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Earlier this year, we introduced you to WeCureALZ a€“ a groundbreaking new project that for the first time is set to use the power of citizen science to conduct Alzheimer's research. With a beta launch planned later this year, we thought it was about time we tell you the key part of the story a€“ the science behind WeCureALZ, and what is it that you a€“ citizen scientists a€“ will be helping researchers do! Despite the fact that Alzheimer's is being studied by scientists all around the globe, no clear-cut cause or cure for the disease exists. The latter is known to cause Familial Alzheimer's Disease (FAD), which occurs due to a mutation that can be transmitted through generations.
Regardless of the disease type, each has been associated with "sticky" amyloid plaques that are one of the likely culprits of characteristic Alzheimer's symptoms. Recent findings at the Schaffer-Nishimura Lab at Cornell University suggest the best way to reduce the devastating effects of amyloids on the brain might not be through targeting the plaques themselves, but by improving blood flow.
In fact, the researchers have discovered that as many as 2% of tiniest vessels of the brain a€“ the capillaries a€“could be stalled at any one time in the brain of AD-affected mice. Similar (10-40%) reduction in blood flow associated with Alzheimer's has long been recognized in humans too. Moreover, far from just hurting the neurons themselves, amyloid plaques also induce a local inflammation, which attracts leukocytes (white blood cells) and encourages them to stick firmly to capillary walls. Therefore, the more that amyloids remain due to decreased blood flow, the more damage they cause and decrease the flow even further.
Findings from the Schaffer-Nishimura Lab suggest that improving blood flow by, for example, preventing leukocytes from sticking to capillary walls, could help prevent Alzheimer's symptoms from appearing at all. Unfortunately, due to an extremely tedious data analysis step, each research question takes about a year of manual image analysis. This means we could solve many of outstanding research questions in the coming years a€“ something that would be virtually impossible to do without citizen science. The WeCureALZ development team will begin internal testing of the online platform later this month.
Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute scientists have uncovered a mechanism in the brain that could account for some of the neural degeneration and memory loss in people with Alzheimer's disease. A long-term reduction in neuronal activity reduces amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer's disease, Yale University researchers have found.
Authors of the new Scripps Research Institute study include (left to right) Justin Abadejos, Oktay Kirak and Manching Ku. A new study led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) reveals a previously unknown type of immune cell. The newly discovered cells resemble conventional T cells, yet are biased toward becoming T regulatory cells (Tregs), which protect the body from autoimmune disease. The findings are being published the week of April 4, 2016 online ahead of print in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. One puzzling disease is type 1 diabetes, in which immune cells mistakenly attack insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. In the new study, researchers began to solve this problem by isolating an individual Treg from a mouse model of type 1 diabetes and inserting its nucleusa€”which contained the unique genetic immune receptor informationa€”into a mouse egg cell that had its own nucleus removed. Using this cloning method (Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer), the scientists created a mouse model that produced only the original Treg, allowing them to study its origins and functions for the first time. The scientists found that the Treg originated in a lymphoid organ called the thymus, making it a "naturally" arising Treg, called an nTreg. The mouse could only make one type of T cells, yet researchers began spotting a second type of T cell in the thymus and spleen. After repeating their experiment several times, the researchers determined that the two T cell types, while genetically identical, looked different because one of them could switch on a gene called FoxP3.
The researchers think pre-nTregs may be activated in response to many kinds of immune challenges, such as autoimmune diseases, cancer and infections.
It is no easy task to preserve the delicate balance that allows us to maintain a strong immune system that can defend us from harmful pathogens, but that is sensitive enough to correctly identify and spare our own cells.
When faced with pathogens, the immune system summons a swarm of cells made up of soldiers and peacekeepers. Researchers discovered a mechanism that stops the body reacting with an excessive immune reaction. Challenging a universally accepted, longstanding consensus in the field of immunity requires hard evidence.
The more expressive people are, the better they are at understanding the feelings of others according to a study by researchers at The University of Aberdeen published in Cognitive, Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience. The results of this study may help to develop ways to improve social communication skills in children with autism. A new questionnaire was devised to find out how expressive actions used to communicate are related to how good we are at understanding other people's feelings. Dr Justin Williams who led the research said: "We all use imitation of others as a way of understanding each other and by putting ourselves in other people's shoes, we can relate and understand, or empathise with others. New research by UT Dallas scientists suggests that individuals with autism spectrum disorder can have very expressive faces, but the emotions conveyed can sometimes seem overly intense and unusual. Researchers at Monash University have found physical differences in the brains of people who respond emotionally to others' feelings, compared to those who respond more rationally, in a study published in the journal NeuroImage. Empathy - the ability to identify and understand other people's emotions - has many components, some sophisticated and involving complex thought processes, others basic but essential nonetheless. Clarkson University Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy & Physician Assistant Studies Ali Boolani (right) and two of his students, Holly S.
