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In human cells, shortened telomeres, the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes, are both a sign of aging and contribute to it. Scientists at Emory University School of Medicine have found that the dietary supplement alpha lipoic acid (ALA) can stimulate telomerase, the enzyme that lengthens telomeres, with positive effects in a mouse model of atherosclerosis.

"Alpha-lipoic acid has an essential role in mitochondria, the energy-generating elements of the cell," says senior author Wayne Alexander, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. "It is widely available and has been called a 'natural antioxidant'. Yet ALA's effects in human clinical studies have been a mixed bag."


-Low-income populations deserve basic energy rights to protect them from "energy insecurity" and the environmental and related health risks from living in "energy sacrifice zones" where energy is produced. The disproportionate burden these vulnerable communities bear across the continuum of energy supply and demand is discussed in Environmental Justice.


A collaboration between more than 70 researchers across the globe has uncovered nine new genes on the X chromosome that, when knocked-out, lead to learning disabilities. The international team studied almost all X chromosome genes in 208 families with learning disabilities - the largest screen of this type ever reported. 
Cancer researchers say a large genome-wide association study (GWAS) that spanned three continents has identified four chromosome locations with genetic changes that are likely to alter a woman's risk of developing ovarian cancer. 

Researchers say that while more needs to be learned about the function of the specific chromosomal regions involved in susceptibility, the discoveries move them a major step closer to individualized risk assessments for ovarian cancer. In the future, women at greatest risk due to these and other inherited changes may be offered increased surveillance or preventive measures.

An international team of scientists, led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, have identified the genes encoding a molecule that famously defines Group A Streptococcus (strep), a pathogenic bacterial species responsible for more than 700 million infections worldwide each year.

The findings, published online in the June 11 issue of Cell Host&Microbe, shed new light on how strep bacteria resists the human immune system and provides a new strategy for developing a safe and broadly effective vaccine against strep throat, necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease) and rheumatic heart disease.


 Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is one of a group of preventable, lifelong conditions (the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders) that may result from high alcohol use in pregnancy. It can cause low IQ, delays in development and problems with learning, academic achievement, behavior, motor function, speech and language and memory.

It is also characterized by abnormal facial features and poor growth, before or after birth. 

One in eight children born in 2002 or 2003 and living in remote Fitzroy Valley communities in Western Australia have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, finds the The Lililwan study published today in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health.