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November 2005

November 9

Drug Cuts Deaths after Heart Attack
Taking a blood-thinning drug in addition to aspirin daily after a heart attack significantly reduced the risk of death, follow-up heart attacks and strokes, according to a six-year study of nearly 46,000 patients in China. Researchers found that the drug, clopidogrel, increased overall survival by 9 percent.

Flu Chip May Help Combat Future Epidemics, Pandemics Boulder CO (SPX) Nov 08, 2005
A novel "Flu Chip" developed at the University of Colorado at Boulder that can determine the genetic signatures of specific influenza strains from patient samples within hours may help world health officials combat coming epidemics and pandemics.

Malaria Vaccine Proves Effective in Clinical Trial
A new vaccine stimulated human immune cells to recognize and kill malaria parasites in a recent clinical trial. The vaccine proved effective in both infected human blood samples and mice whose immune systems had been modified to mimic that of humans.

The Land of Milk and Money
The first drug from a transgenic animal may be nearing approval.

September 2005

September 20

Exercise Helps Reduce Pain In Old Age
People who exercise regularly experience 25% less muscle and joint pain in their old age than people who are less active.

Chicken Eggs Made to Produce Human Antibodies
For the past 50 years or so, chicken eggs have played a vital role in producing the flu vaccine. Now scientists report another application for the breakfast staple: manufacturing fully functional human monoclonal antibodies, molecules that mimic the immune system to fight specific invaders.

Gene defects plague stem-cell lines
Cancerous mutations threaten therapeutic future for cells.

Mouse stem cells heal sheep hearts
Future therapy for heart attacks gets a boost.

Breakthrough In Micro-device Fabrication Combines Biology And Synthetic Chemistry
Nanostructured micro-devices may be mass produced at a lower cost, and with a wider variety of shapes and compositions than ever before, for dramatic improvements in device performance.

Large-scale Computer Simulations Reveal New Insights Into Antibiotic Resistance
Large-scale computer simulations have pinpointed a tiny change in molecular structure that could account for drug resistance in Streptomices pneumoniae, the organism that causes childhood pneumonia.

August 2005

August 2

One Hit Of Crystal Meth Causes Birth Defects, Affects Fetuses At All Stages Of Development
A single prenatal dose of methamphetamine -- commonly known as speed -- may be enough to cause long-term neurodevelopmental problems in babies.

Multiple Genetic 'Flavors' May Explain Autism
In a pair of studies, the researchers identify and characterize a number of mutations in the gene that regulate brain levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in breathing, digestion, sleep, appetite, blood vessel constriction, mood and impulsivity. About 25 percent of people with autism have elevated levels of serotonin in their blood.

Gene Found In 90 Percent Of Breast Cancers May Be Cancer Vaccine Target
A gene that appears to help regulate normal embryonic development is found at high levels in virtually all forms of breast cancer, according to a new study led by Laszlo Radvanyi, Ph.D.

Combination Hormone/Vaccine Therapy For Prostate Cancer May Benefit Patients Whose Disease Returns
A new study finds that a cancer vaccine combined with hormone-deprivation therapy can help patients with recurrence of prostate cancer. 

New Method Shows It Is Possible To Grow Bone For Grafts Within A Patient's Body
An international team of biomedical engineers has demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to grow healthy new bone reliably in one part of the body and use it to repair damaged bone at a different location. The research, which is based on a dramatic departure from the current practice in tissue engineering, is described in a paper titled "In vivo engineering of organs: The bone bioreactor" published online by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Studies Reveal How Plague Disables Immune System, And How To Exploit The Process To Make A Vaccine
Two studies by researchers at the University of Chicago show how the bacteria that cause the plague manage to outsmart the immune system and how, by slightly altering one of the microbe's tools

Chronic Sinus Infection Thought To Be Tissue Issue, Mayo Clinic Scientists Show It's Snot
Mayo Clinic researchers have found that the cause of chronic sinus infections lies in the nasal mucus -- the snot -- not in the nasal and sinus tissue targeted by standard

Immune System's Distress Signal Tells Bacteria When To Strike Back
The human opportunistic pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, has broken the immune system's code, report researchers from the University of Chicago, enabling the bacteria to recognize when its host is most vulnerable and to launch an attack before the weakened host can muster its defenses.

Carbon Monoxide: Poison Gas Or Anti-inflammatory Drug?
Carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas that kills thousands of Americans every year, could turn out to be a life-saver for patients recovering from organ transplants, strokes or heart attacks.

July 2005

July 20

Faulty gene linked to obesity and diabetes.  

