NIH Research Matters
January 2008 Archive
January 28, 2008
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.