Παρασκευή, 28 Φεβρουαρίου 2014

Science News SciGuru.com

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Why Autism Is More Common in Males

Posted: 28 Feb 2014 07:26 AM PST

Males are at greater risk for neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), than females, but the underlying reasons have been unclear. A large cohort study published by Cell Press on February 27th in the American Journal of Human Genetics provides compelling evidence in support of the ”female protective model,” which proposes that females require more extreme genetic mutations than do males to push them over the diagnostic threshold for neurodevelopmental disorders.

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Early atherosclerotic plaques regress when cholesterol levels are lowered

Posted: 28 Feb 2014 07:18 AM PST

Early but not advanced forms of atherosclerotic plaques in the vessel wall disappear when the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol are lowered, according to a study in mice from Karolinska Institutet, Sweden. The findings, published in  PLoS Genetics , indicate that preventative cholesterol-lowering treatment could prevent more advanced, clinically relevant plaque to develop.

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By Zooming in on Arteries, Researchers Get to the Root of Pulmonary Hypertension

Posted: 27 Feb 2014 08:00 AM PST

You might think building muscle is a good thing, but that's often not so in the case of blood vessels in adults. In fact, excess smooth muscle is a root problem in many vascular diseases, as it causes arteries to constrict and blood pressure to rise. Now, an in-depth analysis of arterioles in mice with pulmonary hypertension explains how those misplaced smooth muscle cells develop.

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Mouse Brain Atlas Maps Neural Networks to Reveal How Brain Regions Interact

Posted: 27 Feb 2014 07:11 AM PST

Different brain regions must communicate with each other to control complex thoughts and behaviors, but relatively little is known about how these areas organize into broad neuronal networks. In a study published by Cell Press February 27th in the journal Cell, researchers developed a mouse whole-brain atlas that reveals hundreds of neuronal pathways in a brain structure called the cerebral cortex.

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Supplement Added to a Standard Diet Improves Health and Prolongs Life in Mice

Posted: 27 Feb 2014 06:53 AM PST

Activating a protein called sirtuin 1 extends lifespan, delays the onset of age-related metabolic diseases, and improves general health in mice. The findings, which appear online February 27 in the Cell Press journal Cell Reports, point to a potentially promising strategy for improving health and longevity.

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Male Goat Essence Really Turns the Females On

Posted: 24 Feb 2014 05:30 PM PST

Anyone who has ever spent time around goats knows they have a certain smell. By carefully analyzing eau de male goat, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on February 27 have now identified a novel, citrus-scented ingredient that speaks directly to the females. It acts on female goats' brains to turn their reproductive systems on.

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ScienceDaily: Living Well News

ScienceDaily: Living Well News

Prenatal Nicotine Exposure May Lead to ADHD in Future Generations

Posted: 27 Feb 2014 10:47 AM PST

Prenatal exposure to nicotine could manifest as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children born a generation later, according to a new study. Researchers have found evidence that ADHD associated with nicotine can be passed across generations. In other words, your child's ADHD might be an environmentally induced health condition inherited from your grandmother, who may have smoked cigarettes during pregnancy a long time ago. And the fact that you never smoked may be irrelevant for your child's ADHD.

New search engine delivers content matched to student ability

Posted: 27 Feb 2014 08:52 AM PST

An Internet search engine developed specifically for schools is being tested as a way to increase reading abilities in challenged students and help motivate intellectual development in gifted students, while saving schools money on textbooks. Complexity Engine uses a sophisticated algorithm to search websites for content and delivers free, customized and age-appropriate reading materials to a user's computer. It promises to give teachers, parents and students an efficient, affordable way to promote reading. Teachers and administrators can set parameters for the search results, and the reading experience can be either student self-directed or guided by the teacher.

The pain of social exclusion: Physical pain brain circuits activated by 'social pain'

Posted: 27 Feb 2014 07:11 AM PST

"Social" pain hurts physically, even when we see it in others. The distress caused by social stimuli (e.g., losing a friend, experiencing an injustice or more in general when a social bond is threatened) activates brain circuits related to physical pain: as observed in a new study. This also applies when we experience this type of pain vicariously as an empathic response (when we see somebody else experiencing it).

Why dark chocolate is good for your heart

Posted: 27 Feb 2014 06:21 AM PST

It might seem too good to be true, but dark chocolate is good for you and scientists now know why. Dark chocolate helps restore flexibility to arteries while also preventing white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels. Both arterial stiffness and white blood cell adhesion are known factors that play a significant role in atherosclerosis. What's more, the scientists also found that increasing the flavanol content of dark chocolate did not change this effect.

Secondhand smoke exposure linked to adverse pregnancy outcomes

Posted: 26 Feb 2014 06:12 PM PST

Secondhand smoking is linked with pregnancy loss, including miscarriage, stillbirth and tubal ectopic pregnancy, according to new research. The study findings mark a significant step toward clarifying the risks of secondhand smoke exposure.

