News From The Lab



1 April 2014

A cure for age-related sleep problems?


As the quality of our sleep worsens as we get older, our overall quality of life suffers too. But age-related poor sleep quality may be reversible, according to new research in the journal Plos Biology...

17 February 2014

Stress hormone a key player in financial crises


Scientists studying levels of the stress hormone cortisol in financial traders say that appetite for risk may be "physiologically-driven" by the body's response to cortisol and that stress could be a trigger for market instability...

19 January 2014

Study reveals how ecstasy triggers euphoria


A study in the journal Biological Psychiatry reveals for the first time how ecstasy produces feelings of euphoria in users. The researchers, from Imperial College London, say their findings hint at ways that ecstasy might be used in the treatment of anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder...

13 January 2014

Ultrasound used to enhance senses


Ultrasound is widely used in medicine to reveal what's happening inside the body, but scientists at Virginia Tech have found that ultrasound can also modulate brain activity to heighten sensory perception in humans...

1 December 2013

Stem cells breathe new life into lungs


For the first time, scientists have succeeded in transforming human stem cells into functional lung and airway cells, an advance that could lead to the growth of lung tissue for rejection-free transplantation...

21 November 2013

Marijuana memory problems prevented with Advil


The molecular pathways responsible for the learning and memory problems associated with marijuana use have been mapped by scientists for the first time. Importantly, the new research suggests that the over-the-counter painkiller ibuprofen can prevent these debilitating side-effects of the drug...

14 October 2013

Vegetable compound protects against lethal radiation


A compound derived from cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli has been found to offer protection from lethal doses of gamma ray radiation...

26 September 2013

Tramadol painkiller found in nature


For the first time ever, a synthetic medication produced by the pharmaceutical industry has been discovered in strong concentrations in a natural source...

4 September 2013

Down syndrome may be reversible


Scientists say they have identified a compound that dramatically bolsters learning and memory when given to mice with a Down syndrome-like condition. Given on the day of birth, the single-dose treatment appears to enable the cerebellum of the rodents' brains to grow to a normal size...

20 August 2013

Blood test could identify those at risk of suicide


Indiana University researchers say they have found a series of RNA biomarkers in blood that may help identify who is at risk for committing suicide...

13 July 2013

Revealing cancer's deep evolutionary roots


A new way to look at cancer - proposed by two astrobiologists - could transform cancer therapy by linking cancer's beginnings to the origin of life and the developmental processes of embryos...

7 July 2013

Brain regions where ideas become contagious identified


How do ideas spread? Why do some videos go viral? UCLA scientists have taken a first step toward answering these questions by identifying the brain regions associated with the successful spread of ideas...

26 June 2013

Nil by mouth: oral ingestion blamed for rapid rise of antibiotic resistance


The medicos behind a new study into antibiotic resistance have pointed the finger of blame squarely at the oral ingestion of antibiotics, suggesting that intravenous or transdermal delivery of the drugs would slow the spread of resistance...

19 May 2013

Medicinal clays may be new weapon against antibiotic-resistant infections


Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute is trying a new approach to developing effective antibacterial agents - one that draws on a naturally occurring substance recognized since antiquity for its medicinal properties: clay...

16 May 2013

Marijuana users have smaller waists, better blood sugar control


Pot smokers have 16 percent lower fasting insulin levels compared to non-users, say researchers examining the relationship between marijuana use and fasting insulin, glucose, and insulin resistance...

7 April 2013

Nose loses monopoly on sense of smell


In a discovery suggesting that odors may have a far more important role in life than previously supposed, scientists have found that heart, blood, lung, and other areas of the body have the same olfactory receptors for sensing odors that exist in the nose...

14 March 2013

Stroke diagnosed via txt messaging


Dystextia, the inability to write a coherent text message, may become an important tool in diagnosing a type of crippling stroke that does not affect the patient's speaking ability...

19 February 2013

Medicos mull possible link between obesity and ADHD


A new U.S. study has established a possible link between high-fat diets and childhood cognitive conditions such as ADHD and memory-dependent learning disabilities...

30 January 2013

Modified gut flora could end malnutrition


A new study conducted in sub-Saharan Africa found that bacteria living in the intestine are an underlying cause of childhood malnutrition, leading researchers to suggest that many infant deaths in the developing world could be prevented by simply altering microbial communities in the gut...

21 January 2013

Aspirin and vision loss: a significant association


In a new study that builds on previous research, regular aspirin use (defined as once or more per week) was shown to be "significantly" associated with a higher risk of macular degeneration...

16 January 2013

Parasitic worms could treat obesity disorders


The sugar-based anti-inflammatory molecule that many parasitic worms secrete inside the human body might actually help treat the metabolic disorders associated with obesity...

7 December 2012

Ultrasound used to stimulate tactile sensations in brain


Scientists have provided the first neurophysiological evidence for something that medicos have long suspected: ultrasound applied to parts of the body, such as the fingertips, can stimulate different sensory pathways leading to the brain. The breakthrough could find its way into applications ranging from medicine to consumer electronics...

23 November 2012

Braille patterns transmitted directly to retina


For the first time scientists have wirelessly streamed Braille patterns directly into a blind patient's retina, allowing the patient to read words accurately and quickly...

16 October 2012

Lack of sleep causing obesity epidemic?


Challenging the long-held notion that the main function of sleep is to give rest to the brain, researchers have found that not getting enough sleep has a significant impact on fat cells, reducing by 30 percent their ability to respond to insulin, a hormone that regulates energy...

25 September 2012

Antibiotic oomph: the eyes have it


Scientists have found that small fragments of keratin protein in the eye are exceptionally efficient at killing off pathogens, a discovery that could lead to new, inexpensive antimicrobial drugs...

21 September 2012

Psychopaths revealed via smell test


Psychopathic tendencies appear to be associated with an impaired sense of smell, say Australian scientists who believe inefficient processing in the front part of the brain is the culprit...

27 July 2012

Sewage analysis reveals European party hotspots


For the first time, scientists have made direct comparisons of illicit drug use in 19 European cities by a co-operative analysis of raw sewage samples...

13 July 2012

Iris recognition shows its age


It was generally assumed that the iris was a "stable" biometric over a person's lifetime but new research shows the iris is susceptible to an aging process that causes recognition problems...

10 July 2012

Breakthrough in stabilizing vaccines and antibiotics without refrigeration


A new chemical stabilizer - based on silk - keeps the bioactive molecules in vaccines and antibiotics stable for long periods at temperatures of up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The developers say their technique could dramatically improve access to medications in the developing world...

28 June 2012

Nicotine vaccine mooted for children


A novel genetic vaccine that modifies the liver to produce antibodies to clear nicotine from the bloodstream could be administered to children in much the same way that polio and HPV vaccines are, say the developers...

12 June 2012

Insomnia caused by fear of the dark?


Canadian researchers say that an adult fear of the dark may be a contributing factor in some cases of insomnia...

31 May 2012

Body odor reveals age


Untrained human subjects can estimate the age of other humans based on differences in body odor, reports a new study that also claims that the odor of old people is more agreeable than the body smell of young people...

23 May 2012

Synthetic excrement touted as solution to gastric woes


Typically acquired after a course of antibiotics, Clostridium difficile infections are skyrocketing, and medicos think fecal transplants using a synthetic mixture of intestinal bacteria could be the best treatment...

20 April 2012

Cholesterol's cancer fighting properties revealed


In an intriguing new study, scientists investigating cholesterol's binding properties within cells say that cholesterol appears to inhibit or stop cancer growth...

11 April 2012

Oxytocin has "blockbuster potential" as lifestyle drug


A case report in The Journal of Sexual Medicine details how "significant, broad-spectrum improvements in sexual function" were apparent in a male subject after intranasal oxytocin use, leading the researchers to ponder the mass market potential of oxytocin as a lifestyle drug for men...

