Health & Medicine

Category: Health & Medicine

A candidate Ebola vaccine could be given to healthy volunteers in the UK, The Gambia and Mali as early as September, as part of an series of safety trials of potential vaccines aimed at preventing the disease that has killed more than 1,400 people in the current outbreak in West Africa.

In response to an ongoing, unprecedented outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in West Africa, a team of researchers from the Broad Institute and Harvard University, in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation and researchers across institutions and continents, has rapidly sequenced and analyzed more than 99 Ebola virus genomes. Their findings could have important implications for rapid field diagnostic tests. The team reports its results online in the journal Science.

University of Adelaide researchers have discovered that the immune system is defective in people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, which is a major reason why sufferers have ongoing issues with pain.

Handwashing with antibacterial soap exposes hospital workers to significant and potentially unsafe levels of triclosan, a widely-used chemical currently under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, according to a study led by researchers from UC San Francisco.

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has brought a lot of attention to the deadly virus. According to the World Health Organization, up to 90% of those infected with Ebola die from the virus. Now, researchers publishing August 13 in the Cell Press journal Cell Host & Microbe reveal how Ebola blocks and disables the body's natural immune response. Understanding how Ebola disarms immune defenses will be crucial in the development of new treatments for the disease.

Researchers with The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Research Network have completed the largest, most diverse tumor genetic analysis ever conducted, revealing a new approach to classifying cancers. The work, led by researchers at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and other TCGA sites, not only revamps traditional ideas of how cancers are diagnosed and treated, but could also have a profound impact on the future landscape of drug development.

Anesthesia providers are missing opportunities to clean their hands during surgical procedures, according to a study published in the July issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a complicated multifactorial autoimmune disease influenced by many genetic and environmental factors. The hallmark of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is the presence of high levels of anti-double-stranded DNA autoantibody (anti-dsDNA) in sera. In addition, greater infection rates are found in SLE patients and higher morbidity and mortality usually come from bacterial infections. Deciphering interactions between the susceptibility genes and the environmental factors for lupus complex traits is challenging and has resulted in only limited success.

New genomic research led by UC San Francisco (UCSF) scientists reveals that two common gene variants that lead to longer telomeres, the caps on chromosome ends thought by many scientists to confer health by protecting cells from aging, also significantly increase the risk of developing the deadly brain cancers known as gliomas.

A multi-institutional team of researchers has pinpointed exactly what goes wrong when chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients develop resistance to ibrutinib, a highly effective, precisely targeted anti-cancer drug. In a correspondence published online May 28 in the New England Journal of Medicine, they show how the mutation triggers resistance. Their finding could guide development of new agents to treat drug-resistant disease.

Caveat emptor – or "buyer beware" holds true when it comes to the unknown health effects of e-cigarettes. An article in the June issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), examines risks, including the ongoing dependence on nicotine and the dual use of e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes.


Dr. Bruce Beutler is a Professor of  Immunology at the University of Texas Southwestern Center for the Genetics of Host Defense.
A lean "Supermodel" mouse type has revealed the potentially critical role played by a largely unknown gene that regulates metabolism, findings that could provide new insight into diseases ranging from diabetes to obesity, a new study by UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers suggests.

An international team of scientists, including researchers from the University of California, San Diego, report that the likely causative agent of Kawasaki disease (KD) in Japan is a windborne agent originating from a source in northeast China. KD is a mysterious childhood ailment that can permanently damage coronary arteries.


The left images show the brain during concentrative meditation, while images to the right show the brain during nondirective meditation.
Mindfulness. Zen. Acem. Meditation drumming. Chakra. Buddhist and transcendental meditation. There are countless ways of meditating, but the purpose behind them all remains basically the same: more peace, less stress, better concentration, greater self-awareness and better processing of thoughts and feelings.

A new study carried out by researchers at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham), the Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces (Germany), the Free University of Berlin (Germany), UC San Diego, and Shinshu University (Japan) has identified a novel molecule that prevents T-cells from orchestrating asthma brought on by allergens. The findings, published on May 12 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), show promise for a new potent therapeutic agent to treat asthma, a chronic disease affecting more than 25 million Americans.

Using frozen stool from healthy, unrelated donors was safe and effective in treating patients with serious, relapsing diarrhea caused by Clostridium difficile, according to a new pilot study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases and available online. Known as fecal microbiota transplantation, the treatment was equally effective whether given via a colonoscope or a nasogastric tube. The findings suggest approaches that may make this promising treatment more readily available to patients.


