Τετάρτη, 23 Απριλίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News


Clinics not bogged down by red tape can ease health cost burdens

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 11:20 AM PDT

Health clinics that can provide primary care for low-income patients may ease the financial burden on both hospitals and insurance companies while improving patient health, researchers have concluded. A study of hospital admissions suggests that health clinics that avoid costs associated with insurance administration can help hospitals save money by lowering hospital admission rates and emergency room visits.

Bioinformatics profiling identifies a new mammalian clock gene

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 11:20 AM PDT

Over 15 mammalian clock proteins have been identified, but researchers surmise there are more. Could big data approaches help find them? To accelerate clock-gene discovery, investigators used a computer-assisted approach to identify and rank candidate clock components, which they liken to online Netflix-like profiling of movie suggestions for customers. This approach found a new core clock gene, which the team named CHRONO.

Critical new protein complex involved in learning, memory

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 11:20 AM PDT

A protein complex that plays a critical but previously unknown role in learning and memory formation has been identified by researchers. "This is a critical building block that regulates a fundamental process -- memory," said the lead author of the study. "Now that we know about this important new player, it offers a unique therapeutic window if we can find a way to enhance its function."

New patenting guidelines needed for biotechnology, experts argue

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 10:09 AM PDT

Biotechnology scientists must be aware of the broad patent landscape and push for new patent and licensing guidelines, according to a new paper. Biotechnological inventions have been patented for several decades, though the criteria for patent eligibility have been refined through numerous court decisions. One of the most influential determined that "anything under the sun made by man" could be patented, leading to the diverse biotechnology patent landscape seen today, the authors said.

Neuroimaging Technique: Live from inside the cell in real-time

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 10:09 AM PDT

A novel imaging technique provides insights into the role of redox signaling and reactive oxygen species in living neurons, in real time. Scientists have developed a new optical microscopy technique to unravel the role of 'oxidative stress' in healthy as well as injured nervous systems.

Impact of Facebook unfriending analyzed by researchers

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 10:09 AM PDT

Two studies are shedding new light on the most common type of 'friend' to be unfriended on Facebook and their emotional responses to it. The studies show that the most likely person to be unfriended is a high school acquaintance. Both studies were based on a survey of 1,077 people conducted on Twitter.

How cells take out the trash

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 10:08 AM PDT

As people around the world mark Earth Day (April 22) with activities that protect the planet, our cells are busy safeguarding their own environment. To keep themselves neat, tidy and above all healthy, cells rely on a variety of recycling and trash removal systems. If it weren't for these systems, cells could look like microscopic junkyards -- and worse, they might not function properly.

For an immune cell, microgravity mimics aging

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 09:54 AM PDT

Telling someone to "act your age" is another way of asking him or her to behave better. Age, however, does not always bring improvements. Certain cells of the immune system tend to misbehave with age, leaving the elderly more vulnerable to illness. Because these cells are known to misbehave similarly during spaceflight, researchers are studying the effects of microgravity on immune cells to better understand how our immune systems change as we age.

Neurotics don't just avoid action: They dislike it, study finds

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 09:12 AM PDT

Neurotics don't just avoid taking action. By their very nature they dislike it. A study of nearly 4,000 college students in 19 countries has uncovered new details about why neurotic people may avoid making decisions and moving forward with life. Turns out that when they are asked if action is positive, favorable, good, they just don't like it as much as non-neurotics. Framing communication messages that get around this roadblock is a key to success communication with neurotic folks.

Applying math to biology: Software identifies disease-causing mutations in undiagnosed illnesses

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 09:12 AM PDT

A computational tool has successfully identified diseases with unknown gene mutations in three separate cases. Sequencing the genomes of individuals or small families often produces false predictions of mutations that cause diseases. But this study shows that a new unique approach allows it to identify disease-causing genes more precisely than other computational tools.

Fat metabolism in animals altered to prevent most common type of heart disease

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 09:10 AM PDT

Working with mice and rabbits, scientists have found a way to block abnormal cholesterol production, transport and breakdown, successfully preventing the development of atherosclerosis, the main cause of heart attacks and strokes and the number-one cause of death among humans. The condition develops when fat builds inside blood vessels over time and renders them stiff, narrowed and hardened, greatly reducing their ability to feed oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle and the brain.

