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Scientists ID Genes That Make Your ​Fingerprints

Your fingerprints may be more than a surefire way to identify you: New research suggests their patterns may be linked to genes that guide limb development.

"People may wonder why our team is working on fingerprints," said co-senior study author Sijia Wang, a geneticist at the Shanghai Institute of Nutrition and Health in China. "We started the work purely out of curiosity. But later it tu...

Could the 'Alzheimer's Gene' Raise Risks for Severe COVID-19?

A certain gene mutation known as APOE4 has long been known to raise the risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

Now, researchers report it may also predispose people to increased susceptibility to COVID-19 infection and severe symptoms, including small brain bleeds.

Researchers in Finland, where abou...

Love Black Coffee & Dark Chocolate? It Could Be in Your DNA

If you like your coffee black, it could be that your grandpa or your great-aunt did, too.

A preference for black coffee and also for dark chocolate seems to lie in a person’s genes, scientists report.

It’s not the taste that these individuals actually love, but it’s because their genes enable them to metabolize

  • Cara Murez
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  • December 30, 2021
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  • New Clues to How Ovarian Cancer Begins -- and Might Be Prevented

    Researchers say they may be closer than ever to detecting ovarian cancer earlier and improving the odds for women with this life-threatening disease.

    In a new study, scientists used stem cells created from the blood samples of women with BRCA mutations and ovarian cancer to fashion a model of fallopian tube tissue.

    There, they found first hints of ovarian cancer in the fallopian tu...

    New Clues to Sudden Unexplained Deaths in Young Kids

    Every year in the United States, a few hundred children die suddenly and without explanation. Now researchers have found gene variants that may contribute to some of those tragic deaths.

    The hope, experts said, is that understanding the underlying mechanisms will eventually lead to ways to save lives.

    Since the 1990s, the term

  • Amy Norton HealthDay Reporter
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  • December 28, 2021
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  • Genes 'Switched On' Much Earlier in Human Embryos Than Thought

    Genes in human embryos become active far sooner than once thought, according to a study that provides fresh insight into development.

    Contrary to the old view that gene activity begins two to three days after conception when the embryo is made up of four to eight cells, researchers found that it actually begi...

    Highly Inbred, French Bulldogs Face Higher Odds for 20 Health Issues

    French Bulldogs are incredibly cute, sporting adorable snub snouts, big round heads, bright wide eyes and large bat ears.

    Unfortunately, the physical traits that make them one of the most popular breeds in the United States and United Kingdom also saddle them with a host of health problems, a new study shows.

    Frenchies have significantly higher odds than other dog breeds of being di...

    Over 60? You Have Billions of Potentially Cancer-Causing Cells

    Have you just turned 60 and feel like you're in great health?

    Well, new research suggests that unseen dangers lurk: Scientists found that cancer-free people older than 60 have at least 100 billion cells with at least one cancer-associated mutation.

    But there's good news, too: The vast majority of these mutations won't do anything and most people (60%) will go their entire lives wit...

    Drug Can Keep Leukemia in Remission for Years in Younger Patients

    For certain leukemia patients, some welcome findings: New research confirms long remissions after treatment with the drug ibrutinib and chemotherapy.

    The study involved 85 patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). All were 65 or younger, and 46 had more aggressive, unmutated IGHV subtype of the d...

    More Time Outdoors May Lower Risk of MS in Youth

    Children at risk for multiple sclerosis (MS) might find some protection from the disease by spending more time in the sun, a small study suggests.

    Although MS is rare in children and young adults, those with relatives who have the condition have increased odds of developing the disease early. Exposure to sunlight may cut their risk in half, researchers say.

    "In fami...

    Most Dog Breeds Are Highly Inbred -- and Unhealthy

    Traits particular to certain dog breeds — the distinctive spots of a dalmatian or the stubby legs of a dachshund — are often achieved through inbreeding.

    But most breeds are now highly inbred, increasing a dog's risk of health problems, a new study confirms.

    "It's amazing how inbreeding seems to matter to health," study leader Danika Bannasch said.

    Her genetic analysis of...

    What's Behind Unexplained Epilepsy in Kids? A Gene Test May Tell

    Genetic testing can help guide management and treatment of unexplained epilepsy in children, new research suggests.

    "A genetic diagnosis impacted medical management for nearly three out of four children in our study," said study author Dr. Isabel Haviland. She's a postdoctoral research fellow in neurology/neurobiology at Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

    In the ...

    Gene Found in Amish Helps Protect Their Hearts

    A rare gene variant discovered among Amish people may help lower "bad" cholesterol and protect against heart disease, a new study suggests.

