Παρασκευή, 25 Απριλίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News


Low-dose natural antimicrobial exacerbates chronic lung infection in cystic fibrosis

Posted: 24 Apr 2014 04:05 PM PDT

Respiratory failure caused by chronic lung infection with Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria is a common cause of death in patients with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that is common in individuals of European descent. A new study demonstrates that an antimicrobial peptide produced by human immune cells can promote mutations in the bacterium that make it more lethal.

Researchers trace HIV adaptation to its human host

Posted: 24 Apr 2014 04:05 PM PDT

In a new study that traces the evolution of HIV in North America, researchers have found evidence that the virus is slowly adapting over time to its human hosts. However, this change is so gradual that it is unlikely to have an impact on vaccine design.

Tsetse fly genome reveals weaknesses: International 10-year project unravels biology of disease-causing fly

Posted: 24 Apr 2014 11:09 AM PDT

Mining the genome of the disease-transmitting tsetse fly, researchers have revealed the genetic adaptions that allow it to have such unique biology and transmit disease to both humans and animals. The tsetse fly spreads the parasitic diseases human African trypanosomiasis, known as sleeping sickness, and Nagana that infect humans and animals respectively. Throughout sub-Saharan Africa, 70 million people are currently at risk of deadly infection.

Scientists build new 'off switch' to shut down neural activity

Posted: 24 Apr 2014 11:09 AM PDT

Nearly a decade ago, the era of optogenetics was ushered in with the development of channelrhodopsins, light-activated ion channels that can, with the flick of a switch, instantaneously turn on neurons in which they are genetically expressed. What has lagged behind, however, is the ability to use light to inactivate neurons with an equal level of reliability and efficiency. Now, scientists have used an analysis of channelrhodopsin's molecular structure to guide a series of genetic mutations to the ion channel that grant the power to silence neurons with an unprecedented level of control.

You may have billions and billions of good reasons for being unfit

Posted: 24 Apr 2014 11:09 AM PDT

Although our chromosomes are relatively stable within our lifetimes, the genetic material found in our mitochondria is highly variable across individuals and may impact upon human health, say researchers. Genomes are changing, not just from generation to generation, but even and in fact within our individual cells. The researchers are the first to identify the extent to which the editing processes of RNA code can vary across a large number of individuals.

Why does breast cancer often spread to the lung? Experts explain

Posted: 24 Apr 2014 09:53 AM PDT

New research shows why breast cancer often spreads or metastasizes to the lung. The breast cancer stem cell (CSC) has been shown to be responsible for metastasis in animal models, particularly to the lung. And this new research found CSCs have a particular propensity for migrating towards and growing in the lung because of certain proteins found there.

Skin layer grown from human stem cells could replace animals in drug, cosmetics testing

Posted: 24 Apr 2014 09:52 AM PDT

The first lab-grown epidermis -- the outermost skin layer -- with a functional permeability barrier akin to real skin has been developed by scientists. The new epidermis, grown from human pluripotent stem cells, offers a cost-effective alternative lab model for testing drugs and cosmetics, and could also help to develop new therapies for rare and common skin disorders.

Large-scale identification, analysis of suppressive drug interactions

Posted: 24 Apr 2014 09:52 AM PDT

Cell analysis finds drug interactions to be startlingly common: baker's yeast is giving scientists a better understanding of drug interactions, which are a major cause of illness and hospitalization worldwide. When two or more medications are taken at the same time, one can suppress or enhance the effectiveness of the other. Similarly, one drug may magnify the toxicity of another. There are severe practical limits on the practical scope of drug studies in humans. Limits come in part from ethics and in part from the staggering expense.

Blood cells reprogrammed into blood stem cells in mice

Posted: 24 Apr 2014 09:52 AM PDT

Researchers have reprogrammed mature blood cells from mice into blood-forming hematopoietic stem cells, using a cocktail of eight genetic switches called transcription factors. The reprogrammed cells are able to self-renew like HSCs and can give rise to all of the cellular components of the blood like HSCs. The findings mark a significant step toward a major goal of regenerative medicine: the ability to produce HSCs suitable for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation from other cell types.

New genetic brain disorder in humans discovered

Posted: 24 Apr 2014 09:51 AM PDT

A newly identified genetic disorder associated with degeneration of the central and peripheral nervous systems in humans, along with the genetic cause, has been reported by researchers. By performing DNA sequencing of more than 4,000 families affected by neurological problems, the two research teams independently discovered that a disease marked by reduced brain size and sensory and motor defects is caused by a mutation in a gene called CLP1, which is known to regulate tRNA metabolism in cells.

