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Study shows epigenetic changes can drive cancer

2014-07-26
Houston -- Cancer has long been thought to be primarily a genetic disease, but in recent decades scientists have come to believe that epigenetic changes – which don't change the DNA sequence but how it is 'read' – also play a role in cancer. In particular DNA methylation, the addition of a methyl group (or molecule), is an epigenetic switch that can stably turn off genes, suggesting the potential to cause cancer just as a genetic mutation can. Until now, however, direct evidence that DNA methylation drives cancer formation was lacking. Researchers at the USDA/ARS Children's ...

Researchers uncover the secret lymphatic identity of the Schlemm's canal

2014-07-26
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide. A major risk factor for glaucoma is elevated eye pressure due to poor drainage of aqueous humor, the fluid that provides nutrients to the eye. A specialized structure, called Schlemm's canal funnels aqueous humor from the eye back into circulation. Schlemm's canal function is critical to prevent pressure build up in the eye. In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, two research groups reveal that Schlemm's canal shares features of lymphatic vessels, which maintain interstitial fluid homeostasis. ...

First national study finds trees saving lives, reducing respiratory problems

2014-07-25
SYRACUSE, N.Y., July 25, 2014– In the first broad-scale estimate of air pollution removal by trees nationwide, U.S. Forest Service scientists and collaborators calculated that trees are saving more than 850 human lives a year and preventing 670,000 incidences of acute respiratory symptoms. While trees' pollution removal equated to an average air quality improvement of less than 1 percent, the impacts of that improvement are substantial. Researchers valued the human health effects of the reduced air pollution at nearly $7 billion every year in a study published recently ...

Fire ecology manipulation by California native cultures

2014-07-25
Before the colonial era, 100,000s of people lived on the land now called California, and many of their cultures manipulated fire to control the availability of plants they used for food, fuel, tools, and ritual. Contemporary tribes continue to use fire to maintain desired habitat and natural resources. Frank Lake, an ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Southwest Station, will lead a field trip to the Stone Lake National Wildfire Refuge during the Ecological Society of America's 99th Annual Meeting, in Sacramento, Cal. this August. Visitors will learn about ...

Smoke from Canadian fires hover over Great Lakes

Smoke from Canadian fires hover over Great Lakes
2014-07-25
Canadian wildfires have been raging this summer and some of the smoke from those fires is drifting downward into the U.S. In this image collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite on July 24, 2014 a swath of smoke has descended over the Great Lakes region of the United States. What is particularly interesting is the fire image from July 23, 2014 (first image feature highlighted below) clearly shows the path of the smoke as it drifts off southeastward. In the image, it is over Manitoba and parts of Ontario, and by ...

Slow walking speed and memory complaints can predict dementia

2014-07-25
July 25, 2014—(BRONX, NY)—A study involving nearly 27,000 older adults on five continents found that nearly 1 in 10 met criteria for pre-dementia based on a simple test that measures how fast people walk and whether they have cognitive complaints. People who tested positive for pre-dementia were twice as likely as others to develop dementia within 12 years. The study, led by scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and Montefiore Medical Center, was published online on July 16, 2014 in Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy ...

Scalping can raise ticket prices

2014-07-25
Scalping gets a bad rap. For years, artists and concert promoters have stigmatized ticket resale as a practice that unfairly hurts their own sales and forces fans to pay exorbitant prices for tickets to sold-out concerts. But is that always true? A new study by Victor Bennett, assistant professor of management and organization at the USC Marshall School of Business, along with colleagues at New York University and the Harvard Business School, finds that resale markets like Craigslist can add value to tickets sold by concert venues and Ticketmaster. "Cannibalization and ...

Burn scars in Eastern Russia

Burn scars in Eastern Russia
2014-07-25
The burn scars on this false-color image from the Terra satellite show the different areas that have been affected by this year's rash of wildfires in Eastern Russia. The burn scars show up as reddish-brown splotches of color against the green background. The wildfires have broken across the remote parts of Eastern Russia in the Sakha Republic. Even in this false-color image from the MODIS instrument, it is still possible to see the smoke rising from the fires that continue. Two recent image features noted below show the devastating number of fires that have plagued ...

Anti-inflammatory drug can prevent neuron loss in Parkinson's model

2014-07-25
An experimental anti-inflammatory drug can protect vulnerable neurons and reduce motor deficits in a rat model of Parkinson's disease, researchers at Emory University School of Medicine have shown. The results were published in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease. The findings demonstrate that the drug, called XPro1595, can reach the brain at sufficient levels and have beneficial effects when administered by subcutaneous injection, like an insulin shot. Previous studies of XPro1595 in animals tested more invasive modes of delivery, such as direct injection into the brain. "This ...

