viernes, 1 de agosto de 2014

5 yoga tips, warm weather food safety, origami microscope, preserving livers for transplantation

NIH Health Information
A woman stretching on a yoga mat.

5 Things You Should Know About Yoga

Learn about scientific research on the effectiveness and safety of yoga. (From NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine).

Illustration of a man placing food in the refrigerator.

Food Safety for Warmer Weather

It can be hard to keep foods safe to eat during warmer weather. Learn how to handle food properly to avoid the misery of food poisoning. (From NIH News in Health)

NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins using the Foldscope microscope.

Print-and-Fold Origami Microscope for 50 cents

The Foldscope is a “use and throwaway” microscope designed by Stanford University bioengineer Manu Prakash to help global health workers diagnose disease. (From the NIH Director’s Blog)

Supercooled rat liver.

Preserving Livers for Transplantation

A new technique increased the time that rat livers can remain viable outside the body. If the approach succeeds in humans, it could aid organ transplant efforts. (From NIH Research Matters)

A woman holding her newborn baby.

Popular NIH Health Topics Top 10 Viewed Stories 8/1/2014

Medical Breakthroughs: Ivanhoe Insider

         1. One Injection Stops Diabetes in Its Tracks (2nd week)
July 16, 2014 - In mice with diet-induced diabetes -- the equivalent of type 2 diabetes in humans -- a single injection of the protein FGF1 is enough to restore blood sugar levels to a healthy range for more than...
         2. Sugar: Just Say No!
CLEVELAND (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Think about this. The average American consumes 156 pounds of sugar every year. Experts say that could be the one reason for expanding waistlines. Too much sugar could also cause cardiovascular disease and even depression.
         3. New Knee Implant Saves the Ligaments
July 22, 2014 - A new total knee replacement that saves all of the ligaments can make a person’s knee feel and move just like the original. During a traditional total knee replacement, the surgeon must remove the...
         4. Can Eating Lean Beef Daily Cut Blood Pressure? (2nd week)
July 17, 2014 - Contrary to conventional wisdom, new research suggests that eating lean beef can reduce risk factors for heart disease. The DASH eating plan -- Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension -- is currently...
         5. Habba Syndrome or Irritable Bowel? -- In-Depth Doctor’s Interview
Saad Habba, MD, Gastroenterologist at Mount Sinai School of Medicine talks about a newly-diagnosed digestive condition
         6. Shrinking Prostates Without Surgery -- In-Depth Doctor’s Interview
Jams Spies, MD, Interventional Radiologist at Medstar Georgetown University Medical Center talks about a new way doctors are shrinking prostates.
         7. Therapeutic Bacteria Prevent Obesity in Mice (2nd week)
July 22, 2014 - A probiotic that prevents obesity could be on the horizon. Bacteria that produce a therapeutic compound in the gut inhibit weight gain, insulin resistance and other adverse effects of a high-fat diet ...
         8. Treating Heart Attack Patients Quickly
July 25, 2014 - Clinical judgement, combined with an electrocardiogram (ECG) and blood test on arrival, is effective in reducing unnecessary hospital admissions for chest pain, a new study shows. The findings of a...
         9. Crossing the Line: Starving Yourself to Death (2nd week)
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - When we think of eating disorders, we often picture young teenage girls. However, experts say there are a growing number of professional women and mothers battling eating disorders later in life.
         10. Pets Help Cancer Patients: Swoosh On The Job!
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - More than 13,000 children will be diagnosed with cancer each year. Many of these kids have to endure painful treatments that trigger stress, anxiety and depression.

NIH urges dilated eye exams to detect glaucoma [NEI News and Events]

NIH urges dilated eye exams to detect glaucoma [NEI News and Events]

Did You Know?

Woman getting her vision checked

August is National Immunization Awareness Month!

August is National Immunization Awareness Month! logo

August is National Immunization Awareness Month!

The goal of National Immunization Awareness Month is to increase awareness about immunizations across the lifespan, from infants to the elderly.

picture of  a group of people smiling

During the month of August, take the time to make sure that you and your loved ones have received all of the vaccinations you need. By making sure your vaccinations are up to date, you can help prevent harmful diseases from affecting you and your family.
Getting vaccinated is an easy way to stay healthy all year round!

For More Information

To learn more about vaccinations, visit

Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal for Life!

Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal for Life!

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Join the HHS Office on Women’s Health (OWH) in celebrating World Breastfeeding Week (August 1–7), a time for family members, friends, and employers to help breastfeeding mothers reach their breastfeeding goals.

