Researchers from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) discovered a new way to make use of drugs' unwanted side effects. They developed a computational method that compares how similar the side effects of different drugs are and predicts how likely the drugs act on the same target molecule. The study, published in Science this week, hints at new uses of marketed drugs.
Similar drugs often share target proteins, modes of action and unpleasant side effects. In reverse this means that drugs that evoke similar side effects likely act on the same molecular targets. A team of EMBL researchers now developed a computational tool that compares side effects to test if they can predict common targets of drugs.
Good pollen makes bees hot, say UC San Diego biologists, and wasps warm up after some protein-rich meat - and they don't even have to eat it to get that effect but the warmer flight muscles speed the insects' trips home, allowing them to quickly exploit a valuable resource before competitors arrive.
Because foragers of neither species eat the protein they collect, feeding it instead to their larvae, their warming must be a behavioral rather than a metabolic response to nutritious food, both research teams conclude.
Such similar responses found in two distantly related species – a bumble bee and a yellowjacket wasp whose ancestral lines diverged millions of years ago – suggest that the behavior is an ancestral trait.
Therapies, rehabilitation and specialty medical care are just a few of the extra costs that parents face when raising children with special needs. In a new study that will be published in current issue of Pediatrics, Paul T. Shattuck, Ph.D., professor of social work at Washington University in St. Louis, found that families with similar demographics and nature of their children's special needs have different out-of-pocket health expenditures depending on the state in which they live.
"This is one of the few studies that focuses on families' costs when caring for children with special needs, rather than the overall cost for society as a whole," he says.
The study's authors ranked all 50 states and the District of Columbia, using survey data from 2000 and 2001, in terms of the average percentage of special needs families that shoulder an additional financial burden, the yearly average extra costs of those families and the size of these costs relative to family income.
By injecting purified stem cells isolated from adult skeletal muscle, researchers have shown they can restore healthy muscle and improve muscle function in mice with a form of muscular dystrophy. Those muscle-building stem cells were derived from a larger pool of so-called satellite cells that normally associate with mature muscle fibers and play a role in muscle growth and repair.
In addition to their contributions to mature muscle, the injected cells also replenished the pool of regenerative cells normally found in muscle. Those stem cells allowed the treated muscle to undergo subsequent rounds of injury repair, they found.
"Our work shows proof-of-concept that purified muscle stem cells can be used in therapy," said Amy Wagers of Harvard University, noting that in some cases the stem cells replaced more than 90 percent of the muscle fibers. Such an advance would require isolation of stem cells equivalent to those in the mouse from human muscle, something Wagers said her team is now working on.
In one of those odd uses of statistics, higher gasoline prices have been associated with fewer deaths from car accidents, says a researcher at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).
An analysis of yearly vehicle deaths compared to gas prices found death rates drop significantly as people slow down and drive less. If gas remains at $4 a gallon or higher for a year or more, traffic deaths could drop by more than 1,000 per month nationwide, said Michael Morrisey, Ph.D., director of UAB's Lister Hill Center for Health Policy and a co-author on the new findings.
This means if we raise the price to $10 a gallon people might never die, right? Likewise if we drop the speed limit to 5 MPH or eliminate cars, there would be fewer deaths.
Imagine windows that not only provide a clear view and illuminate rooms, but also use sunlight to efficiently help power the building they are part of. MIT engineers report a new approach to harnessing the sun's energy that could allow just that.
The work involves the creation of a novel 'solar concentrator.' "Light is collected over a large area [like a window] and gathered, or concentrated, at the edges," explains Marc A. Baldo, leader of the work and the Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Career Development Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering.
As a result, rather than covering a roof with expensive solar cells (the semiconductor devices that transform sunlight into electricity), the cells only need to be around the edges of a flat glass panel. In addition, the focused light increases the electrical power obtained from each solar cell "by a factor of over 40," Baldo says.