Management of elderly patients with lung cancer

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 08:34 AM PDT

An expert opinion on managing treatment for elderly patients with non-small cell lung cancer has been recently published. This update includes recommendations for screening, surgery, adjuvant chemotherapy and radiotherapy, treatment of locally advanced and metastatic disease as well as new data on patient preferences and geriatric assessment.

Male health linked to testosterone exposure in womb, study finds

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 08:34 AM PDT

Men's susceptibility to serious health conditions may be influenced by low exposure to testosterone in the womb, new research suggests. Understanding why some men have less of the hormone than others is important because testosterone is crucial for life-long health. Low levels of the hormone have been linked to obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Brain size matters when it comes to animal self-control

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 08:34 AM PDT

Chimpanzees may throw tantrums like toddlers, but their total brain size suggests they have more self-control than, say, a gerbil or fox squirrel, according to a new study of 36 species of mammals and birds ranging from orangutans to zebra finches.

Life stressors trigger neurological disorders, researchers find

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 08:34 AM PDT

When mothers are exposed to trauma, illness, alcohol or other drug abuse, these stressors may activate a single molecular trigger in brain cells that can go awry and activate conditions such as schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder and some forms of autism. Until now, it has been unclear how much these stressors have impacted the cells of a developing brain. Past studies have shown that when an expectant mother exposes herself to alcohol or drug abuse or she experiences some trauma or illness, her baby may later develop a psychiatric disorder later in life. But the new findings identify a molecular mechanism in the prenatal brain that may help explain how cells go awry when exposed to certain environmental conditions.

Speed-reading apps may impair reading comprehension by limiting ability to backtrack

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 08:34 AM PDT

To address the fact that many of us are on the go and pressed for time, app developers have devised speed-reading software that eliminates the time we supposedly waste by moving our eyes as we read. But don't throw away your books, papers, and e-readers just yet -- research suggests that the eye movements we make during reading actually play a critical role in our ability to understand what we've just read.

Ask yourself: Will you help the environment?

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 08:34 AM PDT

Whether it's recycling, composting or buying environmentally friendly products, guilt can be a strong motivator -- not just on Earth Day. Now, research proves that even just asking ourselves, or predicting, whether we will engage in sustainable shopping behavior can increase the likelihood of following through -- especially when there's an audience.

Turoctocog alfa in patients with hemophilia A: Added benefit not proven, article finds

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 08:33 AM PDT

As no relevant studies and no valid data are available, the added benefit of turoctocog alfa over other blood-clotting agents is not proven, a publication concludes. Turoctocog alfa (trade name: NovoEight) has been approved since November 2013 for the prevention and treatment of bleeding in patients with hemophilia A.

People pay more attention to upper half of field of vision, study shows

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 08:33 AM PDT

People pay more attention to the upper half of their field of vision, a study shows, a finding that could have ramifications for traffic signs to software interface design. "It doesn't mean people don't pay attention to the lower field of vision, but they were demonstrably better at paying attention to the upper field," the lead researcher says.

Researchers identify a new variant of Ebola virus in Guinea

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 08:33 AM PDT

In a new article, researchers have published their initial findings on the characteristics of the Ebola virus discovered in Guinea. Initial virological investigations enabled them to identify Zaire ebolavirus as the pathogen responsible for this epidemic.

Commonly available blood-pressure medication prevents epilepsy after severe brain injury

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 07:01 AM PDT

A team of neuroscientists has shown in rats that a drug commonly prescribed for hypertension can nearly eliminate the epilepsy that often follows severe head injury. The drug blocks a receptor on astrocytes, preventing a cascade of signals that lead to inflammation and neuron damage. The experiments also prove that epilepsy results from temporary breaks in the blood-brain barrier following head trauma.

How often are unauthorized immigrant workers trafficked, abused?

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 07:01 AM PDT

Labor trafficking -- or recruiting a person for labor through force, fraud, or coercion for involuntary servitude, debt bondage, or even slavery –- has been a difficult problem to track among undocumented migrant workers. With unique access to a 'hidden population' from one of America's largest Spanish-speaking immigrant destinations, a recent study finds that more than 30 percent of undocumented migrant laborers in this area are victims of labor trafficking and 55 percent are victims of other labor abuses.