Earlier this summer, OWH launched a national campaign for employers of nursing moms, particularly those in hourly jobs or settings that make pumping at work more challenging. The Supporting Nursing Moms at Work: Employer Solutions website features searchable resources from over 200 businesses across all major industries. During the first week in August and throughout the month, we are asking you to promote the campaign. Share campaign resources — such as videos, articles, and online toolkits — as a way to support a mom’s efforts to breastfeed when she goes back to work.

Looking for more breastfeeding resources?

  • The OWH Helpline offers trained lactation specialists who can address common breastfeeding questions and comments: 800-994-9662 (9 a.m.–6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday).
  • Find up-to-date breastfeeding content at
  • Use It’s Only Natural, a breastfeeding campaign for African-American women, including videos from real women and breastfeeding experts.

Thank you for being part of World Breastfeeding Week! Don’t forget to use #WBW and#pumpingatwork on Twitter and visit our Breastfeeding board on Pinterest.

If you have questions or want more information, please email

Genotype-Tissue Expression project expands functional studies of genomic variation

Genotype-Tissue Expression project expands functional studies of genomic variation

National Institutes of Health (NIH) - Turning Discovery Into Health



Genotype-Tissue Expression project expands functional studies of genomic variation

Larger set of human tissues to be analyzed to contribute to a database and tissue bank that researchers can use to study how genomic variants influence gene activity
The National Institutes of Health has awarded eight grants as part of the Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) project to explore how human genes are expressed and regulated in different tissues, and the role that genomic variation plays in modulating that expression. The GTEx awards will contribute to a resource database and tissue bank that researchers can use to study how inherited genomic variants – inherited spelling changes in the DNA code – may influence gene activity and lead to disease. The grants will add data from analyses of tissue samples whose collection began in 2010, as well as expand the resource database and tissue bank.
The research groups will receive approximately $9 million in the first year, and nearly $15 million over three years pending the availability of funds. The project is funded by the NIH Common Fund, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).
“The new studies complement the current GTEx project in assessing genomic variation and gene expression,” explained Simona Volpi, Pharm.D., Ph.D., GTEx program director in the Division of Genomic Medicine at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), which helps administer the program. “They delve deeper into what is happening in tissues on a molecular basis to explain how genomic variation affects how genes work. Ultimately, GTEx will provide an atlas of human gene expression.”
The groups plan to further characterize gene activity in tissues by analyzing several molecular phenotypes, or properties of cells – such as which genes are turned on and off, the various ways genes are regulated and the proteins that cells produce based on such regulation. To do this, scientists will examine part of the more than 30 tissue types available, which were collected through autopsies or organ and tissue transplant programs. The project will eventually include samples from about 900 deceased donors. Researchers will analyze DNA and RNA from the samples to identify and catalog genomic variants and gene expression.
For the last decade, scientists have used genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to study the role that genomic variation plays in complex diseases and traits. In GWAS, researchers compare thousands of genomic variants in individuals with a disease with those without the disease, establishing associations with particular variants and the disease being studied. But understanding what specific genomic variants do and how they influence the development of disease has been much more difficult to pinpoint.
By detailing certain features of cells and tissues, such as methylation patterns, protein levels and other characteristics, Dr. Volpi said that the new studies will “help paint a clearer picture of how genomic variation leads to particular diseases.” In methylation, one way that cells control gene expression is by adding chemicals, such as methyl groups.
“A scientist who is studying asthma or kidney cancer might be particularly interested in studying how genomic variants influence gene expression in the lungs or the kidneys, and the GTEx resource will provide this opportunity,” said Jeffery Struewing, M.D., GTEx program director in the NHGRI Division of Genomic Medicine.

The following research groups have been awarded grants (pending available funds)

  • University of Washington, Seattle, $1.85 million
    Principal Investigator: Joshua Michael Akey, Ph.D.
    Somatic mutations – genetic mutations that are not inherited, but instead occur randomly or are caused by environmental factors – can play important roles in many diseases and conditions, especially in cancer. But how these mutations contribute to genetic variability and disease susceptibility is not well understood.

