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Scripps Florida scientists shed new light on nerve cell growth.

Scripps Florida scientists shed new light on nerve cell growth. The study describes how RPM-1 regulates the activity of a single protein known as DLK-1, a protein that regulates neuron development and plays an essential role in axon regeneration. RPM-1 uses PPM-2, an enzyme that removes a phosphate group from a protein thereby altering its function, in combination with ubiquitin ligase activity to directly inhibit DLK-1.

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IUD may increase breast cancer risk in certain women.

A new study has found that a specific intrauterine device (IUD) is associated with a greater risk of breast cancer, but not endometrial, ovarian, pancreatic, or lung cancers. The researchers examined data from over 93,000 women in Finland who had used the LNG-IUS to treat their menorrhagia. The women ranged in age from 30 to 49 years. The breast cancer rate for the group using the system for menorrhagia control was approximately 19% higher than the breast cancer rate for the general population. No increase in uterine cancer or ovarian, pancreatic, or lung cancers was seen with IUD use. Other factors, beyond the IUD use, could also be at play, especially factors related to the menorrhagia, so a direct link between IUD use and cancer will need to be proven by additional research.

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Discovery of new drug targets for memory impairment in Alzheimer’s Disease.

Discovery of new drug targets for memory impairment in Alzheimer’s Disease. A study from KIST has revealed the novel mechanism of how Alzheimer’s patients might lose their memory. The researchers also propose new therapeutic targets, which include GABA production and release mechanisms in reactive astrocytes for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, we provide a stepping stone for the development of MAO-B inhibitors with long lasting efficacy.

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Study cracks how the brain processes emotions.

Study cracks how the brain processes emotions. Researchers have discovered that fine-grained patterns of neural activity within the orbitofrontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with emotional processing, act as a neural code which captures an individual’s subjective feeling. The findings provide insight into how the brain represents the human’s innermost feelings, what neuroscientists are calling the last frontier of neuroscience, and upend the long-held view that emotion is represented in the brain simply by activation in specialized regions for positive or negative feelings.

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Protein pushes breast cancer cells to metastasize.

‘Master-regulator’ protein which pushes breast cancer cells to metastasize is identified. Unexpected links to Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease also seen. Using an innovative tool that captures heretofore hidden ways that cells are regulated, scientists at Rockefeller University have identified a protein that makes breast cancer cells more likely to metastasize. What’s more, the protein appears to trigger cancer’s spread in part by blocking two other proteins that are normally linked to neurodegeneration, a finding that suggests these two disease processes could have unexpected ties.

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Review of ADHD drug approvals highlights gaps between approval process, long-term safety assessment.

Review of ADHD drug approvals highlights gaps between approval process, long-term safety assessment. Over the last 60 years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved 20 medications for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) based on clinical trials that were not designed to study their long-term efficacy and safety or to detect rare adverse events. The study highlights gaps in how the long-term safety of drugs intended for chronic use in children is assessed as part of the FDA approval process.

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Study shows link between inflammation in maternal blood and schizophrenia in offspring.

Maternal inflammation as indicated by the presence in maternal blood of early gestational C-reactive protein, an established inflammatory biomarker, appears to be associated with greater risk for schizophrenia in offspring. Inflammation has been shown to alter brain development in previous studies, and schizophrenia is a neurodevelopmental disorder. Thus, this study provides an important link between inflammation and schizophrenia and may help the medical community to better understand the biological mechanisms that lead to this disorder.

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Brain tumour invasion along blood vessels may lead to new cancer treatments.

NIH-funded researchers map brain tumour cells disrupting the blood-brain barrier, offering potential avenues for therapy. Invading glioblastoma cells may hijack cerebral blood vessels during early stages of disease progression and damage the brain’s protective barrier, a study in mice indicates. This finding could ultimately lead to new ways to bring about the death of the tumour, as therapies may be able to reach these deadly cells at an earlier time point than was previously thought possible.

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‘Nanojuice’ could improve how doctors examine the gut.

A new imaging technique involving nanoparticles suspended in liquid to form ‘nanojuice’ that patients would drink holds promise for the examination of the gut. Upon reaching the small intestine, doctors would strike the nanoparticles with a harmless laser light, providing an unparalleled, non-invasive, real-time view of the organ. It may help diagnose irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease and other gastrointestinal illnesses. Conventional imaging methods show the organ and blockages, but this method allows the medical team to see how the small intestine operates in real time.

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Mechanism that prevents lethal bacteria from causing invasive disease is revealed.

An important development in understanding how the bacterium that causes pneumonia, meningitis and septicemia remains harmlessly in the nose and throat has been discovered by scientists. Streptococcus pneumoniae is a ‘commensal’, which can live harmlessly in the nasopharynx as part of the body’s natural bacterial flora. However, in the very young and old it can invade the rest of the body, leading to serious diseases such as pneumonia, sepsis and meningitis, which claim up to a million lives every year worldwide.

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Adults stop anti-rejection drugs after partial stem-cell transplant reverses sickle cell disease.

Half of patients in a trial have safely stopped immunosuppressant medication following a modified blood stem-cell transplant for severe sickle cell disease, according to a study in the Journal of … Continue Reading Adults stop anti-rejection drugs after partial stem-cell transplant reverses sickle cell disease.

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