For the first time, Parkinson’s researchers have made human brain cells derived from the skin cells of patients who carry a mutated gene related to Parkinson’s disease. This means researchers can now track exactly how this mutation, in a gene called parkin, causes the disease in about 10 percent of Parkinson’s patients.
A new real-time view of immune cells attacking the pancreas sheds light on how type 1 diabetes unfolds, as white blood cells seek out and destroy insulin-producing beta cells. Researchers believe it could help point the way to new intervention methods to halt the destruction before the onset of type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes.
A new strain of the gonorrhea bacteria can resist all available antibiotics, doctors say. Gonorrhea is one of the world’s most common sexually transmitted diseases, so this could portend a major threat to public health.
This should actually not be surprising, because for some time now, just one class of drug has been able to successfully treat the infection.
A targeted snip through DNA’s double helix can take out a mutated gene that causes hemophilia, curing mice of the disease, a new study found. It’s the first study to use this form of genome editing in a living animal, and it could have implications for genetic treatment of other diseases, notably AIDS.
Scientists say the research is a major step forward for gene therapy, which has long promised to cure disease by editing genetic sequences.
On a February night last year, Sean Monagle got the phone call he’d been waiting two months for: Some 100 urine samples from pregnant women were ready for his analysis. A technician delivered them to his dorm, and Monagle, then a senior at Johns Hopkins University, raced off to his lab. He knew this was his chance to test his potentially lifesaving invention.
Humanity’s worst scourge, the smallpox virus, may finally wind up on death row in May if health officials decide to destroy the last known samples. The virus was eliminated in human populations more than 30 years ago, but several international groups want to kill any remaining virus samples stored in test tubes on two continents.
23andMe, a personal genomics company, offers a way for customers to learn about their DNA--and all the diseases to which they might be vulnerable. Named for the 23 pairs of chromosomes in a human cell, the company's testing kit was named Time's invention of the year in 2008, which makes this a bargain to the curious and the sufferers of hypochondria.
The plague begins with a fever, weepy eyes and a drippy muzzle. Dysentery and diarrhea follow, and then death by dehydration. Rinderpest sweeps through a herd quickly, and can kill half its animals in a matter of weeks. The loss of thousands or even tens of thousands of cattle can devastate a community. An outbreak in 1889 killed enough of Ethiopia’s livestock that the ensuing famine caused a third of the country to starve to death.
To combat malaria, why not skip the step of genetically altering mosquitoes and try some transgenic fungus instead? In a new study, researchers sprayed mosquitoes with a fungus that had been modified to deliver compounds that target the malaria parasite. They found the treatment could reduce disease transmission to humans by at least five-fold.
For the first time, scientists have discovered evidence of a human DNA fragment in the genome of bacteria, shedding light on why this particular bug is so adept at surviving in human hosts. The bacteria in question is Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which causes gonorrhea.
Embedding minuscule glass tubes inside a mouse brain allows neuroscientists to monitor brain activity over long periods of time, watching neurons and tissue change with illness or aging. The method, developed at Stanford University, opens a porthole into the brain's deepest recesses.
Earlier this month, scientists shared a tale of a desperate man whose daring effort to cure himself may have led to a new, albeit odd, medical treatment: swallowing worm eggs. But worm man is far from the first to take desperate measures in the name of progress. There’s a long line of heroes who have knowingly and willingly exposed themselves to discomfort, danger or even death for science’s sake.
RNA interference (RNAi) has steadily advanced the promise of using gene silencing to block the spread of viruses or even cancer. Now the technique has proven effective in humans for the first time as a nasal spray which shuts down a common respiratory virus, New Scientist reports.
Adorable buckyballs can act as soccer-ball-shaped molecular cages to deliver designer drugs or even radioactive particles to attack diseases such as cancer. Now scientists have found that a certain buckyball configuration can put human skin cells into a sort of suspended animation where they don't die, divide, or grow -- a toxic condition for the human body that might also lead to possible treatments.
A piece of plastic the size of a credit card, combined with a book-size gadget, can diagnose as many deadly diseases as big laboratory machines can—but quickly, cheaply and in remote locations
By Amber Angelle
Posted 03.23.2010 at 6:28 pm 1 Comment
Most blood tests require shipping vials off to a lab, followed by several days of nail biting. This kit, one of the first that can diagnose multiple diseases on the spot, shrinks an entire lab into a two-piece portable package that even novices can use. A disposable, $1 plastic card, formed through injection molding, holds miniature versions of test tubes and chemicals. In place of technicians or $100,000 machines, a battery-powered, $100 gadget mixes the molecules.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.