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Rare Form Of Diabetes May Require Alternate Treatment

March 18, 2016 - 2:58am

Patients with a rare, genetic form of diabetes often are misdiagnosed as having type 2 diabetes because the two share symptoms.

But new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that treating such patients with therapies designed for type 2 diabetes is potentially harmful and that treatment guidelines need to change. The underlying problems in patients with the genetic form of the disease -- called maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY1) -- are very different from those in type 2 diabetes. And treating MODY1 patients with drugs for type 2 diabetes appears to lead to destruction of insulin-secreting beta cells that regulate blood sugar, the scientists found.


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New Golden Frog Species Discovered In Colombia

March 18, 2016 - 2:58am

A team of scientists including a Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) research associate announced the discovery of a new species of pale-gold colored frog from the cloud forests of the high Andes in Colombia. Its name, Pristimantis dorado, commemorates both its color (dorado means 'golden' in Spanish) and El Dorado, a mythical city of gold eagerly sought for centuries by Spanish conquistadores in South America.

"The Spaniards assumed Colombia's wealth was its gold, but today we understand that the real riches of the country lie in its biodiversity," said Andrew Crawford, a STRI research associate and faculty member at the Universidad de Los Andes.


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How Rocks Shaped The Civil War

March 18, 2016 - 2:58am

Boulder, Colo., USA: The most studied battleground from the American Civil War, from a geological perspective, is the rolling terrain surrounding Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Here, the mixture of harder igneous and softer sedimentary rocks produced famous landform features such as Cemetery Hill and Little Round Top that provided strong defensive positions for the Union Army.

Another even more common type of rock -- carbonates such as limestone -- provided similarly formidable defensive positions at numerous other battlefields in both the eastern and western theaters of conflict.


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Chemical Fingerprints Implicate Wind Turbines Killing Bats

March 17, 2016 - 2:18pm

Thanks to government mandates and ongoing subsidies, wind energy has become more popular, and one impact of large-scale wind energy development has been widespread mortality of bats. A new study tracks down the origin of bats killed by wind turbines in the Appalachian region in hopes of better understanding the risks to affected populations.


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The Genetic Determinants Of Symptoms In A Rare Chromosomal Deletion Disorder

March 17, 2016 - 2:13pm

Individuals with 2p15p16.1 microdeletion syndrome present with intellectual disability, microcephaly, delayed growth, dysmorphic craniofacial features, and digital abnormalities. The precise genetic region responsible for this syndrome has been challenging to identify. However, recent reports indicate that 4 genes (XPO1, USP34, BCL11A, and REL) are commonly deleted in this syndrome. A study in the current issue of JCI Insight describes 8 new subjects with microdeletions in chromosomal region 2p15p16.1 and provides evidence that loss of XPO1, REL, and BCL11A underlie this syndrome.


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A Molecular Subtype Of Bladder Cancer Resembles Breast Cancer

March 17, 2016 - 2:13pm

Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer among men in the United States. While low-grade tumors have a very favorable prognosis, muscle-invasive and metastatic tumors have poorer survival rates. In this month's issue of JCI Insight, William Kim, Benjamin Vincent, and a research team from the University of North Carolina characterized a new subtype of muscle-invasive bladder cancer that shares molecular signatures with some forms of breast cancer. A subset of triple-negative breast cancers express low levels of the tight junction protein claudin. The UNC researchers now document that claudin-low tumors represent a specific subtype of bladder cancer as well.


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Lamprey-derived Antibody Specifically Recognizes Human Plasma Cells

March 17, 2016 - 2:13pm

Antibody-secreting plasma cells arise from B cell precursors and are essential for adaptive immune responses against invading pathogens. Plasma cell dysfunction is associated with autoimmune and neoplastic disorders, including multiple myeloma. Surface markers that are specific to plasma cells have not been identified and antibodies that only recognize these cells have been challenging to generate using conventional systems. In the current issue of JCI Insight, Götz Ehrhardt and colleagues at the University of Toronto describe the generation of a plasma cell-specific antibody from immunized lampreys.


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Canadian Groups That Tout Diversity Discriminate More - Because Minorities "Whiten" Credentials Less

March 17, 2016 - 12:13pm

 Minority applicants may fare even worse in the resume pile at companies purporting to support diversity than they would at companies that don't make the claim, shows a new study from the University of Toronto.

That's because job seekers are less likely to "whiten" their resumes by downplaying their racial identities when responding to pro-diversity job ads. The odds of getting a callback for an interview when resumes are not whitened are significantly worse, regardless of whether the company says it's a pro-diversity employer or not. On the other hand, hiding one's race by "whitening" was found to improve minorities' chances of landing an interview.


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Women May Keep Verbal Memory Skills Longer Than Men In The Early Stages Of Alzheimer's

March 17, 2016 - 2:51am

MINNEAPOLIS - Women may have a better memory for words than men despite evidence of similar levels of shrinkage in areas of the brain that show the earliest signs of Alzheimer's disease, according to a study published in the March 16, 2016, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.


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Healthy Heart Equals Healthy Brain

March 17, 2016 - 2:51am

DALLAS, March 16, 2016 -- A healthy heart may have major benefits for preventing the decline in brain function that sometimes accompanies aging, according to new research in Journal of the American Heart Association.

