Πέμπτη, 24 Απριλίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News


Innovation improves drowsy driver detection

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 02:09 PM PDT

A new way to detect when drivers are about to nod off behind the wheel has been developed. "Video-based systems that use cameras to detect when a car is drifting out of its lane are cumbersome and expensive. They don't work well on snow-covered or curvy roads, in darkness or when lane markers are faded or missing. Our invention provides an inexpensive and user-friendly technology that overcomes these limitations and can help catch fatigue earlier, well before accidents are likely to happen," said a developer of the device.

Not just the poor live hand-to-mouth

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 02:09 PM PDT

Thirty to 40 percent of US households live hand-to-mouth, but new research has found that most of those people aren't poor. Stimulus programs -- such as those in 2001, 2008 and 2009 -- are designed to boost the economy quickly by getting cash into the hands of people likely to turn around and spend it. But sending cash to just the very poor may not be the right approach, according to researchers.

Rural microbes could boost city dwellers' health, study finds

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 02:09 PM PDT

The greater prevalence of asthma, allergies and other chronic inflammatory disorders among people of lower socioeconomic status might be due in part to their reduced exposure to the microbes that thrive in rural environments, according to a new scientific paper.

Cyber buddy is better than 'no buddy'

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 12:10 PM PDT

A researcher is looking to give exercise enthusiasts the extra nudge they need during a workout, and her latest research shows that a cyber buddy can help. The study is the first to indicate that although a human partner is still a better motivator during exercise, a software-generated partner also can be effective.

Male or female? First sex-determining genes appeared in mammals some 180 million years ago

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 12:10 PM PDT

The Y chromosome, which distinguishes males from females at the genetic level, appeared some 180 million years ago. It originated twice independently in all mammals. Scientists have managed to date these events that are crucial for both mammalian evolution and our lives, because the Y chromosome determines whether we are born as a boy or girl.

Finding safe drugs to treat neurodegenerative diseases

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 11:30 AM PDT

'Mutant' protein clusters, long blamed for the progression of Huntington's and other neurodegenerative diseases, have been the primary focus of therapies in development by pharmaceutical companies. But according to new research, these drugs may not only be ineffective -- they may pose a serious threat to patients.

Hearing quality restored with bionic ear technology used for gene therapy: Re-growing auditory nerves

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 11:30 AM PDT

Researchers have for the first time used electrical pulses delivered from a cochlear implant to deliver gene therapy, thereby successfully regrowing auditory nerves. The research also heralds a possible new way of treating a range of neurological disorders, including Parkinson's disease, and psychiatric conditions such as depression through this novel way of delivering gene therapy.

Pollutants from coal-burning stoves strongly associated with miscarriages in Mongolia

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 11:28 AM PDT

Burning coal for domestic heating may contribute to early fetal death according to a new study that took place in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia -- the coldest capital city in the world. Researchers report "alarmingly strong statistical correlations" between seasonal ambient air pollutants and pregnancy loss.

Enzymes that help fix cancer-causing DNA defects disovered

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 10:26 AM PDT

An important enzyme pathway that helps prevent new cells from receiving too many or too few chromosomes, a condition that has been directly linked to cancer and other diseases, has been discovered by researchers. Near the end of cell division, the enzyme Cdc14 activates Yen1, an enzyme that ensures any breaks in DNA are fully repaired before the parent cell distributes copies of the genome to daughter cells, the researchers found. This process helps safeguard against some of the most devastating genome errors, including the loss of chromosomes or chromosome segments.

Gold nanoparticles help target, quantify breast cancer segments in a living cell

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 10:26 AM PDT

A way to detect and measure cancer levels in a living cell by using tiny gold particles with tails of synthetic DNA has been developed by scientists. The process uses gold nanoparticles to target and bind to fragments of genetic material known as BRCA1 messenger RNA splice variants, which can indicate the presence and stage of breast cancer. The number of these mRNA splice variants in a cell can be determined by examining the specific signal that light produces when it interacts with the gold nanoparticles.

Novel compound halts cocaine addiction, relapse behaviors

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 10:26 AM PDT

A novel compound that targets an important brain receptor has a dramatic effect against a host of cocaine addiction behaviors, including relapse behavior, an animal study has found. The research provides strong evidence that this may be a novel lead compound for treating cocaine addiction, for which no effective medications exist.

