2013/07/26 23:17

my daughter

Every dad has his heart to think of his daughter.
Even though you are very busy with daily works, I keep a moment to think of my cute daughter to be born soon!
In fact, It makes me really happy and relax when I illustrate of her...I wish she will strong and active like her dad. And hope that we will run around the river side =)
It must be big fancy if I can see her run cute...
Daughter, waiting for your born! Waiting for you with love.


2013/07/21 13:58

cool summer Sunday (24oC) with windy

2013/07/11 00:22

Tick Tock, Your Brain is Keeping Time By Dr. Francis Collins

Did you know you have a biological clock in your brain that drives your sleep patterns and metabolism?

The clock is mostly in a brain region called the suprachiasmatic nucleus—a collection of about 20,000 brain cells, or neurons. Each one of these neurons can keep time, just like a metronome sitting on a piano. Together, these 20,000 biological clocks are kept perfectly synchronized, and they are accurate to about a few minutes within a 1440-minute day. A brain signaling chemical called VIP (vasoactive intestinal polypeptide) plays an important role in keeping all of the neurons ticking in unrelenting lock step. But VIP doesn’t work alone.

An NIH-funded team, led by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, has discovered that another brain signaling molecule, called GABA (gamma-amino-butyric acid), helps these clocks stay in synch. But GABA also gives these neurons a little wiggle room so they can respond to environmental cues. Although this network of clock neurons allows for gradual changes in seasonal day length, it can’t respond well to large shifts that weren’t often encountered in evolution—such as crossing time zones or working night shifts. This may explain why such time changes wreak havoc on our body.

VIP seems to decline with age. Without this synchronizing molecular taskmaster, clock neurons are influenced by the more lenient GABA—which allows them to tick to their own beat. Perhaps that’s why, as we age, our sleep/wake cycle becomes more erratic and fragmented.


GABA Networks Destabilize Genetic Oscillations in the Circadian Pacemaker. Freeman GM Jr, Krock RM, Aton SJ, Thaben P, Herzog ED. Neuron. 2013 Jun 5;78(5):799-806.

2013/07/10 23:46

New Understanding of a Common Kidney Cancer By Dr. Francis Collins, on July 9th, 2013

Understanding how cancer cells shift into high gear—what makes them become more aggressive and unresponsive to treatment—is a key concern of cancer researchers. A new study reveals how this escalation occurs in the most common form of kidney cancer: clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC). The study shows that ccRCC tumors acquire specific mutations that encourage uncontrollable growth and shifts in energy use and production [1].

Conducted by researchers in the NIH-led The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Research Network, the study compared more than 400 ccRCC tumors from individual patients with healthy tissue samples from the same patients. Researchers were looking for differences in the gene activity and proteins in healthy vs. tumor tissue.

In a nutshell, they discovered 19 genes that were often mutated in these cancers. So let me tell you a little about the most intriguing mutations.

One of the genes, called VHL, normally acts like the brakes on your car and helps suppress cell growth when oxygen is limited. But when VHL is inactivated by mutation, the brakes are released, and the cells are able to keep growing even when there is limited blood supply (as is often the case for an expanding tumor). 

Another group of mutated genes controls the structure of the DNA and proteins that make up the chromosome—the so-called “epigenome.” Regulating this complex chromosomal architecture is essential for turning genes on and off at the correct times. When the epigenome loses its fine tuning, these switches can malfunction, leading to abnormal growth of cells.

Finally, mutations were identified in specific oncogenes in the growth-promoting pathway called PI3K/Akt. These mutations create a situation like a stuck accelerator in your car—the cells just keep growing when they should have stopped.

The analysis also revealed that the tumor cells shift almost exclusively to a high output, but metabolically wasteful, sugar-based power generator, called glycolysis. Glycolysis helps the tumor cells produce lots of energy, but in a way that deprives the body of its normal efficiency. Normal cells act like a highly engineered hybrid vehicle. The cancer cells are more like a gas-guzzling SUV.

If we better understand how cells become more aggressive—what genetic switches and proteins they use to push growth—we can develop more specific targets for drug therapy. The more precise our therapy, the less collateral damage will be done to a patient’s healthy tissue.

About 65,000 people in this country will be diagnosed with ccRCC in 2013, and more than 13,000 people will die. If the disease is caught in the early stage, more than half can be treated successfully with current therapies. Given this cancer’s notorious resistance to chemotherapy in its later stages, TCGA’s findings offer a wealth of new targets that I expect will lead to some novel drugs—and perhaps even therapies for other cancers, too.


[1] Comprehensive molecular characterization of clear cell renal cell carcinoma. The Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network. Nature. 2013 Jun 23.

2013/07/08 19:49

Passive July

"We have great work ahead of us, and it needs devotion and much, much energy. To grow, to discover, we need involvement, which is something I experience every day — sometimes good, sometimes frustrating. No matter what, you must let your inner light guide you out of the darkness" Bruce Lee.

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