News Briefs: August 2018


Mega Doctor News

1Alzheimer’s Drug Gives Researchers Hope Even as it Raises More Questions

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A day after the drug company Biogen reported promising results on an experimental Alzheimer’s drug, experts were optimistic that researchers may be turning the corner on the mind-robbing disease after years of failure. Some believe that the key is starting treatment early, even before memory and thinking problems emerge. Source: USA Today

2Scientists Calculate the Speed of Death in Cells, And it’s Surprisingly Slow

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Regular, programmed “cellular suicide” keeps us healthy.

Programmed cell death is necessary for clearing our bodies of unnecessary or harmful cells.

Scientists found that death travels in unremitting waves through a cell, moving at a rate of 30 micrometers (one-thousandth of an inch) every minute, they report in a new study published in the journal Science. That means, for instance, that a nerve cell, whose body can reach a size of 100 micrometers, could take as long as 3 minutes and 20 seconds to die. Source: NBC News

3Elephants Rarely get Cancer Thanks to ‘Zombie Gene,’ Study Finds

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Less than 5 percent of elephants die from cancer, and researchers may have finally figured out why. Humans and other animals carry one copy of a “master tumor suppressor” gene. Elephants have 20 copies. Scientists found that gene can trigger a “zombie gene” to come back to life with a new purpose: killing cells in damaged DNA. Source: USA Today

4New Tulane Study Explores Root Causes of Hearing Loss

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A Tulane University researcher has been awarded a $1.8 million grant to develop a better understanding of healthy human hearing and lay the groundwork for future treatment of hearing disorders. The five-year grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) will allow Hai Huang, assistant professor of cell and molecular biology, to study how auditory signals are processed with normal hearing and altered during hearing loss. Source: Newswise

5Best Buy to Buy Health Services Company GreatCall for $800 Million

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Best Buy Co. Inc. said on Wednesday it would buy health services provider GreatCall Inc. for $800 million in cash, its largest acquisition ever, as it focuses on selling products and services to an aging U.S. population. Source: Reuters.

6This Small Molecule Could Hold the Key to Promising HIV Treatments

Inositol hexakisphosphate fits into the pore structures of the HIV capsid and makes the capsid stronger, protecting the genetic material inside.

New research provides details of how the structure of the HIV-1 virus is assembled, findings that offer potential new targets for treatment. The study, authored by a multi-institutional team led by Cornell University researchers, was published in the journal Nature. It reports that a small molecule called IP6 plays key roles in the immature development of the virus — which occurs within an infected cell — and in the mature development of the virus, which occurs after the virus buds out of the cell membrane and cleaves from the cell. Source: Newswise 

7First generic EpiPen gets FDA approval

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The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the first generic competitor to EpiPen and EpiPen Jr. for the emergency treatment of allergic reactions in adults and children. The company Teva Pharmaceuticals gained approval to market the new generic drug, according to an announcement from the FDA on Thursday. Source: CNN

8The Time After Childbirth Is More Dangerous Than You Think.

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Infant mortality has reached an all-time low, which is wonderful; but a recent analysis by the CDC found that mothers in the United States have a higher rate of dying in the days and months after giving birth than many other developed countries, and this rate has been trending up for the last 20 years.

Symptoms to watch for: Heavy bleeding after delivery (soaking a large pad more than once an hour), persistent fever > 101, chest pain, difficulty breathing, coughing up blood, severe headaches, thoughts of wanting to hurt yourself. Source: WebMD