Hundreds of genetic mutations found in healthy blood of a supercentenarian

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 10:26 AM PDT

Genetic mutations are commonly studied because of links to diseases such as cancer; however, little is known about mutations occurring in healthy individuals. Researchers have now detected over 400 mutations in healthy blood cells of a 115-year-old woman, suggesting that lesions at these sites are largely harmless over the course of a lifetime.

Sugar-sweetened beverages contribute to U.S. obesity epidemic, particularly among children

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 10:24 AM PDT

In response to the ongoing policy discussions on the role of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) on weight and health, The Obesity Society (TOS) concludes that SSBs contribute to the United States' obesity epidemic, particularly among children. Based on an in-depth analysis of the current research, TOS's position statement provides several recommendations for improving health, including that children minimize their consumption of SSBs.

Some astronauts at risk for cognitive impairment, animal studies suggest

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 10:24 AM PDT

Rats exposed to high-energy particles, simulating conditions astronauts would face on a long-term deep space mission, show lapses in attention and slower reaction times, even when the radiation exposure is in extremely low dose ranges, new research shows. The cognitive impairments — which affected a large subset, but far from all, of the animals — appear to be linked to protein changes in the brain, the scientists say.

New target for prostate cancer resistant to anti-hormone therapies

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 10:24 AM PDT

A new target that could remain sensitive even when prostate cancer becomes resistant to current treatments has been discovered by researchers. Prostate cancer becomes deadly when anti-hormone treatments stop working. This new study suggests a way to block the hormones at their entrance.

From liability to viability: Genes on the Y chromosome prove essential for male survival

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 10:24 AM PDT

The human Y chromosome has, over the course of millions of years of evolution, preserved a small set of genes that has ensured not only its own survival but also the survival of men. Moreover, the vast majority of these tenacious genes appear to have little if any role in sex determination or sperm production. Taken together, these remarkable findings suggest that because these Y-linked genes are active across the body, they may actually be contributing to differences in disease susceptibility and severity observed between men and women.

More Americans in their golden years are going hungry

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 08:15 AM PDT

The seniors who are dealing with hunger are also facing negative health and nutrition consequences, American research indicates. In a country as wealthy as the United States, it may come as a surprise that one in 12 seniors do not have access to adequate food due to lack of money or other financial resources. They are food insecure.

Airport security-style technology could help doctors decide on stroke treatment

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 08:15 AM PDT

A new computer program could help doctors predict which patients might suffer potentially fatal side-effects from a key stroke treatment. The program assesses brain scans using pattern recognition software similar to that used in airport security and passport control. Currently, stroke affects over 15 million people each year worldwide. Ischemic strokes are the most common and these occur when small clots interrupt the blood supply to the brain.

Surface area of the digestive tract much smaller than previously thought

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 08:15 AM PDT

The internal surface area of the gastro-intestinal tract has long been considered to be between 180 and 300 square meters. Scientists have used refined microscopic techniques that indicate a much smaller area. "Actually, the inner surface of the gastro-intestinal tract is only as large as a normal studio apartment," says one scientist.

Fiction prepares us for a world changed by global warming

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:27 AM PDT

Climate fiction, or simply cli-fi, is a newly coined term for novels and films which focus on the consequences of global warming. New research shows how these fictions serve as a mental laboratory that allows us to simulate the potential consequences of climate change and imagine other living conditions.

In lab tests, the antimicrobial ingredient triclosan spurs growth of breast cancer cells

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:27 AM PDT

Some manufacturers are turning away from using triclosan as an antimicrobial ingredient in soaps, toothpastes and other products over health concerns. And now scientists are reporting new evidence that appears to support these worries. Their study found that triclosan, as well as another commercial substance called octylphenol, promoted the growth of human breast cancer cells in lab dishes and breast cancer tumors in mice.

Legalizing medical marijuana doesn't increase use among adolescents, study says

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:27 AM PDT

Parents and physicians concerned about an increase in adolescents' marijuana use following the legalization of medical marijuana can breathe a sigh of relief. According to a new study that compared 20 years worth of data from states with and without medical marijuana laws, legalizing the drug did not lead to increased use among adolescents.

