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Posts tagged ‘Research’

Israelis Make Progress in Treatment of Brain Diseases.

Dr. Ehud Cohen
Dr. Ehud Cohen (Facebook)

Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in collaboration with the Israeli startup TyrNovo, have made exciting progress in the potential treatment of brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s.

“The researchers found that TyrNovo’s novel and unique compound, named NT219, selectively inhibits the process of aging in order to protect the brain from neurodegenerative diseases, without affecting lifespan,” according to the university website. “This is a first and important step towards the development of future drugs for the treatment of various neurodegenerative maladies.”

This novel compound protects humans from age-onset, neurodegeneration-linked proteotoxicity.

The initial breakthrough was made by Dr. Ehud Cohen of the department of biochemistry and molecular biology at the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada in the university’s faculty of medicine. It occurred when he discovered, working with worms, that reducing the activity of the signaling mechanism conveyed through insulin and the growth hormone IGF1 constituted a defense against the aggregation of the protein that is mechanistically linked with Alzheimer’s disease.

Later, he found that the inhibition of this signaling route also protected Alzheimer’s-model mice from behavioral impairments and pathological phenomena typical to the disease. In these studies, the path was reduced through genetic manipulation, a method not applicable in humans.

Cohen, together with TyrNovo CEO Dr. Hadas Reuveni, professor Alexander Levitzki of the department of biological chemistry at Hebrew University and their research team, demonstrated that NT219 efficiently inhibits IGF1 signaling in both worms and human cells. The inhibition of this signaling pathway by NT219 protected worms from toxic protein aggregation that in humans is associated with the development of Alzheimer’s or Huntington’s disease.

The doctors “have filed a patent application that protects the use of NT219 as a treatment for neurodegenerative maladies through Yissum, the technology transfer company of the Hebrew University,” the site continues. “Dr. Gil Pogozelich, chairman of Goldman Hirsh Partners Ltd., which holds the controlling interest in TyrNovo, says that he sees great importance in the cooperation on this project with the University, and that TyrNovo represents a good example of how scientific and research initiatives can further health care together with economic benefits.”

Cohen’s laboratory “obtained an ethical approval to test the therapeutic efficiency of NT219 as a treatment in Alzheimer’s-model mice, hoping to develop a future treatment for hitherto incurable neurodegenerative disorders.”

Cohen says, “At this point, it looks like a promising step in a totally new direction, in which research has been done in the field for less than a decade.”

The Israeli Ha’aretz reports, “The findings of the study, funded by the British Rosetrees Trust, and published recently in the journal Aging Cell, reinforces the claim that blocking the signaling pathway of insulin and the growth hormone IGF1, a pathway known to be a central controller of the aging process in worms and mammals, can potentially be used as a treatment for degenerative brain diseases.”

For the original article, visit


CDC: Armed Victims Less Likely to be Harmed by Attackers.

A $10 million government report on gun violence ordered by President Barack Obama has concluded that people who are armed are less likely to be harmed by their attackers.

President Barack Obama issued an executive order in January calling for the report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Recent, highly publicized, tragic mass shootings in Newtown, Conn.; Aurora, Colo..; Oak Creek, Wisc. and Tucson, Ariz., have sharpened the American public’s interest in protecting our children and communities from the harmful effects of firearm violence,” according to the report.

The document — “Priorities For Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence” — reports “studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (i.e., incidents in which a gun was ‘used’ by the crime victim in the sense of attacking or threatening an offender) have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies.”

An article published in the NRA News said “If the president was looking to the CDC report for support on how to reduce the threat of firearm-related violence through legislation restricting the rights of American citizens, he was sorely disappointed.”

The report also noted that most firearm violence does not result in death.

In 2010, for example, some 105,000 Americans where injured or killed by guns, but more than two times as many suffered nonfatal wounds as those who were killed.

Most deaths from guns were the result of suicide, not homicide.

“Between the years 2000 and 2010, firearm-related suicides significantly outnumbered homicides for all age groups, annually accounting for 61 percent of the more than 335,600 people who died from firearm-related violence in the United States,” the report said.

The report also noted that most felons get their guns from what researchers described as “informal sources,” and that stolen guns account for a small percentage of those used by convicted criminals.