    Researchers found that among nearly 7,000 Amish people, the gene variant was tied to reductions in both LDL cholesterol and fibrinogen -- a protein that is a marker of inflammation and linked to heart disease risk.

    There was also evidence of pro...

    Could Pollution Help Decide Your Baby's Sex?

    A boy or a girl? New research suggests that the air pregnant women breathe or the water they drink could play a role in their baby's sex.

    The finding stems from tracking hundreds of factors — including pollution exposure — surrounding the birth of more than 6 million Americans...

    New Insights Into What Might Drive Parkinson's Disease

    A defect in the blood-brain barrier may play a role in Parkinson's disease, a groundbreaking research study suggests.

    The blood-brain barrier acts as a filter to keep out toxins while still allowing the passage of nutrients to nourish the brain. This study found that in some people with Parkinson's, the b...

    A Woman May Have Rid Herself Naturally of HIV -- But How?

    Researchers have identified a second HIV-positive person whose body might have naturally cleared the infection -- sparking hope that studying such exceedingly rare events will help lead to a cure.

    The researchers cautioned that they cannot prove the woman has fully eradicated the virus from her body, in what's known as a "sterilizing" cure.

    But in exhaustive tests of over 1.5 billio...

    Blood Test Looks at Patients' Whole Genome to Spot Rare Inherited Diseases

    Whole genome sequencing of blood samples improves detection of rare genetic conditions called mitochondrial disorders, British researchers report.

    These disorders are inherited and affect about 1 in 4,300 people, causing progressive, incurable diseases.

    Though they are among the most common inherited disorders, mitochondrial disorders are tough to diagnose because they can affect ma...

    Insomnia Tied to Raised Risk of Aneurysm

    Researchers may have unearthed a surprising risk factor for often-fatal brain bleeds: Sleepless nights.

    In a study of about 70,000 adults, researchers found that people with a genetic predisposition to insomnia were at somewhat higher risk of a brain aneurysm. An aneurysm is a weak spot in an artery wall that bulges out and fills with blood. In some cases, it can rupture and cause life-th...

    Bald Truth: Mouse Study May Get at Roots of Hair Loss

    New research in mice may provide clues to age-related hair loss in men and women.

    Scientists found that as hair stem cells in mice age, they lose the stickiness that keeps them secured inside the hair follicle. This allows the stem cells to drift away from the follicle.

    "The result is fewer and fewer stem cells in the hair follicle to produce hair," said study lead author Rui Yi, a ...

    AI Model Predicts Which Animal Viruses Are Likely to Jump to Humans

    Artificial intelligence (AI) might be able to spot the next virus to jump from animals to humans, Scottish researchers report.

    Identifying diseases before they become a threat to humans is challenging, because only a few of the nearly 2 million animal viruses can infect humans. By developing machine learning models, researchers can analyze genetic patterns of viruses that might infect peo...

    Could Your Genes Be to Blame for Your Kid's Aversion to Broccoli?

    Parents and their children often share numerous traits -- including a dislike for broccoli and other veggies in the same family.

    Noxious enzymes from bacteria in saliva may be the reason why, a new study suggests.

    Levels of these compounds are similar in parents and children, which might be why these vegetables are turnoffs for both generations, especially when the levels are h...

    Could Cholesterol Help Drive Alzheimer's Disease?

    Cholesterol made in the brain may spur development of Alzheimer's disease, a new study suggests.

    Cholesterol made by cells called astrocytes is needed for controlling production of amyloid beta, a sticky protein that builds up in the brain and accumulates into the plaques that are the tell-tale sign of Alzheimer's.

    Researchers say these new findings may offer insight into how and wh...

    Do Your Genes Up Your Odds for Alcoholism? One Factor Cuts the Risk

    Even when genetics and personality are working against you, having a strong network of supportive friends and family may help lower alcoholism risk, researchers say.

    "Genes play an important role in alcohol use," stressed Jinni Su, an assistant professor of psychology at Arizona State University in Tempe, and lead author of a new study.

    But "genes are not our destiny," she added.

    Multigenerational Study Finds Links Between ADHD, Dementia Risk

    Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) appears to be somehow linked to risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease, a new multigenerational study has found.

    Parents and grandparents of people with ADHD have a higher risk of Alzheimer's and dementia than people with no ADHD in their family, Swedish researchers said.

    Specifically, parents of an ADHD child have a 34% higher risk ...

    Fur Find: Genes Uncovered Behind Cats' Spots & Stripes

    Your favorite tabby cat may seem to have little similarity to her relatives in the wild, but all share a key gene that gives them their distinctive look.

    Why cats' coats are decorated with stripes, spots and blotches has long been a mystery. Now, researchers have identified a specific gene that all domestic cats, wild big cat species and possibly even other mammals have that regulates dev...

