Biosingularity

Archive for September 2009

Women who do not have enough vitamin D before menopause may have an elevated risk of developing high blood pressure years later, new research suggests.

via Does Vitamin D Protect Against High BP?.

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Reprogrammed adult cells could be used to reconstruct diabetes in the laboratory.

Technology Review: Modeling Diabetes with Stem Cells.

An experimental drug appears to dramatically and rapidly shrink deadly skin cancer tumors, researchers report.

New Drug Shrinks Skin Cancer Tumors.

Studies have demonstrated that poor sleep and susceptibility to colds go hand in hand, and scientists think it could be a reflection of the role sleep plays in maintaining the body’s defenses.

Really? – The Claim – Lack of Sleep Increases the Risk of Catching a Cold. – Question – NYTimes.com.

In a study that will provide comfort to chocoholics everywhere, researchers in Sweden have found evidence that people who eat chocolate have increased survival rates after a heart attack — and it may be that the more they eat, the better.

In One Study, a Heart Benefit for Chocolate – NYTimes.com.

ating a Mediterranean-style diet may help people with type 2 diabetes keep their disease under control without drugs better than following a typical low-fat diet.

Mediterranean Diet Helps Control Diabetes.

The American Heart Association today released new recommendations on limiting intake of added dietary sugars.

American Heart Association Recommends Limiting Added Sugars.

A research group from the Rovira i Virgili University (URV) in Tarragona has developed a biosensor that can immediately detect very low levels of Salmonella typhi, the bacteria that causes typhoid fever. The technique uses carbon nanotubes and synthetic DNA fragments that activate an electric signal when they link up with the pathogen.

Within the system with carbon nanotubes, the aptamers (red) bind to the bacteria (green), which activates a measurable electrical signal that reveals the presence of the pathogen.  Credit: Chemometrics Research Group, and Nanosensors Qualimetrics of the URV

Within the system with carbon nanotubes, the aptamers (red) bind to the bacteria (green), which activates a measurable electrical signal that reveals the presence of the pathogen. Credit: Chemometrics Research Group, and Nanosensors Qualimetrics of the URV

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Thighs Less Than 23 Inches Around May Be Risky, Maybe Because of Too Little Muscle

Too-Thin Thighs Unhealthy? .

Globs of human fat removed during liposuction conceal versatile cells that are more quickly and easily coaxed to become induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, than are the skin cells most often used by researchers, according to a new study from Stanford’s School of Medicine. Read the rest of this entry »

A study that tracked genetic mutations through the human equivalent of about 5,000 years has demonstrated for the first time that oxidative DNA damage is a primary cause of the process of mutation – the fuel for evolution but also a leading cause of aging, cancer and other diseases.

The research, just published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also indicated that natural selection is affecting the parts of the genome that don’t contain genes – supposedly “junk” DNA that increasingly appears to have important roles in life processes that are very poorly understood. Read the rest of this entry »

Excessive late-night eating has long had a bad reputation, with studies showing it leads to weight gain.

Now, in a new study, researchers from Northwestern University have found that eating at the “wrong” time leads to more than twice as much weight gain, even when the overall calories consumed are the same as those eaten at appropriate times.

Eat Late, Put on Weight?.

In laying down the neural circuitry of the developing brain, billions of neurons must first migrate to their correct destinations and then form complex synaptic connections with their new neighbors.

When the process goes awry, neurodevelopmental disorders such as mental retardation, dyslexia or autism may result. Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine have now discovered that establishing the neural wiring necessary to function normally depends on the ability of neurons to make finger-like projections of their membrane called filopodia.

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With all the hype about beneficial antioxidants in everything from face cream to cereal bars, you’d think their targets—oxygen radicals—must be up to no good. It’s true, the buildup of oxygen radicals and other reactive oxygen species (ROS) in cells contributes to aging and possibly to diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s.

But in moderate amounts, ROS also help keep cells healthy by controlling cell division, movement and other normal biological processes. Read the rest of this entry »

In a biological rendition of fiction’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, researchers from the Mayo Clinic campus in Florida and Harvard Medical School have found that a protein thought to protect against cancer development can actually spur the spread of tumors.

The scientists, reporting in the Sept. 3 issue of Molecular and Cellular Biology, found that FOXO3a, a transcription factor that regulates gene expression, becomes active when growing cancer cells begin to starve. Their research suggests that this protein then turns on molecular switches that allow the cancer cells to invade surrounding tissues. Read the rest of this entry »

A team led by scientists from The Scripps Research Institute has discovered a genetic cause of progressive hearing loss. The findings will help scientists better understand the nature of age-related decline in hearing and may lead to new therapies to prevent or treat the condition. Read the rest of this entry »

University of Michigan researchers have identified a gene that acts as a master switch to control obesity in mice. When the switch is turned off, even high-fat-diet mice remain thin. Read the rest of this entry »

Leather handbags and chunks of red meat: when wildlife specialists find these items in shipping containers, luggage, or local markets, they can now use newly published genetic sequences known as “DNA barcodes” to pinpoint the species of origin. Experts hope that this simple technique will track the harvesting of bushmeat (or wildlife hunted largely in Asia, South and Central America, and Africa) and will ultimately crack down on the widespread and growing international trade in bushmeat, a market estimated to be worth as much as $15 billion in 2008. According to a paper published in the early online edition of Conservation Genetics, barcodes can ably and quickly distinguish among a large number of commercially traded species, so that a handbag is identified as caiman or Nile crocodile, and the meat as duiker or mangabey. Read the rest of this entry »

People over 60 who consume moderate amounts of alcohol have a reduced risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, according to a large review of studies.

Vital Signs – Moderate Drinking Over 60 May Lower Dementia Risk – NYTimes.com.

Advanced Skin, Brain Cancers Improve With Experimental Hedgehog Drug

Hedgehog Drug Helps Late-Stage Cancers.

Study: Drinkers Appear to Get More Exercise Than Non-Drinkers, but Longer Workouts Don’t Outweigh Health Woes of Heavy Drinking

Alcohol a Motivator for Exercise?.

Researchers at the National Cancer Institute have identified a gene that may play a role in breast cancer metastasis to the brain, according to a report in Molecular Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. Read the rest of this entry »

The circadian clock, a 24-hour metabolic rhythm governing sleep cycles and other physiological processes, has long been known to play a central role in regulating the daily activities of living organisms. Its detailed biochemical mechanisms, however, have largely remained a mystery.

Read the rest of this entry »


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