Chronic bronchitis: New insights could lead to first diagnostic test, better treatments

Researchers describe how the concentration of mucins — the proteins that make mucus thick — is abnormally high in chronic bronchitis and that high mucin concentrations are associated with disease severity in people with chronic bronchitis. This finding could become the first-ever objective marker of chronic bronchitis and lead to the creation of diagnostic and prognostic tools.

New findings on brain functional connectivity may lend insights into mental disorders

Ongoing advances in understanding the functional connections within the brain are producing exciting insights into how the brain circuits function together to support human behavior — and may lead to new discoveries in the development and treatment of psychiatric disorders, according to a review.

Statistical analysis for optimal immunization: New insights into T cell development

When T cells encounter an antigen, they proliferate and produce various types of daughter cells. Medical researchers have now refuted the prevailing hypothesis that this immune response is largely predetermined by the individual structure of the T cell receptor. Instead, the influence of the T cell receptor can be described only in probabilistic terms. Such mathematical models may help to improve the design of future vaccination strategies.

New insights into complex processes

The blood-brain barrier is a crucial protection mechanism: it is a highly selective physical barrier that prevents pathogens and toxins in the circulatory system from entering the central nervous system where they could create havoc. At the same time, however, it prevents many therapeutic drugs from reaching the brain, making it much more difficult to treat medical conditions such as stroke, brain tumors or edemas.