Two genes linked to inflammatory bowel disease

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 07:01 AM PDT

Scientists have done what is believed to be the first direct genetic study to document the important function for the Ron receptor, a cell surface protein often found in certain cancers, and its genetic growth factor, responsible for stimulating cell growth, in the development and progression of inflammatory bowel disease.

Child's autism risk accelerates with mother's age over 30

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 07:00 AM PDT

Older parents are more likely to have a child who develops an autism spectrum disorder than are younger parents. A recent study provides more insight into how the risk associated with parental age varies between mothers' and fathers' ages, and found that the risk of having a child with both autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability is larger for older parents.

Cloaked DNA nanodevices survive pilot mission

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 07:00 AM PDT

By mimicking a viral strategy, scientists have created the first cloaked DNA nanodevice that survives the body's immune defenses. Their success opens the door to smart DNA nanorobots that use logic to spot cancerous tissue and manufacture drugs on the spot to cripple it, as well as artificial microscopic containers called protocells that detect pathogens in food or toxic chemicals in drinking water.

Drug-related morbidity in more than 10 percent of adults, Swedish study finds

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 06:59 AM PDT

Twelve percent of adults in Sweden have diseases related to their use of medicines. But in four cases of ten it would have been possible to avoid the undesired effects, research shows. Two effects were most commonly reported: side effects, and insufficient effect of the drug. "The studies show that both those treating outpatients and those treating inpatients must become better at recognizing drug-related morbidity. Further, new studies should be carried out by scientists, experts in safety and healthcare personnel together to develop preventative strategies," says the researcher.

Bariatric surgery health benefits: Is it bile acids at work?

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 06:59 AM PDT

Bariatric surgery has positive effects not only on weight loss but also on diabetes and heart disease. Researchers have shown that the health benefits are not caused by a reduction in the stomach size but by increased levels of bile acids in the blood. These findings indicate that bile acids could be a new target for treating obesity and diabetes.

New way to enhance nerve growth following injury discovered

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 05:49 AM PDT

A mechanism to promote growth in damaged nerve cells as a means to restore connections after injury has been uncovered by scientists who have discovered a key molecule that directly regulates nerve cell growth in the damaged nervous system. "We made the surprising discovery that a protein called Retinoblastoma (Rb) is present in adult neurons," explains the lead researcher. "This protein appears to normally act as a brake -- preventing nerve growth."

First brain images of African infants enable research into cognitive effects of nutrition

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 05:49 AM PDT

Brain activity of babies in developing countries could be monitored from birth to reveal the first signs of cognitive dysfunction, researchers say. The cognitive function of infants can be visualized and tracked more quickly, more accurately and more cheaply using the method, called functional near infra-red spectroscopy (fNIRS), compared to the behavioral assessments Western regions have relied upon for decades.

How are we different and what gave us the advantage over extinct types of humans like the Neanderthals?

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 05:47 AM PDT

In parallel with modern man (Homo sapiens), there were other, extinct types of humans with whom we lived side by side, such as Neanderthals and the recently discovered  Denisovans of Siberia. Yet only Homo sapiens survived. What was it in our genetic makeup that gave us the advantage?

'Blood lab' inside a mobile phone could detect cancer

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 05:47 AM PDT

Scientists are in the early stages of an 'e-health technology' project aimed at developing a mobile phone app that can examine blood sample images and diagnose cancer. It would work by taking a magnified image of a blood slide via a microscopic lens attached to the smart phone, which the app would then be able to screen for evidence of leukemia -- a blood cancer.

Sleep behavior disorder linked to brain disease

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 05:45 AM PDT

A sleep disorder that causes people to act out their dreams is the best current predictor of brain diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, research suggests. In this disorder, the disturbance occurs during the rapid-eye-movement (REM) stage of sleep and causes people to act out their dreams, often resulting in injury to themselves and/or bed partner. In healthy brains, muscles are temporarily paralyzed during sleep to prevent this from happening.

New tool helps doctors better predict, prevent deadly respiratory failure after surgery, multicenter study says

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 05:45 AM PDT

A new prediction tool can help doctors better identify patients who are at highest risk for respiratory failure after surgery and therefore prevent the often deadly condition, suggest data from a large multi-center study. The prediction tool could help doctors assign risk levels to patients by determining if they have one or more of nine predictors identified as most associated with the development of ARDS: blood infection (sepsis), liver disease, high-risk surgery on the heart or aorta, emergency surgery, admission from a location other than home, an increased respiratory rate, and two measures that show the patient has lower-than-normal oxygen levels in the blood.