Male-biased tweeting: Gender differences in the use of Twitter

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:27 AM PDT

Today women take an active part in public life. Without a doubt, they also converse with other women. In fact, they even talk to each other about other things besides men. As banal as it sounds, this is far from being the norm in Hollywood movies. The same goes for Twitter, as a new study shows.

Physical activity keeps hippocampus healthy in people at risk for Alzheimer's disease

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:27 AM PDT

Moderate physical activity may preserve the hippocampus -- the brain region responsible for memory and spatial orientation that is attacked first in Alzheimer's disease, a study of older adults at increased risk for Alzheimer's disease shows. It is the first evidence that physical activity may protect against cognitive decline and the onset of dementia symptoms in those who carry the genetic marker for Alzheimer's.

High-calorie, low-nutrient foods in kids' TV programs

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:26 AM PDT

Fruits and vegetables are often displayed in the popular Swedish children's TV show Bolibompa, but there are also plenty of high-sugar foods. A new study explores how food is portrayed in children's TV programs, as well as the link between young children's TV viewing, dietary habits and weight status.

Uniting community development efforts could benefit members of underserved communities

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:22 AM PDT

Although many organizations address poverty, they often serve similar demographics and may compete for clients and resources. Recently, researchers studied one effort to link community development organizations and concluded that this program is the hub that can improve resource access for members of underserved communities.

Toward unraveling the Alzheimer's mystery: New step points to proteins

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:21 AM PDT

Getting to the bottom of Alzheimer's disease has been a rapidly evolving pursuit with many twists, turns and controversies. In the latest crook in the research road, scientists have found a new insight into the interaction between proteins associated with the disease. The report could have important implications for developing novel treatments.

ADHD drug may help preserve self-control resources

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:21 AM PDT

Methylphenidate, also known as Ritalin, may prevent the depletion of self-control, according to research. Self-control can be difficult -- sticking with a diet or trying to focus attention on a boring textbook are hard things to do. Considerable research suggests one potential explanation for this difficulty: Exerting self-control for a long period seems to "deplete" our ability to exert self-control effectively on subsequent tasks.

Picture books aren't just fun: Children learn sophisticated animal facts when parent read them

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:18 AM PDT

Children hear as much sophisticated information about animals when parents read picture book stories about animals as when they read flashcard-type animal vocabulary books, according to a new study. "Children do learn a lot when parents read books with them and many parents read to their children several times each week," said one researcher. "So, conducting studies using picture books and storybooks has important implications for understanding how children really learn in their daily lives."

2.5 million basketball injuries to high school athletes in 6 seasons, research finds

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:18 AM PDT

The first study to compare and describe the occurrence and distribution patterns of basketball-related injuries treated in emergency departments and the high school athletic training setting among adolescents and teens has been conducted. The study found that in general, injuries that are more easily diagnosed and treated, such as sprains/strains, were more likely to be treated onsite by an athletic trainer while more serious injuries, such as fractures, that require more extensive diagnostic and treatment procedures were more commonly treated in an ED.

Researchers compare hip width and sexual behavior

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:17 AM PDT

Hip width and risk of birth-related trauma may play a role in a woman's decision to have sex. Women who were more inclined to have one-night stands had wider hips, reveals a study into how a woman's build influences her sexual behavior. Results of the study show that the number of sexual partners a woman had is largely driven by one-night stand behavior. This, in turn, correlates with a woman's hip width and not waist-to-hip ratio. Overall, women in this study with hips wider than 14.2 inches had more sexual partners and more one-night stands than women with hips under 12.2 inches wide.

Inverse effects of midlife occupational, leisure time physical activity on mobility limitation in old age

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:17 AM PDT

Strenuous occupational physical activity in midlife increases the risk of mobility limitation in old age, whereas leisure-time physical activity decreases the risk. This is found in a study that followed up 5,200 public sector employees for 28 years. It states that heavy physical labor is often repetitive, wears the body and lasts for several hours a day. On the contrast, leisure-time physical activity is designed to improve fitness and provide recreation and a typical exercise session lasts for one or two hours. Even though both are based on muscle activity and result in energy expenditure, their long-term consequences are different.

