New human neurons generated from adult pericytes from brain

Researchers have discovered a way to generate new human neurons from another type of adult cell found in our brains. The discovery, reported in the October 5th issue of Cell Stem Cell, a Cell Press publication, is one step toward cell-based therapies for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

"This work aims at converting cells that are present throughout the brain but themselves are not nerve cells into neurons," said Benedikt Berninger, now at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. "The ultimate goal we have in mind is that this may one day enable us to induce such conversion within the brain itself and thus provide a novel strategy for repairing the injured or diseased brain."

Role of Ketamine in chronic depression

Many chronically depressed and treatment-resistant patients experience immediate relief from symptoms after taking small amounts of the drug ketamine. For a decade, scientists have been trying to explain the observation first made at Yale University.

Today, current evidence suggests that the pediatric anesthetic helps regenerate synaptic connections between brain cells damaged by stress and depression, according to a review of scientific research written by Yale School of Medicine researchers and published in the Oct. 5 issue of the journal Science.

Research shows cancer-protective properties of milk

Milk consumption has been linked to improved health, with decreased risks of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and colon cancer. A group of scientists in Sweden found that lactoferricin4-14 (Lfcin4-14), a milk protein with known health effects, significantly reduces the growth rate of colon cancer cells over time by prolonging the period of the cell cycle before chromosomes are replicated. In a new study, investigators report that treatment with Lfcin4-14 reduced DNA damage in colon cancer cells exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light. Their results are published in the October issue of the Journal of Dairy Science®.

Dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI could reduce breast biopsies

Water diffusion measurements with MRI could decrease false-positive breast cancer results and reduce preventable biopsies, according to a new study published online in the journal Radiology. Researchers said the technique also could improve patient management by differentiating high-risk lesions requiring additional workup from other non-malignant subtypes.

Dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI (DCE-MRI) has emerged in recent years as a useful tool in breast cancer detection and staging. One of its primary limitations is a substantial number of false-positive findings that require biopsies.

Low Vitamin D levels are associated with mortality in older adults

Low levels of vitamin D and high levels of parathyroid hormone are associated with increased mortality in African American and Caucasian older adults, according to a new study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (JCEM). The study also indicates that the potential impact of remediating low vitamin D levels is greater in African Americans than Caucasians because vitamin D insufficiency is more common in African Americans.

Poor sleep in adolescents may increase risk of heart disease

Adolescents who sleep poorly may be at risk of cardiovascular disease in later life, according to a study in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

"We found an association between sleep disturbance and cardiovascular risk in adolescents, as determined by high cholesterol levels, increased BMI [body mass index] and hypertension," writes lead author Dr. Indra Narang, respirologist and director of sleep medicine at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), Toronto, Ontario, with coauthors. "These findings are important, given that sleep disturbance is highly prevalent in adolescence and that cardiovascular disease risk factors track from childhood into adulthood."

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