Galea appointed inaugural Margaret C. Ryan Dean of planned WashU School of Public Health

Washington University in St. Louis announced today that Sandro Galea, MD, DrPH, one of the world’s most influential public health leaders, will become the inaugural Margaret C. Ryan Dean of the university’s planned School of Public Health, effective Jan. 1. In this critical leadership role, Galea will help shape and launch WashU’s first new school […]

Award of up to $31 million supports development of osteoarthritis treatment

Osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease, limits the mobility of 32 million people nationwide, many to the point of significant disability. Affected individuals face limited options, as there are no drugs to cure or substantially lessen the disease, and invasive joint replacement is often the only option when it reaches its later stages. With the goal […]

Five factors to ensure an infant thrives

There are basic resources every baby needs for the best possible chance to develop as a healthy well-functioning human. Start with good nutrition, breast milk if possible. That baby is going to need stimulation, lots of looking, reciprocal interactions, exposure to language and interesting stimuli. If at all possible, you should live in a place […]

AI may predict spread of lung cancer to brain

Physicians treating patients with early-stage lung cancer face a conundrum: choosing potentially helpful yet toxic therapies such as chemotherapy, radiation or immunotherapy to knock out the cancer and lessen the risk of it spreading to the brain, or waiting to see if lung surgery alone proves sufficient. When up to 70% of such patients do […]

Social determinants of health increase Alzheimer’s risk

Social determinants of health are increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia, finds a recent study from the Brown School and the School of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis. “It is central for prevention of Alzheimer’s and related dementia to set up public policies addressing social determinants from very early on in […]

Preschoolers with depression at greater risk of suicide during adolescence

Preschoolers with clinical depression are more likely than their peers to have attempted suicide or to have had thoughts of killing themselves by age 12, according to a new study from researchers at Washington University in St. Louis. The findings, published recently in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, suggest […]

Neurons help flush waste out of brain during sleep

There lies a paradox in sleep. Its apparent tranquility juxtaposes with the brain’s bustling activity. The night is still, but the brain is far from dormant. During sleep, brain cells produce bursts of electrical pulses that cumulate into rhythmic waves — a sign of heightened brain cell function. But why is the brain active when we […]

Alzheimer’s blood test performs as well as FDA-approved spinal fluid tests

A simple blood test to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease soon may replace more invasive and expensive screening methods such as spinal taps and brain scans. A study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Lund University in Sweden shows that a blood test can be as good at detecting molecular signs […]

Key regulator of decision-making pinpointed in brain

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have new insight on what goes on inside people’s heads as they make decisions to obtain information about the future. The scientists identified a set of mental rules that governs decision-making about physical rewards — for example, food or money — and cognitive rewards – […]

University’s technology, innovation hub celebrates 100th faculty startup

The first-floor walls at 4240 Duncan Ave. — home to Washington University in St. Louis’ Office of Technology Management (OTM) — are running out of room. And that’s a good thing. The logos of Washington University startup companies launched to shepherd promising university-owned diagnostics, therapeutics or other technologies to the marketplace are prominently displayed on the walls. […]

Study reveals clues to how Eastern equine encephalitis virus invades brain cells

An atomic-level investigation of how Eastern equine encephalitis virus binds to a key receptor and gets inside of cells also has enabled the discovery of a decoy molecule that protects against the potentially deadly brain infection, in mice. The study, from researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, is published Jan. 3 […]

Washington University and Deerfield Management launch VeritaScience to drive drug discovery

Washington University in St. Louis and Deerfield Management, a health-care investment firm, today announced the launch of VeritaScience, a new private R&D collaboration designed to advance the discovery, clinical development and commercialization of promising therapeutic and diagnostic candidates with potential to benefit human health.  To support projects that originate from the collaboration, Deerfield has committed up to […]

Gut bacteria of malnourished children benefit from key elements in therapeutic food

A clinical trial reported in 2021 and conducted by a team of researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research in Dhaka, Bangladesh, showed that a newly designed therapeutic food aimed at repairing malnourished children’s underdeveloped gut microbiomes was superior to a widely used standard […]

Long-standing hormone treatment for donated hearts found to be ineffective

Doctors managing deceased organ donors routinely treat the donors’ bodies with thyroid hormones in a bid to preserve heart function and increase the quantity and quality of hearts and other organs available for transplantation. However, according to a recent clinical trial led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Mid-America […]

Long-COVID clinic expanding reach to vulnerable metro, rural communities

In 2020, overwhelmed hospitals and excessive fatalities defined a world grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic. Simultaneously, a new challenge emerged: A growing population struggled to recover fully from COVID-19. Patients coined the term “long COVID” to describe their prolonged health challenges that can linger months after initial coronavirus infection. Eventually, long-COVID clinics, programs focused on […]

Key Medicare payment model fails to improve mental health

A nationwide Medicare program that aims to improve health care and reduce costs by linking health-care reimbursements to health quality and cost outcomes resulted in no improvements in mental health care, according to a study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the Yale School of Public Health. The study, […]

$8 million awarded to study root causes of brain cell death in fatal pediatric diseases

A large team of researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has received nearly $8 million from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to help determine the root causes of brain cell death in fatal pediatric neurodegenerative diseases. The grant is part of […]

How do toxic proteins accumulate in Alzheimer’s and other diseases?