    To find out, Dr. Akey and his coworkers plan to sequence the protein-coding genome regions of more than 15 tissue types and look for variations in DNA sequences and structures. Proteins are the working elements within a cell. They are vital for cellular growth, differentiation and repair. They catalyze chemical reactions and provide defense against disease, among myriad other housekeeping functions. The researchers will develop a comprehensive catalog of somatic mutations, which they hope will aid in identifying and interpreting mutations that cause human disease.
  • Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, $3.24 million (including co-funding from NIMH)
    Principal Investigator: Andrew Feinberg, M.D., M.P.H.
    The investigators plan to analyze DNA methylation patterns across the entire genome, though their main focus is on brain regions that are important in schizophrenia, depression and addiction. Methylation is a process by which cells add chemicals – methyl groups – to genes to control their expression. The work will help researchers understand the relationship between DNA methylation, gene expression and gene sequences in human health and disease.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, $1.25 million
    Principal Investigator: Manolis Kellis, Ph.D.
    Most genetic variants linked to disease don’t code for proteins, but instead have subtle gene regulatory roles, such as altering gene activity levels, or affecting the chemical modifications — epigenomic marks — made to DNA that influence which genes are active in which cells. To better understand the effects of these regulatory variants, researchers plan to characterize the epigenomic effects of genetic variation in nine peripheral tissues with roles in diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. The research will help explain how genetic variation leads to changes in gene expression across tissues, and ultimately how these differences affect a person’s predisposition to disease.
  • Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, $1.22 million
    Principal Investigator: Jin Billy Li, Ph.D.
    To gauge the influence of genetic variation on gene regulation and expression in different cells and tissues, researchers can attempt to correlate gene expression with the degree to which a gene is turned on or off. One way to do this is to measure allele-specific expression (ASE). Genes come in pairs, or alleles, and sometimes one allele is expressed to a different degree than the other gene allele.

    Dr. Li, co-investigator Stephen Montgomery, Ph.D., and their colleagues plan to examine ASE in different tissue types to try to better understand the interaction between genetic variants that regulate gene expression and potential disease-causing variants.
  • University of Washington, Seattle, $2.24 million
    Principal Investigator: John Stamatoyannopoulos, Ph.D.
    Dr. Stamatoyannopoulos and his group plan to study genetic variants in non-protein coding regions of the genome, where most variants reside. They hope to explore how genetic variation in different types of tissues affects regulatory regions in the genome that control gene activity patterns. To do this, they will use a technique called DNase I-sequencing to examine certain areas in the genome and gauge gene regulation within tissue samples from various ethnic groups.
  • Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, $2.475 million (including co-funding from NHLBI)
    Principal Investigators: Michael P. Snyder, Ph.D., and Hua Tang, Ph.D.
    The large-scale project aims to characterize the many different ways in which proteins normally vary, across more than nine tissue types. Scientists will catalog protein variants by mass spectroscopy (a technique to identify chemicals by mass and charge), which will help them understand the genetic basis for protein variation. This will be a valuable resource for researchers to understand the genetic basis of complex traits, and ultimately, in predicting individual disease susceptibility. These research results may also help clinicians design individual prevention and treatment strategies.
  • University of Chicago, $1 million
    Principal Investigator: Barbara Stranger, Ph.D.
    Investigators plan to characterize the proteome — the entire set of proteins produced by a genome — in several tissue types to determine the genetic basis of variation in protein expression. They will measure the levels of certain types of proteins that are responsible for sending signals in cells, and another group of proteins that act as switches, affecting which genes are turned on. The researchers will then look for variation associated with differences in protein levels to see if variants associated with protein expression have been previously linked to complex diseases. This may enable them to pinpoint specific proteins or protein networks that may underlie such disease.
  • University of Chicago, $1.375 million
    Principal Investigator: Brandon L. Pierce, Ph.D.
    Telomeres are DNA caps at the end of chromosomes that are thought to protect cells from aging. The length of telomeres plays an important role in cell division, growth and genome stability, and evidence suggests that telomere shortening over a lifetime may be involved in disease, including heart disease, dementia and cancer. Interestingly, new research suggests that two common gene variants that lead to longer telomeres may actually increase the risk for deadly brain cancers called gliomas. To better determine the role of telomere length in disease development, Dr. Pierce and his colleagues will ask if telomere length in blood reflects its length in tissues usually associated with cancer, and whether telomere length in specific tissues indicates DNA damage and chromosomes that are unstable. They also will try to gauge the role of variants in genes known to affect telomere length and cancer risk in specific tissues.
The awards are supported by the following NIH grants: U01HG007591-01; U01MH104393-01; U01HG007610-01; U01HG007593-01; U01HG007599-01; U01HG007611-01; U01HG007598-01; and U01HG007601-01.
For more information about the GTEx project, visit
The GTEx project is funded through the Common Fund, and managed by the NIH Office of the Director in partnership with NHGRI, NIMH, NHLBI, the National Cancer Institute, the National Center for Biotechnology Information at the National Library of Medicine, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke, all part of NIH.
The NIH Common Fund encourages collaboration and supports a series of exceptionally high impact, trans-NIH programs. Common Fund programs are designed to pursue major opportunities and gaps in biomedical research that no single NIH Institute could tackle alone, but that the agency as a whole can address to make the biggest impact possible on the progress of medical research. Additional information about the NIH Common Fund can be found at
NHGRI is one of the 27 institutes and centers at the National Institutes of Health. The NHGRI Extramural Research Program supports grants for research and training and career development at sites nationwide. Additional information about NHGRI can be found at
The mission of the NIMH is to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research, paving the way for prevention, recovery and cure. For more information, visit
Part of the National Institutes of Health, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) plans, conducts, and supports research related to the causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heart, blood vessel, lung, and blood diseases; and sleep disorders. The Institute also administers national health education campaigns on women and heart disease, healthy weight for children, and other topics. NHLBI press releases and other materials are available online at
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs,
NIH...Turning Discovery Into Health®

