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Researchers have discovered how vitamin E deficiency may cause neurological damage by interrupting a supply line of specific nutrients and robbing the brain of the “building blocks” it needs to maintain neuronal health.

Inadequate Vitamin E Causes Brain Damage in Zebrafish

April 14, 2015 | by Oregon State University | Comments

Researchers have discovered how vitamin E deficiency may cause neurological damage by interrupting a supply line of specific nutrients and robbing the brain of the “building blocks” it needs to maintain neuronal health.

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Encountering a Wall Corrects 'GPS' Cells in Mouse Brains

April 17, 2015 10:55 am | Comments

By analyzing the activity of  “GPS” neurons in mice, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have discovered that the mental maps created by these cells accumulate errors, which are corrected when the animal encounters a wall. The findings support the theory that these cells, called grid cells, use an animal’s perceived speed and direction to help it navigate familiar places.

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Protein Boosts Immunity to Virus and Cancer in Mice

April 17, 2015 10:46 am | by Sam Wong, Imperial College London | Comments

Scientists have discovered a protein that plays a central role in promoting immunity to viruses and cancer, opening the door to new therapies. Experiments in mice and human cells have shown that the protein promotes the proliferation of cytotoxic T cells, which kill cancer cells and cells infected with viruses. The discovery was unexpected because the new protein had no known function and doesn’t resemble any other protein.

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Inflammation Causes Nervous Systems Manifestations of Lyme Disease

April 17, 2015 10:30 am | Comments

About 15% of patients with Lyme disease develop peripheral and central nervous system involvement, often accompanied by debilitating and painful symptoms. New research indicates that inflammation plays a causal role in the array of neurologic changes associated with Lyme disease. The investigators also showed that the anti-inflammatory drug dexamethasone prevents many of these reactions.

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Enzyme Protects Brain Cells in Parkinson's Disease Model

April 17, 2015 10:14 am | Comments

Scientists have found how a widely known but little-studied enzyme protects brain cells in models of Parkinson’s disease. These findings could provide valuable insight into the development of drug candidates that could protect brain cells in Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.

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Restoring Cellular Energy Signals Could Lead to Treatment of Mitochondrial Diseases

April 17, 2015 10:01 am | Comments

Rooted in malfunctions in the tiny power plants that energize our cells, mitochondrial disorders are notoriously complex and variable, with few effective treatments. By using existing human drugs to improve metabolism and restore shortened lifespans in these laboratory animals, scientists have set the stage for human clinical trials of possible innovative therapies for mitochondrial disease.

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Cattle Research Yields Lung Disease Clues

April 16, 2015 10:50 am | by Emily Poulin, Vanderbilt University | Comments

Vanderbilt University researchers have found a genetic mutation that causes pulmonary hypertension in cattle grazed at high altitude, and which leads to a life-threatening condition called brisket disease. Their findings may shed light on human lung disease, in particular, the mechanism behind non-familial pulmonary hypertension in patients with conditions such as emphysema and pulmonary fibrosis.

BPA Exposure in Pregnant Mice Affects Fertility for Next Three Generations

April 16, 2015 10:42 am | by Diana Yates, University of Illinois | Comments

When scientists exposed pregnant mice to levels of bisphenol A equivalent to those considered safe in humans, three generations of female mouse offspring experienced significant reproductive problems, including declines in fertility, sexual maturity, and pregnancy success, according to a new study in the journal Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology.

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Fish Oil Fatty Acids Critical to Brain Development

April 16, 2015 10:31 am | Comments

A new study reports that dietary deficiencies in the type of fatty acids found in fish and other foods can limit brain growth during fetal development and early in life. The findings suggest that women should maintain a balanced diet rich in these fatty acids for themselves during pregnancy and for their babies after birth.

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Melanoma's 'Safe Haven' Targeted in Mice

April 16, 2015 10:08 am | Comments

Melanoma cells become drug resistant by using surrounding healthy cells to provide a 'safe haven' from treatment, according to new research from the Francis Crick Institute and the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute.

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Oxytocin Teaches Maternal Brain to Respond to Offspring's Needs

April 16, 2015 9:55 am | Comments

Neuroscientists at NYU Langone Medical Center have discovered how the powerful brain hormone oxytocin acts on individual brain cells to prompt specific social behaviors in mice—findings that could lead to a better understanding of how oxytocin and other hormones could be used to treat behavioral problems resulting from disease or trauma to the brain.

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Nicotine Use Increases Compulsive Alcohol Consumption in Rats

April 15, 2015 11:28 am | Comments

Why do smokers have a five to ten times greater risk of developing alcohol dependence than nonsmokers? Do smokers have a greater tendency toward addiction in general or does nicotine somehow reinforce alcohol consumption? A new study helps provide insight into these questions, showing that, in rat models, nicotine exposure actually promotes alcohol dependence.

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Gum Disease Treatment Lowers Risk of Heart Attack in Rabbits

April 15, 2015 11:16 am | Comments

A new study is helping to shed more light on the important connection between the mouth and heart. The study demonstrated that using an oral topical remedy to reduce inflammation associated with periodontitis, more commonly known as gum disease, also results in the prevention of vascular inflammation and can lower the risk of heart attack.

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Cancer Immunotheraphy Recruits the Entire Immune System to Combat Tumors

April 15, 2015 11:05 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | Comments

Orchestrating a successful immune attack against tumors has proven difficult so far, but a new study suggests that such therapies could be improved by simultaneously activating both arms of the immune system. Until now, most researchers have focused either attacking tumors with antibodies or stimulating T cells. By combining these approaches, the team was able to halt the growth of a very aggressive form of melanoma in mice.

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Ancient Herbal Therapy Prevents and Reverses Heart Failure in Mice

April 15, 2015 10:50 am | Comments

A natural compound derived from the bark of the magnolia tree can protect the heart from hypertrophy, a thickening of cardiac muscle often caused by chronic high blood pressure that can lead to heart failure, researchers report in the April 14 issue of the online journal Nature Communications.

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A New Potential Cause for Alzheimer’s: Arginine Deprivation

April 15, 2015 10:40 am | Comments

A new Duke University study in mice suggests that in Alzheimer’s disease, certain immune cells that normally protect the brain begin to abnormally consume an important nutrient: arginine. Blocking this process with a small-molecule drug prevented the characteristic brain plaques and memory loss in a mouse model of the disease.

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