September 02, 2014

5:00 PM | Sickle Cell Is Still A Killer But This 50 Cent Test Could Change That
A simple solution to a persistent problem. Credit: Ashok A. KumarBy Ashok A. Kumar, Harvard UniversityEvery year, 300,000 children are born with sickle-cell disease, primarily in Africa and India. It is a genetic disorder that causes some blood cells to become abnormally shaped. The result is that those who suffer from it have a shorter lifespan. read more
3:44 PM | MITOCARE: TRO40303 Hopes Dashed For Preventing Reperfusion Injury After Heart Attack
 Reperfusion injury prevention isn't possible just yet. The administration of an experimental agent known as TRO40303 to patients who have had a heart attack, with the hope of preventing tissue damage when impaired blood flow is corrected (reperfusion), was disappointingly ineffective, according to results of a European study of patients with acute ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) presented today at ESC Congress 2014 and published in the European Heart more

September 01, 2014

12:28 PM | Tracking the Daily Microbiome
Humans are essentially 90% bacteria. These bacteria pepper our skin and hang out in our digestive tracts, helping to break down complex carbohydrates and keeping bad bugs in check. We know how the human microbiome (our collection of bacteria) gets … Continue reading →

David LA, Materna AC, Friedman J, Campos-Baptista MI, Blackburn MC, Perrotta A, Erdman SE & Alm EJ (2014). Host lifestyle affects human microbiota on daily timescales., Genome biology, 15 (7) PMID:


August 28, 2014

8:00 PM | Oxidized Lipids: Protein In HDL May Be Key To Treating Pulmonary Hypertension
Oxidized lipids are known to play a key role in inflaming blood vessels and hardening arteries, which causes diseases like atherosclerosis. A new study at UCLA demonstrates that they may also contribute to pulmonary hypertension, a serious lung disease that narrows the small blood vessels in the lungs. Using a rodent model, the researchers showed that a peptide mimicking part of the main protein in high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the so-called "good" cholesterol, may help reduce the production […]

August 27, 2014

2:58 PM | Diagnostic Profile in Pathological Gamblers
Behavioral disorders like pathological gambling (PG) rarely occur alone as a single uncomplicated disorder.In a previous post, I noted the overlap of PG with personality disorder, anxiety disorder, depression, bipolar disorder and substance abuse.A recent study from Germany adds to our knowledge of the general diagnostic profile in the PG population.Erbas and Buchner reviewed German national data sources and other German studies to come up with a series of findings:Twelve month prevalence rates […]

Erbas B & Buchner UG (2012). Pathological gambling: prevalence, diagnosis, comorbidity, and intervention in Germany., Deutsches Arzteblatt international, 109 (10) 173-9. PMID:


August 24, 2014

1:31 PM | This Month in Blastocystis Research (AUG 2014)
Some August highlights in Blastocystis research:1) The PRE-IOPCA Molecular Parasitology Workshop took place from the 7-10 August at CINVESTAV, Mexico City. Top-motivated students from some 10-15 countries worked hard from 7 am to 7 pm in dry+wet lab sessions, and we all had a really great time, thanks to both participants and fantastic organisers. There was a 4 h session on Blastocystis molecular epidemiology, and I was pleased to learn that some of the participants currently work with (or plan […]

Fayer R, Elsasser T, Gould R, Solano G, Urban J Jr & Santin M (2014). Blastocystis tropism in the pig intestine., Parasitology research, 113 (4) 1465-72. PMID:

Klimeš V, Gentekaki E, Roger AJ & Eliáš M (2014). A large number of nuclear genes in the human parasite blastocystis require mRNA polyadenylation to create functional termination codons., Genome biology and evolution, 6 (8) 1956-61. PMID:

Hanage, W. (2014). Microbiology: Microbiome science needs a healthy dose of scepticism, Nature, 512 (7514) 247-248. DOI: 10.1038/512247a

Scanlan PD, Stensvold CR, Rajilić-Stojanović M, Heilig HG, De Vos WM, O'Toole PW & Cotter PD (2014). The microbial eukaryote Blastocystis is a prevalent and diverse member of the healthy human gut microbiota., FEMS microbiology ecology, PMID:

