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Saturday, March 8, 2014

3/8/14 Health News: Strep Bacteria Morphing Into 'Superbug' - Mutation Kills off Gene Responsible for Diabetes - Shape Change Turns Stem Cells Into Fat Cells

Common Strep Bacteria May Be Morphing Into 'Superbug'
Doctors report on antibiotic resistance in two unrelated cases
Doctors warn that a garden-variety type of bacteria, which is normally present in the human intestinal tract, may be morphing into a tough-to-treat superbug. A new report from physicians in New York, New Mexico and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes the cases of two patients with group B streptococcus infections that turned out to be resistant to vancomycin, often considered an antibiotic of last resort. In the past, group B strep infections were relatively easy to subdue because the bacteria were vulnerable to penicillin and other common antibiotics. Continue Reading

Rare Mutation Kills off Gene Responsible for Diabetes
A new study based on genetic testing of 150,000 people has found a rare mutation that protects even fat people from getting Type 2 diabetes. The effect is so pronounced — the mutation reduces risk by two-thirds — that it provides a promising new target for developing a drug to mimic the mutation’s effect. The mutation destroys a gene used by pancreas cells where insulin is made. Those with the mutation seem to make slightly more insulin and have slightly lower blood glucose levels for their entire lives. Continue Reading

Shape Change Turns Stem Cells Into fat Cells, Scientists Find
Japanese scientists have found a method to turn stem cells into fat cells just by changing their shape, which could lead to new treatments for cancer and obesity. A key factor, the scientists said, was MKL1, a protein that serves as the “switch” for various genes in cells. The disassembled actin cytoskeleton became bound to MKL1, causing another protein to deform the linear actin cytoskeleton into a crescent shape. “If we become able to alter the shape of actin cytoskeleton in cancer cells and turn them into fat cells in the future, we may be able to cure cancer,” Continue Reading

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