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May 2014

Researchers uncover structure of neuronal receptor

Researchers have obtained an unprecedented view of a type of brain cell receptor that is implicated in a range of neurological disorders, including  Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, depression, schizophrenia, autism, and ischemic injuries associated with stroke. The team of scientists from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory say the atomic-level picture of  the intact NMDA (N-methyl, D-aspartate) could prove useful in the development of therapeutic compounds. Their work is published in the …Read More

New evidence of genetic cause of schizophrenia

Scientists at the Columbia University Medical Center have shed new light on the genetic factors behind an individual's risk of developing schizophrenia. According to the research, which is published in the latest edition of Neuron, the overall number and nature of mutations – rather than the presence of one single mutation – influence an individual's risk of developing the disease, as well as its severity. The team sequenced the "exome"- …Read More

Confidence in senior leaders ‘at two-year low’

The confidence of employees in senior leaders has reached a two-year low, with many staff believing performance management systems are unfair. This is according to the latest Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) / Halogen Employee Outlook survey, which recorded the views of over 2,500 employees. Confidence in senior managers fell by five net percentage points, while trust in senior leaders and perceptions of consultation have fallen by four …Read More

Research sheds light on DNA editing process

An international team of scientists has made significant progress in understanding how enzymes 'edit' genes, which could enable genetic diseases to be corrected. Researchers at the Universities of Bristol, Munster and the Lithuanian Institute of Biotechnology have studied the process through which enzymes known as CRISPR bind and alter the structure of DNA. These enzymes were first identified in the 1980s as an immune defence used by bacteria against invading …Read More

Are HR staff ready for flexible working?

Flexible Working Regulations are set to be changed on June 30th 2014 and many HR departments may not be ready for the changes. After 26 weeks' service, all employees will have the right to request flexible working, the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development reports.  At present, this right only applies to parents with children under 17 years, or 18 in the case of a disabled child, and certain carers. …Read More

Scientists identify potential diabetes treatment

Scientists have discovered a molecule that slows the degradation of insulin in animals and has the potential to be used as a new treatment for diabetes. The compound works by inhibiting insulin-degrading enzyme (IDE). Inhibiting IDE in mice elevates insulin levels and promotes insulin signaling in vivo. Researchers at Harvard University say this could be used to maintain higher insulin levels, improve glucose tolerance and therefore to treat diabetes. Until …Read More

Skills shortage ‘a major concern for organisations’

A new survey of global organisations by PwC has revealed a skills gap continues to be the main concern of employers looking to boost headcounts. As the economic upturn continues, many companies are planning to hire more staff over the next 12 months. However, nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of those surveyed believe they will not be able to find the people with the skills they need to fill vacant …Read More

Handful of building blocks ‘could create many medicines’

Researchers at the University of Illinois (U of I) have identified a new method of synthesising a wide range of medicines using a small number of building blocks. Thousands of compounds in a class known as polyenes – many of which could be used to develop new drugs – can be constructed simply and economically from a dozen different building blocks. "We want to understand how these molecules work, and …Read More

HIV research breakthrough could lead to new therapies

Researchers have uncovered direct proof of a long-suspected cause of multiple HIV-related health complications, supporting the use of complementary therapies to antiretroviral drugs to significantly slow HIV progression. Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh Center for Vaccine Research (CVR) found that a drug often administered to patients undergoing kidney dialysis significantly reduces the levels of bacteria that escape the gut and reduces health complications in non-human primates infected with the …Read More

Investing in staff health ‘makes business sense’

Employers could access a range of business benefits if they were to increase investment in the wellbeing of their staff. This is according to a new report from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and Medicash which has demonstrated how improving the health of employees can reduce absences, boost productivity and lead to better levels of engagement. Recently, the CBI's absence survey found the average annual cost of a member …Read More