Smoking ban leads to major drop in heart attacks

A smoking ban in one Colorado city led to a dramatic drop in heart attack hospitalizations within three years, a sign of just how serious a health threat secondhand smoke is, government researchers said Wednesday. The study, the longest-running of its kind, showed the rate of hospitalized cases dropped 41 percent in the three years after the ban of workplace smoking in Pueblo, Colo., took effect. There was no such drop in two neighboring areas, and researchers believe it's a clear sign the ban was responsible.
The study suggests that secondhand smoke may be a terrible and under-recognized cause of heart attack deaths in this country, said one of its authors, Terry Pechacek of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Smoking ban leads to major drop in heart attacks - Yahoo! News

Amazon Starts Renting Out the Human Genome

Amazon Web Services, a subsidiary of, has started offering access to large collections of data. Business customers and scientists can take the information, which ranges from census databases to three-dimensional chemical structures and the genome, and use it as the basis for computing jobs. By gathering and storing the information, Amazon says that it can save businesses the step of assembling and managing data on their own.

Amazon Starts Renting Out the Human Genome -

Scientists Find a Possible Cause of Aging

A new insight into the reason for aging has been gained by scientists trying to understand how resveratrol, a minor ingredient of red wine, improves the health and lifespan of laboratory mice. They believe that the integrity of chromosomes is compromised as people age, and that resveratrol works by activating a protein known as sirtuin that restores the chromosomes to health.


Scientists Find a Possible Cause of Aging -

The Pill makes women pick bad mates

Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes are involved in immune response and other functions, and the best mates are those that have different MHC smells than you. The new study reveals, however, that when women are on the pill they prefer guys with matching MHC odors. MHC genes churn out substances that tell the body whether a cell is a native or an invader. When individuals with different MHC genes mate, their offspring's immune systems can recognize a broader range of foreign cells, making them more fit. Past studies have suggested couples with dissimilar MHC genes are more satisfied and more likely to be faithful to a mate. And the opposite is also true with matchng-MHC couples showing less satisfaction and more wandering eyes. "Not only could MHC-similarity in couples lead to fertility problems," said lead researcher Stewart Craig Roberts, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Newcastle in England, "but it could ultimately lead to the breakdown of relationships when women stop using the contraceptive pill, as odor perception plays a significant role in maintaining attraction to partners."

The Pill makes women pick bad mates - Women's health-

Statin report: Could degrade adults brains

Statins may promote oligodendrocyte lineage commitment by parenchymal glial progenitor cells; this might reduce the available progenitor pool, and hence degrade the long-term regenerative competence of the adult white matter.

Wiley InterScience :: JOURNALS :: Glia

GEN News Highlights
Statins affect glial progenitor cells, which are important to brain health as we age, according to a group of scientists. These cells are similar to stem cells and can become either astrocytes or oligodendrocytes. The researchers found, however, that statins caused the glial progenitor cells to turn into only oligodendrocytes.

Invitrogen to buy Applied Biosystems for $6.4B

Invitrogen Corp., which makes technologies for disease research and drug discovery, on Thursday agreed to pay $6.4 billion in cash and stock for scientific instruments maker Applera's Applied Biosystems Group.

Invitrogen to buy Applied Biosystems for $6.4B: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance

Gen-Probe makes bid on Innogenetics- Belgium

Gen-Probe said its offer for Innogenetics NV would create the biggest “stand-alone” molecular diagnostics company, with close to $500 million in annual sales, and open a beachhead in Europe for its clinical test products. Sales of molecular diagnostics in Europe are expected to rise 24 percent a year until 2011, double the rate of the U.S. market. > News > Business -- Gen-Probe makes bid on biotech in Belgium

Key heart health protein found using frogs

In their findings, published in the journal Nature, they described how they zeroed in on the protein, IGFBP-4, and then removed it from tadpoles after their hearts were formed. "After the molecule was knocked down, their hearts became smaller and smaller and finally disappeared," Issei Komuro at the Chiba University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan said in a telephone interview. "I hope we can use the molecule for cardiac regeneration after heart failure (in people)," he said.

Key heart health protein found using frogs Science Reuters

States Crack Down On Online Gene Tests

Targets in New York's letter-writing campaign include the high-profile 23andMe, in Mountain View, Calif, (run by the wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin) and Navigenics, of Redwood Shores, Calif., as well as their publicly traded partners Illumina and Affymetrix The letters say the companies cannot perform their gene scans on New York residents without a permit. Warning letters to three more online gene-scanning firms are due to go out soon, New York says.

States Crack Down On Online Gene Tests -

Gene Variants Can Predict Threat of Heart Disease

A combination of cholesterol-associated gene variants can increase a person's risk for heart attack, stroke or sudden cardiac death, Massachusetts General Hospital researchers report.
It may someday be possible to test for these gene variants in order to identify patients who may require more intense monitoring and might benefit from earlier use of cholesterol-lowering medications and other measures to reduce their increased risk for cardiovascular events, the researchers said.

Gene Variants Can Predict Threat of Heart Disease -

Genetic Medicine Making Inroads Against Disease

The identification of genes that are key to disease is greatly advancing diagnostics and scientific research, one expert said."There has been a big shift in the practice of genomic medicine. When genes are discovered, this translates very quickly into the availability of genetic tests," noted Dr. Maren T. Scheuner of the nonprofit RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, Calif. "Fifteen years ago, there were 100 genes for which tests were available. Today, there are about 1,500 of these genes. Things are really moving rapidly."

