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05/22/2017 07:02 AM
Will short-term and long-term treatments for single-gene diseases survive?
Two weeks and several political disasters ago, the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act of 2017, and soon lists of "pre-existing conditions" festooned news feeds. We all ticked off a few. But the lists, although acknowledged as incomplete, offered a highly inconsistent menu of maladies as broad as "cancer" yet as specific as "cystic fibrosis." I don't know whether the focus on the familiar reflects editorial choices to appeal to the masses, or ignorance of or deliberate avoidance of mentioning many of the lesser-known rare diseases. More than 30 million people in the US have rare diseases, many of them genetic and some of those treatable with approaches more complex than those used for more common conditions.
05/11/2017 07:18 AM
Everyday chemicals may affect brain development, including foetal IQ
All vertebrates – from frogs and birds to human beings – require the same thyroid hormone to thrive. Every stage of brain development is modulated by thyroid hormone and, over millions of years, the structure of this critical hormone has remained unchanged.
05/04/2017 10:00 AM
Large data set brings precision to breast cancer diagnosis and care
Although the odds of developing breast cancer are nearly identical for black and white women, black women are 42 percent more likely to die from the disease. This mortality gap - driven by social and environmental, as well as biological factors - continues to persist.
05/03/2017 07:00 AM
Feeling worn out? You could have iron overload
Feeling a bit tired and worn out? Vague symptoms like these are common in iron deficiency and anaemia. But before you reach for the iron supplements or chow down on steak, these symptoms are common in another condition related to iron. This time the trouble is too much iron, not too little, because of the iron overload disorder called haemochromatosis.
04/28/2017 12:30 PM
Brineura approved for rare genetic illness affecting kids
(HealthDay)—Brineura (cerliponase alfa) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat a specific form of Batten Disease, a rare set of genetic disorders that typically begin in childhood between ages 2 and 4, the agency said in a news release.
04/25/2017 01:30 PM
Novel phage therapy saves patient with multidrug-resistant bacterial infection
Scientists and physicians at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, working with colleagues at the U.S. Navy Medical Research Center - Biological Defense Research Directorate (NMRC-BDRD), Texas A&M University, a San Diego-based biotech and elsewhere, have successfully used an experimental therapy involving bacteriophages—viruses that target and consume specific strains of bacteria—to treat a patient near death from a multidrug-resistant bacterium.
04/25/2017 09:37 AM
'Junk food' and the consumer blame game
People in the UK are hooked on takeaways and microwave meals, or so we are constantly told by TV chefs and the media. This apparent addiction to fast food is leading to an obesity epidemic.
04/18/2017 07:37 AM
Expert endorses genetic testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2
Professor Kelly Metcalfe, of U of T's Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, is leading the charge against hereditary breast and ovarian cancers by helping establish the standard protocol for addressing cancers associated with BRCA gene mutations.
04/11/2017 03:12 PM
Epilepsy breakthrough: Implant helps stop brain seizures
Imagine a seismograph - the instrument that measures and records earthquakes and volcanic eruptions - for your brain. Except this one has a wireless link to a device implanted in your head that stops epileptic seizures at their source, halting the sudden and violent attacks before they happen.
04/06/2017 09:25 AM
Scientists show how cells react to injury from open-heart surgery
Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute investigators have learned how cardiac muscle cells react to a certain type of injury that can be caused by open-heart surgery. The findings point to a new potential way to help these hearts recover more completely.
04/03/2017 02:00 PM
Meningitis bacteria adapting to STI niche, genetic analysis shows
Neisseria meningitidis, a bacterium usually associated with meningitis and sepsis, is the cause of a recent cluster of sexually transmitted infections in Columbus, Ohio and in other US cities. The bacterium appears to be adapting to a urogenital environment, an analysis of the organism's DNA shows.
03/29/2017 08:20 AM
A brain scan to tell if you're depressed—and what treatment is needed
We currently diagnose depression based on what individuals tell us about their feelings – or those of their loved ones. People with depression usually describe feeling sad or say they are unable to enjoy the things they used to. But in many cases they don't actually realise that they are clinically depressed – or feel uncomfortable talking to a health professional about it.
03/28/2017 08:57 AM
The life-saving treatment that's being thrown in the trash
A few hours before beginning chemotherapy, a man named Chris faces his cellphone camera with a mischievous smile and describes a perfectly absurd milestone at 1.37pm on a Wednesday. "There is no more beautiful moment in a man's life…" he says with puckish glee. Because how can you not laugh when you've been invited to bank your sperm in advance of being "Godzilla-ed" with chemotherapy and radiation, all just four days after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia at the age of 43 and given a 5 to 15 per cent chance of survival?
03/20/2017 09:53 AM
DNA labels predict mortality
Various chemical modifications in the genome determine whether genes are read or deactivated. Methyl labels in the DNA play a key role in this "epigenetic" regulation of gene activity. Life style and environmental factors influence the methylation in the genome. Scientists have already well documented links between the methylation status of specific positions in the genome and cancer as well as other diseases.
03/17/2017 08:25 AM
Evolocumab significantly reduces risk of cardiovascular events
Evolocumab, one of the new targeted PCSK9 inhibitor drugs that has been shown to dramatically lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad" cholesterol, also significantly lowers the risk of cardiovascular events in patients with existing heart or vascular disease already on statin therapy, according to research presented at the American College of Cardiology's 66th Annual Scientific Session.
03/14/2017 07:00 AM
African-Americans must be proactive and reactive to fight heart disease
Sixteen years ago, Kinzo Evans was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. His stomach was swollen. At night, he couldn't lay prostrate to sleep because it was hard for him to breathe. He was also fatigued. Evans' deteriorating condition eventually necessitated a heart transplant, which he had at VCU Health in December 2016.