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Category: Health & Medicine

Early exposure to nicotine can trigger widespread genetic changes that affect formation of connections between brain cells long after birth, a new Yale-led study has found. The finding helps explains why maternal smoking has been linked to behavioral changes such as attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, addiction and conduct disorder.

The National Myelodysplastic Syndromes Natural History Study (The National MDS Study) is underway, the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group and its collaborators announced today. This new study, funded by the National Institutes of Health's National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), and performed in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute (NCI), will collect detailed information and biological samples from 2000 adults with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and 500 more patients receiving care for a persistent low red blood cell count (anemia) that cannot be explained. Its purpose is to build a national resource to be used by scientists in future research.

A change in diet can improve the lives of those diagnosed with a common, but hard-to-treat gut disorder.

Some of the final cases of Ebola in Sierra Leone were transmitted via unconventional routes, such as semen and breastmilk, according to the largest analysis to date of the tail-end of the epidemic.


In some cancers, including chondroblastoma and a rare form of childhood sarcoma, a mutation in histone H3 reduces global levels of methylation (dark areas) in tumor cells
A mutation that affects the proteins that package DNA--without changing the DNA itself--can cause a rare form of cancer, according to new findings in this week's Science from researchers at The Rockefeller University.


A cryo-electron microscopy image of the Zika virus structure.
Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis (WashU) have established the first models of Zika virus transmission from a pregnant mouse to her fetus. The infected mice, described May 11 in Cell, demonstrate Zika virus invasion and damage to the placenta, and then infection of the mouse fetus, leading to many of the same conditions observed in human infants. The new mouse models can also be used as a tool to develop treatments or vaccines.


This photo demonstrates the difference in size in Zika virus-infected vs. uninfected fetal mouse brains.
Mouse fetuses injected with the Asian Zika virus strain and carried to term within their pregnant mothers display the characteristic features of microcephaly, researchers in China report May 11 in Cell Stem Cell. As expected, the virus infected the neural progenitor cells, and infected brains reveal expression of genes related to viral entry, altered immune response, and cell death. The authors say this is direct evidence that Zika infection causes microcephaly in a mammalian animal model.


People abuse #Imodium as an opiate substitute. It is dangerous and potentially deadly. Annals of Emergency Medicine.
WASHINGTON --T he over-the-counter anti-diarrhea medication Imodium®, or its key ingredient loperamide, is increasingly being abused by people attempting to self-treat their opioid addiction, with sometime fatal results. Two case studies outlining the phenomenon were published online Friday in Annals of Emergency Medicine ("Loperamide Abuse Associated with Cardiac Dysrhythmia and Death").

Autism and cancer share more than 40 risk genes, suggesting that common mechanisms underlying the functions of some of these genes could conceivably be leveraged to develop therapies not just for cancer but for autism as well, an extensive assessment by researchers with the UC Davis MIND Institute and Comprehensive Cancer Center has found.


Optical microscopy showing ooscysts of Cryptosporidium sp (in red).
An outbreak of an intestinal parasite common in the tropics, known as Cryptosporidium, has been identified for the first time in the Arctic. The discovery was made in Nunavik, Quebec, by a team from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC), in collaboration with the Nunavik Department of Public Health, Institut National de Santé Publique du Québec and Health Canada. The discovery, which was documented in the journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, could have long-term implications for the health of children in Nunavik and Nunavut's communities.


Researcher Juan Carlos Saiz from the Department of Biotechnology of the Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria in Madrid studying the Zika virus.
The constant emergence of viral outbreaks has become a permanent threat to human health. Last year, Zika virus infected thousands of people in the Americas. It is also associated to several cases of neurological disorders and has raised worldwide public health alerts. Now due to the urgency, researchers are detailing the characteristics of the virus to find solutions.

An international team of including the Lomonosov Moscow State University researchers discovered which enzyme enables Escherichia coli bacterium (E. coli) to breathe. The study is published in the Scientific Reports.

