Sunday, July 09, 2006

Science Sunday: Wrap-up of recent advancements in science from EurekAlert!

UCLA study finds same genes act differently in males and females:

Scientists may have revealed the origin of the battle of the sexes -- in our genes. UCLA researchers report that thousands of genes behave differently in the same organs of males and females - something never detected to this degree. Published in the August issue of Genome Research, the study sheds light on why the same disease often strikes males and females differently, and why the genders may respond differently to the same drug.

Researchers get closer to preventing Alzheimer's disease:

A recent study directed by Mount Sinai School of Medicine identifies a faulty molecule in the brain found in cases of mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Researchers say this faulty molecule may be responsible for the progression of MCI to mild Alzheimer's disease (AD) dementia. The study, which appeared June 10th online in the journal Neurobiology of Aging, may lead to preventative treatments for AD.

Corals switch skeleton material as seawater changes:

Corals have the never-before-observed ability to build their skeletons out of different minerals depending on the chemical composition of the seawater around them.

U of I scientist develops enzyme inhibitor that may slow cancer growth:

University of Illinois scientist Tim Garrow, in collaboration with Jiri Jiracek of the Czech Academy of Sciences, has applied for a provisional patent on a class of chemicals that has future therapeutic uses in medicine, specifically cancer treatment. "These chemicals are potent inhibitors of an enzyme called betaine-homocysteine-S-methyltransferase (BHMT)," said Garrow.

Solitons could power molecular electronics, artificial muscles:

Scientists have discovered something new about exotic particles called solitons. Since the 1980s, scientists have known that solitons can carry an electrical charge when traveling through certain organic polymers. A new study now suggests that solitons have intricate internal structures.

Problem: implant infection, solution: nanotech surfaces:

For the first time, engineers have created surfaces for orthopaedic implants that reduce the presence of bacteria. The research, led by Brown University engineer Thomas Webster, may lead to a new class of artificial joints. That is a big market: More than 750,000 Americans undergo knee, hip or shoulder replacement surgery each year.

Healing the heart with bone marrow cells:

Researchers at the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine at Toronto General Hospital have discovered the "SOS" distress signal that mobilizes specific heart repair cells from the bone marrow to the injured heart after a heart attack.

A surprise about our body clock:

The first gene known to control the internal clock of humans and other mammals works much differently than previously believed, according to a new study. The surprising discovery means scientists must change their approach to designing new drugs to treat jet lag, insomnia, some forms of depression, sleep problems in shift workers and other circadian rhythm disorders, according to researchers at the University of Utah's Huntsman Cancer Institute and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Researchers create broadband light amplifier on a photonic chip:

Cornell University researchers have created a broadband light amplifier on a silicon chip, a major breakthrough in the quest to create photonic microchips. In such microchips, beams of light traveling through microscopic waveguides will replace electric currents traveling through microscopic wires.

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