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Celebrating baldness
October 22nd, 2013
10:34 AM ET

From a mouse's back: hair restoration hope

Whether because of burns, age-related baldness or other diseases, both men and women are vulnerable to losing significant quantities of hair. There are limited options available for helping them grow it back, but scientists are trying to unlock solutions.

A new study, published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, offers fresh potential for restoring hair, using a person's own cells. Study authors demonstrated their technique on the backs of mice, but they've genetically confirmed that the hairs themselves are human.

"Everything was done in human cells, both the donors and the recipients. In most of the work that’s been done up to now it’s a hybrid – the hairs are usually part rodent and part human," said Angela Christiano, professor of dermatology at Columbia University Medical Center, one of the senior authors of the new study. "So having an assay that’s all human is actually a big thing."

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June 10th, 2013
05:21 PM ET

Baby's brain aneurysm halted - by superglue

Chalk it up to a win for ingenuity: Doctors are crediting surgical superglue for saving the life of a 20-day-old girl in Kansas.

Ashlyn Julian was born healthy and happy on May 16. Shortly after returning home from the hospital, however, her parents noticed something was wrong with their newest addition.

“She was probably around 10 days old, and she was sleeping a lot, and I understand that babies sleep a lot, but to the point that you couldn't wake her up to feed her,” said Ashlyn’s mother, Gina Julian.

Then abruptly, her behavior changed. “We (went) from a baby that was very quiet to a baby that was screaming all the time and throwing up, and at that point we knew something was very wrong," Julian said.

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Filed under: Brain • Children's Health • Conditions • On the Horizon

Climate change will mean more heat deaths
May 21st, 2013
01:47 PM ET

Climate change will mean more heat deaths

As greenhouse gases cause average temperatures to climb worldwide, human health will suffer, scientists say.

A study in the journal Nature Climate Change suggests that heat deaths in Manhattan will increase over the rest of this century in connection with higher temperatures associated with global warming. In the 2020s, heat-related deaths could rise about 20% compared with the 1980s, according to the research.

"This paper helps to remind people that climate change is real, that it’s happening and we need to prepare and make ourselves as resilient as we can to climate change," said Patrick Kinney, the study's senior author and director of the Columbia Climate and Health Program at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. "It’s a real problem that we face. It’s not insurmountable."

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Study: Malaria-infected mosquitoes more attracted to human odor
The mosquito of the Anopheles gambiae type transmits malaria.
May 15th, 2013
05:02 PM ET

Study: Malaria-infected mosquitoes more attracted to human odor

We think of malaria as a disease that infects more than 200 million people a year, with transmission happening through mosquito bites.

But it's not entirely the fault of the mosquitoes. Scientists are exploring how the malaria parasite itself may actually change a mosquito's behavior to make it more attracted to humans, as if controlling its mind so that the bug goes after us.

A new study in the journal PLOS One demonstrates, for the first time, that mosquitoes infected with malaria are more attracted to human odor than uninfected mosquitoes. This is only a proof of concept, however; more research needs to be done to confirm.

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Copper in hospital rooms may stop infections
Researchers installed copper alloy surfaces in the areas of the ICU room shown above.
May 14th, 2013
04:12 PM ET

Copper in hospital rooms may stop infections

Hospital-acquired infections are a huge problem in the United States. Wouldn't it be amazing if they could be prevented merely through the materials used in the hospital room?

Researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina explored covering key surfaces in hospital intensive care units in copper alloy, and found that this is an effective measure against the spread of some key types of bacterial infections. Their study is published in the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

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New discovery may be step toward ending malaria
May 9th, 2013
05:20 PM ET

New discovery may be step toward ending malaria

Worldwide elimination of malaria would save hundreds of thousands of lives each year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). But eradication remains elusive, because the parasite that causes the disease can evolve to withstand the effects of new malaria drugs and become drug-resistant.

Researchers, however, now believe they have discovered a way to track the spread of drug-resistant malaria, and this discovery may help to finally eradicate the disease. Their study was recently published in the journal Nature Genetics.

“We’ve seen past cases of (malaria) drug resistance spread in a specific pattern,” said study author Nicholas White from Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand, and the University of Oxford in the UK. “It starts in Cambodia, spreads across Southeast Asia and crosses over to Africa, killing millions of children in the process.” FULL POST

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Filed under: Conditions • Malaria • On the Horizon

Cold sores linked to cognitive decline
March 26th, 2013
10:04 AM ET

Cold sores linked to cognitive decline

The virus causing your cold sore may put you at risk for something more insidious: Lower cognitive abilities.

In a study of 1,625 people, researchers at Columbia University measured specific antibodies to common infectious agents in each person's blood, and using this information, created an "infectious burden index." Participants higher on the infectious burden index were more likely to have worse cognition, or cognitive abilities.

The study, published Monday in the journal Neurology, further suggests a link between cognitive decline and herpesviridae viral infections in particular, which previous studies have also linked to Alzheimer's disease and risk of stroke, an accompanying editorial notes. Herpesviridae is a family of viruses including HSV-1 or herpes simplex virus-1, which causes cold sores and can cause genital herpes, and HSV-2, which commonly causes genital herpes.
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Shakespeare, thou art stored in DNA
January 23rd, 2013
01:01 PM ET

Shakespeare, thou art stored in DNA

The stuff we’re made of may be the means by which we store information that we want kept around long after we're gone.

Scientists have developed a technique of storing information in DNA, the molecule found in living creatures including humans that contains genetic instructions. The experiment is discussed in a new study in the journal Nature.

Researchers aren't using DNA from any living organism, or one that was once alive; instead, they are synthesizing it.

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Scientists work on new test for ovarian, endometrial cancers
January 9th, 2013
01:52 PM ET

Scientists work on new test for ovarian, endometrial cancers

Could the Pap smear, which is already commonly used to detect cervical cancer, also be used to find endometrial and ovarian cancers?  A small study suggests that may be possible in the future.

Scientists at Johns Hopkins have found that cervical fluid collected during a routine Pap smear can be used to detect both types of cancers by using a genome sequencing test called the “PapGene.”

Researchers administered the test on a small group of samplings, and found the procedure accurately detected all 24 endometrial cancers, or cancer of the lining of the uterus.  However, they were only able to find nine of 22, or 41%. of ovarian cancers.  FULL POST


Former NFL players' brains may show marker for cognitive issues
January 7th, 2013
04:51 PM ET

Former NFL players' brains may show marker for cognitive issues

A marker for later cognitive problems may be starting to show up in the brain tissue of former National Football League players.

According to a study published Monday in JAMA Neurology, researchers found that cognitive problems and depression are more common among aging NFL players with a history of concussion.  But brain damage and mood problems among some segments of the NFL population is not stunning news anymore.

What has got scientists slightly giddy are those markers:  Poor performance on cognitive tests also showing up on sophisticated brain scans.  It suggests that damage post-concussion could some day be detectable by scanning the brain.

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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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