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NIH Research Matters

November 2009 Archive

November 23, 2009

Illustration of neurons.

Genetic Changes Tied to Common Form of Parkinson's Disease

Changes in 2 genes known to contain mutations causing rare familial forms of Parkinson's disease have been linked with the more common, sporadic form of the disease.

Photo of a pregnant woman having her blood pressure taken.

Preeclampsia May Lead to Reduced Thyroid Function

Women who experience preeclampsia, a serious complication of pregnancy, may have an increased risk for reduced thyroid functioning later in life, according to a new report.

Photo of chromosomes with dots at ends.

Genes that Protect Chromosome Tips May Boost Longevity

By studying the genes of dozens of people who've lived to 100, scientists have found gene variants that appear to protect chromosome caps, or telomeres, from deteriorating with age. Longer telomeres were associated with both longer lives and healthier aging.

November 16, 2009

Photo of a mime holding his hand to his ear.

Words and Gestures Are Translated by Same Brain Regions

Your ability to make sense of Groucho's words and Harpo's pantomimes in an old Marx Brothers movie takes place in the same regions of your brain, according to new research. A better understanding of these brain areas may help in developing treatments for certain language and communication disorders.

Photo of a young girl holding her stomach.

Gene Mutations Linked to Early-Onset Inflammatory Bowel Disease

An international team has discovered that mutations in either of 2 related genes cause a severe and rare form of inflammatory bowel disease in young children. The discovery allowed the researchers to successfully treat one of the study patients with a bone marrow transplant.

Image of rod-shaped bacteria.

Wide Variety of Bacteria Mapped Across the Human Body

By analyzing bacterial communities in and on several people, scientists have begun to create an atlas of bacterial diversity that documents the different types of microbes that thrive in distinct regions of the human body. This research sets the stage for determining how changes in bacterial communities help to cause or prevent disease.

November 9, 2009

Photo of a cigarette stubbed out in an ashtray.

Nicotine Patch-Lozenge Combo Helps More Smokers Quit

In the largest head-to-head comparison of medications that help smokers quit, a combination of the nicotine lozenge and patch provided the greatest benefit 6 months after quitting.

Photo of a group of tweens running.

Opportunities to Improve Student Fitness

Researchers have tied several factors to better physical fitness among adolescents in low-income communities. The findings point to potential policy opportunities to help improve students' health.

Cluster of rounded blue virions.

Catching Flu's Drift

Influenza viruses evade the immune system by constantly changing the shape of their hemagglutinin protein, the protein that lets them attach to cells in the respiratory tract. This shape shifting, called antigenic drift, is why flu vaccines need to be reformulated every year. New findings about the evolutionary forces that drive antigenic drift suggest that it might be slowed by increasing the number of vaccinated children.

November 2, 2009

Photo of a boy standing on a bathroom scale.

Antipsychotics May Boost Weight in Youths

Children and teens taking second-generation antipsychotic medications had rapid and significant weight gain, as well as troublesome changes to cholesterol levels and other metabolic measures, a new study reports. The researchers urge that the potential risks and benefits of these medications be carefully assessed and monitored in youths.

Illustration of sperm racing toward an egg.

Advance May Shed Light on Infertility

Researchers have discovered how to transform human embryonic stem cells into germ cells, the embryonic cells that ultimately give rise to sperm and eggs. The advance will allow researchers to manipulate and examine human germ cells in the laboratory.

Illustration of several chromosomes.

Histones Play Role in Sepsis

In a surprising finding, histones, which help pack DNA into chromosomes, were tied to the life-threatening illness sepsis. The proteins are now potential molecular targets for treating sepsis and other inflammatory diseases.

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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.

This page last reviewed on December 4, 2012

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