Keyword: research

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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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Blood cell disorder

Promising results for new acute porphyria treatment

Acute porphyria is a group of uncommon diseases that can cause severe, potentially life-threatening attacks of abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and paralysis. Liver transplantation is currently the only effective treatment available for the most seriously afflicted patients. A clinical trial conducted in collaboration with researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden now shows that a new drug…

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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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Gene therapy instead of anitibiotics

New treatment for Chlamydia discovered

Researchers at the University of Waterloo have developed a new way to prevent and treat Chlamydia, the most common sexually transmitted bacterial infection in the world. The new treatment differs from the traditional antibiotic treatment as it is a type of gene therapy that is delivered via nanotechnology and is showing a 65 per cent success rate in preventing chlamydia infection on a single…

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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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Every step you take

Activity tracker predicts hospital stays after surgery

A new Cedars-Sinai study shows that using Fitbit activity monitors to measure steps taken in the days after surgery can predict which patients leave the hospital sooner. The study of 100 patients, led by Timothy Daskivich, MD, director of Health Services Research for the Cedars-Sinai Department of Surgery, showed that each step taken towards 1,000 steps the day after surgery resulted in…

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Cingulum stimulation

Laughter may be best medicine for brain surgery

Neuroscientists at Emory University School of Medicine have discovered a focal pathway in the brain that when electrically stimulated causes immediate laughter, followed by a sense of calm and happiness, even during awake brain surgery. The effects of stimulation were observed in an epilepsy patient undergoing diagnostic monitoring for seizure diagnosis. These effects were then harnessed to help…

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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 among moderate users compared to men who never smoked it. The study is published in Human Reproduction, one of the world’s leading reproductive medicine journals. Previous studies had suggested that…

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Therapeutic progress

Cancer: riding the wave of innovation

In haematology and medical oncology, there is always something new. However, the increasing stratification of cancer therapies presents an enormous challenge for clinical research. Tumour cells – those altered genetically by mutation and thus ought to be recognised by the immune system and destroyed – manage to apply diverse molecular tricks to avoid attack by the immune system. Thus, they…

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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 School of Engineering at Dartmouth, the kinetic energy of the heart can be converted into electricity to power a wide-range of implantable devices, according to the study funded by the National…

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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. Replacing these cells, which are lost in patients with T1 diabetes, has long been a dream of regenerative medicine, but until now scientists had not been able to figure out how to produce cells in a…

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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 new applications, they may have unintended and harmful side effects, according to a recent study by researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS). Specifically, NUS researchers found that…

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Side-effects

Will your tattoo put you at risk during an MRI scan?

Tattoos are increasingly popular. Every eighth person in Germany has already felt the sting of getting a tattoo. A recent representative survey of the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) revealed that nearly 90% of tattooed individuals considered them harmless to one’s health. Yet, if tattooed people are to be examined with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the question often arises of…

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Multiple sclerosis

Old cells repair damage in the brains of MS patients

A new study shows that there is a very limited regeneration of cells in the brain of patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). These findings underline the importance of treating MS at an early stage of the disease progression, when the affected cells can repair the damage as they are not replaced by new ones. The results are published in the journal Nature by researchers from Karolinska…

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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 new research led by Prof. Li Xiaoming from Zhejiang University’s School of Medicine. The study, published in the January issue of Neuron, found two parallel inhibitory neural pathways from VTA to DRN:…

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Dormant virus

Finding 'hidden' HIV in cells

Until now, researchers haven’t been able to accurately quantify a latent form of HIV that persists in patients’ immune cells. A new genetic technique is fast and 10 to 100 times more accurate than previous diagnostics. This hidden, inactive version of HIV embeds into cells’ genomes and can persist despite otherwise successful therapies – thwarting attempts to cure the infection. Using a…

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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 cancer. Now, inspired by colorful layered cocktails, researchers have developed a medium-term, reversible male contraceptive. They report their results in the journal ACS Nano. Common forms of male…

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Ornithine Transcarbamylase deficiency

OTC deficiency: First patient benefits from gene therapy trial

A patient at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) was the first person in the world to take part in a pioneering gene therapy trial for Ornithine Transcarbamylase (OTC) deficiency, a rare disease that causes toxic levels of ammonia to build up in the blood. Simon Smith, 45, was diagnosed with OTC deficiency as a teenager. Although he defied medical expectations by living a full life in…

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Virtual reality

Glaucoma detection with brain-based VR device

A wearable brain-based device called NGoggle that incorporates virtual reality (VR) could help improve glaucoma diagnosis and prevent vision loss. Duke University researchers funded by the National Eye Institute (NEI) have launched a clinical study testing the device in hopes that it could decrease the burden of glaucoma, a major cause of blindness in the U.S. The device consists of head-mounted…

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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 & Experimental Research. “We found that people who drink heavily may be changing their DNA in a way that makes them crave alcohol even more,” said Distinguished Professor Dipak K. Sarkar, senior author of…

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Endoscopy RFA

New tool opens doors for pancreatic cancer treatment

A significantly more effective, minimally invasive treatment for pancreatic tumors may be on the horizon, thanks to a new endoscopy tool created in the Penn State Department of Mechanical Engineering. On average, only about 20 percent of pancreatic cancer patients are eligible for a surgical removal of the tumor, which is currently the most-effective treatment option. The location of the pancreas…

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Pediatrics

Predicting the aneurysm risk for kids with Kawasaki disease

When Olivia Nelson was 3 years old, her parents noticed that she had a fever that wouldn’t get better. They brought her to a nearby hospital, where she spent about two weeks being screened for diseases. As doctors tried to find a diagnosis, a lymph node on Olivia’s neck became swollen. Alarmed and wanting an answer, the Nelsons asked to transfer to Seattle Children’s. “It was very…

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Cancer stem-like cells

Important signaling pathway in breast cancer revealed

In breast cancer, one of the most common cancers in women, tumors contain a small amount of so-called cancer stem-like cells (CSCs). Being able to eliminate breast-cancer stem-like cells in a targeted way is essential for developing successful therapies — conventional treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy followed by drug intake, do not target CSCs. A better understanding of the…

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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 that oolong tea can lead to DNA damage of breast cancer cells and inhibit the growth and progression of tumors in the lab, potentially offering a non-toxic strategy to prevent breast cancer. The…

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