Genetic Medicine Making Inroads Against Disease -

New gene-switching method may transform disease treatment

A new way of turning genes on and off, pioneered by a Nobel prize-winning British scientist, is promising to transform treatment of conditions such as HIV/Aids, heart disease and diabetes. Named zinc-finger proteins, after the metal that holds them together and the way in which they grasp DNA. Sangamo BioSciences (SGMO NASDAQ), a company in California, has already developed several drugs based on the principle. The beauty of zinc-finger nucleases lies in their simplicity. Where other methods are long, arduous and often messy, it is relatively easy to switch off genes using this method. The zinc-finger design allows us to target a single gene, while the nuclease disrupts the gene.” Details of the technique are published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

How zinc-finger proteins treat illness by aiming at a single gene - Times Online

One Yin of a Discovery: Blood Vessel Protein Reverses Macular Degeneration, Diabetic Retinopathy In Mice

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.

Damage from both diseases was prevented and even reversed when the protein, Robo4, was activated in mice models that simulate age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy, according to Dean Y. Li, M.D., Ph.D., senior author of the study published March 16 in Nature Medicine online.

One Yin of a Discovery: Blood Vessel Protein Reverses Macular Degeneration, Diabetic Retinopathy In Mice

Genetic Test Predicts Response to Warfarin

That information already is being put to medical use. Last August, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration changed the labeling to say that doctors should consider a genetic test when first prescribing warfarin, better known by its brand name, Coumadin.

But warfarin is a notoriously difficult drug to manage, especially at the start. Too much can lead to hemorrhages; too little can allow clots to form. One individual may do well on 1.5 milligrams a day, while another may require 20 milligrams daily.

Two genes are known to affect the response to warfarin. One, designated CYP2C9, governs the metabolism of the medication, or how fast it is eliminated from the body. The other, designated VKORC1, governs sensitivity, or how the body reacts to a given dose of warfarin. The new study of 297 people starting warfarin therapy showed that variants of the sensitivity gene should be considered in the first prescription, Stein said.

Genetic Test Predicts Response to Warfarin -

Meteor molecules mirror those on Earth

The work is being published in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The paper is titled, “Molecular asymmetry in extraterrestrial chemistry: Insights from a pristine meteorite,” and is co-authored by Pizzarello and Yongsong Huang and Marcelo Alexandre, of Brown University. When scientists synthesize these molecules in the laboratory, half of a sample turns out to be “left-handed” and the other half “right-handed.” But amino acids, which are the building blocks of terrestrial proteins, are all “left-handed,” while the sugars of DNA and RNA are “right-handed.” The mystery as to why this is the case, “parallels in many of its queries those that surround the origin of life,” said Pizzarello.

Meteor molecules mirror those on Earth ASU News

Scientists Reprogram Human Skin Cells Into Embryonic Stem Cells

Human embryonic stem cells have the ability to become every cell type found in the human body. Being able to create these cells en masse and without using human eggs or embryos could generate a potentially limitless source of immune-compatible cells for tissue engineering and transplantation medicine, said the scientists, from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Scientists Reprogram Human Skin Cells Into Embryonic Stem Cells -

Transparent fish gives scientists clear view

The fish, a breed Zebrafish named Casper, has granted researchers further insight into how diseases, especially cancer, act in living organisms, not just in a test tube or a dissected animal.

"It's the difference between watching a video and just seeing a snapshot," said Richard White, a clinical fellow in the Stem Cell Program at Children's Hospital Boston.
White created the new breed of Zebrafish, described in the Feb. 7 issue of Cell Stem Cell, a journal. White said he can read a newspaper through the transparent fish and see its beating heart as well as other organs.

Transparent fish gives scientists clear view - Breaking News From New Jersey -

Scientists Advance In Effort to Create Synthetic Organism

Biologist Craig Venter and his team replicated a bacterium's genetic structure entirely from laboratory chemicals, moving one step closer to creating the world's first living artificial organism.
The scientists assembled the synthetic genome by stringing together chemicals that are the building blocks of DNA. The synthetic genome was constructed so it included all the genes that would be found in a naturally occurring bacterium

Scientists Advance In Effort to Create Synthetic Organism -

Ok we were thinking it said synthetic "orgasim" at 1st read. Bummer.

'Safe Ebola' created for research

Scientists have made the lethal virus Ebola harmless in the lab, potentially aiding research into a vaccine or cure. Taking a single gene from the virus stops it replicating, US scientists wrote in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal. Ebola, currently handled in highly secure labs, kills up to 80% of those it infects.

BBC NEWS Health 'Safe Ebola' created for research

Successful embryo cloning documented

A team at the tiny San Diego biotechnology company Stemagen has become the first to document its successful cloning of human embryos by fusing donated egg cells with the DNA from skin cells of an adult man, according to an article that will be published online today by the journal Stem Cells.
Theoretically such cells one day could be used as a human toolbox: Someone's own embryonic stem cells could be transplanted into that person without the fear of rejection and could replace cells destroyed by diseases such as diabetes and Parkinson's. > News > Business > Biotechnology -- Successful embryo cloning documented

Localized Breast Cancer Cells Have Potential to Spread

"This is an exciting finding, because it suggests that cells might acquire migratory properties much earlier than expected," senior author Tony Hunter, a professor in the Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory at the institute, said in a prepared statement. According to the researchers, the identification of cells that could spread, called motile cells, supports the need for radiation, which is usually determined by tumor size.

Localized Breast Cancer Cells Have Potential to Spread -

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