“Whether gun restrictions reduce firearm-related violence is an unresolved issue,” the report said.

Researchers said that it was still unclear whether passage of right-to-carry laws decrease or increase violent crime and that “gun turn-in programs are ineffective.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Greg Richter

Why We Must Talk about Faith at Home.

Why We Must Talk about Faith at Home

One of our most exciting research projects at the Fuller Youth Institute is our College Transition Project, a culmination of 5 years of study of 500 youth group kids as they transition to college.  The goals of this research are to study youth group graduates as they leave youth ministry and to offer help to parents, leaders and churches in building a faith that lasts, or “Sticky Faith”.  In the midst of a host of factors that help develop Sticky Faith, some of our most intriguing findings point to the role of parents and family conversations about faith.

Reason #1:  Parents are usually the most important spiritual influence in their kids’ lives. 

While we believe in the power of adult mentoring (we are both youth ministry volunteers at our respective churches), it’s challenging to point to a Sticky Faith factor that is more significant than students’ parents.

Following his nationwide telephone survey of 3,290 teens and their parents, as well as 250 in-depth interviews, sociologist Dr. Christian Smith concluded, “Most teenagers and their parents may not realize it, but a lot of research in the sociology of religion suggests that the most important social influence in shaping young people’s religious lives is the religious life modeled and taught to them by their parents.”[1]

As Smith more simply summarized at a panel at Fuller Seminary, “When it comes to kids’ faith, parents get what they are.”[2]

Of course there are exceptions.  Your own faith might be vastly different than your parents’.  Plus we’ve met plenty of parents whose kids end up all over the faith spectrum.  But parents are more than an initial launch pad for their kids’ journeys; they continue to shape them as ongoing companions and guides.

Reason #2:  Most parents miss out on opportunities to talk about faith with their kids. 

At Fuller Seminary, we have great respect and affection for the Search Institute, a research center devoted to helping make communities a better place for kids.   According to Search’s nationwide study,12% of youth have a regular dialog with their mom on faith/life issues.[3]  In other words, one out of eight kids talks with their mom about their faith.

It’s far lower for dads.  One out of twenty, or 5%, of kids have regular faith/life conversations with their dad.

One more interesting statistic:  Approximately 9% of teenagers engage in regular Bible reading and devotions with their families.  So not even one out of ten teenagers looks at Scripture with their parents.  When it comes to matters of faith, mum’s usually the word at home.

Reason #3:  The best discussions about faith happen not just when parents ask questions but when parents share their own experiences too. 

That relatively small group of parents who do talk with their kids about faith tend to default to asking their kids questions.

  • What did you talk about in church today?
  • How was youth group?
  • What did you think of the sermon?
  • Depending on the personality and mood of the kid, responses usually range from grunts to “the usual”.  Not very satisfying for the parent or the kid.

Our research shows that asking these questions can pay off.  But as vital to Sticky Faith is that parents also share about their own faith.

In other words, parents shouldn’t merely interview their kids; they need to discuss their own faith journey and all of its ups and downs too.

How Can I Help Parents Talk About Faith in the Midst of Normal Life?

While the average age of youth leaders is on the rise, many of you are likely not yet parents.  Or if you are parents, your kids are not yet teenagers, which is true of both of us.

Like you, one of the great benefits of our experience in youth ministry is the hundreds of families we have closely observed.  Regardless of your age or life stage, one of the best ways to cast a vision in your ministry for family faith discussions is to share stories of other innovative parents—either stories of parents in your ministry or stories of parents like those below. During the course of our research, our FYI team has been continually impressed with parents’ creativity in planting that same DNA in their own families.  In most cases, parents are simply weaving faith conversations through the everyday events of life (i.e., you’re going to have breakfast anyway, right?).

Breakfast Dates

One member of our team, Dr. Cheryl Crawford, talked with one dad of four daughters who took each of them out for a one-on-one breakfast date every week.  Yes, that’s four breakfast dates every week.  And he did that with them throughout middle school and high school.

Dinner Questions

On nights our (Kara’s) family has dinner together, we have a tradition of sharing our “highs” and “lows” of the day.  Because of what we’ve learned about Sticky Faith, we’ve added a third question: how did you see God at work today?

