Πέμπτη, 27 Μαρτίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

Mass participation experiment reveals how to create wonderful dreams

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 06:27 PM PDT

Psychologists have announced the results of a two-year study into dream control. The experiment shows that it is now possible for people to create their perfect dream, and so wake up feeling especially happy and refreshed. Researchers also discovered that people's dreams were especially bizarre around the time of a full moon.

No correlation between medical marijuana legalization, crime increase: Legalization may reduce homicide, assault rates

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 03:20 PM PDT

A professor of criminology found that legalization of medical marijuana is not an indicator of increased crime. It actually may be related to reductions in certain types of violent crime. The study tracked crime rates across all 50 states between 1990 and 2006, when 11 states legalized marijuana for medical use: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. Since the time period the study covered, 20 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized marijuana for medical use.

Autism begins in pregnancy, according to study: Cortical layers disrupted during brain development in autism

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 03:19 PM PDT

Researchers have published a study that gives clear and direct new evidence that autism begins during pregnancy. The researchers analyzed 25 genes in post-mortem brain tissue of children with and without autism. These included genes that serve as biomarkers for brain cell types in different layers of the cortex, genes implicated in autism and several control genes.

Coal plant closure in China led to improvements in children's health

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 11:23 AM PDT

Decreased exposure to air pollution in utero is linked with improved childhood developmental and higher levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a key protein for brain development, according to a study of looking at the closure of coal-burning power plant in China.

Preoperative PET cuts unnecessary lung surgeries in half

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 11:23 AM PDT

PET changed patient management in 50 percent of lung cancer cases, a comprehensive statistical analysis reveals. Few studies have been able to pin down exactly what impact preoperative PET has on clinical decision-making and resulting treatment. Preliminary review of the data from this long-term, observational study was inconclusive, but after a more thorough statistical analysis accounting for selection bias and other confounding factors, the researchers were able to conclude that PET imaging eliminated approximately half of unnecessary surgeries.

Biological testing tool, ScanDrop, tests in fraction of time and cost of industry standard

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 11:23 AM PDT

A single instrument that can conduct a wide range of biological scans in a fraction of the time and cost of industry standard equipment has been developed. It uses considerably less material and ultra-sensitive detection methods to do the same thing. ScanDrop, is a portable instrument no bigger than a shoebox that has the capacity to detect a variety of biological specimen. For that reason it will benefit a wide range of users beyond the medical community, including environmental monitoring and basic scientific research.

Tumor suppressor gene linked to stem cells, cancer biologists report

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 11:23 AM PDT

Just as archeologists try to decipher ancient tablets to discern their meaning, cancer biologists are working to decode the purpose of an ancient gene considered one of the most important in cancer research. The p53 gene appears to be involved in signaling other cells instrumental in stopping tumor development. But the p53 gene predates cancer, so scientists are, for now, uncertain what its original function is.

Comprehensive 'roadmap' of blood cells revealed by researchers

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 11:22 AM PDT

An unprecedented look at five unique blood cells in the human body has been published in a new article, pinpointing the location of key genetic regulators in these cells and providing a new tool that may help scientists to identify how blood cells form and shed light on the etiology of blood diseases.

Don't shop for travel at work

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 11:22 AM PDT

It is probably not a good idea to shop for leisure travel from the office during business hours, according to a new study. Using data from a major online hotel reservation site, the study examined the quality of the hotel that consumers chose for their vacations and subsequently how satisfied they were with their stay. They found that consumers who traveled farther and made reservations during business hours were more likely to select higher quality hotels but were less satisfied after their stay. More than 35 percent of those studied made purchases during business hours.

Gut metabolism changes -- not stomach size -- linked to success of vertical sleeve gastrectomy

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 11:22 AM PDT

It's not the size of the stomach that causes weight loss after a specific type of bariatric surgery, but rather a change in the gut metabolism, say researchers. They have found that following vertical sleeve gastrectomy, there is a change in bile acids that bind to a nuclear receptor called FXR. In the absence of FXR, the researchers showed, weight-loss success and improvement in diabetes from vertical sleeve gastrectomy is reduced.

Gout isn't always easy to prove: CT scans help catch cases traditional test misses

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 11:18 AM PDT

Gout is on the rise among U.S. men and women, and this piercingly painful and most common form of inflammatory arthritis is turning out to be more complicated than had been thought. The standard way to check for gout is by drawing fluid or tissue from an affected joint and looking for uric acid crystals, a test known as a needle aspirate. That usually works, but not always: In a new study, X-rays known as dual-energy CT scans found gout in one-third of patients whose aspirates tested negative for the disease.