'SuperMum' campaign results in startling improvements in people's handwashing behavior

Posted: 26 Feb 2014 06:10 PM PST

An analysis of a unique "SuperMum" (SuperAmma, www.superamma.org) handwashing campaign shows for the first time that using emotional motivators, such as feelings of disgust and nurture, rather than health messages, can result in significant, long-lasting improvements in people's handwashing behavior, and could in turn help to reduce the risk of infectious diseases.

DNA test better than standard screens in identifying fetal chromosome abnormalities

Posted: 26 Feb 2014 02:46 PM PST

A new study potentially has significant implications for prenatal testing for major fetal chromosome abnormalities. The study found that in a head-to-head comparison of noninvasive prenatal testing using cell free DNA (cfDNA) to standard screening methods, cfDNA testing (verifi prenatal test, Illumina, Inc.) significantly reduced the rate of false positive results and had significantly higher positive predictive values for the detection of fetal trisomies 21 and 18.

Our memory for sounds is significantly worse than our memory for visual or tactile things

Posted: 26 Feb 2014 02:44 PM PST

Remember that sound bite you heard on the radio this morning? The grocery items your spouse asked you to pick up? Chances are, you won't. Researchers have found that when it comes to memory, we don't remember things we hear nearly as well as things we see or touch.

Father's age tied to higher rates of psychiatric, academic problems in kids

Posted: 26 Feb 2014 01:53 PM PST

Advancing paternal age can lead to higher rates of psychiatric and academic problems in offspring than previously estimated. Compared to a children born to a 24-year-old father, children born to a 45-year-old father are 3.5 times more likely to have autism, 13 times more likely to have ADHD, twice as likely to have psychotic disorders and 25 times more likely to have bipolar disorder.

Why breastfed babies are so smart: Moms who breastfeed are often responsive and read to their babies

Posted: 26 Feb 2014 12:56 PM PST

Research has shown that children who were breastfed score higher on IQ tests and perform better in school, but the reason why remained unclear. Now a new study shows that two parenting skills deserve the credit. Responsiveness to children's emotional cues boosts kids' math and reading skills. Reading to children as early as 9 months of age also significantly improves school readiness. These two skills can give kids an extra 2-3 months' worth of brain development.

Ovulation motivates women to outdo other women, research shows

Posted: 26 Feb 2014 09:53 AM PST

For approximately one week every month, millions of women change their economic behavior and become more focused on their social standing relative to other women. According to new research, the ovulatory cycle alters women's behavior by subconsciously motivating them to outdo other women. Based on studies rooted in theory and research in evolutionary biology and evolutionary consumer behavior, their findings that ovulating women jockey for position over other women is consistent with the literature on animals. For example, studies have shown that female monkeys become more aggressive toward other females when fertile. This research could have important implications for marketers, consumers and researchers.

Uninsured parents don't take breastfeeding classes, even though breast is best

Posted: 26 Feb 2014 08:06 AM PST

Just 12 percent of parents without insurance coverage take breastfeeding support classes that can offer crucial support and encourage new moms to breastfeed.

Language of love: Matching conjunctions, pronouns could spell a match better than good looks and fast cars

Posted: 26 Feb 2014 08:06 AM PST

People who use the same kinds of function words are more likely to find a match, a researcher suggests. After analyzing speed dating results, researchers discovered a positive correlation of function-word similarity with speed-daters' odds of going on a second date and long-term couples' odds of still being together three months after the study. Language similarity became an even better predictor of relationship stability when compared to other related variables, such as the perceived similarity with one's date, perceived relationship quality, and how many words people spoke to each other during each conversation.

Obesity rates in 2- to 5-year-olds improve, although overall obesity rates remain unchanged, U.S. study shows

Posted: 26 Feb 2014 07:21 AM PST

The latest U.S. obesity data show a significant decline in obesity among children aged 2 to 5 years. Obesity prevalence for this age group went from nearly 14 percent in 2003-2004 to just over 8 percent in 2011-2012 -- a decline of 43 percent. Obesity increased in women age 60 years and older, from 31.5 percent to more than 38 percent.

Hormone therapy linked to better survival after lung cancer diagnosis in women

Posted: 26 Feb 2014 07:18 AM PST

Survival among people with lung cancer has been better for women than men, and the findings of a recent study indicate that female hormones may be a factor in this difference. The combination of estrogen plus progesterone and the use of long-term hormone therapy were associated with the most significant improvements in survival.

Different eggs in adolescent girls, adult women

Posted: 26 Feb 2014 07:18 AM PST

Are the eggs produced by adolescent girls the same as the ones produced by adult women? A recent study shows compelling evidence that there are two completely distinct types of eggs in the mammalian ovary -- 'the first wave' and 'the adult wave.' The first wave of eggs, which starts immediately after birth, contributes to the onset of puberty and provides fertilizable eggs into the transition from adolescence to adulthood. In contrast, the adult wave remains in a state of dormancy until activated during the adult life and then provides eggs throughout the entire reproductive lifespan.

