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First Direct Recording of Mirror Neurons in Human Brain

Story Summary: Further, they showed that specific subsets of mirror cells increased their activity during the execution of an action but decreased their activity when an action was only being observed. The researchers drew their data directly from the brains of 21 patients who were being treated at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center for intractable epilepsy. The patients had been implanted with intracranial depth electrodes to identify seizure foci for potential surgical treatment. Electrode location was based solely on clinical criteria; the researchers, with the patients consent, used the same electrodes to piggyback their research. In the activity phase, the subjects were asked to perform an action based on a visually presented word. The researchers found that the neurons fired or showed their greatest activity both when the individual performed a task and when they observed a task. This new finding demonstrates that mirror neurons are located in more areas of the human brain than previously thought. Given that different brain areas implement different functions — in this case, the medial frontal cortex for movement selection and the medial temporal cortex for memory — the finding also suggests that mirror neurons provide a complex and rich mirroring of the actions of other people. Given that different brain areas implement different functions — in this case, the medial frontal cortex for movement selection and the medial temporal cortex for memory — the finding also suggests that mirror neurons provide a complex and rich mirroring of the actions of other people….Read the Full Story

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  1. Scientists discover neurons that mirror the attention of others
  2. Neurons play Simon Says
  3. Human Brain Can Control Single Celebrity-Recognizing Neurons


Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

GEN reports on the promise of DNA vaccines

Story Summary: GEN reports on the promise of DNA vaccinesApril 19, 2010 Laboratory research and clinical studies are beginning to demonstrate that DNA vaccines can be as effective as traditional vaccines, reports Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN). A number of factors are driving the growth of the field, especially new approaches to electroporation, vaccine formulation, and vector design, according to the April 15 issue of GEN. A lot of development is focused on the creation of DNA vaccines for humans, says John Sterling, Editor in Chief of GEN. Many of the advances being made are due to the introduction of new technologies and improvements in older methodologies. For example, scientists at the Karolinska Institute and Tripep are working on a therapeutic vaccine for hepatitis C virus. Inovio Biomedical, in particular, has aggressively pursued development of a minimally invasive electroporation device. In addition, Althea Technologies has developed a high cell density fermentation and purification process for plasmid DNA products that reportedly provides plasmid yields in the range of 100-2,000 mg/L depending on plasmid size and bacterial strain. Protein Powder22 hours ago A biochemistry major said protein powder is bad for you but never gave the reasons, so I was disappointed in that. Water content of the human bodyApr 15, 2010 I was wondering how the total amount of water in a typical human varies by weight and sex. free associationApr 15, 2010 NootropicsApr 14, 2010 Hi, just wondering does anyone know anything about these? For those who dont know, theyre drugs (legal, they come under the category of suppliements) that are supposed to improve cognitive power,. More from Physics Forums – Medical Sciences56 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 Researchers have discovered a new disorder linked to heart problems that stems from a genetic defect in the protein glycogenin. In a worst case scenario, disruption of this proteins function can lead to cardiac arrest, which . . . In a worst case scenario, disruption of this proteins function can lead to cardiac arrest, which . . . 36 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 A substance found in breast milk can kill cancer cells, reveal studies carried out by researchers at Lund University and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden….Read the Full Story

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  1. Inovio Biomedical H1N1 Influenza DNA Vaccines Demonstrate 100% Responses Against Swine Flu in Vaccinated Pigs
  2. Immune-Boosting Vaccines Show Promise in Two Cancer Types – Bloomberg.com
  3. Brief shocks may deliver AIDS vaccines better


Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Scrubbing IDs Out of Medical Records for Genetic Studies

Story Summary: But if that asthmatic patient also had a broken arm as a teenager, the algorithm changes the medical code for a broken left forearm to a code that indicates only a broken bone. The team assumed a hacker might know a patients identity, some of their medical history and maybe some of the medical codes associated with that history. The technique stymied efforts to ID an individual based on that information, the researchers report. There is definitely a need to de-identify individuals, says Homer, who was part of a team that demonstrated two years ago that it is possible to trace a genetic signature back to an individual even when that persons DNA profile was buried in a pool of thousands. Establishing such links could help doctors understand, for example, why patients respond differently to certain drugs. See Also:Comments (2)Not a member?If youre not yet registered with Wired. com, join now so you can share your thoughts and opinions. Your username and password will be sent to the e-mail address you provided usHoliday Cars Car Rental– Search the lowest priceRental Car- On-Line Confirmation {150 Countries = 19000 Locations}Quick Confirm Next Day Rooms & Safely Pay Hotel Only On Check-out!This is re-inventing the wheel. Use of EHR data for genetic/pharma/epidemiology research is a special case of so-called secondary use….Read the Full Story

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  1. Research partnership will study how electronic medical records can address genetics of drug safety
  2. Electronic Health Records Arent Ready for Genetic Information
  3. Newswise Medical News | New Online Toolkit Aims to Standardize Measures, Protocols Scientists Use in Genetic Studies


Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

TAU Is Bioengineering Tissues As An Alternative To Animal Testing

Story Summary: A more efficient road to scientific researchBridging the worlds of biology and engineering, Prof. Gefen is now using adult rat stem cells- cells that can be stimulated to create skin, bone, fat and muscle tissue from an animal in a laboratory setting. When an experiment is over, not one animal life has been lost. The use of engineered tissues, says Prof. Gefen, may also be more scientifically efficient than using those from a living source. Our tools spare an enormous number of lives, Prof. Gefen says. He is also developing a new tool for researchers to investigate fat accumulation in cells (an important question for diabetesresearchers) and weight loss drugs. Another measures how much sensation is left in a diabetic limb. For all these approaches, Prof. Gefen has adopted tissue engineering methods to use fewer animals in his trials. Source: George HunkaAmerican Friends of Tel Aviv University Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional. Simply click the link below and select the follow option. When Your Cycle Becomes a Major HeadacheCathys gets as many as 12 to 15 headaches a month and they are all associated with her menstrual cycle. Migraines like hers tend to last longer and be more severe than other migraines….Read the Full Story