Venton, D. (2014). Highlight: Not Like a Textbook--Nuclear Genes in Blastocystis Use mRNA Polyadenylation for Stop Codons, Genome Biology and Evolution, 6 (8) 1962-1963. DOI: 10.1093/gbe/evu167

Wang W, Bielefeldt-Ohmann H, Traub RJ, Cuttell L & Owen H (2014). Location and pathogenic potential of blastocystis in the porcine intestine., PloS one, 9 (8) PMID:


August 22, 2014

2:46 PM | Repeat After Me
Reproducibility is the ability of an entire experiment or study to be reproduced, either by the researcher or by someone else working independently. It is one of the main principles of the scientific method and relies on ceteris paribus. Wikipedia I was going to start this post with a similar statement in my own words, […]

August 16, 2014

12:00 PM | Experimental Heart Attack Drug APT102 Reduces Tissue Damage
An investigational drug known as APT102 significantly reduced damage to heart muscle from a heart attack and minimized the risk of bleeding during follow-up treatments, according to an animal study based on a decade of work by APT Therapeutics, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and colleagues at Cornell and Harvard.Standard heart attack treatment often causes heart tissue damage. Once the blood clot that causes a heart attack is removed from an artery, […]

August 14, 2014

6:30 PM | Strategy To Combat Genetic Risk Factor For ALS
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease) is in the popular media because celebrities are dumping buckets of ice on their heads to raise awareness. Researchers probably wish they would donate money to research rather than raising awareness and hoping someone else donates money rather than dumping water on their heads too, but all medical outreach is good medical outreach. Researchers at Mayo Clinic and The Scripps Research Institute in Florida have done something a little more […]

August 07, 2014

9:30 PM | Laparoscopic Gallbladde Removal Is Safe For Kids
A recent study conducted by Mayo Clinic researchers recommends laparoscopic cholecystectomies (surgical removal of the gallbladder) for pediatric patients suffering from gallstones and other gallbladder diseases.  A cholecystectomy is a surgical procedure performed to remove the gallbladder, a pear-shaped organ located below the liver on the upper right side of the abdomen. The gallbladder is responsible for collecting and storing bile, which is a fluid secreted by the liver. During a […]

August 06, 2014

3:47 PM | World Of 2015: Cure For Arthritis May Go Into Clinical Trials Next Year
Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that causes painful inflammation of several joints in the body - the joint capsule becomes swollen, and the disease can also destroy cartilage and bone as it progresses. It affects 0.5% to 1% of the world's population and doctors have used various drugs to slow or stop the progression of the disease. Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH Zurich)  researchers have developed a therapy that takes the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis […]

August 05, 2014

9:02 PM | P45 And P75: New Clues To Repairing An Injured Spinal Cord
Frogs, dogs, whales, snails can all do it, but humans and primates can't. Regrow nerves after an injury, that is — while many animals have this ability, humans don't. But new research from the Salk Institute suggests that a small molecule may be able to convince damaged nerves to grow and effectively rewire circuits. Such a feat could eventually lead to therapies for the thousands of Americans with severe spinal cord injuries and paralysis. "This research implies that we might be able to […]

August 03, 2014

4:30 PM | Xilonix Phase III European Registration Study For Treatment Of Colorectal Cancer
XBiotech has begun its European Phase III study using its novel cancer drug Xilonix™ for the treatment of colorectal cancer. Xilonix is an antiobody works to block a number of processes that tumors use to grow and spread, such as potentially inhibiting the formation of tumor blood supply and new metastasis. Blocking tumor-related inflammation may also inhibit or reverse wasting and other illness associated with the malignancy. The double-blinded placebo controlled study is evaluating […]
2:46 PM | C1 Inhibitor Inhibits Antibody-Mediated Rejection Following Kidney Transplant
Results  presented at the 2014 World Transplant Congress evaluated the safety and efficacy of CSL Behring's C1 Inhibitor (C1-INH) concentrate in preventing antibody-mediated rejection following kidney transplants in highly sensitized patients. C1-INH is a human protein and an important inhibitor of the complement system. Antibody-mediated rejection is a major cause of kidney transplant failure and a prime barrier to improving long-term outcomes for transplant patients. The types of […]
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