Tag Archives | stanford university medical

Researchers identify best hours for shut-eye when sleep must be limited

People getting a minimal amount of sleep do better if they go to bed early in the morning rather than late at night, suggests Stanford University Medical Center research. A recently published pilot study on the effects of sleep deprivation also found that individual tolerance of sleep restriction varies widely, yet study participants had a better overall adaptation to early morning sleep.

Researchers isolate protein needed for stem cell maintenance

Scientists have finally laid hands on the first member of a recalcitrant group of proteins called the Wnts two decades after their discovery. Important regulators of animal development, these proteins were suspected to have a role in keeping stem cells in their youthful, undifferentiated state – a suspicion that has proven correct, according to research carried out in two laboratories at Stanford University Medical Center. The ability to isolate Wnt proteins could help researchers grow some types of stem cells for use in bone marrow transplants or other therapies.

Research points to chance as cause of genetic diseases in Ashkenazi Jews

A population of Jewish people known as the Ashkenazi Jews have an unusually high risk of several genetic diseases, and up until now, no one has understood why. Was it random chance that made mutations so common or did evolution play a role in keeping mutations around? The answer to this question, said researchers at Stanford University Medical Center, appears to be chance. Their findings appear in the March online issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics and in the journal’s April print edition.

Study finds addictive drugs all tweak same neurons in brain

Drug addicts may prefer some drugs over others, but their brains all have something in common. Whether it’s uppers or downers, addictive drugs tweak the same addiction-related neurons, causing them to become more sensitive, say researchers at Stanford University Medical Center. “What we have identified is a single change caused by drugs of abuse with different molecular mechanisms,” said researcher Robert Malenka.

Bone marrow cells take on new role in the brain, say Stanford researchers

Researchers have published new evidence showing that cells from the bone marrow might help repair or maintain cells in other tissues. In a paper in this week’s online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers describe finding chromosomes from a bone marrow transplant in the brain cells of transplant recipients. When people receive a bone marrow transplant after high-dose chemotherapy, some of the transplanted cells regenerate the blood-making cells that were destroyed. In past experiments in mice, scientists found that cells from the transplant could also relocate to tissues throughout the body rather than being restricted to the bone marrow and blood.

Researcher studies newly discovered 'good' cholesterol gene

Researchers have found that a recently discovered gene regulates HDL (high density lipoproteins) cholesterol, also known as “good” cholesterol. The study, published in the February issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, could lead to new therapies for heart disease, said lead author Thomas Quertermous, MD. “This is a significant and unexpected finding, and the gene is going to be a real target for the prevention and treatment of heart disease,” said Quertermous, the William G. Irwin Professor and chief of cardiovascular medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. “This type of thing doesn’t happen every day.”

Cost-effectiveness of HPV vaccine established

Stanford University Medical Center researchers have found that it would be cost-effective to administer a vaccine to protect women against the virus that causes cervical cancer. Their projection, based on estimates of how effective and long-lasting a vaccine might be, was published in the January issue of Emerging Infectious Disease. The researchers found that even if a vaccine is only moderately effective, it could save 1,300 lives and prevent more than 3,300 cases of cervical cancer over the lifetime of an estimated 2 million study subjects.

Medications underused in treating heart disease

Past studies have shown that various medications including beta blockers and aspirin can help manage heart disease. Yet a new study from Stanford University Medical Center indicates physicians continue to underprescribe these key treatments. The study appears in the Jan. 1 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. It focuses on the outpatient use of the drug warfarin for atrial fibrillation (or irregular heartbeat), beta blockers and aspirin for coronary artery disease, and ACE inhibitors for congestive heart failure – all medications that have been shown to benefit patients in past clinical trials and population studies.

Compulsive shopping study to research mysterious illness

For some, the holiday season brings an annual rite that may feel like “compulsive shopping,” but for others, compulsive shopping is a year-round illness that seriously interferes with daily life. People with a compulsive shopping disorder often are unable to think about anything other than shopping and can’t control the impulse to purchase even useless or unwanted items. Stanford University Medical Center is continuing a multi-year clinical trial on a medication that may curb this irresistible urge.

COX-2 Inhibitors Interfere with Bone Growth, Healing

Researchers have found that selective COX-2 inhibitors ? a class of medications widely prescribed for painful inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis – interfere with the healing process after a bone fracture or cementless joint implant surgery. Their findings suggest that patients who regularly take COX-2 inhibitors should switch to a different medication, such as acetaminophen or codeine derivatives, following a bone fracture or cementless implant.

Cholestrol Drug Could Lead to New Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

While cautioning that their findings still must be evaluated in humans, University of California, San Francisco and Stanford University Medical Center researchers report that the cholesterol-lowering drug atorvastatin (Lipitor) significantly improved, prevented relapses or reversed paralysis in mice with an experimental disease that closely resembles multiple sclerosis. The study, reported in the November 7 issue of Nature, was conducted in mice with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), the standard animal model for multiple sclerosis.

New technique cuts risks of gene therapy

Stanford researchers have developed a technique that could cut the risks associated with gene therapy. Traditionally, gene therapy involves sneaking a snippet of genes into a person’s DNA via a virus messenger. But the result is the new sequence gets randomly placed within the patient’s existing genes, sometimes triggering other illnesses, such as leukemia. The new technique eliminates the need for a virus delivery system and places the genes in precise locations.

Researchers to test smallpox vaccine

Researchers in Northern California are conducting a clinical trial that will test whether diluted doses of the smallpox vaccine produce adequate immunity in adults who have previously been vaccinated. The results of the federally funded study, for which volunteers are now being sought, will help shape U.S. policy on how the vaccine would be given in the event of a smallpox outbreak.

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