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  • News

    It may take a village (of proteins) to turn on genes

    Turning on genes may work like forming a flash mob.

    Inside a cell’s nucleus, fast-moving groups of floppy proteins crowd together around gene control switches and coalesce into droplets to turn on genes, Ibrahim Cissé of MIT and colleagues report June 21 in two papers in Science.

    Researchers have previously demonstrated that proteins form such droplets in the cytoplasm, the cell’s...

    06/21/2018 - 14:00 Cells
  • News

    Kids with food allergies are twice as likely to have autism

    American kids with food allergies are more than twice as likely to have autism spectrum disorder as kids without, a study of national health data finds. The population-based finding adds to experimental evidence that there may be a connection between false steps or overreactions by the immune system and the neurodevelopmental disorder.

    Researchers looked only for an association between...

    06/08/2018 - 16:31 Health, Mental Health
  • 50 years ago, starving tumors of oxygen proposed as weapon in cancer fight

    Starve the tumor, not the cell

    Animal experiments demonstrate for the first time that transplanted tumors release a chemical into the host’s bloodstream that causes the host to produce blood vessels to supply the tumor.… If such a factor can be identified in human cancers … it might be possible to prevent the vascularization of tumors. Since tumors above a certain small size require...

    05/04/2018 - 11:00 Cancer, Biomedicine, Cells
  • Growth Curve

    Though often forgotten, the placenta has a huge role in baby’s health

    I am not the first person who has considered composing poetry to the placenta. One writer begins: “Oh Lady Placenta! What a life you lived in magenta.” Another almost coos to the “constant companion, womb pillow friend.” It might sound like odd inspiration for verse, but it’s entirely justified.

    This vital organ, which is fully formed by about 12 weeks, nurtures a growing fetus...

    04/24/2018 - 12:30 Pregnancy
  • News

    This is how norovirus invades the body

    How a nasty, contagious stomach virus lays claim to the digestive system just got a little less mysterious.  

    In mice, norovirus infects rare cells in the lining of the gut called tuft cells. Like beacons in a dark sea, these cells glowed with evidence of a norovirus infection in fluorescent microscopy images, researchers report in the April 13 Science.

    If norovirus also targets...

    04/13/2018 - 10:23 Health, Cells
  • News

    How obesity makes it harder to taste

    As mice plumped up on a high-fat diet, some of their taste buds vanished. This disappearing act could explain why some people with obesity seem to have a weakened sense of taste, which may compel them to eat more.

    Compared with siblings that were fed normal mouse chow, mice given high-fat meals lost about 25 percent of their taste buds over eight weeks. Buds went missing because mature...

    03/20/2018 - 14:00 Health, Nutrition
  • Rethink

    Inked mice hint at how tattoos persist in people

    Tattoos may have staying power because of a hand off between generations of immune cells known as macrophages, say a group of French researchers.

    If true, this would overturn notions that tattoo ink persists in connective tissue or in long-lasting macrophages.

    Immunologist Sandrine Henri of the Immunology Center of Marseille-Luminy, in France, and colleagues tattooed mice tails...

    03/16/2018 - 16:22 Microbiology, Immune Science
  • Feature

    How to build a human brain

    In a white lab coat and blue latex gloves, Neda Vishlaghi peers through a light microscope at six milky-white blobs. Each is about the size of a couscous grain, bathed in the pale orange broth of a petri dish. With tweezers in one hand and surgical scissors in the other, she deftly snips one tiny clump in half.

    When growing human brains, sometimes you need to do some pruning.

    The...

    02/20/2018 - 15:30 Human Development
  • News

    Cutting off a brain enzyme reversed Alzheimer’s plaques in mice

    Knocking back an enzyme swept mouse brains clean of protein globs that are a sign of Alzheimer’s disease. Reducing the enzyme is known to keep these nerve-damaging plaques from forming. But the disappearance of existing plaques was unexpected, researchers report online February 14 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

    The brains of mice engineered to develop Alzheimer’s disease were...

    02/14/2018 - 13:12 Health, Neuroscience
  • News

    Genes could record forensic clues to time of death

    Dying, it turns out, is not like flipping a switch. Genes keep working for a while after a person dies, and scientists have used that activity in the lab to pinpoint time of death to within about nine minutes.

    During the first 24 hours after death, genetic changes kick in across various human tissues, creating patterns of activity that can be used to roughly predict when someone died,...

    02/13/2018 - 17:12 Epigenetics, Microbes, Science & Society