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New push for public health, AIDS spending at African Union summit

Activists hope this weekend's African Union (AU) summit will net commitments to boost government spending on public health, helping to curb the spread of AIDS, which killed 2.3 million Africans in 2004. .. .. . ."Now they have to deli...

Termites feed through good vibrations

Discovery that termites use vibrations to choose the wood they eat may provide opportunities to new methods of reducing infestations in homes and also may provide insights into the "cocktail party effect" of signal processing ?how to ignore most noise but have some signals that trigger attention ?that may prove useful in artificial intelligence. .. CSIRO entomologist Theo Evans says laboratory ex...

Mitochondrial DNA mutations play significant role in prostate cancer

Mutations in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) play.an important role in the development of prostate cancer, according to.research by scientists at Emory University School of Medicine and the.University of California, Irvine. The findings are published online.this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.(PNAS). Mitochondrial DNA, which is separate from nuclear DNA, is found.in the hun...

Female sex hormones play a vital role in defense against sexually transmitted diseases

Two McMaster University studies, to be published in the Journal of Virology, show that sex hormones have a profound effect on susceptibility of female mice to the herpes simplex virus, type 2 (HSV-2 ), one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. .. Charu Kaushic, assistant professor and supervisor of the studies, says the implication of this work is quite significant. "The research clea...

Elephants imitate truck noises, other animals

Elephants learn to imitate sounds that are not typical of their species, the first known example after humans of vocal learning in a non-primate terrestrial mammal. The discovery, reported in today's Nature, further supports the idea that vocal learning is important for maintaining individual social relationships among animals that separate and reunite over time, like dolphins and whales, some bi...

Elephants imitate sounds as a form of social communication

Elephants learn to imitate sounds that are not typical of their species, the first known example after humans of vocal learning in a non-primate terrestrial mammal. The discovery, reported in today's Nature, further supports the idea that vocal learning is important for maintaining individual social relationships among animals that separate and reunite over time, like dolphins and whales, some bi...

A human parasite with a streamlined mitochondrion

Mitochondria, as they are defined in textbooks, are essential for eukaryotic cells--including our own--because they make large amounts of energy as they use oxygen. However, some eukaryotic cells, including important parasites of humans--such as Entamoeba histolytica, the causal agent of amoebic dysentery--live in environments that are too oxygen poor to support this process. Nevertheless, Entamo...

Road salt affects mitigation wetlands

Sacrificing one wetland for the sake of five others may be the way to go when planning constructed wetlands to replace those destroyed during road building, but a Penn State Erie biologist is monitoring the salinity of the wetlands to see how the salt affects animals and insects. . .. In November 2003, PennDOT co...

Researchers make surprise discovery that some neurons can transmit three signals at once

Generations of neuroscientists have been indoctrinated into believing that our senses, thoughts, feelings and movements are orchestrated by a communication network of brain cells, or neurons, each responsible for relaying one specific chemical message called a neurotransmitter. Either neurons release a neurotransmitter that excites a neighboring cell, thereby triggering an electrical discharge an...

Cousin of Asian super termite invades Florida

Another highly destructive termite -- a close relative of the Formosan "super termite" that's gnawing its way across many Southern states -- has become established in South Florida, according to University of Florida researchers. . "The Asian subterranean termite, a major pest in tropical areas such as Brazil and the West Indies, was not considered to be a serious threat to Florida until now," sa...

Bee mites suppress bee immunity, open door for viruses and bacteria

A non-native bee mite is causing the dramatic and sudden collapse of bee colonies across the country, but Penn State researchers believe they have found the combination of factors that triggers colony deaths which includes suppression of the bee immune system by the mites. .. .. This bee mite probably arose in the Eastern or Chinese Honey Bee population and hopped over to the United State...

Two new retroviruses—transmitted from animals—identified

For patients with cancer of the mouth and throat, surgery is a frequent course of treatment, often leading to speech and swallowing dysfunction and external scarring. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine's Department of Otorhinolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, have completed two studies ?the most comprehensive and largest to date ?that demonstrate the effective use...

Fungus Effective Against Winged Termites

Most signs of spring, like budding trees, are worth celebrating. But for many in the South, the annual emergence of fertile, winged termites swarming furiously to scatter and search for mates isn't one of them. .. . Maureen Wright, Ashok Raina and Alan Lax--researchers in the ARS Formosan Subterranean...