    Child Cancers Are Rare, But Here Are Signs to Look For

    Most parents want their children to live carefree lives, so a diagnosis of childhood cancer is devastating. Fortunately, pediatric cancers are rare.

    Yet it doesn't hurt to be watchful for the warning signs, suggest experts in childhood cancer from Penn State Health.

    The best screening most parents can do is to stay on track with well-child visits, the doctors said.

    "For e...

    Insights Into Genes Driving Epilepsy Could Help With Treatment

    Danish researchers have found genetic causes for epilepsy in half of children they studied and said half of those could be treated with targeted therapies.

    That's the upshot of genetic testing of 290 children born between 2006 and 2011. Some had been diagnosed with epilepsy. Others had had seizures along with a high temperature; they were either long seizures or consciousness was not rega...

    New 'Mu' Coronavirus Variant Being Watched Closely: Fauci

    A new coronavirus variant called Mu that may be able to evade existing antibodies, including those from vaccines, is under close watch by U.S. health officials.

    The variant hasn't taken extensive hold in the United States at this point, but the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is taking it "very seriously," according to its director, Dr. Anthony Fauci, CBS Ne...

    Blood Test Spots Biological Markers for Schizophrenia

    Schizophrenia is a debilitating disease that can make navigating daily life a massive challenge, but a new blood test could flag it in its early stages, researchers say.

    Their analysis of blood samples identified epigenetic markers -- part of your DNA -- that differ between people with schizophrenia and those without the mental health disorder.

    The researchers developed a model to a...

    CAR T-Cell Immunotherapy Rids Woman of Tough-to-Treat Lupus

    In a first, researchers have used genetically tweaked immune system cells to send a woman's severe lupus into remission.

    The treatment -- called CAR T-cell therapy -- is already approved in the United States for fighting certain cases of blood cancer. It involves removing a patient's own immune system T-cells, genetically altering them to target the cancer, then infusing them back into th...

    Cats Might Be Purrfect Model for Human Genetics Research

    Dogs may be man's best friend, but cats may hold critical keys to humans' health.

    Our feline friends have the potential to become a valuable model for genetic research, because their genome is similar to that of people, according to Leslie Lyons of the Feline Genetics Laboratory at the University of Missouri in Columbia.

    "Using cats in research is really overlooked, since people don...

    Daylight Saving Time Change Toughest on Night Owls

    If you struggle with the spring time change, your genes may be to blame, researchers report.

    They found that people whose genes make them more likely to be early birds adapt to the time change in a few days, while night owls could take more than a week to return to their normal sleep schedule after clocks "spring forward' one hour.

    The study included more than 800 first-year medical...

    Geneticists Probe Origins of Painful Cluster Headaches

    The causes of a type of excruciating headache known as cluster headaches aren't clear, but heredity is known to play a role. Now, genetic factors associated with cluster headaches are under investigation as scientists search for more effective treatments.

    Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden analyzed blood samples from more than 600 people with cluster heada...

    A Better Test to Help Spot Glaucoma?

    Glaucoma is a leading cause of vision loss in older people, and early detection can bring better treatment. Now, researchers in Australia say their experimental genetic test for glaucoma can identify 15 times more people at high risk for the disease compared to a current genetic test.

    "Early diagnosis of glaucoma can lead to vision-saving treatment, and genetic information can potentiall...

    WHO Calls for Global Registry of Human Genome Editing

    New recommendations on human genome editing issued by the World Health Organization include a call for a global registry to track "any form of genetic manipulation" and a whistle-blowing process for unethical or unsafe research.

    The WHO first commissioned the expert advisory panel in late 2018, after a Chinese scientist said he had created the world's first gene-edited babies, the Ass...

    Global Consortium Finds Genes That Drive Severe COVID-19

    Why do some people infected with SARS-CoV-2 have either no or negligible symptoms, while others sicken and die?

    Scientists who've pinpointed several genetic markers associated with severe COVID-19 say their findings could provide answers to that important question -- and targets for future treatments.

    The investigators spotted 13 locations in human DNA that are strongly associated w...

    Gene-Based Embryo Selection: Are 'Designer Babies' on the Horizon?

    The notion of parents picking out genetically perfect babies may seem like science fiction, but bioethicists warn in a new report that some companies have already started to offer couples going through in vitro fertilization (IVF) the means to pick better embryos through polygenic scoring.

    Polygenic scores are a "weighted average of the contributions of all of the genes we have informatio...

    Pig Study Could Lead to Gene Therapy to Prevent Heart Failure

    A gene therapy aimed at freeing the heart's capacity for self-repair has shown early promise in an animal study.

