Tag Archives: Biomedical

Mapping energy metabolism of growing nerve cells to better understand neuronal disorders

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Scientists from Kyoto University’s Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS) in Japan have have discovered how nerve cells adjust to low energy environments during the brain’s growth process. Their study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, may one day help find treatments for nerve cell damage and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. […]

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Microbes help produce serotonin in gut

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Although serotonin is well known as a brain neurotransmitter, it is estimated that 90 percent of the body’s serotonin is made in the digestive tract. In fact, altered levels of this peripheral serotonin have been linked to diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis. New research at Caltech, published in the April […]

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Synthetic muscle ready for launch

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Rasmussen developed the material at RAS Labs and has worked closely with researchers and engineers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) to develop the material’s ability to adhere to metal. The Synthetic Muscle™ could be used in robotics in deep space travel such as travel to Mars because of its […]

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To survive, a parasite mixes and matches its disguises, study suggests

For research published on March 27 in Science, a team at Rockefeller University tracked the appearance and disappearance of these protein coats within the blood of mice infected by Trypanosoma brucei. Their results reveal an unexpected diversity in disguises present at any one time and challenge the conventional understanding of the dynamics that allow the […]

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Northwest Alaska bird, mammal species could experience habitat change from warming climate

The study, which projected the effects of climate-related changes on habitats of 162 species of birds and 39 species of mammals within 403,000 acres of the arctic, is among the first to explore what a warming climate might mean for a wide array of bird and mammal species across a vast geographic area. The findings […]

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* Modern logging techniques benefit rainforest wildlife

Researchers at the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) at the University of Kent say that with over 4 million km2 of tropical forests harvested for timber worldwide, improving the way logging impacts on wildlife is essential for global biodiversity conservation. Members of DICE conducted the most comprehensive study of Reduced-Impact Logging (RIL) to […]

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Animals tend to evolve toward larger size over time

Does evolution follow certain rules? If, in the words of the famed evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould, one could “rewind the tape of life,” would certain biological trends reemerge? Asked another way: can evolution be predicted? In one of the most comprehensive studies of body size evolution ever conducted, Stanford scientists have found fresh support […]

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New mechanism of inheritance could advance study of evolution, disease treatment

For more than a century, scientists have understood the basics of inheritance: if good genes help parents survive and reproduce, the parents pass those genes along to their offspring. And yet, recent research has shown that reality is much more complex: genes can be switched off, or silenced, in response to the environment or other […]

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New microscopy technique allows mapping protein synthesis in living tissues and animals

Researchers at Columbia University have made a significant step toward visualizing complex protein metabolism in living systems with high resolution and minimum disturbance, a longstanding goal in the scientific community. In a recent study published in ACS Chemical Biology, Assistant Professor of Chemistry Wei Min’s research team has reported a light microscopy method to image […]

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The brain’s social network: Nerve cells interact like friends on Facebook

Neurons in the brain are wired like a social network, report researchers from Biozentrum, University of Basel. Each nerve cell has links with many others, but the strongest bonds form between the few cells most similar to each other. The results are published in the journal Nature. Nerve cells form a bewildering meshwork of connections […]

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* Ibuprofen use leads to extended lifespan in several species, study shows

Regular doses of ibuprofen extended the lifespan of multiple species, according to research published in the journal Public Library of Science, Genetics. “We first used baker’s yeast, which is an established aging model, and noticed that the yeast treated with ibuprofen lived longer,” said Dr. Michael Polymenis, an AgriLife Research biochemist in College Station. “Then […]

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Activity in dendrites critical in memory formation

Researchers observed that when cell bodies were activated but the dendrites were not activated during an animal’s experience, a lasting memory of that experience was not formed by the neurons. This suggests that the cell body seems to represent ongoing experience, while dendrites, the treelike branches of a neuron, help to store that information. Why […]

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Cells’ powerhouses were once energy parasites: Study upends current theories of how mitochondria began

Parasitic bacteria were the first cousins of the mitochondria that power cells in animals and plants — and first acted as energy parasites in those cells before becoming beneficial, according to a new University of Virginia study that used next-generation DNA sequencing technologies to decode the genomes of 18 bacteria that are close relatives of […]

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Geneticists evaluate cost-effective genome analysis

Life implies change. And this holds true for genes as well. Organisms require a flexible genome in order to adapt to changes in the local environment. Christian Schlötterer and his team from the Institute for Population Genetics at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna study the genomes of entire populations. The scientists want to know […]

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Mechanized human hands: System designed to improve hand function lost to nerve damage

Engineers at Oregon State University have developed and successfully demonstrated the value of a simple pulley mechanism to improve hand function after surgery. The device, tested in cadaver hands, is one of the first instruments ever created that could improve the transmission of mechanical forces and movement while implanted inside the body. After continued research, […]

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Reversing the effects of pulmonary fibrosis with a microRNA mimic

