Women’s Migraines

Carol Cruzan Morton Migraines are a battle of the sexes that women might prefer not winning. Each year, roughly three times more women than men—up to 18% of all women—suffer from the debilitating headaches, as tallied by epidemiological surveys in Europe and the United States. A new brain imaging study may explain the divide: The … Continue reading

Exercise and the Brain

The effects of exercise are different on memory as well as on the brain, depending on whether the exerciser is an adolescent or an adult. A gene has been identified which seems to mediate the degree to which exercise has a beneficial effect. This has implications for the potential use of exercise as an intervention … Continue reading

Screening for heart problems?

Andy Coghlan The collapse of footballer Fabrice Muamba on live television on 17 March has sparked a debate about how often athletes should be screened for heart abnormalities. Could regular screening prevent sudden cardiac arrests?   What abnormalities actually cause sudden cardiac death? The most common one, accounting for about 35 per cent of cases, … Continue reading

Some Antioxidants Can Damage DNA, but May Treat Cancer

High-Throughput Screening Finds Surprising Properties for Antioxidants: Some Compounds Can Damage DNA, but May Treat Cancer Antioxidants have long been thought to have anti-aging properties, primarily by protecting a person’s genetic material from damaging chemicals. The story, however, now appears to be much more complicated. … Read More>>

Drug resistant malaria takes new ground

Robert Fortner A resident of Myanmar with a severe case of malaria. In Southeast Asia, drug-resistant malaria may have evolved resistance to another frontline therapy and established itself in new territory in western Thailand, according to the World Health Organization. The new area in Thailand joins previous hot spots in Cambodia, Vietnam, and Myanmar, with … Continue reading

Farm life and the Immune System

Immunological diseases, such as eczema and asthma, are on the increase in westernised society and represent a major challenge for 21st century medicine. A new study has shown, for the first time, that growing up on a farm directly affects the regulation of the immune system and causes a reduction in the immunological responses to … Continue reading

US Government tries to restrict publication

of details on avian flu virus that spreads among mammals John Timmer Although avian flu viruses have infected humans in the past (often with lethal effect), so far, these infections have come directly from birds. Over this past summer, however, researchers presented disturbing results at a scientific meeting. By growing the avian H5N1 virus in … Continue reading

A collapsing scientific hypothesis led to a lawsuit and arrest

John Timmer In 2006, scientists announced a provocative finding: a retrovirus called XMRV, closely related to a known virus from mice, was associated with cases of prostate cancer. But other labs, using different sets of patients, found no evidence of a viral infection. Before the controversy could be sorted out, another research group published a … Continue reading

A Child in Time

New frontiers in treating premature babies. Recent advances have boosted parents’ hopes, but great uncertainties remain. Jerome Groopman The entryway to the neonatal intensive-care unit in my hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, in Boston, is lined with photographs of children who were born prematurely. Jeremiah, delivered at twenty-four weeks, sixteen weeks early, weighed one … Continue reading

Anti-Inflammatory Polyphenols in Apple Peels

Here’s another reason why "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" — according to new research findings published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, oral ingestion of apple polyphenols (antioxidants found in apple peels) can suppress T cell activation to prevent colitis in mice. This study is the first to show a role for … Continue reading

First Study to Reveal How Paracetamol Works

ScienceDaily (Nov. 22, 2011) — Researchers at King’s College London have discovered how one of the most common household painkillers works, which could pave the way for less harmful pain relief medications to be developed in the future. Paracetamol is a widely-used analgesic (painkiller) and the main ingredient in everyday medications such as cold and … Continue reading

Was Jane Austen Poisoned by Arsenic?