Could a Blood Test Predict Suicide Risk?: MedlinePlus

Could a Blood Test Predict Suicide Risk?: MedlinePlus

A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine
From the National Institutes of HealthNational Institutes of Health

Could a Blood Test Predict Suicide Risk?

Certain gene-based chemical changes seem to accompany suicidal behavior, study finds
By Mary Elizabeth Dallas
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
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WEDNESDAY, July 30, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Clues to whether a person is at risk for suicide could lie in a simple blood test, a new study suggests.
Chemical changes to a gene involved in the brain's response to stress hormones may help spur suicidal thoughts and behaviors, the study's authors explained. Spotting those changes in a blood sample might help alert doctors to a patient's risk for suicide, they said.
"Suicide is a major preventable public health problem, but we have been stymied in our prevention efforts because we have no consistent way to predict those who are at increased risk of killing themselves," study lead researcher Zachary Kaminsky, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in a university news release.
"With a test like ours, we may be able to stem suicide rates by identifying those people and intervening early enough to head off a catastrophe," he said.
In the study, which was partially funded by the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, the researchers analyzed genetic mutations in a gene known as SKA2. As the researchers explained, the SKA2 gene is expressed in a part of the brain that is responsible for blocking negative thoughts and controlling impulsive behavior. The gene is also essential for moving stress hormone receptors that suppress the release of the "stress hormone" cortisol throughout the brain.
If SKA2 is changed in some way, these stress hormone receptors are unable to do their job, Kaminsky's team said. Previous studies have shown that cortisol release is often not working properly in people who think about or attempt suicide, the researchers explained.
After comparing the brains of patients with mental illness to the brains of healthy people, researchers found that those who committed suicide had significantly lower SKA2 levels.
Within this common gene mutation, the study also revealed some of the patients had a change to the gene that altered the way it functioned. The change involved adding chemicals, known as methyl groups, to the gene. Higher levels of this chemical were also found among the patients who had killed themselves. The researchers confirmed this finding with two other brain studies.
Three different sets of blood samples were also analyzed from 325 patients involved in the Johns Hopkins Center for Prevention Research Study. The researchers found similar chemical changes at SKA2 in people with suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
Based on their findings, the researchers were able to design a blood test to predict which of the participants were having suicidal thoughts or attempted suicide with 80 percent certainty. The test was even more accurate for those with more severe suicidal thoughts or behaviors. In those cases, the test was able to predict their risk with 90 percent certainty. For the youngest people, the blood test identified which participants had ever attempted suicide with 96 percent accuracy.
Two experts were somewhat optimistic about the findings.
Dr. Alan Manevitz, a clinical psychiatrist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, called the study "intriguing and promising" but added that "it is a very preliminary study, based on a series of small samples, and more study is needed."
"It is hard to believe that something as complex as suicide could be attributed to a single gene as a predictor of risk of suicide attempts," he said. "While promising, any genetic finding requires replication from substantially larger samples of the population to rule out spurious findings."
Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein, president of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation in New York City, noted that "more people die from suicide than from homicide. A test that can better identify people at risk of committing suicide has tremendous potential.
He believes that, "if this finding is confirmed, it would help to ensure that people who are at risk get the treatment they need."
A blood test to predict suicide risk may be particularly beneficial for use among military service members, Kaminsky's team noted, with those at greatest risk being closely monitored when they return home from deployment.
Psychiatric emergency room doctors could also use the test as part of their assessment of patients' level of suicide risk, the team said.
"We have found a gene that we think could be really important for consistently identifying a range of behaviors from suicidal thoughts to attempts to completions," Kaminsky noted. "We need to study this in a larger sample but we believe that we might be able to monitor the blood to identify those at risk of suicide."
SOURCE: Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., president and CEO, Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, New York City; Alan Manevitz, M.D., clinical psychiatrist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, news release, July 30, 2014
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