Oct. 28 - Nov. 1, 2013

International Coverage

‘Mini-neural computer’ in the brain discovered
The Times of India
Scientists have found that dendrites, the branch-like projections of neurons, act as mini-neural computers - actively processing information to multiply the brain's computing power. Dendrites were thought to be passive wiring in the brain but researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with their colleagues have shown that these dendrites do more than relay information from one neuron to the next.

UNC Release: http://news.unchealthcare.org/news/2013/october/unc-neuroscientists-discover-new-2018mini-neural-computer2019-in-the-brain

Related Links: http://www.mumbaimirror.com/others/sci-tech/Neural-computer-found-in-the-brain/articleshow/24853245.cms

National Coverage

Neuroscientists discover new “mini-neural computer” in the brain
Dendrites, the branch-like projections of neurons, were once thought to be passive wiring in the brain. But now researchers at the Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have shown that these dendrites do more than relay information from one neuron to the next. They actively process information, multiplying the brain's computing power. "Suddenly, it's as if the processing power of the brain is much greater than we had originally thought," said Spencer Smith, PhD, an assistant professor in the UNC School of Medicine.

UNC Release: http://news.unchealthcare.org/news/2013/october/unc-neuroscientists-discover-new-2018mini-neural-computer2019-in-the-brain

Related links: http://www.scienceagogo.com/news/20130927205304data_trunc_sys.shtml



Self-directed walking program shows promise in easing joint stiffness in older breast cancer patients
News Medical
A self-directed walking program shows promise in easing joint stiffness in older women who experienced these symptoms while taking aromatase inhibitor therapy for breast cancer, according to research presented this week at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting in San Diego. … Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill conducted a pilot study to assess the potential positive effects of physical activity on joint pain and stiffness in these patients…

HPV Vaccine May Not be as Effective for Black Women
A Black female’s genetic make-up may reduce the effectiveness of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in curbing rates of cervical cancer among that population, according to preliminary findings by researchers at Duke University School of Medicine and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Epidemiology Department.

Major Medical Trials Still Fly Under the Radar
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Five years after Congress required the open publication of the results of human medical trials, to help both patients and researchers, a comprehensive analysis has found widespread noncompliance. … Failure to publish in such cases also "violates an ethical obligation that investigators have toward study participants," Dr. Jones and his co-author, Timothy F. Platts-Mills, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, wrote in their report.

Walking Away From Cancer Rx Stiffness
Daily Rx
After primary treatment, many breast cancer patients are given medicine to keep the disease from returning. Medicines called aromatase inhibitors block the production of estrogen, the hormone that feeds most breast cancers. Side effects of these medications can include joint pain and stiffness.

…Kirsten A. Nyrop, PhD, a research associate with the Thurston Arthritis Research Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, led the pilot study.

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Regional Coverage

The True Cost of Being Thin in Middle Age
WBUR-FM (Boston NPR affiliate)
… a new report from the University of North Carolina has found that a mere 12 per cent of women aged 50 and over are “satisfied” with their body size. The study also found that this small group of “satisfied” women would no longer be happy with their bodies if they gained five pounds — making it clear that “body satisfaction” is incredibly fleeting and fragile.

Happiness, love of serving are in your genes
The Tennessean
A recent study by researchers from the University of North Carolina and University of California noted that different forms of happiness were associated with different gene expression profiles. The study made me think about the entire process of human evolution and how we continue to evolve in a quite progressive manner.

Dr. Frank H. Boehm is professor and vice chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Promising new therapy in a smaller package
R&D Magazine
Microbeam radiation therapy (MRT) provides tremendous promise for cancer patients through its ability to destroy tumor cells while protecting surrounding healthy tissue. Yet research into its clinical use has been limited by the sheer size of the technology required to generate the beams. Until now, administering MRT required massive electron accelerators known as synchrotrons. But with a new microbeam emitter developed at the Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the technology has been scaled down, opening the doors for clinical research.

State & Local Coverage

Theory questions RNA-only evolution of complex organisms
Charlotte Observer
The origins of life on Earth, and how single cells evolved into complex organisms such as humans, is a hotly debated topic among scientists and academics. … In the paper, Charles Carter Jr., professor of biochemistry and biophysics at UNC-Chapel Hill, and his colleagues show how two enzymes they call “urzymes” may have helped RNA molecules replicate, beginning the evolution of life as we know it.

$150,000 Raised for Cancer Research At Roy’s ‘Fast Break’
Head Coach Roy Williams hosted his eighth annual Fast Break Against Cancer Friday morning in the Dean Dome. The breakfast event was highlighted by a live auction ran by legendary Tar Heel radio voice Woody Durham. A grand total of $33,000 was raised for the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center…

A health care revolution is occurring in N.C., according to Blue Cross and Blue Shield executive
University News – Appalachian State University
The insurance company has partnered with the UNC Healthcare System to implement a model of health care delivery called Carolinas Advanced Health (CAH) that brings together medical professionals including doctors, physician assistants, nurses, nutritionists and case managers who put the patient at the center of a team. “It’s a one-stop shop and it’s getting dramatic results,” Wilson said of the program that is now in its second year.

In the first year, there were no avoidable hospital admissions out of CAH’s patient cohort and 64 percent fewer emergency room visits compared to BVBS customers, he said. “And most importantly, the patient satisfaction, reaction and scores are off the chart,” he said.

Related Links: http://www2.wataugademocrat.com/News/story/Blue-Cross-CEO-Collaboration-consumer-key-to-health-reform-id-012993

How a Sugar Pill Can Treat Mental Illness
WUNC 91.5
…The placebo effect is a well-documented phenomenon where the belief that a treatment is helping can actually cause symptoms to subside, even if the treatment is imaginary. Nortin Hadler, a professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said on The State of Things that we have known about placebos for a long time. …

Pediatric Care Added to FirstHealth Neurosurgery
The Pilot
FirstHealth of the Carolinas has expanded its neurosurgical collaboration with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with the addition of pediatric neurosurgical services to its Pinehurst neurosurgical office. Dr. Scott Wentworth Elton, a pediatric neurosurgeon, and pediatric nurse practitioners Gretchen Lee Delametter and Melody Ann Watral are now available to see patients for first and follow-up appointments at FirstHealth Neurosurgery.

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