Fear of death may curb youthful texting while driving, study shows

Posted: 26 Feb 2014 06:52 AM PST

While drivers tend to believe it is dangerous to text and drive, many say they can still do it safely. Now researchers say drivers can be discouraged from the practice with public service announcements that evoke their fear of death in graphic terms. The study comes as distracted driving is implicated in thousands of fatalities and hundreds of thousands of injuries each year. The researchers cite a National Safety Council estimate that distracted cell phone use accounts for more than one-fourth of all traffic accidents, with as many as 200,000 stemming specifically from texting while driving.

Self-administration of flu vaccine with a patch may be feasible, study suggests

Posted: 26 Feb 2014 06:48 AM PST

The annual ritual of visiting a doctor's office or health clinic to receive a flu shot may soon be outdated, thanks to the findings of a new study. The research, which involved nearly 100 people recruited in the metropolitan Atlanta area, found that test subjects could successfully apply a prototype vaccine patch to themselves. That suggests the self-administration of vaccines with microneedle patches may one day be feasible, potentially reducing administration costs and relieving an annual burden on health care professionals. The study also suggested that the use of vaccine patches might increase the rate at which the population is vaccinated against influenza.

Fish tacos: A nutritional lunch

Posted: 26 Feb 2014 06:48 AM PST

An aquaponics project studying the interdependence of fish and plants winds up rolled in tortillas and served with organic coleslaw.

Does your iPod make you socially isolated? Study suggests it might

Posted: 26 Feb 2014 04:48 AM PST

The effects that iPod use has on society and social interaction are the topic of a new study. Results showed that iPod users may or may not listen to their devices in public situations with the intention to prevent social engagement, but because others perceive it as a sign that the user does not want to interact, it has become a social barrier. The study raises questions about what impact this behavior, and the perception of it, may have on society. iPods, smart phones, tablets and other personal entertainment devices continue to grow in number; by plugging ourselves in to these modes of technology every day, are we intentionally closing ourselves off to social interaction?

New autism definition may decrease diagnosis by one third

Posted: 26 Feb 2014 04:45 AM PST

New diagnosis guidelines for autism spectrum disorder may reduce by almost one third the total number of people being diagnosed, according to new research. The guidelines, released in May 2013 and the first major update to psychiatric diagnosis criteria in almost two decades, may leave thousands of developmentally delayed children each year without the ASD diagnosis they need to qualify for social services, medical benefits and educational support.

Risk of HIV infection high during pregnancy, the postpartum period

Posted: 25 Feb 2014 04:34 PM PST

Women living in world regions where HIV infection is common are at high risk of acquiring HIV infection during pregnancy and the postpartum period, according to a study. The researchers also found that mothers who acquire HIV during pregnancy or postpartum are more likely to pass the infection on to their offspring than mothers with chronic HIV infections. "Detection and prevention of incident HIV in pregnancy/postpartum should be prioritized, and is critical to decrease [mother to child transmission]," they conclude.

MMR vaccine linked to lower rate of infection-related hospital admissions

Posted: 25 Feb 2014 01:27 PM PST

In a nationwide group of Danish children, receipt of the live measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine on schedule after vaccination for other common infections was associated with a lower rate of hospital admissions for any infections, but particularly for lower respiratory tract infections, according to a study. Childhood vaccines are recommended worldwide, based on their protective effect against the targeted diseases.

PFC exposure may spark metabolic changes in overweight children

Posted: 25 Feb 2014 10:42 AM PST

Overweight children who were exposed to higher levels of perfluorinated chemicals tended to show early signs of developing the metabolic syndrome, according to a new study. The term metabolic syndrome describes a cluster of risk factors that increase the chances of developing heart disease, stroke and diabetes. The study is the first to find changing metabolic markers in children were associated with exposure to perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), common industrial chemicals used as stain and water repellants in carpets, furniture and textiles.

Prevalence of high school seniors' marijuana use is expected to increase with legalization

Posted: 25 Feb 2014 08:29 AM PST

Large proportions of high school students normally at low risk for marijuana use (e.g., non-cigarette-smokers, religious students, those with friends who disapprove of use) reported intention to use marijuana if it were legal, a new study reports. National support for marijuana legalization is increasing in the United States. Recreational use was recently legalized in the states of Colorado and Washington; other states across the country are expected to follow suit. To date, an additional 15 states have decriminalized marijuana use, and 19 states and the District of Columbia now allow medical marijuana to be prescribed.

Can babies learn to read? No, study finds

Posted: 25 Feb 2014 08:18 AM PST

Can babies learn to read? While parents use DVDs and other media in an attempt to teach their infants to read, these tools don't instill reading skills in babies, a study has found. "While we cannot say with full assurance that infants at this age cannot learn printed words, our results make clear they did not learn printed words from the baby media product that was tested," authors note. However, there was one undeniable effect of these products -- on parents. In exit interviews, there was the belief among parents that their babies were learning to read and that their children had benefited from the program in some areas of vocabulary development.