Hypertension: Europe Reins In The Smoking Habit

The Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases has announced its intention to release a Request for Applications (RFA) on Implementation Research on Hypertension in Low and Middle Income Countries

A study led by the Smoking Control Unit of the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO) has confirmed that the anti-tobacco laws in Europe have a direct effect on the reduction in consumption and passive exposure to smoke. This conclusion was reached by relating the Tobacco Eurobarometer and the Tobacco Control Scale (TCS).

A new study, published in the magazine Plos One, has confirmed the hypothesis that the greater the restrictions, the lower the consumption and passive exposure to smoke. The study was carried out in the 27 countries of the EU and relates the Eurobarometer survey on tobacco and the Tobacco Control Scale (which takes into account the main measures taken in order to control smoking at international level).

“The countries with the highest score in the TCS apply active control policies and the consumption of tobacco and the proportion of the population exposed to smoke, both at home and in the work place, is more reduced”, explained Esteve FernГЎndez MuГ±oz, co-author of the study and the Head of the Tobacco Control Unit of the ICO to SINC.

In countries such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Malta and Sweden, which score higher on the TCS (that is to say, they adopt stricter controls on smoking), the consumption is “relatively low” -28.8% lower-, as is exposure to smoke -13.8% lower in the home and 23.4% lower in the work place -.

However in the Czech Republic, Germany, Luxembourg, Greece and Austria, where there are fewer control measures, smoking is “relatively high” – more than 30%-, as well as the exposure to smoke – between 15% and 30% in the home and between 15% and 36% in the work place -.

Progressively more measures in Spain

FernГЎndez MuГ±oz pointed out that the reform of Law 28/2005 on health care measures concerning smoking, which came into force yesterday, “is an example of the very important progress in the control of smoking and means the abolition of the ‘Spanish model’ of supposed tolerance”.

Although Spain scores high on the TCS, there are some aspects in which its score is low, such as the price of tobacco. He assured us that, “It is one of the countries in Europe with the cheapest prices”.

“It has been demonstrated that increasing the price of tobacco is the most effective measure for controlling smoking (30 points out of 100 on the TCS scale) as compared with other action, such as, treatment to quit smoking (10 points on the TCS)”, ponnted out the researcher.

The experts forecast that these measures will reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease in the short and medium-term, as well as the incidence of cancer, mainly lung cancer, in the long-term. In Spain, passive exposure to smoke leads to between 1,200 and 3,200 deaths per year due to lung cancer and heart attacks.

References:

Jose M. MartГ­nez SГЎnchez, Esteve FernГЎndez, Marcela Fu, Silvano Gallus, Cristina MartГ­nez, Xisca Sureda, Carlo La Vecchia, Luke Clancy. “Smoking Behaviour, Involuntary Smoking, Attitudes towards Smoke-Free Legislations, and Tobacco Control Activities in the European Union”. Plos One 5 (11): e13881, noviembre 2010.

Source:
SINC

FECYT – Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology

Need For Biopsies May Be Reduced By Biomarkers

Data presented at this week’s 28th Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions of the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT) suggest the potential of a significant impact of using biomarkers to reduce the need for biopsies and personalize transplant patient care. Non-invasive testing using gene-based blood or urine samples called biomarkers could offer transplant patients personalized care and medication and may replace the need for costly, invasive biopsy procedures that can be risky for patients. The meeting will run through Saturday at the Boston Marriott Copley Place and Hynes Convention Center.

Personalized care is an integrative process of tailoring care to an individual patient’s characteristics or preferences, based on each individual’s unique biology, behavior and environment. At this year’s meeting, researchers are presenting data from gene and protein based blood testing that may be helpful for reducing immunosuppression. Related data suggests gene analysis may allow for prediction of future occurrence of cardiac allograft rejection and its diagnosis.

FEATURED DISCUSSION

Today’s plenary lectures provide current perspectives on biomarkers in transplantation. In Biomarkers: What Are They? How Might They Aid in Care of Allograft Recipients and Other Patients? Christopher J. O’Donnell, MD, MPH, from NIH National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute/Framingham Heart Study, Framingham, MA, will present data pertaining to personalized care, its benefits and future impact on heart and lung patients.

