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Category: Health & Medicine

The mosquito-borne virus chikungunya may lead to severe brain infection and even death in infants and people over 65, according to a new study that reviewed a chikungunya outbreak on Reunion Island off the coast of Madagascar in 2005-2006. The study is published in the November 25, 2015, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Many cases have occurred in the United States in people who acquired the virus while traveling, but the first locally transmitted case in the U.S. occurred in Florida in July.

Researchers at The Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have discovered a key mechanism by which radiation treatment (radiotherapy) fails to completely destroy tumors. And, in the journal Nature Immunology, they offer a novel solution to promote successful radiotherapy for the millions of cancer patients who are treated with it.

Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have discovered a new bat SARS-like virus that can jump directly from its bat hosts to humans without mutation. However, researchers point out that if the SARS-like virus did jump, it is still unclear whether it could spread from human to human.

Scientists at the Institut Pasteur in Cambodia, the Institut Pasteur in Paris and the CNRS provided proof that people infected by dengue virus but showing no clinical symptoms can actually infect mosquitoes that bite them. It appears that these asymptomatic people - who, together with mildly symptomatic patients, represent three-quarters of all dengue infections - could be involved in the transmission chain of the virus. These findings, published in the journal PNAS, on the 9 of November, question established theories concerning the epidemiology of dengue.

Genetic mutations in a gene called REST have been shown to cause Wilms tumour, a rare kidney cancer that occurs in children.

The continued marketing and use of experimental stem cell-based interventions inside and outside the United States is problematic and unsustainable, according to a new paper by science policy and bioethics experts at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy and Wake Forest University. Disillusioned patients, tired of waiting for the cures they were promised, are seeking unproven stem cell-based treatments that are causing more harm than good, said the experts, who argue that public policy is needed to reduce this form of "stem cell tourism."

Most people who think they're allergic to penicillin have been told so by a doctor after they've had a reaction to the drug. And the majority, even though they've never been allergy tested, never take penicillin again.

From left is, 3-D printing liquid, 3-D-printed piece from liquid resin and liquid resin piece treated with ultraviolet light.
Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have found parts produced by some commercial 3D printers are toxic to certain fish embryos. Their results have raised questions about how to dispose of parts and waste materials from 3D printers.

More than 40 percent of older patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) can remain in long-term cancer remission through a modified, less aggressive approach to donor stem cell transplantation, according to the results of a phase 2 study led by oncologists at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center -- Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC -- James).

Metastatic melanoma tumors. Left exhibits low or absent expression of RASA2 and reduced survival, typical of about 35 percent of patients.
Of the hundreds of genes that can be mutated in a single case of melanoma, only a handful may be true "drivers" of cancer. In research that appeared today in Nature Genetics, a Weizmann Institute of Science team has now revealed one of the drivers of a particularly deadly subset of melanomas - one that is still seeing a rise in new cases. This gene is a newly identified member of a group of genes called tumor suppressor genes. It is mutated in some 5.4% of melanomas. Furthermore, its expression was found to be lost in over 30% of human melanomas; and this loss, according to the finding, was associated with reduced patient survival. This discovery might open new doors to understanding how this cancer grows and spreads, and it may lead in the future to new directions in treating this disease.

In a new study from the University of Montreal, infants remained calm twice as long when listening to a song.
In a new study from the University of Montreal, infants remained calm twice as long when listening to a song, which they didn't even know, as they did when listening to speech. "Many studies have looked at how singing and speech affect infants' attention, but we wanted to know how they affect a baby's emotional self-control," explained Professor Isabelle Peretz, of the university's Center for Research on Brain, Music and Language. "Emotional self-control is obviously not developed in infants, and we believe singing helps babies and children develop this capacity." The study, recently published in Infancy, involved thirty healthy infants aged between six and nine months.

As the days get colder and shorter, we carve jack-o-lanterns and drink pumpkin spice lattes. But one fall tradition can actually keep you healthy: getting your flu shot. Like all vaccines, the flu shot trains the immune system to fend off infection, but some need help to produce the full effect. Today, in ACS Central Science, researchers report a new way to help improve vaccines using molecules that more effectively direct the immune system.

The photo shows a Bronze Age human skull from the Yamnaya culture painted with red ochre.
Plague infections were common in humans 3,300 years earlier than the historical record suggests, reports a study published October 22 in Cell. By sequencing the DNA of tooth samples from Bronze Age individuals from Europe and Asia, the researchers discovered evidence of plague infections roughly 4,800 years ago. But it was at least another thousand years until the bacterium that causes the disease, Yersinia pestis, acquired key changes in virulence genes, allowing it to spread via fleas and evade the host immune system.

Vaccines help prevent disease by inducing immunological memory, the ability of immune cells to remember and respond more quickly when re-exposed to the same pathogen. While certain phases of the pathway are well understood, little is known about the role of helper T cells, a "master orchestrator" of the immune response that send signals to activate the immune system.

