Research Bytes

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The Associated Medical Schools of New York released a report showing how New York’s stem cell program has enabled the state to emerge as a leader in stem cell research and strengthened the state’s economy through job creation.

Research findings – the identification of a molecular pathway that controls the retention and release of the brain’s stem cells – offer new insights into neurologic development and regenerative therapies for neurologic disease.

P&S researchers have found a link between fat accumulation in the heart and sudden cardiac death. Obesity and diabetes, both known risk factors for sudden cardiac death, can lead to extra fat in the heart, but separating the specific effects of so-called “fatty heart” from those of obesity and diabetes has been difficult.

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Treatment of type 1 diabetes has improved over the past few decades, but researchers still seek a way to completely normalize blood sugar levels. In the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Mary Pat Gallagher, M.D., and Robin Goland, M.D., of Columbia’s Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center, along with Carla J. Greenbaum, M.D., of the Benaroya Research Institute in Seattle, review the progress in treating type 1 diabetes.

Researchers at the New York State Psychiatric Institute who studied psychotherapies for post-traumatic stress disorder were surprised by their findings: 17 percent of applicants to the study had paranoia, delusions, auditory and visual hallucinations, and thought disorder but minimized their psychotic symptoms.

Research findings show the potential for disease transmission via illegal trade and the importance of microbial surveillance of wildlife trade.

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A consortium of researchers has identified four new Alzheimer’s disease genes. Each of four new genes adds to the risk of developing late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of the disease. The findings appeared in the journal Nature Genetics.

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P&S researchers have used an innovative yeast-based screening method to identify a possible treatment for Niemann-Pick C, a fatal childhood disease. The screening method could potentially work to study any disease. The findings, published online in the Journal of Biological Chemistry in April 2011, was selected by the journal’s editorial board and associate editors as a “Paper of the Week.”

Functional magnetic resonance imaging may provide an early and objective indicator of autism, according to P&S researchers who used fMRI to document language impairment in autistic children. Results of the study appear online and in the August 2011 issue of Radiology.

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Early results of a multicenter Phase 2 clinical trial on a new brain cancer vaccine tailored to a patient’s own tumor were announced in June at the American Society of Clinical Oncology 2011 annual meeting in Chicago.

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