University of Rochester

Research Notes

New Look at Brain Blood Flow Affects Views of Alzheimer’s

New findings that long-overlooked brain cells play an important role in regulating blood flow in the brain could open a new frontier when it comes to understanding Alzheimer’s disease. That’s according to a new study led by neuroscientist Maiken Nedergaard that was published in the February issue of Nature Neuroscience. Nedergaard found that star-shaped brain cells known as astrocytes play a direct role in controlling blood flow in the brain, a crucial process that allows parts of the brain to burst into activity when needed. The finding is intriguing for a disease like Alzheimer’s, which has long been considered a disease of neurons, not astrocytes.

Study Finds No Link Between Childbirth and Incontinence

Postmenopausal women who have given birth vaginally do not appear to suffer from urinary incontinence at higher rates than their sisters who have never given birth, according to a new study led by Gunhilde Buchsbaum, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology. Published in the December issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the results are contrary to conventional thinking that vaginal delivery will result in urinary incontinence later in life. The study showed that genetics, not childbirth, seemed to play the largest role in determining risk.

Older Antibiotics Less Effective Against Step Throat, Doctors Say

Pediatricians at the Medical Center have presented more evidence that it’s time for antibiotic stalwarts like penicillin and amoxicillin to step aside when it comes to treating strep throat. Michael Pichichero, a professor of microbiology and immunology who did the study with colleague Janet Casey, a clinical associate professor of pediatrics, reviewed the treatment of 11,426 children and found that even a short course of the newer drugs known as cephalosporins is more effective than the traditional 10-day dose of the older antibiotics.

Study: Women Deserve a Cardiac Zap as Much as Men

Women who have had a heart attack get as much survival benefit as men from implanted cardioverter defibrillators, according to a new study led by doctors at the Medical Center. Published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology, the study took a new look at previous research that showed the devices, which monitor the heart’s pumping rhythm and shock it back to normal when needed, could reduce mortality in patients. Lead author Wojciech Zareba, an associate professor of medicine, says that although some research indicates women are much less likely to receive the devices during their treatment, the Rochester study shows that both genders get a similar benefit from the therapy.

Laser Lab Receives More Than $72 Million

The Laboratory for Laser Energetics will receive $72.6 million for current operations and for construction of its new, four-beam extension facility through a bill signed by President Bush last fall. The funding includes $25 million for the new Omega EP facility and is part of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act for 2006. The new Robert L. Sproull Center for Ultra High Intensity Laser Research will extend the lab’s capabilities for possible experiments in areas such as modeling the very young universe, understanding the quantum world, and studying laser-matter interactions.