered cocktail?

For decades, women have shouldered most of the burden of contraception. However, long-term use of female birth control pills could increase the risk for side effects such as blood clots or breast…

Craving for alcohol

Heavy drinking may seriously mess up your DNA

Binge and heavy drinking may trigger a long-lasting genetic change, resulting in an even greater craving for alcohol, according to a Rutgers-led study in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical &…

Hot helper

Can oolong tea prevent breast cancer?

In a recent study published in the journal Anticancer Research, Saint Louis University scientists, together with a visiting scientist from Fujian Medical University in China, have discovered evidence…

Get some rest

Sleep deprivation accelerates Alzheimer’s brain damage

Poor sleep has long been linked with Alzheimer’s disease, but researchers have understood little about how sleep disruptions drive the disease. Now, studying mice and people, researchers at…

Cellular recycling

Can autophagy stop cancer before it starts?

Just as plastic tips protect the ends of shoelaces and keep them from fraying when we tie them, molecular tips called telomeres protect the ends of chromosomes and keep them from fusing when cells…

Keeping a clear head

Alzheimer's: key to early prediction in the blood

Alzheimer's disease is often marked by a creeping progression: Years before symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease manifest, the brain starts changing and neurons are slowly degraded. Scientists at the…

Drug research

Opioids: no effect without side effect

Through genetic changes to the opioid receptor in mice, pharmacologists at Jena University Hospital have succeeded in almost completely suppressing the development of opioid tolerance. The…

Comorbidity

Mapping out the relationship between mental disorders

Half of those who develop a severe mental disorder such as depression prior to the age 20, will also develop an anxiety disorder within the next 15 years. This is just one of the many results on the…

Precision medicine

Europe looks to cells for a healthier future

How can we detect the first signs of disease as early as possible? Could closer investigation at the cellular level help to quickly prevent disease progression through appropriate treatment? The…

DMD & rhabdomyosarcoma

Duchenne muscular dystrophy: Muscle stem cells can drive cancer

People with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) can develop an otherwise-rare muscle cancer, called rhabdomyosarcoma, due to the muscle cells’ continuous work to rebuild the damaged tissue. However,…

Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat

Millennials' social media activity may increase depression risk

A new study by a team of Texas State University researchers shows that negative social media behaviors are linked to major depressive disorder (MDD) in Millennials. The findings are published in the…

Silicon photonics

New device for screening arterial stiffness and diagnosing CVD

Researchers have developed a prototype medical device based on silicon photonics for the screening of arterial stiffness and for the diagnosis of cardiovascular diseases such as arterial stenosis and…

Mengla filovirus

Researchers discover Ebola-related virus carried by bats

Researchers from Singapore’s Duke-NUS Medical School, in collaboration with scientists in China, have identified and characterised a new genus of filovirus from a Rousettus bat in China. Their…

Blockage detection

This blood flow sensor wraps around the blood vessel

A new device developed by Stanford University researchers could make it easier for doctors to monitor the success of blood vessel surgery. The sensor, detailed in a paper published in Nature…

Choline

Essential nutrient holds promise against Alzheimer’s

In a new study, researchers at the Biodesign Institute explore a safe and simple treatment for one of the most devastating and perplexing afflictions: Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Lead authors Ramon…

Minds connected

Parents’ brains ‘sync up’ with their infant’s when they play together

When infants are playing with objects, their early attempts to pay attention to things are accompanied by bursts of high-frequency activity in their brain. But what happens when parents play together…

Alarming results

Antibiotic resistance spreads faster than previously thought

By studying fish raised in aquaculture, researchers from the Helmholtz Zentrum München, the University of Copenhagen and the University of Campinas in Brazil have shed new light on the mechanisms by…

The science of sleep

How our brain works against night owls

‘Night owls’ – those who go to bed and get up later – have fundamental differences in their brain function compared to ‘morning larks’ , which mean they could be disadvantaged by the…

Under pressure

Breast tissue stiffening promotes cancer development

A study provides new insight into how the stiffening of breast tissue plays a role in breast cancer development. By examining how mammary cells respond in a stiffness-changing hydrogel, bioengineers…

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Pediatric resuscitation

Blindfolded training could help doctors save young lives

In a simulation training study, pediatric team leaders who wore a blindfold improved their leadership skills ratings by 11% over the course of 3 resuscitation scenarios, versus 5% for non-blindfolded leaders. Published in Frontiers in Pediatrics, the findings demonstrate a promising tool for improving training and outcomes in pediatric resuscitation. “Our study suggests that blindfolding the…

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Oral contraceptives

Can birth control pills keep you from recognising emotions?