New EMS system in Arizona dramatically improves survival from cardiac arrest

2014-07-25
WASHINGTON -- A new system that sent patients to designated cardiac receiving centers dramatically increased the survival rate of victims of sudden cardiac arrest in Arizona, according to a study published online yesterday in Annals of Emergency Medicine. "We knew lives would be saved if the hospitals implemented the latest cutting edge guidelines for post-cardiac arrest care and we were able to get cardiac arrest patients to those hospitals, similar to what is done for Level 1 trauma patients," said lead study author Daniel Spaite, MD, Director of EMS Research at the ...

Tropical Storm Genevieve forms in Eastern Pacific

Tropical Storm Genevieve forms in Eastern Pacific
2014-07-25
The seventh tropical depression of the Eastern Pacific Ocean formed and quickly ramped up to a tropical storm named "Genevieve." NOAA's GOES-West satellite captured an infrared image of the newborn storm being trailed by two other areas of developing low pressure to its east. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) noted that Tropical Storm Genevieve was born on July 25 at 5 a.m. EDT. At that time, Genevieve had maximum sustained winds near 40 mph (65 kph). It was located near 12.2 north latitude and 134.4 west longitude, about 1,490 miles (2,400 km) east-southeast of South ...

Climate change increases risk of crop slowdown in next 20 years

Climate change increases risk of crop slowdown in next 20 years
2014-07-25
BOULDER -- The world faces a small but substantially increased risk over the next two decades of a major slowdown in the growth of global crop yields because of climate change, new research finds. The authors, from Stanford University and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), say the odds of a major production slowdown of wheat and corn even with a warming climate are not very high. But the risk is about 20 times more significant than it would be without global warming, and it may require planning by organizations that are affected by international food ...

Whitehead Institute researchers create 'naïve' pluripotent human embryonic stem cells

2014-07-25
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (July 24, 2014) – For years, researchers and patients have hoped that embryonic stem cells (ESCs)—capable of forming nearly any cell type in the body—could provide insight into numerous diseases perhaps even be used to treat them. Yet progress has been hampered by the inability to transfer research and tools from mouse ESC studies to their human counterparts, in part because human ESCs are "primed" and slightly less plastic than the mouse cells. Now Thorold Theunissen, Benjamin Powell, and Haoyi Wang, who are scientists in the lab of Whitehead Institute ...

Scientists test nanoparticle 'alarm clock' to awaken immune systems put to sleep by cancer

2014-07-25
(Lebanon, NH, 7/25/14) — Researchers at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center are exploring ways to wake up the immune system so it recognizes and attacks invading cancer cells. Tumors protect themselves by tricking the immune system into accepting everything as normal, even while cancer cells are dividing and spreading. One pioneering approach, discussed in a review article published this week in WIREs Nanomedicine and Nanobiotechnology, uses nanoparticles to jumpstart the body's ability to fight tumors. Nanoparticles are too small to imagine. One billion ...

Clearing cells to prevent cervical cancer

2014-07-25
Boston, MA – A study published online in the International Journal of Cancer earlier this month describes a novel approach to preventing cervical cancer based on findings showing successful reduction in the risk of cervical cancer after removal of a discrete population of cells in the cervix. The findings come from a study that looked at squamocolumnar junction cells, or SCJ cells. These cells reside in the cervical canal and have been implicated as the origins of cervical cancer. A research team co-led by Christopher Crum, MD, director, Brigham and Women's Hospital ...

Manipulating key protein in the brain holds potential against obesity and diabetes

2014-07-25
DALLAS -- A protein that controls when genes are switched on or off plays a key role in specific areas of the brain to regulate metabolism, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found. The research potentially could lead to new therapies to treat obesity and diabetes, since the transcription factor involved – spliced X-box binding protein 1 (Xbp1s) – appears to influence the body's sensitivity to insulin and leptin signaling. Insulin and leptin are hormones central to the body's regulation of food intake and sugar disposal, and obesity and diabetes are conditions ...

Why do men prefer nice women?: Responsiveness and desire

2014-07-25
People's emotional reactions and desires in initial romantic encounters determine the fate of a potential relationship. Responsiveness may be one of those initial "sparks" necessary to fuel sexual desire and land a second date. However, it may not be a desirable trait for both men and women on a first date. Does responsiveness increase sexual desire in the other person? Do men perceive responsive women as more attractive, and does the same hold true for women's perceptions of men? A study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin seeks to answer those questions. ...

