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'McDonaldization' of frogs
Everyone knows that frogs are in trouble. But a recent analysis of frog surveys done at eight Central American sites shows the situation is worse than thought. Under pressure from an invasive fungus, the frogs in this biodiversity hot spot are undergoing (2009-09-22)

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter's LAMP shedding light on permanently shadowed regions of the moon
NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, launched on June 18 of this year, has begun its extensive exploration of the lunar environment and will return more data about the moon than any previous mission. The Lyman-Alpha Mapping Project, developed by Southwest Research Institute, is an integral part of the LRO science investigation. LAMP uses a novel method to peer into the perpetual darkness of the moon's so-called permanently shadowed regions. (2009-09-17)

Prolonged stress sparks ER to release calcium stores and induce cell death in aging-related diseases
Li et al. explain how prolonged stress sparks the endoplasmic reticulum to release its calcium stores, inducing cells to undergo apoptosis in several aging-related diseases. (2009-09-14)

JCI online early table of contents: Sept. 8, 2009
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, Sept. 8, 2009, in the JCI, including: Engineered human fusion protein protects against HIV-1 infection; TNF-alpha promotes ovarian tumors with a little help from friends TNFR1 and IL-17; Cdc42 restrains hypertrophy in the heart; and Kinase CAMKII links multiple mechanisms of stress-induced cell death. (2009-09-08)

Casting out devils
Salmonella are regarded as bad guys. Hardly a summer passes without severe salmonella infections via raw egg dishes or chicken that find their way into the media. But salmonella not only harm us -- in the future they may even help to defend us against cancer. The bacteria migrates into solid tumors, and makes it easier to destroy them. Furthermore, in laboratory mice they independently find their way into metastases, where they can also aid clearance. (2009-09-08)

Gene variant heightens risk of severe liver disease in cystic fibrosis
A UNC study, which appears in the Sept. 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, could lead to earlier detection and diagnosis of cystic fibrosis liver disease and better treatment options for the patients affected by the disease. (2009-09-08)

Malignant signature may help identify patients likely to respond to therapy
A molecular signature that helps account for the aggressive behavior of a variety of cancers such as pancreatic, breast and melanoma may also predict the likelihood of successful treatment with a particular anti-cancer drug. The finding, which could lead to a personalized approach to treatment for a variety of solid tumors that are currently resistant to therapies, will be published Sept. 6 in the advance online edition of Nature Medicine. (2009-09-06)

JCI online early table of contents: Sept. 1, 2009
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, Sept. 1, 2009, in the JCI, including: The protein modifier SUMO helps set apart females and males; Circulating tumor cells a MUST WATCH; New mouse model of a severe kidney disease leads to potential new therapy; and others. (2009-09-01)

The protein modifier SUMO helps set apart females and males
One way in which men and women differ is in their expression of liver proteins that control energy generation and lipid and steroid hormone production and turnover. Researchers at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, have identified a new mechanism -- involving a process known as sumoylation -- underlying this differential expression of proteins in male and female mice. They also suggest drugs that may prevent estrogen-induced intrahepatic cholestasis, the most common liver disease during pregnancy. (2009-09-01)

New treatment in sight for ovarian cancer
In the future, women with metastatic ovarian cancer could be treated with a radioactive substance that can seek and destroy tumor cells. An initial study in patients conducted jointly by the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg and Sahlgrenska University Hospital has found that the treatment has no unwanted side-effects. (2009-08-31)

Arterial, venous or total mesenteric ischemia/reperfusion causes different types of injury?
When blood flow to the intestine or other organs is interrupted and then reinstated, severe injury takes place. Ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury affects patient outcome after transplants, states of shock or hypotension, and cause an important morbidity. A research group in Mexico investigated patterns of response to I/R injury arise after venous, arterial or total interruption of blood flow to the small intestine. This information could lead to the discovery of treatment for these devastating conditions. (2009-08-26)

Tips from the American Journal of Pathology
These tips provide highlights from the September 2009 issue of the American Journal of Pathology. (2009-08-26)

Star-birth myth 'busted'
An international team of researchers has debunked one of astronomy's long held beliefs about how stars are formed, using a set of galaxies found with CSIRO's Parkes radio telescope. (2009-08-26)

