Health News

Wednesday, May 7, 2014 - 06:24

Chromosomal abnormalities that result in birth defects and genetic disorders like Down syndrome remain a significant health burden in the United States and throughout the world, with some current prenatal screening procedures invasive and a potential risk to mother and unborn child.

 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014 - 14:58

Rice University scientists have designed a tunable virus that works like a safe deposit box. It takes two keys to open it and release its therapeutic cargo. The Rice lab of bioengineer Junghae Suh has developed an adeno-associated virus (AAV) that unlocks only in the presence of two selected proteases, enzymes that cut up other proteins for disposal. Because certain proteases are elevated at tumor sites, the viruses can be designed to target and destroy the cancer cells.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014 - 11:03

George Washington University (GW) researcher David Mendelowitz, Ph.D., was recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience for his research on how heart rate increases in response to alertness in the brain. Specifically, Mendelowitz looked at the interactions between neurons that fire upon increased attention and anxiety and neurons that control heart rate to discover the “why,” “how,” and “where to next” behind this phenomenon.

 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014 - 10:34

A collaborative discovery involving Kansas State University researchers may lead to the first universal treatment for dystonia, a neurological disorder that affects nearly half a million Americans. Michal Zolkiewski, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics at Kansas State University, and Jeffrey Brodsky at the University at Pittsburgh co-led a study that focused on a mutated protein associated with early onset torsion dystonia, or EOTD, the most severe type of dystonia that typically affects adolescents before the age of 20. Dystonia causes involuntary and sustained muscle contractions that can lead to paralysis and abnormal postures.

 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014 - 06:36

Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), Harvard Medical School (HMS), the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and University of Chicago report findings demonstrating how genetic variations among healthy, young individuals can influence immune cell function. Many of those variants are also genetic risk factors for common diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis later in life, offering new insight into disease pathology.

 

Monday, May 5, 2014 - 11:16

Liver cancer survival rates could be improved if more people with cirrhosis are screened for tumors using inexpensive ultrasound scans and blood tests, according to a review by doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center. The meta-analysis of 47 studies involving more than 15,000 patients found that the three-year survival rate was much higher among patients who received liver cancer screening— 51 percent for patients who were screened compared to 28 percent of unscreened patients. The review also found that cirrhosis patients who were screened for liver cancer were more likely to receive curative treatment rather than palliative, or end-of-life, care.