Myopia, also known as short-sightedness or near-sightedness, is the most common disorder affecting the eyesight and it is on the increase. The causes are both genetic and environmental. The Consortium for Refractive Error and Myopia (CREAM) has now made important progress towards understanding the mechanisms behind the development of the condition. This international group of researchers includes scientists involved in the Gutenberg Health Study of the University Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). The team has uncovered nine new genetic risk factors which work together with education-related behavior as the most important environmental factor causing myopia to generate the disorder. The results of the study "Genome-wide joint meta-analyses of genetic main effects and interaction with education level identify additional loci for refractive error: The CREAM Consortium" have recently been published in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

Targeted missiles that can enter cancer cells and deliver lethal cell toxins without harming surrounding healthy tissue. This has been a long-standing vision in cancer research, but it has proved difficult to accomplish. A research group at Lund University in Sweden has now taken some crucial steps in this direction.

Global travel and climate change increase the risk for epidemics of the mosquito-borne dengue virus, and potentially other climate-sensitive infectious diseases, spreading into temperate areas. This according to a doctoral dissertation at Umeå University in Sweden.

Specific combinations of gut bacteria produce substances that affect myelin content and cause social avoidance behaviors in mice, according to a study conducted at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published today in the medical journal eLife. This research suggests that targeting intestinal bacteria, or their metabolites, could be one way to treat debilitating psychiatric disorders and demyelinating diseases, like multiple sclerosis.

Children's genetic risks for obesity may be reduced by interventions that strengthen family communication and help children manage their emotions and feelings of satiety, according to a new review of research on the problem.


This is a phylogenetic tree constructed from nucleotide data from 41 viral complete ORF sequences of ZIKV strains
An analysis comparing the individual differences between over 40 strains of Zika virus (30 isolated from humans, 10 from mosquitoes, and 1 from monkeys) has identified significant changes in both amino acid and nucleotide sequences during the past half-century. The data, published April 15 in Cell Host & Microbe, support a strong divergence between the Asian and African lineages as well as human and mosquito isolates of the virus, and will likely be helpful as researchers flush out how a relatively unknown pathogen led to the current outbreak.

A study by researchers from Inserm, the Paris Public Hospitals (Bichat Hospital, AP-HP), Aix-Marseille University, and the National Reference Centre for Arboviruses confirms that the ZIKA virus can be transmitted sexually. Their analyses have shown 100% genetic correlation between the form of the virus present in a man who contracted the virus in Brazil and that of a woman who had never travelled in the epidemic area, but who had sexual relations with him. These results are published in The New England Journal of medicine.


Antibiotic genes are increasing and are just a plane ride away.
Around the world, antibiotic use and resistance is increasing while the discovery of new antibiotics has nearly halted.

Despite having policies in place to prevent infections, staff at outpatient care facilities fail to follow recommendations for hand hygiene 37 percent of the time, and for safe injection practices 33 percent of the time, according to a study published in the April issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

A University of Colorado Cancer study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA) describes a new tool that interprets the raw data of whole exome tumor sequencing and then matches the cancer's unique genetics to FDA-approved targeted treatments.

New research by Dr. Sylvie Lesage, scientist at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital (CIUSSS- East Montreal) and associate research Professor at University of Montreal, just published in the prestigious international scientific journal Nature Genetics, has discovered that a common genetic defect in beta cells may underlie both known forms of diabetes.

The cost of treating hepatitis C virus (HCV) could be cut up to 50 percent if mathematical models are used to predict when patients can safely stop taking direct-acting antiviral (DAA) medication, according to a new study by researchers at Loyola University Health System and Loyola University Chicago.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists have discovered how pieces of bacterial cell wall cross the placenta and enter developing neurons, altering fetal brain anatomy and cognitive functioning after birth. The study appears today in the scientific journal Cell Host & Microbe.

Cancer cells are notorious for their ability to divide uncontrollably and generate hordes of new tumor cells. Most of the fuel consumed by these rapidly proliferating cells is glucose, a type of sugar.

Understanding the scale and range of neurological disease associated with Zika virus infection is an urgent priority, warn researchers from the University of Liverpool's Institute of Infection and Global Health.

A research team led by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists has discovered details of how the abnormal breakage and rearrangement of chromosomes in white blood cells triggers a particularly aggressive form of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Such leukemias are cancers of white blood cells, in which genetic mutations trigger overproduction of immature cells, called lymphoblasts.

A concise "Five things to know about.... Zika virus infection" article for physicians highlights key points about this newly emerged virus in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal)

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.

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