Researchers unravel mystery behind long-lasting memories
A new study by researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine may reveal how long-lasting memories form in the brain. (2009-08-11)

New genes at work in patients with hereditary lung disease
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the University of Florida in Gainesville have safely given new, functional genes to patients with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, a hereditary defect that can lead to fatal lung and liver diseases. (2009-08-10)

How mice and humans differ immunologically
New research, to be published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, indicates the reason that humans and rodents respond differently to a molecule that is being developed to treat allergic diseases. Specifically, the molecule, which triggers the protein TLR9, induces production of the soluble factor TNF-alpha only in rodents. (2009-08-10)

New genes at work in patients with hereditary lung disease
Gene therapy researchers have safely given new, functional genes to patients with a hereditary defect that can lead to fatal lung and liver diseases, according to clinical trial findings. Three patients, apparently for the first time in their lives, produced trace amounts of the protective form of a protein called alpha-1 antitrypsin for up to one year, a potential step toward a gene therapy for about 100,000 Americans with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. (2009-08-10)

More insulin-producing cells, at the flip of a 'switch'
Researchers have found a way in mice to convert another type of pancreas cell into the critical insulin-producing beta cells that are lost in those with type I diabetes. The secret ingredient is a single transcription factor, according to the report in the Aug. 7 issue of Cell, a Cell Press journal. (2009-08-06)

Noninsulin-producing alpha cells in the pancreas can be converted to insulin-producing beta cells
In findings that add to the prospects of regenerating insulin-producing cells in people with type 1 diabetes, researchers in Europe -- co-funded by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation -- have shown that insulin-producing beta cells can be derived from noninsulin-producing cells in the pancreas. (2009-08-06)

Dementia induced and blocked in Parkinson's fly model
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have modeled Parkinson's-associated dementia for the first time. Scientists showed that a single night of sleep loss in genetically altered fruit flies caused long-lasting disruptions in the flies' cognitive abilities comparable to aspects of Parkinson's-associated dementia. They then blocked this effect by feeding the flies large doses of the spice curcumin. (2009-08-01)

Food additive may one day help control blood lipids and reduce disease risk
Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified a substance in the liver that helps process fat and glucose. That substance is a component of the common food additive lecithin, and researchers speculate it may one day be possible to use lecithin products to control blood lipids and reduce risk for diabetes, hypertension or cardiovascular disease using treatments delivered in food rather than medication. (2009-07-30)

How the pathology of Parkinson's disease spreads
Accumulation of the synaptic protein alpha-synuclein, resulting in the formation of aggregates called Lewy bodies in the brain, is a hallmark of Parkinson's and other related neurodegenerative diseases. This pathology appears to spread throughout the brain as the disease progresses. Now, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Konkuk University in Seoul, South Korea, have described how this mechanism works. (2009-07-27)

Sticky protein helps reinforce fragile muscle membranes
A new study by scientists at the University of Iowa shows why muscle membranes don't rupture when healthy people exercise. The findings shed light on a mechanism that appears to protect cells from mechanical stress. The study, which appears in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition, also helps explain why muscle damage is so severe when this mechanism is disrupted, which occurs in certain muscular dystrophies. (2009-07-23)

Extending the life of an appetite-suppressing peptide
The peptide alpha-MSH works in the brain to suppress appetite. New research indicates that the protein PRCP breaks down the active form of alpha-MSH in mice, generating a slightly smaller peptide that does not suppress food intake. As administration of PRCP inhibitors to both normal and obese mice reduced their food intake, the researchers suggest that PRCP might be a potential drug target for the treatment of obesity and obesity-related disorders. (2009-07-20)

Yale discovery may open door to drug that cuts appetite and boosts energy
In a major advance in obesity and diabetes research, Yale School of Medicine scientists have found that reducing levels of a key enzyme in the brain decreased appetites and increased energy levels. (2009-07-20)

New evidence that popular dietary supplement may help prevent, treat cataracts
Researchers are reporting evidence from tissue culture experiments that the popular dietary supplement carnosine may help to prevent and treat cataracts, a clouding of the lens of the eye that is a leading cause of vision loss worldwide. The study is scheduled for the July 28 edition of ACS' Biochemistry, a weekly journal. (2009-07-15)

