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Customized knee replacement depends on surgeon's skill, not implant design

Customized knee replacement depends on surgeons skill, not implant design
2011-02-17
DETROIT – While the choices of knee implants are plentiful, the success of total knee replacement surgery still is dependent on the surgeon's skill, Henry Ford Hospital researchers say. Researchers found that utilizing a series of common but nuanced surgical techniques is far more important to customizing the fit of a patient's implant than the implant's design. The findings will be displayed at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Feb. 15-18 in San Diego. "Customized knee implants will not replace the need for precise, methodical surgical ...

Oldest fossils of large seaweeds, possible animals tell story about oxygen in an ancient ocean

Oldest fossils of large seaweeds, possible animals tell story about oxygen in an ancient ocean
2011-02-17
Almost 600 million years ago, before the rampant evolution of diverse life forms known as the Cambrian explosion, a community of seaweeds and worm-like animals lived in a quiet deep-water niche under the sea near what is now Lantian, a small village in Anhui Province of South China. Then they simply died, leaving some 3,000 nearly pristine fossils preserved between beds of black shale deposited in oxygen-free waters. Scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Virginia Tech in the U.S., and Northwest University in Xi'an, China report the discovery of the fossils ...

New pneumococcal vaccine approach successful in early tests

2011-02-17
Pneumococcus (Streptococcus pneumoniae) accounts for as much as 11 percent of mortality in young children worldwide. While successful vaccines like Prevnar® exist, they are expensive and only work against specific pneumococcal strains, with the risk of becoming less effective as new strains emerge. Through a novel discovery approach, researchers at Children's Hospital Boston and Genocea Biosciences, Inc., in collaboration with the international nonprofit organization PATH, developed a new vaccine candidate that is potentially cheaper and able to protect against any pneumococcal ...

Who's the boss? Americans respond faster to those with high social status

2011-02-17
Who do you look at in a group photo? If you're like most adults, you'll look at yourself first — unless your boss is also in the picture. A study in PLoS ONE by researchers from the Brain and Creativity Institute at USC and Peking University examines how White Americans and Chinese people in China respond to pictures of their boss, suggesting cultural differences in our responses to authority figures. Unlike people in China, who responded fastest to pictures of their direct supervisor, White Americans responded faster to pictures of their own face than to pictures of ...

GW researchers reveal first autism candidate gene that demonstrates sensitivity to sex hormones

2011-02-17
WASHINGTON— George Washington University researcher, Dr. Valerie Hu, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and her team at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, have found that male and female sex hormones regulate expression of an important gene in neuronal cell culture through a mechanism that could explain not only higher levels of testosterone observed in some individuals with autism, but also why males have a higher incidence of autism than females. The gene, RORA, encodes a protein that works as a "master switch" for gene expression, and is critical ...

Mio-Pliocene faunal exchanges and African biogeography: The record of fossil bovids

2011-02-17
New fossil discoveries have provided a glimpse into the biogeographic configuration of Africa over the last seven million years. Modern-day Africa south of the Sahara is home to a unique variety of mammals, a great number of which are not found anywhere else in the world. Biogeographers have long recognized that sub-Saharan Africa constitutes one of the world's six major mammalian biogeographic divisions, termed 'realms'. However, the historical development of these continental regions of biogeographic diversity has been little explored. Description of six million-year-old ...

Biological anthropologists question claims for human ancestry

2011-02-17
"Too simple" and "not so fast" suggest biological anthropologists from the George Washington University and New York University about the origins of human ancestry. In the upcoming issue of the journal Nature, the anthropologists question the claims that several prominent fossil discoveries made in the last decade are our human ancestors. Instead, the authors offer a more nuanced explanation of the fossils' place in the Tree of Life. They conclude that instead of being our ancestors the fossils more likely belong to extinct distant cousins. "Don't get me wrong, these ...

Key culprit identified in breast cancer metastasis

2011-02-17
When doctors discover high concentrations of regulatory T cells in the tumors of breast cancer patients, the prognosis is often grim, though why exactly has long been unclear. Now new research at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine suggests these regulatory T cells, whose job is to help mediate the body's immune response, produce a protein that appears to hasten and intensify the spread of breast cancer to distant organs and, in doing so, dramatically increase the risk of death. The findings are reported in the Feb. 16 advance online edition ...