A lot of hard work, practice and dedication can help you sculpt a well-muscled body, but anabolic steroids will get you there a lot faster. To help sort speculation from fact about the side effects, Clarkson University Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy & Physician Assistant Studies Ali Boolani and two of his students have just published an opinion paper in Medical Research Archives.
The allure of a bigger, stronger, faster body is as enticing as the huge paychecks professional athletes can command, but the use of anabolic-androgenic steroids (synthetic testosterone) also creates some powerful and contradictory conditions, according to Boolani and students Britni R.
Side effects include: acne, increased body hair, aggressive behavior, fluid retention, elevated blood pressure, sleeplessness, increased irritability, feelings of low libido, increased sex drive, increased appetite, sweating, increased feeling of well-being, depressive mood states, loss of head hair, and gynaecomastia (enlarged breast tissue in men). Keitz, a student in the doctor of physical therapy program, worked with Bronson, a senior pre-physical therapy honors student majoring in psychology, to update all the sources in an initial draft of the opinion paper.
After all their research, now the Clarkson students and their professor have added to reference material for others.
Leslie Henderson investigates the cellular basis for behavioral changes seen with the abuse of anabolic androgenic steroids. There is a link between use of anabolic-androgenic steroids and reduced mental health later in life.
Brief exposure to anabolic steroids may have long lasting, possibly permanent, performance-enhancing effects, shows a study published today [28 October] in The Journal of Physiology.

The Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers to avoid dietary supplements sold by a Las Vegas company because they may contain anabolic steroids that can cause liver damage.
The breakthrough paves the way for improved treatments for patients with kidney disease and bodes well for the future of the wider field of bioengineering organs. Professor Melissa Little from UQ's Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB), who led the study, said new treatments for kidney disease were urgently needed. The team designed a protocol that prompts stem cells to form all the required cell types to 'self-organise' into a mini-kidney in a dish. Professor Little cautioned that there was a long way to go before this might be ready for human trials, but that it was an exciting step forward. Queensland Minister for Science and Innovation Ian Walker congratulated Professor Little and said biomedical research was crucial in ensuring a healthier future for Queenslanders.
The research team included Dr Minoru Takasato, Pei Er, Melissa Becroft, Dr Jessica Vanslambrouck from IMB and Professor Andrew Elefanty and Professor Ed Stanley from the Murdoch Children's Research Institute and Monash University. The research is published in the scientific journal Nature Cell Biology and supported by the Queensland Government, the Australian Research Council as part of the Stem Cells Australia Strategic Research Initiative, and the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia.
University of Queensland researchers have reprogrammed adult kidney cells to act as stem cells to repair damaged kidneys.
Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) researchers have a new model for how the kidney repairs itself, a model that adds to a growing body of evidence that mature cells are far more plastic than had previously been imagined.
Everything you eat or drink affects your intestinal bacteria, and is likely to have an impact on your health.
In a major breakthrough, scientists at the Gladstone Institutes transformed skin cells into heart cells and brain cells using a combination of chemicals.
Age-related changes in the human pancreas govern how our bodies respond to rising and falling blood sugar levels throughout our lifetimes, and could affect whether we develop diabetes as adults. For the first time, scientists studying stool transplants have been able to track which strains of bacteria from a donor take hold in a patient's gut after a transplant.
Without that funding, experts say, crucial questions on gun safety and gun violence have been left unanswered.
Other important topics that have been left unstudied include design changes that could make guns safer, the number of nonfatal firearm injuries that occur each year, and the effectiveness of safety training for firearms, experts said. President Barack Obama's recent executive orders issued on firearms will do little to resolve this problem, Hemenway added. What many Americans might not know, Benjamin said, is that the trillion-dollar spending bill passed by Congress and signed by Obama in December retained a ban on firearms research that dates to the 1990s. The research freeze also continued over the objections of the politician it's named after, former U.S. But Dickey now thinks the nation shouldn't have to choose between reducing gun-violence injuries and safeguarding gun ownership. Dickey believes research into the causes of gun violence can save lives just as collision research by highway officials has done. The Dickey Amendment and the defunding of firearms research have profoundly affected the nation's knowledge of gun violence, turning many talented scientists away from the topic, said Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research.