Under normal circumstances, tau protein is part of the brain’s infrastructure, important for stabilizing neurons into their proper shapes. But sometimes tau gets knotted up into tangles and turns toxic, injuring brain tissue and causing tauopathies, a group of brain diseases characterized by problems with learning, memory and movement. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common […]

Grant supports physician-scientists studying infectious diseases, immunology

Physician-scientists split their time between caring for patients and unraveling biological mysteries. This dual expertise can yield the kind of insights that power groundbreaking medical advances and advance human health. Yet only a small and shrinking fraction of physicians pursue joint careers in the clinic and the lab. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine […]

What to know about the new Alzheimer’s drug Leqembi

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently gave full approval to Leqembi (lecanemab) for patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Physicians and researchers at Washington University School of Medicine’s Charles F. and Joanne Knight Alzheimer Disease Research Center (Knight ADRC) in St. Louis were involved in the clinical trials evaluating Leqembi, in which they enrolled […]

Scientists reveal how proteins drive growth of multiple cancer types

Scientists have completed a deep analysis of the proteins driving cancer across multiple tumor types, information that can’t be assessed by genome sequencing alone. Understanding how proteins operate in cancer cells raises the prospect of new therapies that block key proteins that drive cancer growth, or therapies that trigger immune responses to abnormal proteins created […]

Study defines disparities in memory care

Patients who live in less affluent neighborhoods and those from underrepresented racial or ethnic groups are less likely than others to receive specialized care for dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, a new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis indicates. Further, the research shows that Black people are more likely than white people […]

Poverty negatively impacts structural wiring in children’s brains, study indicates

A new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that growing up in poverty may influence the wiring of a child’s brain. The study, published June 27 in JAMA Network Open, indicates a link between both neighborhood and household poverty and the brain’s white matter tracts, which allow for communication between […]

Diagnosis of rare, genetic muscle disease improved by new approach

It’s not easy to distinguish between the dozens of subtypes of limb girdle muscular dystrophy — a rare, genetic muscle disease characterized by weakness in the hips and shoulders that causes difficulty walking and lifting the arms. Until now, determining the subtype has not been critical in caring for patients, because no specific treatments have […]

Children’s brain scans provide clues to processing of emotional cues

Children with specific psychiatric symptoms, such as anxiety, may struggle to understand emotional cues when people around them are happy, sad or angry, and that lack of understanding can make it difficult to respond appropriately in social situations. Studying brain scans from hundreds of children ages 5 to 15, researchers at Washington University School of […]

Wearable, light-based brain-imaging tech to be commercialized with aid of NIH grant

Figuring out what’s going on inside people’s heads typically requires huge, expensive equipment and volunteers willing to spend hours performing repetitive tasks while lying inside a narrow metal tube. Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis are working on an alternative. They are developing a cap that can be worn while moving around normally that […]

Detailed human pangenome reference captures human diversity

The Human Genome Project, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), ended in April 2003 and produced a human genome sequence made up of a patchwork of data from a small number of individuals. This lack of diversity limited its usefulness as a research tool for understanding human health and disease. Now, researchers have […]

Discovery suggests route to safer pain medications

Strategies to treat pain without triggering dangerous side effects such as euphoria and addiction have proven elusive. For decades, scientists have attempted to develop drugs that selectively activate one type of opioid receptor to treat pain while not activating another type of opioid receptor linked to addiction. Unfortunately, those compounds can cause a different unwanted […]

Bloodstream infections in preemies may originate from their gut microbiomes

Dangerous bacterial bloodstream infections in preemies may originate from the infants’ gut microbiomes, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Such infections are of substantial concern, as about half of infants who are extremely preterm or have very low birth weights experience at least one episode of the life-threatening infection […]

Stress increases Alzheimer’s risk in female mice but not males

Women are about twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Some of that is age; in the U.S., women outlive men by five to six years, and advanced age is the strongest risk factor for Alzheimer’s. But there’s more to it than that, so Alzheimer’s researchers continue to look for other […]

Mind-body connection is built into brain, study suggests

Calm body, calm mind, say the practitioners of mindfulness. A new study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis indicates that the idea that the body and mind are inextricably intertwined is more than just an abstraction. The study shows that parts of the brain area that control movement are plugged […]

Rogers, Smyser awarded MERIT grant for research on preterm babies

Researchers in child psychiatry and pediatric neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have been named recipients of a prestigious MERIT award from the National Institute of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support their research focused on preterm babies’ brains as the children age. The MERIT (Method […]

Discovery of T cells’ role in Alzheimer’s, related diseases, suggests new treatment strategy