Modern techniques could reveal whether the celebrated English novelist’s surviving hair contains unusually high levels of arsenic Ferris Jabr  On April 27, 1817, Jane Austen sat down and wrote her will, leaving almost all of her assets—valued at less than 800 pounds sterling—to her sister Cassandra. In May, the sisters moved to Winchester, England, so … Continue reading

A Biochemist in Chains

Chronic fatigue is a frustrating disease, and the scientific community isn’t helping. How did the study of chronic fatigue syndrome come to this? Julie Rehmeyer Two years ago, Judy Mikovits and the Whittemore-Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Disease were triumphant. Mikovits had just published a report in Science pointing to a retrovirus called XMRV as the … Continue reading

Rice Seed Yields Blood Protein

Human serum albumin from transgenic rice could ease shortages of donated blood. Lauren Gravitz of Nature magazine One can’t squeeze blood from a turnip, but new research suggests that a bit of transgenic tweaking may make it possible to squeeze blood–or at least blood protein–from a grain of rice. In a study published online today … Continue reading

Daily aspirin against cancer

Linda Geddes Aspirin dramatically reduces the risk of developing colorectal cancer in people with a family history of the disease, providing the most direct evidence yet that the drug can be used for cancer prevention. While previous studies have hinted that aspirin might prevent cancer, this is the first study where the primary goal was … Continue reading

Snake blood makes the heart grow

Charles Harvey Snake oil might be best avoided but snake blood may be just what the doctor ordered. Injecting snake-blood plasma into mice increased the size of their heart. The discovery could prove key in the treatment of heart damage. In humans, an enlarged heart is normally a sign that the body is in trouble. … Continue reading

Anti-fatigue drug to help tired doctors?

Charles Harvey A study published last week suggests tired hospital doctors might make decisions better if they took a drug that combats fatigue. So much for the science – what is less certain is the ethics of doctors turning to drugs to get through long shifts. Doctors, like many others, already rely on stimulants like … Continue reading

Unbearable itch may no longer be a pain in anaesthesia

Catherine de Lange THE intimate link between itch and pain has been teased apart for the first time – a development that could lead to powerful anaesthetics without any of that intolerable itching. Itch is one of the most common side effects of the anaesthetics used in procedures such as epidurals. One explanation is that … Continue reading

The Gap between Psychology and God

A Harvard psychologist is developing evidence-based treatments for the devout Sarah Estes Graham and Jesse Graham A recent study led by Harvard Medical School’s David Rosmarin was undertaken to close this gap between the sacred and the profane in clinical practice. Studying hundreds of devoutly religious Jews and Christians, the researchers explored what religious cognitions … Continue reading

First Ebola-Like Virus Native to Europe Discovered

A team of international researchers has discovered a new Ebola-like virus — Lloviu virus — in bats from northern Spain. Lloviu virus is the first known filovirus native to Europe, they report in a study published in the journal PLOS Pathogens. The study was a collaboration among scientists at the Center for Infection and Immunity … Continue reading

Inflammation Is Controlled Differently in Brain and Other Tissues

A team led by scientists from The Scripps Research Institute has identified a new metabolic pathway for controlling brain inflammation, suggesting strategies for treating it. The new report, which appears in the October 20, 2011 edition of Science Express, focuses on the type of inflammation normally treatable with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin … Continue reading

Complexities of DNA Repair Discovered

An international team of scientists led by UC Davis researchers has discovered that DNA repair in cancer cells is not a one-way street as previously believed. Their findings show instead that recombination, an important DNA repair process, has a self-correcting mechanism that allows DNA to make a virtual u-turn and start over. The study’s findings, … Continue reading

Measles cases up in U.S. and Canada

Both countries report highest numbers in 15 years Nathan Seppa BOSTON — Measles, a preventable disease that has been largely vanquished in the United States, continues to show up sporadically in the population as unvaccinated people traveling to other countries unwittingly bring back infections, researchers report. Data released at a meeting of the Infectious Diseases … Continue reading

Feedback loop helps your gut manage its helpful bacteria

John Timmer We tend to get overly focused on bacteria that are trying to kill us (and there’s no shortage of those), but there are large populations of bacteria that live in or on us without causing any problems, and some of them are even helpful. This is especially true in the gut, where bacteria … Continue reading

Increased Prostate Cancer Risk from Vitamin E Supplements

Men who took 400 international units (I.U.) of vitamin E daily had more prostate cancers compared to men who took a placebo, according to an updated review of data from the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT). The findings showed that, per 1,000 men, there were 76 prostate cancers in men who took … Continue reading

Herbal Supplements May Cause Dangerous Drug Interactions in Orthopaedic Surgery Patients

