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Huntington’s Breakthrough

Huntington’s disease a relatively rare, yet nonetheless devastating, hereditary condition whose effects have been described as a combination of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS.  Because of its particularly devastating symptoms, it’s the subject of plenty of scientific investigation.  I recently read about one study at Johns Hopkins where researchers found evidence that disruptions in the flow of cellular materials in and out of a cell’s nucleus could be the direct cause of brain cell death in Huntington’s disease.  The researchers, working with mouse, fly and human cells...
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Glucose and Alzheimer’s

One of the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s is a decline in glucose levels in the brain.  Yet whether or not it’s a cause or consequence of neurological dysfunction has been debated.  However, new research at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University unequivocally reveals that a lack of glucose triggers cognitive decline, rather than being caused by cognitive decline.   In recent years, advances in imaging techniques, particularly positron emission tomography (PET), have allowed researchers to look for subtle changes in the brains of patients with different...
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The PAD System

Continuing improvements in point-of-care testing have been encouraging one major academic medical center to apply the same mode of testing to diagnosing hospital-acquired infections (HAIs).  Since it has the potential to create a different way to identify patients with HAIs, this is of particular interest to clinical laboratory professionals and pathologists.  The Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) developed a prototype diagnostic system that works with doctors’ smartphones or mobile computers.  According to a statement from the MGH, this hand-held system can...
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The Benefits of Integrated Healthcare

The Benefits of Integrated Healthcare

According to a 10-year study conducted by Intermountain Healthcare researchers, patients receiving care in team-based practices integrating mental and physical healthcare services had better clinical outcomes, lower total costs and had to use fewer healthcare services.  The study was focused on the impact of delivering integrated medical and physical healthcare in team-based primary care settings.  Researchers measured 113,452 adult patients who received care from 2003 through 2013 in 113 primary care practices in Intermountain, in addition to 27 team-based medical...
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DAMP In Plants

Researchers at the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) have recently reported that a protein that signals tissue damage to the human immune system has a counterpart that plays a similar role in plants.  They have identified a new damage-associated molecular pattern molecule or “DAMP” in plants.  DAMP molecules released by injured cells trigger an immune response in plants and animals, a protein that researchers call HMGB3.  Knowledge of HMGB3 and its human equivalent, HMGB1, allows us to better understand how humans and plants can fight off infections. Plants and animal...
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Breast Cancer Breakthrough

Recently, researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have developed the first clinically-relevant mouse model of human breast cancer, as part of successfully expressing functional estrogen receptor positive (ER+) adenocarcinomas.  The tumors that have been generated in this system bear a strong resemblance to the class of tumors that can be found among most women with breast cancer, in particular those whose cancer proves treatment-resistant.  Such a model could prove itself a powerful tool for testing therapies for aggressive E+ breast cancers, as well as for...
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CJD and Alzheimer’s?

According to new research, the brains of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) victims show evidence of Alzheimer’s pathology.  However, neuroscientists have dismissed concerns that people can “catch” Alzheimer’s by becoming infected with the “seeds” of the condition through surgery with contaminated instruments or blood transfusions.  The study, published in Nature last week, reported autopsy results from the brains of eight people between 36 and 51 years old who died of CJD after receiving contaminated growth hormone injections.  In four subjects, there was evidence of...
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Sleep Laterally

According to researchers at Stony Brook University, sleeping in the lateral position, as opposed to on one’s back or stomach, could help more effectively remove brain waste and be an important practice to help reduce the chances of developing such neurological diseases as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.  By imaging the brain’s glymphatic pathway with dynamic contrast MRI, Stony Brook University researchers discovered that a lateral sleeping position, the most common among humans and animals, is the best to most efficiently remove waste from the brain.  Brain waste chemicals...