Body

Baltimore, MD–The last step of the cell cycle is the brief but spectacularly dynamic and complicated mitosis phase, which leads to the duplication of one mother cell into two daughter cells. In mitosis, the chromosomes condense and the nucleus breaks down. Fibrous structures called spindles form, which then move the chromosomal material toward opposite ends of a cell and help partition other cell contents. If something goes wrong, diseases such as cancer can arise. Scientists have tried for years to unravel the process of spindle assembly.

The largest study ever completed of genetic factors associated with heart attacks has identified nine genetic regions – three not previously described – that appear to increase the risk for early-onset myocardial infarction. The report from the Myocardial Infarction Genetics Consortium, based on information from a total of 26,000 inviduals in 10 countries, will appear in Nature Genetics and is receiving early online release.

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – A team of researchers led by Rutgers' Samuel Gunderson has developed a novel gene silencing platform with very significant improvements over existing RNAi approaches. This may enable the development and discovery of a new class of drugs to treat a wide array of diseases. Critical to the technology is the approach this team took to specifically target RNA biosynthesis.

The research findings are reported in the journal Nature Biotechnology, published online in the February 8th issue.

NEW YORK (Feb. 8, 2009) – Based on a striking similarity between heart disease and Duchenne muscular dystrophy, researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have discovered that a new class of experimental drugs for heart failure may also help treat the fatal muscular disorder.

The structure, described February 8 in an advance online publication of the journal Nature, provides fresh insights into the elegant dance that viral proteins perform to create the infectious structure that causes all manner of misery and disease, say researchers. While the virus they studied, HK97, only infects bacteria, well-known viruses such as herpes and HIV are also known to assemble an "intermediary" structure before morphing into its final assault-proof, infectious form.

The growing relationship between scientists and curators is the focus of a 4-day, UN-affiliated international conference in Caracas designed to promote innovative ways to stem the decay of some of humanity's greatest art and cultural treasures.

Though based on mouse studies, the research bolsters the idea that humans suffering from these and other eye conditions may be able to help preserve function by adding antioxidants to their diet, and explains why this would work. The team also devised a new cell-based gene therapy technique that could eventually offer another option for arresting vision loss from these diseases.

PHILADELPHIA, PA -- For years controversy has surrounded whether electronic medical records (EMR) would lead to increased patient safety, cut medical errors, and reduce healthcare costs. Now, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have discovered a way to get another bonus from the implementation of electronic medical records: testing the efficacy of treatments for disease.

A national panel of pain management experts representing the American Pain Society (APS) and the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) has published the first comprehensive, evidence-based clinical practice guideline to assist clinicians in prescribing potent opioid pain medications for patients with chronic non-cancer pain. The long-awaited guideline appears in the current issue of The Journal of Pain, www.jpain.org.

Physicians should not immediately order routine scans for low-back pain unless they observe features of a serious underlying condition, researchers in the Oregon Evidence-Based Practice Center at Oregon Health & Science University report. Their findings are published in this week's edition of the The Lancet.

The regular use of radiography, MRI or CT scans in patients with low-back pain but no indication of a significant underlying condition does not improve their outcome, the researchers report.

The inactivity or "silence" of certain genes plays a fundamental role in the prognosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia as well as in response to treatment, according to the results of research involving a team made up of specialists from the University Hospital of Navarra and the Center for Applied Medical Research at the same University of Navarra, as well as the Reina Sofía Hospital in Cordoba, Andalusia.

INDIANAPOLIS – Faced with a barrage of pressing issues, the Obama administration has placed health-care reform high on its agenda. The timing bodes well for change, according to Aaron E. Carroll, M.D., director of the Indiana University Center for Health Policy and Professionalism, associate professor of pediatrics at the IU School of Medicine and a pediatrician at Riley Hospital for Children.

Reperfusion therapy in the form of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is now the recommended first treatment for victims of acute myocardial infarction. New European guidelines issued in November 2008 emphasised speed of action and the importance of reperfusion therapy to restore blood flow to the heart and improve survival rates. The benefits of PCI are less clear in patients with stable coronary artery disease; PCI has been shown to improve symptoms, but the impact on prognosis is still a matter of debate.

CSIRO has patented an improved microscopy method for measuring the shapes and sizes of proteins which could help scientists create new pharmaceuticals that are a better match for the proteins they target.

The method, called Differential Aberration Correction (DAC) microscopy, measures distances at the molecular level in two and three dimensions using conventional fluorescence microscopy.

An international observatory led by the University of Melbourne, Australia, will help eradicate human rights abuses against people suffering mental illness in developing countries.

The Observatory on Mental Health Systems (IOMHS) will be launched today by Mr Bob McMullan, Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance, at the University of Melbourne.