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NIH Research Matters

January 2007 Archive

January 29, 2007

Darker orange/brown material in a section of human brain tissue

New Genetic Clue to Alzheimer's Disease

Variations in a gene known as SORL1 may be a factor in the development of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (AD), an international team of researchers has discovered. The genetic clue gives scientists insight into the different ways AD might develop.

A Japanese Family.

Insight into Ethnic Differences

The cells in our bodies, from the muscle cells in our hearts to our skin cells, have a vast array of appearances and functions, but they carry the same set of genes. What makes them look and act differently is their gene expression—which genes are turned on and how active they are. Gene expression changes radically in certain diseases like cancer.

Image of DNA chip has dozens of multicolor spots.

Genetic Signature Marks Breast Cancer Prognosis

Researchers have identified a unique set of genes—a genetic signature—that may help to spot cancers that are more likely to spread or prove deadly. Originally identified in breast cancer cells, the genetic signature also shows promise for predicting chances of survival or cancer recurrence in patients with lung, prostate or a common childhood brain cancer.

January 22, 2007

Gray parasite attached to vaginal cell on left is flat, while a parasite that's not attached, on right, is pear-shaped.

Trichomoniasis Genome Sequenced

Researchers have decoded the genetic makeup of the parasite that causes trichomoniasis, one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The accomplishment will help researchers understand how the parasite has become increasingly drug resistant and will likely suggest strategies for new treatments, diagnostics and potential vaccines.

Two young African American girls smiling at each other.

Excess Pounds on Pre-Teen Girls Pose Future Health Risks

Girls in their "tween" years—the ages of 9-12—are particularly vulnerable to excess weight gain and related health risks that may continue into adulthood, according to a recent study. Researchers suggest that interventions targeted to this susceptible age group may help prevent weight-related problems in the years to come

A young girl in bed with the flu.

How the Immune System Recognizes Influenza

Scientists have completed the most comprehensive analysis to date of critical sites on the influenza A virus that are recognized by the immune system. The results should help scientists design new vaccines, diagnostics and therapies against both seasonal and pandemic flu.

January 12, 2007

Photo of an handful of herbs.

Herbal Supplements Fail to Relieve Menopause Symptoms

As research began to reveal the risks of menopausal hormone therapy, women started turning to alternatives, including herbal supplements like black cohosh, to try to control hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. A recent study, however, found that several herbal treatments containing black cohosh failed to relieve symptoms in postmenopausal women or those approaching menopause.

Picture of a grandfather assisting his son and grandson at the computer.

Mental Exercise May Aid Aging Minds

Brief sessions of mental exercise can have lasting benefits for older adults, even five years later. A recent study of healthy seniors found that up to 10 one-hour sessions of mental training can delay an age-related drop in thinking skills and possibly protect the ability to perform everyday tasks, such as shopping, driving, making meals and managing money.

Brain images from a healthy person, one with mild cognitive impairment and one with Alzheimer’s disease, each showing progressively larger areas of red and yellow.

Spotting Early Indicators of Alzheimer's Disease

A molecule that binds to abnormal proteins in the brain shows promise for enabling early and reliable detection of Alzheimer's disease. The imaging molecule, known as FDDNP, may also allow scientists to assess potential new therapies to slow or halt progression of the disease.

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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.

This page last reviewed on December 3, 2012

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