New type of protein action found to regulate development

Posted: 24 Apr 2014 09:51 AM PDT

Researchers report they have figured out how the aptly named protein Botch blocks the signaling protein called Notch, which helps regulate development. In a report on the discovery, the scientists say they expect the work to lead to a better understanding of how a single protein, Notch, directs actions needed for the healthy development of organs as diverse as brains and kidneys.

Oxygen diminishes heart's ability to regenerate, researchers discover

Posted: 24 Apr 2014 09:49 AM PDT

Scientific research previously discovered that the newborn animal heart can heal itself completely, whereas the adult heart lacks this ability. New research by the same team today has revealed why the heart loses its incredible regenerative capability in adulthood, and the answer is quite simple -- oxygen.

New point of attack on HIV for vaccine development

Posted: 24 Apr 2014 09:47 AM PDT

A new vulnerable site on the HIV virus has been found, which may lead researchers closer to developing a vaccine for the illness. "HIV has very few known sites of vulnerability, but in this work we've described a new one, and we expect it will be useful in developing a vaccine," said one researcher.

Fruitfly study identifies brain circuit that drives daily cycles of rest, activity

Posted: 24 Apr 2014 09:46 AM PDT

Researchers describe a circuit in the brain of fruit flies that controls their daily, rhythmic behavior of rest and activity. They also found that the fly version of the human brain protein known as corticotrophin releasing factor is a major coordinating molecule in this circuit.

Small business owners not always worried about being treated fairly, researcher finds

Posted: 24 Apr 2014 08:33 AM PDT

Fairness is not always the most important priority for small retailers. In an international study, researchers found that some small retailers are less concerned about whether they are treated fairly by business suppliers than other factors, such as cash flow and company survival. "It is presumed that fairness, however it is defined by individual businesses, is important to all businesses," one researcher said. "Our research challenges that presumption and reveals that the importance placed on fairness can vary greatly among retailers."

Paying closer attention to attention

Posted: 24 Apr 2014 08:27 AM PDT

There may be an overreporting of attention problems in children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), simply because parents and teachers are using a misplaced basis for comparison. They are testing and comparing children with FASD with children of the same physical or chronological age, rather than with children of the same mental age, which is often quite a lot younger.

Take the bat, leave the candy: The food environment of youth baseball

Posted: 24 Apr 2014 08:27 AM PDT

"Take me out to the ballgame" doesn't exactly conjure up images of apple slices and kale chips. The more likely culprits include French fries, soda and the occasional box of Crackerjacks. Unfortunately for children who play youth baseball, eating unhealthy food during practices and games may be contributing to weight problems, according to researchers.

Take notes by hand for better long-term comprehension

Posted: 24 Apr 2014 07:28 AM PDT

Dust off those Bic ballpoints and college-ruled notebooks: research shows that taking notes by hand is better than taking notes on a laptop for remembering conceptual information over the long term. "Our new findings suggest that even when laptops are used as intended -- and not for buying things on Amazon during class -- they may still be harming academic performance," says a psychological scientist involved in the study.

Leaders call for expanded use of medications to combat opioid overdose epidemic

Posted: 24 Apr 2014 07:28 AM PDT

A national response to the epidemic of prescription opioid overdose deaths was outlined by leaders of agencies in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The commentary calls upon health care providers to expand their use of medications to treat opioid addiction and reduce overdose deaths, and describes a number of misperceptions that have limited access to these potentially life-saving medications.

Bake your own droplet lens: Cheap, high-quality lenses made from droplets of transparent silicone

Posted: 24 Apr 2014 07:28 AM PDT

Researchers have created a new type of lens that costs less than a penny to make, and can be used in a 3-D printed attachment that turns a Smartphone into a dermascope, a tool to diagnose skin diseases like melanoma. Normal dermascopes can cost $500 or more, but this version costs a mere $2 and is slated to be commercially available in just a few months.

New ultrasound device may add in detecting risk for heart attack, stroke

Posted: 24 Apr 2014 07:26 AM PDT

A new ultrasound device that could help identify arterial plaque that is at high risk of breaking off and causing heart attack or stroke has been developed by researchers. The prototype device has performed well in laboratory testing, but the researchers say they are continuing to optimize the technology. They hope to launch pre-clinical studies in the near future.