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  1. A lab rat — created in the lab
  2. Tel Aviv University Develops A Scaffold To Regenerate Lost Or Damaged Bones And Tissues
  3. Study Of White Blood Cell Response Has Future Implications For Cancer And Injury Treatment


Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Discovery Of Changes In Fetal Epigenetics Throughout Pregnancy May Help In Diagnosis And Prevention Of Complications

Story Summary: In healthy fetal development, one copy of these genes is normally active and the other copy is silent. The surprising results showed that more LOI occurred in the first trimester than at full term. Dr. Lee and her team concluded that genomic imprinting appears to be an ever-changing process in the placenta, meaning that pregnancy risks can change throughout the course of gestation. Previously, the medical community believed imprints remained static after 12 weeks. Now that we know the epigenetic make-up in the placenta changes during the course of a pregnancy, we can develop biomarkers to see if those pregnancies destined to develop preeclampsia or fetal growth restriction can be detected early enough in pregnancy to allow prevention of these diseases. An estimated 10 percent of pregnancies are complicated by fetal growth restriction, which increases the risk of stillbirth, cerebral palsy, feeding intolerance, and failure to thrive. More research is necessary to determine the impact of this discovery on potentially reducing the risk of other serious conditions like autism, cancer, and childhood obesity, said Dr. Lee. Contact Our News EditorsFor any corrections of factual information, or to contact the editors please use our feedback form….Read the Full Story

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  1. Patterns of cell proliferation and apoptosis by topographic region in normal Bos taurus vs. Bos indicus crossbreeds bovine placentae during pregnancy – 7thSpace Interactive
  2. Maternal Immune Response To Fetal Brain During Pregnancy A Key Factor In Some Autism
  3. Alcohol during pregnancy chemically alters fetal DNA


Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Anonymizing patient records for genomics

Story Summary: There is a huge push under way in the United States and elsewhere to create and exploit electronic medical records (see Clinical epidemiology: Archived answers). There are lots of different types of information that exist within medical records. In the past it has been shown that demographic information is readily linkable to public information that could lead to the identification of patients. That could allow someone such as a hospital employee to identify them, even if the patients name and other identifying information have been removed. To solve this problem, the new method allows researchers to set two parameters: the minimum number of patients () that should have the same set of codes, and a utility policy which specifies how codes should be linked in the anonymized data. If in the original data only Patient X has type 1 and only Patient Y has type 2, the system will anonymize the data by making both patients have the codes for both types. However, the data will still allow researchers to identify people with diabetes. If it is adopted, he says, researchers would have access to significantly greater amounts of data than they currently have. The paper addresses an important issue related to potential for re-identification from electronic medical record data used for genome-wide association studies, says Teri Manolio, director of the Office of Population Genomics at the NHGRI. She adds that the best insurance against unintended re-identification are the agreements that bind researchers to ethical use of the data. Genome wide association studies and whole-genome sequencing is by itself very sensitive data — with or without the electronic medical record data being anonymized, says Thomas Hudson, a member of the International Cancer Genome Consortium executive and president of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research in Toronto. Hudson plans to bring the new research to the attention of ethics and data-access groups of the International Cancer Genome Consortium. This is a hot issue, which we need to understand from multiple perspectives — informatics, legal, societal, ethical — that may differ in different parts of the world, he says. #10089Thank You,Public healthcare or not demographics and expectations will skyrocket in the decades to come. You need to be registered with Nature to leave a comment….Read the Full Story

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  1. Electronic medical records may accelerate genome-driven diagnoses and treatments
  2. Decoding leukemia patient genome leads scientists to mutations in other patients
  3. Electronic Health Records Arent Ready for Genetic Information


Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Scientists Find Gene Fault Behind Aggressive Ovarian Cancer

Story Summary: These results also show for the first time that these aggressive ovarian cancers have the highest known rate of TP53 mutations of any solid tumour. The TP53 gene codes for a protein called p53, which in normal cells is activated in response to cell damage and one of its functions is to order cells to die when DNA damage is beyond repair. Its critical that p53 functions normally to prevent genetic mistakes from accumulating in cells, which can lead to cancer. The p53 protein is missing or faulty in the majority of cancers. Dr Helen George, head of science information at Cancer Research UK, said: These really important laboratory findings could have a significant impact for ovarian cancer patients in the future. Cancer Research UK scientists co-discovered the p53 protein around 30 years ago. More than half of diagnosed cases of epithelial ovarian cancer are of the serous type 2. Please send any medical news or health news press releases to: These are the most read articles from this news category for the last 6 months: Discovery Of Switch That Turns On The Spread Of Cancer15 Feb 2010Reporting in Nature Cell Biology, researchers describe the discovery of a specific protein called disabled-2 (Dab2) that switches on the process that releases cancer cells from the original tumor and allows the cells to. Follow Our News On Twitter:Get the latest news for this category delivered straight to your Twitter account….Read the Full Story

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  1. Ovarian Cancer Risk: Scientists From University Of Hawaii At Manoa Find Genetic Marker
  2. Nanotech gene therapy kills ovarian cancer in mice
  3. MIT team targets ovarian cancer with nanoparticles


Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

New Acute Leukemia Treatment Target Offered By Vicious Circle

Story Summary: Our study suggests that the amount of KIT protein in cancercells is as important as its activity, and we discovered that the amount of the protein is controlled by a circular network of molecules that has many points of entry, says senior co-leader Dr. Ramiro Garzon, assistant professor of internal medicine and an AML specialist at the OSUCCC-James. These findings provide a strong rationale for the use and development of drugs that target the components of this network rather than focusing on the activity of KIT alone. Marcucci, Garzon, first author Shujun Liu, assistant professor of internal medicine, and their colleagues began this study by showing that patients with mutations in the KIT gene in their leukemic cells had the highest levels of the KIT protein in those cells, and that these patients also had the poorest survival. That normal balance is derailed when gene mutations or other genetic damage occurs in the network and promotes the overproduction of the KIT protein. Using a mouse model, the researchers showed that raising the amount of mutated KIT protein causes leukemia, and drugs that target the network lower the amount of that protein and drive the leukemia into remission. Funding from the National Cancer Institute, the Harry T. Mangurian Jr. Foundation Leukemia Research Fund, the Coleman Leukemia Research Foundation, the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Research Foundation, and the Deutsche Krebshilfe (Dr. Mildred Scheel Foundation for Cancer Research) supported this research. Other Ohio State researchers involved in this study were Lai-Chu Wu, Jiuxia Pang, Ramasamy Santhanam, Sebastian Schwind, Yue-Zhong Wu, Christopher Hickey, Jianhua Yu, Heiko Becker, Kati Maharry, Michael D. Radmacher, Chenglong Li, Susan P. Whitman, Anjali Mishra, Nicole Stauffer, Anna M. Eiring, Roger Briesewitz, Robert A. Baiocchi, Kenneth K. Chan, Michael A. Caligiuri, John C. Byrd, Carlo M. Croce, Clara D. Bloomfield and Danilo Perrotti. Follow Our News On Twitter:Get the latest news for this category delivered straight to your Twitter account. Simply click the link below and select the follow option. Monitoring and Adherence in CMLImatinib, or Gleevec, is a targeted anti-cancer drug that can keep chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) in check for most patients for many years. It is important for patients to take imatinib as prescribed by their doctor to fight the disease and to guard against resistance….Read the Full Story

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  1. Vicious circle offers new acute leukemia treatment target
  2. Terra med Alliance News In Kids, Genes May Affect Leukemia Treatment
  3. A miR boost enables acute leukemia cells to mature


Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Lab-animal battle reaches truce

Story Summary: Basic research using primates will now be allowed, for example, and animals will not have to be destroyed immediately after research procedures that cause moderate discomfort, as previous forms of the directive had decreed. It is a political document, a compromise text, says Stefan Treue, director of the German Primate Centre in Gottingen. But it could have been worse and we can live with it. The compromise that has been reached is something we can live with, agrees Kirsty Reid of the Brussels-based animal-welfare lobby group Eurogroup for Animals, adding that she still regrets the many exemptions to bans on several types of research. For example, it banned research on non-human primates unless it was directly applicable to the treatment of life-threatening or debilitating human conditions, thus blocking basic research, particularly on the brain. And in insisting that animals be destroyed after an experiment causing mild discomfort, it would have dramatically increased the number of animals used in research. Instead, he claims, the commission was exposed to the emotionally powerful influence of the well-organized animal-welfare and anti-vivisection lobby. But in 2009, research organizations swung into action to persuade parliament to be more sympathetic to their point of view. After a new parliament was elected last June, the animal-welfare lobby pounced on new members, convincing many to argue for further restrictions, says Julian Bocker, parliamentary assistant to directive rapporteur Elisabeth Jeggle. Id like to be able to convey just how hard we had to fight to maintain research-friendliness in the directive, says Bocker. The directive does ban some forms of research — those involving great apes or causing extreme and prolonged pain. The final draft of the directive also allows experiments on endangered species, such as the barn owl (), which is bred in captivity specifically for auditory research. Procedures for project applications and evaluations are more streamlined than in earlier drafts, and the bureaucratic burden should not increase for researchers from countries in which rules are already strict, such as Britain, Germany and France. Others maintain that an outright ban on some types of studies clashes with Europes constitutional duty to carry out research, as enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty, adopted in December 2009. You can be controversial, but please dont get personal or offensive and do keep it brief. Please log in or register as a new user. Please log in or register as a new user….Read the Full Story

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  1. Study To Focus On Mixing Human And Animal DNA
  2. Animal TB tracker to speed drug and vaccine studies
  3. Glowing protein in animal photosynthesis


Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

High Red Meat Consumption Linked to Colon Cancer

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Long-term high consumption of red and processed meat may increase the risk of cancer in the colon and rectum, a new study shows.

Dr. Michael J. Thun, with the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues followed 148,610 adults, average age 63 years, who completed questionnaires in 1982 and again between 1992 and 1993 regarding their diet, exercise, medical history and other lifestyle habits.

By 2001, there were 1667 new cases of colorectal cancer, according to a report in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association.

The participants who consistently ate the most red meat and processed meats had a 50 percent higher rate colorectal cancer than those who ate the least red or processed meat.

Prolonged high consumption of poultry and fish was marginally associated with about a 25 percent lower risk of colon cancer, but not rectal cancer. Read more...

