Body

Some breaking news, just in time for Valentine's Day: Researchers have identified something called "sperm competition" that they think has evolved to ensure a genetic future. In sexual reproduction, natural selection is generally thought of as something that happens prior to – and in fact leads to -- the Big Event. This thinking holds, for example, that we are drawn to physical features that tell us our partner is healthy and will give us a fighting chance to carry on our genetic lineage.

Newborns with respiratory distress should be evaluated for primary ciliary dyskinesia, a rare genetic disease that has features similar to cystic fibrosis, says Thomas Ferkol, M.D., from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He reports finding that about 80 percent of patients with primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) have a history of newborn respiratory distress.

A study by researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine shows that fluctuations in Vitamin D3 levels control the body's innate immune response, affecting a skin wound's ability to heal.

Richard L. Gallo, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine and chief of UCSD's Division of Dermatology and the Dermatology section of the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, says that several unexpected associations between fluctuations of the body's vitamin D3 and infectious disease have emerged in recent investigations.

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions have found a second genetic defect that accounts for previously unexplained forms of osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), a disorder that weakens bones, sometimes results in frequent fractures and is sometimes fatal.

Mice engineered to have cleft palates can be rescued in utero by injecting the mothers with a small molecule to correct the defect, say scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. In addition to shedding light on the biology of cleft palate, the research raises hopes that it may one day be possible to prevent many types of human birth defects by using a similar vaccination-type technique in pregnant women likely to have affected fetuses.

Aggressive research currently underway brings hope of dramatic advances in breast cancer management, according to a new review. Published in the March 15, 2007 issue of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the review reveals that new approaches in breast cancer imaging, investigations into the timing of chemotherapy, and research on breast cancer vaccines may lead to exciting new nonsurgical tools for the physician treating breast cancer patients.

Being a green consumer is hard work, according to new research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The study highlights a need for more practical help and incentives for green consumers, if we are to achieve a more sustainable society.

A University of Florida-led study has determined that Titanis walleri, a prehistoric 7-foot-tall flightless “terror bird,” arrived in North America from South America long before a land bridge connected the two continents.

Cancer cells are sick, but they keep growing because they don't react to internal signals urging them to die. Now researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found an efficient way to get a messenger into cancer cells that forces them to respond to death signals. And they did it using one of the most sinister pathogens around — HIV.

Insects and other flying animals are somehow able to maintain appropriate flying heights and execute controlled takeoffs and landings despite lacking the advantage of sophisticated instrumentation available to human aviators. By characterizing the behavior of a specially designed flying robot, researchers have now been able to test a theory that helps explain how visual cues are used by insects during flight to ensure appropriate distance from the ground.