Scientific Earth Conscientious

Scientific progress makes moral progress a necessity; for if man's power is increased, the checks that restrain him from abusing it must be strengthened (Madame de Stael)

Archive for November, 2012

Carbon dioxide could reduce crop yields. High-yielding dwarf plant varieties lose their advantage due to increasing carbon dioxide concentration

Posted by Scientific Earth Conscientious on November 30, 2012

Dubbed as the 'Miracle Rice', IR8 was famous for its revolutionary high yield compared with other varieties existing at the time. Because of today's environmental conditions, IR8 is unable to produce the same yield levels.Credit: International Rice Research Institute

Dubbed as the ‘Miracle Rice’, IR8 was famous for its revolutionary high yield compared with other varieties existing at the time. Because of today’s environmental conditions, IR8 is unable to produce the same yield levels.
Credit: International Rice Research Institute

The carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere continues to climb and heat up the climate. The gas is, however, indispensable for plants, as they use the carbon it provides to form glucose and other important substances. Therefore, the more carbon dioxide the better? The equation is unfortunately not as simple as that. The plants, which ensure our basic food supply today, have not been bred for vertical growth but for short stalks and high grain yields. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology and the University of Potsdam have now discovered that an increase in carbon dioxide levels could cancel out the beneficial effects of dwarf varieties.

A variety of rice called IR8, which has now disappeared almost completely from the market, caused quite a stir in the 1960s. At the time, this dwarf variety of rice produced incredible yields and warded off the food shortages predicted at the time. While most other high-yielding varieties buckled under the weight of their grains, IR8’s strong short stalks had no difficulty in supporting its high grain yields. In addition, the plant saved on nutrients and energy through the lack of vertical growth and was even more productive as a result. Everything that was not required to grow longer stalks was made available to the rice grains. Plants like IR8 succeeded in protecting humanity against global famine and were hailed as part of the “Green Revolution” in agriculture.

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Researchers discover how C. diff red lines immune response. Study of hospital-acquired infection yields potential therapeutic target

Posted by Scientific Earth Conscientious on November 30, 2012

Clostridium difficile.

Clostridium difficile.

Researchers in the Nutritional Immunology and Molecular Medicine Laboratory at Virginia Bioinformatics Institute have discovered how a common diarrhea-causing bacterium sends the body’s natural defenses into overdrive, actually intensifying illness while fighting infection.

The discovery, recently published in PLOS One, may lead to new drug treatments for Clostridium difficile, a common germ in health care-associated infections often referred to as C. diff. It has been linked to the death of 14,000 Americans annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers with the Center for Modeling Immunity to Enteric Pathogens at Virginia Tech applied computational and mathematical modeling in combination with RNA-sequencing and mouse studies to understand an important regulatory pathway during Clostridium difficile infection.

“We have found that tissue damage and disease severity in C. difficile infection is associated with a disruption of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) pathway,” said Josep Bassaganya-Riera, a professor of immunology, director of the Nutritional Immunology and Molecular Medicine Laboratory and the principal investigator with the Center for Modeling Immunity to Enteric Pathogens.

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New radio telescope could save world billions. Murchison Widefield Array telescope complete after eight years

Posted by Scientific Earth Conscientious on November 30, 2012

Unlike traditional "dish" antennae, the Murchison Widefield Array uses strange-looking antennae space out on the ground. The SKA will field a huge network of such antennae

Unlike traditional “dish” antennae, the Murchison Widefield Array uses strange-looking antennae space out on the ground. The SKA will field a huge network of such antennae

A small pocket of Western Australia’s remote outback is set to become the eye on the sky and could potentially save the world billions of dollars. The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) radio telescope, unveiled today, Friday 30 November, will give the world a dramatically improved view of the Sun and provide early warning to prevent damage to communication satellites, electric power grids and GPS navigation systems.

The $51 million low-frequency radio telescope will be able to detect and monitor massive solar storms, such as the one that cut power to six million people in Canada in 1989 during the last peak in solar activity.

In 2011, experts warned that a major solar storm could result in damage to integral power supplies and communication networks of up to US$2 trillion – the equivalent of a global Hurricane Katrina.

