northwestern

High-tech lotion heals diabetic wounds

A new kind of lotion could one day help diabetic patients heal stubborn and painful ulcers on their feet, say researchers.

Scientist and dermatologist Amy S. Paller and chemist Chad A. Mirkin are the first to develop a topical gene regulation technology that speeds the healing of ulcers in diabetic animals.

They combined spherical nucleic acids (SNAs, which are nanoscale globular forms of RNA) with a common commercial moisturizer to create a way to topically knock down a gene known to interfere with wound healing.

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The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, the Center for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence Initiative of the NIH/National Cancer Institute, and the NIAMS-funded Northwestern Skin Disease Research Center supported the research.

Alzheimer Amyloid Clumps Found in Young Adult Brains

Amyloid – an abnormal protein whose accumulation in the brain is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease – starts accumulating inside neurons of people as young as 20, a much younger age than scientists ever imagined, reports a surprising new Northwestern Medicine study.

Scientists believe this is the first time amyloid accumulation has been shown in such young human brains. It’s long been known that amyloid accumulates and forms clumps of plaque outside neurons in aging adults and in Alzheimer’s.  

“Discovering that amyloid begins to accumulate so early in life is unprecedented,” said lead investigator Changiz Geula, PhD, research professor in the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center. “This is very significant. We know that amyloid, when present for long periods of time, is bad for you.”

The study was published March 2 in the journal Brain.

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This work was supported in part by a Zenith Fellows Award from the Alzheimer’s Association, and by grants from the National Institute on Aging (AG014706, AG027141, AG20506 T32) of the National Institutes of Health. 

25

This weekend is homecoming at Northwestern. It’s the 25-year reunion of my graduating class. And while my alma mater is less than an hour’s drive from where I live, I’m not attending.

Part of it is because I’ll be recording again all day today and into the evening, a far better use of my time than just about anything. (Part of it is because fucking Nebraska is going to win by a million.) But even if I weren’t busy, I wouldn’t go. While I had a fantastic, life-altering experience as an undergraduate there, I established very few close bonds with people. Not zero–I have a handful of very dear friends I made back then whom I still hold close. I see them whenever I can and it’s always great. But very few of them graduated when I did; they were a year or two older or younger. None of them are going to be in Evanston today. In fact, I looked at a list on Facebook of who would be there, some 200 people, and I only distantly recognized three names there, and one because she’s a local TV newscaster. Who are these people? The school isn’t that big. I figured I’d know a few by name, at least.

It’s hard to describe my feelings about it. I’m not sad, exactly, nor regretful. But there is some kind of lingering emptiness about the whole thing. That Facebook group is teeming with people excited to see each other today. Maybe the emotion I’m trying to describe is jealousy. Those people clearly had a different human experience than I did there, then. Maybe they were in the Greek system and are now receiving dividends on all those purchased friends. Maybe they gave a shit about classes and grades, and studied together, bonding that way. Maybe they didn’t spend their nights rehearsing and playing gigs in house parties and bars in the city. Maybe they didn’t spend all their free time chasing after beautiful theatre majors to varying degrees of success.

Come to think of it, maybe they should be jealous of me.