This shows Hadza women roasting tubers.
The gut microbiota is responsible for many aspects of human health and nutrition, but most studies have focused on "western" populations. An international collaboration of researchers, including researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, has for the first time analysed the gut microbiota of a modern hunter-gatherer community, the Hadza of Tanzania. The results of this work show that Hadza harbour a unique microbial profile with features yet unseen in any other human group, supporting the notion that Hadza gut bacteria play an essential role in adaptation to a foraging subsistence pattern. The study further shows how the intestinal flora may have helped our ancestors adapt and survive during the Paleolithic

Scientists found that the molecule, called microRNA 135b, is a vital 'worker' employed by several important cancer genes to drive the growth of bowel cancers.

Four young men who have been paralyzed for years achieved groundbreaking progress — moving their legs — as a result of epidural electrical stimulation of the spinal cord, an international team of life scientists reports today in the medical journal Brain.

The St. Jude Children's Research Hospital-Washington University Pediatric Cancer Genome Project has identified new mutations in pediatric brain tumors known as high-grade gliomas (HGGs), which most often occur in the youngest patients. The research appears today as an advance online publication in the scientific journal Nature Genetics.

The St. Jude Children's Research Hospital—Washington University Pediatric Cancer Genome Project found mutations in the tumor suppressor gene TP53 in 90 percent of osteosarcomas, suggesting the alteration plays a key role early in development of the bone cancer. The research was published today online ahead of print in the journal Cell Reports.

It's not a hair-brained idea: A new research report appearing in the April 2014 issue of The FASEB Journal explains why people with a rare balding condition called "atrichia with papular lesions" lose their hair, and it identifies a strategy for reversing this hair loss. Specifically the report shows for the first time that the "human hairless gene" imparts an essential role in hair biology by regulating a subset of other hair genes. This newly discovered molecular function likely explains why mutations in the hairless gene contribute to the pathogenesis of atrichia with papular lesions. In addition, this gene also has also been shown to function as a tumor suppressor gene in the skin, raising hope for developing new approaches in the treatment of skin disorders and/or some cancers.

The team of Julia Bandow, who heads the RUB's Junior Research Group Microbial Antibiotic Research, has been studying the MP196 peptide as a representative of a group of very small positively charged peptides that consist of some four to ten amino acids. Earlier studies had shown that MP196 is efficient against various bacteria, including particularly problematic multi-resistant pathogens that frequently cause sepsis. How MP196 kills bacteria remained unclear. However, in order for a new substance to be approved as a drug, its mechanism of action has to be fully understood.

In response to drug-resistant "superbugs" that send millions of people to hospitals around the world, scientists are building tiny, "molecular drill bits" that kill bacteria by bursting through their protective cell walls. They presented some of the latest developments on these drill bits, better known to scientists as antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), at the 247th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world's largest scientific society.


This is a modeled representation of an inhibitory molecule (yellow) in a "pocket " of the HSP90 protein of the parasite (pink).
The malaria parasite is particularly pernicious since it is built to develop resistance to treatments. The lack of new therapeutic approaches also contributes to the persistence of this global scourge. A study led by Didier Picard, professor at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, describes a new class of molecules targeting the two problems at the same time. Using ultra sophisticated computerised modelling tools, the researchers were successful in identifying a type of candidate molecules toxic for the pathogen, but not for the infected human red blood cells. The study, led in collaboration with researchers from the Geneva-Lausanne School of Pharmacy (EPGL) and the University of Basel, has been published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.

Melbourne scientists are a step closer to creating a new drug to stop a heart attack in its tracks and reduce the damage caused, without any side effects.

A short-term study found that oral glucosamine supplementation is not associated with a lessening of knee cartilage deterioration among individuals with chronic knee pain. Findings published in Arthritis & Rheumatology, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) journal, indicate that glucosamine does not decrease pain or improve knee bone marrow lesions—more commonly known as bone bruises and thought to be a source of pain in those with osteoarthritis (OA).

Researchers have debated for more than two decades the likely impacts, if any, of global warming on the worldwide incidence of malaria, a mosquito-borne disease that infects more than 300 million people each year.

As human beings, we expend a great deal of time, money, and energy in the pursuit of happiness. From exotic travel to simply spending time with our grandchildren, the things that make us happy change as we age. A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research explores the role of age on the happiness we receive from both the ordinary and the extraordinary experiences in our lives.

Many people suffer from chronic inflammation because their immune systems overreact to 'self' tissue. Sydney scientists believe that a small molecule known as Interleukin 21 is a promising therapeutic target in such cases.

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