New clue to autism found inside brain cells

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 11:16 AM PDT

The problems people with autism have with memory formation, higher-level thinking and social interactions may be partially attributable to the activity of receptors inside brain cells, researchers have learned. The receptor under study, known as the mGlu5 receptor, becomes activated when it binds to the neurotransmitter glutamate, which is associated with learning and memory. This leads to chain reactions that convert the glutamate's signal into messages traveling inside the cell.

Untrained volunteers may do harm as well as good during disasters

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 11:16 AM PDT

In the immediate aftermath of hurricanes, floods and other disasters, it's not uncommon for people to turn out in large numbers to assist victims, clear debris and chip in on dozens of other tasks to get a community back on its feet. Their altruism is inspiring, but results of a study suggest these unsolicited or "spontaneous" volunteers may be putting themselves and others at risk for injury and, in rare cases, death as a result of their lack of training in safe and proper disaster response.

3-D MRI scans may offer better way to predict survival after targeted chemo for liver tumors

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 11:16 AM PDT

Specialized 3-D MRI scans to precisely measure living and dying tumor tissue to quickly show whether highly toxic chemotherapy – delivered directly through a tumor's blood supply – is working, demonstrates a series of studies involving 140 American men and women with liver tumors. The findings are the first "proof of principle" that this technology can show tumors in three dimensions and accurately measure tumor viability and death, the researchers report.

Should whole-genome sequencing become part of newborn screening?

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 11:16 AM PDT

The possibility of making whole-genome sequencing part of routine screening programs for newborns raises ethical, legal and social issues that should be weighed carefully, according to researchers. The question is likely to stir debate in coming years in many of the more-than-60 countries that provide newborn screening, as whole-genome sequencing (WGS) becomes increasingly affordable and reliable.

Significant progress toward creating 'benchtop human' reported

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 10:53 AM PDT

Scientists are reporting significant progress toward creating "homo minutus" -- a benchtop human. Researchers have successfully developed and analyzed a liver human organ construct that responds to exposure to a toxic chemical much like a real liver.

Parental addictions associated with adult children's arthritis

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 08:46 AM PDT

The adult offspring of parents who were addicted to drugs or alcohol are more likely to have arthritis, according to a new study. Investigators examined a group of 13,036 adults and found that 20.4 per cent of respondents had been diagnosed with arthritis by a medical professional. Investigators found that 14.5 per cent of all respondents reported having at least one parent whose drug or alcohol use caused problems while were under the age of 18 and still living at home.

Cereal flake size influences calorie intake

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 08:46 AM PDT

People eat more breakfast cereal, by weight, when flake size is reduced, according to researchers, who showed that when flakes are reduced by crushing, people pour a smaller volume of cereal into their bowls, but still take a greater amount by weight and calories.

Exercise training improves health outcomes of women with heart disease more than of men

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 08:43 AM PDT

In the largest study to ever investigate the effects of exercise training in patients with heart failure, exercise training reduced the risk for subsequent all-cause mortality or all-cause hospitalization in women by 26 percent, compared with 10 percent in men. While a causal relationship has previously been observed in clinical practice between improved health outcomes and exercise, this trial is the first to link the effects of exercise training to health outcomes in women with cardiovascular disease.

Secret to cutting sugary drink use by teens found by new study

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 08:43 AM PDT

A new study shows that teenagers can be persuaded to cut back on sugary soft drinks -- especially with a little help from their friends. A 30-day challenge encouraging teens to reduce sugar-sweetened drink use lowered their overall consumption substantially and increased by two-thirds the percentage of high-school students who shunned sugary drinks altogether.

Two spine surgeons are three times safer than one

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 07:27 AM PDT

A new team approach has improved safety -- reducing rates of major complications by two-thirds -- for complex spinal reconstructive surgery for spinal deformity in adult patients reviewed by a study. A new article gives a detailed description of the standardized protocol before, during, and after the surgery.

Last drinks: Brain's mechanism knows when to stop

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 07:27 AM PDT

Our brains are hardwired to stop us drinking more water than is healthy, according to a new brain imaging study. The study found a 'stop mechanism' that determined brain signals telling the individual to stop drinking water when no longer thirsty, and the brain effects of drinking more water than required.

Beer marinade could reduce levels of potentially harmful substances in grilled meats

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 07:27 AM PDT

The smells of summer -- the sweet fragrance of newly opened flowers, the scent of freshly cut grass and the aroma of meats cooking on the backyard grill -- will soon be upon us. Now, researchers are reporting that the very same beer that many people enjoy at backyard barbeques could, when used as a marinade, help reduce the formation of potentially harmful substances in grilled meats.

