Young mice with the rodent equivalent of a rare autism spectrum disorder (ASD) called Rett syndrome that were fed a diet supplemented with the synthetic oil triheptanoin had physical and behavioral symptoms that were less severe after being on the diet - and they lived longer than mice on regular diets.

Researchers involved in the study think that triheptanoin improved the functioning of mitochondria, energy factories common to all cells. Since mitochondrial defects are seen in other ASDs, the researchers say, the experimental results offer hope that the oil could help not just people with Rett syndrome, but also patients with other, more common ASDs.

Alerted by an announcement in several British newspapers, for example Honeysuckle tea could fight flu, Boiling honeysuckle releases molecule which can help fight influenza virus, study suggests, I started digging deeper.  Although it has not yet appeared in the literature, I did find the following EurekaAlert:

Clinicians are just like anyone else. As the days goes on, they wear down a little. Numerous patient care decisions each day, and the cumulative demand of those decisions, take their toll.

In primary care, doctors often prescribe unnecessary antibiotics for acute respiratory infections (ARI) and now scholars at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) in Boston found that antibiotic prescribing rates increased as the days got later.     

Treatment approaches to reduce the risk of bone complications (metastasis) associated with breast cancer may be one step closer to becoming a reality. According to a study led by a team at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC), findings show that medication used to treat bone deterioration in post-menopausal women may also slow skeletal metastasis caused from breast cancer.

This study, published in this month's issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI), is among the first to link bisphosphonate (a common osteoporosis medication) use with improved survival in women with breast cancer.

A new study has found that lungs become more inflammatory with age and that ibuprofen can lower that inflammation - and the difference can be dramatic.

Immune cells from old mouse lungs, after lung inflammation was reduced by ibuprofen, fought tuberculosis bacteria as effectively as cells from young mice. The ibuprofen had no effect on the immune response to TB in young mice. The researchers already knew that old mice had a harder time clearing TB from the lungs than young mice, but had not investigated the role of lung inflammation in that response. 

The public may be critical of the War On Cancer and its hundreds of billions of government money, but pharmaceutical companies have continue to make progress. A new study finds that 80 percent of bowel cancers could be treated with existing JAK inhibitors.

The risk of getting colorectal cancer increases with age, more than 90% of cases occur in people 50 years old or older, and it is the second leading cause of cancer death in the US. But there is a genetic commonality in 80 percent of those, and that is where JAK inhibitors come into play. 

 An analysis of death certificates from 1999 to 2010 has found that medications are the leading cause of allergy-related sudden deaths in the U.S. The study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology also found that the risk of fatal drug-induced allergic reactions was particularly high among older people and African-Americans and that such deaths increased significantly in the U.S. in recent years.  

When a dog is rabid, it's time to run. Credit: Mytoenailcameoff, CC BY-NC-SA

By Katie Hampson, University of Glasgow

Afatinib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, significantly improved progression-free survival compared to methotrexate in patients with recurrent or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck after failure of platinum-based chemotherapy, the results of a phase III trial presented at the ESMO 2014 Congress in Madrid show.

The Lux-Head&Neck 1 trial showed that patients who received treatment with 40 mg/day oral afatinib had a 20% reduction in risk of progression or death compared to patients who received methotrexate, with a median progression-free survival of 2.6 months. 

By:  Karin Heineman, Inside Science

(Inside Science TV) – Dogs and cats can suffer from some of the same illnesses as humans such as allergies, cancer and even Alzheimer's disease. Currently pets are often given drugs designed for the human body that may not work the same way in the body of another species.

For example, dogs with allergies are often prescribed the popular allergy drug Allegra. But, the formula was not designed for use by a dog and may not work correctly.

Now, researchers at Kindred Biosciences in Burlingam, California are developing new drugs made just for pets.