NIH Research Matters
March 2008 Archive
March 31, 2008
Scientists have identified a molecule that holds promise for treating schistosomiasis, a disease caused by a parasitic worm that afflicts more than 200 million people worldwide. The compound can destroy all 3 major species of Schistosoma worms that infect humans. It also blocked all stages of the worm's development in infected mice.
Certain gene variations, a new study has found, make adults who were abused as children more likely to develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after a traumatic event.
By simulating an outbreak of pandemic flu as it spreads throughout a large city, researchers have identified public responses—like closing schools and giving anti-viral treatments—that might significantly slow the spread of infection. These tactics could give researchers more time to develop targeted vaccines, the scientists say.
March 17, 2008
Losing weight can be a struggle, but keeping it off can feel like a losing battle. Now a large clinical study shows that monthly personal counseling—usually just 10-15 minutes by phone—can help people who've lost weight keep much of it off for over 2 years. A web-based program also showed modest success in helping people keep lost pounds at bay.
Researchers have identified genetic variations in a region of DNA that may be associated with the risk for breast cancer. The finding is just the latest from a slew of ongoing genome-wide association studies funded by NIH.
Genetic mutations found in patients who have an especially deadly form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma have led researchers to a better understanding of how the cancer develops and how it might be treated.
March 10, 2008
A new finding may explain why the flu virus is more infectious in cold winter months than during warmer seasons.
A national survey found that asthmatics with allergies may be able to alleviate their asthma symptoms by reducing allergen levels in their homes.
Blocking stress-related circuits in the brain can reduce the desire for alcohol in people who are trying to stop drinking, a small clinical study has found. The discovery may provide a new approach for developing alcoholism treatments.
March 3, 2008
The strong link between smoking and lung cancer has long been clear, but the underlying genetic and molecular changes have been harder to pin down. Now NIH scientists have shown that cigarette smoking distinctively alters gene activity and that these changes can persist for years, contributing to cancer long after a person has kicked the habit.
Computers can be trained to detect early signs of Alzheimer's disease in MRI brain scans, according to a new report. The finding could help doctors diagnose the disease earlier and more accurately than they can now, so treatment can begin earlier.
Researchers have developed a way to pinpoint the molecules involved in forming a specific memory. The finding, in genetically engineered mice, gives scientists new insight into how memories are formed.
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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.