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  • Preferences for a good end-of-life experience
    Preferences for a good end-of-life experience
    7 October 2015 A study has compared the value placed on different end-of-life experiences by advanced cancer patients and the general population of older adults. It was found that overall both groups valued being free from pain and the choice to die at home above treatments that would moderately extend their lives. However, overall, patients were willing to pay a higher price for all aspects of a good end-of-life experience compared to the older adult group. The research, led by Professor Eric Finkelstein and Assistant Professor Chetna Malhotra from the Lien Centre for Palliative Care (LCPC) at Duke-NUS, was recently accepted for publication in the journal Health Policy. The findings were presented at the LCPC-SHC Palliative Care Symposium, a one-day symposium focusing on palliative care in Singapore. The symposium was jointly organised by the Lien Centre for Palliative Care (LCPC) and the Singapore Hospice Council (SHC). This research is supported by the Singapore Ministry of Health’s National Medical Research Council under its New Investigator Grant and LCPC. Read more.
  • Scientists discover mechanism that regulates circadian clock
    Scientists discover mechanism that regulates circadian clock
    2 October 2015 Scientists have discovered a molecular switch that regulates the body’s circadian clock and allows it to keep time. Professor David Virshup, Director of the Cancer and Stem Cell Biology Programme at Duke-NUS, led the research with Professor Daniel Forger from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. This ‘phosphoswitch’ maintains the stability of PER2, one of the proteins critical for determining the timing of the circadian clock. This discovery presents a potential drug target to treat circadian rhythm disorders. The findings, published in the journal Molecular Cell, have shed light on one of the biggest mysteries of the circadian clock and have helped to explain some of the basic mechanisms governing the circadian clock’s timing. In addition to Drs Virshup and Forger, study authors include first author Duke-NUS Research Fellow Dr Min Zhou and KAIST mathematician Assistant Professor Jae Kyoung Kim. This research is supported by the Singapore Ministry of Health’s National Medical Research Council under its Investigator Research Grant. Read more.
  • Two genes unlock potential for treatment of schizophrenia
    Two genes unlock potential for treatment of schizophrenia
    18 September 2015 A research study led by Assistant Professor Shawn Je, from the Neuroscience and Behavioural Disorders Programme at Duke-NUS, has linked the abnormal behaviour of two genes (BDNF and DTNBP1) to the underlying cause of schizophrenia. The dominant cause of schizophrenia lies in impaired brain development that eventually leads to imbalanced signals within the brain. Dr Je’s study is the first to show that DTNBP1 is required for proper trafficking and release of BDNF to maintain inhibitory synaptic connections within the brain circuit. The findings have shed considerable insight into how the brain network develops and present possibilities for potential schizophrenia treatments designed around restoring or enhancing BDNF levels. Published online in the journal Biological Psychiatry, the study is supported by the Singapore Ministry of Education Academic Research Fund Tier 2 (MOE2012-T2-1-021) and the Duke-NUS Signature Research Programme, with funding from the Singapore Ministry of Health. Read more.

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