Human protein improves muscle function of muscular dystrophy mice

Now headed toward human trials, biglycan significantly slows the weakening of muscles in mice with the genetic mutation that causes muscular dystrophy. Biglycan causes utrophin, a natural muscle-building protein prevalent in young children, to collect in muscle cell membranes.

Malaria-infected cells stiffen, block blood flow

A team of researchers at Brown University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has completed the first modeling, followed by experiments, of how red blood cells are infected by a malarial parasite that attacks the brain. The researchers report that infected cells stiffen by as much as 50 times more than healthy cells. Infected cells also tend to stick along blood vessel walls, impeding the flow of blood to critical organs. Results appear in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

How do you cut a nanotube? Lots of compression

Researchers at Brown University and in Korea have described the dynamics behind cutting single-walled carbon nanotubes, cylindrical structures just 1/50,000th the width of a human hair. The tubes are compressed by potent sonic booms, causing them to buckle at certain points at helical, 90-degree angles. The finding could lead to better-quality nanotubes for potential use in automotive, electronics, optics and other fields. Results appear in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A.
Brain cancer

Insight offers new angle of attack on variety of brain tumors

A research team led by scientists at Brown University and the University of California–San Francisco have associated a mutation found in many kinds of brain tumors with a molecular process that affects metabolism genes. The discovery may open the door to developing new treatments for the deadly cancers.
Census 2010

Census analysis: Nation’s diversity grows, but integration slows

Brown University sociologist John Logan is among the first scholars to analyze new U.S. census data on social, economic, housing, and demographic factors for every community in the nation. His findings show that as diversity in the nation grows, progress toward integrating neighborhoods appears to have stopped.

Hospice care increasing for nursing home patients with dementia

More nursing home patients with dementia are seeking hospice care and using it longer, according to a new study by gerontologist Susan Miller and colleagues. Their findings appear online in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias.

New survey device gets better information on teenage sexual behavior

Brown University sociologists have developed a low-cost, easy-to-use device that is helping researchers in Ethiopia obtain more reliable answers when they ask teenagers about stigmatized sexual behaviors. Their findings are published in the December issue of Studies in Family Planning.
Kicking the habit

Study suggests that quitting smoking improves mood

Christopher Kahler and colleagues at Brown and USC tracked symptoms of depression in people who were trying to quit smoking. They found that people were never happier than when they were kicking the habit and remaining free from smoking. Results of the study were published online Nov. 24, 2010, in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

Amy Carroll named director of government relations and community affairs

Amy B. Carroll, formerly a staff adviser to Sen. Susan Collins (R-Me.) and staff member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, has joined the public affairs staff of Brown University as director of government relations and community affairs. Carroll begins her duties Dec. 1, 2010.
December 3 Through February 13

Bigger than ever: Bell Gallery presents Faculty Triennial 2010

The David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University opens Faculty Triennial 2010 on Friday, Dec. 3, 2010, featuring the work of 24 faculty artists from five departments. In addition to the gallery exhibition, performance-based works will be presented during two evening events in December and February.
Expert Sources and Commentary

Brown faculty experts on the future of HIV/AIDS

World AIDS Day 2010 sees some hopeful signs — and speculation that the global public health fight against HIV/AIDS may have turned a corner.

Achebe African Colloquium to focus on Rwanda, Congo, and Nigeria

The 2010 Brown University Achebe Colloquium on Africa will focus on three African nations — Rwanda, Congo, and Nigeria — and the crucial issues that are impacting these nations, the continent, and the world. The colloquium will be held Friday and Saturday, Dec. 3-4, 2010, at the Marriott Hotel in Providence, R.I.

Researchers report data on head impacts in college football

Joseph Crisco, professor of orthopaedics, and Russell Fiore, Brown’s head athletic trainer, have measured the frequency and location of head impacts in college football, position-by-position. Defensive linemen take the most hits; quarterbacks are the only players to be hit mostly from behind. Crisco, Fiore, and their collaborators report their findings in the Journal of Athletic Training.

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