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Archive - Jul 2012

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July 3rd

Epigenetics Alters Genes in Rheumatoid Arthritis

It's not just our DNA that makes us susceptible to disease and influences its impact and outcome. Scientists are beginning to realize more and more that important changes in genes that are unrelated to changes in the DNA sequence itself – a field of study known as epigenetics – are equally influential. A research team at the University of California (UC), San Diego – led by Dr. Gary S. Firestein, professor in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy, and Immunology at UC San Diego School of Medicine – investigated a mechanism usually implicated in cancer and in fetal development, called DNA methylation, in the progression of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The researchers found that epigenetic changes due to methylation play a key role in altering genes that could potentially contribute to inflammation and joint damage. Their study was published online on June 26, 2012 in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. "Genomics has rapidly advanced our understanding of susceptibility and severity of rheumatoid arthritis," said Dr. Firestein. "While many genetic associations have been described in this disease, we also know that if one identical twin develops RA that the other twin only has a 12 to 15 percent chance of also getting the disease. This suggests that other factors are at play – epigenetic influences." DNA methylation is one example of epigenetic change, in which a strand of DNA is modified after it is duplicated by adding a methyl group to any cytosine molecule (C) – one of the 4 main bases of DNA. This is one of the methods used to regulate gene expression, and is often abnormal in cancers and plays a role in organ development.

Honey Bees Can Reverse Brain Aging

Scientists at Arizona State University (ASU) have discovered that older honey bees effectively reverse brain aging when they take on nest responsibilities typically handled by much younger bees. While current research on human age-related dementia focuses on potential new drug treatments, researchers say these findings suggest that social interventions may be used to slow or treat age-related dementia. In a study published online on May 21, 2012 in Experimental Gerontology, a team of scientists from ASU and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, led by Dr. Gro Amdam, an associate professor in ASU’s School of Life Sciences, presented findings that show that tricking older, foraging bees into doing social tasks inside the nest causes changes in the molecular structure of their brains. “We knew from previous research that when bees stay in the nest and take care of larvae – the bee babies – they remain mentally competent for as long as we observe them,” said Dr. Amdam. “However, after a period of nursing, bees fly out gathering food and begin aging very quickly. After just two weeks, foraging bees have worn wings, hairless bodies, and more importantly, lose brain function – basically measured as the ability to learn new things. We wanted to find out if there was plasticity in this aging pattern so we asked the question, ‘What would happen if we asked the foraging bees to take care of larval babies again?” During experiments, scientists removed all of the younger nurse bees from the nest – leaving only the queen and babies. When the older, foraging bees returned to the nest, activity diminished for several days. Then, some of the old bees returned to searching for food, while others cared for the nest and larvae.

July 2nd

BioQuick Wins Publishing Excellence Award

BioQuick Online News has just been awarded an APEX 2012 Award for Publishing Excellence in the category of electronic publications. Other award recipients included the Walt Disney Company, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Sandia National Laboratories, WGBH-Boston, Ernst & Young, FedEx, American Cancer Society, Merrill Lynch, Ford Motor Company, National Football League, US Tennis Association, Time Inc., Deloitte LLP, American Academy of Dermatology, NYU Langone Medical Center, Wiley, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, USC Health Sciences, American Airlines, Arizona State University, McKesson Corporation, American Medical Writers Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Communications, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine, World Wildlife Fund, ESPN X Games, Elsevier, Multiple Sclerosis Association of America, American Association for Clinical Chemistry, AARP, and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. BioQuick also won APEX Publishing Excellence Awards in 2011 and 2010. BioQuick presently features nearly 900 articles on major science advances in the last three years and articles of interest are readily accessible by means of a powerful search engine. BioQuick has readers in over 160 countries and includes a Japanese language edition. To find out more information about BioQuick and to pursue advertising and sponsorship possibilities, please contact editor & publisheer Mike O’Neill at logophile2000@yahoo.com. To learn more about the APEX Publishing Awards, please visit their web site at http://www.apexawards.com.