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This Week in JAMA: Apr 27, 2011

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In JAMA this week, a team of researchers in Massachusetts led by scientists at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute present findings from a study on the associations between alternations in the CTNNB1 protein, body-mass index, and physical activity in the survival of patients with colorectal cancer. To test their hypothesis that CTNNB1 activation modifies the prognostic associations of BMI and physical activity post-diagnosis, the researchers evaluated CTNNB1 localization in 955 colorectal cancer patients between 1980 and 2004. In patients with a BMI greater than 30, positive status for nuclear CTNNB1 was associated with significantly better colorectal cancer-specific survival as well as overall survival, the authors write. "Among obese patients only, activation of CTNNB1 was associated with better colorectal cancer–specific survival and overall survival. Postdiagnosis physical activity was associated with better colorectal cancer–specific survival only among patients with negative status for nuclear CTNNB1," the team adds. "These molecular pathological epidemiology findings suggest that the effects of alterations in the WNT-CTNNB1 pathway on outcome are modified by BMI and physical activity."

The Scan

Study Links Genetic Risk for ADHD With Alzheimer's Disease

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Study Offers Insights Into Role of Structural Variants in Cancer

A new study in Nature using cell lines shows that structural variants can enable oncogene activation.

Computer Model Uses Genetics, Health Data to Predict Mental Disorders

A new model in JAMA Psychiatry finds combining genetic and health record data can predict a mental disorder diagnosis before one is made clinically.

Study Tracks Off-Target Gene Edits Linked to Epigenetic Features

Using machine learning, researchers characterize in BMC Genomics the potential off-target effects of 19 computed or experimentally determined epigenetic features during CRISPR-Cas9 editing.