Palliation is rarely a topic in studies on advanced cancer

Posted: 24 Apr 2014 07:24 AM PDT

Randomized controlled trials only rarely consider end-of-life aspects and often fail to name superordinate patient-relevant treatment goals. Instead of quality of life, survival is in the foreground, research shows.

Boring cells could hold the key to heart disease

Posted: 24 Apr 2014 07:24 AM PDT

Fibroblasts, cells long thought to be boring and irrelevant, could offer an alternative to heart transplants for patients with heart disease. "Heart disease is still one of the major killers in our society and so far no effective therapeutic options are available. Our laboratory aims to understand how the various cell types present in a heart can improve the outcome of heart failure,' said the lead researcher.

Motor skill deficiencies linked to autism severity, reseearch says

Posted: 24 Apr 2014 07:24 AM PDT

A relationship between motor skill deficiencies and the severity of the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder has been found in very young children. The findings indicate that development of motor skills should be included in treatment plans for young children with autism. Most autism treatment plans for young children focus on social communication because the disability has such a significant effect in that area. Incorporating fine and gross motor skill development into early interventions could provide a similar boost, the researchers say.

Virtual artificial heart implantation: Advances made by scientists

Posted: 24 Apr 2014 07:21 AM PDT

The first virtual implantation of a pioneering artificial heart has been performed. The artificial heart was implanted into an undersized adolescent, and supported the boy for 11 days before he underwent a heart transplant. "3-D heart models and performance of virtual heart implantations are no longer the inventions of science fiction. They are happening and they are impacting medicine, medical education and quality of life right now," one expert says.

Microbes provide insights into evolution of human language

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:14 PM PDT

Research into Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a type of bacteria common in water and soil, shows that they can communicate in a way that was previously thought to be unique to humans and perhaps some other primates. The bacteria used combinatorial communication, in which two signals are used together to achieve an effect that is different to the sum of the effects of the component parts.

Genetics explain why some kids are bigger than others

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:14 PM PDT

The influence of genetic factors on differences between children's Body Mass Index increases from 43 percent at age four to 82 percent at age 10, reports a new study. The researchers studied 2,556 pairs of twins from the Twins Early Development Study. Data were collected in England and Wales in 1999 and 2005 when the twins were four and 10 years old respectively.

Luck affects how we judge reckless actions

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:12 PM PDT

A person, who acts immorally or recklessly but is "lucky" by escaping dire consequences, is judged less harshly than an "unlucky" person, even when both have committed the same act. "Moral luck" is a term used in philosophy that describes situations in which a person is subjected to moral judgments by others despite the fact that the assessment is based on factors beyond his or her control, i.e. "luck."

Vitamin D supplements have little effect on risk of falls in older people

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:12 PM PDT

A new meta-analysis concludes that there is no evidence to suggest that vitamin D supplements prevent falls, and that ongoing trials to test this theory are unlikely to change this result. Falls can be devastating for older people, and strategies to reduce fall risk are urgently needed as the global population ages. The results of trials that have investigated the ability of vitamin D to prevent falls -- and those of previous meta-analyses -- have been mixed. It is unclear how vitamin D supplements might prevent falls but, until now.

Recurrent violence linked to substantially higher rates of mental disorders in post-conflict communities

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:12 PM PDT

In the aftermath of war, communities who continue to experience repeated violence could have a major escalation in rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and severe distress, suggests new research. Investigators conducted a survey in 2004 to estimate the prevalence of common mental disorders among 1022 adults in Timor Leste four years after the end of a long-running and violent war against Indonesian occupation, and again in 2010–11, following a period of prolonged internal conflict.

Death rates from pancreatic cancer rising; rates for all other cancers, except female lung cancer, continue to fall in Europe

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:12 PM PDT

Pancreatic cancer is the only cancer for which deaths are predicted to increase in men and women rather than decrease in 2014 and beyond, according to a comprehensive study. The study looked at cancer rates in the whole of the EU (27 member states as at 2007) and also in the six largest countries – France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the UK – for all cancers, and, individually, for stomach, intestines, pancreas, lung, prostate, breast, uterus (including cervix) and leukaemias.

Stem cells in circulating blood affect cardiovascular health

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:11 PM PDT

New research suggests that attempts to isolate an elusive adult stem cell from blood to understand and potentially improve cardiovascular health -- a task considered possible but very difficult -- might not be necessary. Instead, scientists have found that multiple types of cells with primitive characteristics circulating in the blood appear to provide the same benefits expected from a stem cell, including the endothelial progenitor cell that is the subject of hot pursuit.

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