Health News

Thursday, May 8, 2014 - 08:10

The largest metagenomic search for antibiotic resistance genes in the DNA sequences of microbial communities from around the globe has found that bacteria carrying those vexing genes turn up everywhere in nature that scientists look for them. The findings reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on May 8 add to evidence showing just how common and abundant those resistance genes really are in natural environments.

 

Thursday, May 8, 2014 - 06:47

Polar bears adapted to life in cold Arctic climates in part by relying on a high-fat diet mainly consisting of seals and their blubber. In a study published by Cell Press May 8th in the journal Cell, researchers discovered that mutations in genes involved in cardiovascular function allowed polar bears to rapidly evolve the ability to consume a fatty diet without developing high rates of heart disease. Moreover, the study revealed that polar bears diverged from brown bears less than 500,000 years ago—much more recently than estimates based on previous genomic data.

 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014 - 16:00

The Black Death was a devastating medieval epidemic, killing an estimated 30-50% of the European population between the years 1347-1351. Given the extremely high mortality associated with the Black Death, it might be assumed that the disease was indiscriminate in its targeting of individuals. However, a new study on skeletal remains from London cemeteries in the periods before and after the Black Death suggests otherwise.

 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014 - 06:41

Eczema caused by defects in the skin could reduce the risk of developing skin cancer, according to new research by King’s College London. The immune response triggered by eczema could help prevent tumour formation by shedding potentially cancerous cells from the skin.

 

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.