19 March 2012

Exercise induced "coregasm" is real, say scientists


Indiana University researchers say they have confirmed anecdotal evidence that exercise alone - without any sexual act or fantasy - can produce a female orgasm, a phenomenon they refer to as a "coregasm..."

7 March 2012

Nuke decontamination pill "highly effective"


Rapid, mass decontamination following a nuclear reactor accident or terrorist "dirty bomb" attack may be in the offing with US researchers reporting they have begun seeking FDA approval for trials of an orally administered decontamination agent...

23 February 2012

Wireless breakthrough in self-propelled implantable medical devices


Demonstrated this week, a novel innovation in wireless power transmission allows a tiny self-propelled implantable device to travel around the body in blood vessels, bringing the prospect of miniaturized medical robots a step closer...

10 February 2012

Cancer drug reverses Alzheimer's


In a discovery the researchers describe as "unprecedented," a cancer drug already approved by the FDA has been shown to quickly reverse the pathological, cognitive and memory deficits caused by the onset of Alzheimer's disease...

7 February 2012

Disease breathalyzer more sensitive than blood tests


Using what the developers call a "metabolic breathalyzer," diseases such as diabetes, cancer and infections could be detected much earlier than is currently possible with blood tests...

5 January 2012

Stem cell injections produce robust anti-aging effects


University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine scientists say that mice injected with stem cell-like progenitor cells seemed to have "sipped from the fountain of youth..."

28 December 2011

MS is a metabolic disorder, claims new study


A controversial new study that frames multiple sclerosis as a metabolic disorder rather than an autoimmune disease neatly addresses many puzzling aspects of the illness, including why it strikes women more than men and why cases are on the rise worldwide...

16 December 2011

Smart bandage grows new blood vessels


Researchers have developed a bandage that actively stimulates and directs blood vessel growth in a coordinated pattern on the surface of a wound...

31 October 2011

Bacterial "disabler" treatment side-steps antibiotic resistance


It's not an antibiotic, but it accomplishes the same thing as an antibiotic. A compound that disables bacteria instead of killing them has proven successful in tests against resistant bacteria and is currently being examined for commercial use in agricultural pathogen control and human medicine...

28 October 2011

Language transforming medicine... for the worse


Senior medicos have launched a stinging attack on the use of business buzzwords in medicine, arguing that turning patients into clients is destroying medical humanism and demeaning both patients and health professionals...

18 October 2011

Oral bacteria linked to colon cancer


The discovery of a strikingly large number of Fusobacterium cells in colorectal tumor samples has prompted researchers to consider that the bacteria normally found in dental plaque may play a role in causing colon cancer...

13 October 2011

Schizophrenia created in a petri dish


Neurobiologists are using genetic engineering to reprogram skin cells - of patients with schizophrenia and other neurological disorders - and grow them into brain cells, creating mental diseases-in-a-dish for experimentation and industrial-scale personalized psychiatric drug discovery...

14 September 2011

Pain detector accuracy surprises medicos


The need for a better way to objectively measure pain instead of relying on patient self-reporting has long been an elusive goal in medicine. Now, however, advances in neuro-imaging techniques have re-invigorated the debate over whether it might be possible to measure pain objectively...

8 September 2011

Researchers warn of clinical mousetrap


Two new studies that compare the immune systems of humans and mice and gene expression in humans and mice directly challenge the fundamental idea that rodents provide a reliable and safe human analog for clinical research...

29 August 2011

New procedure "rebuilds" teeth without filling


UK researchers say dentists will soon have access to a new pain-free non-invasive way of tackling dental decay that reverses the damage of acid attack and rebuilds teeth as new - all without drilling or filling...

22 August 2011

Broadly effective antibodies against HIV isolated


Researchers working with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative have reported the isolation of 17 novel antibodies capable of neutralizing a broad spectrum of variants of HIV...

