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Category: Health & Medicine

One of the most common genetic disorders is a condition called neurofibromatosis, which causes brown spots on the skin and benign tumors on the brain, spinal cord and other parts of the nervous system.


How the host shapes the microbiota is
unclear.
Gut microbes are well known to contribute to health and disease, but what has been less clear is how the host controls gut microbes. A study published January 13 in Cell Host & Microbe now reveals that mice and humans produce small molecules (microRNAs) from their GI tract, which are shed in feces, to regulate the composition of gut microbes and thereby protect against intestinal diseases such as colitis.

Individuals addicted to cocaine may have difficulty in controlling their addiction because of a previously-unknown 'back door' into the brain, circumventing their self-control, suggests a new study led by the University of Cambridge.

Physicians treating patients with metastatic melanoma -- one of the most aggressive forms of skin cancer -- may soon have a superior tool in their efforts to closely track the disease.

A study recently published in the American Journal of Managed Care found that more than half of primary care providers reported that they made what they considered unnecessary referrals to a specialist because patients requested it. Many physicians said they yielded to patient requests for brand-name drug prescriptions when cheaper generics were available. This study was conducted by Sapna Kaul, assistant professor of health economics in The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston department of preventive medicine and community health, in collaboration with researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.


Pediatric/hematologist Dr. Sherron Jackson of the Medical University of South Carolina examines a patient with sickle cell disease.
"It was a privilege to be a part of this well-designed and executed study. Russell Ware presented the results at the ASH meeting, and 18 years ago, almost to the day, I presented the STOP study results to the same meeting," said Robert J. Adams, M.D., study principal investigator, MUSC professor of neurosciences and director of the South Carolina Stroke Center of Economic Excellence. "That study showed how effective transcranial Doppler risk stratification, followed by regular red cell transfusions in those with high risk blood flow, can be in the prevention of stroke in these children. This became known as the STOP protocol and its wide adoption has been associated with a sharp drop in ischemic strokes in children with sickle cell disease. The drawback of indefinite transfusions however, was a limitation to wider use of the STOP protocol. This study shows that some children can be moved from transfusion to medication after at least a year. The combined understanding and evidence from these two studies brings us closer to achieving the National Institutes' goal of a 'stroke free generation' in sickle cell disease."


Australian scientists have for the first time revealed how malaria parasites cause an inflammatory reaction that sabotages our body's ability to protect itself against the disease.
Australian scientists have for the first time revealed how malaria parasites cause an inflammatory reaction that sabotages our body's ability to protect itself against the disease.

The largest study of survivors of the largest recorded outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease found they commonly reported complications such as vision, hearing and joint pain problems up to months after they were discharged from an Ebola treatment facility.

Biologists at UC San Diego have found that a method they developed to identify and characterize new antibiotics can be employed to screen natural products quickly for compounds capable of controlling antibiotic resistant bacteria.


Researchers create world's first ibuprofen patch.
Researchers at the University of Warwick have worked with Coventry-based Medherant, a Warwick spinout company, to produce and patent the World's first ever ibuprofen patch delivering the drug directly through skin to exactly where it is needed at a consistent dose rate.

The stonefish is one of the world's ugliest and deadliest fish. You'll know if you step on one; the fish protects itself using 13 razor sharp venom filled spines capable of slicing through reef shoes. The resulting pain is crippling, can last for days and may result in amputation of a limb or death.


This is Amy Rowat in her UCLA laboratory.
Scientists have previously established that many types of cancer cells are squishier and more pliable than normal, healthy cells. Now, researchers led by UCLA's Amy Rowat have developed a screening method that utilizes this information to classify many more different types of cancer cells and that could ultimately lead to better treatments for cancer, diabetes, malaria and other diseases.

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.

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