In a first, scientists map the genetic diversity of microbes residing in the human gut and mouth

How many stars are there in the observable universe? It was once deemed an impossible question, but astronomers have gleaned an answer—about one billion trillion of them. Now, scientists at Harvard Medical School and Joslin Diabetes Center have embarked on what could be a similarly daunting quest: How many genes Continue Reading

A leap forward in kidney disease research: Scientists develop breakthrough in vitro model

Kidneys work to constantly filter blood and remove toxins from the body. Conditions such as chronic kidney disease (CKD) are characterized by a reduced ability to perform this essential function. CKD incidence is growing and more than 1.4 million individuals depend on dialysis or kidney transplant for survival. Development of Continue Reading

Scientists zero in on atomic driver of tumor formation

Growing evidence suggests that certain types of bacteria are capable of causing colorectal cancers, indicating that a sub-set of these cancers could be the result of infectious disease. But understanding how bacteria interact in the human gut—our microbiome—has been challenging because of the complex microbial mixture of “good” and “bad” Continue Reading

Scientists identify brain region that enables young songbirds to change their tune

In a scientific first, Columbia scientists have demonstrated how the brains of young songbirds become tuned to the songs they learn while growing up. The results of this study, published today in Nature Neuroscience, illustrate the extraordinary flexibility of the growing brain. Because the brain region that listens to sounds, Continue Reading

A new method of tooth repair? Scientists uncover mechanisms to inform future treatment

Stem cells hold the key to wound healing, as they develop into specialised cell types throughout the body—including in teeth. Now an international team of researchers has found a mechanism that could offer a potential novel solution to tooth repair. Published today (Friday 9 August) in Nature Communications, the study Continue Reading

Scientists make major breakthrough in understanding common eye disease

Scientists at Trinity College Dublin have announced a major breakthrough with important implications for sufferers of a common eye disease—dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) – which can cause total blindness in sufferers, and for which there are currently no approved therapies. The scientists discovered that a key component of the Continue Reading

Scientists shed new light on how we perceive vibrations through touch

Researchers have demonstrated a universal decoding system in humans that determines how we perceive vibrations of different frequencies through touch. Their findings, published in eLife, suggest that this decoding system overrules our tactile sensory channels when we perceive vibrotactile stimuli. The system depends on neural discharge (or spike) patterns, regardless Continue Reading

Scientists discover immune cell subtype in mice that drives allergic reactions

Allergies can be life-threatening when they cause anaphylaxis, an extreme reaction with constriction of the airways and a sudden drop in blood pressure. Scientists have identified a subtype of immune cell that drives the production of antibodies associated with anaphylaxis and other allergic reactions. The research was funded by the Continue Reading

Scientists identify propranolol’s target in treating rare condition and hemangiomas

The discovery of a new target for the blood-pressure medication propranolol may lead to the development of new and safer therapies for vascular diseases, according to new findings published in eLife. The study also helps explain how propranolol is able to shrink benign tumours in infants called hemangiomas and relieve Continue Reading