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Below are some breakthrough stories featured in 2005 organized alphabetically by topic.

Aging Research


Cancer Research

For Further Study...

  • Cancer Awareness
    Information about cancer symptoms and treatments. Explore the latest research on cancers of the lung, breast, prostate, blood, and colon.
  • Leukemia
    Information on leukemia, including novel treatments such as Gleevec. Learn about the symptoms and diagnosis of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and other leukemia types.
  • Lung Cancer
    Learn about lung cancer symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments for small cell and non-small cell lung cancer.
  • Colon Cancer
    Recognize the signs and symptoms of colon cancer. Stay informed about diseases of the colon, cancer screening, and colon cancer treatments.
  • Breast Cancer
    Educational articles and videos with information on breast cancer symptoms, prevention strategies, screening techniques, and new breast cancer treatments.


Diet & Nutrition

  • Low-carb diet better than low-fat diet at improving metabolic syndrome
    In an article published in the open access journal Nutrition & Metabolism, Jeff Volek and Richard Feinman review the literature and show that the features of metabolic syndrome are precisely those that are improved by reducing carbohydrates in the diet.
  • Ketogenic diet prevents seizures by enhancing brain energy production, increasing neuron stability
    Although the high-fat, calorie-restricted ketogenic diet (KD) has long been used to prevent childhood epileptic seizures that are unresponsive to drugs, physicians have not really understood exactly why the diet works. New studies show that the diet alters genes involved in energy metabolism in the brain, which in turn helps stabilize the function of neurons exposed to the challenges of epileptic seizures.
  • Stanford scientists' discovery of hormone offers hope for obesity drug
    STANFORD, Calif. (Nov. 2005 - BreakThrough Digest) - When the appetite-enhancing hormone ghrelin was discovered a few years ago, researchers thought they had found the last of the major genes that regulate weight. They were wrong.
  • How protein-rich diets curb hunger
    Researchers have uncovered new evidence to explain the observation that diets rich in protein stunt the appetite, according to a report in the November Cell Metabolism. The findings suggest a novel link connecting macronutrients in the diet to hunger, the researchers said.
  • New findings help explain how brain pathways control body weight
    A study led by a scientific team at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) provides another important step in our understanding of the critical role that the brain's molecular pathways play in the development of obesity and related disorders.
  • Study reveals hormone can reduce food intake, body weight
    Research has demonstrated that a hormone found naturally in the body has the ability to cause limited weight loss.
  • A high fat, low carbohydrate diet improves Alzheimer's disease in mice
    Mice with the mouse model of Alzheimer's disease show improvements in their condition when treated with a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. A new report showed that a brain protein, amyloid-beta, which is an indicator of Alzheimer's disease, is reduced in mice on the so-called ketogenic diet.
  • Compounds found in some vegetables block lung cancer progression
    A family of compounds found in cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and watercress, blocked lung cancer progression in both animal studies and in tests with human lung cancer cells, report researchers from Georgetown University Medical Center and the Institute for Cancer Prevention.
  • Coffee is number one source of antioxidants
    Coffee provides more than just a morning jolt; that steaming cup of java is also the number one source of antioxidants in the U.S. diet, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Scranton (Pa.). Their study was described today at the 230th national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.
  • Weight control protein may yield antiobesity drugs
    A weight control protein with a key role in the brain's ability to monitor body fat content may yield new approaches for treating obesity and type 2 diabetes, according to a new report in the August issue of Cell Metabolism. The findings in mice further suggest that particular variants of the protein SH2-B might underlie obesity in humans, the researchers said.
  • Preliminary data suggest that soda and sweet drinks are the main source of calories in American diet
    Tufts researchers recently reported that while the leading source of calories in the average American diet used to be from white bread, that may have changed. Now, according to preliminary research conducted by scientists at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Americans are drinking these calories instead.
  • Weight control protein may yield antiobesity drugs
    A weight control protein with a key role in the brain's ability to monitor body fat content may yield new approaches for treating obesity and type 2 diabetes, according to a new report in the August issue of Cell Metabolism. The findings in mice further suggest that particular variants of the protein SH2-B might underlie obesity in humans, the researchers said.
  • Nutritious frozen foods can play role in weight-loss programs
    Size matters when it comes to meal portions in weight-loss diets, according to researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. And consuming convenient, nutritious frozen dinners may be a way to control portion size.
  • Lifestyle and diet may stop or reverse prostate cancer progression
    Men with early stage prostate cancer who make intensive changes in diet and lifestyle may stop or perhaps even reverse the progression of their illness, according to a new study.