    The study -- done in pigs -- found that the treatment approach was not only feasible, but also improved the animals' heart function after they sustained heart attack damage.

    There is a long way to go before a similar gene therapy could be applied to human heart attac...

    Gene Differences Could Have Black Patients Undergoing Unnecessary Biopsies

    A gene variant may be driving high rates of unnecessary bone marrow biopsies in Black Americans, researchers say.

    The variant is responsible for lower white blood cell levels in some healthy Black people, the investigators said.

    "We've essentially created this racial health disparity by not fully considering how genetic variation affects white blood cell levels," said study co-autho...

    Could a DNA Blood Test Spot a Range of Hidden Cancers?

    Could a new one-and-done blood test designed to detect as many as 50 different types of cancer become a diagnostic game changer?

    Yes, say researchers, who report the method appears accurate and reliable at identifying and locating cancer, including some kinds for which there are now no effective screening methods.

    "[The test] sets the stage for a new paradigm of screening individual...

    New Genetic Insights Into Cause of ALS

    Researchers say they've identified a new gene associated with an increased risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) -- and that their discovery could lead to improved treatments for the deadly disease.

    ALS -- also called Lou Gehrig's disease -- is a rare, progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. It typically leads to paralysis ...

    Gene Editing Technique Corrects Sickle Cell Disease in Mice

    Researchers are using mice to study a potential new treatment that could help patients who have sickle cell disease, without some of the risks and side effects of existing therapies.

    The investigators reported using genetic-based editing on mice to convert a disease-causing hemoglobin gene to a benign variant that would enable healthy blood cell production.

    Sickle cell disease (SCD...

    Too Much Caffeine Might Raise Your Odds for Glaucoma

    That third or fourth cup of coffee may do more than make your heart race: New research suggests it could significantly increase your risk of glaucoma if you're genetically predisposed to the eye disease.

    The study included more than 120,000 British people, aged 39 to 73, who provided information about their caffeine consumption and their vision, including whether they had glaucoma or a fa...

    Antibiotics Won't Help Fight Lung-Scarring Disease IDF: Study

    Antibiotics do not reduce the risk of hospitalization or death in patients with a lethal lung disease known as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a new study finds.

    "We were certainly disappointed in the results," said study co-author Dr. Imre Noth, chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine at UVA Health in Charlottesville, Va. "But we remain hopeful that in further downstream analyses, w...

    Newly Approved Drug Fights Lung Cancer Tied to Certain Genes

    A newly approved lung cancer drug shows promise in improving survival in patients whose tumors carry a common and tough-to-treat genetic mutation, researchers say.

    Sotorasib - brand name Lumakras - was approved May 28 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a targeted therapy for non-small cell lung cancer patients with tumors that express the G12C mutation in the KRAS gene, ...

    Drug Lynparza Could Help Fight Some Early-Stage Breast Cancers

    A twice-daily pill can dramatically reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence in women who are genetically prone to the disease, researchers report.

    The pill - olaparib (Lynparza) - works by blocking a natural enzyme called PARP that normally fixes DNA damage in healthy cells, but in these women actually promotes the growth of cancerous cells.

    Early high-risk breast cancer patient...

    'Early Birds' May Have Extra Buffer Against Depression

    Could getting out of bed just one hour earlier every day lower your risk for depression?

    Yes, claims new research that found an earlier start to the day was tied to a 23% lower risk of developing the mood disorder.

    The study of more than 840,000 people found a link "between earlier sleep patterns and reduced risk of major depressive disorder," said study author Iyas Daghlas.

    T...

    Scientists Discover Rare Form of ALS That Can Strike Kids

    A new form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) that affects children has been discovered by an international team of researchers.

    They used advanced genetic techniques to identify 11 such cases in children who had mysterious neurological disorders.

    Most cases of ALS -- also known as Lou Gehrig's disease -- are diagnosed in people between the ages of 50 and 60, and it progresses s...

    Massive Gene Study Probes Origins of Depression

    Researchers who pinpointed 178 gene variants linked to major depression say their findings could improve diagnosis and treatment of a disorder that affects 1 in 5 people.

    The study draws on a huge database, analyzing the genetic and health records of 1.2 million people from three databanks in the United States, the U.K. and Finland, and another databank from the consumer genetics company ...

    In 10 Years, COVID-19 Could Be 'Just the Sniffles'

    The virus fueling the COVID-19 pandemic could become just an ordinary sniffle-causing nuisance within the next 10 years, a new study suggests.

    Researchers stressed that the projection is based on mathematical models, and not a crystal-ball prediction.

    But, they say, given what's known about the human immune response to SARS-CoV-2 -- the virus that causes COVID-19 -- it is possible t...