Bear Cub grants awarded

Washington University in St. Louis has awarded five Bear Cub fund grants totaling $190,000 to support innovative research that has shown commercial potential. Jerry Morrissey (right), PhD, received one of the grants to develop rapid tests for the early development of kidney cancer.

‘Positive stress’ helps protect eye from glaucoma

Working in mice, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have devised a treatment that prevents the optic nerve injury that occurs in glaucoma, a neurodegenerative disease that is a leading cause of blindness. Researchers increased the resistance of optic nerve cells to damage by repeatedly exposing the mice to low levels of oxygen similar to those found at high altitudes.

Washington People: Thy Huskey

p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {margin:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Cambria;} .MsoChpDefault {font-family:Cambria;} @page WordSection1 {size:8.5in 11.0in;margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in;} div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1;} Thy Huskey, MD, works with patients who have had traumatic brain injuries and strokes, developing treatment plans and overseeing the therapy needed to help them regain function, daily living skills and independence. She relates very well to patients with neurological diseases, as she deals with one herself.

Surgery to prevent stroke causes too many complications

An operation for preventing repeat strokes in high-risk patients has failed in a multi-institutional clinical trial, led by Colin P. Derdeyn, MD, professor of radiology at Washington University School of Medicine. Results are reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

New procedure treats atrial fibrillation

Doctors at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are performing a new procedure to treat atrial fibrillation, a common irregular heartbeat. Available at only a handful of U.S. medical centers, this “hybrid” procedure combines minimally invasive surgical techniques with the latest advances in catheter ablation. The two-pronged approach gives doctors access to both the inside and outside of the heart at the same time, helping to more completely block the erratic electrical signals that cause atrial fibrillation.

Cholesterol drugs may improve blood flow after stroke

Cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins may help clot-busting drugs treat strokes, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “We’ve known that patients on statins have better stroke outcomes, but the data in this study suggest a new reason why: Statins may help improve blood flow to brain regions at risk of dying during ischemic stroke,” says senior author Jin-Moo Lee, MD, PhD, director of the cerebrovascular disease section in the Department of Neurology. The results appear online in the journal Stroke.

Inhibiting fatty acids in immune cells decreases atherosclerosis risk

Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found a way to significantly reduce atherosclerosis in mice that does not involve lowering cholesterol levels or eliminating other obesity-related problems. Atherosclerosis is the process through which fatty substances, such as cholesterol and cellular waste products accumulate in the lining of arteries. The research team inhibited atherosclerosis in the mice by interfering with production of a substance called fatty acid synthase, an enzyme that converts dietary sugars into fatty acids in the liver.