Sleeping away infection: Researchers find link between sleep, immune function in fruitflies

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 06:13 PM PDT

When we get sick it feels natural to try to hasten our recovery by getting some extra shuteye. Researchers found that this response has a definite purpose, in fruitflies: enhancing immune system response and recovery to infection. "These studies provide new evidence of the direct and functional effects of sleep on immune response and of the underlying mechanisms at work. The take-home message from these papers is that when you get sick, you should sleep as much as you can -- we now have the data that supports this idea," researchers conclude.

Increased prevalence of celiac disease in children with irritable bowel syndrome

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 01:43 PM PDT

There appears to be an increased prevalence of celiac disease among children with irritable bowel syndrome. Recurrent abdominal pain affects 10 percent to 15 percent of school-aged children. The prevalence of celiac disease is as high as 1 percent in European countries and patients can present with a wide spectrum of symptoms, including abdominal pain, although the disease is often asymptomatic.

False-positive mammograms associated with anxiety, willingness for future screening

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 01:43 PM PDT

Mammograms with false-positive results were associated with increased short-term anxiety for women, and more women with false-positive results reported that they were more likely to undergo future breast cancer screening. A portion of women who undergo routine mammogram screening will experience false-positive results and require further evaluation to rule out breast cancer.

Patient care patterns studied in Medicare accountable care organizations

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 01:43 PM PDT

A third of Medicare beneficiaries assigned to accountable care organizations (ACOs) in 2010 or 2011 were not assigned to the same ACO in both years and much of the specialty care received was provided outside the patients' assigned ACO, suggesting challenges to achieving organizational accountability in Medicare.

Open-Heart Surgery performed on Patient 27-weeks Pregnant

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 01:41 PM PDT

Being tired and run-down during her second trimester of pregnancy was something that 25-year-old Sharon Savino had felt before being pregnant with her son and daughter. But after developing a bad cough around Christmas, she started coughing up blood, and knew something was completely wrong.

LEDs get seal of approval: Safe for skin

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 01:41 PM PDT

There was a time when no one thought about light bulbs —- one blew, you screwed another one in. Nowadays, it's more complicated, as energy efficiency concerns have given rise to a slew of options, including incandescent, compact fluorescent lights, and light emitting diodes. LEDs are the most expensive option, but they are also the most energy efficient, are getting more cost-efficient, and they are growing in popularity. With this increasing acceptance, concerns have arisen about long- or short-term direct skin exposure.

Reference pricing for proton therapy will help establish clinical benefits

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 01:41 PM PDT

"Reference pricing" for proton therapy has been proposed by researchers. This is a relatively new model that establishes a standard price for different therapies with similar outcomes. Proton therapy is in the proverbial chicken or the egg scenario. Companies are pulling back on reimbursements to treat some cancers—notably prostate, breast and lung—because of the added expense and limited evidence to back it up. But in order to demonstrate the technology's clinical benefit—which is showing promise as a more effective and better tolerated radiation—more studies with patients are needed.

Fast, simple-to-use assay reveals 'family tree' of cancer metastases

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 12:19 PM PDT

A simple assay that can reveal the evolutionary relationships between primary tumors and metastases within a patient has been developed. The information gathered may someday help with treatment planning. Cancer researchers are just beginning to investigate the extent and significance of genetic differences among tumor cells -- either cells within a discrete tumor or between a primary tumor and metastases in other parts of the body.

'Dustman' protein helps kill cancer cells

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 12:19 PM PDT

Cancer researchers have discovered a new 'dustman' role for a molecule that helps a drug kill cancer cells according to a study. The new findings point to a possible test that could identify patients who would be most responsive to a new class of cancer drugs and also those who might develop resistance, as well as suggesting new approaches to discovering more effective drugs.

Mystery behind general anesthetic action becoming more clear

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 12:18 PM PDT

Despite decades of common use for surgeries of all kinds, the precise mechanism through which general anesthesia works on the body remains a mystery. New research investigated the common anesthetic sevoflurane and found that it binds at multiple key cell membrane protein locations that may contribute to the induction of the anesthetic response.