Researchers who combed YouTube for videos regarding peripheral neuropathy, or nerve damage that causes weakness, numbness, and pain in the hands and feet, found 200 videos, but only about half of them were from healthcare professionals, mostly chiropractors. Alternative medicine was cited most frequently among the treatment discussions, followed by devices and pharmacological treatments. Only a minority of treatment discussions were based on recommendations by the American Academy of Neurology.

A suspected case of sexual transmission of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Liberia was confirmed using genomic analysis, thanks to in-country laboratory capabilities established by U.S. Army scientists in collaboration with the Liberian Institute for Biomedical Research (LIBR).

Sezary syndrome (SS), an aggressive leukemia of mature T cells, is more complicated at a molecular level than ever suspected, according to investigators from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. With a poor prognosis and limited options for targeted therapies, fighting SS needs new treatment approaches. The team's results uncover a previously unknown, complex genomic landscape of this cancer, which can be used to design new personalized drug regimens for SS patients based on their unique genetic makeup.

The Dublin Brain Bank, established in 2008, provides neuroscience research tissue to different research groups in Ireland and further afield.
Scientists at Trinity College Dublin have shed light on a fundamental mechanism underlying the development of Alzheimer's disease, which could lead to new forms of therapy for those living with the condition.

A new study by University of California, Berkeley, researchers establishes for the first time a link between infection with the bovine leukemia virus and human breast cancer.

This is a scanning electron micrograph of a human T lymphocyte from the immune system of a healthy donor.
Sometimes when the immune system makes small mistakes, the body amplifies its response in a big way: Editing errors in the DNA of developing T and B cells can cause blood cancers. Now, researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania have shown that when the enzyme key to cutting and pasting segments of DNA hits so-called "off-target" spots on a chromosome, the development of immune cells can lead to cancer in animal models. Knowing the exact nature of these editing errors will be helpful in designing therapeutic enzymes based on these molecular scissors. The Penn team's findings appear online this week in Cell Reports ahead of the print issue.

An illustration shows a molecule, MM-206, synthesized at Rice University and where it binds to a site on the coiled coil of a STAT3 protein.
A protein domain once considered of little importance may be key to helping patients who are fighting acute myeloid leukemia (AML) avoid a relapse.

Researchers involved in an international collaboration across six institutions, including the University of Copenhagen and the National Aquarium of Denmark (Den Blå Planet), have successfully identified the exact composition of sea snake venom, which makes the future development of synthetic antivenoms more realistic. Currently, sea snake anitvenom costs nearly USD 2000, yet these new findings could result in a future production of synthetic antivenoms for as little as USD 10-100.

The trillions of bacteria in your digestive system play a major role in your metabolism, and they're linked to your risks of type 2 diabetes, obesity and the related conditions that make up "metabolic syndrome," which has become a global health epidemic. Humans and animal models with diabetes and obesity have different gut bacteria than those who don't, and when scientists transfer microbiota from obese humans or animals to germ-free animals, the recipients are more likely to become obese or diabetic.

The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), in partnership with the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) and Janssen Biotech, Inc. (Janssen), announced today that Theresa Alenghat, VMD, PhD, from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, OH, was awarded with the 2015 AGA-CCFA-Janssen Research Award in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Epigenetics Research.

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are a concern for the health and well-being of both humans and farm animals. One of the most common and costly diseases faced by the dairy industry is bovine mastitis, a potentially fatal bacterial inflammation of the mammary gland (IMI). Widespread use of antibiotics to treat the disease is often blamed for generating antibiotic-resistant bacteria. However, researchers investigating staphylococcal populations responsible for causing mastitis in dairy cows in South Africa found that humans carried more antibiotic-resistant staphylococci than the farm animals with which they worked. The research is published in the Journal of Dairy Science®

By teasing apart the structure of an enzyme vital to the infectious behavior of the parasites that cause toxoplasmosis and malaria, Whitehead Institute scientists have identified a potentially 'drugable' target that could prevent parasites from entering and exiting host cells.

Over a 10 year period, the time that babies receive genetic testing after being diagnosed with diabetes has fallen from over four years to under two months. Pinpointing the exact genetic causes of sometimes rare forms of diabetes is revolutionising healthcare for these patients.

This illustration shows how the protein receptor CD68 acts as a gateway for a malaria parasite (sporozoite) to enter the liver through a Kupffer cell, as revealed by Cha et...
Scientists uncover a port of liver entry for malaria parasites in a report published in The Journal of Experimental Medicine. If these results hold up in humans, drugs that target this entry protein might help prevent the spread of disease.

Cancer can be caused solely by protein imbalances within cells, a study of ovarian cancer has found.

Hoon Sunwoo holds a sample of the antibody supplement he developed with colleague Jeong Sim.
University of Alberta researchers may have found a way to help people with celiac disease enjoy the wide variety of foods they normally have to shun.

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