The pill could be blurring your social judgement ‒ but perhaps not enough so you'd notice. By challenging women to identify complex emotional expressions like pride or contempt, rather than basic ones like happiness or fear, scientists have revealed subtle changes in emotion recognition associated with oral contraceptive pill (OCP) use. Published in Frontiers in Neuroscience, their study found…

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A healthy nap

How sleep strengthens the immune system

Getting enough sleep is vital to supporting our immune system in fighting off pathogens – this much is common knowledge. But what we don't know is how exactly sleep affects certain immune functions. Scientists at the Universities of Tübingen and Lübeck have now discovered a new mechanism by which sleep supports the immune system. The team led by Dr. Luciana Besedovsky and Dr. Stoyan Dimitrov…

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Healthy ageing

Killing zombie cells to save our heart

Scientists at Newcastle University believe it may be possible to reverse the damage in the heart caused by ageing. New research, which has been published in the journal EMBO, could suggest a new way of preventing heart failure in older patients. Heart failure occurs when the heart is not pumping blood around the body as well as it should, most commonly when the heart muscle has been damaged –…

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Cardiology & calcium

First look at the ‘molecular switch’ that makes our heart beat

Oxford University Radcliffe Department of Medicine researchers have developed a new method that uses a protein originally found in marine corals to visualise the flow of calcium that makes the heart beat. In a paper published in the journal Circulation Research, they used this technique to uncover the effects of genetic errors that contribute to a heart condition that is the leading killer of…

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Psychopathology

Is terrorism based on mental illness?

Were Anders Breivik’s actions the work of a madman? Is Theo van Gogh’s killer Mohammed Bouyeri a psychopath? Much is still unclear about the role of psychological disorders (psychopathology) in terrorism. While some research supports the idea that terrorists are mentally ill, other studies contradict this view. In a study commissioned by the Research and Documentation Centre/Dutch Ministry of…

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Neurodegeneration

Will education save you from dementia? Don't count on it

Until now, neurologists were largely convinced that having a higher level of education would build some kind of protective barrier against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's. But a new study finds that education does not play a role in when the disease starts or how fast it progresses. The study was published in the online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy…

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Electric wound care

This E-bandage could speed up wound healing

Skin has a remarkable ability to heal itself. But in some cases, wounds heal very slowly or not at all, putting a person at risk for chronic pain, infection and scarring. Now, researchers have developed a self-powered bandage that generates an electric field over an injury, dramatically reducing the healing time for skin wounds in rats. They report their results in ACS Nano. Chronic skin wounds…

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Stem cell research

Brain confetti - why our sense of smell declines when we get old

As mammals age, their sense of smell deteriorates. In a study published in the journal ‘Cell Reports’, an interdisciplinary research team at Helmholtz Zentrum München and the University Medical Centre Mainz investigated why this is the case. For their study, the researchers tracked the development of stem cells in the brains of mice using what are known as confetti reporters. They then…

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Aftercare

Discharged ICU patients need careful rehabilitation

Care models that go beyond rehabilitation services and are aimed at a smooth transition from intensive to aftercare are not established in Germany. A working group around Professor Dr Christian Apfelbacher at the Institute for Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Regensburg University, is currently developing a concept for intensive out-patient aftercare. ‘The project is to help improve the…

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Benefits of childbirth

Breast cancer: Pregnancy gives (delayed) protection

In general, women who have had children have a lower risk of breast cancer compared to women who have never given birth. However, new research has found that moms don’t experience this breast cancer protection until many years later and may face elevated risk for more than 20 years after their last pregnancy. Scientists at the National Institutes of Health, along with members of the…

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'Tis the season to be healthy

10 simple tips to keep Christmas overindulgence at bay

Christmas cookies, mulled wine and an extensive family feast - it seems impossible not to gain weight during the holidays. But there's hope: A study by the University of Birmingham and Loughborough University has shown that regular weighing at home and simple tips to curb excess eating and drinking can prevent people from piling on the pounds at Christmas. Researchers, supported by the National…