Researchers studied a racially diverse group of older adults and found that having more ideal cardiovascular health factors was associated with better brain processing speed at the study's start and less cognitive decline approximately six years later.

The researchers from the University of Miami and Columbia University used the American Heart Association's "Life's Simple Seven®" definition of cardiovascular health, which includes tobacco avoidance, ideal levels of weight, physical activity, healthy diet, blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose.


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Hope For Veterans With An Overlooked Form Of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

March 17, 2016 - 2:51am

In an article published in the March 2016 issue of the Journal of Anxiety Disorders, investigators in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) report that veterans who fall just below the threshold for a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) respond to a psychotherapy regimen better than those with full PTSD. The study highlights the need to recognize veterans suffering from an overlooked condition called subclinical PTSD.


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Study Reports Significant Link Between Nightmares And Suicidal Behavior

March 17, 2016 - 2:51am

DARIEN, IL - A new study is the first to report that the relationship between nightmares and suicidal behaviors is partially mediated by a multi-step pathway via defeat, entrapment and hopelessness.


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Increased Dementia Risk In Women -- A Matter Of Proteins?

March 17, 2016 - 2:49am

Gender-specific differences between the levels and structures of proteins present in the white matter and the mitochondria of the brains of men and women suffering from dementia have been revealed for the first time in a study published in the open access journal Molecular Brain.

While previous studies have shown that women exhibit higher risk of dementia than men, the underlying mechanisms of this gender difference have remained elusive. The findings by researchers from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore may advance our understanding of the higher risk of dementia that has been observed in women compared to men, which the researchers suggest could lead to the development of new drugs for dementia treatment.


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Nothing Is Certain, Except Death, Taxes And Conspiracies About Science

March 16, 2016 - 7:38pm

Death, taxes, and conspiracy theories. No matter how many peer-reviewed studies scientists produce, there will always be conspiracy theorists with outlandish alternatives to the generally accepted scientific consensus. Sometimes these ideas are just silly, like Rapper B.o.B. believing the Earth is flat. But other inaccurate theories, like insecticides cause birth defects, genetically modified foods are dangerous, and vaccines cause autism, have serious public health consequences.

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This Necklace Hears What You Eat

March 16, 2016 - 7:22pm

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Carrots and apples not only taste different. They make distinct sounds when chewed.

This may seem like trivial knowledge, but it's not in the laboratory of University at Buffalo computer scientist Wenyao Xu, who is creating a library that catalogues the unique sounds that foods make as we bite, grind and swallow them.


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Jonathan Lundgren Says USDA Suppressed Him Over Neonicotinoids - They Say He's An Activist Not Doing His Job

March 16, 2016 - 7:04pm

Jonathan Lundgren, a US Department of Agriculture currently on leave facing misconduct charges, says the government is suppressing information about the dangers of pesticides, which he believes are endangering the health of bees around the world.

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Marijuana Use Disorder Is On The Rise Nationally; Few Receive Treatment

March 16, 2016 - 6:49pm

March 16, 2016--The percentage of Americans who reported using marijuana in the past year more than doubled between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013, and the increase in marijuana use disorders during that time was nearly as large, according to a new study in the American Journal of Psychiatry. The research also showed that 2.5 percent of adults--nearly 6 million people--experienced marijuana use disorder in the past year, while 6.3 percent had met the diagnostic criteria for the disorder at some point in their lives.

The collaborative study was carried out by scientists at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University Medical Center, and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health.


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Winter Storms Of 2013/14 The Most Energetic To Hit Western Europe Since 1948, Study Shows

March 16, 2016 - 6:49pm

WASHINGTON, DC -- The repeated storms which battered Europe's Atlantic coastline during the winter of 2013/14 were the most energetic in almost seven decades, new research has shown.

They were part of a growing trend in stormy conditions which scientists say has the potential to dramatically change the equilibrium state of beaches along the western side of the continent, leading to permanent changes in beach gradient, coastal alignment and nearshore bar position.


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Science Sheds New Light On The Life And Death Of Medieval King Erik

March 16, 2016 - 6:49pm

The saint's legend speaks of a king who died a dramatic death in battle outside the church in Uppsala, Sweden, where he had just celebrated mass. But what can modern science tell us about his remains? A joint research project headed by Uppsala University now reveals more of the health condition of Saint Erik, what he looked like, where he lived and what the circumstances of his death were.

No contemporary sources mention Erik Jedvardsson, the Swedish king who was later sainted. The only account of his life is the saint's legend, in its preserved form written in the 1290's. Such legends are often unreliable. The Erik legend is, however, based on an older legend which has been lost, and this longer legend may have been much older.


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400,000-year-old Fossils From Spain Provide Earliest Genetic Evidence Of Neandertals

March 15, 2016 - 8:42pm

Previous analyses of the hominins from Sima de los Huesos in 2013 showed that their maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA was distantly related to Denisovans, extinct relatives of Neandertals in Asia. This was unexpected since their skeletal remains carry Neandertal-derived features. Researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, have since worked on sequencing nuclear DNA from fossils from the cave, a challenging task as the extremely old DNA is degraded to very short fragments. The results now show that the Sima de los Huesos hominins were indeed early Neandertals. Neandertals may have acquired different mitochondrial genomes later, perhaps as the result of gene flow from Africa.


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