An answer to the perennial question: Is it safe to pee in the pool?

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 07:27 AM PDT

Sanitary-minded pool-goers who preach 'no peeing in the pool,' despite ordinary and Olympic swimmers admitting to the practice, now have scientific evidence to back up their concern. Researchers are reporting that when mixed, urine and chlorine can form substances that can cause potential health problems.

Less invasive technique possible in vulvar cancer treatment

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 07:26 AM PDT

The results of a study evaluating the use of sentinel lymph node dissection in women with vulvar malignancies have been presented to experts. "The object of this study was to examine the sentinel lymph node alone in women with squamous cell carcinoma of the vulva and evaluate their recurrence in the groin and any complication rates," a researcher explains. "We discovered that removing just the sentinel node had decreased complication while maintaining a low rate of further occurrence of malignancy.

Diabetes: Good self-management helps to reduce mortality

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 07:26 AM PDT

People with type 2 diabetes who report good self-management behavior have a reduced mortality risk. This was the result of a population-based study emphasizing the great importance of patient behavior in the diabetes treatment process. "Patient-centered services, such as diabetes education, self-management training and information services therefore make a valuable contribution to good patient care and should continue to be expanded," stated the researchers.

Using PET scanning to evaluate therapies of Menkes disease

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 07:26 AM PDT

PET imaging to visualize the distribution in the body of copper, which is deregulated in Menkes disease, a genetic disorder, has been used by scientists in a mouse model. This study lays the groundwork for PET imaging studies on human Menkes disease patients to identify new therapy options.

Sugary drinks weigh heavily on teenage obesity

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 07:26 AM PDT

New research shows sugary drinks are the worst offenders in the fight against youth obesity, and recommends that B.C. schools fully implement healthy eating guidelines to reduce their consumption. "This study adds to the mounting literature that shows the high concentration of sugar in soft drinks contributes to obesity in adolescents," says the lead author.

Protocol for stroke patients guided by landmark study

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 07:15 AM PDT

Neurologists have long debated how to help prevent certain stroke patients from suffering a second stroke. Now research provides the first evidence for which course of treatment is truly best for patients with poor collateral blood vessel formation near the site of stroke: they should have their blood pressure lowered to normal levels.

Life expectancy gains allude overweight teens

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 07:15 AM PDT

Although people live longer today than they did 50 years ago, people who were overweight and obese as teenagers aren't experiencing the same gains as other segments of the population, according to a new study. The life expectancy of the average American born in 2011 was 78.7 years, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The average lifespan has increased by more than a decade since 1950, but rising obesity rates threaten to take a toll on this progress.

New septic shock biomarker test could boost better interventions

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 06:26 AM PDT

Septic shock is a severe systemic infection and major cause of death for old and young alike. Unfortunately, researchers say testing new drugs to stop the infection is confounded because clinical trials include patients who are either too sick to be saved by experimental therapies or not sick enough to warrant the treatments. A new study reports a new blood test helps solve the dilemma by identifying low-risk and high-risk patients.

Scientists visualize new treatments for retinal blindness

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 06:26 AM PDT

A new report may lead the way toward new treatments or a cure for a common cause of blindness -- proliferative retinopathies. Specifically, scientists have discovered that the body's innate immune system does more than help ward off external pathogens. It also helps remove sight-robbing abnormal blood vessels, while leaving healthy cells and tissue intact.

Altruistic side of aggressive greed

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 06:26 AM PDT

In many group-living species, high-rank individuals bully their group-mates to get what they want, but their contribution is key to success in conflict with other groups, according to a study that sheds new light on the evolutionary roots of cooperation and group conflict. In a series of mathematical models, researchers uncovered a mechanism for explaining how between-group conflict influences within-group cooperation and how genes for this behavior might be maintained in the population by natural selection.

Genetics can explain why infections can trigger onset of different types of rheumatoid arthritis

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 06:23 AM PDT

A new international study has revealed how genetics could explain why different environmental exposures can trigger the onset of different forms of rheumatoid arthritis. The findings could have important implications for the way that rheumatoid arthritis is diagnosed and treated. Rheumatoid arthritis is a serious inflammatory form of arthritis that causes painful, swollen joints, and in severe cases, considerable disability. It is known to have strong genetic and environmental components.