These questions and more could be answered with a push from the federal government, Webster said. Obama's executive order regarding research on gun safety technology could prove a first step in that direction, Hemenway noted. From such investment, people with HIV, for instance, now live longer and it costs less to care for them. Almost one in three US adults owns at least one gun, and they are predominantly white married men over the age of 55, reveals research published online in the journal Injury Prevention. A new study examining changes in gun policy in two states finds that handgun purchaser licensing requirements influence suicide rates. A more restrictive gun law environment was associated with a reduced likelihood of youth carrying guns, according to an article published online by JAMA Pediatrics.
Amid the bloodbaths of 21st-century America, you might think that there would be a lot of research into the causes of gun violence, and which policies work best against it. New research from the University of Alabama at Birmingham identifies an epigenetic cause for why patients with temporal lobe epilepsy tend to have memory loss, and suggests a potential way to reverse that loss. Patients with temporal lobe epilepsy have a high incidence of memory loss, even when seizures associated with epilepsy are controlled well by medication. Working in a rat model for temporal lobe epilepsy, Lubin says that boosting DNA methylation brought down the amount of mRNA and reduced the amount of BDNF protein, restoring more normal memory function. Lubin says that a great deal of what science knows regarding memory formation and memory loss can be attributed to knowledge gained in the study of epilepsy. Lubin says it is fitting that the current study may ultimately benefit patients with epilepsy, although she cautions that methionine's effects on memory formation in humans has not been fully studied. Lubin says the next steps are to conduct similar DNA methylation studies at other genes known to play a role in memory formation.
Images of cellular distribution of dystrophin and utrophin in differentiated human myotubes grown on glass coverslips.
In a new study, a research team at Basel University Hospital in Switzerland investigates the biochemical and physiological characteristics of orbicularis oculi, a group of facial muscles that control the eyelids and are selectively spared or involved in different neuromuscular disorders. The study, "Functional characterization of orbicularis oculi and extraocular muscles," by Marijana Sekulic-Jablanovic et al., will appear online April 11 ahead of print of the May issue of The Journal of General Physiology (JGP). Using healthy human muscle cell cultures and differentiated human myotubes grown on glass coverslips, the team led by Susan Treves, PhD and Francesco Zorzato, MD, PhD, of the departments of Anaesthesia and Biomedicine at Basel University Hospital, examined the excitation-contraction coupling (ECC) process and calcium homeostasis in the orbicularis oculi, extraocular muscles, and a third muscle groupa€”the quadriceps. ECC is the process whereby an electrical signal is converted into a chemical signal leading to muscle contraction. The researchers also gained unique insight into the presence and absence of dystrophin, the protein located primarily in muscles used for movement, and utrophin, which shares both structural and functional similarities with dystrophin. Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is the most common muscular dystrophy in children and primarily targets boys, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and it results in the loss of the ability to walk between ages 7 and 13 years, and death in the teens or 20s. In the study, the researchers found high levels of dystrophin and low levels of utrophin in the quadriceps. The authors note that dystrophin and utrophin may share distinct binding partners since their subcellular distribution, at least in myotubes, is different. Approximately 250,000 people in the United States suffer from muscular dystrophy, which occurs when damaged muscle tissue is replaced with fibrous, bony or fatty tissue and loses function. Research at Stockholm's KTH Royal Institute of Technology offers hope to those who suffer from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, an incurable, debilitating disease that cuts young lives short.
A new study from The Ottawa Hospital and the University of Ottawa is poised to completely change our understanding of Duchenne muscular dystrophy and pave the way for far more effective treatments.
Enabled by the support of the BrightFocus Foundation, the team is already preparing for the alpha testing of our first online activity a€“ a game that will allow everyone to search for stalled capillaries in the brains of Alzheimer's-affected mice.

What we do know, however, is that two main risk factors play a significant part: age and genetics.
FAD is typically associated with early-onset Alzheimer's, where significant symptoms develop before the age of 60. Amyloid plaques originate from a benign amyloid beta protein (AI?), which occurs naturally in all humans. If blood flow was impaired at the early stages of Alzheimer's, even less AI? protein would be cleared, and the accumulation of toxic amyloid aggregates would accelerate.
Such leukocyte "plugs" are responsible for the majority of blood stalls in AD-affected mice.
