It's not easy for bird flu to migrate to humans, but once there it can have wreak considerable havoc, with consequences that include death. For the first time scientists have zeroed in on the very narrow pathway that allows the passage of this type A influenza virus from birds to mammals, a discovery they say could one day enable them to shut the gate on the flu virus altogether.
Rett Syndrome is a rare but severe neurological disorder that causes autism-like behavior in young females. It has long been known that behind the condition is a genetic mutation, and researchers are now claiming to have found an absent molecule that facilitates regular nerve cell function and development in healthy brains. Armed with a drug that can repair this missing link, the scientists are hopeful their work can lead to effective treatments for not only Rett Syndrome, but various forms of autism-spectrum disorders as well.
A team of University of Oxford researchers has developed easy-to-use software that's able to quickly predict which antibiotics will work for a patient by analyzing DNA from their infection. The program is currently being trialed in three UK hospitals.
Though important advances have been made in treating RNA virus infections such as hepatitis C and influenza, a broad spectrum antiviral drug that throws a blanket over all of them, including more deadly variants like Ebola, has remained out of reach. Scientists are now reporting the discovery of a drug-like molecule that could be used to combat all RNA viruses, by triggering an innate immune response that suppresses and controls the infections.
Back in January, a Johns Hopkins University study was released claiming that two-thirds of adult cancers are down to random mutations, or more simply put – bad luck. Now, a team of researchers from Stony Brook University is refuting that claim, providing an alternative analysis that counters the argument, stating instead that external factors actually play a much bigger role.
Researchers at Australia's University of New South Wales (UNSW) have come up with a new way of tackling harmful biofilms. The non-toxic method, which combines targeted nanoparticles with heat, could have a wide range of applications.
Healing chronic skin wounds can be difficult, particularly when they span large areas, or when healing is complicated by health problems such as a lack of mobility. A team of researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has worked to improve the process, creating a more effective method of regeneration through use of a new material that creates a porous scaffold, allowing wounds to heal more effectively.
Cancerous growths that arise from the supportive tissue of the brain, known as gliomas, account for around 30 percent of all brain tumors and carry an average survival rate of just 14 months. These aggressive tumors are difficult to detect through MRI, largely due to the the protective blood-brain barrier that stops contrast agents from entering and lighting them up. But a new type of engineered fat cell could make them more treatable, by penetrating the barrier and revealing their presence at a much earlier stage of development.
Before cures for diseases such as Alzheimer's can be found, scientists need to develop a better understanding of how neurons in the brain communicate with one another. Researchers at the University of Michigan recently took a step towards that goal, by developing what are said to be the smallest LED probes ever implanted in a living brain.
A new cancer diagnosis technique that separates cancerous cells from blood may inspire a new form of treatment for the disease. A researcher at Australia's University of New South Wales (UNSW)who helped devise the test says it could potentially be scaled up to cleanse meaningful quantities of blood, which could then be reintroduced into the body to battle different forms of the disease.