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Archives Of Research News Blog From Medicineworld.Org

July 29, 2007, 9:53 PM CT

Research links genetic mutations to lupus

Research links genetic mutations to lupus
A gene discovered by researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine has been associated with lupus and related autoimmune diseases. The finding, published in the current issue of Nature Genetics, is the latest in a series of revelations that shed new light on what goes wrong in human cells to cause the diseases.

This research is a huge leap toward understanding the cause of lupus and related autoimmune diseases, said Fred Perrino, Ph.D., a co-author on the paper and a professor of biochemistry at Wake Forest. There had been few clues before now.

Perrino, who discovered the gene in 1998, said he suspected it was involved in human disease, but it took a group of scientists from around the world collaborating to put the puzzle together.

Weve known that lupus was a complex disease, but now we have a specific protein and a particular cellular process that appears to be one of the causes, said Perrino. Were connecting the dots to understand the biology of whats going on with the disease.

In Nature Genetics, lead author Min Ae Lee-Kirsch, M.D., from the Technische Universitt Dresden in Dresden, Gera number of, and his colleagues report finding variations of the TREX1 gene discovered by Perrino in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. The.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source

July 25, 2007, 5:01 AM CT

Metabolic Defect In Liver That Can Lead To Obesity

Metabolic Defect In Liver That Can Lead To Obesity
Scientists at the Monell Chemical Senses Center have identified a genetically-transmitted metabolic defect that can lead to obesity in some individuals. The defect involves decreased production of liver enzymes needed to burn fat and may help to explain why some people become obese while others remain thin.

The global obesity epidemic is believed to be caused in part by the increased availability and intake of high calorie foods rich in fat and carbohydrates. These foods promote weight gain in humans and other animals, leading to a diet-induced obesity. The propensity to gain weight and become obese when consuming a high-fat diet is at least partially controlled by genes.

Results of this study help explain the interaction between genes and diet that underlies diet-induced obesity, comments senior author Mark Friedman. They also point to a way to identify individuals at risk for dietary obesity, perhaps even during childhood before the development of unhealthy eating habits.

The current study, reported in the recent issue of Metabolism, demonstrates that genetic susceptibility to diet-induced obesity is due to a reduced capacity to burn fat.

Fat is one of the fuels that the bodys cells burn to provide energy. This process, known as fat oxidation, takes place inside mitochondria, the cells power plants for generating energy.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

July 23, 2007, 5:22 PM CT

New joint replacement material

New joint replacement material
Image courtesy of
Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) surgeons have performed the first total hip replacement using a joint socket lined with a novel material invented at the MGH. An advance over first-generation highly crosslinked polyethylene, which was also developed at MGH and significantly reduced a serious complication of early hip implants, the new material may be applied in replacements for a wider variety of joints in a more diverse group of patients.

We think this material could be used for any joint in the body and in any implant design, even those demanding higher flexion and more mobility, says Orhun Muratoglu, PhD, co-director of the Harris Orthopdics Biomechanics and Biomaterials Laboratory (OBBL) at MGH, who developed the new material in collaboration with researchers at the Cambridge Polymer Group.

Total replacements for hips and other joints were developed in the late 1960s, but it soon became apparent that hip implants could start loosening about 5 years after surgery and would eventually fail completely. A team led by William Harris, MD, DSc, now director emeritus of the MGH OBBL, investigated this complication and observed that long-term friction of the implants head against the polyethylene-lined joint socket would break off small particles of polyethylene. The bodys immune system reacted against these foreign particles, eventually destroying adjacent bone tissue and causing the implant to loosen a condition called periprosthetic osteolysis.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

July 19, 2007, 10:34 PM CT

Genes Which Battle Hepatitis C

Genes Which Battle Hepatitis C
Joint research by Dr. Leonid Brodsky, of the Institute of Evolution of the University of Haifa, and Dr. Milton Taylor, of Indiana University, led to the discovery of a mathematical method which can identify which genes in our bodies conduct the battle against the various viruses that attack us. In their research, they identified 37 genes out of 22,000 possible genes which fight the hepatitis C virus.

"When we know which genes are responsible for fighting the viruses which attack our liver, we will be able to look for the medications which will activate these genes most favorably," said Dr. Brodsky. The team conducted clinical trials, supported by the Health National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), which included 400 patients at eight different centers in the United States. The results would be reported in the prestigious journal PLOS ONE.