Complementary and alternative medical (CAM) treatments such as herbal supplements have become increasingly popular in the United States, especially among older patients and those with chronic pain. However, many of these products can have serious and potentially harmful side effects when combined with medications prescribed during and after surgery, according to a review article in … Continue reading

Eating Your Greens Can Change the Effect of Your Genes On Heart Disease

A long-held mantra suggests that you can’t change your family, the genes they pass on, or the effect of these genes. Now, an international team of scientists, led by researchers at McMaster and McGill universities, is attacking that belief. The researchers discovered the gene that is the strongest marker for heart disease can actually be … Continue reading

Personal Best

Top athletes and singers have coaches. Should you? Atul Gawande No matter how well trained people are, few can sustain their best performance on their own. That’s where coaching comes in. I’ve been a surgeon for eight years. For the past couple of them, my performance in the operating room has reached a plateau. I’d … Continue reading

How to Spot Circulating Tumor Cells

Cancer cells that have broken away from the main tumor can spread the disease. Now scientists are developing better ways to find them. kfc 10/10/2011 One way that cancer spreads through the body is through circulating tumor cells. These are cancer cells that have broken away from the main tumor and begun to circulate in … Continue reading

Green Tea Helps Keep Off Extra Pounds

Green tea may slow down weight gain and serve as another tool in the fight against obesity, according to Penn State food scientists. Obese mice that were fed a compound found in green tea along with a high-fat diet gained weight significantly more slowly than a control group of mice that did not receive the … Continue reading

Excess Fat Storage and Obesity

A team of scientists at the Gladstone Institutes and Yale University have begun to unravel the complex process by which cells take in and store microscopic fat molecules, suggesting new directions for further research into solutions for obesity and its related conditions, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease. In a … Continue reading

What Is Propofol?

How Could It Have Killed Michael Jackson? The King of Pop’s doctor, Conrad Murray, is on trial for involuntary manslaughter, but could propofol alone have caused MJ’s death? Harvard anesthesiologist Beverly Philip explains what gives this drug such lethal potential Katherine Harmon  What killed the king?: As testimony continues in the case against Michael Jackson’s … Continue reading

2011 Nobel Prize in Medicine

Bruce Beutler, Jules Hoffmann and Ralph Steinman share the prize for their eludication of the complex workings of the immune system Steve Mirsky The 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded today to Bruce Beutler at the Scripps Research Institute in California, Jules Hoffmann at the French National Center for Scientific Research and … Continue reading

Women Have Stronger Immune Systems Than Men

As anyone familiar with the phrase ‘man-flu’ will know women consider themselves to be the more robust side of the species when it comes to health and illness. Now new research, published in BioEssays, seems to support the idea. The research focuses on the role of MicroRNAs encoded on the X chromosome to explain why … Continue reading

Ringing in ears may have deeper source

Tinnitus results from brain’s effort to compensate for hearing loss, a study finds Laura Sanders The high-pitched ringing, squealing, hissing, clicking, roaring, buzzing or whistling in the ears that can drive tinnitus sufferers crazy may be a by-product of the brain turning up the volume to cope with subtle hearing loss, a new study suggests. … Continue reading

Colon identified as a seat of immune cell learning

HEY! T-cells! Leave them bugs alone! Some immune cells need an education to avoid attacking gut bacteria that help digest food – and their classroom is your colon. One seat of immune cell learning – the thymus – is already known. Chyi-Song Hsieh at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Missouri, says the … Continue reading

Brain Wiring Continues to Develop Well Into Our 20s

The human brain doesn’t stop developing at adolescence, but continues well into our 20s, demonstrates recent research from the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Alberta. It has been a long-held belief in medical communities that the human brain stopped developing in adolescence. But now there is evidence that this is in … Continue reading

Brain Imaging Reveals What You’re Watching

Researchers develop an fMRI-based model to reconstruct moving images that people are seeing. Erica Westly Scientists are a step closer to constructing a digital version of the human visual system. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have developed an algorithm that can be applied to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) imagery to show a … Continue reading