MIT engineers an anti-cancer smart bomb

Imagine a cancer drug that can burrow into a tumor, seal the exits and detonate a lethal dose of anti-cancer toxins, all while leaving healthy cells unscathed. .. . .. .. "We brought together three elements: cancer biology, pharmacology...

New study: Sexually transmitted disease treatment can be effectively administered by sex partners

Effective control of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) requires treatment of the sexual partners of infected patients. A new study shows that providing infected men with antibiotics to give their partners is more effective than traditional means of contacting and treating the partners, according to an article in the Sept. 1 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, now available online. Men with...

Fungus-farming termites descend from an African rain forest Eve

Agriculture is not unique to humans: some insect groups have also evolved this way of life. One such group is the fungus-farming termites, which cultivate fungi as food inside their nests. Such termites can be found in both rain forest and savannah habitats in the Old World tropics, from Africa to Asia. But as researchers report this week, a combination of DNA sequence analysis and computer model...

Disease diagnosis, bioengineering covered at state nano summit

Research into the evolution of protein design by a University of Houston professor will be featured among nearly 20 presentations at the 2005 Nano Summit Research Conference July 28. . .. Sponsored by the Nanotechnology Foundation of Texas, the 2005 Nano Summit is a daylong forum for Texas natural science, engineering and medical researchers to meet and exchange information on their respective ar...

New mitochondrial DNA gene chip may be early cancer diagnosis tool

A pilot study at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in support of the National Cancer Institute's Early Detection Research Network (EDRN), has validated the measurement accuracy of new techniques that use mitochondrial DNA as an early indicator for certain types of cancer. Additional results suggest that a relatively simple diagnostic test using a DNA microarray "chip" cou...

High rates of sexually transmitted infections found in young drug users

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and other institutions found high rates of herpes simplex virus 2 and syphilis among young drug users in Baltimore, Md. The study found that women had significantly higher rates compared to their male counterparts, but did not find significant differences between injection drug users and non-injection drug users. Few of the infect...

Few clues about African ancestry to be found in mitochondrial DNA

Mitochondrial DNA may not hold the key to your origins after all. A study published today in the open access journal BMC Biology reveals that fewer than 10% of African American mitochondrial DNA sequences analysed can be matched to mitochondrial DNA from one single African ethnic group. There has been a growing interest in the use of mitochondrial DNA to trace maternal ancestries, and several com...

Research suggests fitness of Florida panthers improved by limited breeding with Texas animals

The number of living Florida panthers has grown from a previously estimated 30 to a recently counted 87 as a result of a controversial breeding effort to improve the genetic health of the endangered and inbred animals, according to a new assessment. ....

Neurotransmitters signal aggressive cancer, offer potential for early diagnosis

Nerves talk to each other using chemicals called neurotransmitters. One of those "communication chemicals," aptly named GABA (gamma amino butyric acid), shows up in unusually high amounts in some aggressive tumors, according to a new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. . The researchers investigated metastatic neuroendocrine tumors, which include aggressive types of...

U-M scientists discover identifying markers for primitive blood-forming stem cells

Scientists at the University of Michigan Medical School have discovered the biological equivalent of a grocery store bar code on the surface of primitive, blood-forming stem cells in mice. Called hematopoietic stem cells, they give rise to all the different types of specialized cells found in blood. . By reading the bar code, scientists can separate stem cells from their more advanced descendants...

Research Permits First-Ever Visualization of Psychological Stress in the Human Brain

Using a novel application of an fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) technique, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have, for the first time, visualized the effects of everyday psychological stress in a healthy human brain. . Their work, performed at Penn's Center for Functional Neuroimaging, provides a neuro-imaging marker of psychological stress -- which wil...

Normal chromosome ends elicit a limited DNA damage response

Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies discovered that cells co-opted the machinery that usually repairs broken strands of DNA to protect the integrity of chromosomes. This finding solves for the first time an important question that has long puzzled scientists. . .. To prevent the cell's DNA repair machinery from confus...

Cyberkinetics, Case to develop system to help restore extremity function

Cyberkinetics Neurotechnology Systems, Inc., Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland FES Center today announced that they have been awarded a five-year, $4.4 million contract from the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research (NCMRR), a component of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). According to the contract, Cyberkinetics will receive up t...

MIT researcher finds neuron growth in adult brain

Despite the prevailing belief that adult brain cells don't grow, a researcher at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory reports in the Dec. 27 issue of Public Library of Science (PLoS) Biology that structural remodeling of neurons does in fact occur in mature brains. . .. "Knowing that neurons are able to grow in the adult brain gives us a chance to enhance the process and explore un...