Ayurtox for Body Detoxification

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Structure of inner-ear protein is key to both hearing and inherited deafness

Story Summary: The ciliatip link apparatus in the hair cell is a clever arrangement of spring-like and string-like protein molecules, yet their atomic structures and mechanical properties are not well known. Furthermore, they found that many mutations to cadherin-23 cause inherited deafness by weakening the ability of calcium to hold the protein together. Our findings help explain a whole class of inherited deafness, says Corey. Through crystallization, the researchers found that, like other members of the cadherin family, this protein contains three critical calcium ions between each of its 27 bead-like segments. In addition, a novel calcium-ion binding site was discovered at the very end of cadherin-23. To quantify exactly how strong these calcium-ion bonds were, the scientists loaded the proteins structure into a supercomputer, rendered its virtual likeness, then stretched the structure. They found that overall the protein acted more like a wire cable than a spring, as previously thought. With simulations, we could test both structures elasticity and reactions to force. The researchers found that some mutations reduced the ability of the protein to bind calcium ions. This research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, U. S. Department of Energy, Klingenstein Fellowship AwardCITATION: Neuron,April 15, 2010, Vol. 1Structural Determinants of Cadherin-23 Function in Hearing and Deafness Marcos Sotomayer (1, 3, 4), Wilhelm A. Weihofen (2, 4), Rachelle Gaudet (2), David P. Corey (1, 3) (1) Department of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, 220 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 (2) Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University, 52 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 (3) Howard Hughes Medical Institute, 4000 Jones Bridge Road, Chevy Chase, MD 20815 (4) Co-first authorsHarvard Medical School has more than 7,500 full-time faculty working in 11 academic departments located at the Schools Boston campus or in one of 47 hospital-based clinical departments at 17 Harvard-affiliated teaching hospitals and research institutes….Read the Full Story

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  1. Genetic Cause For Type Of Deafness Identified; Discovery Could Lead To New Therapies For Progressive Hearing Loss
  2. Scripps research scientists identify genetic cause for type of deafness
  3. Scripps research scientists identify genetic cause for type of deafness


Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Risk Of Crohns Disease And Genetic Variants

Story Summary: Surprisingly, we found no statistically significant association between NOD2/CARD15 genetic variants and Crohn disease in either of the two general population studies that we analyzed, which suggests a low penetrance of the genetic variants in the European general population, write Dr. Borge G. Nordestgaard, Herlev Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Denmark and coauthors. This should be considered when advising healthy individuals in whom these genetic variants are discovered. In a related commentary, Dr. Katherine A. Siminovitch and coauthors write that these research findings reinforce the fact that common diseases have many causes and that in these diseases, the effect of any single gene variant on risk is usually small. This underscores the current challenge in realizing the potential of personalized medicine (use of an individuals specific information to select or optimize preventive care and therapy). Please send any medical news or health news press releases to: These are the most read articles from this news category for the last 6 months: Sufferers Of Crohns Disease May Benefit From Vitamin D Supplements29 Jan 2010A new study has found that Vitamin D, readily available in supplements or cod liver oil, can counter the effects of Crohns disease. Follow Our News On Twitter:Get the latest news for this category delivered straight to your Twitter account….Read the Full Story

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  1. The Childrens Hospital Of Philadelphia: New Gene Searching Method Uncovers Possible New Targets For Crohns Disease Drugs
  2. Gene variants linked to Crohn disease have little effect, study finds
  3. Gene Discovery Gives Clues to Crohns Disease, Colitis


Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

UDs Zhuang wins NSF Early Career Award for research on how cells bypass damaged DNA

Story Summary: Zhihao Zhuang, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Delaware, has won the National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development Award. It is NSFs most prestigious award in support of faculty early in their careers who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education, and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations. What we learn from the model system, S. cerevisiae, has important implications for the human system because many of the DNA transaction pathways in both organisms are conserved, Zhuang notes. The ultimate goal of the project, Zhuang notes, is to establish research and educational programs that not only advance the field of chemical biology by enhancing the scientific understanding of DNA damage tolerance, but also to inspire and educate the next generation of chemical biologists. The projects outreach component seeks to spark the scientific curiosity and career aspirations of high-school students, with particular emphasis on underrepresented minorities in chemistry and biology, through the virtual reality visualization system called the CAVE at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute. High-school students will be able to walk into the larger-than-life 3-D structures of the specialized DNA polymerases that we are studying to see the variations in geometry of the active site as well as the DNA binding groove. Im very excited and honored to receive this award, Zhuang says. There are currently five graduate students and one postdoctoral fellow working in Zhuangs laboratory. A new method for producing ubiquitylated proteins developed by Zhuang and his group recently was reported in the prestigious journal Nature Chemical Biology. Zhuang also recently won a Delaware Health Sciences Alliance (DHSA) pilot project grant for research to discover inhibitors that can lead to the development of potent, new anti-cancer drugs. Zhuang received his bachelor of science degree in chemistry from Sichuan University in China and his doctorate from the University of New Mexico….Read the Full Story

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  1. NSF Early Career Award Won By UDs Zhuang For Research On How Cells Bypass Damaged DNA
  2. FSU biologist wins $1M Early Career Award from National Science Foundation
  3. Physician-Scientists Get Spark From Early Career Award


Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Antidepressants As Treatment Immediately Following A Stroke?