Following, Dr. Christoph Borchers, Director of the Genome Canada Proteomics Platform at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, will provide a look at the emerging strategies for plasma protein analysis in New Tools, Technologies and Results for Probing Proteomic Biomarkers in Plasma of Transplant Patients.

Finally, Dr. Ralph Weissleder from Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard will discuss Imaging Biomarkers: New Horizons and Opportunities in Transplantation, and will share the latest information on imaging biomarkers and how advanced imaging techniques may soon help in the management of transplant patients. Three related biomarker abstracts are also slated for presentation during the session.

“In recent years, there has been an intensive focus on enhancing our ability to provide the most particular predictive, diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic guidance for patients. This intent has been enabled by unbiased and targeted examination of genotypes and haplotypes that may convey risk or protection against certain disease processes like immune rejection, as well as by defining the molecular signatures of a disease process like rejection by measuring mRNA, proteins or metabolites in the blood or urine. Distillation of such data, along with clinical features, is intended to improve care, reduce costs, and make patients lives more enjoyable,” said Bruce McManus, MD, PhD, University of British Columbia, one of the Co-Chairs for the biomarkers plenary session.

Until recently, heart muscle biopsy was the only method available to rule out heart transplant rejection and guide treatment with anti-rejection, or immunosuppressive, therapy. Aside from the invasive and painful nature of the procedure, a biopsy is only able to detect rejection after damage has already occurred to the heart tissue. Similar dilemmas exist in the monitoring of lung transplant recipients.

Alternatively, non-invasive molecular testing of a routine blood sample allows analysis of gene expression in white blood cells, proteins in the plasma, and metabolites in blood and urine. The latter biomarkers provide information on the immune, inflammatory and injury status of the transplanted heart before tissue damage occurs. The new and original information on biomarkers and personalized care in lectures given at ISHLT will offer a deeper knowledge of this innovative direction that is revolutionizing health care. The discussion will also raise awareness of alternatives to biopsy procedures that are on the horizon.

###

About ISHLT

The International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the science and treatment of end-stage heart and lung diseases. Created in 1981, the society now includes more than 3,000 members from more than 45 countries, representing a variety of disciplines involved in the management and treatment of end-stage heart and lung disease.

ISHLT maintains two vital databases. The International Heart and Lung Transplant Registry is a one-of-a-kind registry that has been collecting data since 1983 from 223 hospitals from 18 countries. The ISHLT Mechanical Circulatory Device (MCSD) database has been collecting data since 2002 with the aim of identifying patient populations who may benefit from MCSD implantation; generating predictive models for outcomes; and assessing the mechanical and biological reliability of current and future devices. In fall 2006, ISHLT released the first international guidelines for heart failure patient management. For more information, visit ishlt/.

Source: Lauren Mason

International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation

International Eppendorf-Science Award Won By BCM Neuroscientist

Memories turned on and off with a flick of a switch – the idea is the basis for the award winning research of Dr. Mauro Costa-Mattioli, assistant professor of neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

Costa-Mattioli is being honored with the prestigious Eppendorf and Science Prize for Neurobiology for his work identifying a single molecule that when modified can affect memory.

His findings are outlined in his winning essay titled “Switching memories ON and OFF” that can be found in the current publication of Science.

“This is certainly one of the first steps to one day being able to help those suffering from age-related memory loss or even the more devastating memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s disease,” Costa-Mattioli said. “It is imperative to understand how the brain’s basic molecular processes function to generate corresponding insights in cognitive disorders.”

It is well known that making long-lasting memories is dependent on the ability of brain cells to create new proteins. Costa-Mattioli found that by reducing activity of a key protein called translation initiation factor 2 alpha, eiF2О±, the expression of genes and proteins needed for the formation of a long-lasting memory is increased. Costa-Mattioli and colleagues genetically reduced eiF2О± activity in mice. The test mice were then tested in a variety of behavioral paradigms. For instance, to study spatial memory, which underlie our ability to remember people, events and a particular environment; mice were trained in the Morris Water. In this task, mice swimming in a pool of opaque water search for a submerged platform. The mice used visual cues that are placed on the walls of the room to remember the location of the platform.

The mice with reduced activity of eiF2О± were able to find the platform significantly faster than the average mice.