Gastrointenstinal Research

  • IBS study shows that targeted antibiotics lead to long-lasting improvement in symptoms
    Researchers have found that a nonabsorbable antibiotic - one that stays in the gut - may be an effective long-term treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a disease affecting more than an estimated 20 percent of Americans.
  • Antibody to a naturally-occurring sugar chain in colon inhibits inflammatory bowel disease
    A collaboration of researchers has found that an antibody which binds to an unusual sugar molecule residing in the gut halts the inflammation seen in Crohn's disease and other intestinal inflammations. The antibody could prove to be a promising drug target for these common chronic intestinal disorders.
  • Physical inactivity worsens GI symptoms in obese people
    Physical activity may help reduce gastrointestinal symptoms in people who are obese. In a study published in the American Gastroenterological Association journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, researchers found that a high body mass index and lack of physical activity were associated with an increase in GI symptoms such as stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation and irritable bowel syndrome.
  • People with IBD more likely to suffer from debilitating respiratory and nerve disorders
    According to two studies published in the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) journal Gastroenterology, people with inflammatory bowel disease are more prone to developing severe disorders of the respiratory and nervous systems. The studies found an increase in the prevalence of asthma, arthritis, chronic renal disease, multiple sclerosis and psoriasis, among other disorders.
  • Gaps in intestinal barrier could cause Crohn's disease
    Scientists at the University of Liverpool believe gaps in the intestinal barrier could be a cause of inflammatory diseases of the gut such as Crohn's Disease. Their research could have important implications for the treatment of patients with diseases like Crohn's - an inflammatory bowel disorder that causes severe ulceration in the intestine, leading to pain, bleeding and diarrhoea.
  • Researchers outline possible drug targets for treating metabolic syndrome
    Ongoing studies by researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center and other institutions have uncovered the biochemical basis of many of the factors contributing to what is known as the metabolic syndrome, suggesting potential new drug targets for treating the condition.
  • Dark chocolate helps diarrhea: Study confirms ancient myth
    A new study conducted by researchers at Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland is the first to discover that a chemical in cocoa beans can limit the development of fluids that cause diarrhea. Cocoa beans contain a large amount of chemicals called flavonoids. Scientists believe that these flavonoids can be used to create natural supplements to ease diarrhea symptoms. Dark chocolate contains high concentrations of cocoa and may offer mild relief.
  • Pancreatic cancer risk higher in newly diagnosed diabetes patients 50 and older
    According to a new study published in the American Gastroenterological Association Journal Gastroenterology, 1 in 120 people newly diagnosed with diabetes age 50 and older have a higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer--a risk that is eight times more than expected for the general population. For years, there has been controversy over whether type 2 diabetes predisposes people to pancreatic cancer or if diabetes is an indicator of underlying pancreatic cancer. This is the first study to evaluate the importance of using age at diabetes diagnosis as an indicator for pancreatic cancer and suggests a new population to be tested for pancreatic cancer.
  • Radiation exposure during virtual colonoscopy doesn't significantly raise cancer risks
    The risk of developing cancer as a result of being exposed to X-rays during computed tomography colonography (also known as "virtual colonoscopy" or CT colonography) is considerably less than 1 percent, according to an article published today in the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) journal Gastroenterology. Researchers say the radiation risk can be further reduced by creating optimized protocols for performing this screening test.

