Alternative odor receptors discovered in mice

Alternative odor receptors discovered in mice

Smell in mammals turns out to be more complex than we thought. Rather than one receptor family exclusively dedicated to detecting odors, a study in mice reports that a group of neurons surrounding the olfactory bulb use an alternative mechanism for catching scents. These "necklace" neurons, as they're called, use this newly discovered olfactory detection system to respond to odors that elicit instinctive responses, such as pheromones and the smell of seeds and nuts. Harvard researchers report the finding May 26 in Cell.

Why malnutrition is an immune disorder

Why malnutrition is an immune disorder

Malnourished children are most likely to die from common infections, not starvation. New experimental evidence, reviewed May 26 in Trends in Immunology, indicates that even with a healthy diet, defects in immune system function from birth could contribute to a malnourished state throughout life. Researchers speculate that targeting immune pathways could be a new approach to reduce the poor health and mortality caused by under- and overnutrition.

Potential impact of a dengue vaccine in the Yucatan

Potential impact of a dengue vaccine in the Yucatan

While no dengue vaccine has yet been approved for general use, several candidates are in clinical development. Data from the clinical trials can be used in mathematical models to estimate the benefits and risks and of different vaccination strategies. A study published in PLOS NTDs suggests that even a moderately efficient dengue vaccine--if it induces long-lasting immunity--can substantially reduce disease burden. However, if immunity wanes over time, vaccination could cause years with higher numbers of sick people, unless the initial vaccination is followed by regular boosters.

Researchers show experience plays strong role in early stages of brain circuit development

Researchers show experience plays strong role in early stages of brain circuit development

LA JOLLA, CA - May 26, 2016 - A healthy brain has just the right ratio of cells that enhance signals (excitatory neurons) and cells that tone down signals (inhibitory neurons). These two sets of neurons start out looking exactly the same, so what determines their roles?

Metagenomics pathogen detection tool could change how infectious diseases are diagnosed

Metagenomics pathogen detection tool could change how infectious diseases are diagnosed

SALT LAKE CITY, UT, May 26, 2016--Scientists at the University of Utah, ARUP Laboratories, and IDbyDNA, Inc., have developed ultra-fast, meta-genomics analysis software called Taxonomer that dramatically improves the accuracy and speed of pathogen detection.

Mimicking deep sleep brain activity improves memory

Mimicking deep sleep brain activity improves memory

It is not surprising that a good night's sleep improves our ability to remember what we learned during the day. Now, researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan have discovered a brain circuit that governs how certain memories are consolidated in the brain during sleep. Published in the May 26 issue of Science magazine, the study shows how experimentally manipulating the identified neural connection during non-REM sleep (deep sleep) can prevent or enhance memory retention in mice.

TSRI scientists discover mechanism that turns mutant cells into aggressive cancers

TSRI scientists discover mechanism that turns mutant cells into aggressive cancers

LA JOLLA, CA - May 26, 2016 - Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have caught a cancer-causing mutation in the act.

A new study shows how a gene mutation found in several human cancers, including leukemia, gliomas and melanoma, promotes the growth of aggressive tumors.

"We've found the mechanism through which this mutation leads to a scrambling of the genome," said TSRI Associate Professor Eros Lazzerini Denchi, who co-led the study with Agnel Sfeir of New York University (NYU) School of Medicine. "That's when you get really massive tumors."

Genes that increase children's risk of blood infection identified

A team led by Oxford University has identified genes that make certain children more susceptible to invasive bacterial infections by performing a large genome-wide association study in African children.

Making or breaking habits: The endocannabinoids can do it

In our daily lives we constantly have to shift between habitual and goal-directed actions. For example, having to drive to a new place instead of driving home. Difficulties with stopping habits and shifting to goal-directed control underlie a number of neuropsychiatric disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder and addiction. How does the brain control this fundamental process?

Malnutrition results from more than just inadequate diet

Malnourished children are most likely to die from common infections, not starvation alone, and immune disorder may be part of the cause, according to a review led by Queen Mary University of London.

The paper, published in Trends in Immunology, also indicates that even with a healthy diet, defects in immune system function from birth could contribute to a malnourished state throughout life. These altered immune systems could be passed down from generation to generation regardless of the diet of any offspring.