Researchers have developed a new system to improve the delivery of genes, which could have the potential cure for several genetically transmitted diseases. Under the direction of Prashant Kumta, a professor of materials science, engineering and biomedical engineering, researchers are creating nano-particles capable of delivering DNA-based therapies for potential use in a variety of cancers and several genetic diseases. “We have developed a new system that will help physicians deliver their genetic life-saving payloads into enough cells to do some good,” said Kumta, who has applied for a patent on the non-viral gene delivery system.
Eating fish regularly reduced the risk of heart disease in diabetic women by as much as 64 percent, according to a new study. “We found that women with type 2 diabetes who ate more fish had significantly lower risk of coronary heart disease and total death than those who rarely ate fish,” says Frank B. Hu, M.D., lead author and associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. “Previous studies have found that fish consumption reduces risk of heart disease in a largely healthy population. This is the first study to look at the relationship among diabetic patients, who have very high risk of heart disease.”
Vitamin C helped convert mouse embryonic stem cells growing in the laboratory to heart muscle cells, researchers report. This basic-research discovery could lead to future research on ways to treat people suffering from damaged heart muscle. “Although the findings of this study are very preliminary with respect to their impact on human lives, this line of research has enormous implications for the future care of thousands of patients who develop heart failure each year,” says Robert O. Bonow, M.D., president of the American Heart Association.
By using tiny quantum dots to create trails of altered molecules, UCLA researchers are developing a method of producing nanoscale circuitry for the molecular computers of the future that will use molecular switches in place of transistors.
“This technology, although still in the unpublished, proof-of-concept stage, could eventually lead to a relatively inexpensive means of patterning interconnections between the logic gates of a molecular computer,” according to Harold G. Monbouquette, professor of chemical engineering at UCLA’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, who leads the team.
Virginia Tech researchers have discovered that exposure to some insecticides may cause a cascade of chemical events in the brain that could lead to Parkinson?s Disease. “We found low-level exposures set in motion a process with an early onset that develops slowly and is persistent,” one of the lead researchers said. “More surprising is that high-level exposures resulted in few immediate effects that we could observe, but in the longer term there was a delayed effect.”
Patients with sickle cell disease have mutant haemoglobin proteins that form deadly long, stiff fibres inside red blood cells. A research team led by University of Warwick researcher Dr Matthew Turner, propose a mathematical model in the 28 March online issue of PRL to explain the persistent stability of these deadly fibres. The theory suggests that an inherent “twistiness” in the strands that make up the fibres could be the key to their durability and possibly to new treatments.
Researchers at NYU School of Medicine have found that immunization prolongs the incubation period for prion diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and may have therapeutic value for other neurodegenerative illness such as Alzheimer’s disease. Prion disease is a fatal brain disease manifested through failure of muscle control and dementia. Forms of this disease have been discovered in deer and elk (chronic wasting disease), in cows (bovine spongiform encephalopathy ? BSE ? or “mad cow disease”) and in sheep (scrapie strain).
Researchers have found evidence that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) including ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen, may exert a protective effect against the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Results of their epidemiological, multiple-study analysis of nearly 16,000 patients are being presented at the American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting in Honolulu, March 29-April 5, 2003.
Researchers have found disturbing new evidence suggesting that environmental exposure to a ubiquitous substance may cause chromosomally abnormal pregnancies. They have learned that low levels of a compound used in the manufacture of common plastic food and beverage containers and baby bottles interfere with cell division in the eggs of female mice. The disruption of cell division can result in an abnormal number of chromosomes in the eggs, a condition known as aneuploidy, which is the leading cause of mental retardation and birth defects in humans. Down syndrome is an example of a disorder caused by the addition of an extra chromosome.
Harvard Medical School, Harvard Medical International, Harvard School of Public Health and Key3Media Group, Inc. will host a series of educational workshops designed as intense, one-day interactive seminars that will take place from May through July in Boston; Washington, D.C.; and Los Angeles.
Though Einstein put his foot down and demanded that nothing can move faster than light, a new device developed at the University of Rochester may let you outpace a beam by putting your foot down on the gas pedal. At 127 miles per hour, the light in the new device travels more than 5 million times slower than normal as it passes through a ruby just a few centimeters long. Instead of the complex, room-filling mechanisms previously used to slow light, the new apparatus is small and, in the words of its creator, “ridiculously easy to implement.” Such a simple design will likely pave the way for slow light, as it is called, to move from a physical curiosity to a useful telecommunications tool. The research is being published in this week’s Physical Review Letters.
Missouri adults who say that they live in unsafe and unpleasant neighborhoods are one and a half times more likely to be overweight than adults who say they live in safe and pleasant communities, according to a new study. Unsafe traffic, crime and a lack of nice scenery in certain neighborhoods may keep residents from getting enough physical activity, which contributes to becoming or staying overweight, say Ross C. Brownson, Ph.D., of the St. Louis University School of Public Health and colleagues, who collaborated with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services on the study.