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Well-publicized tragedies on college campuses across the United States have prompted university officials to implement alert systems that broadcast real-time warnings to students, faculty, and staff. Such systems can be highly effective tools, but only if users take them seriously. New research illustrates some factors that can determine whether campus alert systems are attended to or disregarded.
Nature's artistic and engineering skills are evident in proteins, life's robust molecular machines. Scientists have now employed their unique theories to show how the interplay between evolution and physics developed these skills. Energy landscapes for protein folding, they found, operate on evolutionary processes that take eons as well as folding that takes microseconds.
Malaria parasites exploit the function of the epigenetic regulator HP1 to promote survival and transmission between human hosts, a new study shows. Using HP1 the parasite controls expression of surface antigens to escape immune responses in the infected victim. This prolongs survival of the parasite in the human blood stream and secures its transmission via mosquitoes. The study paves important avenues for new intervention strategies to prevent severe disease and malaria transmission.
Prostate cancer prevention trial identifies men mostly likely to undergo challenging study procedure
Healthy men participating in the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial who actively participate in all steps of the clinical trial are most likely to undergo a biopsy, according to a study. "We also found that participants were more likely to adhere to biopsies if the study site that recruited the participant enrolled more than 200 participants and/or had resources for conducting activities to encourage continued participation in the trial," said one investigator.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most commonly diagnosed -- and misdiagnosed -- behavioral disorder in American children. Now a new study can provide the objective tool medical professionals need to accurately diagnose ADHD. The study indicates that involuntary eye movements accurately reflect the presence of ADHD.
Recent advances that allow the precise editing of genomes now raise the possibility that fruit and other crops might be genetically improved without the need to introduce foreign genes, according to researchers. This could mean that genetically edited versions of GMOs such as "super bananas" that produce more vitamin A and apples that don't brown when cut, among other novelties, could be making an appearance on grocery shelves.
The fungal infection invasive aspergillosis (IA) can be life threatening, especially in patients whose immune systems are weakened by chemotherapy or immunosuppressive drugs. Despite the critical need for early detection, IA remains difficult to diagnose. A study compared three diagnostic tests and found that the combination of nucleic acid sequence-based amplification (NASBA) and real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) detects aspergillosis with 100% accuracy.
A new graphics system that can easily produce complex 3-D shapes from simple professional sketches will be unveiled by computer scientists. The technology has the potential to dramatically simplify how designers and artists develop new product ideas. Converting an idea into a 3-D model using current commercial tools can be a complicated and painstaking process.
For the first time in the United States, doctors used a minimally invasive procedure to replace a failing, hard-to-reach heart valve with a new one – and placed it just outside the heart. Approximately 5 million people in the U.S. are diagnosed with heart valve disease annually. With an aging population that is often too frail for open-heart surgery, more than 20,000 Americans die of the disease each year.
The common use of anesthetic agents came of age during the American Civil War, as battlefield medicine translated to civilian use. "Prior to the war, alcoholic drinks, physical restraints, opioid drugs and bite blocks were the most typically employed methods of keeping a patient under control during surgery," an author said. "It was thought to be unmanly for a male to undergo surgery with an anesthetic, which was usually reserved for women and children."
A new article shows employers and experts where to invest resources to reverse the exodus of women from the IT workforce. Studies show that women are significantly underrepresented in the IT field, and the number of women who've graduated with degrees in computer and information science have plummeted from 37 percent in 1985 to 18 percent in 2011. The failure to "stop the bleeding" stems, in part, from the industry's reliance on an oft-cited, outdated and under-studied research model, said one expert.
A method for turning a small, $40 needle into a 3-D microscope capable of taking images up to 70 times smaller than the width of a human hair has been developed by scientists. the microscope technique works when an LED light is illuminated and guided through a fiberoptic needle or cannula. Returned pictures are reconstructed into 3-D images using algorithms.
As effective treatments for HIV become more widely available in low- and middle-income countries, there's an urgent need to assess and manage health risks in the growing number of people living with HIV. "Today, with over 35 million people living (and aging) with HIV and over two million becoming infected every year, we are faced with a new challenge: addressing morbidity and mortality -- heart disease, stroke, diabetes and metabolic complications, renal disease, cancers, liver disease, and mental illness," authors write.
One of the human body’s first responses to a viral infection is to make and release signaling proteins called interferons, which amplify the immune system response to viruses. Over time, many viruses have evolved to undermine interferon’s immune-boosting signal, and a new study describes a mechanism unique to the Ebola virus that defeats attempts by interferon to block viral reproduction in infected cells.
Normal microorganisms in the intestines appear to play a pivotal role in how the HIV virus foils a successful attack from the body’s immune system, according to new research. "Gut flora keeps us all healthy by helping the immune system develop, and by stimulating a group of immune cells that keep bacteria in check," said the study's senior author. "But this research shows that antibodies that react to bacteria also cross-react to the HIV envelope."
Deciding on the right post-hospital discharge rehabilitation destination is important to future health and quality of life. However, it is a decision for which many patients and families are unprepared and unsupported, according to scientists.
Colonization of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus allows people in the community to unknowingly harbor and spread this life-threatening bacteria. The inside of the front of the nose is where this bacteria is most predominant, but new research shows nearly all colonized individuals have this bacteria living in other body sites, including the groin and rectal areas.
Bacteria that cause life-threatening bloodstream infections in critically ill patients may be growing increasingly resistant to a common hospital antiseptic, according to a recent study. Chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) has been increasingly used in hospitals in light of recent evidence that daily antiseptic baths for patients in intensive care units (ICUs) may prevent infections and stop the spread of healthcare-associated infections. The impact of this expanded use on the effectiveness of the disinfectant is not yet known.
A new clue to understanding how the most important medication for tuberculosis (TB) works to attack dormant TB bacteria in order to shorten treatment has been found by researchers. The antibiotic Pyrazinamide (PZA) has been used to treat TB since the 1950s, but its mechanisms are the least understood of all TB drugs. The PZA findings may help researchers identify new and more effective drugs not only for TB -- which can require six months or more of treatment -- but other persistent bacterial infections.
An innovative physical activities guide is helping North Carolina fight childhood obesity. New research shows that when teachers direct these physical activities, young children become more active and less sedentary. "For the first time in over a century, children's life expectancies are declining because of increased numbers of overweight kids," researchers note. These statistics are especially alarming, they say, because research has long shown that being overweight during childhood is associated with health issues later in life.