Nearly two dozen experimental therapies targeting the immune system are in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease, a reflection of the growing recognition that immune processes play a key role in driving the brain damage that leads to confusion, memory loss and other debilitating symptoms. Many of the immunity-focused Alzheimer’s drugs under development are aimed at […]

Adding med to antidepressant may help older adults with treatment-resistant depression

For older adults with clinical depression that has not responded to standard treatments, adding the drug aripiprazole (brand name Abilify) to an antidepressant they’re already taking is more effective than switching from one antidepressant to another, according to a new multicenter study led by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Aripiprazole originally was […]

WashU research spurs changes to global guidelines for feeding malnourished kids

The brain health of millions of malnourished children stands to benefit following changes to global guidelines for the formulation of ready-to-eat therapeutic food — the standard treatment for severe malnutrition in developing countries. Results of a major clinical trial in Africa led by Mark Manary, MD, a professor of pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in […]

Disrupted flow of brain fluid may underlie neurodevelopmental disorders

The brain floats in a sea of fluid that cushions it against injury, supplies it with nutrients and carries away waste. Disruptions to the normal ebb and flow of the fluid have been linked to neurological conditions including Alzheimer’s disease and hydrocephalus, a disorder involving excess fluid around the brain. Researchers at Washington University School […]

Needlemans commit $15 million to boost drug discovery

A generous $15 million commitment from Philip and Sima Needleman, longtime benefactors of Washington University in St. Louis, will enable WashU to leverage its expertise in biomedical discovery to boost drug development. The Needleman Program for Innovation and Commercialization (NPIC) will bridge the gap between the identification of promising therapeutic targets in the laboratory and […]

Patients with brain cancer may benefit from treatment to boost white blood cells

Patients with glioblastoma, a devastating brain cancer, receive treatment that frequently leads to the unfortunate side effect of low white blood cell counts that lasts six months to a year. The low numbers of white blood cells are associated with shorter survival — but the specific reason for the prolonged drop in white blood cells […]

Gut bacteria affect brain health, mouse study shows

A growing pile of evidence indicates that the tens of trillions of microbes that normally live in our intestines — the so-called gut microbiome — have far-reaching effects on how our bodies function. Members of this microbial community produce vitamins, help us digest food, prevent the overgrowth of harmful bacteria and regulate the immune system, […]

Vaccines’ real-world effectiveness studied with $12.5M grant from CDC

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have received a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) totaling $12.5 million to investigate the real-world effectiveness of influenza and COVID-19 vaccines and the immune response to infection and vaccination against these two illnesses. Unlike a strictly controlled clinical trial, this […]

WashU, Eisai form drug discovery collaboration

Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the pharmaceutical company Eisai Co. Ltd., headquartered in Japan, have formed a research collaboration aimed at developing new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions. The two organizations previously have partnered on Alzheimer’s clinical trials, and the new alliance combines their complementary efforts […]

Exercise, mindfulness don’t appear to boost cognitive function in older adults

A large study that focused on whether exercise and mindfulness training could boost cognitive function in older adults found no such improvement following either intervention. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of California, San Diego, studied the cognitive effects of exercise, mindfulness training or both for up to […]

Immunotherapy eliminates disease-causing cells in mice with MS-like disease

The cancer therapy known as CAR-T has revolutionized treatment of some blood cancers since it was introduced in 2017. The therapy uses genetically altered immune cells to home in on cancer cells and destroy them. Now, studying mice with an autoimmune disease similar to multiple sclerosis (MS), researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in […]

Diagnostic marker found for deadly brain disease marked by dementia, movement problems

Zooming in on a single disease and studying it intensely is often the most productive route to finding treatments. But there’s no easy way to distinguish among people living with any of the primary tauopathies — a group of rare brain diseases marked by rapidly worsening problems with thinking and movement — because the symptoms […]

Rejuvenated immune cells can improve clearance of toxic waste from brain

Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and many other neurodegenerative diseases are marked by damaging clusters of proteins in the brain. Scientists have expended enormous effort searching for ways to treat such conditions by clearing these toxic clusters but have had limited success. Now, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found an innovative way […]

Study yields clues to why Alzheimer’s disease damages certain parts of the brain

Memory loss is often the first sign of Alzheimer’s disease, followed by confusion and difficulty thinking. These symptoms reflect the typical pattern of worsening damage to brain tissues. Toxic clusters of proteins first concentrate in the temporal lobes of the brain — the memory area — before spreading to parts of the brain important for […]

COVID-19 widened health disparities in employment, food

Several studies on COVID-19 have revealed gaping disparities in the U.S. that negatively affect the health of people who aren’t white, especially nonwhite women. A deep dive from researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the university’s Brown School shows that in St. Louis County, Black women suffered at disproportionately higher […]

Cellular housekeeping process implicated in fatal disorder

Huntington’s disease, a fatal, inherited neurodegenerative condition, is caused by a genetic error present at birth, though its symptoms often don’t begin until middle adulthood. Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have been trying to understand how the aging process triggers the onset of symptoms, with the expectation that such knowledge […]