United States

Scientists identify ‘molecule trio’ that kills neurons in Parkinson''s

parkinsons diseaseWashington, Apr 30 : In a novel study, researchers at Columbia University Medical Centre have identified a trio of molecules that are responsible for killing brain cells in Parkinson’s patients.

They have showed that three molecules – the neurotransmitter dopamine, a calcium channel, and a protein called alpha-synuclein – act together to kill the neurons.

The symptoms of Parkinson''s – including uncontrollable tremors and difficulty in moving arms and legs – are blamed on the loss of neurons from the substantia nigra region of the brain.

Drug education ‘curbs risky sexual behaviour in teens’

Drug education ‘curbs risky sexual behaviour in teens’Washington, Apr 30 : School-based drug education programmes can significantly curb risky behaviour and drug abuse in teenagers, suggests a new study.

The researchers found that young adults who had been exposed to a popular drug abuse prevention program as adolescents were less likely to engage in risky sexual behavior five to seven years later.

Ricky Gervais’ ‘Flanimals’ to be turned into 3-D animated film

Ricky GervaisWashington, Apr 30 : English comedian Ricky Gervais’ children book series ‘Flanimals’ is set to be converted into a 3-D animation film.

The 47-year-old actor will also lend his voice to the lead character of the film.

The four-volume series, illustrated by Rob Steen, encompasses a world inhabited by 50 species of ugly and misshapen creatures.

Gervais'' character, a pudgy, perspiring purple creature, goes on a mission to change the world.

"It will be great to play a short, fat, sweaty loser for a change. A real stretch," Variety quoted Gervais as saying.

How the brain handles words

What brain activity looks like when one anticipates any actionWashington, Apr 30 : How the brain gives meaning to letters on a page has been a mystery for scientists. Now, a new study has tried to solve the puzzle.

Neuroscientists at Georgetown University Medical Center have found that an area known to be important for reading in the left visual cortex contains neurons that are specialized to process written words as whole word units.

Frustrated and baffled, Republicans don’t know how to counter Obama

Barack ObamaWashington, Apr. 30 : Baffled and frustrated Republicans say they don’t know how to counter or combat President Barack Obama.

“Our base is getting frustrated,” said one top Republican at the Capitol.

Even among other Republicans, the question of how to deal with Obama has lead to mixed messages.

House Republican leaders wrote a letter to Obama this week, praising him for his “call for a new era of bipartisanship in Washington.”

“The GOP is disjointed, because we have no national message machine,” lamented a party official who is privy to the media strategy.

Avian flu study offers insight into swine flu outbreak

FranceWashington, April 30 : A new study examining the mechanisms underlying transmission of combined avian-human viruses has shed light on how virus outbreaks like that of the current swine flu come about.

The study, conducted by University of Maryland researchers, suggests that the ease with which a dangerous avian influenza virus can cause a human flu pandemic may be greater than previously thought.

In his study, associate Professor Daniel Perez from the University of Maryland has shown that after an avian and human-like virus combine, the virus requires relatively few mutations to spread rapidly between mammals by respiratory droplets.

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