“Unlike normal mice, mice with decreased eIF2О± activity knew exactly where the platform was located and swam straight towards it,” he said.

Researchers also looked at the strength of the connections between neurons, called synapse, what is believed to be a “cellular model” to study learning and memory. Usually weak stimulation elicits a short lasting response or a transient enhancement of such synaptic connections, while strong or repeated activity triggers a long-lasting persistent enhancement of the strength of synaptic connections. Strikingly, in the test mice weak stimulation induced longer lasting strengthening of the synaptic connections between neurons, indicating that a short exposure to a given experience created long term memories.

“It usually takes several attempts to memorize a passage of a textbook, practice makes it perfect” Costa-Mattioli said. “A human equivalent of these mice would get the information if he reads it just once.”

An important aspect of Costa-Mattioli’s studies is that treatment of mice with a drug which increases the activity of eIF2О± block the formation of long-lasting changes and long-term memory.

“The ability to erase specific memories would be crucial in the treatment of patients suffering from traumatic memories such as post-traumantic stress disorder,” he said.

Dr. Michael Friedlander, chair of the department of neuroscience at BCM and the director of Neuroscience Initiatives at the College, said, “We are extremely fortunate to have recruited Dr. Costa-Mattioli to BCM. His recent discoveries on the role of specific protein synthesis in the conversion of short-term to long-term memories have dramatically re-awakened the world neuroscience community’s interest in this critical molecular process. These new insights will drive experimental innovation in basic neurobiology of memory and diseases such as Alzheimer’s that rob us of this most precious function.”

Costa-Mattioli’s recruitment to Houston was supported by the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation. He joins a growing memory research community in the Department of Neuroscience and in the new Mitchell Center for Brain Aging and Dementia and the Center for Memory and Learning at BCM.

Costa-Mattioli’s studies were started at McGill University in Canada in the laboratory of Nahum Sonenberg.

###

The Eppendorf and Science Prize for Neurobiology acknowledges the role of neurobiology in advancing our understanding of the functioning of the brain and the nervous system. It is awarded annually for the most outstanding neurobiological research by a young scientist.

The award ceremony will be held in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 16.

The embargo lifts the essay can be found at sciencemag/.

For more information on basic science research at Baylor College of Medicine, please go to bcm.edu/fromthelab.

Source: Graciela Gutierrez

Baylor College of Medicine

WomenHeart Urges Women To Talk With Doctors About New Study Showing Statins Prevent Heart Attacks, Deaths

WomenHeart urged
women to talk with their doctors about heart disease risk factors in light
of new research demonstrating the impact of statin therapy
(cholesterol-lowering drugs) on cardiovascular events in women. The study,
called JUPITER, found that statin therapy prevents heart attacks, strokes
and deaths in women – even those with normal cholesterol levels and no
signs of heart disease.

“These new findings underscore the importance that women know their
risk factors and ask their doctors what can be done to reduce them,” said
Lisa M. Tate, chief executive officer of WomenHeart: The National Coalition
for Women with Heart Disease. “Heart disease is the number one killer of
women, and about 500,000 die from it every year.”

Presented at the American Heart Association’s annual scientific
meeting, the study found substantial reductions in deaths, strokes and
heart attacks among patients taking statins. The study of nearly 18,000
patients – 38 percent of whom were women – may be the first study to
demonstrate that statins prevent first heart attacks in women.

The study found that rosuvastatin (a potent statin) prevented heart
attacks, strokes or death in people who had normal levels of LDL – or bad
cholesterol, but high levels of a marker called C-reactive protein (CRP).
This protein measures inflammation in the arteries, a condition that could
lead to a heart attack. Both LDL cholesterol and CRP were significantly
reduced with treatment.

While these findings could help save thousands of lives, Tate urges
women to proceed with caution when considering making any changes to their
heart health regimen and to be as informed as possible about their choices.

WomenHeart’s Scientific Advisory Council wants women to know…

— Statins are in a powerful class of drugs shown to reduce a person’s
risk for heart disease and stroke.

— Women known to be at risk may already be taking this medication as part
of their heart health regimen.

— Like any drug, there are pros and cons to taking anything long term. It
is vitally important that women, who are not currently on a statin
regimen, talk with their doctor about what is right for them.