Genetic Research

  • Feds give researchers ok for safety test of adult stem cells in patients with heart disease
    (Nov. 2005 - Breakthrough Digest) Researchers announced that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved plans to begin a study to evaluate the safety of using adult stem cells from bone marrow to treat chronic ischemia, a serious form of heart disease.
  • Researchers discover new form of cancer gene regulation
    The Quaking gene, first described as a mutation in mice that causes rapid tremor, is thought to suppress tumor formation and protect humans from cancer.
  • Flip-Flopped Chromosome Reveals a First Clue to Tourette Syndrome
    Researchers have identified the first gene mutation associated with Tourette syndrome - opening a new avenue for understanding the complex disorder that causes muscle and vocal tics.
  • Mayo Clinic research collaboration discovers why some DNA repair fails
    Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered the inner workings of a defective DNA repair process and are first to explain why certain mutations are not corrected in cells. The finding is important because genetic instability and accumulations of mutations lead to disease. This discovery may lead to ways of fixing the process to avoid Huntington's disease and some types of colon cancer.
  • Gene therapy to lower blood pressure just enough
    A newly developed virus that introduces a blood pressure-lowering gene into cells and enables that gene to maintain blood pressure at healthy levels for four months promises to take gene therapy for the disorder a step closer to reality, said researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in a report released online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
  • Researchers discover gene mutations associate with a chronic pain syndrome
    In a significant advance toward understanding a perplexing and painful neurological disorder, an international team of researchers has discovered gene mutations associated with an inherited chronic pain and weakness syndrome known as hereditary neuralgic amyotrophy (also called HNA). No treatment is known for this disabling condition, which short-circuits a peripheral nerve center called the brachial plexus, a network of over 100,000 nerves, that branches from the spinal cord to supply muscular function and sensation to the shoulders, arms, and hands.
  • Gene discovery sheds light on causes of rare disease, cancer
    National Institute on Aging (NIA) researchers have discovered a new gene, FANCM, which sheds light on an important pathway involved in the repair of damaged DNA. Specifically, mutation in this gene is responsible for one of the forms of Fanconi anemia (FA), a rare genetic disorder that primarily affects children.
  • New lifespan extension genes found
    New genes tied to lifespan extension in yeast have been identified by researchers from UC Davis and Harvard Medical School. Drastically reducing calorie intake, or caloric restriction, is known to extend the lifespan of species including yeast, worms and rodents. Previous research linked a gene called Sir2 with lifespan extension due to caloric restriction, but worms and yeast that lack Sir2 also live longer when put on a tough diet, showing that some other genes must be at work.
  • Genetic testing helps physicians zero in on eye disease
    Rapid genetic testing for eye disease is becoming a reality, thanks to a technology developed at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center. Scientists have created a first-of-its-kind test on a microchip array that will help physicians hone their diagnoses for patients with the blinding disease known as retinitis pigmentosa (RP). The screening technique has proven to be reliable and cost-effective.
  • Researchers devise new technique for creating human stem cells
    Researchers have developed a new technique for creating human embryonic stem cells by fusing adult somatic cells with embryonic stem cells. The fusion causes the adult cells to undergo genetic reprogramming, which results in cells that have the developmental characteristics of human embryonic stem cells. 
  • Study finds overall health and quality of life intact 10 years after stem-cell transplantation
    Survivors of stem-cell transplantation for blood cancers can expect to be just about as healthy 10 years later as adults who have never had a transplant, according to a new study by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Research Cancer Center.
  • A new link between stem cells and tumors
    Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg and the Institute of Biomedical Research of the Parc Científic de Barcelona (IRB-PCB) have now added key evidence to claims that some types of cancer originate with defects in stem cells. The study, reported in the on-line edition of Nature Genetics shows that if key molecules aren't placed in the right locations within stem cells before they divide, the result can be deadly tumors.

