Health & Medicine

Category: Health & Medicine

Health & MedicineFebruary 24, 2015 04:27 AM

When diagnosing a case of Ebola, time is of the essence. However, existing diagnostic tests take at least a day or two to yield results, preventing health care workers from quickly determining whether a patient needs immediate treatment and isolation.

A large Australian study of more than 200,000 people has provided independent confirmation that up to two in every three smokers will die from their habit if they continue to smoke.

Single-letter genetic variations within parts of the genome once dismissed as 'junk DNA' can increase cancer risk through wormhole-like effects on far-off genes, new research shows.

Scientists at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) have discovered a promising new approach to treat multiple sclerosis (MS). In a new study, they've identified a previously unknown change in the spinal cord related to MS, and a way to alter this change to reduce the nerve cell damage that occurs with the disease.


Herbert W. Virgin, MD, PhD (left), and Thad Stappenbeck, MD, PhD, have shown that mothers can pass a trait to their offspring through the DNA of bacteria.
It's a firmly established fact straight from Biology 101: Traits such as eye color and height are passed from one generation to the next through the parents' DNA.

Genomic profiling of cancer of an unknown primary site (CUP) found at least one clinically relevant genomic alteration in most of the samples tested, an indication of potential to influence and personalize therapy for this type of cancer, which responds poorly to nontargeted chemotherapy treatments, according to a study published online by JAMA Oncology.

Physicians at Henry Ford Hospital successfully suctioned a cancerous tumor from a major vein in a patient with metastatic kidney cancer, clearing the way for him to undergo a minimally-invasive kidney removal. This allowed him to participate in a clinical trial using genetic material from his tumor to produce a vaccine to help fight his metastatic disease.

Scientists protected 75 percent of rhesus monkeys infected with Ebola virus that were treated with a compound targeting the expression of VP24, a single Ebola virus protein--suggesting that VP24 may hold the key to developing effective therapies for the deadly disease.

IVF only has around a 25% success rate, largely due to the high rates of failure when embryos try to implant. Some women suffer from recurrent implantation failure, where the embryo is transferred but fails to attach to the endometrium - the mucus membrane of the uterine wall. This is a significant cause of the failure of IVF as most embryo losses occur at this early stage.

Eczema wreaks havoc on its sufferers' lives with health problems that are more than skin deep. Adults who have eczema -- a chronic itchy skin disease that often starts in childhood -- have higher rates of smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages and obesity and are less likely to exercise than adults who don't have the disease, reports a new Northwestern Medicine® study.

Interbreeding of two malaria mosquito species in the West African country of Mali has resulted in a "super mosquito" hybrid that's resistant to insecticide-treated bed nets.


Glioblastoma is a notoriously difficult-to-treat brain cancer with an often poor prognosis. Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute scientists are developing innovative cross-disciplinary therapies to treat the cancer.
At the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, three scientists are planning to create a virus capable of destroying brain cancer.

A new study identifies a gene that is especially active in aggressive subtypes of breast cancer. The research suggests that an overactive BCL11A gene drives triple-negative breast cancer development and progression.


Dr. Jalees Rehman is an associate professor of medicine and pharmacology, UIC College of Medicine.
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have discovered a novel molecular mechanism that tightens the bonds between the cells that line blood vessels to form a leak-proof barrier. The mechanism presents a potential new target to treat acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), an often fatal condition in which fluid leaks out of blood vessels into the lungs.


This is an image of a breast tumor identified as Epi-Luminal B of poor prognosis.
Breast cancer is the most common in women. One in nine will suffer breast cancer over their lifetime. Progress in prevention and early detection, and the use of chemotherapy after surgery (adjuvant chemotherapy), have achieved significantly increase survival in this disease in the last ten years, but much remains to be done.

Most genes are inherited as two working copies, one from the mother and one from the father. However, in a few instances, a gene is imprinted, which means that one copy is silenced. This is called genomic imprinting. If the active copy is mutated, then disease results, even though the silenced gene copy may be normal.

People affected by a common inherited form of autism could be helped by a drug that is being tested as a treatment for cancer.

Researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Harvard Medical School, and Harvard-affiliated hospitals have uncovered an easily detectable, "pre-malignant" state in the blood that significantly increases the likelihood that an individual will go on to develop blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, or myelodysplastic syndrome. The discovery, which was made independently by two research teams affiliated with the Broad and partner institutions, opens new avenues for research aimed at early detection and prevention of blood cancer. Findings from both teams appear this week in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Melbourne researchers have identified why some people with coeliac disease show an immune response after eating oats.

Organs can become significantly damaged during transplantation, but a new article published in the BJS (British Journal of Surgery) offers a protective strategy that could keep them safe and allow them to function optimally after the procedure.

Chronic myeloid leukemia develops when a gene mutates and causes an enzyme to become hyperactive, causing blood-forming stem cells in the bone marrow to grow rapidly into abnormal cells. The enzyme, Abl-kinase, is a member of the "kinase" family of enzymes, which serve as an "on" or "off" switch for many functions in our cells. In chronic myeloid leukemia, the hyperactive Abl-kinase is targeted with drugs that bind to a specific part of the enzyme and block it, aiming to ultimately kill the fast-growing cancer cell. However, treatments are often limited by the fact that the cancer cells can adapt to resist drugs. EPFL scientists have identified an alternative part of Abl-kinase on which drugs can bind and act with a reduced risk of drug resistance. Their work is published in Nature Communications.

Scientists have demonstrated for the first time that a single-dose, needleless Ebola vaccine given to primates through their noses and lungs protected them against infection for at least 21 weeks. A vaccine that doesn't require an injection could help prevent passing along infections through unintentional pricks. They report the results of their study on macaques in the ACS journal Molecular Pharmaceutics.

Although gluten-free foods are trendy among the health-conscious, they are necessary for those with celiac disease. But gluten, the primary trigger for health problems in these patients, may not be the only culprit. Scientists are reporting in ACS' Journal of Proteome Research that people with the disease also have reactions to non-gluten wheat proteins. The results could help scientists better understand how the disease works and could have implications for how to treat it.

Fatih Uckun, Jianjun Cheng and their colleagues have taken the first steps towards developing a so-called "smart bomb" to attack the most common and deadly form of childhood cancer — called B-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

Some MRSA bugs in UK hospitals can be traced back to a type of bacteria found in farm animals, a study suggests.


A recent study at the University of Gothenburg sheds light on the mystery of the biological clock that governs fertility.
Researchers at the University of Gothenburg have identified the biological clock that governs female fertility. The discovery represents a major contribution to research aimed at finding medical approaches to treating infertility in women.

Glioma is a common name for serious brain tumours. Different types of glioma are usually diagnosed as separate diseases and have been considered to arise from different cell types in the brain. Now researchers at Uppsala University, together with American colleagues, have shown that one and the same cell of origin can give rise to different types of glioma. This is important for the basic understanding of how these tumours are formed and can contribute to the development of more efficient and specific glioma therapies. The results have been published in Journal of Neuroscience.

Scientists in Cambridge have found hidden signatures in the brains of people in a vegetative state, which point to networks that could support consciousness even when a patient appears to be unconscious and unresponsive. The study could help doctors identify patients who are aware despite being unable to communicate.

As medical personnel and public health officials are responding to the first reported cases of Ebola Virus in the United States, many of the safety and treatment procedures for treating the virus and preventing its spread are being reexamined. One of the tenets for minimizing the risk of spreading the disease has been a 21-day quarantine period for individuals who might have been exposed to the virus. But a new study by Charles Haas, PhD, a professor in Drexel's College of Engineering, suggests that 21 days might not be enough to completely prevent spread of the virus.

The discovery of a "maternal age effect" by a team of Penn State scientists that could be used to predict the accumulation of mitochondrial DNA mutations in maternal egg cells -- and the transmission of these mutations to children -- could provide valuable insights for genetic counseling. These mutations cause more than 200 diseases and contribute to others such as diabetes, cancer, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease. The study found greater rates of the mitochondrial DNA variants in children born to older mothers, as well as in the mothers themselves. The research will be published in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on October 13, 2014,

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