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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:

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.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Couples in which both partners are obese may take from 55 to 59 percent longer to achieve pregnancy, compared to their normal weight counterparts, according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health. The findings appear online in Human Reproduction.

“A lot of studies on fertility and body composition have focused on the female partner, but our findings underscore the importance of including both partners,” said Rajeshwari Sundaram, Ph.D., a senior investigator in the Division of Intramural Population Health Research at NIH’s Eunice Kennedy ShriverNational Institute of Child Health and Human Development. “Our results also indicate that fertility specialists may want to consider couples’ body compositions when counseling patients.”

Friday, January 27, 2017

NEI scientists find that stem cell exosomes promote survival of retinal ganglion cells in rats.

A new study in rats shows that stem cell secretions, called exosomes, appear to protect cells in the retina, the light-sensitive tissue in the back of the eye. The findings, published in Stem Cells Translational Medicine, point to potential therapies for glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness in the United States. The study was conducted by researchers at the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health.

Microscopy shows exosomes (green) surrounding retinal ganglion cells (orange and yellow).

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Premature death rates have declined in the United States among Hispanics, blacks, and Asian/Pacific Islanders (APIs) — in line with trends in Canada and the United Kingdom — but increased among whites and American Indian/Alaska Natives (AI/ANs), according to a comprehensive study of premature death rates for the entire U.S. population from 1999 to 2014. This divergence was reported by researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and colleagues at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), both part of the National Institutes of Health, and the University of New Mexico College of Nursing. The findings appeared Jan. 25, 2017, in The Lancet.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Investigators with The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Research Network have identified novel genomic and molecular characteristics of cervical cancer that will aid in the subclassification of the disease and may help target therapies that are most appropriate for each patient. The new study, a comprehensive analysis of the genomes of 178 primary cervical cancers, found that over 70 percent of the tumors had genomic alterations in either one or both of two important cell signaling pathways. The researchers also found, unexpectedly, that a subset of tumors did not show evidence of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. The study included authors from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), both parts of the National Institutes of Health, and appeared January 23, 2017, in Nature.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health found that the blood protein tau could be an important new clinical biomarker to better identify athletes who need more recovery time before safely returning to play after a sports-related concussion. The study, supported by the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) with additional funding from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), published online in the Jan. 6, 2017 issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

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