Yale University researchers are studying a potential new treatment that reverses the effects of pulmonary fibrosis, a respiratory disease in which scars develop in the lungs and severely hamper breathing. The treatment uses a microRNA mimic, miR-29, which is delivered to lung tissue intravenously. In mouse models, miR-29 not only blocked pulmonary fibrosis, it reversed […]

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In one of nature’s innovations, a single cell smashes and rebuilds its own genome

The pond-dwelling, single-celled organism Oxytricha trifallax has the remarkable ability to break its own DNA into nearly a quarter-million pieces and rapidly reassemble those pieces when it’s time to mate, the researchers report in the journal Cell. The organism internally stores its genome as thousands of scrambled, encrypted gene pieces. Upon mating with another of […]

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What researchers are learning as they sequence, map, and decode species’ genomes

Domestic cats can develop diseases like leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus . To better understand these diseases, an international team of researchers sequenced and annotated the genomes of three domestic cats. The results, published this month (August 5) in GigaScience, include a new feline genome browser, Genome Annotation Resource Fields (GARfield), which encompasses methylation patterns […]

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Tiny muscles help bats fine-tune flight, stiffen wing skin

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Bats appear to use a network of hair-thin muscles in their wing skin to control the stiffness and shape of their wings as they fly, according to a new study. The finding provides new insight about the aerodynamic fine-tuning of membrane wings, both natural and human-made. A new study of bats reveals a capability within […]

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Compound boosts lifespan in worms

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A compound available in some dietary supplements extends lifespan in the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans by interfering with cellular energy production and mimicking the effects of severe calorie restriction. The results, published online in Nature, suggest that the compound, called α-ketoglutarate, could provide a way to increase longevity. Though intriguing, data linking the compound to […]

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Crocodile tears please thirsty butterflies and bees

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The butterfly (Dryas iulia) and the bee (Centris sp.) were most likely seeking scarce minerals and an extra boost of protein. On a beautiful December day in 2013, they found the precious nutrients in the tears of a spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus), relaxing on the banks of the Río Puerto Viejo in northeastern Costa Rica. […]

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Dying cells in fruit fly alert neighboring cells to protect themselves: As a result, neighbors become harder to kill

Cells usually self-destruct when irreparable glitches occur in their DNA. Programmed cell death, or apoptosis, helps insure that cells with damaged DNA do not grow and replicate to produce more mutated cells. Apoptosis thereby helps protect and insure the survival of the organism. At the GSA Drosophila Research Conference, TinTin Su, Ph.D., will report that […]

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Stem cell study opens door to undiscovered world of biology

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For the first time, researchers have shown that an essential biological process known as protein synthesis can be studied in adult stem cells — something scientists have long struggled to accomplish. The groundbreaking findings from the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) also demonstrate that the precise amount of protein produced by […]

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Study of antibody evolution charts course toward HIV vaccine

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In an advance for HIV vaccine research, a scientific team has discovered how the immune system makes a powerful antibody that blocks HIV infection of cells by targeting a site on the virus called V1V2. Many researchers believe that if a vaccine could elicit potent antibodies to a specific conserved site in the V1V2 region, […]

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Immune cells regulate blood stem cells, research shows

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During an infection, the blood stem cells must complete two tasks: they must first recognize that more blood cells have to be produced and, secondly, they must recognize what kind are required. Immune cells control the blood stem cells in the bone marrow and therefore also the body’s own defenses, new research shows. The findings […]

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Giant virus resurrected from 30,000-year-old ice

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In what seems like a plot straight out of a low-budget science-fiction film, scientists have revived a giant virus that was buried in Siberian ice for 30,000 years — and it is still infectious. Its targets, fortunately, are amoebae, but the researchers suggest that as Earth’s ice melts, this could trigger the return of other […]

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Common crop pesticides kill honeybee larvae in the hive

Four pesticides commonly used on crops to kill insects and fungi also kill honeybee larvae within their hives, according to Penn State and University of Florida researchers. The team also found that N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) — an inert, or inactive, chemical commonly used as a pesticide additive — is highly toxic to honeybee larvae. “We found […]

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Animal cells can communicate by reaching out, touching, study shows

In a finding that directly contradicts the standard biological model of animal cell communication, UCSF scientists have discovered that typical cells in animals have the ability to transmit and receive biological signals by making physical contact with each other, even at long distance. The mechanism is similar to the way neurons communicate with other cells, […]

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Modern caterpillars feed at higher temperatures in response to climate change

Caterpillars of two species of butterflies in Colorado and California have evolved to feed rapidly at higher temperatures and at a broader range of temperatures over the past 40 years, suggesting that they are evolving quickly to cope with a hotter, more variable climate. The work, led by Joel Kingsolver at UNC-Chapel Hill, represents a […]

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Not all species deteriorate with age

A comparison of standardized demographic patterns across 46 species, published in Nature, suggests that the vast diversity of ‘ageing strategies’ among them challenges the notion that evolution inevitably leads to senescence, or deterioration of mortality and fertility, with age, says Owen Jones, a biologist at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, who led the […]

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