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Gene discovery awakens interest in sleep disorder

By | January 15, 2001

Researchers from the University of Utah, Salt Lake City have identified the genetic component of Familial Advanced Sleep-Phase Syndrome (FASPS), the inherited form of Advanced Sleep-Phase Syndrome (ASPS), which affects around one third of the elderly population. People with the rare FASPS, which was discovered in 1999, tend to fall asleep at about 7pm and awake spontaneously at 2am and 4am.In research published in the online version of Science, Toh et al. examined a large family that suffers fro

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How melanomas avoid apoptosis

By | January 15, 2001

Many cancers become resistant to chemotherapeutic drugs thanks to loss of the p53 protein, which promotes cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in response to certain drugs. Metastatic melanomas are unusual in that, despite their chemoresistance, they retain functional p53. In the January 11 Nature, Soengas et al. find that these melanomas still lose the p53 pathway thanks to deletion and methylation of the p53 effector Apaf-1 (Nature 2001, 409:207-211). The Apaf-1 locus shows over 40% loss of heteroz

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How to get hot

By | January 15, 2001

The same duplication event arises in multiple lines of bacteria as they adapt to heat.

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Rapid SNP scanning

By | January 15, 2001

Mass spectrometry and pooled DNA samples allow for rapid genotyping of SNPs.

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Heritability of clotting factors

By | January 12, 2001

Genetic factors have a major effect on plasma concentrations of haemostatic proteins; age also has a significant effect.

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Modest alcohol consumption attenuates stroke risk in young women

By | January 12, 2001

Young women who drink one or two units of alcohol a day are less likely to suffer an ischemic stroke than teetotallers or heavier drinkers

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Simvastatin may act on blood pressure regulation directly

By | January 12, 2001

Statins may directly affect blood pressure regulation, independently of their lipid-lowering properties.

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The first transgenic primate

By | January 12, 2001

A transgenic primate has been successfully created for the first time - the rhesus macaque carries the GFP gene but doesn't glow in the dark.

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Food for thought

By | January 11, 2001

The molecule ghrelin is an acylated peptide that stimulates the release of growth hormone from the pituitary gland. Masamitsu Nakazato and collegues from Miyazaki Medical College, Kiyotake, Japan report in 11 January Nature that ghrelin mediates feeding and probably has a function in growth regulation, by stimulating feeding and release of growth hormone.Nakazato et al injected ghrelin into the brains of rats, and found that the animals ate more and gained weight (Nature 2001, 409:194-198). Con

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How aspirin protects you from cancer

By | January 11, 2001

Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs reduce the risk of cancer by inducing apoptotic cell death. How this occurs, however, is unknown. A critical pathway for apoptosis involves the release of cytochrome c from mitochondria. This interacts with Apaf-1 to activate caspase proteases that orchestrate cell death. Douglas R. Green from La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology, San Diego, and colleagues, found that treatment of a human cancer cell line with aspirin induced casp

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