15 August 2011

Intestinal protein linked to ADHD


Researchers are increasingly linking gut function to a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders. Now, a new study suggests that a biochemical pathway long associated with diarrhea may provide a new therapeutic target for treating ADHD...

29 July 2011

Are cancers newly evolved species?


A group of molecular biologists propose that carcinogenesis - the generation of cancer - is just another form of speciation, the evolution of new species...

5 July 2011

Medicos want Champix banned


Researchers have called for the smoking cessation drug Champix (marketed as Chantix in the US) to be withdrawn from the market after alarming findings linking the drug to heart attack and stroke...

15 June 2011

Medical implants made hacker-proof


The FCC has recently moved implantable wireless medical devices to a new frequency band that makes communication with them possible across much greater distances. Researchers, worried that malicious hacking of the devices could deliver lethal doses of medication or electricity to users, have proposed a clever jamming system to make the devices hack-proof...

24 May 2011

Viagra touted as MS treatment


Sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, may soon get a clinical trial for treating multiple sclerosis in humans thanks to an animal model study that demonstrated a practically complete recovery in 50 percent of the animals after eight days of treatment...

20 May 2011

Dairy intake, heart attack risk not statistically linked


Dairy products may be high in saturated fats but high levels of dairy intake do not statistically increase the risk of heart attack, suggest the results of a new study that hypothesizes that other nutrients in dairy products are protective against heart disease...

10 May 2011

Doctors at Guantánamo Bay get cryptic ethical advice


Medical involvement with torture is prohibited by law and the fundamental tenets of the medical professional, and yet sometimes it is the right thing for doctors to do, argue two bioethicists in a controversial new paper...

19 April 2009

Urologists nix surgery in favor of mechanical penile lengtheners


In a rebuff to surgical penile augmentation, a meta-review of studies into penile lengthening recommends that men use non-invasive mechanical penile extenders before contemplating surgery...

12 April 2011

Gene therapy painkiller gets body to produce its own pain relief drugs


Scientists running a human trial of the first ever gene therapy treatment for pain relief say that the virus-based vector which triggers the expression of a naturally occurring opioid appears to provide substantial pain relief...

7 April 2011

Retina built using stem cells


The processes involved in the formation of complex tissues and organs involving multiple cell types are still mostly a mystery to scientists, but Japanese researchers have made a major breakthrough with the creation of retinal optic tissue using embryonic mouse stem cells...

23 March 2011

New Chinese virus has "alarmingly high" mortality rate


Scientists say a previously unknown and dangerous virus carried by tics has been responsible for seasonal outbreaks of the disease in six of China's most populated provinces...

2 March 2011

Bacteria in gut can control organs


The bacteria that live in the human gut may be doing quite a bit more than simply helping us digest food. Researchers have observed that bacteria in the digestive tract also appear to be exerting some level of control over the metabolic functions of organs such as the liver...

24 February 2011
Cell phones do affect brain, but consequences unknown

Researchers have found that cell phone use is associated with increased brain glucose metabolism (an indicator of brain activity) in the region closest to the antenna, but they say that the finding is of unknown clinical significance...

31 January 2011

Gender slant on hygiene hypothesis could explain skewed disease rates


The "hygiene hypothesis" suggests that increased hygiene and sanitation is linked to higher rates of asthma, allergies and autoimmune disorders; now, one researcher says the differences in boys' and girls' play-styles could explain why women are at greater risk of a whole raft of illnesses...

18 January 2011

High altitude, higher suicide risk


An analysis of two decades of mortality data from across the United States has revealed a striking correlation between living at higher altitudes and suicide risk...

13 January 2011

Discredited MMR researcher planned business empire


Andrew Wakefield, the disgraced researcher who claimed a link between MMR vaccine and autism, planned a secret multi-national business offering alternative vaccines and therapeutic service based on his now-discredited claims...

4 January 2011

Hair color revealed in DNA


The same European researchers who devised a forensic test to tell a person's age from a sample of their blood have now created a test to reveal a person's hair color from their blood or saliva...

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