Παρασκευή, 18 Απριλίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News


Fish consumption advisories for expecting mothers fail to cover all types of contaminants

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 11:19 AM PDT

Fish consumption advisories for expecting mothers are ineffective in reducing infant exposure to contaminants like persistent organic pollutants. The researchers' model estimates that women who stop eating fish shortly before or during their pregnancy may only lower their child's exposure to POPs by 10 to 15 per cent.

Connecting sleep deficits among young fruit flies to disruption in mating later in life

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 11:19 AM PDT

Mom always said you need your sleep, and it turns out, she was right. According to a new study, the lack of sleep in young fruit flies profoundly diminishes their ability to do one thing they do really, really well -- make more flies. To address whether sleep loss in young flies affects development of courtship circuits, the team investigated a group of neurons implicated in courtship. One particular subset of those neurons was smaller in sleep-deprived animals than normal flies, suggesting a possible mechanism for how sleep deprivation can lead to altered courting behavior.

Boosting Depression-Causing Mechanisms in Brain Increases Resilience, Surprisingly

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 11:18 AM PDT

New research uncovers a conceptually novel approach to treating depression. Instead of dampening neuron firing found with stress-induced depression, researchers demonstrated for the first time that further activating these neurons opens a new avenue to mimic and promote natural resilience.

Re-emergence of Ebola focuses need for global surveillance strategies

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 10:35 AM PDT

A review calls for improved global surveillance strategies to combat the emergence of infectious diseases such as the recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa that has claimed the lives of 122 people in the countries of Guinea and Liberia. The deadly Ebola virus can cause mortality rates up to 90 percent of those individuals who contract the disease. No cure or vaccine exists for Ebola hemorrhagic fever and public health officials are concerned about further spread of the virus in the region.

New cause of brain bleeding immediately after stroke identified

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 09:47 AM PDT

By discovering a new mechanism that allows blood to enter the brain immediately after a stroke, researchers have opened the door to new therapies that may limit or prevent stroke-induced brain damage. A complex and devastating neurological condition, stroke is the fourth-leading cause of death and primary reason for disability in the U.S. The blood-brain barrier is severely damaged in a stroke and lets blood-borne material into the brain, causing the permanent deficits in movement and cognition seen in stroke patients.

Proper stem cell function requires hydrogen sulfide

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 09:47 AM PDT

Stem cells in bone marrow need to produce hydrogen sulfide in order to properly multiply and form bone tissue, according to a new study. Researchers demonstrated that mice's osteoporosis-like condition could be rescued by administering small molecules that release hydrogen sulfide inside the body. The results indicate that a similar treatment may have potential to help human patients.

Internet use may cut retirees' depression

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 09:47 AM PDT

Spending time online has the potential to ward off depression among retirees, particularly among those who live alone, according to research. Authors report that internet use reduced the probability of a depressed state by 33 percent among their study sample. Late-life depression affects between 5 and 10 million Americans age 50 and older. This new study shows that the Internet offers older Americans a chance to overcome the social and spatial boundaries that are believed to fuel depression.

Unraveling the 'black ribbon' around lung cancer

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 09:45 AM PDT

A study consisting of lung cancer patients, primarily smokers between the ages of 51 to 79 years old, is shedding more light on the stigma often felt by these patients, the emotional toll it can have and how health providers can help. Previous research has shown that lung cancer carries a stigma. Because lung cancer is primarily linked to smoking behaviors, the public's opinion of the disease can often be judgmental. Today, lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death globally.

Classifying cognitive styles across disciplines

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 09:45 AM PDT

Various fields have developed diverse approaches to understanding the way people process information. A new report from psychological scientists aims to integrate these approaches by offering a new, integrated framework of cognitive styles that bridges different terminologies, concepts, and approaches.

Discovery could lead to novel therapies for Fragile X syndrome

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 09:43 AM PDT

Scientists studying the most common form of inherited mental disability -- a genetic disease called 'Fragile X syndrome' -- have uncovered new details about the cellular processes responsible for the condition that could lead to the development of therapies to restore some of the capabilities lost in affected individuals.

For resetting circadian rhythms, neural cooperation is key

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 09:43 AM PDT

Fruit flies are pretty predictable when it comes to scheduling their days, with peaks of activity at dawn and dusk and rest times in between. Now, researchers have found that the clusters of brain cells responsible for each of those activity peaks -- known as the morning and evening oscillators, respectively -- don't work alone. For flies' internal clocks to follow the sun, cooperation is key.

Common links between neurodegenerative diseases identified

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 09:42 AM PDT

The pattern of brain alterations may be similar in several different neurodegenerative diseases, which opens the door to alternative therapeutic strategies to tackle these diseases, experts say.

