Body

When cells are under stress, they blow off steam by releasing minute amounts of nitrogen oxides and other toxic gases. In a recent paper,* researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) described a new method for creating gas detectors so sensitive that some day they may be able to register these tiny emissions from a single cell, providing a new way to determine if drugs or nanoparticles harm cells or to study how cells communicate with one another.

The ability of biomolecules to flex and bend is important for the performance of many functions within living cells. However, researchers interested in how biomolecules such as amino acids and proteins function have long had to make inferences from a series of X-ray-like “still pictures” of pure crystalline samples. Now, using a new technique based on terahertz (THz) spectroscopy, scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have recently taken the first step toward revealing the hidden machinations of biomolecules in water.*

A new study shows that infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) increases a person's risk for a highly fatal cancer of the biliary tree, the bile carrying pathway between the liver and pancreas. This finding is in the January issue of Hepatology, a journal published by John Wiley & Sons on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). The article is also available online at Wiley Interscience (www.interscience.wiley.com).

Methotrexate (MTX), a folate antagonist that blocks folic acid activity, is the most widely used disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) for rheumatoid arthritis. It enters the cell via several pathways, one of which involves folate receptor β (FRβ), which is highly specific for cells present in the joints of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). During the last two decades, a second generation of folate antagonists has been designed to address some of the limitations of MTX, which include adverse side effects and resistance.

A new randomized, prospective trial has shown that orlistat, a commonly prescribed inhibitor of fat absorption, does not help patients with fatty liver disease (FLD) lose weight, nor does it improve their liver enzymes or insulin resistance. These findings are in the January issue of Hepatology, a journal published by John Wiley & Sons on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). The article is also available online at Wiley Interscience (www.interscience.wiley.com).

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed a method to accelerate stability testing of biodiesel fuel made from soybeans and also identified additives that enhance stability at high temperatures. The results, described in a new paper,* could help overcome a key barrier to practical use of biofuels.

Mobile phone use is not associated with the risk of melanoma of the eye, researchers report in the January 13 online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Although there is no direct link between exposure to radio waves and DNA damage, which can lead to cancer, studies have examined the possibility of an association between mobile phone use and melanoma of the eye, also called uveal melanoma.

Prophylactic salpingo-oophorectomy—removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes--reduces the relative risk of breast cancer by approximately 50 percent and the risk of ovarian and fallopian tube cancer by approximately 80 percent in women who carry a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, researchers report in the January 13 online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The use of human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA testing as an initial screening step followed by triage with a standard Pap test (cytology) and repeat HPV DNA testing may increase the accuracy of cervical cancer screening, according to a study in the Jan. 13 online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Compared to cytology alone, the screening strategy improved detection of precancerous growths without a substantial increase in the number of false-positive tests.

Lapatinib Reduces Mammary Tumor Development in Mouse Model of Breast Cancer

Lapatinib delayed tumor development in a mouse model of hormone receptor-negative breast cancer and reduced the number of tumors per animal compared with mice treated only with vehicle (an inert solution lacking lapatinib).

Patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD), which can include symptoms such as pain in the legs, who participated in supervised treadmill exercise improved their walking endurance and quality of life, according to a study in the January 14 issue of JAMA. The treadmill exercise also improved walking performance for PAD patients without the classic symptoms of pain in the leg muscles.

The use of antidepressant medications by patients with fibromyalgia syndrome is associated with a reduction in pain, sleep disturbances and depressed mood and improvement of health-related quality of life, according to an analysis of previous studies, which is published in the January 14 issue of JAMA.

Researchers estimate more than 11 million older Americans may be newly eligible for statin therapy if findings from a recently published large clinical trial are adopted into clinical practice guidelines, according to a new analysis of the trial data. The analysis is published online in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Women who called 9-1-1 complaining of cardiac symptoms were 52 percent more likely than men to experience delays during emergency medical services' (EMS) care, according to a report in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

The data did not reveal why women were more likely to be delayed. However, other research suggests that heart conditions in women may not be recognized as readily and response may be slower as a result.

The RAND Corporation today launched an online tool to provide policymakers and interested parties with a unique way of understanding and evaluating the effects and unintended consequences of health care reform proposals certain to be introduced in the new 111th Congress and beyond.