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Rochester Medical Center scientists reported in the May issue of Molecular Therapy that a vaccine they created prevents the development of Alzheimer’s disease-like pathology in mice without causing inflammation or significant side effects.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive neurodegenerative disease associated with dementia and a decline in performance of normal activities. Hallmarks of the disease include the accumulation of amyloid plaques in the brains of patients and the loss of normal functioning tau, a protein that stabilizes the transport networks in neurons. Abnormal tau function eventually leads to another classic hallmark of Alzheimer’s, neurofibrillary tangle in nerve cells. After several decades of exposure to these insults, neurons ultimately succumb and die, leading to progressively damaged learning and memory centers in the brain.

Women ask for considerably lower salaries in salary negotiations than men but it may be because they are expected to do so, according to a dissertation in psychology by Una Gustafsson at Lund University in Sweden.

Conceptions of good and poor negotiators are tied to stereotypical notions of masculine and feminine characteristics: good negotiators are regarded as being decisive, strong, and self-assertive - masculine qualities. Poor negotiators are seen as being concessive, emotional, and overly focused on relationships, which are regarded as feminine qualities, she says.

But Una Gustafsson also warns against placing the entire blame on the women’s own behavior.

A University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine study of nearly 2,220 pneumonia patients finds that men who come to the hospital generally are sicker than women, and have a 30 percent higher risk of dying over the next year, despite aggressive medical care. Researchers further found significant differences in immune system response to infection, leading to speculation that future pneumonia treatments could be gender-based.

The University of Pittsburgh researchers evaluated data from 1,136 men and 1,047 women with symptoms of pneumonia who were treated at 28 hospital emergency departments in the United States.

On average, men arrived at the emergency departments with poorer vital signs, were more likely to be smokers and had a greater variety of complicating health conditions. After hospitalization, men received timely antibiotic treatments more often than women and were twice as likely to be admitted immediately to intensive-care units.

Hydrogen is touted as replacing carbon-based fuels for transportation in the future, but researchers first must develop a method to store and release large amounts of the highly flammable, odorless invisible gas economically and safely. There are materials that are known to trap relatively large quantities of hydrogen, at normal pressures, but to date they all require heating to fairly high temperatures to release the hydrogen.

A materials scientist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has deciphered the structure of a new class of materials that can store relatively large quantities of hydrogen within its crystal structure for later release.

Hui Wu, a research associate from the University of Maryland working in a cooperative research program at the NIST Center for Neutron Research, has been investigating a new hydrogen storage compound that mixes lithium amide with lightweight metal hydrides. Lithium amide can hold more than 10 percent of hydrogen by weight, well above the 6 percent target set by the U.S. Department of Energy as a 2010 goal for a hydrogen storage material for transportation. The material absorbs and releases hydrogen reversibly, but both absorbing and releasing the hydrogen requires high temperatures and also produces a toxic byproduct, ammonia.

A research team working at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has found an explanation for the extreme sensitivity to mechanical pressure or voltage of a special class of solid materials called relaxors. The ability to control and tailor this sensitivity would allow industry to enhance a range of devices used in medical ultrasound imaging, loudspeakers, sonar and computer hard drives.

Relaxors are highly sensitive piezoelectrics — they change shape when a battery is connected across opposite ends of the material, or they produce a voltage when squeezed.

“Relaxors are roughly 10 times more sensitive than any other known piezoelectric,” explains NIST researcher Peter Gehring. They are extremely useful for device applications because they can convert between electrical and mechanical forms of energy with little energy loss.

Also known as Seville orange, sour orange, and Zhi shi, bitter orange has been used in traditional Chinese medicine and by indigenous people of the Amazon rain forest for nausea, indigestion and constipation.

Current uses of bitter orange are for heartburn, loss of appetite, nasal congestion and weight loss. Users also apply it to skin for fungal infections such as ringworm and athlete’s foot.

Bitter orange has been used as a substitute for ephedra, a dietary supplement for weight loss now banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The dried fruit and peel of bitter orange (and sometimes the flowers and leaves) are taken by mouth in extracts, tablets and capsules. Bitter orange oil also can be applied to the skin.