Story Summary: Kunlin Jin, Xiaomei Wang, Lin Xie and Xiao Mao, showed that the brain attempts to heal itself following stroke by growing new neurons, but it has not been shown clearly that those new neurons improve function. Clot busting drugs, which have to be given within hours of the stroke, have been of great benefit to a small number of patients, but stroke is not usually diagnosed in time for them to be used. Building on the Institutes collaborative approach to research involving other age-related disorders, Greenberg says its also likely that the impact of the growth of new neurons will be examined in animal models of Alzheimers, Parkinsons and Huntingtons disease. He says those suffering from stroke should not treat themselves, even with FDA-approved drugs, without medical advice. Even taking something as seemingly innocuous as an antidepressant carries the possibility of making someone worse. These drugs need to be tested in a controlled clinical setting. Follow Our News On Twitter:Get the latest news for this category delivered straight to your Twitter account. Simply click the link below and select the follow option. But many of the 11 million Americans that have both conditions dont get the treatment they need. Keeping a Personal Medical RecordMedical information is usually scattered in many different places. To receive the best possible health care, people are encouraged to gather information in one place and create a personal medical record….Read the Full Story

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  1. European Honorary Doctorates Awarded To 2 Hopkins Scientists
  2. NSF Early Career Award Won By UDs Zhuang For Research On How Cells Bypass Damaged DNA
  3. Inovio Biomedical Awarded Grant From Pennsylvania Department Of Health For Hepatitis C Virus DNA Vaccine Research


Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

2 Hopkins scientists awarded European honorary doctorates

Story Summary: The Board of Research of Karolinska stated, Professor Feinbergs work saves lives and he personally encourages other researchers to push the boundaries of knowledge in biology and medicine. The various members of the TRP family of proteins have transformed our understanding about how animals, ranging from insects to humans, detect a broad array of sensory stimuli. Recently, the Montell group revealed the cellular mechanism underlying an early childhood neurodegenerative disease, mucolipidosis type IV, providing a novel strategy for treating this disease. The research community at Johns Hopkins is proud that both Andy and Craig have received such honors, says Stephen Desiderio, M. D. , Ph. Situated in the heart of Western Europe, the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven was founded in 1425 by Pope Martin V and is the oldest existing Catholic university in the world. Previous recipients of Leuvens honorary degree include Nobel Prize-winning scientists, religious pioneers and noteworthy politicians, including Louis Pasteur, Alexander Fleming, Christian de Duve, Charles De Gaulle, Winston Churchill and Dwight Eisenhower….Read the Full Story

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  1. European Honorary Doctorates Awarded To 2 Hopkins Scientists
  2. Hopkins scientists picked for cancer dream teams – Johns Hopkins Gazette
  3. Johns Hopkins Researchers Awarded $8 Million For HIV Research


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Hopkins Researchers Put Proteins Right Where They Want Them-4/14/10

Story Summary: Their research, published Feb. 14 in Nature Methods,expands on a more limited method using a chemical tool to move proteins inside of cells to the periphery, a locale known as the plasma membrane. Where a particular protein is activated and the timing of that activation influence how a cell responds to outside stimulus, says Takanari Inoue, Ph. Chemical signaling inside cells connects protein molecules through complex feedback loops and crosstalk, Inoue says, so knowing exactly how each protein contributes to which signals at what locations requires the ability to rapidly move proteins of interest to specific organelles found in cells. They cut out the mailing address — known as a targeting sequence — that formerly delivered the protein unit to the plasma membrane and replaced it with new addresses (targeting sequences) that shipped it instead to specific organelles. We were able to manipulate protein activities in situ and very rapidly on each individual organelle, Inoue said. Ultimately, this will help us to better understand protein function at these critical cellular components….Read the Full Story

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  1. Johns Hopkins Scientists Pull Proteins Tail to Curtail Cancer- 12/30/08
  2. Johns Hopkins Scientists Pull Proteins Tail to Curtail Cancer- 12/30/08
  3. Researchers From The Centre For Genomic Regulation (CRG) Describe A New Secretory Pathway For Proteins


Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Identification Of Additional Genes Associated With Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Story Summary: Results of this large-scale collaborative study, supported by the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health, were published online April 12 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Genome-wide association studies require large numbers of patients to discover significant genetic associations. Researchers have previously discovered genes that account for a significant portion of AMD risk through genome-wide association studies (GWAS), which scan the entire DNA of individuals to uncover genetic variations related to certain diseases. HDLs are among a family of lipoproteins that transport essential fats, such as cholesterol, through the bloodstream. It is believed that early stages of AMD are affected by accumulation of oxidation products of cholesterol and other lipids in the retinal pigment epithelium, a layer of cells in the back of the eye. However, the relationship between HDL cholesterol levels in the blood and AMD is still unclear. Source: National Eye Institute NIH/National Eye Institute Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional. Thyroxine (T4) is a hormone produced by the thyroid gland that has four. But does that mean a life of looking for lost glasses? But does that mean a life of looking for lost glasses? But does that mean a life of looking for lost glasses? What Is a Cataract?When you reach a certain age, its usually clear that your vision isnt as sharp as it used to be. What Is a Cataract?When you reach a certain age, its usually clear that your vision isnt as sharp as it used to be. What Is a Cataract?When you reach a certain age, its usually clear that your vision isnt as sharp as it used to be. What Is a Cataract?When you reach a certain age, its usually clear that your vision isnt as sharp as it used to be. Learn how surgery for the cloudy lens of a cataract can restore vision. Learn how surgery for the cloudy lens of a cataract can restore vision….Read the Full Story

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  1. Additional genes associated with age-related macular degeneration identified
  2. Researchers At University Of Miami Miller School Of Medicine Identify Gene Responsible For Regulating Optic Nerve Regeneration
  3. Cancer Research Takes Turn, Offers Potential Treatment For Macular Degeneration


Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Genome scientist Dr. Jay Shendure receives Prostate Cancer Foundation Young Investigator Award

