The UCSF scientists who identified the two known human genes that promote "natural short sleep" -- nightly sleep that lasts just four to six hours but leaves people feeling well-rested -- have now discovered a third, and it's also the first gene that's ever been shown to prevent the memory deficits that normally accompany sleep deprivation. The researchers believe this latest discovery may one day lead to a druggable target for therapies that improve sleep and treat sleep disorders.

Researchers have discovered a mechanism in rats that links cigarette smoking and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Scientists found a crucial role for a diabetes-associated gene, called transcription factor 7-like 2 (Tcf7l2), in regulating the response to nicotine in the brain. Tcf712, which regulates the expression of genes in the pancreas and liver that determine blood glucose levels, also regulates the response of cells in the habenula, an area of the brain that controls reward and aversion behaviors, to nicotine.

Researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have discovered a circuit in rats that links cigarette smoking and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a study featured on the cover of the October 17 issue of Nature.

What The Study Did: Associations between risk of suicide and medications widely used in the management of high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease, heart failure and diabetes (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers) were examined in this observational study.

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What The Study Did: The risk of developing and dying of cancer among people with psoriasis was examined in this study (called a systematic review and meta-analysis) that combined the results of 58 observational studies.

To access the embargoed study: Visit our For The Media website at this link

Authors: Alex M. Trafford, M.Sc., of the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, is the corresponding author.


What The Study Did: Bulimia nervosa (binge eating followed by purging) is a common psychiatric disease in women. This observational study examined the association between bulimia nervosa and the risk of long-term cardiovascular disease and death during 12 years of follow-up using hospitalization data for a large group of women in Canada.

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What The Study Did: National data were used to examine changes from 2000 to 2015 in premature death (ages 25 to 64) from cardiovascular disease in the United States.

To access the embargoed study: Visit our For The Media website at this link

Authors: Yingxi Chen, M.D., Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Maryland, is the corresponding author.


What The Study Did: A survey study of nearly 1,000 patients who underwent common outpatient surgical procedures reports no significant change in ratings for how satisfied patients were with surgeons when surgeons prescribed fewer opioids.

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Authors: Richard J. Barth Jr., M.D., of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire, is the corresponding author.

ANN ARBOR--When cells in our bodies need to move--to attack an infection or heal a wound, for example--cellular proteins send and receive a cascade of signals that directs the cells to the right place at the right time. It's a process cancer cells can hijack to spread to new tissues and organs.

A new study examining the role that star-shaped brain cells called astrocytes play in Huntington's disease has identified a potential strategy that may halt the disease and repair some of the damage it causes.

Astrocytes interact with and support neurons, or nerve cells, and other brain cells. Although astrocytes outnumber neurons, little is known about how they interact with synapses, the junctions between neurons that enable them to communicate and convey messages to each other.

Since humans diverged from a common ancestor shared with chimpanzees and the other great apes, the human brain has changed dramatically. However, the genetic and developmental processes responsible for this divergence are not understood. Cerebral organoids (brain-like tissues), grown from stem cells in a dish, offer the possibility to study the evolution of early brain development in the laboratory.

Insulin, a hormone essential for regulating blood sugar and lipids, is normally produced by pancreatic β cells. In many people with diabetes, however, pancreatic cells are not (or no longer) functional, causing a chronic and potentially fatal insulin deficiency that can only be controlled through daily insulin injections. However, this approach has serious adverse effects, including an increased risk of life-threatening hypoglycaemia, and it does not restore metabolic balance.

The cover for issue 57 of Oncotarget features Figure 2, "Overall survival analysis of GLUT1, PD-L1, and histologic architecture," by Chamseddin, et al.

High levels of circ E7 by quantitative RT-PCR predicted improved overall survival in ASCC and analysis of The Cancer Genome Atlas sequencing from HPV-positive head and neck cancer and cervical cancer suggested high circ E7 marked improved survival in 875 subjects.

BOSTON - Most cases of gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST), a type of soft-tissue cancer (sarcoma), are caused by mutations in genes that can be effectively targeted with drugs that inhibit the activity of rogue cancer-promoting enzymes.

But an estimated 10% to 20% of GISTs have no identifiable or targetable mutations. Now, investigators in a Boston-area cancer research collaboration have clarified mechanisms that allow these hard-to-treat cancers to develop, and in lab experiments have identified strategies that could lead to effective new therapies.


National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists have developed an ultrasensitive new test to detect abnormal forms of the protein tau associated with uncommon types of neurodegenerative diseases called tauopathies. As they describe in Acta Neuropathologica, this advance gives them hope of using cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF--an accessible patient sample--to diagnose these and perhaps other, more common neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease.