Volume 4.27 | Jul 14

Neural Cell News 4.27, July 14, 2010.
In this issue:  Science News |  Current Publications |  Industry News |  Policy News |  Events
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TOP STORY


Small Molecule Boosts Production of Brain Cells, Protects New Cells from Dying, UT Southwestern Researchers Find  ShareThis
Researchers have found a compound that preserves newly created brain cells and boosts learning and memory in an animal study. [Press release from UT Southwestern Medical Center discussing online prepublication in Cell]


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SCIENCE NEWS


Apathy and Depression Predict Progression from Mild Cognitive Impairment
A new Mayo Clinic study found that apathy and depression significantly predict an individual’s progression from mild cognitive impairment to dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy body dementia. [Press release from ScienceDaily discussing research presented at the International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease 2010 in Honolulu, Hawaii]


“Hot Topics” from the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease 2010
Last minute scientific submissions to the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease 2010 in Honolulu, HI, known as “hot topics,” suggest that (1) a newly-discovered risk gene for Alzheimer’s may have early impact on memory skills and brain volume, (2) intranasal insulin may be beneficial in Alzheimer’s, and (3) beta amyloid deposits in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease may take different shapes based on a known Alzheimer’s risk gene. [Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease 2010 Press Release]


Researchers Study Genetic Causes of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms
Geisinger researchers are part of an international team that has identified a genetic variant more common in individuals with abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA). This is one of the largest studies ever into the genetics of AAA. [Press release from Geisinger discussing online prepublication in Nature Genetics]


U-M Researchers Identify Gene Mutation that Causes Rare Form of Deafness
Researchers have identified a gene mutation that causes a rare form of hearing loss known as auditory neuropathy, according to U-M Medical School scientists. [Press release from the University of Michigan Health System discussing online prepublication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA]

Mixed Practice Makes Perfect
Previous studies have shown that variable practice improves the brain’s memory of most skills better than practice focused on a single task. Cognitive neuroscientists at USC and UCLA describe the neural basis for this paradox in a new study. [Press release from the University of Southern California discussing online prepublication in Nature Neuroscience]


In the Brain, Many Genes Biased Toward One Parent’s Influence
An ambitious new analysis in mice demonstrates that for more than 1,300 genes active in the brain, there is a significant bias as to which copy is active – the one inherited from the mother or the one that came from the father. [Press release from Howard Hughes Medical Institute discussing online prepublication in Science]


U-M’s Stem Cell Study on ALS Looks Promising
Researchers at the University of Michigan are seeing positive results from the earliest stages of experiments designed to determine whether stem cells can help patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). [The Detroit News]


Protein Must Exist in Specific Brain Cells to Prevent Diet-Induced Obesity, UT Southwestern Researchers Find
A protein found in cells throughout the body must be present in a specific set of neurons in the brain to prevent weight gain after chronic feeding on high-calorie meals, new findings from UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers suggest. [Press release from UT Southwestern Medical Center discussing online prepublication in Cell Metabolism]


Brain Chemical Boosts Body Heat, Aids in Calorie Burn, UT Southwestern Research Suggests
New findings by UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers suggest that an enzyme in the brain known as PI3 kinase might control the increased generation of body heat that helps burn off excess calories after eating a high-fat meal. [Press release from UT Southwestern Medical Center discussing online prepublication in Cell Metabolism]


Study Shows that Major Alzheimer’s Risk Gene Causes Alterations in Shapes of Brain Protein Deposits
Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have used a newly discovered class of biomarkers to investigate the possibility that the shape of brain protein deposits is different in people with Alzheimer’s who have the highest-risk gene type than in those with the condition who have a neutral risk gene type. [Press release from EurekAlert! discussing research presented at the International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease in Honolulu, Hawaii]


Stem Cell Method Put to the Test in Parkinson’s Study
UK researchers are launching a study into the potential of using a person’s stem cells to treat Parkinson’s disease. [BBC News Press Release]


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CURRENT PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by Impact Factor of the Journal)


Genome-Wide Association Study Identifies a Sequence Variant Within the DAB2IP Gene Conferring Susceptibility to Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
Researchers performed a genome-wide association study on 1,292 individuals with abdominal aortic aneurysms and 30,503 controls from Iceland and The Netherlands, with a follow-up of top markers in up to 3,267 individuals with AAAs and 7,451 controls. [Nat Genet]

Discovery of a Proneurogenic, Neuroprotective Chemical
An in vivo screen was performed in search of chemicals capable of enhancing neuron formation in the hippocampus of adult mice. Eight of 1000 small molecules tested enhanced neuron formation in the subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus. [Cell]

High-Resolution Analysis of Parent-of-Origin Allelic Expression in the Mouse Brain
Researchers have performed a genome-wide characterization of imprinting in the mouse embryonic and adult brain. This approach uncovered parent-of-origin allelic effects in over 1300 loci. [Science]

Error Minimization in Lateral Inhibition Circuits
Researchers found that rapid inhibition of the neural differentiation of nonselected cells, coupled with high cell-to-cell variability in the timing of selection, is crucial for accurate sensory organ precursor selection. [Science Signalling]


SIRT1 Deacetylase in POMC Neurons Is Required for Homeostatic Defenses against Diet-Induced Obesity
Here, researchers show that lack of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+)-dependent deacetylase SIRT1 in pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons causes hypersensitivity to diet-induced obesity due to reduced energy expenditure. [Cell Metab]


PI3K Signaling in the Ventromedial Hypothalamic Nucleus Is Required for Normal Energy Homeostasis
Here, researchers show that mice with reduced PI3K activity in the ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus are more sensitive to high-fat diet-induced obesity due to reduced energy expenditure. [Cell Metab]


Neural Substrates of Motor Memory Consolidation Depend on Practice Structure
Researchers investigated the manner in which offline neural networks are modulated by practice structures that affect motor-skill retention. Interference to dorsolateral-prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), but not to primary motor cortex (M1), after variable practice attenuated motor-skill retention, whereas interference to M1, but not to DLPFC, after constant practice attenuated motor-skill retention. [Nat Neurosci]


Increased Activity of Diaphanous Homolog 3 (DIAPH3)/Diaphanous Causes Hearing Defects in Humans with Auditory Neuropathy and in Drosophila
Researchers have identified Diaphanous homolog 3 (DIAPH3) as the gene responsible for autosomal dominant nonsyndromic auditory neuropathy (AUNA1), which researchers previously mapped to chromosome 13q21-q24. [Proc Natl Acad Sci USA]


Endogenous Interferon Gamma Directly Regulates Neural Precursors in the Non-Inflammatory Brain
Here, researchers investigated the effect of interferon gamma in the regulation of neural precursor activity in both the developing and the adult mouse brain. [J Neurosci]



INDUSTRY NEWS


Harold Varmus Sworn in as National Cancer Institute’s 14th Director
Nobel Prize winner Harold E. Varmus, M.D., took the oath of office to become the National Cancer Institute’s 14th director. [National Cancer Institute Press Release]

Merck KGaA ‘s Cladribine Tablets for MS Approved in Russia
Merck KGaA announced that the Russian Federal Service on Surveillance in Healthcare and Social Development has become the first government agency to grant marketing approval to Cladribine Tablets for the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS). [Merck KGaA Press Release]

National Institute on Aging and Alzheimer’s Association Lead Effort to Update Diagnostic Criteria for Alzheimer’s Disease
Scientists at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease 2010 presented the first draft reports from three workgroups convened by the National Institute on Aging and the Alzheimer’s Association to update the diagnostic criteria for Alzheimer’s disease for the first time in 25 years. [Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease 2010 Press Release]


Alzheimer’s Association Launches TrialMatch™ – First-of-its-Kind Clinical Trials Matching Service in Alzheimer’s
The Alzheimer’s Association announced the launch of Alzheimer’s Association TrialMatch™, a confidential and free interactive tool that provides comprehensive clinical trial information and an individualized trial matching service for people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. [Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease 2010 Press Release]

A $2.5 Million Gift to Chart, Conquer Parkinson’s
The widow of the banker Edmond J. Safra, Lily Safra, is giving $2.5 million to the New York-based Michael J. Fox Foundation to help fund a clinical study to help track the progression of Parkinson’s disease. [The Michael J. Fox Foundation Press Release]

Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission Elects Margaret Conn Himelfarb as Chair
The Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission announced that it has elected Margaret Conn Himelfarb as chair and Bowen P. Weisheit, Jr. as vice chair. [Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund Press Release]

Moses V. Chao, PhD, Named President-Elect of the Society for Neuroscience
Moses Chao, PhD, professor of cell biology, physiology and neuroscience, and psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine, and a member of the Molecular Neurobiology Program at the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, was named president-elect of the Society for Neuroscience. [Langone Medical Center Press Release]

USF Receives Patent for Technology to Improve Treatment for Neurodegenerative Diseases
The University of South Florida’s Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair has been granted a patent for a cell transplantation procedure combining human umbilical cord blood cells and a sugar-alcohol compound called “mannitol” that may make a big difference in treating life-threatening neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and stroke, among others. [University of South Florida Press Release]




POLICY NEWS


Genetic Testing Clamp Down
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has told five genetic test manufacturers that their products need the agency’s blessing before they can be sold to consumers. [Food and Drug Administration, United States]

Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for Office of Management and Budget Review; Comment Request; Applications for Food and Drug Administration Approval to Market a New Drug: Patent Submission and Listing Requirements and Application of 30-Month Stays on Approval of Abbreviated New Drug Applications Certifying That a Patent Claiming a Drug Is Invalid or Will Not Be Infringed [Docket No. FDA-2010-N-0174] [Food and Drug Administration, United States]
 
Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for Office of Management and Budget Review; Comment Request; Focus Groups About Drug Products, as Used by the Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2010-N-0122] [Food and Drug Administration, United States]

Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for Office of Management and Budget Review; Comment Request; Human Cells, Tissues, and Cellular and Tissue-Based Products: Establishment Registration and Listing; Form FDA 3356; Eligibility Determination for Donors; and Current Good Tissue Practice [Docket No. FDA-2010-N-0101] [Food and Drug Administration, United States]

National Institute of Mental Health; Notice of Closed Meeting [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Epigenomics of Human Health and Disease (R01) (RFA-ES-10-002) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; Notice of Closed Meeting [National Institutes of Health, United States]




EVENTS


Select Biosciences 3rd Annual Stem Cells Europe Conference
August 24-25, 2010
Edinburgh, Scotland


Joint Metastasis Research Society – American Association of Cancer Research Conference on Metastasis and the Tumor Microenvironment
September 12-15, 2010
Philadelphia, United States


Stem Cells USA & Regenerative Medicine Congress 2010
September 13-15, 2010
Philadelphia, United States


4th American Association of Cancer Research International Conference on Molecular Diagnostics in Cancer Therapeutic Development
September 27-30, 2010
Denver, United States


6th International Symposium on Neuroprotection and Neurorepair
October 1-4, 2010
Rostock, Germany


2010 World Stem Cell Summit
October 4-6, 2010
Detroit, United States


Translational Cancer Research for Basic Scientists
October 17-22, 2010
Boston, United States


Fraunhofer Life Science Symposium 2010
October 29-30, 2010
Leipzig, Germany


Stem Cell Society Singapore Symposium 2010: Translating Science to Therapy
November 2-3, 2010
Singapore City, Singapore


40th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience 2010
November 13-17, 2010
San Diego, United States


Stem Cell Network 10th Annual Scientific Meeting
November 22-24, 2010
Calgary, Canada


Visit our events page to stay up to date with the latest events in the cell, gene and immunotherapy community.



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