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Research

Three faculty receive NSF career development awards

Feb. 15, 2011—Dickerson, Sung and Webster recognized for research including nanoparticles, regenerating blood vessels and finding options for 'inoperable' patients.

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Vanderbilt-pioneered fetal surgery procedure yields positive results

Feb. 9, 2011—Results of a landmark, seven-year National Institutes of Health-funded trial, Management of Myelomeningocele Study (MOMS), demonstrate clear benefit for babies who undergo fetal surgery to treat spina bifida, the most common birth defect in the central nervous system.

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John Gore elected to National Academy of Engineering

Feb. 9, 2011—ohn C. Gore, Hertha Ramsey Cress University Professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences at Vanderbilt University and professor of biomedical engineering, has been elected as a member of the National Academy of Engineering for his contributions to the development and applications of magnetic resonance and other imaging techniques in medicine.

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Improving heart patients’ outcomes goal of nursing study

Feb. 9, 2011—Vanderbilt University Medical Center is participating in a multi-site, national study to identify the role nurses play in improving outcomes among heart failure patients. “Heart failure is being recognized as a huge issue in elderly and middle-aged people, and it has a profound effect on the ability to function and handle daily activities. It requires...

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Seeing serotonin neurons in action

Feb. 9, 2011—Serotonin – a chemical that has roles in multiple brain functions, including mood, sleep and cognition – is manufactured by clusters of brainstem neurons gathered in the raphé nuclei. A reliable, non-invasive imaging method for assessing raphé neuron activity would be valuable for understanding serotonin signaling in depression and related conditions. Using functional magnetic resonance...

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BPA exposure tests in question

Feb. 8, 2011—The safety of industrial chemicals bisphenol A (BPA) and alkylphenols, which are used in commercial products like plastics, has recently been called into question. Exposure to these chemicals is typically measured by their excretion in urine, but impaired kidney function may make such measurements inaccurate. To assess how kidney function influences urinary excretion of these...

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A few fungi factoids

Feb. 7, 2011—For some reason, fungi don’t get no respect. Despite the fact that genetically they are more closely related to animals than to plants and despite the fact that they play an absolutely critical role in the environment, most people don’t give them much thought. Evolutionary biologists here at Vanderbilt have discovered that fungi are telling...

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Bronchiolitis in infants linked to mothers’ asthma, allergies

Feb. 7, 2011—An infant’s risk of developing bronchiolitis caused by human rhinoviruses (HRV), aka the common cold, is linked to whether the mother has allergies or asthma, a new study by Kathryn Miller shows. Miller has been adding to the body of evidence linking rhinoviruses with wheezing disease (bronchiolitis) and childhood asthma for a number of years....

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Mapping obesity circuitry in brain

Feb. 7, 2011—In the battle of the bulge, one important battalion is a set of brain cells expressing the melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R). Via signals from the fat-derived hormone leptin, these neurons regulate feeding behavior and fat metabolism in an attempt to regulate body weight. But how leptin influences and acts on this brain circuitry is not fully...

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Discovery of jumping gene cluster tangles tree of life

Feb. 4, 2011—Since the days of Darwin, the “tree of life” has been the preeminent metaphor for the process of evolution, reflecting the gradual branching and changing of individual species. The discovery that a large cluster of genes appears to have jumped directly from one species of fungus to another, however, significantly strengthens the argument that a...

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Study tracks how deaf children can develop spoken language

Feb. 4, 2011—OPTION Schools Inc., in collaboration with the Vanderbilt Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, is conducting a study looking at how children who are deaf or hard of hearing develop spoken language. The multi-center study, called LSL-DR for Listening and Spoken Language Data Repository, encompasses 50 OPTION School programs in three countries and will examine...

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Paraplegia-causing proteins pair up

Feb. 4, 2011—Hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP), a group of progressive neurodegenerative disorders that impairs the ability to walk, can be caused by mutations in more than 40 different genes. Despite this genetic heterogeneity, the pathologic features – degeneration of long axons in the spinal cord – are relatively uniform, suggesting that dysfunction of a common biochemical pathway...

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