Role of prion protein in aiding memory and learning by affecting zinc metabolism in brain

Scientists from the University of Leeds have found that the protein called prion helps our brains to absorb zinc, which is believed to be crucial to our ability to learn and the wellbeing of our memory.

The findings published today (Tuesday 16 October) in Nature Communications show that prion protein regulates the amount of zinc in the brain by helping cells absorb it through channels in the cell surface. It is already known that high levels of zinc between brain cells are linked with diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

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Positive role of GLIZ protien in promoting bone growth

Drugs commonly used to treat those types of conditions – called glucocorticoids – work by turning down the body's anti-inflammatory response, but simultaneously turn on other pathways that lead to bone loss. The result can lead to osteoporosis and an accumulation of marrow fat, says Dr. Xingming Shi, bone biologist at the GHSU Institute of Molecular Medicine and Genetics.

The key to the body developing bone instead of fat, a small protein called GILZ, was shown in cell cultures in 2008. Now, with work by GHSU Graduate Student Guodong Pan, the work has been replicated in an animal model. Pan received the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research's Young Investigator Award for his work at the society's annual meeting Oct. 12-15 in Minneapolis.

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Blood test for lung cancer made possible by testing for altered Ciz1 protein

Early signs of lung cancer could be diagnosed using a simple blood test following a new discovery by scientists at the University of York.

Early detection of lung cancer has been shown to save lives, but available methods for screening at-risk people are either too costly or involve invasive procedures. The latest findings, published today in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, mean that a simple blood test could now be developed. Dr Dawn Coverley, who is based at the University's Department of Biology and is funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research, has found that an altered form of a protein called Ciz1 is present in lung cancers, even when they are at a very early stage.

Fat progenitor cells may contribute to cancer growth

Fat progenitor cells may contribute to cancer growth by fortifying the vessels that provide needed blood to tumors, according to preclinical research findings by investigators at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

The results were reported in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Studies of groups of people have demonstrated a link between obesity and certain cancers; however, the physiological causes have not been identified. The World Health Organization reports that in 2008 there were more than 1.4 billion obese adults in the world and that cancer claimed the lives of 7.6 million that year.

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Regulatory B cells (B10 lymphocyte) possible hope for autoimmune disorders

Reproducing a rare type of B cell in the laboratory and infusing it back into the body may provide an effective treatment for severe autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis, according to researchers at Duke University Medical Center.

The findings, which were demonstrated in mice, highlight the unique properties of a subset of B cells that normally controls immune responses and limits autoimmunity, in which an organism mistakenly attacks its own healthy tissue. The work appears Oct. 14, 2012, in the journal Nature.

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Smoking increases risk of age related cataract formation leading to blindness and vision loss

Cigarette smoking is a well-known risk factor for a wide-range of diseases. Now, scientists have evidence that smoking may also increase the risk of age-related cataract, the leading cause of blindness and vision loss in the world.

Reported in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (Smoking and Risk of Age-related Cataract: A Meta-analysis), the new findings are the result of a meta-analysis conducted by a team of researchers from China.

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