WHAT'S THE BUZZ

WHAT'S THE BUZZ

Schizophrenia linked to DNA region

An international group of researchers have for the first time come up with genetic evidence linking schizophrenia to a specific region of DNA – on chromosome 6. Lead researcher Nancy Buccola, Assistant Professor of Clinical Nursing at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, says that this is the same area where key genes for immune function are located.

The researchers recruited study participants, people with diagnoses of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, as well as controls from the general population.

They analysed data collected and also conducted a meta-analysis of data from the Molecular Genetics of Schizophrenia, International Schizophrenia Consortium and SGENE data sets – thousands of DNA samples.

The team point out that while a single gene does not appear to be the source of the development of schizophrenia, variations on chromosome 6 appeared to be associated with higher risk.
 
Hereditary link to blindness

University of Granada researchers in Spain are using a novel technique, consisting of the induction of neuronal degeneration, for intense light exposure in the mouse’s retina, an experimental model of retinitis pigmentosa (RP).

The researchers have revealed that their work is based on the study of microglial cells, practically involved in all the diseases and damages of the nervous system, including Parkinson y Alzheimer.

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of hereditary diseases that lead to blindness and affect more than one million persons a year all over the world.
 
Anti-aging pill closer to reality

An anti-aging pill may just have come one step closer to reality, with researchers finding that a drug, commonly used in humans to prevent transplanted organs from being rejected, helps extend the expected lifespan of mice by up to 14 per cent.

David Harrison, who led the arm of the experiment that took place at the Jackson Laboratory, found that rapamycin, a compound first discovered in the soil of the Easter Island, extended the lives of middle-aged mice by 28 to 38 per cent - even when given late in life. The rapamycin was given to the mice in their food at an age equivalent to 60 years old in humans.

Matt Kaeberlein, whose group at the University of Washington works on ageing in mice, yeast and worms, also said that rapamycin might be mimicking the effects of dietary restriction, the only robust way to extend life in mammals until now. However, both Harrison and Kaeberlein are yet to ascertain whether the drug could extend human life.
 
Fruits cut respiratory tract infection risk

Eating nutritious foods, especially fruits and vegetables, could reduce pregnant women's risk of developing an upper respiratory tract infection (URTI), says a new study.

Researchers Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have found that consumption of at least seven servings per day of fruits and vegetables moderately reduced the risk of developing URTI in expectant mothers.

URTIs include the common cold and sinus infections, which can lead to lower respiratory problems, such as asthma or pneumonia. Even though the majority of URTIs are uncomplicated colds, identifying ways to prevent their occurrence is important because colds are the most common reason for school and work absences.

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