Researchers at Oxford University’s Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics have located a variant form of a polynucleotide sequence in the MHC region of chromosome 6p and identified its association with an increased secretion of TNF. Potential applications for this discovery include the diagnosis of asthma in patients, or a predisposition to asthma, and a patients’ suitability for treatment with anti-TNF therapy.
Asthma is a disease in which the airways become inflamed leading to blockage and narrowing, with resultant symptoms including wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and tightening of the chest. Asthma sufferers can be of any race, age or sex, and over 17 million people in the United States alone suffer from the disease.
Most asthma is initiated by an IgE mediated allergy (atopy) to inhaled environmental allergens, including pollen, air pollutants and irritants. The susceptibility to asthma is strongly familial, and is due to both genetic and environmental factors. The identification of other genetic factors will lead to further understanding of susceptibility to asthma and an ability to develop a pharmacogenomic approach to treatment, new therapeutic approaches to treat sub-groups of patients who will benefit most from them. Tumour necrosis factor (TNF) is a potent pro-inflammatory cytokine that is found in increased concentrations in asthmatic airways and in lavage fluid from asthmatic lungs.
Jennifer Johnson | alfa
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Researchers at the University of Bayreuth have discovered an unusual material: When cooled down to two degrees Celsius, its crystal structure and electronic properties change abruptly and significantly. In this new state, the distances between iron atoms can be tailored with the help of light beams. This opens up intriguing possibilities for application in the field of information technology. The scientists have presented their discovery in the journal "Angewandte Chemie - International Edition". The new findings are the result of close cooperation with partnering facilities in Augsburg, Dresden, Hamburg, and Moscow.
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The operational speed of semiconductors in various electronic and optoelectronic devices is limited to several gigahertz (a billion oscillations per second). This constrains the upper limit of the operational speed of computing. Now researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg, Germany, and the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay have explained how these processes can be sped up through the use of light waves and defected solid materials.
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Most natural and artificial surfaces are rough: metals and even glasses that appear smooth to the naked eye can look like jagged mountain ranges under the microscope. There is currently no uniform theory about the origin of this roughness despite it being observed on all scales, from the atomic to the tectonic. Scientists suspect that the rough surface is formed by irreversible plastic deformation that occurs in many processes of mechanical machining of components such as milling.
Prof. Dr. Lars Pastewka from the Simulation group at the Department of Microsystems Engineering at the University of Freiburg and his team have simulated such...
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