NIH Research Matters
November 2006 Archive
November 20, 2006
New research suggests that offering methamphetamine abusers a behavioral therapy program called contingency management (CM ó also known as Motivational Incentives) along with their usual care is more effective than the usual care alone.
About a third of heart attack patients donít receive treatment to open blocked arteries within the recommended 12-hour timeframe after a heart attack. For years, people thought that late balloon angioplasty of totally blocked arteries could still prevent future heart problems. According to the results of a large clinical trial, however, stable patients undergoing angioplasty plus stenting three to 28 days after a heart attack did no better than patients on drug therapy alone.
Obesity has been linked with several types of cancer — including those of the colon, breast, endometrium (the lining of the uterus), kidney and esophagus — but why thereís a link hasnít been clear. A new study in mice brings researchers one step closer to understanding how excess fat might raise the risk of cancer.
November 10, 2006
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden and unexpected death of an infant under one year of age that canít be explained after an autopsy, an investigation of the scene and circumstances of the death, and a review of the medical history of the infant and family. Typically, the infant is found dead after having been put to sleep and shows no signs of having suffered. Researchers have now found that infants who die of SIDS have abnormalities in the brainstem, a part of the brain that helps control such basic functions as breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and arousal.
Resveratrol, a natural compound found in grapes, wines and nuts, was all over the news last week. Overweight aged male mice whose high-calorie diet was supplemented with resveratrol were healthier and lived longer than mice eating the same diet without the supplement. As with many promising compounds researchers have uncovered in the past, however, itís best to be cautious about what resveratrol will be able to do for people.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss in the United States for people over the age of 60. Low-intensity laser treatment was thought by many to help slow or prevent the loss of vision from AMD, but the studies looking into it were inconclusive. A major trial has now found that the laser treatment is ineffective in preventing complications of AMD or loss of vision.
November 3, 2006
Staph bacteria are a growing public health threat. Many have developed resistance to traditional antibiotics, and a new way to combat them is urgently needed. Scientists have now created a vaccine that significantly protects mice from diverse strains of the bacterium that cause disease in humans. This proof of principle is an important step on the way to creating an effective vaccine for humans.
An effective contraceptive for men would make a welcome new family planning option. Researchers report that male rats given an experimental new treatment became infertile within four weeks, and that the effect was reversible. The accomplishment might lead researchers to a safe and effective contraceptive for men.
It’s not just their importance for agriculture that makes honey bees so interesting for scientists. Honey bees have tiny brains, and yet they manage to have complex social structures. Researchers have now completed sequencing the genome of the honey bee to get some insights into these fascinating insects.
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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.