The hepatitis C virus, found mostly among a number of patients who have had a blood transfusion or who share needles, attacks the liver and in extreme cases can cause cancer of the liver. At present, there is one well know medication, interferon, used to treat the virus; however, while some patients respond to the therapy with interferon, others do not. In this research, the clinical study was combined with the mathematical model developed by Dr. Brodsky. The study identified 37 genes which are key for patient response to therapy.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source

July 19, 2007, 10:24 PM CT

How Anaesthetics Work In The Brain

How Anaesthetics Work In The Brain
Image courtesy of Montefiore Professionals
An important clue to how anaesthetics work on the human body has been provided by the discovery of a molecular feature common to both the human brain and the great pond snail nervous system, researchers say today. Scientists hope that the discovery of what makes a particular protein in the brain sensitive to anaesthetics could lead to the development of new anaesthetics with fewer side effects.

The study focuses on a particular protein found in neurons in the brain, known as a potassium channel, which stabilises and regulates the voltage across the membrane of the neuron. Communication between the millions of neurons in the brain which is the basis of human consciousness and perception, including perception of pain - involves neurons sending nerve impulses to other neurons. In order for this to happen, the stabilising action of the potassium channel has to be overcome. Earlier studies on great pond snails by the same team identified that anaesthetics seemed to selectively enhance the regulating action of the potassium channel, preventing the neuron from firing at all meaning the neuron was effectively anaesthetised.

The new research has identified a specific amino acid in the potassium channel which, when mutated, blocks anaesthetic activation. Lead author, Biophysics Professor Nick Franks from Imperial College London, explains how this will allow the importance of the potassium channel in anaesthetic action to be established:.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source

July 19, 2007, 9:49 PM CT

Medication That Helps Obsessive-compulsive Disorder

Medication That Helps Obsessive-compulsive Disorder
Scientists at the University of Minnesota have observed that a drug originally developed to fight tuberculosis may help people with obsessive-compulsive disorder make more progress in treatment sessions.

Now they want to see if this drug could have a similar effect on people who want to quit smoking.

The research, led by Matt Kushner, Ph.D., was reported in the online edition of Biological Psychiatry, and will appear in an upcoming print edition. Kushners collaborators include Suck Won Kim, M.D., and Christopher Donahue, Ph.D.

The drug, D-Cycloserine, is believed to help accelerate extinction learning. On a basic level, people associate positive or negative feelings with various cues from the external world. Behavioral treatment attempts to help the person disassociate problematic reactions that are either positive (e.g., craving to use an addictive substance) or negative (e.g., fear of some catastrophic outcome) from the cues that trigger these feelings.

This offers another therapeutic approach where we can attempt to manipulate the memory process and the brains reward/punishment system so people can learn healthier responses to various cues, Kushner said.

For example, a person with OCD may have negative feelings before or after touching a doorknob. In psychotherapy, the person would work on disassociating the negative feeling with the external cue of seeing or touching a doorknob.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

July 18, 2007, 7:31 PM CT

Novel Hydrogels For Repairing, Regenerating Human Tissue

Novel Hydrogels For Repairing, Regenerating Human Tissue
Close-up of the UD hydrogels.
University of Delaware researchers have invented a novel biomaterial with surprising antibacterial properties that can be injected as a low-viscosity gel into a wound where it rigidifies nearly on contact--opening the door to the possibility of delivering a targeted payload of cells and antibiotics to repair the damaged tissue.

Regenerating healthy tissue in a cancer-ridden liver, healing a biopsy site and providing wounded soldiers in battle with pain-killing, infection-fighting medical therapy are among the myriad uses the researchers foresee for the new technology.

The patented invention by Joel Schneider, UD associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and Darrin Pochan, associate professor of materials science, and their research groups marks a major step forward in the development of hydrogels for medical applications.

Formulating hydrogels as delivery vehicles for cells extends the uses of these biopolymers far beyond soft-contact lenses into an intriguing realm once viewed as the domain of science fiction, including growing bones and organs to replace those that are diseased or injured.

"This is an area that will be exploding over the next decade," Pochan said.

