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Category: Advancements in Research

Scientist holding test tube with liquid in it

Starting with Stem Cells: Scientists Create ‘Minibrains’ for Research

September 19, 2019

Scientists have studied the human brain for millennia, but only recently have they been cultivating brains – well, “minibrains” – from scratch: Researchers at University of California San Diego have programmed human stem cells to grow the pea-sized organoids of brain tissue in the lab.

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Mixed News From the Alzheimer’s Research Front

August 8, 2019

Alzheimer’s disease remains stubbornly resistant to cures, though some progress is being made, especially on the diagnostic side. “We don’t have a lot of positive news these days,” Martin Tolar, CEO of Alzheon, told STAT  for a story on last month’s Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Los Angeles. “But I do believe there’s a lot […]

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Doctors examining patient x rays

Precision Medicine Has A Long Way to Go: A Need for Patient and Biospecimen Data

August 1, 2019

A human biospecimen is a potential font of biological data—data that when aggregated in enormous volumes and crunched by artificial intelligence drives the development of precision medicine. By analyzing genetic profiles of patients and tumors, and by matching mutations to targeted drugs, precision medicine is halting or reversing cancer…in a small fraction of cases.

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Precision Medicine Depends on Patient and Research Diversity

July 25, 2019

As medical researchers steadily amass knowledge of the human genome, there’s a stubborn blind spot: Most genomic research arises from subjects of white European descent. In 2,500 recently published human genomics papers reviewed in one recent study, only 19% of the participants were of non-European ancestry. The diversity deficit is a problem: At stake is […]

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blood sample tube

Human Biofluids: Fueling Liquid Biopsies for Non-Invasive Cancer Detection

July 11, 2019

Biofluids – including blood, plasma, saliva, urine and even cheek swabs – can tell us a lot about a person’s health, which is why patients are routinely asked to provide these samples in the lab for testing. With a small amount of blood, for example, complex testing and screening of its chemistry, enzymes, lipoproteins and […]

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Woman with stomach ache

Gut and biofluid specimens might hold key to anxiety relief

May 30, 2019

Researchers in Shanghai reviewed 21 studies that looked at more than 1,500 people and found that more than half of those studies “showed that regulating intestinal flora can effectively improve anxiety symptoms.”

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Woman practice CPR chest compressions on a dummy.

Blood samples help detect hidden risk of future heart trouble

May 23, 2019

A protein that has commonly helped doctors diagnose a heart attack could also be used to help predict heart problems years in advance. New research from Baylor University indicates that adding troponin I to a commonly used risk prediction model led to more accurate risk prediction for heart attack, stroke and heart failure hospitalization.

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Patient sleeping

Researchers advance blood testing for chronic fatigue syndrome

May 16, 2019

One of the hardest things about chronic fatigue syndrome is the stigma—the notion that it just might be all in your head. Chronic fatigue syndrome afflicts an estimated 800,000 to 2 million Americans and has no known cure. Symptoms include malaise, sleep problems, pain, dizziness and difficulty concentrating. The diagnosis, when made at all, is typically withheld until other diseases are ruled out.

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Researchers use blood samples to improve clinical trial matching

May 9, 2019

Finding the right clinical trials for very sick patients may be getting more precise and timely.Rather than enrolling patients in a trial based on their cancer type or a biopsy conducted months or years earlier, researchers in the UK recently used blood tests to get an up-to-date profile of genetic faults in the blood of 100 patients. In 11 cases, the researchers used the data to enroll them into an available “molecularly matched” clinical trial.

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Machine-made data models improve predictions for premature death

April 26, 2019

Researchers analyze a lot of data about specific diseases to discover new biomarkers and better predict treatment outcomes.University of Nottingham UK researchers, however, have taken a wide-angle approach to data and disease, enabling computers to essentially teach themselves to better predict early death from chronic disease in a large middle-aged population.

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