NIH Research Matters
August 2007 Archive
AUGUST 27, 2007
To foretell how the avian flu virus might one day jump from birds to humans, scientists are using crystal-gazing of a different sort. Rather than a crystal ball, they're using crystal structures of viral molecules to help identify mutations that might make it easier for the bird virus to infect and spread between people. Their studies could help researchers prepare vaccines and therapies against deadly flu viruses before they emerge.
Scientists have come up with a potential new treatment strategy for Alzheimer's disease (AD): Prevent the buildup of a toxic protein in the brain by soaking the protein up in the bloodstream and letting the body clear it away.
By the time they reached adulthood, graduates of an intensive early childhood education program for poor children showed higher educational attainment, lower rates of serious crime and incarceration, and lower rates of depressive symptoms, a study has found.
August 13, 2007
A pair of large-scale genetic studies has revealed 2 genes that influence the risk of getting multiple sclerosis (MS). The findings could shed new light on what causes MS and point the way toward potential treatments.
Best buddies and family share life's ups and downs. They may also share a tendency to gain excessive weight. A new study reports that a person is more likely to become obese if a close friend or family member has put on some pounds, even if the friend or relation lives many miles away. The research provides the first detailed picture of how social ties may contribute to obesity. It offers clues for developing both clinical and public health interventions to slow the sharply rising rates of obesity in this country.
Recent research has suggested that the immune system's overreaction to certain "bird flu" strains such as H5N1 may be the key to their lethal effects. By blocking the body's hyperactive immune response, scientists had hoped to provide new lifesaving treatments. A new study, however, may have them rethinking this potential approach.
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About NIH Research Matters
Editor: Harrison Wein, Ph.D.
Assistant Editors: Vicki Contie, Carol Torgan, Ph.D.
NIH Research Matters is a weekly update of NIH research highlights from the Office of Communications and Public Liaison, Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health.