Novel drug discovery tool could identify promising new therapies for Parkinson's disease
Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have turned simple baker's yeast into a virtual army of medicinal chemists capable of rapidly searching for drugs to treat Parkinson's disease. (2009-07-13)

Study may explain why HIV progresses faster in women than in men with same viral load
A Massachusetts General Hospital-based research team has found that a receptor molecule involved in the first-line recognition of HIV-1 responds to the virus differently in women, leading to subsequent differences in chronic T cell activation, a known predictor of disease progression. (2009-07-13)

Clocking salt levels in the blood: A link between the circadian rhythm and salt balance
New research, to be published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, suggests a link between the circadian rhythm and control of sodium (salt) levels in the blood of mice. Specifically, the circadian clock protein Period 1 was found to function downstream of the hormone aldosterone (a known controller of blood sodium levels and thereby blood pressure) to regulate levels of the alpha-subunit of the epithelial sodium channel in the mouse kidney. (2009-07-01)

JCI online early table of contents: July 1, 2009
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, July 1, 2009, in the JCI, including: (2009-07-01)

UT researcher: Interferon alpha can delay full onset of type I diabetes
A low dose of oral interferon alpha shows promise in preserving beta cell function for patients with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes, or juvenile diabetes, according to researchers at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. The results of the Phase II trial are published today in Diabetes Care, a journal of the American Diabetes Association. (2009-07-01)

UT gets federal stimulus grant for Parkinson's disease research
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston has received a $412,500 federal stimulus grant for Parkinson's disease research, the university announced today. It is the university's first federal stimulus grant. (2009-06-25)

Generation of a severe memory-deficit mutant mouse by exclusively eliminating the kinase activity of CaMKIIalpha
A Japanese research group, led by Dr. Yoko Yamagata of the National Institute for Physiological Sciences, has successfully generated a novel kinase-dead mutant mouse of the CaMKIIalpha gene that completely and exclusively lacks its kinase activity. They examined hippocampal synaptic plasticity and behavioral learning of the mouse, and found a severe deficit in both processes. They reported their findings in Journal of Neuroscience on June 10, 2009. (2009-06-19)

New approach for treating recurrent prostate cancer on the horizon
A new study shows that an alpha-particle emitting radiopeptide -- radioactive material bound to a synthetic peptide, a component of protein -- is effective for treating prostate cancer in mice, according to researchers at SNM's 56th Annual Meeting in Toronto. (2009-06-15)

Genetic pathway responsible for link between body clock disturbance and worsening arthritis
The genes that regulate human circadian rhythm, or (2009-06-10)

Natura Therapeutics and USF receive NIH grant to study green tea compound for Alzheimer's
A Small Business Innovation Research Grant from the National Institutes of Health has been awarded to scientists affiliated with Natura Therapeutics Inc., and the University of South Florida to study TeaMem, a compound derived from green tea. This is the third NIH-funded grant received by the researchers for exploration of therapeutic uses of TeaMem, investigating both the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's using a mouse model. (2009-06-02)

Immunologists identify biochemical signals that help immune cells remember how to fight infection
Immunology researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have discovered how two biochemical signals play unique roles in promoting the development of a group of immune cells employed as tactical assassins. (2009-05-28)

Drug for urination difficulties linked with complications after cataract surgery
Use of the medication tamsulosin to treat male urination difficulties within two weeks of cataract surgery is associated with an increased risk of serious postoperative ophthalmic adverse events such as retinal detachment or lost lens, according to a study in the May 20 issue of JAMA. (2009-05-19)

New research confirms milestone study on blood pressure meds
New research supports the findings of a landmark drug comparison study published in 2002 in which a diuretic drug or (2009-05-13)

LXR proteins: New target in the war on tuberculosis?
New research to be published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation has identified a role for LXR proteins in the mouse immune response to airway infection with the bacterium that causes tuberculosis. As treatment of normal mice with molecules that activate LXRs provided substantial protection from both a new infection and established infections, the authors suggest that LXRs might provide a new target for tuberculosis therapeutics. (2009-05-11)

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