Story Summary: Shendure, 35, received The Lowell Milken Prostate Cancer Foundation Young Investigator Award, named for the chair and co-founder of The Milken Family Foundation, a private philanthropy for education and medical research. These approaches overcome many previous technical hurdles, with results published in Nature, Science, and other prominent scientific journals. Shendure is intent on designing more rapid, less expensive next-generation DNA-sequencing technologies for prostate cancer research. He hopes to provide pathologists and oncologists with enhanced resolution of genetic variation in regions of the genome that code for proteins, as well as for structural variation. D. degree in genetics in 2005 from Harvard University and an M. D. degree from Harvard Medical School in 2007. We look forward to seeing the contributions these young scientists will make in our field. The Prostate Cancer Foundation is the worlds largest philanthropic source of support for accelerating some of the worlds most promising research in prostate cancer. The UW and Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center are part of this consortium The consortium enrolls patients in clinical trials for new therapies for prostate cancer. The foundation also advocates for governmental support for basic, translational and clinical cancer research. Its most dangerous form can sometimes spread to bones or to other organs….Read the Full Story

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  1. Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation awards prestigious fellowships to 17 top young scientists
  2. Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation awards prestigious fellowships to 11 top young scientists
  3. Medical News: Gene Fusion Drives Prostate Cancer Urine Test – in Hematology/Oncology, Prostate Cancer from MedPage Today


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Antibody selection method could mean better drugs

Story Summary: The research was published online March 22 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (In print April 6, Vol. The key to the experiments are integrins, which are proteins expressed by the bodys immune cells — in this case, cells called neutrophils — that allow the cells to travel to a cut, infection or other source of inflammation. Integrins are receptor molecules located on the cell surface that are like velcro that can be turned on and off. When they are chemically signaled to activate, they subtly change shape, called conformation, thereby exposing binding sites allowing them to firmly attach to receptors around them. Immune cells, which normally fight infection, flock to an area and cause painful swelling. Thats why these drugs can make patients weak and susceptible to infections. The new antibodies leave alone the cells with integrins in a resting state — those that are just waiting to be needed for an immune response. This would greatly cut down on the side effects associated with immunosuppressive drugs. Therapies and treatments that could result from this research are numerous, said research associate and first author Xuebo Hu. Also, the antibodies could be fluorescently tagged to image, for example, inflammation or metastasized tumors….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Study Offers First Clinical Evidence Of Anti-Cancer Drug Triggering Viral Infection

Story Summary: Gulley is a member of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Burkitt lymphoma is an aggressive, fast-growing type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that often occurs in children. The patients ranged in age from 5-15 and were under treatment with cyclophosphamide for their cancer. The next step, explains Gulley, is to design a clinical trial using both cytoxan and an antiviral agent simultaneously. Other UNC scientists involved in the study are members of the departments of pathology, otolaryngology, and medicine/infectious disease division. Additional collaborators are affiliated with Kamuzu Central Hospital and the UNC Malawi Project, and Dr. Shannon Kenney who was Sarah Graham Kenan professor at UNC before joining the departments of medicine and oncology at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Follow Our News On Twitter:Get the latest news for this category delivered straight to your Twitter account. Simply click the link below and select the follow option. Living with Breast CancerThere are many options for treating breast cancer, including surgery, hormonal treatments, radiation and chemotherapy. All of these treatments have potential physical and emotional side effects. All of these treatments have potential physical and emotional side effects. Discover how two women went through treatment and what they did to cope….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Is Chemistry Incompatible with Web 2.0?

A recent ChemJobber post notes that C&E News Editor-in-Chief Rudy Baum’s editorials sometimes have a tendency to approach the controversial – and sometimes the purely political.  I wanted to discuss this weeks editorial which threatens to call into question much of my online existence (sorry, Mitch.  If Rudy’s right, I think you’re about to spontaneously e-implode).

In this week’s editorial, “The Limits of Web 2.0,” Baum decries the cliché “information wants to be free” for both its out-of-context usage (the full quote says information wants to be expensive because it is valuable and free because the cost of information dissemination is shrinking almost hourly – thus a struggle) and for its lunacy (information can’t wish for anything – it’s inanimate).  Rather, Baum says that it’s people who wish that information would be free.  I’d amend Baum’s correction slightly.  People really want information to be free and readily accessible.  I’d argue public libraries have long made most information “free,” if you were willing to do the legwork to get it.

But the bulk of Baum’s editorial promotes Jaron Lanier’s book You are Not a Gadget: A Manefesto, and summarizes Lanier’s main points, namely that the wisdom of crowds can be dangerous and science should be loath to adopt web 2.0 ideals.  Lanier points out that around the turn of century, a “torrent (a word hijacked by the web 2.0 crowd -ed.) of petty designs sometimes called web 2.0″ flooded the web.  And through the use of web 2.0, we apparently are losing sight of the trees for the forest, er, the taggers for the cloud.

Baum writes in his editorial (cross-posted for free on the web 2.0 CENtral Science blog, natch), “The essence of what Lanier is saying is that individuals are important and that we’re losing sight of that at our own peril in elevating the wisdom of the crowd to a higher plane than the creativity of a single person.”  That is, we are valuing the cloud more than the individuals, when the cloud can’t exist – and has no meaning - without the existence of the individuals.  Lanier notes that collective intelligence can be used well, but only when guided by individuals who can direct the course of the hive mind and help steer clear of common groupthink pitfalls.

