Health & Medicine

Category: Health & Medicine

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.

Scientists have for the first time sequenced an ancient RNA genome – of a barley virus once believed to be only 150 years old - pushing its origin back at least 2,000 years and revealing how intense farming at the time of the Crusades contributed to its spread.

A recent prospective study published in Reproductive BioMedicine Online comparing conventional IVF with a novel simplified laboratory method of culturing embryos suggested that fertilization and implantation rates were similar for the simplified system when compared with those reported by conventional IVF programs. Sixteen healthy babies have already been born with this new method. According to the results of this study, IVF may be offered at a more reasonable price and made available to a larger part of the world population. Other quality studies are needed to determine the reduction in cost and the prospect of different patient groups using this simplified approach.


Hebrew University of Jerusalem scientist Daphne Atlas is developing molecules to reduce Alzheimer's and dementia risk in diabetic patients.
Researchers at the Hebrew university of Jerusalem have created a molecule that could potentially lower diabetic patients' higher risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College have added to the growing body of evidence that multiple sclerosis may be triggered by a toxin produced by common foodborne bacteria. The presented their research at the 2014 ASM Biodefense and Emerging Diseases Research Meeting.

New research from David Westaway, PhD, of the University of Alberta and Jiri Safar, PhD, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has uncovered a quality control mechanism in brain cells that may help keep deadly neurological diseases in check for months or years.

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine have found that dysfunction in a single gene in mice causes fasting hyperglycemia, one of the major symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Their findings were reported online in the journal Diabetes.

A new study from Uppsala University, Sweden, shows that one night of sleep deprivation increases morning blood concentrations of NSE and S-100B in healthy young men. These molecules are typically found in the brain. Thus, their rise in blood after sleep loss may indicate that a lack of snoozing might be conducive to a loss of brain tissue. The findings are published in the journal SLEEP.


This is from the McGill University and The Douglas Mental Health Centre study
Research has suggested that a particular gene in the brain's reward system contributes to overeating and obesity in adults. This same variant has now been linked to childhood obesity and tasty food choices, particularly for girls, according to a new study by Dr. Patricia Silveira and Prof. Michael Meaney of McGill University and Dr. Robert Levitan of the University of Toronto.


Here are three scanning electron micrographs of laser-irradiated turkey cartilage, recorded from different perspectives and with different magnification.
It was the day after Thanksgiving in 1981, and like most others across the nation, Rangaswamy "Sri" Srinivasan, a researcher at IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center in New York, had brought some turkey with him to work. The difference between Srinivasan and everyone else was that the scientist had no plans to eat the leftovers.

American and European studies prove that students use prescription medication or drugs to enhance their cognitive performance. Researchers from the universities of Zurich and Basel examined whether Swiss students have also experimented with neuroenhancement and which substances they take by conducting a survey of 6,725 students with an average age of 23 at the two universities and ETH Zurich.

A study published this week in PLOS Medicine reveals profound systemic dysregulation of the immune response induced by RSV infection in young children and suggest that molecular markers might be able to predict disease severity.

Researchers from the Biological clues of the invasive and metastatic phenotype group of the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) led by Isabel Fabregat have discovered the relationship between the TGFb signalling pathways and CXCR4 in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) . The cytokine TGFb is dependent of CXCR4 to induce tumor cell migratory ability.


This is an image of a right knee after a full dissection of the anterolateral ligament.
Two knee surgeons at University Hospitals Leuven have discovered a previously unknown ligament in the human knee. This ligament appears to play an important role in patients with anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears.

For the first time in a large study sample, the decline in brain function in normal aging is conclusively shown to be influenced by genes, say researchers from the Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio and Yale University.

A patient in a seemingly vegetative state, unable to move or speak, showed signs of attentive awareness that had not been detected before, a new study reveals. This patient was able to focus on words signalled by the experimenters as auditory targets as successfully as healthy individuals. If this ability can be developed consistently in certain patients who are vegetative, it could open the door to specialised devices in the future and enable them to interact with the outside world.

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