The first time we added that question to our conversation, our seven year-old said quickly, “But I can’t answer that question.”

“Why not?” I asked.

“Because I don’t have a job.”

Once we explained that we meant, “How did you see God working today?” she realized she could be part of the discussion.

Often our kids don’t have an answer to that question, and that’s OK.  In fact, more important than the kids answering that question is that they hear Dave and me answer that question every day.

By Dr. Kara E. Powell, Author

Dr. Kara E. Powell is executive director at Fuller Youth Institute and a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary. She is the co-author of Sticky Faith: Everyday Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Your KidSeries (Zondervan, Sept. 2011). Dr. Powell has also authored or co-authored several books, includingEssential Leadership, Deep Justice in a Broken World, and Help! I’m a Woman in Youth Ministry. She is the general editor for The Fuller Youth Institute E-Journal and regularly speaks at conferences and seminars. She lives with her husband and three children in Pasadena, California.

Dr. Chapman “Chap” Clark is Vice Provost for Regional Campuses and Masters Programs and Professor of Youth, Family, and Culture at Fuller Theological Seminary. Chap’s extensive publication of books, articles and videos focus primarily on relationships. Among his many books are Hurt 2.0, When Kids Hurt, Disconnected: Parenting Teens in a MySpace World (co-authored with his wife, Dee), and Deep Justice in a Broken World. He is the co-author of Sticky Faith: Everyday Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Your KidSeries (Zondervan, Sept. 2011). Chap and Dee currently live in Gig Harbor, Washington.

[1] Christian Smith with Melinda Lundquist Denton, Soul Searching:  The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers (New York:  Oxford Press, 2005), 56.

[2] Listen to the “Soul Searching” panel discussion from March 2008 at the FYI website:

[3] Search describes their study of 11,000 teenagers from 561 congregations across 6 denominations in the Search Institute research report, Effective Christian Education:  A National Study of Protestant Congregations, 1990.

Sleep Plays a Key Role in Memory, Learning.

Having a hard time remembering things? It could be you just need to catch up on your sleep, new research suggests.

Sleep specialists with the University of Chicago have found that sleep plays an important role in the brain’s ability to learn and remember things, particularly when two new potentially competing tasks are acquired in the same day.

While past research has shown sleep is important for learning a new skill, the new study shows learning a second one can undermine the previously learned task, but that a good night’s sleep helps the brain retain both new memories.

“The study demonstrates that sleep restores performance and makes learning robust against interference encountered after sleep,” said researcher Howard Nusbaum, a professor of psychology and a leading expert on learning who helped lead the study published online in the journal Psychological Science. “This process is critical to the formation and stability of long-term memories.”

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The findings are based on a study of starlings‘ ability to recognize and remember new songs. The researchers said the findings are relevant to human memories because of fundamental biological similarities between birds’ and mammals’ brains.

For the study, the researchers conducted two experiments using 24 starlings that were played two recorded songs and then tested for their ability to recognize and repeat them. Afterward, the birds were trained to recognize and perform a different pair of songs.

In their experiments, the authors examined the effect of sleep on the consolidation of starlings’ memories. The results showed that when the starlings were allowed to sleep after learning both sets of songs, they were better able to perform both pairs of tunes, suggesting that sleep consolidation enhances their memory.

© 2013 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

By Nick Tate

Living growing lives…


“For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, fix your minds on them.”
– Philippians 4:8

The growing mind deals with the reality that God meant for everybody to expand, to be better, to grow, to be the persons he wants to develop. You were built to grow. You were built to expand. Yet, some people never expand. They never grow.

The average lifespan of people in the world today is close to 70 and many live past 100. However, the number of years lived doesn’t necessarily indicate a growing life. It can actually indicate years of repetition of the same conflicts, the same stuck-ness, the same struggles, the same patterns.

That was never God’s intent for our lives. He wants us to live growing lives. And the growing life is just like regularly working out. Just like working out, if you don’t use your brain, you lose it. Just as you challenge your muscles in the gym, you have to challenge your brain. You have to push your brain to do things it now can’t do. Learning a new language is a way to do that. Or, taking a course, gaining some ability, or completing some training you’ve never had before. Or, you can play competitive mental game like chess.

