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NIH Research Matters

April 2008 Archive

April 28, 2008

Electron micrograph of Influenza A.

Seasonal Viruses May Flow from Tropical Sources

Influenza virus strains that cause seasonal flu in temperate climates may emerge anew from tropical regions each year, according to a new study. Understanding how flu viruses evolve and spread is essential for making more effective future flu vaccines.

Headshot photos of 3 people, one ranked with 3 stars, one with 2 stars and the last with 1 star and the caption 'YOU MOVED UP!' near the bottom.

Brain Responds to Changes in Social Standing

Scientists have identified brain regions that react to changes in how people perceive their social ranking. The findings could have implications for understanding how health and behavior are affected by social status.

Microscopic image of rod and cone cells.

How Eyes See More Than Images

New research shows that a particular kind of cell in the eye is crucial for light-related functions other than seeing. Mice without the cells can still see, but their pupils donít constrict or dilate normally, and their circadian rhythms donít change with the light cycles in their environment. A better understanding of these separate modes of light detection may eventually help people with sleep problems or seasonal depression.

April 21, 2008

Photo of a doctor taking the blood pressure of an older man.

Rare Mutations Can Keep Blood Pressure Low

Scientists have identified rare variations in 3 genes that can protect against hypertension and its consequences, such as stroke, kidney disease and heart failure.

Photo of a premature infant in a carseat.

Uncovering Factors That Influence Premature Infant Health

Researchers have identified several factors that influence an extremely low birth weight infant's chances for survival and disability. The findings will help physicians and families to choose the most appropriate treatments.

Microscopic field showing several sarcomeres, each with a heavy black line at either end. Sets of lighter parallel filaments extend about a quarter of the way toward the centers. The filaments filling the middle half are darker.

Understanding How Heart Muscle Forms

Synchronized pulsing of heart muscle cells allows the heart to pump blood through the body. A new study has identified a protein that helps organize the structures that produce the contractions in these cells.

April 14, 2008

Photo of an older woman using a nebulizer.

Blood Protein Levels Associated with Asthma Risk

A new study links variants in a gene to the risk for developing asthma. The variants affect levels of a protein that can be measured in blood, raising the possibility that asthma risk could one day be measured with a simple blood test.

Microscopic image of lung cancer cells dividing.

Studies Link Genetic Variants to Lung Cancer

Smoking has long been recognized as the major cause of lung cancer. But now 3 separate research teams have identified variations in a genetic region that can also greatly raise the risk for developing this deadly disease. The findings may help to explain why some smokers develop lung cancer while others do not.

Photo of an active Native American woman.

Benefits From Lower Cholesterol and Blood Pressure Targets

Lower cholesterol and blood pressure target levels may help adults with type 2 diabetes to prevent or even reverse hardening of their arteries, according to new research.

April 7, 2008

Molecular model showing short piece of a DNA double helix.

Rare Genetic Glitches May Raise Schizophrenia Risk

Rare deletions and duplications in a person's genetic makeup may significantly increase the risk for developing schizophrenia, according to a new study. Most of the mutations are so unusual that researchers spotted them only in one person or a single family.

Photo of an eye.

Older Corneas Prove Suitable for Transplantation

Corneas donated by people as old as 75 years of age should be made available for transplantation, according to findings from a new study. Corneal transplants from older donors were found to have similar rates of survival to those from younger donors.

Photo of business woman looking stressed with an angry business woman in the background.

Gene Variants Affect Human Stress Resilience

Inherited genetic variations that affect an anxiety-reducing molecule help explain why some people can withstand stress better than others, according to a new study.

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About NIH Research Matters

Editor: Harrison Wein, Ph.D.
Assistant Editors: Vicki Contie, Carol Torgan, Ph.D.

NIH Research Matters is a weekly update of NIH research highlights from the Office of Communications and Public Liaison, Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health.

ISSN 2375-9593

This page last reviewed on December 3, 2012

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