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Health and Medicine

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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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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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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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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Going underground in search of new drugs

Feb. 1, 2011—Every few months, chemist Brian Bachmann sheds his white lab coat, collects his flashlight, helmet, surgical gloves and knotted rope, puts on old clothes and hiking boots and heads to a nearby cave. Bachmann, an assistant professor of chemistry at Vanderbilt, has combined his industrial experience in natural products drug discovery with his undergraduate hobby...

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Vanderbilt joins consortium to discover and map all Alzheimer’s genes

Feb. 1, 2011—Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and across the globe, announced today a multi-national collaboration to discover and map all genes relating to Alzheimer’s disease through the formation of the International Genomics of Alzheimer’s Project (IGAP). Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive, neurodegenerative disorder that is fatal, has no cure and available drugs only marginally affect disease...

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Protein related to aging holds breast cancer clues

Feb. 1, 2011—The most common type of breast cancer in older women – estrogen and progesterone receptor (ER/PR) positive breast cancer – has been linked to a protein that fends off aging-related cellular damage. A new study led by Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center researcher David Gius now shows how a deficiency in this aging-associated protein may set the...

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Breast cancer patients with strong social network live longer

Jan. 31, 2011—Breast cancer patients who have a strong social support system in the first year after diagnosis are less likely to die or have a recurrence of cancer, according to new research from Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and the Shanghai Institute of Preventive Medicine. The study, led by first author Meira Epplein, assistant professor of medicine, was...

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