We must get out of the patterns of the “same old, same old,” and challenge ourselves in a hobby, a course, something that pushes our brains, and our brains will respond to it. You can be doing this at 20, you can be doing this at 80, and it makes a difference in your growing brain.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me not to take my mind for granted. Like my entire body, help me to keep it healthy and strong. Amen.

Devotion: Of the brain-strengthening suggestions mentioned above, which one would best apply to you?.

By John Townsend, Crystal Cathedral Guest Pastor

Losing sleep and pain tolerance.

A man sleeping.A man sleeping.
| credits:

Chronic sleep loss has many downsides, among them weight gain, depression and irritability. But now scientists have found a new one: It also weakens your tolerance for pain.

In recent studies, researchers have shown that losing sleep may disrupt the body’s pain signaling system, heightening sensitivity to painful stimuli. Although it is not clear why, one theory is that sleep loss increases inflammation throughout the body. Catching up on sleep if you are behind may reduce inflammation.

Scientists believe this could have implications for people with chronic pain. It could also have an impact on the effects of painkillers, which appear to be blunted after chronic sleep loss.

In one study published in the journal Sleep, scientists at the sleep disorders and research center at Henry FordHospital in Detroit recruited 18 healthy adults and split them into two groups. One was allowed to sleep for an average of nine hours, while the other averaged two fewer hours of sleep each night.

To assess pain thresholds, the researchers measured how long the subjects were able to hold a finger to a source of radiant heat. After four nights, the group that was allowed to sleep the longest was able to withstand the painful stimuli much longer, by about 25 percent on average.

Several previous studies have had similar findings, including one in 2006 that showed that one night of cutting sleep in half could significantly reduce a person’s threshold for physical pain.

Disturbed sleep is a key complaint of people experiencing acute and chronic pain,” one report concluded. “These two vital functions, sleep and pain, interact in complex ways that ultimately impact the biological and behavioral capacity of the individual.”

Chronic sleep loss appears to lower tolerance for pain, although it’s not clear why.

New York Times News Service



When Women Don’t Speak Up.

Women who are outnumbered by men in a group are less likely to speak their mind.  In fact, new research has found that women speak 75 percent less than men when in such a setting.

To prove this, Chris Karpowitz, the lead study author and a political scientist at Brigham Young University, and Tali Mendelberg, study co-author and a professor at Princeton, observed how groups  discussed how to distribute money earned from a hypothetical task. The researchers had participants vote by secret ballot with half the groups following a majority vote and the other half following a unanimous vote.

“Women have something unique and important to add to the group, and that’s being lost at least under some circumstances,” Karpowitz said. “When women participated more, they brought unique and helpful perspectives to the issue under discussion. We’re not just losing the voice of someone who would say the same things as everybody else in the conversation.”

[10 Businesses You Didn’t Know Were Started by Women]

When voting by majority decision, women deferred speaking if outnumbered by men in a group.  However, when voting unanimously, the researchers found that women were much more vocal , suggesting that consensus building was empowering for outnumbered women. The researchers also found that groups arrived at different decisions when women did participate. These findings, however, are not simply limited to business settings.

“In school boards, governing boards of organizations and firms, and legislative committees, women are often a minority of members and the group uses majority rule to make its decisions,” Mendelberg said. “These settings will produce a dramatic inequality in women’s floor time and in many other ways. Women are less likely to be viewed and to view themselves as influential in the group and to feel that their ‘voice is heard.'”

The research was published by American Political Science Review, an academic journal specializing in political science. The researchers observed 94 groups of at least five people.

This story was provided by BusinessNewsDaily, a sister site to LiveScience. Follow David Mielachon Twitter @D_M89 or BusinessNewsDaily @bndarticles. We’re also on Facebook & Google+.

Copyright 2012 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


By David Mielach, BusinessNewsDaily Staff Writer |

Giant Viruses Are Ancient Living Organisms, Study Suggests.


Researchers have debated whether viruses, which have genes but no cellular structure, should be considered forms of life. A new study suggests they should, showing that giant viruses have some of the most ancient protein structures found in all organisms on the planet.