Heart Research

  • Statins reduce the risk of stroke and death after carotid artery surgery
    WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 2005 - BreakThrough Digest) --Carotid artery endarterectomy (CEA) is the most commonly performed operation to prevent stroke in the United States. However, the operation itself carries a small risk of stroke. Statin drugs provide protection against stroke and death for patients undergoing CEA when given during the week prior to surgery, according to a new study.
  • Botox® injections effective for treating stroke spasticity
    New research shows that repeated treatments of botulinum toxin type A (BoNTA) over one year after a stroke can improve muscle tone and reduce pain in the arms and hands, making it easier for patients to dress themselves and perform personal hygiene.
  • Hope for arthritis, heart attack, stroke relief found in unique 'acid active' receptor
    Reactions similar to synovial cell survival in joint inflammation seen in heart attacks, stroke, gout - even muscles. Proton-sensing G-protein coupled receptor operates normally in acidic conditions, indicating potential new therapeutic avenue.
  • New genetic link to high blood pressure found
    A new genetic discovery made by a University of Michigan team may help explain why some people develop high blood pressure and others don't -- and why some people's blood pressure increases as they age.
  • Antidepressants may lower risk of recurrent heart attack in depressed heart attack patients
     In depressed patients who have experienced a heart attack, use of antidepressants, especially selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), was associated with a reduced risk of death and recurrent heart attack. Depression is a risk factor for recurrent non-fatal heart attack and cardiac death in patients who experience an acute MI, independent of cardiac disease severity. Despite their effectiveness in treating depression, the use of antidepressants in patients with CVD remains controversial.
  • First link found between obesity, inflammation and vascular disease
    Researchers have found that human fat cells produce a protein that is linked to both inflammation and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.They say the discovery, reported in Journal of the American College of Cardiology, goes a long way to explain why people who are overweight generally have higher levels of the molecule, known as C-reactive protein (CRP), which is now used diagnostically to predict future cardiovascular events.
  • High blood sugar levels a risk factor for heart disease
    Lowering blood sugar levels could reduce the risk of coronary heart disease in both diabetics and non-diabetics, according to researchers. The researchers found that Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c)--a measure of long-term blood glucose level--predicts heart disease risk in both diabetics and non-diabetics. An elevated blood glucose level is the defining feature of diabetes, but until now it was unclear whether elevated glucose levels contributed independently to increasing heart-disease risk.
  • Slower care for heart attack patients treated off hours and weekends
    Heart attack patients treated with primary percutaneous intervention at hospitals after hours and on weekends wait longer to receive clot busters and other treatments and have a higher risk of death than those treated during regular hospital hours.
  • Star-shaped metal clip takes novel approach to closing artery punctures
    A metal clip that closes an arterial puncture by drawing the wound edges together like a drawstring stitch is proving an easy and effective way to speed patient recovery after coronary interventions, according to a new study in the October 2005 issue of Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions: Journal of the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions.
  • Studies find possible drug targets for improving vascular health
    The enzyme nitric oxide synthase plays a role in peripheral vascular disease, a common disease that impairs the mobility of 25 percent of people over the age of 50, according to a Yale study. In a related study, the same investigator, William Sessa, professor of pharmacology at Yale School of Medicine, found that the protein kinase, Akt1, one of three Akt molecules involved in growth, survival, metabolism and other cellular functions, is responsible for enhancing new blood vessel growth following a blockage due to ischemia.
  • Researchers test experimental drug to help tiniest heart patients
    UT Southwestern Medical Center is approved by the Food and Drug Administration to test an experimental drug on infants undergoing heart surgery to see whether it can help them avoid potentially lethal infections and improve survival. The experimental drug, Neuprex - a Bactericidal Permeability Increasing (BPI) protein, fights bacterial poisoning, but was developed for adults and older children. UT Southwestern doctors will determine whether it might benefit infants and, if so, what dose is effective but still safe. 


