CARDIOLOGY: Abnormal heartbeats caused by changes in ion channel density Two independent studies have determined how changes in the density of different ion channels in the surface membrane of heart muscle cells can lead to life-threatening abnormal heartbeats. As Gail Robertson, at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, discusses in an accompanying commentary, these important studies provide new insight into the complex array of mechanisms controlling our heartbeat and how they can be perturbed. The coordinated contraction of heart muscle cells that ensures a normal heartbeat is controlled by an electrical current that passes from one heart muscle cell to the next and along a special conduction system within the heart.
The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Foundation for Digestive Health and Nutrition (FDHN) has announced that The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation has agreed to renew its three-year grant to benefit high school students who demonstrate high potential for careers in digestive disease research. The Student Research Fellowship Awards program was created by the AGA more than a decade ago to stimulate interest in gastroenterological (GI) research careers in high school, college and medical school students. "The Broad Foundation and the AGA Foundation for Digestive Health and Nutrition have something very precious in common - the first 15 Eli and Edythe L.
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health have received a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to educate AIDS patients on food safety. The three-year, $600, 000 award will be used to develop a better way to disseminate information to AIDS patients who are at high risk of developing infections from the foods they eat. Nearly half a million people in the United States are living with AIDS, and the number is increasing. AIDS patients whose immune systems have been severely suppressed by the HIV virus to a T-cell count below 200 cells per microliter are at risk of developing life-threatening infections from food-borne illnesses.
Women with incontinence, respiratory disorders and gastrointestinal problems have increased risk for development of back pain, according to research reported in The Journal of Pain, the peer review publication of the American Pain Society. Australian pain researchers reviewed case histories of some 7500 young, mid-age and older women who participated in the Australian Longitudinal Study of Women's Health who reported no back pain during the preceding 12 months. They were followed for up to four years. The study was intended to show that identifying some conditions that may predispose women to back pain later in life is one way to assist in prevention and help control the cost of a widespread and expensive health problem.
Despite recent advances in diagnosis and treatment, the prognosis of patients with biliary tract cancer is still poor. Elucidating the biological characteristics of these carcinomas has become necessary to improve the prognosis of patients and to devise better treatment strategies. A recent study report that invasive front dominant expression of LNĪ 2 and LNĪ 3 and active MMP7 play a key role in the progression of biliary tract cancer. The potential role of LN5 and MMP7 in human cancer is receiving increasing attention. However, expression of LN5 and MMP7 in biliary tract cancer has not been clearly addressed. A research article published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology addresses this question.
Scientists have used a new vaccine production technology to develop a vaccine for norovirus, a dreaded cause of diarrhea and vomiting that may be the second most common viral infection in the United States after the flu. Sometimes called the "cruise ship virus, " this microbe can spread like wildfire through passenger liners, schools, offices and military bases. The new vaccine is unique in its origin - it was "manufactured" in a tobacco plant using an engineered plant virus. Researchers are enlisting plants in the battle against norovirus, swine flu, bird flu, and other leading infectious diseases. This plant biotechnology opens the door to more efficient, inexpensive ways to bring vaccines quickly to the public, especially critical in times when viruses mutate into unpredictable new strains, said Charles Arntzen, Ph.