— Discuss with your doctor whether you should have your C-reactive protein
(CRP) measured.

— Undoubtedly, much information will be forthcoming from many sources
about the JUPITER study (crphealth/home/hcp). It is
important to stay with credible sources of health and medical
information. Women should be cautious and consult their physicians
before making any changes to their heart health regimens.

WomenHeart is the only national, patient-centered organization
dedicated to advancing women’s heart health through advocacy, community
education and patient support. A nonprofit advocacy organization,
WomenHeart is a community of women heart patients and their families,
health care providers, advocates and consumers committed to helping women
live longer, healthier lives.

Visit WomenHeart’s Web site at womenheart.

WomenHeart
womenheart

When To Perform Bone Scan In Patients With Newly Diagnosed Prostate Cancer: Validation Of Available Guidelines, Risk Stratification Tool Proposal

UroToday – Prostate cancer (CaP) patients often undergo a routine bone scan as part of their metastatic evaluation at the time of diagnosis. Most consensus recommendations suggest obtaining bone scans only in patients with risk characteristics suggesting reasonable utility for this test. However, according to a paper by Dr. Alberto Briganti and colleagues in an online publication in European Urology these guidelines are neither based upon contemporary patient cohorts nor have they been externally validated. These investigators sought to externally validate and test the performance characteristics of the current EAU, AUA, AJCC, and NCCN recommendations on the need for baseline staging bone scans in a large cohort of men with newly diagnosed CaP.

Between 2003 and 2008, 853 consecutive patients with newly diagnosed CaP had complete clinical and pathological data available for interpretation. All patients were also staged with Tc 99m MDP scintigraphy performed regardless of risk characteristics. Uni- and multivariate analysis was performed and the area under the curve (AUC) was estimated in the context of the various recommendations. In general, most of the recommended guidelines suggest a bone scan for patients with a Gleason score >7, a PSA >20ng/ml, or clinical stage T3-4 disease.

The baseline bone scan was negative in 81.5% of the 853 patients and in the remaining 158 it was unequivocally positive in 18 men or equivocal in 140. Further evaluation of the equivocal findings by MRI or CT confirmed the presence of bone metastasis in 6 patients (4.3%) and excluded bone metastasis in the remaining 136 (95.7%). In sum, 24 of 853 men (2.8%) had confirmed bone metastasis. In multivariate analysis, PSA at diagnosis, clinical stage, and biopsy Gleason score were the only independent predictors of bone metastasis. The rate of bone metastasis in patients according to guideline recommendations ranged from 12.7-15.3% compared with 0.7-0.9% in the remaining patients. In patients with Gleason score

Removal Of Uterus Increases Risk Of Urinary Incontinence

Researchers at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet have shown that hysterectomy a common operation involving the removal of the uterus greatly increases the risk of urinary incontinence. Their results, which come from a nationwide study, are presented in The Lancet.

Hysterectomy is the most common gynaecological abdominal operation in the world. It is normally performed as a cure for benign medical problems in order to improve life quality for the patients. However, the long-term effects are largely unknown, and it has long been suspected that the operation increases the risk of developing urinary incontinence, in many respects a very disabling condition that affects hundreds of thousands of women in Sweden.

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have now shown that women who have had a hysterectomy are more than twice as likely to undergo surgery for urinary incontinence as women with intact uteri.

“It’s important that gynaecologists take this into account ahead of a hysterectomy, and the patients should themselves be aware of the greater risk the operation entails, particularly if they belong to a high-risk group,” says Daniel Altman, gynaecologist and one of the researchers behind the study.

The highest likelihood of incontinence surgery was noted within five years of the removal of the uterus, but the higher risk remains throughout the patients’ lives. The risk increased most for women who had a hysterectomy before their menopause or after having undergone several deliveries.

The study was based on analyses of patient registers for the years 1973 to 2003, and incorporated over 165,000 women who have had hysterectomies and almost 479,000 women who have not.

KAROLINSKA INSTITUTET
SE-171 77 Stockholm
ki.se

SUFU 2008 Winter Meeting Highlights Of The Overactive Bladder Podium Session

UroToday – Podium #17: The authors presented their results comparing the efficacy of different injection volumes, namely 01.cc, 0.5 cc, and 1.0 cc, of botulinum toxin type A (BTX-A) in patients with OAB. All three injection groups demonstrated significant symptom improvement at 8 weeks after treatment, which persisted in the 0.1cc and 1.0cc groups at 6 months.