But the most interesting quote comes near then end, when Baum quotes Lanier as saying that scientific communities “achieve quality through a cooperative process that includes checks and balances, and ultimately rests on a foundation of goodwill and ‘blind’ elitism.”  I’m not really sure what that means…

But to Lanier’s thesis that science ought to be wary of embracing web 2.0 and its ideals, I find it interesting that Baum writes his editorial at C&E News, the magazine of the ACS, whose flagship publication, the Journal of the American Chemical Society, has featured a JACS? page for some time now.  The same C&E News whose blog has become so popular that it had to split off into several child blogs.  Where each post for each ACS article has links to share the article on one of several social networking sites.  Where scientists can now browse their favorite article on their iphones with ACSMobile.  While perhaps late to the party in some areas, the American Chemical Society has certainly ‘logged on’ to web 2.0 as a way to export content to the web-savvy scientist.

Plus, we have our own Mitch, a one man walking encapsulation of web 2.0.  His most successful application is, in my opinion, the chemical forums, which typically sees between 8,000 and 11,000 visitors per day.  This blog seems to be a big hit, and his ChemFeeds is a one-stop source for your aggregated list of your favorite journals’ graphical abstracts.  All this innovation on Mitch’s part earned him an interview with David Bradley (of ScienceBase) in his chemistry WebMagazine, Reactive Reports.

There’s also the Chemistry Reddit as another outlet of chemistry news and notes.

In the inaugural issue of Nature Chemistry, the Nature Publishing Group recounted how they have completely bought into web 2.0 as a means of science communication – each issue of Nature Chemistry even features a roundup of their favorite posts from the chemical blogosphere (which reminds me, to the left, Mitch has also created an aggregated rss feed of several popular chemistry blogs).

And, of course, web 2.0 in the sciences has been discussed in the blogs several times over the years.  We have over 3 pages of posts categorized Web 2.0, mostly Mitch’s posts on new web 2.0 platforms he’s developed.  Jean-Claude Bradley writes about web 2.0 in response to a very interesting post at Nascent, a blog from the folks at Nature.

So, all of these prove that web 2.0 has been talked about many times in the context of science.  Has it worked?  With the exception of blogs, sadly I’m inclined to say no.  At least not yet.  And even with blogs (with the possible exception of All Things Metathesis, and In the Pipeline, though Derek isn’t allowed to talk about his work b/c of intellectual property issues), not a lot of academic or industry leaders are prone to blogging.  It’s not like we’re reading Phil Baran’s blog and getting inside his head on a daily basis.

Sure, there is a subculture of people who are active on the web 2.0 scene, but it surely hasn’t taken off as a medium for all chemists to enjoy.  It theoretically should.  Chemists are always benefited from communal sharing of results and information.  But there are still (and probably always will be) people who seem reluctant to join the new technological paradigm.  I like the way Timo Hannay words it in his post on Nascent,

“But it’s not up to the doubters to ‘get it’, it is up to those of us who support these developments to demonstrate their value. And if we can’t then they don’t deserve to be adopted and we don’t deserve to be heard.”

Especially if there are people at the position of Editor-in-Chief for arguably the top chemistry magazine denouncing the web 2.0 movement, clearly it has a ways to go before it will be appreciated by all to the point where web 2.0 is ‘taken for granted,’ where we don’t even realize what we’re doing when we post results and opinions via web 2.0 technologies.

Let’s get moving!


Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Sequence is scaffold to study sleeping sickness

Story Summary: The team have generated a high-quality draft genome sequence for the strain of Trypanosoma bruceithat is responsible for almost all reported cases of human African trypanosomiasis, also known as sleeping sickness. The study is published on April 13 in the open access journal, PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. And, is there anything in the T. b. gambiensegenome that might explain its ability to infect and thrive in human populations?Historically, sleeping sickness has been a severely neglected disease, says Dr Matt Berriman, leader of the Parasite Genomics group at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and an author on the study, with considerable impact on human health and the wellbeing and prosperity of communities. With two high quality reference genome sequences in place for the T. bruceistrains, the search for those small genetic differences is given a boost. It is this search that will fuel the pursuit of targeted drug treatments to tackle T. b. gambiense. Patients are often wary of treatment because the side effects of current treatments can be unpleasant and sometimes severe. Trypanosomes possess a very effective set of proteins – called VSGs – which reside at the surface of the cell and can form a kind of invisibility cloak to protect the parasite from immune response. So we were surprised to find that as many as 88 per cent of VSGs remained consistent between our T. b. bruceiand T. b. gambiensegenomes. It means that researchers can produce a global library of VSGs found in T. bruceistrains, allowing them to categorise T. bruceistrains found in the field according the precise set of VSGs they possess. It means that researchers can produce a global library of VSGs found in T. bruceistrains, allowing them to categorise T. bruceistrains found in the field according the precise set of VSGs they possess. This catalogue of VSGs might also provide further clues to human infectivity. The high quality reference sequences for the two subspecies of T. bruceilay the foundation for epidemiological studies looking at multiple samples. The high quality reference sequences for the two subspecies of T. bruceilay the foundation for epidemiological studies looking at multiple samples. The high quality reference sequences for the two subspecies of T. bruceilay the foundation for epidemiological studies looking at multiple samples….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

How Salmonella Sabotages Host Cells

Story Summary: First, the bacterial cell assembles a needle-like structure on its surface, to deliver the virulence proteins. Once the hole is created, the bacterial cell recognises the pH of the host cell and this switches off the safety catch. This then allows the virulence proteins to be delivered through the hole into the host cell. The lead author of the study, Professor David Holden from the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London, explained: The way in which a Salmonella cell delivers its virulence proteins to a host cell is a bit like the way in which a parked aeroplane delivers its passengers to a terminal building. On a plane theres a safety catch to prevent the doors opening before the bridge is ready, to stop the passengers falling out onto the tarmac. Similarly, the bacterial cell holds back delivery of its proteins using a molecular safety catch, until it senses that the pore has been assembled. This process is crucial for Salmonella, because if it cannot deliver these proteins properly it cannot establish an infection, added Professor Holden, whose work was supported by grants from the MRC and the Wellcome Trust. Source: Laura Gallagher Imperial College London Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