The MWA will aim to identify the trajectory of solar storms, quadrupling the warning period currently provided by near-Earth satellites.  This is timely as the Sun is due to re-enter peak activity in 2013, with a dramatic increase in the number and severity of solar storms expected, with the potential to disrupt global communications and ground commercial airlines.

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Scientist’s technique of University of Illinois dramatically reduces E. coli numbers

Posted by Scientific Earth Conscientious on November 27, 2012

E. coli 0157:H7

URBANA – University of Illinois scientists have found a way to boost current industry capabilities when it comes to reducing the number of E. coli 0157:H7 cells that may live undetected on spinach leaves.

“By combining continuous ultrasound treatment with chlorine washing, we can reduce the total number of foodborne pathogenic bacteria by over 99.99 percent,” said Hao Feng, a U of I professor of food science and human nutrition.

According to Feng, the USDA is looking for proposed technologies that can achieve a 4 to 6 log reduction in pathogen cells (a 6 log reduction would achieve a million-fold reduction in pathogenic bacteria). The food processing industry can now achieve a 1 log or tenfold reduction. In comparison, the U of I technique yields a 4 log reduction.

“Combining technologies is the key to bridging the gap between our current capacity and what USDA would like to see. The use of ultrasound exposure during chlorine washing gives the industry a way to significantly enhance microbial safety,” he said.

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From Mediterranean coasts to Tatra Mountains and beyond: Plant chromosome number variation

Posted by Scientific Earth Conscientious on November 27, 2012

The three target European countries (Italy, Slovakia and Poland) of the study.
Credit: L. Peruzzi et al.

Chromosome number is the most basic feature concerning the genome of a species, and it is known for about one third of higher plant species. In particular, for plants of Italy, Slovakia, and Poland, online chromosome number databases have been developed: ‘Chrobase.it – Chromosome numbers for the Italian flora‘, ‘Karyological database of ferns and flowering plants of Slovakia‘ and ‘Chromosome number database – PLANTS‘, respectively. The three datasets account for about 35%, 60% and 40% of the whole floras, respectively.

“We used these datasets to compare chromosome number variation among plants of the three countries, with the aim to verify whether the patterns of chromosome number variation parallel the differences in latitudinal ranges” said Dr Peruzzi, leading author of the article, published in the open access journal Comparative Cytogenetics.

A concept that the occurrence of multiple genome copies (polyploidy) in plants tend to increase with latitude had already been formed in the second half of twentieth century, but pioneer works in this field had not significant statistical coverage, due to the absence of large, readily accessible datasets.

In the study, significant differences among the three countries were evidenced, confirming that mean chromosome number increases with increasing latitude. Mean chromosome number was used as an objective proxy of polyploidy.

In perspective, it would be interesting to verify whether the same chromosome number evolution dynamics occurs in the Austral hemisphere as well. Unfortunately, as far as we are aware, large chromosome number databases of these territories with significant latitudinal variations are not available, at the moment.

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Biology professor at American University in Washington, D.C. discovers new crab species

Posted by Scientific Earth Conscientious on November 27, 2012

This is a photo of Areopaguristes tudgei, a new species of crab discovered by and named for American University biologist Christopher Tudge.
Credit: Photo courtesy of Rafael Lemaitre and Darryl L. Felder.

Areopaguristes tudgei. That’s the name of a new species of hermit crab recently discovered on the barrier reef off the coast of Belize by Christopher Tudge, a biology professor at American University in Washington, D.C.

Tudge has been interested in biology his whole life, from boyhood trips to the beach collecting crustaceans in his native Australia, to his undergraduate and PhD work in zoology and biology at the University of Queensland. He has collected specimens all over the world, from Australia to Europe to North and South America.

Until now, he has never had a species named after him. He only found out about his namesake after reading an article about it in the journal Zootaxa. Apparently, finding out after-the-fact is standard practice in the highly formalized ritual of naming a new species.

The two crustacean taxonomists and authors of the paper who named the new crab after Tudge, Rafael Lemaitre of the Department of Invertebrate Zoology at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History and Darryl L. Felder of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette’s Department of Biology Laboratory for Crustacean Research, have known Tudge since he first came to Washington in 1995 as a postdoc research fellow at the Smithsonian.

