What causes schizophrenia? This is a question that has challenged scientists since the disorder was first identified almost 130 years ago. Now, for the first time, researchers have shed light on the biological origin of the illness. In what has been hailed a "breakthrough" in schizophrenia research, scientists from Harvard Medical School, the Broad Institute and Boston Children's Hospital - all in Massachusetts - have discovered how a gene called complement component 4 (C4) plays a key role in schizophrenia development. The research team - including senior author Steven McCarroll, associate professor of genetics and director of genetics for the Stanley Center at Harvard - says their findings may aid the development of much-needed new treatments and preventive strategies for schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by hallucinations, delusions, dysfunctional thought processes and agitated body movements. It is estimated that around 21 million people across … [Read more...] about Schizophrenia breakthrough: scientists shed light on biological cause
Increasingly, biological heart valves are being used preferentially to mechanical valves in surgical replacement procedures. New research at Sweden's Karolinska Institutet might turn this preference on its head. Aortic valve replacements have been carried out since the 1960s, and since those early days, the procedure has been repeatedly and significantly improved. Today's aortic valve replacement procedures can often be minimally invasive; around 280,000 aortic valves are replaced globally each year. There are a number of reasons why a heart valve may need replacing. The most common of which is aortic stenosis, a narrowing of the aortic valve. This narrowing restricts blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta and increases the eventual risk of heart failure. Aortic regurgitation is another of the most common reasons for valve replacement. In this case, the valve is leaky and allows blood to move back into the heart rather than exit and move through the body. As … [Read more...] about Are mechanical heart valves better than biological ones?
Researchers from the UC Davis Health System have discovered a biological link between diabetes and heart disease, which may explain why diabetes sufferers have an increased risk for heart disease. This is according to a study published in the journal Nature. The researchers found that when blood sugars are abnormally high (hyperglycemia), this activates a biological pathway that causes irregular heartbeats - a condition called cardiac arrhythmia - that is linked to heart failure and sudden cardiac death. According to the World Heart Federation, people who suffer from diabetes are two to four times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, compared with people who do not have diabetes. The American Heart Association says that around 65% of diabetes sufferers die from heart disease or stroke, emphasizing the need for new research looking at links between the conditions. For this study, UC Davis researchers, alongside collaborators at the Johns Hopkins University School of … [Read more...] about Biological link between diabetes and heart disease found
A girl whose biological father does not live in her household has a higher chance of entering puberty earlier than her peers, say researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, in an article published in the Journal of Adolescent Health. The investigators report that the absence of a biological father in the household predicted earlier pubic hair and breast development - the association was only detected in higher income families. The age at which girls are reaching puberty has been trending downward in recent decades, but much of the attention has focused on increased body weight as the primary culprit. While overweight and obesity alter the timing of girls' puberty, those factors don't explain all of the variance in pubertal timing. The results from our study suggest that familial and contextual factors - independent of body mass index - have an important effect on girls' pubertal timing. The results came from the Cohort study of CYGNET (Young Girls' Nutrition, … [Read more...] about Early Female Puberty Linked To Absent Biological Father
People with gluten sensitivity - whereby gluten intake triggers symptoms similar to celiac disease, but without the associated intestinal damage - are often told that the condition is "all in the mind." But a new study may turn this perception on its head, after uncovering a biological explanation for gluten sensitivity. In a study published in the journal Gut, researchers led by Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) in New York, NY, suggest gluten sensitivity may arise as a result of a weakened intestinal barrier, which triggers an inflammatory immune response when gluten is consumed. Proteins found in wheat, rye, barley, and triticale all fall under the gluten category. They are present in a variety of foods, primarily breads, cereals, and pasta. It is estimated that around 1 in 141 Americans have celiac disease - an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the small intestine in response to gluten intake, causing symptoms such as bloating, constipation, … [Read more...] about Gluten sensitivity: Biological mechanism uncovered
