Working with human neurons and fruit flies, researchers at Johns Hopkins have identified and then shut down a biological process that appears to trigger a particular form of Parkinson’s disease present in a large number of patients. A report on the study, in the April 10 issue of the journal Cell, could lead to new treatments for this disorder.
Analyzing federal health care data, a team of researchers led by a Johns Hopkins specialist concluded that doctors overlook or discount the early signs of potentially disabling strokes in tens of thousands of American each year, a large number of them visitors to emergency rooms complaining of dizziness or headaches.
In a series of experiments sparked by fruit flies that couldn’t sleep, Johns Hopkins researchers say they have identified a mutant gene — dubbed “Wide Awake” — that sabotages how the biological clock sets the timing for sleep. The finding also led them to the protein made by a normal copy of the gene that promotes sleep early in the night and properly regulates sleep cycles.
Johns Hopkins researchers report that people with chronic insomnia show more plasticity and activity than good sleepers in the part of the brain that controls movement.
Certain fragments of DNA shed by tumors into the bloodstream can potentially be used to non-invasively screen for early-stage cancers, monitor responses to treatment and help explain why some cancers are resistant to therapies, according to results of an international study led by Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center investigators.
The antidepressant drug citalopram, sold under the brand names Celexa and Cipramil and also available as a generic medication, significantly relieved agitation in a group of patients with Alzheimer's disease. In lower doses than those tested, the drug might be safer than antipsychotic drugs currently used to treat the condition, according to results of a clinical trial led by Johns Hopkins researchers that included seven other academic medical centers in the United States and Canada.
Johns Hopkins surgeons report they have devised a better, safer method to replace bone removed from the skull after lifesaving brain surgery. The new technique, they say, appears to result in fewer complications than standard restoration, which has changed little since its development in the 1890s.
In normal development, all cells turn off genes they don’t need, often by attaching a chemical methyl group to the DNA, a process called methylation. Historically, scientists believed methyl groups could only stick to a particular DNA sequence: a cytosine followed by a guanine, called CpG. But in recent years, they have been found on other sequences, and so-called non-CpG methylation has been found in stem cells, and in neurons in the brain.
John M. Freeman, an internationally renowned Johns Hopkins pediatric neurologist and medical ethicist whose iconoclastic questioning of established medical practices revolutionized the treatment of pediatric epilepsy and advanced the development of modern biomedical ethics, died on Friday, Jan. 3, of cardiovascular disease. He was 80.