NIH Research Matters
September 2008 Archive
September 29, 2008
According to a new analysis, nearly a quarter of U.S. women are affected by pelvic floor disorders, a cluster of health problems that causes physical discomfort and limits activity.
Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical widely used to make plastic food containers, can prevent connections from forming between nerve cells in the brains of monkeys, a new study suggests. Although similar findings have been seen in studies of rats and mice, this is the first to show that BPA may impair brain function in nonhuman primates. The results add to growing concerns about how widespread exposure to BPA may affect human health.
Research in mice has found that the trillions of bacteria and other microbes that live in the gut can blunt the immune system attack that causes type 1 diabetes. The discovery may shed light on rising rates of type 1 diabetes in developed countries.
September 22, 2008
For the first time, researchers have identified genetic variations that are strongly associated with kidney diseases disproportionately affecting African Americans.
Virtual colonoscopy, an advanced imaging technique, can detect most of the large precancerous and cancerous polyps that can be found by standard colonoscopy, according to a new study. The virtual exam might be an acceptable option for patients who resist the more invasive standard procedure, in which a long, flexible tube with a camera is guided through the entire length of the colon.
Researchers have identified a protein that, when activated, protects against injury to rat hearts. The discovery may lead to treatments for preventing heart damage during procedures such as coronary bypass surgery.
September 15, 2008
A large-scale, comprehensive study of glioblastoma, the most common form of brain cancer, has uncovered new genetic mutations and other types of DNA alterations with potential implications for the disease's diagnosis and treatment.
The brain cells that fire when a person watches a brief film clip are triggered again when the person thinks back on that imagery a few minutes later, a new study shows. The research offers insights into how the brain summons up past experiences and may also provide clues to brain disorders, like Alzheimer's disease, that harm short-term memory.
Researchers have gotten infectious prions from one species to turn normal prion proteins from a different species into infectious ones in a test tube. The technique will prove a valuable tool for understanding how prions cross species barriers.
September 8, 2008
Preterm infants born to mothers receiving intravenous magnesium sulfate—a common treatment to delay labor—are less likely to develop cerebral palsy than those whose mothers don't receive it, according to a new report.
Researchers have used gene transfer to produce functional hair cells in the inner ears of mice. The accomplishment is an important step in developing potential strategies to treat hearing impairment.
By tweaking just 3 genes in living mice, scientists have transformed common adult pancreas cells into a rarer type of cell that produces insulin. The reprogrammed cells generated enough insulin to bring down abnormally high blood sugar in diabetic mice. The study shows that mature cells can directly change into new cell types without first reverting back to a stem cell state.
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About NIH Research Matters
Harrison Wein, Ph.D., Editor
Vicki Contie, Assistant Editor
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.