By allowing citizen scientists (like you!) to look at the same microscopic images that researchers do, WeCureALZ aims to fast-track the analysis of stalled blood vessels in mice, and understand where and why they occur.
The discovery opens new avenues in the effort to develop novel therapies for autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes.
These cells contain receptors generated through random genetic rearrangementsa€”a clever strategy to keep them ready to fight unfamiliar viruses and bacteria.
Scientists know that Tregs should be able control this autoimmune response, deflecting the attack. One of the big questions now is whether a future therapy could push more pre-nTregs to activate and control diseases such as diabetes. His lab at TSRI plans to such develop markers to identify different Treg and pre-Treg types. People with autism are often very empathic in terms of picking up emotions of others but the difficulty is in understanding other peoples' feelings and also in expressing their feelings to others.
The short side of the long story of their research-based conclusion is: Don't use steroids.
They reviewed literature, evaluated sources, and checked with publishing requirements for professional journals. Their paper, "The Effects of Anabolic Androgenic Steroids on Performance and its Adverse Side Effects in Athletes" is published in Issue 1, 2015, of Medical Research Archives. Michael's Hospital are using adult bone marrow stem cells as they investigate a completely new way of treating chronic kidney disease and heart failure in rats. Obama's orders focused on improved background checks and effective enforcement of existing gun laws, but only contained a single mention of research to improve gun safety technology. 16 editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine noted that more than 33,000 people died from gunshot injuries and more than 84,000 were wounded in 2013, according to CDC statistics.
Their investigation didn't result in the elimination of automobiles, but led to the placement of concrete barriers that keep drivers from veering into oncoming traffic.
He cited a recent study that showed mandatory background checks for firearms purchases can save many lives by reducing the number of homicides and suicides, and also by keeping guns out of the hands of criminals.
The president directed the departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security to conduct or sponsor research into technology that would make guns less able to discharge accidentally or be stolen. And, graduated driver's licenses have saved the lives of countless young drivers by preventing them from driving at night and with other teens in the car, he said. The findings, published in April in the Annals of Translational and Clinical Neurology, indicate the discovery may have implications for many other memory disorders. The UAB research team targeted the BDNF gene, which is known to play a role in memory formation. When turned on, a gene transmits instructions for the production of its particular protein. Lubin's team used an amino acid called methionine, available as a dietary supplement, to increase DNA methylation in the epileptic rat brain. New technologies allow researchers to do what is called gene editing, a kind of genetic engineering in which DNA is added, removed or altered in a genome. What they found also helps to explain why another set of musclesa€”the extraocular muscles that control the movement of the eyea€”are not affected by Duchenne muscular dystrophy, congenital muscular dystrophy, and aging. They found that ECC machinery and calcium regulation of human orbicularis oculi are more similar to those of quadriceps than of extraocular muscles.
Although mitochondrial myopathies and myasthenia gravis often first target the orbicularis oculi and the extraocular muscles, this is not the case in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Orbicularis oculi and extraocular muscles, however, expressed low levels of dystrophin and high levels of utrophin. Dystrophin has a punctate membrane distribution, whereas utrophin has a patchy more filamentous distribution concentrated within specific subcellular domains.
However, too much protein leads to amyloid aggregates that are neurotoxic and cause significant damage to the brain. Moreover, since one capillary is typically connected to many others, the downstream effects of those stalls can contribute to as much as a 30% decrease in the overall blood flow in the brain! These observations led researchers to believe that decreased blood flow might be one of culprits behind plaque formation at the earliest stages of the disease. This diverse pool leaves many questions for scientists, however, about which ones are active in specific diseases.
Current clinical trials are focusing on increasing the numbers of Treg cells and finding ways to make them enter the pancreas. He'd also like to use the cloning technique to investigate immune cells in the body's response to cancers. Keitz, have just published an opinion paper on the side effects of steroid use in Medical Research Archives.
This allows researchers to better understand the function of a gene or the protein it produces by manipulating DNA methylation levels at the single gene and monitoring its effects on the organism. Also promising, dystrophin-deficient mdx mouse studies show that utrophin can functionally compensate in vivo for the lack of dystrophin.
Moreover, while AI? proteins are usually cleared via the blood stream, the formation of aggregates slows down clearance significantly.
In 1998, what became known as the Dickey Amendment effectively blocked the CDC from conducting future research into gun violence.
Disruptions in DNA methylation can affect whether a gene is on or off, with a corresponding change in the amount of protein produced. These future studies will be funded by a newly awarded grant to Lubin from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

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