CROI — Day 2: Selected highlights of NIH-supported research

The 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections is taking place at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston from February 27 through March 2. Day two of this major HIV/AIDS research conference included the following selected presenta…

Common Acne Treatment Stops Blindness in Animal Model

Administering Accutane, a drug commonly used to treat acne, UCLA researchers have successfully stopped the accumulation of toxic pigments in the eyes of animals with a genetic defect similar to Stargardt’s macular degeneration. The UCLA team gave a daily injection of Accutane to mimic the effect of constant light deprivation and the results proved dramatic. These toxic pigments, called lipofuscin, are responsible for the visual loss in patients with Stargardt’s disease.

Pain killers may dissolve Alzheimer's disease plaques

In a breakthrough study, scientists have found that common painkillers such as ibuprofen and naproxen may actually dissolve the brain lesions — or amyloid plaques — that are one of the definitive hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. The findings are reported in the March 31 issue of Neuroscience. Principal investigator Jorge R. Barrio, professor of molecular and medical pharmacology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, has used FDDNP, a new chemical marker developed in his laboratory at UCLA, to visually zero in on the brain lesions present in Alzheimer’s disease. He discovered that common over-the-counter pain medications — known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs — bind to amyloid plaques, and may help dissolve existing plaques and prevent the formation of new ones.

Exercise and Dietary Changes Can Kill Prostate Cancer Cells

UCLA scientists report that 11 days of daily exercise and the Pritikin low-fat, high-fiber diet induce prostate cancer cells to die. The research, published in the new issue of the journal Cancer Causes and Control, is the first to show that diet and exercise can kill prostate cancer cells. “You can make changes in a short period of time that have a dramatic impact on your health ? in this case, on the growth and death of prostate tumor cells,” said R. James Barnard, professor of physiological science at UCLA and lead investigator on the study.

Geneticists Find Location of Major Gene in ADHD; Also Linked to Autism

Researchers in Los Angeles have localized a region on chromosome 16 that is likely to contain a risk gene for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, the most prevalent childhood-onset psychiatric disorder. The scientists say their finding suggest that the suspected risk gene may contribute as much as 30 percent of the underlying genetic cause of ADHD and may also be involved in a separate childhood onset disorder, autism.

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