Loss of memory in Alzheimer's mice models reversed through gene therapy

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:17 AM PDT

Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia and affects some 400,000 people in Spain alone. However, no effective cure has yet been found. One of the reasons for this is the lack of knowledge on the cellular mechanisms which cause alterations in nerve transmissions and the loss of memory in the initial stages of the disease. Researchers have now discovered the cellular mechanism involved in memory consolidation and were able to develop a gene therapy which reverses the loss of memory in mice models with initial stages of Alzheimer's disease.

Cell division speed influences gene architecture

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 06:51 AM PDT

Speed-reading is a technique used to read quickly. It involves visual searching for clues to meaning and skipping non-essential words and/or sentences. Similarly in humans, biological systems are sometimes under selective pressure to quickly "read" genetic information. Genes that need to be read quickly are usually small, as the smaller the encoding message, the easier it will be to read them quickly. Now, researchers have discovered that, besides size, the gene architecture is also important to the optimization of the "reading" process.

Biting vs. chewing: Cutting their food helps kids behave better

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 05:23 PM PDT

There's a new secret to get your child to behave at the dinner table -- cut up their food! This new study found that when 6- to 10-year-old children ate food that they had to bite with their front teeth, chicken on the bone, they were rowdier than when the food had been cut into bite-sized pieces.

Brain circuits involved in emotion discovered by neuroscientists

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 05:23 PM PDT

A brain pathway that underlies the emotional behaviors critical for survival have been discovered by neuroscientists. The team has identified a chain of neural connections which links central survival circuits to the spinal cord, causing the body to freeze when experiencing fear. Understanding how these central neural pathways work is a fundamental step towards developing effective treatments for emotional disorders such as anxiety, panic attacks and phobias.

Insurance status affects where young adults seek health care

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 05:20 PM PDT

Perhaps due to lack of or inconsistent insurance coverage, young adults age 18 to 25 tend to go to the doctor's office less often than children or adolescents, yet have higher rates of emergency room use, finds a study. These findings are from a study of data from the 2009 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, collected in advance of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which allows young adults to stay on family insurance plans until age 26 and makes it easier for them to obtain their own health insurance.

Effectiveness of medications for treating epileptic seizures in children examined

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 01:23 PM PDT

Although some studies have suggested that the drug lorazepam may be more effective or safer than the drug diazepam in treating a type of epileptic seizures among children, a randomized trial finds that lorazepam is not better at stopping seizures compared to diazepam. The researchers add that future trials should consider newer medications and novel interventions targeting those at highest risk for medication failure or respiratory depression.

Specialized ambulance improves treatment time for stroke

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 01:23 PM PDT

Using an ambulance that included a computed tomography scanner, point-of-care laboratory, telemedicine connection and a specialized prehospital stroke team resulted in decreased time to treatment for ischemic stroke, according to a study. "Our study showed that the ambulance-based thrombolysis was safe, reduced alarm-to-treatment time, and increased thrombolysis rates," the researchers write. "Further studies are needed to assess the effects on clinical outcomes."

Patient preferences for emergency treatment of stroke examined in new study

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 01:23 PM PDT

The majority of adults surveyed in new research indicated they would want administration of clot-dissolving medications if incapacitated by a stroke, a finding that supports clinicians' use of this treatment if patient surrogates are not available to provide consent. "When an incapacitated older patient's treatment preferences are unknown and surrogate decision makers are unavailable, there are empirical grounds for presuming individual consent to thrombolysis for stroke," the authors write.

Conservative management of vascular abnormality in brain associated with better outcomes

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 01:23 PM PDT

Patients with arteriovenous malformations (abnormal connection between arteries and veins) in the brain that have not ruptured had a lower risk of stroke or death for up to 12 years if they received conservative management of the condition compared to an interventional treatment, according to a study.

Quality improvement program helps lower risk of bleeding, death following stroke

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 01:22 PM PDT

In a study that included more than 71,000 stroke patients, implementation of a quality initiative was associated with improvement in the time to treatment and a lower risk of in-hospital death, intracranial hemorrhage (bleeding in the brain), and an increase in the portion of patients discharged to their home.