  • Scientists Crack Code for Motor Neuron Wiring
    Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers have deciphered a key part of the regulatory code that governs how motor neurons in the spinal cord connect to specific target muscles in the limbs.
  • Alcoholism research reveals promising new approach to treating Alzheimer's disease
    Saint Louis University research shows a new class of drugs may hold promise in treating brain chemical problems such as Alzheimer's disease, says the principal investigator of research published in an early on-line version of Peptides.
  • A high fat, low carbohydrate diet improves Alzheimer's disease in mice
    Mice with the mouse model of Alzheimer's disease show improvements in their condition when treated with a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. A new report showed that a brain protein, amyloid-beta, which is an indicator of Alzheimer's disease, is reduced in mice on the so-called ketogenic diet.
  • New battery technology helps stimulate nerves
    With the help of new silicon-based compounds, scientists -- and patients -- are getting a significant new charge out of the tiny lithium batteries used in implantable devices to help treat nervous system and other disorders.
  • Detecting brain infections without surgery
    Researchers at Westmead Millennium Institute have discovered a safe, non-surgical method of identifying brain infections such as brain abscess, and an accurate and rapid way of diagnosing meningitis.
  • New computer program uses brain scans to assess risk of Alzheimer's
    New York University School of Medicine researchers have developed a brain scan-based computer program that quickly and accurately measures metabolic activity in a key region of the brain affected in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. Applying the program, they demonstrated that reductions in brain metabolism in healthy individuals were associated with the later development of the memory robbing disease, according to a new study.
  • Johns Hopkins researchers discover key protein linked to transverse myelitis and multiple sclerosis
    Hopkins researchers have discovered a single molecule that is a cause of an autoimmune disease in the central nervous system, called transverse myelitis (TM), that is related to multiple sclerosis.
  • Scientists discover the molecular switch for nerve cells' insulating jelly rolls
    Scientists at New York University School of Medicine report in a new study that they have identified the molecular switch that turns on the production of myelin, the fatty insulation around nerve cells that ensures swift and efficient communication in the nervous system. The study, published in the September 1, 2005, issue of the journal Neuron, may provide a new avenue for treating nervous system diseases such as multiple sclerosis, which are associated with damage to myelin.
  • Novartis MS drug shows promising results
    New Data from the extension of a Phase II study confirm the significant effects of , a novel oral medication for the treatment of patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis. The data showed that both patient groups taking the drug had experienced a reduction in their annualized relapse rate of more than 50% during the first six months of the study compared to placebo maintained this low relapse rate during the subsequent six-month extension.
  • Old drug shows new promise for Huntington's Disease
    Clioquinol, an antibiotic that was banned for internal use in the United States in 1971 but is still used in topical applications, appears to block the genetic action of Huntington's disease in mice and in cell culture, according to a study reported by San Francisco VA Medical Center (SFVAMC) researchers.
  • 'Jumping genes' contribute to the uniqueness of individual brains
  • Brains are marvels of diversity: no two look the same -- not even those of otherwise identical twins. Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies may have found one explanation for the puzzling variety in brain organization and function: mobile elements, pieces of DNA that can jump from one place in the genome to another, randomly changing the genetic information in single brain cells. If enough of these jumps occur, they could allow individual brains to develop in distinctly different ways.