ACR statement on cancer study regarding patient anxiety from CT lung cancer screening

2014-07-25
Anxiety regarding inconclusive cancer screening test results among some patients is real and is only natural. However, as evidenced by Gareen et al, published July 25 in Cancer, the incidence and effects of anxiety associated with false positive or other results of computed tomography (CT) lung cancer screening exams are far less than claimed by some in the medical community. "Unsubstantiated claims of systemic and harmful patient anxiety should now be put to rest and not continue to delay implementation of CT lung cancer screening programs or Medicare coverage for these ...

Vanderbilt study examines bacteria's ability to fight obesity

2014-07-25
A probiotic that prevents obesity could be on the horizon. Bacteria that produce a therapeutic compound in the gut inhibit weight gain, insulin resistance and other adverse effects of a high-fat diet in mice, Vanderbilt University investigators have discovered. "Of course it's hard to speculate from mouse to human," said senior investigator Sean Davies, Ph.D., assistant professor of Pharmacology. "But essentially, we've prevented most of the negative consequences of obesity in mice, even though they're eating a high-fat diet." Regulatory issues must be addressed before ...

NSU researcher part of team studying ways to better predict intensity of hurricanes

2014-07-25
FORT LAUDERDALE-DAVIE, Fla. – They are something we take very seriously in Florida – hurricanes. The names roll off the tongue like a list of villains – Andrew, Charlie, Frances and Wilma. In the past 25 years or so, experts have gradually been improving prediction of the course a storm may take. This is thanks to tremendous advancements in computer and satellite technology. While we still have the "cone of uncertainty" we've become familiar with watching television weather reports, today's models are more accurate than they used to be. The one area, however, where ...

NASA maps Typhoon Matmo's Taiwan deluge

NASA maps Typhoon Matmos Taiwan deluge
2014-07-25
When Typhoon Matmo crossed over the island nation of Taiwan it left tremendous amounts of rainfall in its wake. NASA used data from the TRMM satellite to calculate just how much rain fell over the nation. The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission or TRMM satellite orbits the Earth and provides coverage over the tropics. TRMM is a satellite that is managed by both NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) that acts as a "flying rain gauge in space," that can estimate how fast rain is falling within storms on Earth and how much rain has fallen. On July 22, ...

Shift work linked to heightened risk of type 2 diabetes

2014-07-25
Shift work is linked to a heightened risk of developing type 2 diabetes, with the risk seemingly greatest among men and those working rotating shift patterns, indicates an analysis of the available evidence published online in Occupational & Environmental Medicine. Previous research has suggested links between working shifts and a heightened risk of various health problems, including digestive disorders, certain cancers, and cardiovascular disease. But whether diabetes can be added to the list has not been clear. The authors therefore trawled through scientific research ...

Smartphone experiment tracks whether our life story is written in our gut bacteria

Smartphone experiment tracks whether our life story is written in our gut bacteria
2014-07-25
Life events such as visiting another country or contracting a disease cause a significant shift in the make-up of the gut microbiota – the community of bacteria living in the digestive system, according to research published in the open access journal Genome Biology. Two participants used smartphone apps to collect information every day for a year in the study by scientists from MIT and Harvard. The authors think the method could be rolled out to studies of human-bacteria relationships with many more participants. Our microbiota is the community of bacteria that share ...

Leaf-mining insects destroyed with the dinosaurs, others quickly appeared

Leaf-mining insects destroyed with the dinosaurs, others quickly appeared
2014-07-25
After the asteroid impact at the end of the Cretaceous period that triggered the dinosaurs' extinction and ushered in the Paleocene, leaf-mining insects in the western United States completely disappeared. Only a million years later, at Mexican Hat, in southeastern Montana, fossil leaves show diverse leaf-mining traces from new insects that were not present during the Cretaceous, according to paleontologists. "Our results indicate both that leaf-mining diversity at Mexican Hat is even higher than previously recognized, and equally importantly, that none of the Mexican ...

Monitoring the rise and fall of the microbiome

2014-07-25
CAMBRIDGE, MA -- Trillions of bacteria live in each person's digestive tract. Scientists believe that some of these bacteria help digest food and stave off harmful infections, but their role in human health is not well understood. To help shed light on the role of these bacteria, a team of researchers led by MIT associate professor Eric Alm recently tracked fluctuations in the bacterial populations of two research subjects over a full year. The findings, described in the July 25 issue of the journal Genome Biology, suggest that while these populations are fairly stable, ...
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