NIH Research Matters
January 2007 Archive
January 29, 2007
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.