Newly-approved brain stimulator offers hope for individuals with uncontrolled epilepsy

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 01:20 PM PDT

A recently FDA-approved device has been shown to reduce seizures in patients with medication-resistant epilepsy by as much as 50 percent. When coupled with an innovative electrode placement planning system, the device facilitated the complete elimination of seizures in nearly half of the implanted patients enrolled in the decade-long clinical trials.

Stroke treatment, outcomes improve with new initiative

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 01:20 PM PDT

A study demonstrated that hospitals participating in a national quality-improvement program have markedly increased the speed with which they treat stroke patients with the clot-busting drug. This speedier treatment was accompanied by reduced mortality, fewer treatment complications and a greater likelihood that patients would go home after leaving the hospital instead of being referred to a skilled nursing facility.

New drugs offer hope for migraine prevention

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 01:20 PM PDT

Two new studies may offer hope for people with migraines. Both studies involve drugs that are aimed at preventing migraine attacks from occurring, rather than stopping the attacks once they have started. These studies are the first to test monoclonal antibodies for the prevention of migraine, and both are directed against a relatively new target in migraine prevention, the calcitonin gene-related peptide, or CGRP. CGRP has been thought to be important in migraine, but never have drugs been developed to specifically target the protein.

Glaucoma drug helps women with blinding disorder linked to obesity

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 01:20 PM PDT

An inexpensive glaucoma drug, when added to a weight loss plan, can improve vision for women with idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), according to a study. This disorder mostly affects young, overweight women. Vision loss and headaches are common symptoms. An estimated 100,000 Americans have it, and the number is rising with the obesity epidemic.

Risk of pregnancy greater with newer method of female sterilization

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 12:28 PM PDT

The risk of pregnancy among women using a newer method of planned sterilization called hysteroscopic sterilization is more than 10 times greater over a 10-year period than using the more commonly performed laparoscopic sterilization, a study has found. Hysteroscopic sterilization is a multi-step process that requires women to have a procedure to place coils inside the opening of the Fallopian tubes, use another method of contraception for three months after the procedure, and then have a special X-ray test in which dye is pushed into the uterus to confirm whether the tubes are blocked.

Scientists pinpoint protein that could improve small cell lung cancer therapies

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 12:28 PM PDT

Approximately 15 percent of all lung cancers are small cell lung cancers, which grow rapidly and often develop resistance to chemotherapy. However, researchers have revealed new insights into the mechanisms leading to this resistance that may lead to improved therapies. They discovered that the expression of a protein called Noxa is critical to the effectiveness of ABT-737 because it helps regulate the function of MCL-1, another pro-survival Bcl-2 family protein.

Depressed? Researchers identify new anti-depressant mechanisms, therapeutic approaches

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 12:28 PM PDT

Breakthroughs that could benefit people suffering from depression are being made by researchers. A team of physician-scientists has identified a major mechanism by which ghrelin (a hormone with natural anti-depressant properties) works inside the brain. Simultaneously, the researchers identified a potentially powerful new treatment for depression in the form of a neuroprotective drug known as P7C3. The study is notable because although a number of anti-depressant drugs and other treatments are available, an estimated one in 10 adults in the U.S. still report depression.

Curriculum recommendations for medical laboratory scientists published

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 10:09 AM PDT

Recommendations for a molecular diagnostics curriculum at both the baccalaureate and master's levels of education have been published. The challenge, as stated in the report, is to balance the requirements of accreditation, certification, and the needs of the job market.

Coming up with explanations helps children develop cause-and-effect thinking skills

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 10:08 AM PDT

Children learn more effectively when they are asked to explain and explore, new research shows. The study shows that young children who come up with explanations while learning are able to connect new ideas with prior cause-and-effect knowledge. By forming their own generalizations, learners can more efficiently understand novel information.

Disparities in Medicaid spending on children in welfare system

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 10:08 AM PDT

In the new health-care climate of the Affordable Care Act and efforts to expand Medicare to accommodate more individuals and children, the need to closely examine ways to best use government funding is becoming increasingly evident. A new study examines racial and ethnic differences in Medicaid expenditures for children in the welfare system who use psychotropic drugs.

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