New findings in the field of neurobiology–the scientific study of the brain and nervous system–are shedding light on why some people are highly successful and talented and how the rest of us might learn to be that way, too. Many of us know that skill mastery is achievable even if innate talent isn’t abundant, and we can overcome career-squelching fears such as presentation phobia by building up our store of success chemicals. What Motivates Us The brain has a built-in punishment and reward system. When we meet our expectations, we feel rewarded with positive emotions such as joy, triumph, and happiness. If we do not meet our expectations, we may feel punished by feelings of sadness, disappointment, and frustration. The desire to feel pleasure or triumph, therefore, reinforces the kind of behaviour that produces these emotions. How the Brain Works Neuroscientists believe that brain function is the combined result of millions of nerve cells communicating … [Read more...] about The Biology of Winning
The forces of Big Berry have been converging recently to plug the health benefits of the red raspberry. To that end, six new animal studies looking at the effects of red raspberries on chronic diseases ranging from diabetes mellitus to heart disease will be presented this week at the 2016 Experimental Biology conference in San Diego. The conference is an opportunity for these and other studies to be presented and discussed among the scientific community. Since all six raspberry studies are animal trials, it is important to remember that their usefulness in determining human effects is limited at this stage. Many effects observed in animal trials do not translate into humans, but animal tests can offer some insight into possible mechanisms behind an effect and also suggest plausible avenues for human research. A University of Michigan study that looked at possible cardio-protective effects that eating red raspberries had on rates of people who were predisposed to becoming obese. … [Read more...] about Experimental Biology Conference to Feature Swarm of Red Raspberry Research
Since becoming a vegetarian in 1975, at the ripe old age of 36, I have constantly been told that humans are naturally designed to eat anything that had a face and a mother and pooped. This, obviously, was told to me by conditioned people that were addicted to the taste of flesh and blood. Through years of searching for a side-by-side comparison of various eating types, I discovered an article entitled, “Humans are Biologically Herbivorous”. The article, which is lengthy, was written by a Physician (wonders never cease!) named Milton R. Mills. Rather than try to re-write the article, I took another approach that would lend itself to more simplicity and easier understanding. Here goes: FACIAL MUSCLES JAW TYPE JAW JOINT LOCATION JAW MOTION MAJOR JAW MUSCLES MOUTH OPENING VS. HEAD SIZE TEETH: INCISORS TEETH: CANINES TEETH: MOLARS CHEWING SALIVA STOMACH TYPE STOMACH ACIDITY WITH FOOD IN STOMACH LENGTH OF SMALL INTESTINE COLON LIVER KIDNEY NAILS Here’s … [Read more...] about Humans are Biologically Herbivores
What is synthetic biology? This revolutionary scientific field is evolving so rapidly that some consider it the technology of the century. Researchers and scientists are using science and technology with the goal of engineering DNA to feed the world, cure diseases, and solve an impending energy crisis. However, this biological approach and practice is not void of controversy and unyielding criticism. Among many things, synthetic biology involves DNA. DNA is complex and long strings of molecules embedded in every living cell. These molecules contain an instruction set that determines what the living organism will do and what it looks like. In essence, the DNA of an organism is the genetic code, or genome of the organism. For thousands of years, humans have varied the genetic code of animals and plants by selective breeding. Today scientists are taking useful genetic information from one organism and adding it to another. Moreover, … [Read more...] about What is Synthetic Biology?
Iron is a chemical element that is silver-white in pure form, but rusts easily. It is found in all living organisms, and while it is perhaps best known for its role in hemoglobin formation, iron plays extremely important roles in numerous other biological processes. This article contains a list of iron’s principle functions in the human body, and ends with a guide to our recommended daily intake. Forms hemoglobin – Iron works with the proteins in our bodies to make hemoglobin in our red blood cells. Hemoglobin is a hemoprotein that gives blood its characteristic dark red color, and its main function is to transport oxygen from the lungs to the body’s tissues. This oxygen is needed so our bodies can perform their daily tasks, and when deprived of it they will become weak and tired (classic symptoms of anemia). Boosts energy – Iron is also needed to make myoglobin. Myoglobin is a hemoprotein found in muscle fibers that receives oxygen from the hemoglobin in the … [Read more...] about Iron: An Important Mineral That Performs Many Biological Functions