Strong evidence for a new class of antidepressant drugs revealed by research

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 06:23 AM PDT

A chemical in the brain called galanin is involved in the risk of developing depression, scientists have shown for the first time. Galanin is a neuropeptide (a small protein) that was discovered and investigated over 30 years ago. This new research demonstrates that galanin is an important stress mechanism in the human brain that influences how sensitive or resilient people are to psychosocial stress.

Precision drugs sought for anxiety disorders

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 06:22 AM PDT

Researchers are striving to find out how cell communication regulating kainate receptors contribute to the susceptibility towards anxiety disorders. The intention is to also develop drugs that would be effective against prolonged anxiety.

Penicillin prescriptions risk under-dosing children, say experts

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 06:06 PM PDT

Millions of children in the UK are potentially receiving penicillin prescriptions below the recommended dose for common infections, according to new research. The authors are calling for an urgent review of penicillin dosing guidelines for children -- which at the time of study had not changed in over 50 years -- after discovering wide variation in current prescribing practice.

Knowing true age of your heart key to curbing lifetime heart disease risk

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 06:06 PM PDT

Understanding the true age of your heart is key to curbing the lifetime risk of developing -- and dying from -- heart disease, say new consensus recommendations on how best to stave off the worldwide epidemic of cardiovascular disease. Heart disease deaths have almost halved over the past 40-50 years, particularly in high income countries, thanks largely to the identification of the common risk factors involved and national public health initiatives, say the authors.

Epilepsy sufferers will one day live without seizures, says expert

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 06:04 PM PDT

There is a pressing need for new and more effective treatments that would make it possible for all sufferers to live seizure free, a leader in epilepsy research says. He continues that many epilepsy patients' quality of life could be significantly improved thanks to advances currently being made in treatments.

Clean cooking fuel and improved kitchen ventilation linked to less lung disease

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 04:08 PM PDT

Improving cooking fuels and kitchen ventilation is associated with better lung function and reduced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to new research. The study followed 996 villagers from southern China for nine years to examine the effects of cleaner fuels and better kitchen ventilation on lung function and disease.

Model predicts blood glucose levels 30 minutes later

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 01:44 PM PDT

A mathematical model can predict with more than 90 percent accuracy the blood glucose levels of individuals with type 1 diabetes up to 30 minutes in advance of imminent changes in their levels -- plenty of time to take preventative action. A person's blood glucose levels fluctuate in response to his or her insulin dose, meal intake, physical activity and emotional state. How great these fluctuations are depends on the individual, explain the researchers.

Substantial decrease in use of cardiac imaging procedure found by study

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 01:44 PM PDT

There has been a sharp decline since 2006 in the use of nuclear myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI; an imaging procedure used to determine areas of the heart with decreased blood flow), a decrease that cannot be explained by an increase in other imaging methods, according to a study. "Although the abrupt nature of the decline suggests changing physician behavior played a major role, incident coronary disease, as assessed by [heart attack], also declined [by 27 percent]. We could not determine the relative effects of these factors on MPI use," the authors write.

Blood glucose measure appears to provide little benefit in predicting risk of CVD

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 01:44 PM PDT

Adding information about glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), a measure of longer-term blood sugar control, to conventional CVD risk factors like smoking and cholesterol was associated with little improvement in the prediction of CVD risk, according to a study that included nearly 300,000 adults without a known history of diabetes or cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Treatment helps reduce risk of esophagus disorder progressing to cancer

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 01:44 PM PDT

Among patients with the condition known as Barrett's esophagus, treatment of abnormal cells with radiofrequency ablation (use of heat applied through an endoscope to destroy cells) resulted in a reduced risk of this condition progressing to cancer, according to a study. In the last 3 decades, the incidence of esophageal cancer has increased more rapidly that other cancers in the Western world. This type of cancer often originates from Barrett esophagus, a condition that involves abnormal changes in the cells of the lower portion of the esophagus, a complication of severe chronic gastrointestinal reflux disease.

Geographic disparities in access to liver transplantation related to risk of death

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 01:43 PM PDT

Veterans with liver disease who live more than 100 miles from a Veterans Administration hospital that offers liver transplants are only half as likely to be placed on the liver transplant waitlist to receive a new organ compared to veterans who live closer to transplant centers, according to a new study. The findings also reveal that the further liver disease patients live from these five transplant centers, the more likely they are to die.

Cellular patterns of contraction in human hearts identified for first time

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 12:39 PM PDT

The different cellular patterns and mechanical functions in contractions of the human heart has been identified for the first time by an American researcher. The findings indicate possible therapeutic targets for treatment of disease and heart failure.

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