Safer alternatives to nonsteroidal antinflamatory pain killers

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 12:18 PM PDT

Building on previous work that showed that deleting an enzyme in the COX-2 pathway in a mouse model of heart disease slowed the development of atherosclerosis, researchers have now extended this observation by clarifying that the consequence of deleting the enzyme mPEGS-1 differs, depending on the cell type in which it is taken away. They are now working on ways to deliver inhibitors of mPGES-1 selectively to the macrophages.

Gene within a gene contributes to aggressiveness of acute myeloid leukemia

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 11:54 AM PDT

A small gene that is embedded in a larger gene plays a much greater role in promoting acute myeloid leukemia than the better-known host gene, according to a new study. The research also identified a drug that inhibits expression of the smaller gene. The larger host gene is called BAALC (pronounced "Ball C"). The smaller embedded gene is called microRNA-3151 (miR-3151). The study investigated the degree to which each of the genes contributes to the development of acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

Computer simulations help predict effective drug candidates

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 10:59 AM PDT

Using computer simulations to predict which drug candidates offer the greatest potential has thus far not been very reliable, because both small drug-like molecules and the amino acids of proteins vary so much in their chemistry. Researchers have now cunningly managed to develop a method that has proven to be precise, reliable and general.

Death of public figures provides important opportunities for health education

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 10:59 AM PDT

A study of reactions to the 2011 death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs suggests health communicators have a critical window of opportunity after a public figure dies to disseminate information about disease prevention and detection. The study, involving a survey of 1,400 adult men and women, found that immediately after Jobs' death, more than a third of survey participants sought information about how he died or about cancer in general, and 7 percent sought information about pancreatic cancer, the disease that took Jobs' life.

Anti-inflammatory factory: The role lipids play

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 10:59 AM PDT

Lipid mediators are molecules playing an important role in inflammation process. Now, scientists have discovered how lipid mediators are produced. Lipid mediators are produced from polyunsaturated fatty acids, but until recently, scientists did not know how or where this process runs. New studies show that polyunsaturated fatty acids are being oxidized inside mitochondria with the help of cytochromes stored between the internal and external mitochondrial membranes. This is a fundamentally new way to synthesize lipid molecules used in metabolism regulation.

Information sharing between health systems reduces tests, study shows

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 10:59 AM PDT

Researchers analyzed the care of patients who were seen emergently during a six month period in 2012. The results showed that 560 potentially duplicative diagnostic procedures, such as blood work and imaging, were avoided when the providers used the health information exchange tool. The study suggests that sharing clinical information with other health systems has the potential to generate greater efficiencies in emergency departments by eliminating duplicate diagnostic testing.

Rice gets trendy, adds nutrients, so much more

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 10:55 AM PDT

Rice is becoming a trendy culinary selection of many restaurant menus, but also the go-to solution for consumers looking for gluten-and allergen-free choices rich in nutrients. The National Restaurant Association's 2014 What's Hot Culinary Forecast predicts diners will see more rice selections on restaurant menus including black rice and red rice. Food scientists are looking for new ways to incorporate rice into many consumer products.

Top 10 functional food trends for 2014

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 10:55 AM PDT

Insights on the top 10 functional food trends for 2014 have been recently published, based on data from a multitude of industry resources. The article details many of the social and physical benefits of trends and choices people have when grocery shopping.

Mentor programs harm, more than help first-year teachers

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 10:55 AM PDT

New teachers face challenges in the classroom, which is why schools develop mentoring programs. But a new study found that instead of helping, these programs can make it difficult for teachers to be effective in the classroom. The structure of the mentoring programs teachers in this study encountered made it hard for them to trust their mentors and easy for mentors to exert power.

Want to quit smoking? New study says try 'self-expanding' activities

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 10:55 AM PDT

If you are trying to quit smoking, one method to incorporate is to do new, exciting "self-expanding" activities that can help with nicotine craving. This is the take-home message from a new study. "Our study reveals for the first time using brain imaging that engaging in exciting or what we call 'self-expanding' activities, such as puzzle-solving, games, or hobbies with one's partner, appears to reduce craving for nicotine," said one researcher.

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