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Guselkumab vs Secukinumab

Psoriasis: New data point to improved treatment

The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson announced results from the ECLIPSE study demonstrating that Tremfya® (guselkumab) was superior to Cosentyx® (secukinumab)* in treating adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis for the primary endpoint assessed at week 48. Data from the multicentre, randomised, double-blind head-to-head Phase 3 study demonstrated that 84.5…

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Immune-boosting substance

This gel could help the body after cancer surgery

Many people who are diagnosed with cancer will undergo some type of surgery to treat their disease — almost 95 percent of people with early-diagnosed breast cancer will require surgery and it’s often the first line of treatment for people with brain tumors, for example. But despite improvements in surgical techniques over the past decade, the cancer often comes back after the procedure. Now,…

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Pregnancy

Giving birth raises risk of breast cancer in younger women

Younger women who have recently had a child may have a higher risk of breast cancer than their peers of the same age who do not have children, according to a large-scale analysis co-led by a University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center researcher. The findings, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, may seem contrary to conventional wisdom that childbirth is…

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Birth outcome study

Obesity and pregnancy: A risky couple

New research from the University of Adelaide’s Robinson Research Institute supports the need for dietary and lifestyle interventions before overweight and obese women become pregnant. The researchers have reported the results of a large study of birth outcomes in more than 500 overweight or obese women from three public maternity units in Adelaide, Australia in The Lancet Diabetes &…

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Intracerebral hemorrhage

Can sudden weather change raise stroke risk?

A collaborative study led by a neurologist at Rush University Medical Center and an environmental scientist at the University of Illinois at Chicago suggests that weather patterns that cause dramatic changes in barometric pressure may increase the incidence of a type of stroke known as spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage, that is, the rupture of a blood vessel in the brain. The researchers…

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Controversial research

HIV and gene editing: beware of the butterfly effect, cautions expert

The claim of a chinese professor has caused quite a controversy: He Jiankui announced that he successfully modified human DNA to prevent two girls from contracting HIV. Upon the leak of this research, ethicists and scientists alike condemned Jiankui's gene editing in humans. West Virginia University Vice President and Executive Dean for Health Sciences Dr. Clay Marsh says that although “a lot…

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Photonic endoscopy

Fibre probe explores the depth of our brain

This could be a major step towards a better understanding of the functions of deeply hidden brain compartments, such as the formation of memories, as well as related dysfunctions, including Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers from the Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena and the University of Edinburgh have succeeded in using a hair-thin fibre endoscope to gain insights…

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Klotho

Could a ’longevity protein’ be the key to rejuvenating muscles?

One of the downsides to getting older is that skeletal muscle loses its ability to heal after injury. New research from the University of Pittsburgh implicates the so-called “longevity protein” Klotho, both as culprit and therapeutic target. The paper, published this week in Nature Communications, showed that, in young animals, Klotho expression soars after a muscle injury, whereas in old…

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Unhealthy lifestyle

How working night shifts raises your risk of type 2 diabetes

Women who work intermittent night shifts and do not follow a healthy lifestyle face an especially high risk of type 2 diabetes, suggests a study published by The BMJ. The researchers found that the risk of type 2 diabetes is actually higher than simply adding the individual risks associated with unhealthy lifestyle and shift work together, indicating that combining an unhealthy lifestyle with…

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Deadly DNA

Suicide: Is it in our genes?

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, claiming more than 44,000 people in the country every year, similar to the number of deaths caused by the opioid epidemic. Previous studies show that suicide tracks in families independent of the effects from a shared environment. Researchers at the University of Utah Health are using resources unique to the state to identify…

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Neuro-research

Brain-computer interfaces: Getting a Grasp on how we think

A world where machines can be controlled by thought alone – such is the promise of so-called brain-computer interfaces (BCI). BCIs are both hardware and software communication systems that read brain and nerve signals, convert those into electrical signals and translate human thoughts into machine commands. Developers of BCIs rely on artificial intelligence, neural network models and big data…

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Hypotrichosis

Hair loss? This gene might be to blame

Hypotrichosis simplex leads to progressive hair loss already in childhood. A team of researchers led by human geneticists at the University Hospital of Bonn has now deciphered a new gene that is responsible for this rare form of hair loss. Changes in the LSS gene lead to impairment of an important enzyme that has a crucial function in cholesterol metabolism. The scientists now present their…

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