Gamers Succeed Where Scientists Fail

Molecular Structure of Retrovirus Enzyme Solved, Doors Open to New AIDS Drug Design Gamers have solved the structure of a retrovirus enzyme whose configuration had stumped scientists for more than a decade. The gamers achieved their discovery by playing Foldit, an online game that allows players to collaborate and compete in predicting the structure of … Continue reading

Brain cancer fits halted by gut drug

A DRUG for Crohn’s disease is proving adept at blocking seizures caused by brain tumours. Many people with brain cancers called gliomas experience epileptic-like seizures. Fits occur because the transport machinery that gliomas use to move an essential amino acid into the tumour also secretes glutamate, which causes surrounding neurons to fire uncontrollably. Harald Sontheimer’s … Continue reading

That’s Hot Pyromaniac

What does it take to inflame a pyromaniac? Jesse Bering There are things in my past that I’m not proud of. I was even a serial killer for a while. Hundreds of lives—perhaps thousands—ended at my hands. If only their deaths were painless. But the truth of the matter is that my modus operandi was … Continue reading

Even Low-Dose Aspirin May Increase Risk of GI Bleeding

The risk of gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding needs to be considered when determining the potential preventive benefits associated with low-dose aspirin for cardiovascular disease and cancer. According to a new study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the use of low-dose aspirin increases the risk for GI bleeding, with the risk being increased further with accompanying use … Continue reading

Risk of Suffering from Insomnia Higher If Family Member Is Insomniac

A study presented September 12 by Université Laval researchers at the 4th World Congress on Sleep Medicine currently underway in Quebec City revealed that the risk of insomnia is 67% higher in people from families in which at least one member is an insomniac. The research team, directed by Dr. Charles M. Morin of Université … Continue reading

Tinnitus: New Ways to Stop Ringing in Ears

Tinnitus Discovery Could Lead to New Ways to Stop the Ringing: Retraining the Brain Could Reanimate Areas That Have Lost Input from the Ear Neuroscientists at the University of California, Berkeley, are offering hope to the 10 percent of the population who suffer from tinnitus — a constant, often high-pitched ringing or buzzing in the … Continue reading

Primary Component in Curry Spice Kicks Off Cancer-Killing Mechanisms in Human Saliva

Curcumin, the main component in the spice turmeric used in curry, suppresses a cell signaling pathway that drives the growth of head and neck cancer, according to a pilot study using human saliva by researchers at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. The inhibition of the cell signaling pathway also correlated with reduced expression of a … Continue reading

Fat Molecule May Cause ‘Water on the Brain’

Jennifer Couzin-Frankel Many babies born prematurely suffer from bleeding in their still-developing brains. Even when the bleeding stops, another life-threatening condition can strike: hydrocephalus, which occurs when fluid produced to keep the brain healthy builds up because it can’t properly drain. For decades, doctors have known that the bleeding and hydrocephalus, also called "water on … Continue reading

Autoimmunity Is From Venus

Why do women have more problems like Sjögren’s syndrome and lupus? Jeremy Singer-Vine Nobody knows, but scientists have a few theories. The sex bias in autoimmune diseases, in which the body’s immune system attacks its host, has been known for more than a century. (Women account for roughly three-quarters of all diagnoses.) One of the … Continue reading

Engineered Viruses Selectively Kill Cancer Cells

The experimental therapy could ultimately serve as a seek-and-destroy treatment for metastatic cancer. Alla Katsnelson A single injection of a virus that has been genetically engineered to kill cancer cells can reliably infect tumors and leave healthy tissue unharmed, according to an early stage trial of 23 patients with metastatic cancers. The findings help lay … Continue reading

Blood Biomarker Is Linked with Death

Those with higher levels of a particular molecule were found to be more likely to die of heart disease or cancer in the next dozen years. Tuesday, August 30, 2011 By Emily Singer Older people who had higher than normal levels of a molecule that helps regulate inflammation in their blood were more likely to … Continue reading

Old Blood Impairs Young Brains

A study suggests that age-related chemical signals in blood impair the growth of new neurons, but young blood can refresh old brains. Courtney Humphries It’s a cliché of vampire tales that young blood is preferable to old, but a new study suggests there’s some truth to it. A paper published today in Nature finds that … Continue reading