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New mechanism for cancer progression discovered by UNC and Harvard researchers

Posted by Scientific Earth Conscientious on November 27, 2012

Examples from sequencing showing three different mutations in codon 12 of the K-ras gene. The bases are indicated by dots.

The protein Ras plays an important role in cellular growth control. Researchers have focused on the protein because mutations in its gene are found in more than 30 percent of all cancers, making it the most prevalent human oncogene.

University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and Harvard researchers have discovered an alternative mechanism for activating Ras that does not require mutation or hormonal stimulus. In healthy cells, Ras transmits hormone signals into the cell that prompt responses such as cell growth and the development of organs and tissues. A mutation on the RAS gene can chronically activate those signals, leading to tumor initiation and progression.

In an article published on-line in a November issue of Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, the UNC and Harvard teams discovered that modification of Ras at a specific site with a small protein known as ubiquitin can also lock Ras into an active signaling state.  Thus, modification of Ras with a single ubiquitin – a process known as monoubiquitination – switches Ras to an active signaling state by disrupting the action of another protein known as the GTPase activating protein, or GAP. Work by two of the papers co-authors, Atsuo Sasaki and Lewis Cantley of Harvard, had previously found evidence for Ras’s potential to become activated and promote Ras-mediated tumorigenesis by monoubiquitination.

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Preventing posttraumatic stress disorder by facing trauma memories. Reports new study in Biological Psychiatry

Posted by Scientific Earth Conscientious on November 27, 2012

The areas of the brain affected in post-traumatic stress disorder.
Sensory input, memory formation and stress response mechanisms are affected in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The regions of the brain involved in memory processing that are implicated in PTSD include the hippocampus, amygdala and frontal cortex. While the heightened stress response is likely to involve the thalamus, hypothalamus and locus coeruleus.

Philadelphia, PA, November 27, 2012 – Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a form of learning that begins at the moment of the exposure to extremely stressful situations and that grows in impact as trauma-related memories are rehearsed and strengthened repeatedly. This somewhat oversimplified view of PTSD yields a powerful prediction: if one could disrupt the rehearsal and strengthening of traumatic memories, a process called reconsolidation of memories, then one might reduce PTSD risk or PTSD severity after potentially traumatic events.

To be certain, it is tricky to attempt to alter traumatic memory reconsolidation. In fact, some early strategies for “trauma debriefing” turned out to strengthen rather than diminish posttraumatic learning.

Despite these challenges, a new study by Dr. Barbara Rothbaum and colleagues reports that a behavioral intervention delivered to patients immediately post-trauma is effective at reducing posttraumatic stress reactions.

“PTSD is a major public health concern,” said Rothbaum, professor in Emory’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. “In so many people, what happens immediately after a traumatic event can make things worse or better. Right now, there are no accepted interventions delivered in the immediate aftermath of trauma.”

To conduct the study, the researchers approached patients who presented to the local emergency room due to a traumatic event, including rape, car accident, or physical assault. Half of those who agreed to participate received the behavioral intervention, which was started immediately, while the other half did not. All patients were repeatedly assessed for symptoms of depression and stress over a twelve-week period.

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Scientists at the Institute of Molecular Biology identify key event for sex determination. Deletion of just one gene results in complete sex reversal of male mice

Posted by Scientific Earth Conscientious on November 27, 2012

Sex-reversed phenotype of SryMyc transgenic mice and the expression of SRYMYC protein. (A–C) Eleven-week-old litters derived from line E were analyzed for sex-reversed phenotype. External genitalia with male character was seen in an XX SryMyc transgenic mouse (left) comparing with a wild-type XX female (right) (A). XX SryMyc testis (B) were smaller than XY SryMyc testis (C) because of lack of sperm in XX testes. (D–I) The embryonic gonads were dissected from the incompletely penetrant line C (D, E and H, I) and a completely penetrant line E (F, G). At 18 ts, expression was observed throughout both XY (D) and XX (E) indifferent gonads in line C. No significant differences were seen in either XY (F) or XX (G) indifferent gonads in line E. At 30 ts, the expression was barely detectable in XY testes (H). In the case of non-sex-reversed XX SryMyc females in line C, expression was maintained in the ovaries (I). Scale bars, 1 mm. Abbreviations: e indicates epididymis; g, gonad; m, mesonephros; t, testis.

