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Pathological signatures: Autism, schizophrenia share gene activity in brain

Researchers have found that certain psychiatric disorders like autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder share some physical characteristics at the molecular level, specifically, patterns of gene expression in the brain. The findings, published in the journal Science, raise hope for better diagnosis and therapies for people with major psychiatric disorders. “These findings provide a molecular, pathological signature of these disorders, which is a large step forward,” said senior study author Daniel Geschwind, Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. “The major challenge now is to understand how these changes arose,”…

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Are you at risk? Absence of this gene can give men a deadly cancer

A study has recently revealed that men who lack a certain gene subtype may be more susceptible to treatment-resistant prostate cancer. Researchers from Cleveland Clinic confirmed for the first time a mechanistic link between the gene HSD17B4 and deadly, aggressive prostate cancer. The team built upon their earlier seminal work in which they discovered that a gene called HSD3B1, when altered, enables prostate tumors to evade treatment and proliferate. They went on to show that the presence of this gene variant does in fact change treatment outcomes and overall survival…

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Can’t Stop Overeating? A Gene May Help You Control Your Food Intake

A country where 270 million people live below the poverty line, obesity seems to be a distant issue, meant for the rich folks of the first world. But India is under siege: junk food, alcohol and sedentary lifestyle are leading us to silent self-destruction, making one in every five Indian men and women either obese or overweight. Further, obesity among children and adolescents too is rising rapidly. Over eating or excessive intake of food is one of the major reasons of obesity among the masses. People who overeat have a…

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Gene Therapy May Treat Alzheimer’s

Researchers at the Imperial College here have found that delivering a specific gene via an injection directly into the brain may offer a potential new therapy for halting the progress of Alzheimer’s disease, especially when treated in its early stages. In the study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team used a type of modified virus to deliver a gene to brain cells of mice. “Although these findings are very early they suggest this gene therapy may have potential therapeutic use for patients,” said…

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New Gene Therapy May Check Spread of Breast Cancer

Researchers are in the process of developing a new gene therapy technique that could be used alongside chemotherapy to treat early-stage breast cancer tumours before they spread. The new technique uses microRNAs — small noncoding RNA molecules that regulate gene expression — to control metastasis or the spread of the disease, which is the leading cause of mortality in women with breast cancer. “If cancer is diagnosed early enough, then in addition to treating the primary tumour (with chemotherapy), one could also treat with specific microRNAs, in order to prevent…

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Alzheimer’s gene may shrink brain starting in childhood

A gene associated with Alzheimer’s disease may shrink brain structures and lower thinking skills as early as in childhood, decades before the illness actually appears, says a research. The findings showed that children with epsilon(E)4 variant of the apolipoprotein-E gene showed differences in their brain development compared to children with E2 and E3 forms of the gene and were more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. In such children the size of the hippocampus — a brain region that plays a role in memory — was found to be approximately 5…

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