The researchers conducted a census of all the protein folds occurring in more than 1,000 organisms in the three traditional branches on the tree of life — bacteria, microbes known as archaea and eukaryotes. Giant viruses, which are considered “giant” based on the size of their genomes, also were included in the study because they are large and complex, with genomes rivaling some bacteria, University of Illinois researcher Gustavo Caetano-Anollés said in a statement.

For instance, the ocean’s largest virus, a giant virus called CroV, has genes that let it repair itsgenome, make sugars and gain more control over the very machinery the virus hijacks in host cells to replicate itself. (Since viruses are essentially DNA wrapped in a protein coat, they need the goods of a host to replicate themselves.)

Caetano-Anollés said his team looked at protein folds instead of genetic sequences because these structural features are like molecular fossils that are more stable over time. They assumed the folds that appear more often and in more groups are the most ancient structures.

“Just like paleontologists, we look at the parts of the system and how they change over time,” Caetano-Anollés said.

They found that many of the most ancient protein folds in living organisms were present in the giant viruses, which “offers more evidence that viruses are embedded in the fabric of life,” Caetano-Anollés said. The tree his team created had four clear branches, each representing a distinct “supergroup” — bacteria, archaea, eukaryotes and giant viruses.

The researchers said the study, which was published in the journal BMC Evolutionary Biology, also bolsters claims that giant viruses were once much more complex than they are now. A dramatic decline in their genomes over time likely reduced them to their current parasitic lifestyle, Caetano-Anollés said.

Follow LiveScience on Twitter @livescience. We’re also on Facebook & Google+.

Copyright 2012 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

By LiveScience Staff |

Gay Agenda Loses Battle Against Same-Sex Study Author.

Mark Regnerus
Mark Regnerus (Mark Regnerus)

Homosexual activists may have thought they had a University of Texas at Austin professor pinned. But Professor Mark Regnerus has been cleared of alleged “scientific misconduct” in his research study that shows the harmful effects of same-sex relationshipson kids.

Specifically, Regnerus found kids raised by gay parents, particularly lesbian parents, turned out worse socially, emotionally and in relationships than children who had married, heterosexual parents.

“America’s universities should always serve as truth-seeking, free marketplaces of ideas,” says Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Legal Counsel David Hacker. “Disagreeing with a study’s conclusions is not grounds for allegations of scientific misconduct; therefore, we are not surprised that those accusations were found to be baseless.”

The New Family Structures Study suggests that differences exist in outcomes for young adults raised in various environments with different family experiences. University of Texas-Austin conducted an official inquiry after activist blogger Scott Rosensweig (who goes by “Scott Rose”) accused Regnerus of scientific misconduct in the study and in how the results were reported in a scientific article about the study’s findings. Because the inquiry found the allegations to be unsubstantiated, UT-Austin says it will not conduct a formal investigation.

A UT-Austin memorandum stating the inquiry’s findings concludes that “Professor Regnerus did not commit scientific misconduct when designing, executing and reporting the research reported in theSocial Science Research article. None of the allegations of scientific misconduct put forth by Mr. Rose were substantiated either by the physical data, written materials, or by information provided during the interviews. Several of the allegations were beyond the purview of the inquiry.”

The memorandum says Rosensweig “inferred that there must be scientific misconduct. However, there is no evidence to support that inference.”



Sleep Deprivation & Stress Both Activate Immune System.

Missing a night’s sleep has the same effect on the immune system as experiencing physical stress, a new study from the Netherlands finds.

In the study, men who were kept continuously awake for 29 hours showed an increase in levels of white blood cells called granulocytes. And while levels of these white blood cells usually go through vary throughout a normal day, this rhythm was lost during sleep deprivation, the researchers said.

Sleep deprivation is known to be associated with the development of obesity, and with chronic diseases, such as diabetes and breast cancer. Further research is needed to understand how changes in the immune system may influence the development of these diseases, the researchers said.

Because the study was small, future research is needed to confirm the results.

The researchers compared the white blood cell counts of 15 healthy young men under normal and severely sleep-deprived conditions. During the study, blood samples were collected every three hours for a 48-hour period.

The study is published today (June 30) in the journal Sleep.

Pass it on:  Sleep deprivation and physical stress generate similar responses from the immune system.


LiveScience.comBy MyHealthNewsDaily Staff | 

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