Body

Delaying elective coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery may be a significant risk factor for post-operative death. Research published today in the open access journal BMC Health Services Research reveals that when patients received timely surgery, the risk of death was reduced by a third.

Exhaled nitric oxide serves as a biomarker of inflammation in the lungs, and proponents have suggested that monitoring nitric oxide levels could help improve management of asthma. However, new research, which will be published in the Sept. 20 issue of The Lancet, indicates that adolescent and young adult patients whose asthma is managed according to the latest NIH guidelines do not benefit from the addition of nitric-oxide monitoring.

For the first time, research from The University of Western Ontario has revealed the mechanisms involved in the origin of scarring or fibrotic diseases, as well as a way to control it. The study, led by Andrew Leask of the CIHR Group in Skeletal Development and Remodeling, is published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

In women, the inflammatory condition antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) often causes pregnancy-related complications, including miscarriage, intrauterine growth restriction, and fetal death. It is caused by molecules known as antiphospholipid antibodies, which are made by cells of the immune system.

John Hollingsworth and colleagues, at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, have generated evidence in mice that a maternal diet rich in methyl donors, of which one source is the prenatal supplement folate, increases the chance that the developing fetus will suffer from asthma after birth.

Current vaccines for influenza provide protection against specific seasonal influenza A strains and their close relatives, but not against more distant seasonal influenza A viruses and new avian influenza A viruses, such as H5N1, which still poses a real global health concern. However, a team of researchers led by Tao Dong and Andrew McMichael, at Oxford University, United Kingdom, has now generated data that suggest adding a new component to vaccines for influenza might enable them to confer protection against a broad range of avian and seasonal influenza A viruses.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- MIT researchers have shown that cells from different people don't all react the same way when exposed to the same DNA-damaging agent — a finding that could help clinicians predict how patients will respond to chemotherapy.

The research team from MIT's Center for Environmental Health Sciences (CEHS) and the Departments of Biological Engineering and Biology, identified a group of 48 genes that can predict how susceptible an individual is to the toxic compound, known as MNNG. The work appears in the Sept. 19 online edition of Genes and Development.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Research at Purdue University suggests synthetic carbon molecules called fullerenes, or buckyballs, have a high potential of being accumulated in animal tissue, but the molecules also appear to break down in sunlight, perhaps reducing their possible environmental dangers.

Buckyballs may see widespread use in future products and applications, from drug-delivery vehicles for cancer therapy to ultrahard coatings and military armor, chemical sensors and hydrogen-storage technologies for batteries and automotive fuel cells.

People who react more strongly to bumps in the night, spiders on a human body or the sight of a shell-shocked victim are more likely to support public policies that emphasize protecting society over preserving individual privacy. That's the conclusion of a recent study by researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). Their research results appear in the Sept. 19 issue of Science magazine.

An uncommonly used surgical procedure that bypasses a narrowed aortic valve, rather than replacing it, effectively restores blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body and gives high-risk patients a safe alternative to conventional valve surgery. That is the finding of a study conducted at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. The researchers conclude that the procedure, called aortic valve bypass, is an important treatment option for high-risk elderly patients with a narrowed aortic valve, a condition called aortic stenosis.

Hundreds of new kinds of animal species surprised international researchers systematically exploring waters off two islands on the Great Barrier Reef and a reef off northwestern Australia -- waters long familiar to divers.

The expeditions, affiliated with the global Census of Marine Life, help mark the International Year of the Reef and included the first systematic scientific inventory of spectacular soft corals, named octocorals for the eight tentacles that fringe each polyp.

A study in northern China indicates that genetically modified cotton, altered to express the insecticide, Bt, not only reduces pest populations among those crops, but also reduces pests among other nearby crops that have not been modified with Bt. These findings could offer promising new ideas for controlling pests and maximizing crop yields in the future.

The report will be published by the journal Science on Friday, 19 September. Science is the journal of AAAS, the nonprofit science society.

DURHAM, N.C. -- In addition to pruning cells out of the way during embryonic development, the much-studied process of programmed cell death, or apoptosis, has been newly found to exert significant mechanical force on surrounding cells.

This mechanical force may be harnessed throughout biology by tissues to aid wound formation, organ development and other processes that require cell movement, according to a Duke University team that melds biology with physics to investigate force at the cellular level.

DALLAS – Sept. 18, 2008 – Immature, or "baby," fat cells lurk in the walls of the blood vessels that nourish fatty tissue, just waiting for excess calories to help them grow into the adult monsters responsible for packing on the extra pounds, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found in mice.