20 years of data shows treatment technique improvement for advanced abdominal cancer

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 09:41 AM PDT

Analysis of 20 years' worth of patient data shows that outcomes have clearly improved for patients suffering from advanced cancer of the abdomen when treated with cytoreductive surgery with Hyperthermic IntraPeritoneal Chemotherapy, or HIPEC. Cytoreductive surgery, or debulking, is removal of part of a malignant tumor which can't be completely excised and is done to enhance chemotherapy effectiveness. HIPEC is a perfusion technique in which heated chemotherapy is administered directly into the abdomen during the surgery to kill remaining cancer cells.

Fighting malaria drug resistance: Scientists find new way

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 07:15 AM PDT

An anti-malarial treatment that lost its status as the leading weapon against the deadly disease could be given a new lease of life, with new research indicating it simply needs to be administered differently. The findings could revive the use of the cheap anti-malarial drug chloroquine in treating and preventing the mosquito-bourne disease, which claims the lives of more than half a million people each year around the world.

Some immune cells defend only one organ

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 07:14 AM PDT

Some organs have the immunological equivalent of 'neighborhood police' -- specialized squads of defenders that patrol only one area, a single organ, instead of an entire city, the body, scientists have discovered. The liver, skin and uterus each has dedicated immune cells, which the researchers call tissue-resident natural killer cells. Other organs may have similar arrangements.

Radiation therapy for cervical cancer increases risk for colorectal cancer

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 07:14 AM PDT

Young women treated with radiation for cervical cancer should begin colorectal cancer screening earlier than traditionally recommended, researchers are recommending for the first time. After finding a high incidence of secondary colorectal cancers among cervical cancer survivors treated with radiation, these researchers off new recommendations that the younger women in this group begin colorectal cancer screening about eight years after their initial cervical cancer diagnosis.

More effective kidney stone treatment, from macroscopic to nanoscale

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 07:11 AM PDT

Researchers have hit on a novel method to help kidney stone sufferers ensure they receive the correct and most effective treatment possible. Kidney stones represent a major medical problem in the western and developing world. If left untreated, apart from being particularly painful, they can lead to renal failure and other complications. In many patients treated successfully, stone recurrence is also a major problem. Clearly a more effective pathological approach to diagnosis and treatment needs to be identified to ensure successful eradication of stones.

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 07:11 AM PDT

A statistical analysis of the gift 'fulfillments' at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the happy couple. The study suggests that most people hope to garner social benefits of buying an expensive gift that somehow enhances their relationship with the newlyweds while at the same time they wish to limit monetary cost and save money.

'I spy' used to show spoken language helps direct children's eyes

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 06:08 AM PDT

Children spot objects more quickly when prompted by words than if they are only prompted by images, cognitive scientists have demonstrated. Spoken language taps into children's cognitive system, enhancing their ability to learn and to navigate cluttered environments. As such the study opens up new avenues for research into the way language might shape the course of developmental disabilities such as ADHD, difficulties with school, and other attention-related problems.

New technique detects microscopic diabetes-related eye damage

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 06:08 AM PDT

New early-warning signs of the potential loss of sight associated with diabetes have been detected by researchers. This discovery could have far-reaching implications for the diagnosis and treatment of diabetic retinopathy, potentially impacting the care of over 25 million Americans. These important early-warning signs were invisible to existing diagnostic techniques, requiring new technology based on adaptive optics.

Study finds adverse respiratory outcomes for older people with COPD taking benzodiazepines

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 06:08 AM PDT

A group of drugs commonly prescribed for insomnia, anxiety and breathing issues 'significantly increase the risk' that older people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, need to visit a doctor or emergency department for respiratory reasons, new research has found. Benzodiazepines, such as Ativan or Xanax, may actually contribute to respiratory problems, such as depressing breathing ability and pneumonia, in these patients.

Key milestone for brown fat research with ground-breaking MRI scan

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 06:08 AM PDT

The first MRI scan to show 'brown fat' in a living adult could prove to be an essential step towards a new wave of therapies to aid the fight against diabetes and obesity. Brown fat has become a hot topic for scientists due its ability to use energy and burn calories, helping to keep weight in check. Understanding the brown fat tissue and how it can be used to such ends is of growing interest in the search to help people suffering from obesity or at a high risk of developing diabetes.

Suicide epidemic among India's 'marginalized' farmers

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 06:07 AM PDT

A new study has found that India's shocking rates of suicide are highest in areas with the most debt-ridden farmers who are clinging to tiny smallholdings – less than one hectare – and trying to grow 'cash crops', such as cotton and coffee, that are highly susceptible to global price fluctuations.

