Protein Robo4 may reverse macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy

Two major eye diseases and leading causes of blindness?age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy?can be reversed or even prevented by drugs that activate a protein found in blood vessel cells. – Two major eye diseases and leading causes of blindness-age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy-can be reversed or even prevented by drugs that activate a protein found in blood vessel cells, researchers at the University of Utah School of Medicine and several other institutions have announced in a new study.

New chemical tool kit reveals insights into drug toxicity

A Harvard Medical School team led by Vamsi Mootha has developed a new chemical tool kit that helps in explaining how drugs can affect its users, reveals insights into drug toxicity. – Why do nearly 1 million people taking cholesterol-lowering statins often experience muscle cramps? Why is it that in the rare case when a diabetic takes medication for intestinal worms, his glucose levels improve? Is there any scientific basis for the purported health effects of green tea?

Vitamin D deficiency may increase heart disease risk

Vitamin D deficiency is associated with incident cardiovascular disease. Further clinical and experimental studies may be warranted to determine whether correction of vitamin D deficiency could contribute to the prevention of cardiovascular disease. – The same vitamin D deficiency that can result in weak bones now has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, Framingham Heart Study researchers report in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

273 human proteins required for HIV propagation

Using a technique called RNA interference to screen thousands of genes, researchers identified 273 human proteins required for HIV propagation. The vast majority had not been connected to the virus by previous studies. – Current drugs attack HIV itself, leaving patients vulnerable to counterattack by the rapidly mutating virus, which often evolves resistance. But the human proteins exploited by HIV represent potential therapeutic targets that could avoid this problem. The challenge will be to develop drugs that inhibit HIV by interacting with these human proteins without hurting our cells.

Oral osteoporosis medicines safe during dental work

Contrary to recent reports, oral osteoporosis medications that inhibit bone breakdown reduce the risk of jaw problems, based on an analysis of medical claims. – Some doctors and dentists had advised patients who take oral osteoporosis medications such as Fosamax and Boniva to postpone dental work, fearing that tooth extractions and other procedures would exacerbate jaw problems purportedly linked to the medication. But the new findings refute the link and suggest the benefits of dentistry likely outweigh the risks for many of these patients.

Protein may trigger insulin production in diabetic patients

University of Florida researchers have coaxed liver and pancreatic cells within diabetic mice into churning out insulin by injecting the animals with a naturally occurring protein called Pdx1, opening up a new research avenue that someday could lead to safer treatments for type 1 diabetes. Pdx1 activates the genes controlling the development of the pancreas cells that make and release insulin to maintain safe levels of glucose in the body. – If the human body were a stage, then proteins would rank among the lead actors in the play we call “Life.” These large biological molecules hold many starring roles, and their lines are dictated by information encoded in our genes. They are production powerhouses, regulating the basic processes of living and controlling countless functions. Many are enzymes that produce or use energy. Others regulate genes.

Restless legs syndrome doubles risk of stroke and heart disease

Restless legs syndrome doubles risk of stroke and heart disease

Restless legs syndrome increases risk of stroke and heart diseases in patients because of increased blood pressure and heart rate due to periodic legs movements. – People with restless legs syndrome (RLS) are twice as likely to have a stroke or heart disease compared to people without RLS, and the risk is greatest in those with the most frequent and severe symptoms.

Aging brain failures to communicate

Cognitive decline in aging may be linked to disruption of communication between different regions of the brain.
– A team of Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers has shown that normal aging disrupts communication between different regions of the brain. The new research, which used advanced medical imaging techniques to look at the brain function of 93 healthy individuals from 18 to 93 years old, shows that this decline happens even in the absence of serious pathologies like Alzheimer’s disease.

Right diet and lifestyle may help infertile women

Right dietary choices and the right amount of physical activity in daily life may increase probability of becoming fertile if one is experiencing problems with ovulation and infertility. – Women who followed a combination of five or more lifestyle factors, including changing specific aspects of their diets, experienced more than 80 percent less relative risk of infertility due to ovulatory disorders compared to women who engaged in none of the factors, according to a paper published in the November 1, 2007, issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.