Infectious Disease

  • Anti-cold, anti-flu product cuts recurrent colds by more than half, study shows
    The results of a new study to be published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal show that COLD-fX®, an anti-flu, anti-cold pill, reduced the incidence and frequency of recurrent colds by more than half. It also cut the duration of colds and significantly reduced their severity.
  • Whooping Cough Vaccine Not Just for Kids Anymore
    In the first study of its kind, researchers at Saint Louis University have demonstrated that immunization with a new vaccine could potentially prevent more than a million cases of pertussis (whooping cough) each year in adolescents and adults.
  • New rheumatoid arthritis drug developed at UCSD promises improved treatment option
    Researchers have announced successful completion of Phase II clinical trials of a novel drug for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), one that works without suppressing the patient's immune system. The new drug, dnaJP1, is a peptide derived from a naturally occurring protein.
  • Drug breakthrough for psoriasis sufferers
    An international team has found that treatment with the emerging drug infliximab can quickly and significantly improve psoriasis symptoms. The European Infliximab for Psoriasis Efficacy and Safety Study was a placebo-controlled trial to test the efficacy and safety of the drug. The findings show that 80% of patients achieved at least a 75% improvement in symptoms after ten weeks treatment with the drug.
  • Acellular pertussis vaccine proves effective in adults, adolescents
    A vaccine to protect adults and adolescents against illness due to Bordetella pertussis infection--or whooping cough--has proved more than 90 percent effective in a national, large-scale clinical study. The vaccine could be used to stem the increase in pertussis cases among adults and adolescents in the United States and thereby prevent the prolonged cough illness, which can result in hospitalization, pneumonia and cracked ribs in those populations.
  • First Phase II trial of a 'global' HIV/AIDS vaccine launched
    A novel vaccine targeted to multiple HIV subtypes found worldwide has moved into the second phase of clinical testing. The study investigators plan to enroll a total of 480 participants at sites in Africa, North America, South America and the Caribbean to test the safety and immune response to the vaccine.
  • Shorter colds, milder flu may follow from newly revealed immune mechanism
    Enlisted to help fight viral infections, immune cells called macrophages consume virus-infected cells to stop the spread of the disease in the body. Now researchers have uncovered how macrophages keep from succumbing to the infection themselves. Boosting this mechanism may be a way to speed recovery from respiratory infections.
  • Scientists pinpoint inflammation gene
    A team of international researchers has discovered that a specific gene on chromosome 15 regulates inflammation, a finding with implications for a wide range of disorders, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer's, and infections.
  • Immune therapy could treat leukemias, autoimmune diseases, transplant rejection
    In studies with mice, treatment with a new monoclonal antibody that targets immune system B cells has shown considerable promise for treating leukemias, autoimmune diseases and transplant rejection, according to immunologists at Duke University Medical Center.
  • Genomes of more than 200 human flu strains reveal a dynamic virus
    In the first large-scale effort of its kind, researchers have determined the full genetic sequence of more than 200 distinct strains of human influenza virus. The information, being made available in a publicly accessible database, is expected to help scientists better understand how flu viruses evolve, spread and cause disease. The genomic data already has enabled scientists to determine why the 2003-4 annual influenza vaccine did not fully protect individuals against the flu that season.
  • Most chronic hepatitis C sufferers will develop cirrhosis in later life
    Nearly 80 percent of chronic hepatitis C sufferers who have the disease for several decades will develop cirrhosis or end-stage liver disease later in life, according to a study published recently in the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Researchers found that it is highly likely that people who are infected with hepatitis C (HCV) for more than 60 years will develop cirrhosis--the highest rate of hepatitis C-associated cirrhosis reported to date.
  • Hurricane aftermath: Infectious disease threats from common, not exotic, diseases
    In the wake of Katrina, the public health threats from infectious diseases in hurricane-devastated areas are more likely to come from milder, more common infections rather than exotic diseases. These common infections can often be prevented using simple hygiene measures and a little common sense.
  • New tools used to control foodborne hepatitis A outbreaks related to green onions
    Novel use of genetic testing methods helped public health officials control and limit the further spread of four outbreaks of foodborne hepatitis A virus in 2003 related to the consumption of green onions, according to a detailed analysis.
  • New study shows SARS can infect brain tissue
    Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), by its very name, indicates a disease of the respiratory tract. But SARS can also infiltrate brain tissue, causing significant central nervous system problems. SARS was first reported in Asia in February of 2003. The disease is usually transmitted by contact with coronavirus-laden droplets sprayed into the air by an infected person's coughing. In a new study, the researchers report the case of a 39-year-old doctor who treated SARS patients in China during the 2003 outbreak and became infected himself.
  • Hide and seek: Researchers discover a new way for infectious bacteria to enter cells
    French scientists have learned how Listeria monocytogenes, which causes a major food-borne illness, commandeers cellular transport machinery to invade cells and hide from the body's immune system. They believe that other infectious organisms may use the same mechanism.