Regrowing hair: UCLA-VA researchers may have accidentally discovered a solution

Regrowing hair: UCLA-VA researchers may have accidentally discovered a solution
2011-02-17
It has been long known that stress plays a part not just in the graying of hair but in hair loss as well. Over the years, numerous hair-restoration remedies have emerged, ranging from hucksters' "miracle solvents" to legitimate medications such as minoxidil. But even the best of these have shown limited effectiveness. Now, a team led by researchers from UCLA and the Veterans Administration that was investigating how stress affects gastrointestinal function may have found a chemical compound that induces hair growth by blocking a stress-related hormone associated with ...

1 group of enzymes could have a positive impact on health, from cholesterol to osteoporosis

2011-02-17
Montreal, February 16, 2011 – Recent studies conducted at the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM) on a group of PCSK enzymes could have a positive impact on health, from cholesterol to osteoporosis. A team led by Dr. Nabil G. Seidah, Director of the Biochemical Neuroendocrinology research unit, has published six articles in prestigious scientific journals over the past four months, all shedding light on novel functions of certain PCSK enzymes. PCSK enzymes belong to the proprotein convertase family, responsible for the conversion of an inactive protein ...

Neurologists develop software application to help identify subtle epileptic lesions

2011-02-17
Researchers from the Department of Neurology at NYU Langone Medical Center identified potential benefits of a new computer application that automatically detects subtle brain lesions in MRI scans in patients with epilepsy. In a study published in the February 2011 issue of PLoS ONE, the authors discuss the software's potential to assist radiologists in better identifying and locating visually undetectable, operable lesions. "Our method automatically identified abnormal areas in MRI scans in 92 percent of the patients sampled, which were previously identified by expert ...

Increasing brain enzyme may slow Alzheimer's disease progression

Increasing brain enzyme may slow  Alzheimers disease progression
2011-02-17
LOS ANGELES – Increasing puromycin-sensitive aminopeptidase, the most abundant brain peptidase in mammals, slowed the damaging accumulation of tau proteins that are toxic to nerve cells and eventually lead to the neurofibrillary tangles, a major pathological hallmark of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, according to a study published online in the journal, Human Molecular Genetics. Researchers found they could safely increase the puromycin-sensitive aminopeptidase, PSA/NPEPPS, by two to three times the usual amount in animal models, and it removed the ...

Hip, thigh implants can raise bone fracture risk in children

2011-02-17
Children with hip and thigh implants designed to help heal a broken bone or correct other bone conditions are at risk for subsequent fractures of the very bones that the implants were intended to treat, according to new research from Johns Hopkins Children's Center. Findings of the Johns Hopkins study, based on an analysis of more than 7,500 pediatric bone implants performed at Hopkins over 15 years, will be presented Feb. 16 at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Although the absolute risk among the patients was relatively small — nine ...

Erg gene key to blood stem cell 'self-renewal'

Erg gene key to blood stem cell self-renewal
2011-02-17
Scientists from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute have begun to unravel how blood stem cells regenerate themselves, identifying a key gene required for the process. The discovery that the Erg gene is vitally important to blood stem cells' unique ability to self-renew could give scientists new opportunities to use blood stem cells for tissue repair, transplantation and other therapeutic applications. Professor Doug Hilton, Dr Samir Taoudi and colleagues from the institute's Molecular Medicine and Cancer and Haematology divisions led the study. Dr Taoudi said the research ...

Xenacoelomorpha -- a new phylum in the animal kingdom

Xenacoelomorpha -- a new phylum in the animal kingdom
2011-02-17
An international team of scientists including Albert Poustka from the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin has discovered that Xenoturbellida and the acoelomorph worms, both simple marine worms, are more closely related to complex organisms like humans and sea urchins than was previously assumed. As a result they have made a major revision to the phylogenetic history of animals. Up to now, the acoelomate worms were viewed as the crucial link between simple animals like sponges and jellyfish and more complex organisms. It has now emerged that these animals ...

Tau-induced memory loss in Alzheimer's mice is reversible

2011-02-17
VIDEO: To test their capacity to learn, the mice are trained to find an underwater platform which is not visible to them from the edge of a water basin. The swimming... Click here for more information. Amyloid-beta and tau protein deposits in the brain are characteristic features of Alzheimer disease. The effect on the hippocampus, the area of the brain that plays a central role in learning and memory, is particularly severe. However, it appears that the toxic effect of tau ...