Scientists at the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) in Mainz have identified a protein essential for initiating the development of male sex organs. Loss of the gene Gadd45g results in complete sex reversal of male mice, making them appear female. The researchers’ finding uncovers a novel signaling cascade, which acts early in development to determine the gonads in males. This discovery sheds light on the genetic network that controls how embryos develop as males or females. The research has just been published in the high-impact journal Developmental Cell.

Research carried out in the laboratory of IMB Director Professor Christof Niehrs uncovered that the deletion of just one gene, Gadd45g, results in male mice with external genitalia that are indistinguishable from those of female mice. Furthermore, the internal reproductive organs of the mutant male mice look like those of females, indicating that a complete sex reversal has occurred. Says Christof Niehrs, “when breeding Gadd45g mutant mice we were puzzled why we got only females, until we discovered that some of these females actually carry a Y-chromosome.”

The researchers further showed that Gadd45g exerts its effect by regulating signaling cascades that control the gene Sry, which had previously shown to be a master regulator of male sex development. This study both identifies a new role for Gadd45g and suggests a novel signaling pathway that could have important implications for research into disorders of sexual development.

For male sex organs to develop correctly, it is essential that the gene Sry is expressed at high levels within a very narrow timeframe in the embryo. The group of Christof Niehrs has now shown that Gadd45g is expressed in a pattern highly similar to that of Sry. The Gadd45g gene is, however, active just before Sry is turned on. Importantly, in mice lacking Gadd45g, the Sry gene is not expressed correctly. This indicates that Gadd45g controls the expression of this master regulator and, in turn, male development.

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Researchers at Aalto University have developed a simple method for reducing the amount of phosphorus in the wastewater of a pulp mill

Posted by Scientific Earth Conscientious on November 21, 2012

Background researcher Timo Laukkanen, D.Sc. (Tech.).
Credit: Adolfo Vera

Researchers at Aalto University have developed a simple method for reducing the amount of phosphorus in the wastewater of a pulp mill. The method is called simultaneous precipitation using iron sulphate. A separate treatment stage is not required, as the precipitation takes place simultaneously with the actual biological wastewater treatment.

Iron sulphate is added to the wastewater prior to the biological wastewater treatment process, and the phosphorus dissolved into the water is precipitated with the biomass at the treatment plant. Finally, the phosphorus is removed from the plant with the sludge. In Finland, sludge is generally burned, in which case the phosphorus would end up in the ashes and would thus be reusable in the form of fertilizers, for example.

  • At best, the amount of phosphorus in the wastewater was reduced by more than 80 per cent, when the amount of iron fed into the process was 10 milligrams per litre,’ commented researcher Sakari Toivakainen, who is currently preparing his doctoral dissertation.

Simultaneous precipitation creates savings in wastewater treatment costs

Public authorities are calling for the lowering of phosphorus emissions. For this reason, many factories have adopted an additional post-treatment precipitation stage, which is usually implemented using aluminium.

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Flower power to purge poison and produce platinum

Posted by Scientific Earth Conscientious on November 21, 2012

Dr Kerry Kirwan, Associate Professor, WMG

A consortium of researchers led by WMG at the University of Warwick are to embark on a £3 million research programme called “Cleaning Land for Wealth” (CL4W), that will use a common class of flower to restore poisoned soils while at the same time producing perfectly sized and shaped nano sized platinum and arsenic nanoparticles for use in catalytic convertors, cancer treatments and a range of other applications.

A “Sandpit” exercise organised by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) allowed researchers from WMG (Warwick Manufacturing group) at the University of Warwick, Newcastle University, The University of Birmingham, Cranfield University and the University of Edinburgh to come together and share technologies and skills to come up with an innovative multidisciplinary research project that could help solve major technological and environmental challenges.

The researchers pooled their knowledge of how to use plants and bacteria to soak up particular elements and chemicals and how to subsequently harvest, process and collect that material. They have devised an approach to demonstrate the feasibility in which they are confident that they can use common classes of flower and plants (such as Alyssum), to remove poisonous chemicals such as arsenic and platinum from polluted land and water courses potentially allowing that land to be reclaimed and reused.

