Body

A new discovery could lead to treatments which turn off the inflammation in the lungs caused by influenza and other infections, according to a study published today in the journal Nature Immunology.

The symptoms of influenza, such as breathlessness, weight loss and fever, are made much worse by the immune system responding in an exaggerated way to the virus, rather than by the virus itself. The virus is often cleared from the body by the time symptoms appear and yet symptoms can last for many days, because the immune system continues to fight the damaged lung.

Biochemists at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston say they are the first to provide pre-clinical evidence that pregnancy-induced high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia may be an autoimmune disease. Their research could provide novel diagnostic and therapeutic possibilities for this intractable disease. Findings appear online in Nature Medicine on July 27.

Clot-forming blood cells, or platelets, can drop to dangerously low levels in diseases such as anemia and in patients undergoing chemotherapy. To replace these critical cells, doctors filter platelets from donated blood, but this approach can increase the risk of transmitting blood infections and cause other side effects in patients who need frequent transfusions.

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New materials for microwave cookware that heats faster with less energyChemistry of Materials

Measuring a woman's bone mineral density can provide additional information that may help more accurately determine a woman's risk of developing breast cancer. That is the conclusion of a new study published in the September 1, 2008 issue of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society. The study's results suggest that incorporating bone mineral density tests with current risk assessments might significantly improve physicians' ability to predict breast cancer risk in older, postmenopausal women.

Measuring a woman's bone mineral density can provide additional information that may help more accurately determine a woman's risk of developing breast cancer. That is the conclusion of a new study published in the September 1, 2008 issue of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society. The study's results suggest that incorporating bone mineral density tests with current risk assessments might significantly improve physicians' ability to predict breast cancer risk in older, postmenopausal women.

Bacteria living on opposite sides of a canyon have evolved to cope with different temperatures by altering the make-up of their 'skin', or cell membranes. Scientists have found that bacteria change these complex and important structures to adapt to different temperatures by looking at the appearance of the bacteria as well as their genes. The researchers hope their study, published in the August issue of Microbiology, will start a new trend in research.

Scientists hope a vaccine is on the horizon for tularemia, a fatal disease caused by the pathogen Francisella tularensis, an organism of concern as a potential biological warfare agent. Until recently we knew very little about this bacterium. However, according to the August issue of the Journal of Medical Microbiology, research on the bacterium has been reinvigorated and rapid progress has been made in understanding how it causes disease.

For the first time, next-generation DNA sequencing technologies have been turned on typhoid fever - a disease that kills 600,000 people each year. The results will help to improve diagnosis, tracking of disease spread and could help to design new strategies for vaccination.

Worries over the future of Thailand' s famous elephants have emerged following an investigation by a University of Manchester team.

Professor Rosaleen Duffy and Dr Lorraine Moore from the University' s School of Social Sciences say many problems have endured since the ending of the logging trade which employed virtually all Thai elephants in 1989.

The ban made 2,000 animals and their Mahouts - or trainers - unemployed overnight, forcing many onto the streets to beg for cash.