All three groups also had significant improvement in urodynamic findings at 8 weeks after treatment compared to pre-operative evaluation.

Moderated by: R. Duane Cespedes, MD and Sandip P. Vasavada, MD at the Society for Urodynamics and Female Urology (SUFU) 2008 Winter Meeting – February 28 – March 2, 2008 Miami, Florida, USA

Reported for UroToday by Kathleen C. Kobashi, MD, Head, Section of Urology and Renal Transplantation, Virginia Mason Medical Center

Co-Director Continence Center, Virginia Mason Medical Center Clinical Associate Professor of Urology, University of Washington

UroToday – the only urology website with original content global urology key opinion leaders actively engaged in clinical practice.

To access the latest urology news releases from UroToday, go to:
www.urotoday

Copyright © 2008 – UroToday

The Strength Of A Female Mate Preference Increases With Predation Risk

Females often encounter predators as they look for mates. Not surprisingly, as predation risk increases, females usually search less and they less often prefer males that use conspicuous signals.

To the contrary, when we experimentally increased predation risk perceived by mate-searching female fiddler crabs, they continued to search and they expressed a stronger preference for males that built conspicuous mud pillars by their burrows, in which crabs mate.

We suggest that the strength of the preference increased with risk because the preference is based on a behavior that helps keep females safe as they search for mates.

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

Proceedings B is the Royal Society’s flagship biological research journal, dedicated to the rapid publication and broad dissemination of high-quality research papers, reviews and comment and reply papers. The scope of journal is diverse and is especially strong in organismal biology.

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

Potential New Strategy To Reduce Catheter Blockage

Bacterial genes that make urine less acidic could be good targets to prevent catheter blockage, according to research presented at the Society for General Microbiology’s Spring Conference in Harrogate. The findings could lead to new strategies to prevent serious infections, particularly in long-term catheterization patients.

Urinary catheters are devices used in hospitals and community care homes to manage a range of bladder conditions, and are commonly used to manage incontinence in elderly individuals for long periods of time. Scientists from the University of Brighton, led by Dr Brian Jones, are looking at the bacterium Proteus mirabilis – a common cause of urinary tract infections in patients undergoing long-term catheterization, which often leads to serious complications.

P. mirabilis cells can stick together on catheter surfaces where they form highly organized communities called biofilms. As the bacterium breaks down urea (using the enzyme urease) it causes the pH of urine to rise, leading to the formation of insoluble crystals which become trapped in the growing biofilm. The crystalline deposits can form a crust on the catheter and may eventually block urine flow from the bladder. If unnoticed, catheter blockage can lead to kidney and bloodstream infections, which ultimately may result in potentially fatal septic shock.

The team is identifying genes involved in P. mirabilis biofilm formation, and assessing their contribution to catheter blockage. The results show that biofilm-forming ability may be less important to catheter blockage than previously thought, and suggest that inhibiting the rise in urinary pH is a primary target for preventing catheter blockage. Nina Holling who is carrying out the research said, “In our experiments we have found biofilm-forming ability not to be the most important factor in catheter blockage. Although biofilm formation does play a role, the ability of P. mirabilis to increase urinary pH and form crystals seems to compensate for deficiencies in biofilm formation. However, much more work is required to fully understand the progression of these infections and biofilm formation may be more important in the early stages of infection.”

Ms Holling explained the significance of the team’s work. “Long-term catheterization is linked with an increased mortality rate among nursing home patients, and effective strategies to control these infections are urgently required,” she said. “A greater understanding of how P. mirabilis forms biofilms and behaves within them will be important in developing such strategies. In the longer term, this would greatly benefit patients undergoing long-term catheterization by eliminating painful recurrent infections, which greatly reduce quality of life. In addition, the financial savings to the NHS would be significant.”

Source:
Laura Udakis

Society for General Microbiology

Link Between Nicotine Addiction And Autism

Scientists have identified a relationship between two proteins in the brain that has links to both nicotine addiction and autism. The finding has led to speculation that existing drugs used to curb nicotine addiction might serve as the basis for potential therapies to alleviate the symptoms of autism.

