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In the News

Research advances from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Intramural Research Program (IRP) often make headlines. Read the news releases that describe our most recent findings:

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Silencing a gene called Nrl in mice prevents the loss of cells from degenerative diseases of the retina, according to a new study. The findings could lead to novel therapies for preventing vision loss from human diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa. The study was conducted by researchers at the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and was published online today in Nature Communications.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Findings highlight the importance of genomic studies in diverse populations.

An international team of researchers has conducted the first study of its kind to look at the genomic underpinnings of obesity in continental Africans and African-Americans. They discovered that approximately 1 percent of West Africans, African-Americans and others of African ancestry carry a genomic variant that increases their risk of obesity, a finding that provides insight into why obesity clusters in families. Researchers at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and their African collaborators published their findings March 13, 2017, in the journal Obesity.

A healthcare provider examines a patient.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Extreme hot or cold temperatures during pregnancy may increase the risk that infants born at term will be of low birth weight, according to a study of U.S. women by researchers at the National Institutes of Health. The study was published in Environmental Research.

The authors found that exposure to atypically cold temperature during the entire pregnancy, or just during the second trimester and third trimester, increased the risk for low birth weight. Exposure to atypically hot temperatures during the whole pregnancy, or during the third trimester, also increased this risk. The odds for low term birth weight were highest when the whole pregnancy was exposed to extreme temperatures.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

NIH-led trial to evaluate RSV vaccine’s safety in healthy adults.

A Phase 1 clinical trial to test the safety and tolerability of an investigational vaccine against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) has begun at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. The trial also will assess the vaccine’s ability to prompt an immune response in healthy adult participants. The investigational vaccine was developed by scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of NIH.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Experimental vaccine targets mosquito saliva.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, has launched a Phase 1 clinical trial to test an investigational vaccine intended to provide broad protection against a range of mosquito-transmitted diseases, such as Zika, malaria, West Nile fever and dengue fever, and to hinder the ability of mosquitoes to transmit such infections. The study, which is being conducted at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, will examine the experimental vaccine’s safety and ability to generate an immune response.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

An investigational malaria vaccine given intravenously was well-tolerated and protected a significant proportion of healthy adults against infection with Plasmodium falciparum malaria — the deadliest form of the disease — for the duration of the malaria season, according to new findings published in the February 15th issue of the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases. The study participants live in Mali, Africa, where they are naturally exposed to the parasite.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

NIH-funded study also identifies potential new mechanism for some forms of epilepsy.

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have uncovered new clues to the link between Nodding syndrome, a devastating form of pediatric epilepsy found in specific areas of east Africa, and a parasitic worm that can cause river blindness. The study, published in Science Translational Medicine, suggests that the mysterious neurological disease may be caused by an autoimmune response to the parasitic proteins.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Scientists at the National Institutes of Health have found that the presence of the protein alpha-4 beta-7 integrin on the surface of HIV and its monkey equivalent — simian immunodeficiency virus, or SIV — may help explain why an antibody protected monkeys from SIV in previous experiments.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Small study suggests that high cortisol level in hair may foretell hard-to-diagnose disorder.

Analyzing a hair sample may help with the diagnosis of Cushing Syndrome, a rare and potentially fatal disorder in which the body overproduces the stress hormone cortisol, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health.

Diagnosing Cushing Syndrome is often difficult and time-consuming, requiring 24 hours to analyze blood and urine tests, brain imaging tests, and tissue samples from sinuses at the base of the skull. The researchers found that measuring cortisol levels in hair samples tracked closely with standard techniques for diagnosing Cushing Syndrome.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

A daily low dose of aspirin may help a subgroup of women, those who have previously lost a pregnancy, to successfully conceive and carry a pregnancy to term, according to an analysis by researchers at the National Institutes of Health. The women who benefited from the aspirin treatment had high levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a substance in the blood indicating system-wide inflammation, which aspirin is thought to counteract. The study appears in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

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