New research unlocks a mystery of albinism

A team led by Brown University biologists has discovered the way in which a specific genetic mutation appears to lead to the lack of melanin production underlying a form of albinism.

Molecular decoys help overcome drug resistance

Efflux pumps are surface proteins that prevent antimicrobial drugs from getting a foothold in a bacterial cell by identifying and pumping them out of the cell. New research suggests that small pieces of those drugs could keep the efflux pumps busy and allow the antimicrobial drugs to reach a critical mass inside the cell.

Chernow named executive VP for finance and administration

Barbara D. Chernow, currently senior vice president for administration at Stony Brook University, has been appointed executive vice president for finance and administration at Brown University. Chernow will begin her duties March 1, 2015, succeeding Elizabeth Huidekoper.
Big Data v. cancer

Algorithm identifies networks of genetic changes across cancers

Cancers often involve far more than a genetic mutation acting alone. Multiple mutations, many of which are rare, may occur in different networks of multiple genes. HotNet2 is a powerful algorithm that analyzes genes at the network level and can help cancer researchers search for genetic associations and likely sources of disease across almost unimaginable genetic complexities.

Racial and ethnic gaps narrow for acute care

A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine reports that in 2010 compared to 2005, racial and ethnic disparities in the quality of U.S. hospital care for heart attack, heart failure, and pneumonia shrank considerably as more acute care patients of all races received recommended treatments.
 

Consistent distraction does not hinder learning

A new study challenges the idea that distraction is necessarily a problem for learning. Researchers at Brown University found that if attention was as divided during recall of a motor task as it was during learning the task, people performed as if there were no distractions at either stage.
Ferguson evidence

Med students’ site translates Ferguson medical jargon

A group of nine Brown University medical students has posted lay translations of the medical evidence considered by the grand jury in the Michael Brown/Ferguson, Mo., case. The effort to provide a straightforward simplification of the jargon is meant to make the information more publicly accessible.
Viewpoint

Essay argues for Obamacare employer mandate

In a new “Viewpoint” article in JAMA, Dr. Eli Adashi and a Harvard colleague argue that the Affordable Care Act requires employers to provide health insurance for good reasons. The authors caution against the likely alternatives if the mandate, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2015, were to be repealed.
Questions for James Russell

Reconstructing the African Humid Period

A dramatic increase in rainfall at the end of the last ice age marked the beginning of the African Humid Period. Researchers using complex modeling systems have figured out the forces that drove that transition, including an important role for greenhouse gasses.