HIV and schistosomiasis coinfection in African children: More research needed

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 06:07 AM PDT

More research is needed on HIV and schistosomiasis coinfection in children in sub-Saharan Africa, experts say. They looked at previous research into the joint burden of HIV/AIDS and schistosomiasis of children, and found that while disease-specific control interventions are continuing, potential synergies in the control efforts for the two diseases have not been investigated. The team focused on children with schistosomiasis and assessed the risk of increased HIV transmission and progression and impaired response to drugs when given alongside HIV interventions.

'Brain training' overcomes tics in Tourette syndrome, study finds

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 06:05 AM PDT

Children with Tourette Syndrome (TS) may unconsciously train their brain to more effectively control their tics. Teenagers diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome (TS) were slower than their typically developing peers when asked to perform a task that involved them simply moving their eyes to look at targets. However, they significantly outperformed their peers when the task was more demanding and required them to choose between looking at or away from targets. In this task they were as fast as their peers but made fewer eye movements in the wrong direction.

New MRSA superbug emerges in Brazil

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 05:55 AM PDT

A new superbug that caused a bloodstream infection in a Brazilian patient has been identified by an international research team. The new superbug is part of a class of highly-resistant bacteria known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA, which is a major cause of hospital and community-associated infections. The superbug has also acquired high levels of resistance to vancomycin, the most common and least expensive antibiotic used to treat severe MRSA infections worldwide.

Creative activities outside work can improve job performance

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 07:53 PM PDT

Employees who pursue creative activities outside of work may find that these activities boost their performance on the job, according to a new study by an organizational psychologist. Creative pursuits away from work seem to have a direct effect on factors such as creative problem solving and helping others while on the job.

Changing where a baby is held immediately after birth could lead to improved uptake of procedure that reduces infant iron deficiency

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 04:09 PM PDT

Changing where a newborn baby is held before its umbilical cord is clamped could lead to improved uptake in hospitals of delayed cord clamping, leading to a decreased risk of iron deficiency in infancy, according to new results from a study. Delaying clamping of the umbilical cord until around two minutes after birth allows for blood to pass from the mother's placenta to the baby, and has previously been shown to reduce the risk of iron deficiency in infancy.

At least one in 20 adult outpatients misdiagnosed in U.S. every year

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 04:09 PM PDT

At least one in 20 adults is misdiagnosed in outpatient clinics in the U.S. every year, amounting to 12 million people nationwide, and posing a 'substantial patient safety risk,' finds research. Half of these errors could be potentially harmful, say the authors, who add that their findings should prompt renewed efforts to monitor and curb the numbers of misdiagnoses.

Bacteria survive longer in contact lens cleaning solution than previously thought, study shows

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 04:09 PM PDT

Each year in the UK, bacterial infections cause around 6,000 cases of a severe eye condition known as microbial keratitis – an inflammation and ulceration of the cornea that can lead to loss of vision. The use of contact lenses has been identified as a particular risk factor for microbial keratitis. New research shows that a bacterial strain associated with more severe infections shows enhanced resistance to a common contact lens disinfectant solution.

Atypical brain connectivity associated with autism spectrum disorder

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 02:23 PM PDT

Autism spectrum disorder in adolescents appears to be associated with atypical connectivity in the brain involving the systems that help people infer what others are thinking and understand the meaning of others' actions and emotions. The ability to navigate and thrive in complex social systems is commonly impaired in ASD, a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting as many as 1 in 88 children.

Family ties in the language jungle: Amazon language relationships revealed

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 02:22 PM PDT

Relationships between rare languages in the Colombian Amazon have been revealed by researchers. The only linguistic data available for Carabayo, a language spoken by an indigenous group that lives in voluntary isolation, is a set of about 50 words. This list was compiled in 1969 during a brief encounter with one Carabayo family. Researchers have now analyzed this historical data set and compared it with various languages (once) spoken in the region. The analysis showed that Carabayo shares a number of similarities with the extinct language Yurí and with Tikuna, a language still spoken in the region nowadays.

Surprising consequences of banning chocolate milk

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 02:22 PM PDT

Eliminating chocolate milk from elementary schools decreased total milk sales by 10 percent, and increased milk waste by 29 percent, a study has shown. Additionally, the ban may have been a factor in a 7 percent decrease in Lunch Program participation. Nutritionally, after the milk substitution, students on average consumed less sugar and fewer calories, but also consumed less protein and calcium.

In funk music, rhythmic complexity influences dancing desire: Syncopated rhythm may influence our desire to dance to music

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 02:22 PM PDT

Rhythmic drum patterns with a balance of rhythmic predictability and complexity may influence our desire to dance and enjoy the music. Many people find themselves unable to resist moving their bodies to the thumping beat of hip-hop, electronic, or funk music, but may feel less desire to dance when listening to a highly syncopated type of music, like free jazz.

