Press Release: Can brief exposure to mildly violent video games affect your focus?

Video games are a popular form of entertainment. But can video games have a negative impact on your focus? Many studies show that both duration of exposure and level of violence of video games appear to be associated with concentration difficulties. However, whilst much attention has been given to the affects of long duration of game playing to violent video games (1), little is known on the impact that short exposure to less violent video games can have. Jacob Brawer, a Clinical Neuroscience Research Intern at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, has just published a study in the Journal of Young Investigators (JYI) providing the first evidence that even short-term video gaming can significantly impact both the concentration and attention of players (2)

RNAi Gene Therapy: Gene Silencing Drug ‘Speaks Up’ Following FDA Approval

Twenty years after the molecular mechanism of gene silencing was unraveled, researchers are making critical steps forward following the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of a new gene silencing therapeutic. The drug, Onpattro (Patisiran), licensed by Alnylam Therapeutics, is designed to treat patients with hereditary transthyretin-mediated (hATTR) amyloidosis, a rare but life-threatening disease that causes damage to the peripheral nerves. The drug works by targeting RNA before it has a chance to be translated into a disease-causing protein. Now that this drug approval barrier has been overcome, have doctors and researchers entered a new era of treating genetic diseases?

CD105 Deficiency in Mouse Aorta-Derived Progenitor Cells Promotes an Enhanced Inflammatory Response to Lipopolysaccharide

Mesenchymal progenitor cells are widely studied for their ability to regulate macrophage cell responses and can be suppressive or supportive during an inflammatory response. Mouse aorta-derived progenitors (mAo) support the macrophage inflammatory response and highly express CD105, also known as endoglin. Elevated CD105 expression is consistently associated with inflammatory disease. Therefore, we hypothesized that suppression of CD105 will reduce the immunosupportive capacity of mAo mesenchymal progenitors. We used siRNA to reduce expression of CD105 in mAo cells. We subsequently examined the effect of this deficiency in their response to both lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and their ability to support the macrophage inflammatory response.

Super-Resolution Imaging Technologies in the Study of Mitochondrial Proteins

Mitochondrial proteins are vital regulators of cellular metabolism, with their roles ranging from energy generation to cell apoptosis. Furthering our understanding of the structures and spatio-temporal dynamics of mitochondrial proteins is therefore central to the elucidation of various metabolic mechanisms. Mitochondrial metabolic disorder is one of the most commonly inherited human diseases. Despite its prevalence, it is difficult to be diagnosed at early stages because of the disparate disease genotypes and phenotypes. Thus, advancing means of cataloguing the extensive mitochondrial proteome is crucial for clarifying the pathogenesis of mitochondrial diseases. Such information would provide considerable insight into the improvement of current diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for the disorders. The requirement of purification and the low resolution of conventional imaging techniques impede the study of mitochondrial proteins in situ. Recent developments of imaging techniques, such as single molecule holography, photoactivated localization microscopy (PALM), and stimulated emission depletion (STED), allow for the visualization of proteins down to single molecule resolution in situ. This enables direct study of protein activity mechanisms with considerations of the contributions given by their native environments. In this review, we summarize the limitations of conventional structural techniques, such as X-ray crystallography, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, and cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), specific to studying mitochondrial proteins.

Careers Interview: Dr. Longen Zhou, PhD

Dr. Longen Zhou is the director of Translational Cancer Research at Johnson & Johnson’s Shanghai headquarters. He has had extensive experience in the area of cancer drug development and working in the industrial sector. Dr. Zhou is very knowledgeable about various topics in health science and medicine. His work involves drugs targeting a variety of different cancers, including but not limited to lung cancer, stomach cancer, and leukemia. He has shared with JYI his insights about working in the field of drug development.

Viruses Destroying Bacteria: Refining Solutions to Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotics are a category of drug that inhibits the growth and development of microorganisms. One issue facing modern medicine is the rising levels of antibiotic resistance – bacteria are able to resist the effects of antibiotic medications that were once effective. This resistance is a major health concern because antibiotics are the primary treatment for many common infections, including tuberculosis, blood poisoning, gonorrhea, and pneumonia, which are becoming increasingly harder to treat as a result. 

Impact of Brief Exposure to an E10-Rated, Mildly-Violent Video Game on Teen Players’ Short-Term Attention and Concentration Ability

Past studies have examined the impact of M-rated, very violent video games and E-rated non-violent video games on attention and concentration ability. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of brief exposure to an E10-rated, mildly-violent video game had on short-term attention and concentration ability in 15- to 17-year-old males with moderate-use video gameplay histories. Subjects were randomly assigned into playing either an E10-rated, mildly-violent video game or a trivia card game for 45 minutes. The subjects in the experimental group performed significantly worse on the neuropsychological measure of attention and concentration (Digit Span Forward [DSF]) compared to those in the control group, who showed consistent performance before and after the exposure. The findings in this study are unique, as this is the first time that the impact of an E10-rated, mildly-violent video game on a player’s short-term attention and concentration ability has been examined.