Brilliant Blue G (BBG), the food additive that gives M&Ms and Gatorade their blue hue, offers promise for preventing the additional serious secondary damage immediately after a traumatic injury to the spinal cord.
An article1 published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reports that the compound halts the chain of molecular events that cause the secondary damage. In the hours following a spinal cord injury, this secondary injury can enlarge the injured area of the spinal cord, permanently worsening paralysis in patients.
Genetic researchers at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine have made a breakthrough in the development of a gene therapy for cystic fibrosis. The mutation that causes cystic fibrosis, (CF) discovered in 1989, is a defect in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator (CFTR) gene.
The idea behind a CF gene therapy is simple enough; use modified viruses to deliver a corrected version of the CFTR gene into affected tissues. But this hoped for cure has been stymied by the natural ability of the lung to limit the introduction of foreign genes into its cells.
Using fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) researchers have now pinpointed where and how the brain processes 3-D motion. Surprisingly, findings published in Nature Neuroscience online July 7, 20091, reveal that 3-D motion processing occurs in an area in the brain, located just behind the left and right ears, long thought to only be responsible for processing two-dimensional motion (up, down, left and right).
The area, known as MT+ (for Middle Temporal area), and its underlying neuron circuitry are so well studied that until now, most scientists had concluded that 3-D motion must be processed elsewhere. This is the first study that clearly links the area to 3D motion perception.
A new study mapping the gene profiles of children with severe Staphylococcus aureus infections1, shows immune systems respond to this strain of bacteria by activating genes involved in immediate defense mechanisms, while deactivating genes involved in long term immune defense memory. The study seems to raises a few questions of its own. For example, does the immune response uncovered here apply to all bacterial infections, or just Staph infections? Would the pattern reverse toward the end of the infection? And what implications does this have for improving diagnosis and treatment of virulent strains like MRSA?
Migraine headaches in women are associated with a considerable reduction in breast cancer risk, a new study1 confirms. Published in the July 2009 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, it confirms research published last year by scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The more recent study discovered a 26 percent reduced risk of breast cancer among both premenopausal and postmenopausal women clinically diagnosed with migraines.