Fundamental Discovery About The Fracture Of Human Bone: It's All In The 'Glue'
A startling discovery about the properties of human bone has been made by scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The scientists describe their results -- finding a sort of "glue" in human bone -- in the cover story of the August issue of the international scientific journal, Nature Materials.

Alzheimer's symptoms reversed in mice 
Switching off protein improves lab animals' memories.

Parkinson's Treatment Linked to Compulsive Gambling
Researchers have identified a strange side effect to a treatment for Parkinson's disease: excessive gambling. Some patients taking medications known as dopamine agonists developed the problem within three months of starting treatment, even though they had previously gambled only occasionally or never at all.

Protein Tells Flowers When Spring Starts
The bursting blooms of many types of flowers herald the onset of spring. New research is helping scientists unravel the cellular signaling that prompts the plants to blossom after their winter slumber. The action of one protein that responds to daylight apparently starts a chain reaction that allows flowering to commence.

Living In The Dead Sea Moffett Field CA (SPX) Jul 18, 2005
Over the years, a number of Weizmann Institute scientists have addressed the question of how molecules essential to life, such as proteins, have adapted to function in extreme environments.

Discovering An Ecosystem Beneath A Collapsed Antarctic Ice Shelf Washington DC (SPX) Jul 19, 2005
The chance discovery of a vast ecosystem beneath the collapsed Larsen Ice Shelf will allow scientists to explore the uncharted life below Antarctica's floating ice shelves and further probe the origins of life in extreme environments.

July 6

New Movement in Parkinson's
So far researchers and clinicians have found no way to slow, stop or prevent Parkinson's disease. Although treatments do exist--including drugs and deep-brain stimulation--these therapies alleviate symptoms, not causes. In recent years, however, several promising developments have occurred. Such findings are feeding optimism that fresh angles of attack can be identified.

The Future of Stem Cells
Stem cells promise fantastic therapies but also raise profound questions. This special report--in collaboration with the Financial Times--provides an essential guide to the pivotal scientific, business and political issues.

Agricultural Antibiotic Use Contributes To 'Super-bugs' In Humans
A paper published in the open access journal PLoS Medicine discusses evidence suggesting that antibiotic use in agriculture has contributed to antibiotic resistance in the pathogenic bacteria.

May 2005

May 30

Breakthrough In Stem Cell Research
Australian researchers from the University of New South Wales have developed three clones of cells from existing human embryonic stem cells. The breakthrough could lead to new treatments for diabetes, Parkinson's disease and spinal cord injury. 

While On Trail Of Dioxin, Scientists Pinpoint Cancer Target Of Green Tea
Green tea appears to protect against cancer by affecting a "promiscuous" protein that pharmaceutical experts are already targeting in an effort to develop a new drug to stop the disease.

What's Really Making You Sick? Plant Pathologists Offer The Science Behind Sick Building Syndrome
Science-based identification of mold and other causes of Sick Building Syndrome may improve its management, say plant pathologists with The American Phytopathological Society.

Gene Keeps Neural Cells On Correct Developmental Path
HHMI researchers report details from a new study that may be one of the first to track a set of genes from stem cell to differentiated neuron. The research reveals fundamental details of how stem cells retain developmental plasticity.

Ageing cells may lead to clogged arteries
US team helps explain why even healthy eaters get heart disease.

New Study Links Colic, Maternal Depression To Family Problems
Some families with new babies face excessive infant crying, or colic. And some new mothers go through maternal post-partum depression (PPD) following childbirth.

May 16

Silencing a Key Cancer Gene. MONDAY, May 9 (HealthDay News)
Scientists say they've developed a method of inhibiting a mutant gene found in nearly a third of human tumors.

Insulin itself may spark Type I diabetes
The hormone becomes the target of friendly fire from the immune system, new studies show - the discovery may lead to preventative treatments.

Mouse Research Bolsters Controversial Theory of Aging
Aging is a process we humans tend to fight every step of the way. The results of a mouse study underscore the potential of antioxidants as a weapon in that battle: animals genetically modified to produce more antioxidant enzymes lived longer than control animals did. They also exhibited fewer age-related health problems overall.

April 2005

April 11

The Alternative Genome
Contrary to the old "one gene, one protein" axiom, complex organisms coax more flexibility from their DNA by having small numbers of genes do the work of many. 

Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy
Scientists have begun blurring the line between human and animal by producing chimeras—a hybrid creature that's part human, part animal.

Crippling a single protein combats arthritis
Drugs that target a cartilage enzyme could treat joint decay.

Leafy Letdown
Eating vegetables seems to do little in warding off cancer. 

Bionic suit offers wearers super-strength
The motor-driven exoskeleton offers its wearer freedom of movement and power - it may help those with disabilities to walk or lift heavy objects.

