May 2012

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Description: CECsCECs become misshapen (right) in the lead-up to a heart attack.

Blood test could alert doctors to a looming heart attack

An experimental blood test developed by Scripps Research investigators could give people up to two weeks' notice if they are at serious risk for a heart attack. Heart disease kills nearly 600,000 people a year in the U.S., many of whom experienced chest pains in the weeks before their heart attack.

If the test proves reliable, it may give doctors the ability to intervene, potentially preventing life-threatening heart attacks.

"The ability to diagnose an imminent heart attack has long been considered the holy grail of cardiovascular medicine," said Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute.

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Milestones in Medical Science:

Description: Mark MayfordAssociate Professor Mark Mayford

Hints for rewiring memory

Hollywood blockbusters like Inception, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Memento, and even Men in Black, in which people are able to tinker with memory, may be closer to reality than even their creators could have imagined.

In a groundbreaking study by Scripps Research neuroscientist Mark Mayford, scientists were able to turn mice’s memories partially on and off using a chemical.

While the concept may sound sci-fi, its implications for people with conditions like schizophrenia or post-traumatic stress disorder are very real.

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Description: Thomas BurrisProfessor Thomas Burris

Modulating the body's internal clock to prompt weight loss

Drugs that tinker with the brain's biological clock could not only help fight jet lag, but also address obesity, diabetes, and high cholesterol, new research from Scripps Florida suggests.

Scientists have developed a compound that affects the circadian rhythms of mice in a way that causes them to lose weight, even when eating a high-fat, high-sugar diet.

"The idea behind this research is that our circadian rhythms are coupled with metabolic processes and that you can modulate them pharmacologically," said lead researcher Professor Thomas Burris. "As it turns out, the effect of that modulation is surprisingly positive – everything has been beneficial so far."

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Facts & Figures

An estimated 7.8% of Americans will experience post-traumatic stress disorder at some point in their lives, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

A solid foundation for tomorrow's cures

Basic research provides the foundation for major medical advances. But in this era of declining budgets, tomorrow’s cures are in jeopardy. Your support is vital.

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A PhD in Adrenaline

Marla Streb isn't just a champion downhill bike racer. She's also a molecular biologist.

Streb planted the seeds for her 16-year racing career when she worked as an AIDS researcher at Scripps Research in the 1990s. In fact, it was during her time at Scripps Research that she began commuting by bike and eventually began racing mountain bikes – what she jokes is the equivalent of a PhD in adrenaline. Now mountain bike racing is just one of Streb's incredible list of incarnations.

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