Medical Devices

Sexual Health

  • Couples share sexual problems and solutions
    New research shows that treatment of men with ED improves women's sexual function and satisfaction
  • Study finds mixed results on teen sexual behavior from abstinence-only intervention
    Teens report increased knowledge on HIV/STDs, and increased commitment, but likelihood of having sexual intercourse not reduced. Abstinence-only education can influence teen sexual behavior and beliefs, according to a Case Western Reserve School of Medicine study published in the American Journal of Health Behavior.
  • Key neural system at risk from fetal alcohol exposure
    In a study of adult monkeys who were exposed to moderate amounts of alcohol in utero, scientists have found that prenatal exposure to alcohol - even in small doses - has pronounced effects on the development and function later in life of the brain's dopamine system, a critical component of the central nervous system that regulates many regions of the brain.
  • One shot: A molecular movie of events that enable sperm to penetrate egg's coating
     Researchers have capitalized on the unique properties of a sperm cell to follow cell membrane fusion as it occurs during fertilization, tracking the full cascade of events for the first time. The findings could reveal new ways to enhance or block fertilization, as well as how to control the secretion of neurotransmitters and hormones such as insulin.
  • Biologists map out early stages of embryo formation
    A team of genomic researchers headed by biologists at New York University's Center for Comparative Functional Genomics, in collaboration with researchers at Harvard University, the Max Planck Institute, and Cenix Biosciences, has mapped out a preliminary molecular diagram of the early stages of embryo formation, offering for the first time a global look at how a single cell begins its path into a multi-cellular organism. .

Vision and Hearing

  • Researchers show beneficial role of risk calculator in fighting progression of glaucoma
    A new glaucoma risk calculator, which estimates a patient's risk of converting from high eye pressure, or ocular hypertension, to glaucoma, will help physicians determine whether to initiate therapy for patients.
  • Genetic testing helps physicians zero in on eye disease
    Rapid genetic testing for eye disease is becoming a reality, thanks to a technology developed at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center. Scientists have created a first-of-its-kind test on a microchip array that will help physicians hone their diagnoses for patients with the blinding disease known as retinitis pigmentosa (RP). The screening technique has proven to be reliable and cost-effective.
  • Cochlear implants' performance not affected by amount of hearing loss in the implanted ear
     Hearing-impaired individuals with severe to profound hearing loss and poor speech understanding who possess some residual hearing in one ear may experience significant communication benefit from a cochlear implant even if it is placed in the worse-hearing ear, a Johns Hopkins study suggests.
  • Rare eye-movement disorder may shed light on brain and cardiovascular development
    Researchers at Children's Hospital Boston, who specialize in studying the genetics of rare eye-movement disorders, have found a rare genetic syndrome whose implications go far beyond the eye, raising intriguing questions about human cardiovascular and brain development.
  • Scientists link genetic pathway to development of hearing
    Scientists are one step closer to understanding the genetic pathway involved in the development of hearing. New research findings, published online this week in the journal Nature Genetics, detail how sensory hair cells in the ear --the cells largely responsible for hearing-- develop unique shapes that enable the perception of sound.
  • Gene's discovery could help prevent a leading cause of blindness in the elderly
    University of Pittsburgh researchers have discovered a gene linked to age-related maculopathy, the leading cause of untreatable blindness in the elderly. Their discovery suggests a simple test might be able to identify those at risk for what is commonly known as macular degeneration and may lead to the development of more effective preventive strategies.
  • Insight into our sight: A new view on the evolution of the eye lens
    The evolution of complex and physiologically remarkable structures such as the vertebrate eye has long been a focus of intrigue and theorizing by biologists. In work reported this week in Current Biology, the evolutionary history of a critical eye protein has revealed a previously unrecognized relationship between certain components of vertebrate eyes and those of the more primitive light-sensing systems of invertebrates. The findings help clarify our conceptual framework for understanding how the vertebrate eye, as we know it, has emerged over evolutionary time.

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