Insects hold atomic clues about the type of habitats in which they live

2011-02-17
Scientists have discovered that insects contain atomic clues as to the habitats in which they are most able to survive. The research has important implications for predicting the effects of climate change on the insects, which make up three-quarters of the animal kingdom. Applying a method previously only used to examine the possible effects of climate change on plants, scientists from the University of Cambridge can now determine the climatic tolerances of individual insects. Their research was published today, 16 February, in the scientific journal Biology Letters. Because ...

Researchers link gene mutations to Ebstein's anomaly

2011-02-17
Ebstein's anomaly is a rare congenital valvular heart disease. Now, in patients with this disease, researchers of the Academic Medical Center Amsterdam in the Netherlands, the University of Newcastle, UK and the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch have identified mutations in a gene which plays an important role in the structure of the heart. The researchers hope that these findings will lead to faster diagnosis and novel, more specifically targeted treatment methods (Circulation Cardiovascular Genetics, DOI: 10.1161/CIRCGENETICS.110.957985)*. Ebstein's ...

Build your online networks using social annotations

2011-02-17
Researchers at Toshiba are working on a way of finding clusters of like-minded bloggers and others online using "social annotations". Social annotations are the tags and keywords, the comments and feedback that users, both content creators and others associate with their content. Their three-step approach could help you home in on people in a particular area of expertise much more efficiently and reliably than simply following search engine results. The same tools might also be used in targeted marketing. Users of photo gallery sites, such as Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/) ...

Water softeners not found to improve childhood eczema

2011-02-17
The first study of its kind in the world — involving 336 children aged between six months and 16 years old — has shown that installing a water softener for three months brings no additional relief for eczema sufferers. Up to one fifth of all children of school age have eczema, along with about one in 12 of the adult population. Anecdotal reports from patients have suggested that hard water may worsen atopic eczema. Population surveys have also suggested a possible link between atopic eczema prevalence and the degree of water hardness. It had been hoped that water softeners ...

Treatment for manic-depressive illness restores brain volume deficits

2011-02-17
Philadelphia, PA, 16 February 2011 - Lithium, introduced in the late 1940's, was the first "wonder drug" in psychiatry. It was the first medication treatment for the manic and depressive episodes of bipolar disorder and it remains among one of the most effective treatments for this disorder. In the past 15 years, as molecular mechanisms underlying the treatment of bipolar disorder began to emerge, basic research studies conducted in animals began to identify neuroprotective and perhaps neurotrophic effects of this important medication. The identification of these ...

Study looks into evolution of breast cancer in Spain

2011-02-17
Pioneering Spanish provinces in terms of early prevention of breast cancer, such as Navarre and the Basque Country, record lower death rates, although the trend is towards the figures levelling out all over Spain. These are the results of a study carried out by Spanish researchers, which analyses the number of women who died between 1975 and 2005. "The Canary Islands, Balearic Islands, some parts of Catalonia, Valencia and Murcia, as well as the south west region, have higher breast cancer death rates, although there is a trend towards the geographical differences disappearing", ...

President Obama's 2012 budget: Nation's future depends on science, innovation

2011-02-17
WASHINGTON—February 16, 2011— Research!America's board chair, former Congressman John Edward Porter, and president, Mary Woolley, thanked President Obama for prioritizing medical, health and scientific research in his FY2012 budget proposal. The president's budget includes $31.829 billion for the National Institutes of Health ($745 million increase over 2010); $7.8 billion for the National Science Foundation ($1.2 billion increase over 2010); and $2.747 billion for the Food and Drug Administration ($382 million increase over 2010). The budget proposes $5.8 billion for ...

Finding a way to extend tomato shelf-life

2011-02-17
Tomatoes spend so much time on shelves and in refrigerators that an estimated 20 percent are lost to spoilage, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). But scientists with USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) are working with colleagues at Purdue University to extend the shelf life of tomatoes. The research also may lead to tomatoes that taste better and are more nutritious. ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency, and the research results support the USDA priority of promoting international food security. Autar Mattoo, a ...

Running on a faster track

2011-02-17
What matters for commuters is not just if the train will be on time, but how long the journey will take. It's an important factor in public transportation and can make the difference in helping commuters choose mass transit over more polluting and costly transport like cars or airplanes. Dr. Tal Raviv and his graduate student Mor Kaspi of Tel Aviv University's Department of Industrial Engineering in the Iby and Aladar Fleischman Faculty of Engineering have developed a tool that makes passenger train journeys shorter, especially when transfers are involved — a computer-based ...
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