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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Voice software helps study of rare Yosemite owls

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) — In the bird world, they make endangered condors seem almost commonplace. The unique Great Gray Owls of Yosemite, left to evolve after glacial ice separated them from their plentiful Canadian brethren 30 millennia ago, are both a mystery and concern to the scientists charged with protecting them.

Calif. initiative will test appetite for GMO food

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Calories. Nutrients. Serving size. How about "produced with genetic engineering?" California voters will soon decide whether to require certain raw and processed foods to carry such a label.

Two-day test can spot gene diseases in newborns

WASHINGTON (AP) — Too often, newborns die of genetic diseases before doctors even know what's to blame. Now scientists have found a way to decode those babies' DNA in just days instead of weeks, moving gene-mapping closer to routine medical care. The idea: Combine faster gene-analyzing machinery with new computer software that, at the push of a few buttons, uses a baby's symptoms to zero in on the most suspicious mutations. The hope would be to start treatment earlier, or avoid futile care for lethal illnesses.

New breast cancer clues found in gene analysis

NEW YORK (AP) — Scientists reported Sunday that they have completed a major analysis of the genetics of breast cancer, finding four major classes of the disease. They hope their work will lead to more effective treatments, perhaps with some drugs already in use. The new finding offers hints that one type of breast cancer might be vulnerable to drugs that already work against ovarian cancer.

Studies more firmly tie sugary drinks to obesity

New research powerfully strengthens the case against soda and other sugary drinks as culprits in the obesity epidemic. A huge, decades-long study involving more than 33,000 Americans has yielded the first clear proof that drinking sugary beverages interacts with genes that affect weight, amplifying a person's risk of obesity beyond what it would be from heredity alone.

‘Berlin Man,’ doctor convinced HIV cure is real

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The first person reportedly cured of HIV said Wednesday he is hopeful that medical advances will allow others suffering from the virus that causes AIDS to be cured, too. Timothy Ray Brown of San Francisco is known as "The Berlin Patient" because of where he was treated. He and the doctor who treated him, Gero Hutter, made their first joint appearance in the U.S. on Wednesday when Hutter spoke at a symposium on gene therapy at Washington University in St. Louis.

Studies: Alzheimer drug may stabilize brain plaque

An experimental drug that failed to stop mental decline in Alzheimer's patients also signaled potential benefit that suggests it might help if given earlier, fuller results of two major studies show. Some patients on the drug had stable levels of brain plaque and less evidence of nerve damage compared to others who were given a dummy treatment, researchers reported Tuesday.

Radiation may up breast cancer risk in some women

LONDON (AP) — Mammograms aimed at finding breast cancer might actually raise the chances of developing it in young women whose genes put them at higher risk for the disease, a study by leading European cancer agencies suggests. The added radiation from mammograms and other types of tests with chest radiation might be especially harmful to them and an MRI is probably a safer method of screening women under 30 who are at high risk because of gene mutations, the authors conclude.

New DNA encyclopedia shows complex inner workings

NEW YORK (AP) — A colossal international effort has yielded the first comprehensive look at how our DNA works, an encyclopedia of information that will rewrite the textbooks and offer new insights into the biology of disease. For one thing, it may help explain why some people are more prone to common ailments such as high blood pressure and heart disease.

Researcher: Exposure to toxins can alter DNA

PULLMAN – Women with ovarian disease may have inherited it from great grandmothers who were exposed to toxic chemicals decades ago, according to a study by Washington State University researchers. A series of papers being rolled out this year by WSU’s Michael Skinner and researchers from other universities is strengthening findings that toxic exposures and other events have the ability to alter the genes of future generations.

UW team takes world science championship

Casey Ager is pretty sure his former classmates at Ferris High School would call him a nerd, but that’s all right with him. He’s now an undergraduate at the University of Washington and as part of a team of 20 undergraduates and six graduate students, he helped take home the top award in the International Genetically Engineered Machine World Championship Competition – iGEM – last weekend. “We still can’t believe it,” said Ager on the phone from UW. “Usually it’s a school from Europe or Asia who wins the top prize.”

Providence Sacred Heart buys genetics clinic

Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center has purchased the Inland Northwest Genetics Clinic, folding the small specialty practice into its growing staff of physicians and other medical employees. The clinic, led by Dr. Judith Martin, had operated as a separate practice for 30 years and was supported by both Sacred Heart and Deaconess Medical Center. It is located in the Sacred Heart Doctors Building.

Genetic counselor helps people assess risks for diseases, disorders

Shobana Kubendran loves putting together family trees. From them, she helps people tease out the answers to questions that often begin, “What are my chances of having ... ?” Kubendran, 32, is a certified genetic counselor. That means she helps people look for patterns that could indicate an increased risk for disease and disorders, and she counsels them about their options.

WSU bees

Steve Sheppard, a researcher at Washington State University, Sheppard studies bee population genetics and evolution, and he works to produce breeds that are resistant to disease, winter-hardy and gentle.

Bypassing Surgery Small Gene Therapy Study Opens New Frontier In The Battle To Save Patients From Amputations

Gene therapy has prompted patients with hopelessly blocked blood vessels in their legs to grow their own bypasses. Most patients in a small study saw a dramatic reversal of the predictably downhill course of that type of cardiovascular disease. The results, reported Sunday at the scientific meeting of the American Heart Association in Orlando, Fla., by Dr. Jeffrey Isner of St. Elizabeth's Hospital and the Tufts University School of Medicine near Boston, covered 10 patients. Although that is not a large number, some experts said the study was a rare demonstration of a clinical benefit from gene therapy and might be pivotal.

Gene Study Might Lead To Screening Of Boxers

A gene linked to Alzheimer's disease might explain why some boxers suffer permanent brain damage while others can take blows to the head for years without serious effects. The finding, described by researchers as preliminary, raises questions of whether athletes should be screened before being allowed to box, the researchers said.

Cloning Of Animals Widely Duplicated

Cows, sheep, pigs and monkeys in research laboratories around the United States and Europe are now pregnant with clones created by methods similar to those used to make Dolly the sheep, scientists reported at a two-day meeting that ended Friday. At least one of the pregnant sheep is carrying a clone that has been endowed with an added gene, marking a significant step toward a goal of cloning animals that produce medically useful drugs in their milk.

Flawed Gene May Be Cause Of Parkinson’s

Researchers say they have found the first laboratory evidence that a flawed gene is linked to Parkinson's disease, a progressive brain disorder that affects a half-million Americans. A mutation was found in an area of chromosome 4 by analyzing DNA from members of an Italian family that has had Parkinson's appear in generations going back to the 1700s, according to Dr. Mihael H. Polymeropoulos of the National Institutes of Health.

Scientists Find Gene Behind Migraine

For the first time, scientists have discovered a gene that causes a type of migraine headache. An international scientific team has announced the discovery. Eventually, the discovery might allow doctors to identify people who are genetically predisposed to familial hemiplegic migraine, a rare form of the disease. The researchers' report appears in Friday's issue of the science journal Cell.

Common Cold Virus May Kill Cancer Research Lab Sees Promise In Infecting Cancer Cells With Virus

Can the virus that causes the common cold also cure cancer? A company that has exploited an odd link between the mildest and the most serious of diseases hopes the answer may be yes. Scientists at Onyx Pharmaceuticals of Richmond, Calif., report that a specially tailored strain of adenovirus, the cause of colds, can kill tumor cells while leaving normal cells unaffected. Standard treatments like radiation and chemotherapy kill all cells indiscriminately, causing severe side effects.