Human blood cells coaxed to produce insulin
The treatment returned blood sugar levels to normal in mice - it may mean humans with diabetes could be cured with their own cells.

Genetic patch treats 'bubble-boy' disease
Targeting sequences may prove key to successful gene medicine.

Once-Daily Asthma Inhaler Approved
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Schering-Plough's once-daily asthma inhaler Asmanex (mometasone furoate).

Zinc Hones Teens' Thinking Skills
Zinc may give your teenager a mental edge. Researchers found that adding the mineral to the diets of middle schoolers led to improvements in their memories and attention spans.

New Protein Treatment Could Curb Cat Allergies
Allergies can cause some would-be cat lovers to avoid having feline friends. Now researchers have engineered a protein that could be used as a treatment to block cat allergies.

March 2005

March 29

Schiavo Dilemma: Brain Death vs. Physical Life.

Is RNA inheritance possible?
Researchers find plant clues to a non-DNA pathway for genetic transmission (Laura M Hrastar)

Rogue weeds defy rules of genetics
Some plants appear to be inheriting genes that their parents did not possess - conventional wisdom says that should be impossible.

Key Enzyme Is Secreted By Heart Mast Cells -- Weill Cornell Discovery Opens Door To New Cardiovascular Therapies (March 28, 2005)
Weill Medical College of Cornell University researchers have made the startling discovery that renin -- a kidney-secreted enzyme crucial to blood pressure regulation -- is also synthesized and secreted by mast cells within the heart.

Widening Waistlines Predict Diabetes in Men.

Protein Packages Found To Activate Genes; May Be What Regulates Development And Disease
It's all in the packaging. How nature wraps and tags genes determines if and when they become active, according to researchers from Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.). They did the largest, most detailed study to date of the protein structure that surrounds the human genome.

Women get extra dose of X-chromosome genes
Data may help to explain differences between women and men.

DNA gets a fake fifth base
Artificial sequences could one day answer questions about evolution.

March 8

HIV Protein's Protean Prowess Revealed
HIV is a consummate trickster. Availed of a human body, it can thrive for years on end, foiling the immune system's attempts to squelch it. All the while, it continues to infect host cells. Scientists have recognized for some time that a single protein on the virus's outer membrane known as gp120 is responsible for much of this chicanery. New research is yielding fresh insights into how the protein operates.

New retroviruses jump from monkeys to humans
The discovery of two viruses in bushmeat hunters suggests the species jump - which happened with HIV - may not be such a rare phenomenon.

Paste for Teeth Repairs Cavities: March 1, 2005
A team of Japanese dentists has invented a paste of synthetic enamel that seamlessly heals small cavities, according to a paper in the latest journal Nature.

February 2005

February 21

Alive! The race to create life from scratch: What are the ingredients needed to create life? Meet the people who claim they are about to find out.
YOU might think Norman Packard is playing God. Or you might see him as the ultimate entrepreneur. As founder and CEO of Venice-based company ProtoLife, Packard is one of the leaders of an ambitious project that has in its sights the lofty goal of life itself. His team is attempting what no one else has done before: to create a new form of living being from non-living chemicals in the lab.

Dose of spirituality has healthful effect
A variety of studies suggest that emotional happiness, including the kind often found among members of spiritual and religious communities, bolsters the immune system against the flu, colds, and other illnesses (The Boston Globe)

Bigger brains aren’t always better.

Potatoes Deliver Hepatitis Vaccine in Human Trials.

Gene therapy is first deafness 'cure'
The procedure caused the regrowth of crucial inner-ear hair cells in guinea pigs, raising hopes that it may one day work in people.

How old cells can regain youth
Researchers find a youthful environment invigorates regeneration in old tissue (Laura M Hrastar)

January 2005

January 23

New Insights Into Fat's Effect on the Body TUESDAY, Jan. 18 (HealthDayNews)
Scientists have identified a gene called lipin that regulates how your body produces and uses fat. The researchers say lipin may offer a new drug target for controlling obesity, diabetes and other weight-related health problems. Their research with mice appears in the January issue of Cell Metabolism.

Protective Protein May Hold Key To Halting Progression Of Neurological Diseases
Patients who suffer from neurological diseases such as Huntington's disease, Parkinson's, Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS) and Alzheimer's disease have dramatically different symptoms. To doctors and researchers, however, how brain cells die in these diseases actually is quite similar.

Professor's Anatomy Web Quiz Garners Quarter-million-plus Hits (January 19, 2005)
A simple, instructional Web site in the department of biology is reaching far beyond its intended use as a study aid.