The discovery identified a defining role for a protein made by the neurexin-1 gene, which is located in brain cells and assists in connecting neurons as part of the brain’s chemical communication system. The neurexin-1 beta protein’s job is to lure another protein, a specific type of nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, to the synapses, where the receptor then has a role in helping neurons communicate signals among themselves and to the rest of the body.

This function is important in autism because previous research has shown that people with autism have a shortage of these nicotinic receptors in their brains. Meanwhile, scientists also know that people who are addicted to nicotine have too many of these receptors in their brains.

“If we were to use drugs that mimic the actions of nicotine at an early time in human brain development, would we begin to help those and other circuits develop properly and thus significantly mitigate the deficits in autism? This is a novel way of thinking about how we might be able to use drugs to approach autism treatment,” said Rene Anand, associate professor of pharmacology in Ohio State University’s College of Medicine and principal investigator of the research.

“It would not be a complete cure, but right now we know very little and have no drugs that tackle the primary causes of autism.”

The drugs in question are known as cholinergic agents, which interact with the brain to counter nicotine addiction. Anand said the medications could be retailored for use in children in an effort to increase the level of neurexin-1 beta protein in the brains of people with autism.

More neurexin would in turn not only enhance the presence of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, but also a host of other proteins that are important for the proper formation and maturation of synapses. Proper synapse function is critical to the nervous system’s ability to connect to and control other systems of the body.

“Now that these associations have been made, we believe that nicotine in smokers’ brains possibly increases the level of neurexin-1 and, as a consequence, helps bring more receptors to the synapses and makes those circuits highly efficient, reinforcing the addiction. In autism, we have the opposite problem. We have a lack of these receptors, and we speculate that neurexin levels are lower,” he said.

Anand presented the research Monday (11/17) at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington, D.C.

“Our research reveals how changes in the functions of neurexin could affect the guidance of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors to their functional destinations in nerve cells, perhaps increasing receptors in tobacco addicts while decreasing them in autistic individuals, thus increasing susceptibility to these devastating neurological disorders.”

Autism symptoms include impaired social interaction, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive or severely limited activities and interests. An estimated three to six of every 1,000 children are diagnosed with autism, and boys are four times more likely than girls to have the disorder, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Anand and colleagues were studying drug abuse and addiction when they discovered the neurexin-1 beta protein’s relationship to a certain type of nicotinic receptor. The timing of the discovery was key, as it built upon two other research groups’ previous observations: The brains of people with autism and other neurological disorders that were examined after their death showed a 60-percent to 70-percent decrease in specific nicotinic receptors, and some patients with autism have mutations in the neurexin-1 gene that suggest the gene’s improper functions could play a role in the disorder.

“These have all been ‘association studies.’ None has been able to prove what causes autism,” Anand said. “And then we accidentally discovered that neurexin-1 and nicotinic receptors tangle. So we knew that there was a genetic link to the process leading to synapse formation, and we had nicotinic receptors that had disappeared in the brains of autistic patients. Our finding filled a gap by saying there is a physical and functional association between these two things occurring in the brain.”

Neurexin has implications for tobacco addicts, as well, Anand said. Yet another group of researchers recently found that people with a mutation in the neurexin-1 gene were more likely to be smokers, meaning changes in the gene’s functions that lead to excess levels of the nicotinic receptors might make people more susceptible to nicotine addiction.

“Our research reveals how changes in the functions of neurexin could affect the guidance of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors to their functional destinations in nerve cells, perhaps increasing receptors in tobacco addicts while decreasing them in autistic individuals, thus increasing susceptibility to these devastating neurological disorders,” Anand said.

The finding also has implications for nicotine addiction because drugs known to alter neurexin’s guidance of nicotinic receptors within nerve cells could be used to suppress tobacco addiction.

###

This work is partially funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, and by an OSU Medical Center Research Day Travel Award.

Coauthors of the study are Stephanie Amici and Susan McKay of Ohio State’s Department of Pharmacology; Shi-Bin Cheng, Xiao-Qin Ren, Magdalen Treuil and Jay Rao of the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans; and Jon Lindstrom of the University of Pennsylvania.

Emily Caldwell

Source: Rene Anand

Ohio State University