That in itself would be a significant achievement, but as the sandpit progressed the researchers found that jointly they had the knowledge to achieve much more than just cleaning up the land.

As lead researcher on the project Professor Kerry Kirwan from WMG at the University of Warwick explained:

“The processes we are developing will not only remove poisons such as arsenic and platinum from contaminated land and water courses, we are also confident that we can develop suitable biology and biorefining processes (or biofactories as we are calling them) that can tailor the shapes and sizes of the metallic nanoparticles they will make. This would give manufacturers of catalytic convertors, developers of cancer treatments and other applicable technologies exactly the right shape, size and functionality they need without subsequent refinement. We are also expecting to recover other high value materials such as fine chemicals, pharmaceuticals, anti-oxidants etc. from the crops during the same biorefining process.”

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NASA Spacecraft Observe Nov. 20 Solar Eruption

Posted by Scientific Earth Conscientious on November 21, 2012

NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) captured this image of a coronal mass ejection on Nov. 20, 2012 at 8:54 a.m. EST, about two hours after it left the sun.
Credit: NASA/STEREO

On Nov. 20, 2012, at 7:09 a.m. EST, the sun erupted with a coronal mass ejection or CME. Not to be confused with a solar flare, a CME is a solar phenomenon that can send solar particles into space and can reach Earth one to three days later. When Earth-directed, CMEs can affect electronic systems in satellites and on Earth.

Experimental NASA research models, based on observations from the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO), show that the Nov. 20 CME left the sun at speeds of 450 miles per second, which is a slow to average speed for CMEs. CMEs can cause a space weather phenomenon called a geomagnetic storm, which occurs when CMEs successfully connect up with the outside of the Earth’s magnetic envelope, the magnetosphere, for an extended period of time. In the past, CMEs of this speed have not usually caused substantial geomagnetic storms. They have caused auroras near the poles but are unlikely to cause disruptions to electrical systems on Earth or interfere with GPS or satellite-based communications systems.

NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (http://swpc.noaa.gov) is the United States government’s official source for space weather forecasts.

What is a CME?

For answers to this and other space weather questions, please visit the Spaceweather Frequently Asked Questionspage.

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Researchers build synthetic membrane channels out of DNA. Nanotech structures mimic nature’s way of tunneling through cell walls

Posted by Scientific Earth Conscientious on November 21, 2012

This 3-D print shows the structure of a functional synthetic membrane channel constructed through DNA nanotechnology — that is, using DNA molecules as programmable building materials for custom-designed, self-assembling nanometer-scale structures. This DNA-based membrane channel consists of a needle-like stem 42 nanometers long with an internal diameter of just two nanometers, partly sheathed by a barrel-shaped cap. A ring of cholesterol units around the edge of the cap helps the device “dock” to a lipid membrane while the stem sticks through it, forming a channel that appears capable of behaving like a biological ion channel. The device is formed by 54 double-helical DNA domains on a honeycomb lattice.
Credit: Dietz Lab, TU Muenchen; copyright TU Muenchen

As reported in the journal Science, physicists at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) and the University of Michigan have shown that synthetic membrane channels can be constructed through “DNA nanotechnology.” This technique employs DNA molecules as programmable building materials for custom-designed, self-assembling, nanometer-scale structures. The researchers present evidence that their nature-inspired nanostructures may also behave like biological ion channels. Their results could mark a step toward applications of synthetic membrane channels as molecular sensors, antimicrobial agents, and drivers of novel nanodevices.

Over the past three decades, researchers have advanced DNA nanotechnology from an intriguing idea to an emerging technology, with a toolbox of methods and a portfolio of nanometer-scale objects designed to demonstrate its potential. What’s new here is the claim that DNA nanotech can be used to mimic one of the most widespread and important nanomachines in nature.