Multiple genes permit closely related fish species to mix and match their color vision

Vision, like other biological attributes, is shaped by evolution through environmental pressures and demands, and even closely-related species that are in other ways very similar might respond to their particular environments by interpreting the visual world slightly differently, using photoreceptors that are attuned to particular wavelengths of light. By studying a special group of closely-relat...

Limiting the damage in stroke

Scientists at the Universities of Heidelberg and Ulm and a unit of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Monterotondo, Italy, have discovered that a specific signal within brain cells may determine whether they live or die after a stroke. Their study, published online (November 13) by Nature Medicine, strongly suggests that new therapies for victims of strokes could be developed by...

Scientists narrow the time limits for the human and chimpanzee split

A team of researchers has proposed new limits on the time when the most recent common ancestor of humans and their closest ape relatives -- the chimpanzees -- lived. Scientists at Arizona State and Penn State Universities have placed the time of this split between 5 and 7 million years ago -- a sharper focus than that given by the previous collection of molecular and fossil studies, which have p...

MIT researcher presents new view of how the cortex forms

A leading neuroscientist at MIT and one from the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) report in the Nov. 4 special issue of Science dedicated to the brain that the controversy is over: The "protomap" and "protocortex" theories of brain development are dead. . The cerebral cortex is a sheet of around 10 billion neurons divided into distinctly separate areas that process particular aspe...

Serious adverse reactions to smallpox vaccine appear to be limited

There was a low rate of life-threatening adverse reactions to the smallpox vaccine administered to potential first responders to a bioterrorism incident, possibly attributable to rigorous vaccine safety screening and educational programs, according to a study in the December 7 issue of JAMA. . Routine childhood immunization against smallpox in the United States ceased in 1971, according to backgr...

Getting old? Slowing down? Blame inefficient mitochondria

Mitochondria are the cell's equivalent of power stations. A power station burns fuel to build up steam pressure and uses that pressure to drive a turbine linked to a dynamo. This in turn generates electricity. In mitochondria, the fuel is oxidised and builds up a pressure of hydrogen ions (protons). These force through molecular turbines and enable the cell to generate ATP, an energy unit that ca...

MIT chemist discovers secret behind nature's medicines

MIT scientists have just learned another lesson from nature. After years of wondering how organisms managed to create self-medications, such as anti-fungal agents, chemists have discovered the simple secret. . .. Chemists would love to have that enzyme's capability so they could efficiently reproduce, or slightly re-engineer, those products...

Chemotherapy gel may fight breast cancer and reduce breast deformity

Women who undergo surgery for breast cancer followed by radiation therapy often experience breast deformities that can only be corrected through reconstructive surgery. Researchers at the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, in collaboration with bioengineers at Carnegie Mellon University, have developed a polymer-based therapy for breast cancer that could serve as an artificial tissue fi...

MIT: Oceans are a major gene swap-meet for plankton

New evidence from open sea experiments shows there's a constant shuffling of genetic endowments going on among tiny plankton, and the "coinage" they use seems to be a flood of viruses, MIT scientists report. . .. .. As a result of the new findings, "we are be...

Honeybee decision-making ability rivals any department committee

When 10,000 honeybees fly the coop to hunt for a new home, usually a tree cavity, they have a unique method of deciding which site is right: With great efficiency they narrow down the options and minimize their bad decisions. . .. .. Scientists had known that honeybee scouts "waggle dance" to report...

MIT research holds promise for Huntington's treatment

Researchers at MIT and Harvard Medical School have identified a compound that interferes with the pathogenic effects of Huntington's disease, a discovery that could lead to development of a new treatment for the disease. . .. "There are now some drugs that can help with the symptoms, but we...

Higher carbon dioxide, lack of nitrogen limit plant growth

Earth's plant life will not be able to "store" excess carbon from rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels as well as scientists once thought because plants likely cannot get enough nutrients, such as nitrogen, when there are higher levels of carbon dioxide, according to scientists publishing in this week's issue of the journal Nature. . .. "We found that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels may ris...

A Jekyll and Hyde of cytokines: IL-25 both promotes and limits inflammatory diseases

The same signal responsible for promoting the type of immune responses that cause asthma and allergy can also limit the type of inflammation associated with debilitating diseases like inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis and multiple sclerosis, according to researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. The researchers discovered how IL-25, a signaling protein kn...
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