Body

Tai Chi, a traditional Chinese form of exercise, may help older adults avoid getting shingles by increasing immunity to varicella-zoster virus (VZV) and boosting the immune response to varicella vaccine in older adults, according to a new study publishsed in print this week in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. This National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded study is the first rigorous clinical trial to suggest that a behavioral intervention, alone or in combination with a vaccine, can help protect older adults from VZV, which causes both chickenpox and shingles.

If solar power is going to play a significant role in the energy equation of the future, there must be advances in technologies to store that power and more investment by manufacturers, concludes a new federally funded study by University of Massachusetts Amherst scientist Erin Baker.

The report by Baker and colleagues explores the viability of sun-fueled technologies through a combination of evaluations by experts and economic modeling, allowing the researchers to look at solar power’s role in the electricity sector in 15-year chunks through 2095.

A study of herbal kelp supplements led by UC Davis public health expert Marc Schenker concludes that its medicinal use may cause inadvertent arsenic poisoning and health dangers for consumers, especially when overused. Schenker and two researchers evaluated nine over-the-counter herbal kelp products and found higher than acceptable arsenic levels in eight of them.

Adapting to the global climate change impacts outlined in the IPCC's Working Group 2 Report, "Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability", will require new evaluation tools to help choose the best way forward, according to the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), an international network of environmental scientists.

In findings the authors called "unexpected and striking," researchers found that a new regulating messenger IP4, a small soluble molecule, augments the binding of three different PH domain proteins to one of the most commonly recognized membrane lipids, PIP3. The study also showed that inhibiting production of IP4 can result in reduced protein binding to membranes and reduced activation of key signaling molecules in developing T cells, leading to a block of T cell maturation and to severe immunodeficiency in animal models.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine & School of Engineering and Applied Science have discovered a better way to deliver drugs to tumors. By using a cylindrical-shaped carrier they were able sustain delivery of the anticancer drug paclitaxel to an animal model of lung cancer ten times longer than that delivered on spherical-shaped carriers.

A new study in Journal of Personality shows that selfless and social behavior is not purely a product of environment, specifically religious environment. After studying the behavior of adult twins, researchers found that, while altruistic behavior and religiousness tended to appear together, the correlation was due to both environmental and genetic factors.

For several types of cancer, persistently high levels of the soluble factor TGF-beta in the blood after surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy correlate with increased risk of early metastasis and a poor prognosis. Using a mouse model of breast cancer, researchers from Vanderbilt University have now generated evidence to suggest that treatment with TGF-beta inhibitors might help such patients.

In advanced cancer, anti-tumor therapies often work only partially or not at all, and tumors progress following treatment.

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center scientists have now linked a treatment-induced growth factor to the cancer’s future spread.

The team led by Carlos Arteaga, M.D., reports in the May issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation that radiation and chemotherapy increase circulating levels of the growth factor TGF-beta, circulating cancer cells, and tumor metastases in a mouse model of metastatic breast cancer.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have discovered how cells fine-tune their oxygen use to make do with whatever amount is available at the moment.