Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute discover the normal prion protein may contribute directly to disease
In a surprising twist on a timely topic, scientists at The Scripps Research Institute are presenting evidence that mad cow disease prions cannot kill neurons on their own and that normal, healthy cellular prion protein may be a direct accomplice in unleashing neuronal destruction.
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease, is caused by prions, a misfolded "scrapie" form of the normal cellular protein, which is found on the surface of human, sheep, and cow neurons. Prion infections are also implicated in one form of the same disease in humans, called Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, an incurable condition that causes neurologic abnormalities, dementia, and eventually death.
Jason Bardi | Scripps
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Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.
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University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
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