People’s sensitivity to painful heat may be determined, in part, from the pattern of methyl groups found along their DNA, according to a study published February 4 in Nature Communications. Because the pattern of methyl groups can be rewritten through experience, the results suggest that changes in lifestyle could alter a person’s heat pain threshold.
Read this story at Pain Research Forum.
Over 200 researchers gathered at the lofty, fortieth floor location of the New York Academy of Sciences on 10-11 March 2011 to sift through clues — from genetic to epigenetic, dopaminergic to glutamatergic, as well as stem cell, brain imaging, and postmortem — that could be leveraged into treatment strategies for schizophrenia.
Three reports written for Schizophrenia Research Forum summarize the talks:
Probing the genome for schizophrenia drug targets Understanding schizophrenia’s origins has been expedited by new genetic approaches, but it remains limited by animal models.
New molecular targets for schizophrenia Compounds that tweak signaling between neurons, or inside of them, may offer ways to improve some symptoms of schizophrenia.
And dopamine, too The last talks focused on dopamine receptors — the target of current antipsychotics — to see whether compounds can be refined to treat schizophrenia more effectively, with fewer side effects.
Though queen and worker honeybees are genetically identical, they lead starkly different lives. A report in PLoS Biology finds that chemical add-ons to DNA, called methyl groups, make the difference.
Read this article at The Economist.
Whether you are a French chef vying for a three star rating, or a mere mortal trying to make it through the day, your outlook on life and how you react to stress may depend on a molecular middleman that resides deep inside your brain cells.
Read this article at MSN Health and Fitness.