World's first successful visualization of key coenzyme

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 02:20 PM PDT

Japanese researchers have successfully developed the world's first imaging method for visualizing the behavior of nicotine-adenine dinucleotide derivative (NAD(P)H), a key coenzyme, inside cells. This feat could ultimately facilitate the diagnosis of cancer and liver dysfunction and help to elucidate the mechanisms of neurological disorders.

Beating the clock for ischemic stroke sufferers

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 02:20 PM PDT

Researchers have developed a new computer tool to ensure faster care and treatment for stroke patients. The CAD stroke technology is capable of detecting signs of stroke from computed tomography (CT) scans. A CT scan uses X-rays to take pictures of the brain in slices. When blood flow to the brain is blocked, an area of the brain turns softer or decreases in density due to insufficient blood flow, pointing to an ischemic stroke.

Hospitalization records an additional tool to monitor disease outbreaks

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 02:19 PM PDT

By comparing hospitalization records from Massachusetts hospitals with data reported to local boards of health, researchers found a more accurate way to monitor how well communities track disease outbreaks. For this study, the team examined healthcare statistics for Massachusetts residents 65 and older who were diagnosed with three different foodborne and waterborne illnesses -- salmonella, campylobacteriosis, and giardiasis -- from January 1991 to December 2004.

Residing in high altitude military facilities protects service members from obesity

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 02:19 PM PDT

Overweight U.S. service members are 41 percent less likely to transition to clinical obesity when stationed at military facilities located at high altitude, according to a new study. The quasi-experimental, retrospective study assessed the health records and migration patterns of nearly 100,000 enlisted service members in the active component of the U.S. Army and Air Force with at least two years in the services from records in the Defense Medical Surveillance System.

Immune system research may help predict who gets long-term complications from Lyme Disease

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 02:19 PM PDT

The groundwork has been laid for understanding how variations in immune responses to Lyme disease can contribute to the many different outcomes of this bacterial infection seen in individual patients. "Physicians have recognized for many years that Lyme disease is not a uniform disease process and can vary in outcomes," says the senior author of the report. "Our experiments have linked such differences to specific immune pathways controlled by elements of the immune system, which in turn might help us understand both the good immune processes that clear up the infection and the bad ones that cause injury and prolong symptoms. This could be a big step forward in managing this disease."

Tracking down cause of eye mobility disorder

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 01:26 PM PDT

Imagine you cannot move your eyes up, and you cannot lift your upper eyelid. You walk through life with your head tilted upward so that your eyes look straight when they are rolled down in the eye socket. Obviously, such a condition should be corrected to allow people a normal position of their head. In order to correct this condition, one would need to understand why this happens. In a new paper, researchers describe how their studies on mutated mice mimic human mutations.

Mutant protein in muscle linked to neuromuscular disorder

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 01:25 PM PDT

Spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA) is a rare inherited neuromuscular disorder characterized by slowly progressive muscle weakness and atrophy. In a new study, a team of scientists say novel mouse studies indicate that mutant protein levels in muscle cells are fundamentally involved in SBMA, suggesting an alternative and promising new avenue of treatment.

In old age, lack of emotion, interest may signal brain is shrinking

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 01:24 PM PDT

Older people who have apathy but not depression may have smaller brain volumes than those without apathy, according to a new study. Apathy is a lack of interest or emotion.

How intestinal cells build nutrient-absorbing surface

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 11:33 AM PDT

The 'brush border' -- a densely packed array of finger-like projections called microvilli -- covers the surfaces of the cells that line our intestines. Researchers have now discovered how intestinal cells build this specialized structure, which is critical for absorbing nutrients and defending against pathogens. The findings reveal a role for adhesion molecules in brush border assembly and increase our understanding of intestinal pathologies associated with inherited and infectious diseases.

Why interest is crucial to your success

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 10:34 AM PDT

Maintaining an interest in the goals you pursue can improve your work and reduce burnout, according to research. "Our research shows that interest is important in the process of pursuing goals. It allows us to perform at high levels without wearing out," said one researcher. "This suggests that interest matters more than we suspected."

Scientists explain how memories stick together

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 09:54 AM PDT

A new model of memory that explains how neurons retain select memories a few hours after an event has been uncovered by researchers. This new framework provides a more complete picture of how memory works, which can inform research into disorders liked Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, post-traumatic stress and learning disabilities.

Toddlers 'surprisingly sophisticated' at understanding unfamiliar accents

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 08:27 AM PDT

By two years of age, children are remarkably good at comprehending speakers who talk with accents the toddlers have never heard before, a study has shown. Even more striking, say researchers, children as young as 15 months who have difficulty comprehending accents they've never heard before can quickly learn to understand accented speech after hearing the speaker for a short time.

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