MiRNA-21 linked to tumor suppressor loss, herceptin resistance

Story Summary: org713-516-4855Biopsy MicroRNA that blocks PTEN makes drug less potent against breast cancerWASHINGTON, D. C. – Overexpression of a specific type of microRNA can derail treatment by disabling an important molecular brake on breast cancer cell proliferation, according to evidence presented by researchers from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center at the American Association for Cancer Research 101st Annual Meeting 2010. The study showed that MiRNA-21 interferes with trastuzumab (Herceptin) therapy by blocking the phosphates and tensing homolog gene known as PTEN. D. , professor and deputy chair of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology. Herceptin is a targeted therapy used to treat metastatic breast cancer. Like other targeted cancer treatments, Herceptin homes in on a specific abnormal gene to slow or shut down cancer growth. The target gene in Herceptin treatment is ErbB-2-also known as HER2/neu or HER2. The researchers found that cells with higher levels of miRNA-21 had reduced PTEN expression and were significantly more resistant to the drug than were the control cells. The researchers also determined that miRNA-21 reduces PTEN expression by inhibiting PTEN messenger RNA at a specific site in the PTEN transcript in breast cancer cells. In another experiment, when the researchers downregulated miRNA-21 in high HER2-expressing cells, cellular PTEN levels rose, and the cells became more sensitive to Herceptin compared to control miRNA cells. The researchers then sought to determine the clinical relevance of their findings by measuring levels of miRNA-21 in tumor samples from patients with HER2-positive breast cancer treated with Herceptin. Rehman also observed that patients with low tumor levels of miRNA-21 tend to experience either a partial response to Herceptin or stable disease. D. , and Hua Guo, M. D. , Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, and Wen-Chien Huang, M. D. , a surgeon from Taiwan who worked for two years in Yus lab as a visiting physician-scientist. Yu also directs the Cancer Biology Program in GSBS, which is a joint endeavor of M. D. Anderson and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Yu also directs the Cancer Biology Program in GSBS, which is a joint endeavor of M. D. Anderson and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Yu also directs the Cancer Biology Program in GSBS, which is a joint endeavor of M. D. Anderson and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Plant pathogen genetically tailors attacks to each part of its host (w/ Video)

Story Summary: This establishes a new principle in plant pathology, that a pathogen can tailor its attack to specifically exploit the tissue or organ properties where it is growing, said Virginia Walbot, professor of biology and senior author of a paper published in Science detailing the study. You need Flash installed to watch this ideoUp until now, pathologists had always assumed that when a pathogen went on the attack, it used every weapon it had, no matter which part of an organism it was infecting. But Walbots team found that only about 30 percent of the genes in the corn smut genome are always activated, or expressed, regardless of whether it is in seedlings, adult leaves or the tassel. The other 70 percent of the genome is what the fungus would pick and choose from, depending on the tissue it was infecting. We hope that other people working on pathogensof all types will go back now and ask, when the pathogen is found in different parts of the body, is it actually using different weapons? Pathologists generally collect their samples from the same, characteristic place on the organism they are studying. But as a result, Walbot said, when researchers happen to find the pathogen in another place in the organism, they generally dont test whether the pathogen is doing different things. It may be just the specialization of modern pathology which has resulted in the whole organism context being overlooked, she said. I think that holds great promise for reducing the damage done to the patient in the course of drug treatment. Walbot got interested in researching the possibility that pathogens might vary their attack while doing fieldwork on a different project for which she was evaluating some mutant strains of maize. Through a series of experiments with different maize mutants, she determined that the key factor in determining whether – or how intensely – corn smut infected a given part of a plant was the potential for growth of that particular type of tissue. The key aspect was the potential – if a mutant grew only small leaves and then quickly stopped growing, the corn smut wasnt interested, even if there was sufficient area to host some tumors. Walbot tested how various mutant strains of corn smut behaved when infecting normal maize plants. She discovered that a strain that was highly effective in causing tumors in, say, the tassels might be completely ineffective in triggering tumors in a seedling. We found genetic evidence from both the pathogen and the host that depending on the growth potential, in an organ-specific way, of both the pathogen and the host, you could modulate the number of tumors, Walbot said. We had proof from the microarray that paralleled the genetic proof; that is, that there is organ-specific expression by maize in response to corn smut, and corn smut expresses a specific suite of genesdepending on where it is in the plant, Walbot said. In Mexico, the fungus is called huitlacoche, and the tumors, which are used in cooking, are sometimes purposely grown on ears of corn. That is just a prediction, she said, but I think pathologists will be quick to pounce on this. Doehlemann received a short-term travel grant from the European Molecular Biology Organization to fund a 10-week visit to Stanford in spring quarter 2009. Is it because of the gene for antibiotic resistance thats characteristic of most types of bacterial plasmids?Chromosomal Crossing OverApr 12, 2010 In most of the books Ive read, chromosomal cross over has been described as simply segments of the chromosome breaking off and reattaching, but I have a bit of difficulty with this explanation. State 4 RespirationApr 11, 2010 i was undertaking a question regarding a patient who had a mutation in their mitochondria, and hence experienced lethargy. Its a part of an optional assignment I have been working on for extra credit. Everything else is complete and I have been milling this one over for about a week without. com) — With colony collapse disorder continuing to plague commercial beekeepers in many parts of the country, University of Wisconsin-Madison experts are studying whether native pollinators can supply . . ….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith


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