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News from the Latest Issue of Molecular Medicine Kicking The Habit - It's In The Genes

Scientists at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (VIDA) working in collaboration with colleagues at Vector Tobacco, Inc. and Duke University Medical School have identified genes that may help predict which people will have a better chance at kicking the tobacco habit.

Manhasset, NY (Vocus) June 29, 2009 -- Scientists at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (VIDA) working in collaboration with colleagues at Vector Tobacco, Inc. and Duke University Medical School have identified genes that may help predict which people will have a better chance at kicking the tobacco habit. NIDA's Tomas Drgon, PhD, and colleagues conducted a genome-wide association study that identified patterns that may determine quitting success rates. If replicated, genetic testing could be used to tailor smoking cessation programs to individuals.

In another study, a team of Swedish investigators examined insulin signaling in fat cells of lean individuals before, during and after a month-long high fat diet. During the study, the volunteers gained an average of 10 percent of their body weight and 19 percent total body fat. While they remained lean, they did develop moderate systemic insulin resistance. Insulin resistance has become an enormous public health problem that paves the way to type 2 diabetes and other medical conditions. It is the first study to measure the effects of a short-term high fat diet, and it shows that the assault of such a diet is already causing damage to the body's ability to regulate insulin. This study suggests a path for how diabetes may develop in otherwise healthy individuals and provides further evidence that a high-calorie, high-fat diet is a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

Also, in a possible future breakthrough for personalized medicine, Dr. H. Shaw Warren of Massachusetts General Hospital and colleagues from research centers nationwide took advantage of genomic screening methods to assess gene expression from trauma patient blood samples. They developed a scoring method that assigns a single value based on genome wide expression patterns termed the difference from reference score, or DFR. The authors found that DFR scoring improves upon existing methodologies for predicting outcomes in trauma patients. High throughput approaches such as DFR scoring could improve the quality and efficacy of trauma patient care.

You can view all of the articles in the July-August issue by visiting the journal's Web site at

Molecular Medicine is published by The Feinstein Institute for Molecular Research. The peer-reviewed journal strives to understand normal body functioning and disease pathogenesis at the molecular level, which may allow researchers and physician-scientists to use that knowledge in the design of specific molecular tools for disease diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, and prevention. The journal, a bimonthly publication, serves as a forum through which scientists and researchers can communicate recent discoveries to a multi-disciplinary, international audience interested in understanding and curing disease.

To listen to the latest podcast on these studies visit

Veronica J Davis, communications editor, 516-562-2670


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