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NIH Research Matters

January 2008 Archive

January 28, 2008

Illustration of a stethoscope with its rubber tubing replaced by DNA's double helix.

Genes Influence Blood Lipid Levels and Heart Disease Risk

Blood levels of lipids like cholesterol and triglycerides are important risk factors for coronary artery disease. Scientists know about certain lifestyle factors—such as smoking, diet and physical activity—that affect blood lipid levels, but the role of genetics hasn't been well understood. A large study has now revealed more than 25 genetic variants in 18 genes connected to blood cholesterol and lipid levels. The finding may lead to new strategies for treating and preventing coronary artery disease.

Illustration shows a normal lung tubule and an asthmatic tubule, with a central airway narrowed by tight muscles, swelling and mucus.

Protein Patterns Distinguish Asthma Subtypes

People with asthma don't all respond to the same treatments. A new study has shown that different asthma subtypes can be distinguished at a molecular level. If simpler methods can be developed, the finding could lead to more targeted, effective asthma treatments.

Scanning electron micrograph shows clusters of spherical staph bacteria.

Studies Suggest How Drug-Resistant Staph Evolved

By studying the genomes of drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, scientists have found that a single, highly transmissible strain may be responsible for most community outbreaks nationwide. Just a few tiny genetic changes seem to affect disease severity and drug resistance, allowing the bacteria to become a leading cause of disease in otherwise healthy people.

January 14, 2008

Photo of an elderly veteran

Injury to Specific Brain Regions May Reduce PTSD Risk

Military veterans wounded in certain brain regions during combat were less likely to later develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than those injured in other areas of the brain, according to a new study. The findings suggest new strategies for potential PTSD therapies that use drugs or other interventions to dampen activity in these brain regions.

Photo of a model of a spine

Mice Walk Again After Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injuries sever the connection between the brain and body. Researchers have long thought that, to restore movement, the long nerve fibers that run from the brain to the lower spinal cord had to be regrown. A new study in mice showed that nerves within the spinal cord can rearrange and restore those connections. The finding could lead to new therapies for the estimated 250,000 Americans living with spinal cord injuries.

Illustration showing how viral hemagglutinin molecules on a round virus attach to a glycan on the cell surface.

Sugars on Cell Surface Are Key to Flu Infections

Scientists have identified a key factor that determines whether influenza viruses can infect cells of the human upper respiratory tract. The finding offers new insights into how the H5N1 avian flu virus currently circulating in birds would have to change in order to gain a foothold in human populations.

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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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