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Clue to prion formation found, offers step toward treating puzzling diseases

Prions–their existence is intriguing and their links to disease are unsettling. These unconventional infectious agents are involved in mad cow disease and other fatal brain illnesses in humans and animals, rattling prior assumptions about the spread of infections. Dartmouth Medical School biochemists studying the mysteries of these prion particles have discovered a novel step in their formation. Their results, reported in a recent issue of Biochemistry could help provide a new approach for therapy against prion diseases. The team, headed by Dr. Surachai Supattapone, assistant professor of biochemistry and of medicine, includes Ralf Lucassen and Koren Nishina.

Gov’t to establish national schizophrenia brain image database

Brain images from hundreds of people with schizophrenia at 10 research sites nationwide will be shared in a first-of-its-kind research project funded by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a branch of the National Institutes of Health. The project will create an extensive database of brain information that it is hoped will expand understanding of disabling brain illnesses such as schizophrenia and speed the development of new treatments.