Hydrogels are formed from networks of super-absorbent, chain-like polymers. Eventhough they are not soluble in water, they soak up large amounts of it, and their porous structure allows nutrients and cell wastes to pass right through them.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source

July 17, 2007, 10:13 PM CT

Food-cancer Drug Interactions

Food-cancer Drug Interactions
Tykerb tablets
Alexandria, Va. A commentary in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO) urges scientists to explore an intriguing approach to reduce the dose, and therefore the cost, of oral targeted cancer therapies. The commentary, by Mark Ratain, MD and Ezra Cohen, MD of the University of Chicago, examines recent pharmacologic research which observed that taking the targeted treatment lapatinib (Tykerb) with food significantly increased the concentration of the drug in the body. The commentary suggests that taking lapatinib with food instead of on an empty stomach, as currently indicated, could cut the needed dose by at least 60 percent, reducing the cost accordingly. The authors stress that formal studies are needed to determine the effectiveness of this approach. The article is being published online July 16.

The commentary focuses on a study presented at the March 2007 meeting of the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, which observed that lapatinib is more readily absorbed by the body when taken with food, especially a high-fat meal. As a result, 500 mg of lapatinib taken with food may be as effective as taking the currently approved 1,250 mg without food.

Lapatinib was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in March of this year for women with advanced HER2-positive breast cancer. The FDA approved the 1,250 mg dose of lapatinib based on a large phase III clinical trial demonstrating its effectiveness and safety at that dose without food. It is taken as five 250 mg tablets on an empty stomach and costs $2,900 per month.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

July 16, 2007, 10:15 PM CT

Chemical In Curry For Alzheimer's

Chemical In Curry For Alzheimer's
FINDINGS: Scientists isolated bisdemethoxycurcumin, the active ingredient of curcuminoids a natural substance found in turmeric root that may help boost the immune system in clearing amyloid beta, a peptide that forms the plaques found in Alzheimers disease. Using blood samples from Alzheimers disease patients, scientists observed that bisdemethoxycurcumin boosted immune cells called macrophages to clear amyloid beta. In addition, scientists identified the immune genes linked to this activity.

IMPACT: The study provides more insight into the role of the immune system in Alzheimers disease and points to a new therapy approach. Scientists say that it may be possible to test a patients immune response with a blood sample in order to individualize therapy. The genes involved in the process, called MGAT III and Toll-like receptors, are also responsible for many other key functions in the immune system. The results also suggest a new drug development approach for the disease that differs from the amyloid-beta vaccine. The new approach relies on the innate immune system, which is present at birth rather than on antibodies produced by B cells, which is a later developed part of the active immune system.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source

July 15, 2007, 9:33 PM CT

Selenium Supplements And Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Selenium Supplements And Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Selenium, an antioxidant included in multivitamin tablets thought to have a possible protective effect against the development of type 2 diabetes, may actually increase the risk of developing the disease, an analysis by scientists at the University at Buffalo has shown.

Results of a randomized clinical trial using 200 micrograms of selenium alone showed that 55 percent more cases of type 2 diabetes developed among participants randomized to receive selenium than in those who received a placebo pill.

Results will appear in print in the August 2007 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine and were posted online on July 10.

Self-reported diagnosis of type 2 diabetes was a secondary endpoint in a clinical trial designed to test the benefit of selenium supplementation in prevention of non-melanoma skin cancer in areas in the Eastern U.S. where selenium levels are lower than the national average. Selenium is a trace mineral that is an essential component of proteins involved in antioxidant activity.

Saverio Stranges, M.D., Ph.D., first author on the diabetes prevention study, conducted the analysis while at UB, in cooperation with colleagues from Roswell Park Cancer Institute. He now is affiliated with the Clinical Sciences Research Institute, Warwick Medical School, Coventry, UK.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

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Did you know?
Scientists at Yale have brought to light a mechanism that regulates the way an internal organelle, the Golgi apparatus, duplicates as cells prepare to divide, according to a report in Science Express.Graham Warren, professor of cell biology, and colleagues at Yale study Trypanosoma brucei, the parasite that causes Sleeping Sickness. Like a number of parasites, it is exceptionally streamlined and has only one of each internal organelle, making it ideal for studying processes of more complex organisms that have a number of copies in each cell. Archives of research news blog

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