To wall off the insides of cells from the outside world, organisms in all three domains of life use the same kind of barrier: an impermeable membrane made from two layers of lipid molecules. Such membranes can also be found within cells, for example encapsulating the nucleus, and even surrounding many kinds of viruses. And to mediate between the different environments on either side of this universal barrier, nature provides a common type of passageway. Membrane channels are tube-like structures made of proteins, which pierce the barriers and regulate the two-way exchange of material and information between the inside and outside. Now researchers have demonstrated the first artificial membrane channel made entirely of DNA, and its characteristics suggest a number of potential applications. “If you want, for example, to inject something into a cell, you have to find a way to punch a hole into the cell membrane, and this device can do that, at least with model cell membranes,” says TUM Prof. Hendrik Dietz, a fellow of the TUM Institute for Advanced Study.

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New tumor tracking technique may improve outcomes for lung cancer patients. Real-time approach tracks and radiates moving tumors and spares healthy tissue

Posted by Scientific Earth Conscientious on November 21, 2012

Lung cancer

Medical physicists at Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson’s Kimmel Cancer Centerare one step closer to bringing a new tumor-tracking technique into the clinic that delivers higher levels of radiation to moving tumors, while sparing healthy tissue in lung cancer patients.

Evidence has shown a survival advantage for lung cancer patients treated with higher doses of radiation. Therefore, there is an increased interest to find novel ways to better track tumors—which are in constant motion because of breathing—in order to up the dosage during radiation therapy without increasing harmful side effects

After proving its success in simulations, researchers have now shown that their real-time tracking technique can achieve such tasks. Not only can it better predict and track tumor motion and deliver higher levels of radiation to lung cancer patients and others with moving tumor targets, it can also successfully be implemented into existing clinical equipment (i.e., Elekta Precise Table).

The results of the study, led by Ivan Buzurovic, Ph.D., a medical physics resident and researcher in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University, and Yan Yu, Ph.D., Professor, Vice Chair and Director of Medical Physics at Thomas Jefferson University, were published in the November issue of Medical Physics.

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Method for assessing hand bone density may prevent hip fractures

Posted by Scientific Earth Conscientious on November 19, 2012

A new study from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden shows, that a technique for measuring bone density called digital X-ray radiogrammetry (or DXR) used on standard hand radiographs can help to identify patients with a higher risk of hip fracture. The researchers believe that DXR, which is fully comparable with other, more costly methods, can be used preventively to identify people in the risk zone for osteoporosis – a disease estimated to effect some 200 million women worldwide.

Each year, approximately 1.7 million hip fractures occur worldwide (about 18,000 only in Sweden), mainly in elderly people and women with osteoporosis. A hip fracture can be particularly serious for the elderly; it often entails lengthy rehabilitation and leaves many patients unable to lead an independent life. Moreover, between 10 and 20 per cent of sufferers die from complications. Apart from the human suffering they cause, hip fractures are also very costly to the healthcare services in the amount of care they demand.

“If we can identify people with osteoporosis and treat them with drugs, we can reduce the risk of hip fracture,” says principal investigator, Associate Professor Torkel Brismar of Karolinska Institutet’s Department of Clinical Sciences, Intervention and Technology. “Our research shows that DXR is a technique that lends itself well to this, maybe at general health check-ups, or screenings, for example, or when people seek treatment for a suspected hand or wrist fracture.”

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Research breakthrough selectively represses the immune system. NIH-funded scientists develop new treatment to combat autoimmune disease in mouse model

Posted by Scientific Earth Conscientious on November 19, 2012

T1-weighted MR images show hyperintense lesions (arrows) in a 41-year-old man with relapsing-remitting MS.

In a mouse model of multiple sclerosis (MS), researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have developed innovative technology to selectively inhibit the part of the immune system responsible for attacking myelin—the insulating material that encases nerve fibers and facilitates electrical communication between brain cells.

Autoimmune disorders occur when T-cells—a type of white blood cell within the immune system—mistake the body’s own tissues for a foreign substance and attack them. Current treatment for autoimmune disorders involves the use of immunosuppressant drugs which tamp down the overall activity of the immune system. However, these medications leave patients susceptible to infections and increase their risk of cancer as the immune system’s normal ability to identify and destroy aberrant cells within the body is compromised.

Supported by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) at NIH, Drs. Stephen Miller and Lonnie Shea at Northwestern University, Evanston, teamed up with researchers at the University of Sydney, and the Myelin Repair Foundation in Saratoga, Calif. to come up with a novel way of repressing only the part of the immune system that causes autoimmune disorders while leaving the rest of the system intact.

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