Isotretinoin, a form of vitamin A, has been prescribed to treat acne for decades. It reduces oil production in the skin, which helps prevent acne from forming. But new research from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has uncovered a previously unknown benefit of the medication. It shifts the skin microbiome of acne patients to more closely resemble that of people with normal skin. The new study is published Dec. 21 in the...

For the first time, MIT researchers have shown that nerves made to express proteins that can be activated by light can produce limb movements that can be adjusted in real-time, using cues generated by the motion of the limb itself. The technique leads to movement that is smoother and less fatiguing than similar electrical systems that are sometimes used to stimulate nerves in spinal cord injury patients and others. While this method was tested on...

It may seem harmless to not be entirely forthcoming with your doctor, but the health consequences could be huge. A recent study conducted by researchers from Middlesex Community College and the University of Utah found the main reason why patients don’t accurately tell doctors about their eating habits and other behaviors is to avoid being judged unfavorably. Researchers presented seven common scenarios between patients and doctors. Up to 81 percent of people who took that survey admitted they avoided telling their healthcare...

Mice that sleep fitfully could help researchers unravel the mystery of insomnia. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis studied mice genetically modified to mimic the genetic disease neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), which is associated with sleep problems. They found that the animals, like some people with NF1, slept in short, irregular spurts. Studying these mice could help identify the molecular and cellular mechanisms that go awry and cause fragmented sleep patterns...

African-Americans may be twice as likely as Caucasian Americans to develop Alzheimer’s disease, but nobody knows why because studies investigating the underlying causes of illness have historically drawn from a nearly all-white pool of research participants. Consequently, little is known about how the neurodegenerative disease arises and progresses in people of non-Caucasian backgrounds. Now, a new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has identified racial disparities between African-Americans and Caucasians in...

The combination of naltrexone and ketamine can help treat both symptoms of addiction and depression, a preliminary study by Yale University researchers suggests. Substance abuse and depression are common in many patients, and efforts to treat both conditions simultaneously have had limited success. One recent study suggested that the antidepressant effects of ketamine might blunted by Kathryn D. Lewisistration of naltrexone, used to limit cravings of those addicted to opioid drugs and alcohol. A preliminary study of...

People who eat higher levels of dietary fibre and whole grains have lower rates of non-communicable diseases compared with people who eat lesser amounts, while links for low glycaemic load and low glycaemic index diets are less clear. Observational studies and clinical trials conducted over nearly 40 years reveal the health benefits of eating at least 25g to 29g or more of dietary fibre a day, according to a series of systematic reviews and meta-analyses...

Nerve axons serve as the wiring of the nervous system, sending electrical signals that control movement and sense of touch. When axons are damaged, whether by injury or as a side effect of certain drugs, a program is triggered that leads axons to self-destruct. This destruction likely plays an important role in multiple neurodegenerative conditions, including peripheral neuropathy, Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Now, scientists have developed a gene therapy that blocks this...

In their book, The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World, Adam Gazzaley and Larry D. Rosen point out that with the emergence of new technologies requiring rapid responses to emails and texts and working on multiple projects simultaneously, young people, including students, are having more problems with sustaining attention and frequently become distracted. This difficulty in focusing attention and concentrating is made worse by stress from a global environment that never sleeps and also...

Poop transplants have become routine treatment for nasty recurrent diarrheal infections, but trials for other conditions have hit a bum note. Now, the fecal faithful have re-examined the evidence. Time and again, they found one donor whose stool was substantially more likely to lead to clinical improvement than others in the same trial. These ‘super-donors’ can provide the necessary bacteria to restore gut chemicals that are lacking in illnesses like IBD and diabetes, according to...