Τρίτη, 29 Απριλίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

Bacteria on the skin: Our invisible companions influence how quickly wounds heel

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 06:02 PM PDT

A new study suggests microbes living on our skin influence how quickly wounds heal. The findings could lead to new treatments for chronic wounds, which affect 1 in 20 elderly people. We spend our lives covered head-to-toe in a thin veneer of bacteria. But despite a growing appreciation for the valuable roles our resident microbes play in the digestive tract, little is known about the bacteria that reside in and on our skin.

Epileptic or non-epileptic seizures? Misdiagnosis common

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 02:15 PM PDT

A research team set out to estimate the probability of epilepsy versus non-epileptic seizures based on the historical factors reported by the patient to their neurologist. Distinguishing between epileptic and non-epileptic seizures is a challenge, according to experts. On average, the time from the first seizure to the diagnosis of non-epileptic seizures is seven years. In the meantime, a majority of those patients are misdiagnosed with epilepsy and treated inappropriately with anti-epileptic medications.

Scientists create circuit board modeled on the human brain

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 10:40 AM PDT

Scientists have developed faster, more energy-efficient microchips based on the human brain -- 9,000 times faster and using significantly less power than a typical PC. This offers greater possibilities for advances in robotics and a new way of understanding the brain. For instance, a chip as fast and efficient as the human brain could drive prosthetic limbs with the speed and complexity of our own actions.

Genetic mutations involved in human blood diseases identified

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 10:40 AM PDT

Mutations that could have a major impact on the future diagnosis and treatment of many human diseases have been revealed through new research. Through an international collaboration, researchers were able to identify a dozen mutations in the human genome that are involved in significant changes in complete blood counts and that explain the onset of sometimes severe biological disorders.

Catastrophic thoughts about future linked to suicidal patients

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 10:40 AM PDT

Suicide has been on the increase recently in the United States, currently accounting for almost 40,000 deaths a year. A new study shows that one successful effort to avoid suicide attempts would be to focus on correcting the distorted, catastrophic thoughts about the future that are held by many who try to kill themselves.

One cell type may quash tumor vaccines

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 10:37 AM PDT

Many cancer vaccines fail because the immune cells that would destroy the tumor are actively suppressed, researchers believe. Now they have found that a single cell type may be to blame for the suppression, paving the way to better cancer vaccine design. "The conventional wisdom is that the body knocks out all of the cells that can mount an immune response to the cancer," says the study's first author. "In fact, our work shows that it's only one cell type that is affected. But that cell, the T-helper cell, acts as the lynchpin."

Neurologists report on promise of statins, estrogen, telemedicine in Parkinson's

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 09:14 AM PDT

New approaches to understanding, treating and potentially staving off Parkinson's disease are the focus of new research findings. Studies show that factors such as estrogen exposure and statin use have an impact on the onset of Parkinson's disease. And a new look at telemedicine demonstrates feasibility in providing care for Parkinson's patients using remote video visits to expand access and center care around the needs of Parkinson's patients.

Estimating baby's size gets more precise

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 09:14 AM PDT

New research aims to help doctors estimate the size of newborns with a new set of birth weight measurements based on birth records from across the country. Since birth size is often used as one indicator of a baby's health, these new thresholds may be useful for clinicians in making health care decisions. Researchers also may benefit from more precise estimates of birth size when investigating health outcomes at birth and later on in life.

Criminal behavior: Older siblings strongly sway younger siblings close in age

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 09:14 AM PDT

If a sibling commits a violent criminal act, the risk that a younger sibling may follow in their footsteps is more likely than the transmission of that behavior to an older sibling, according to a new study. The findings provide insight into the social transmission of violent behaviors and suggest that environmental factors within families can be important when it comes to delinquent behavior. Down the road, the results may be used to inform strategies for prevention and treatment programs.

Abuse jeopardizes new mothers' mental health

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 09:13 AM PDT

A research paper is calling for closer monitoring of new mothers for mental health problems in light of new findings. Researchers have advanced previous research that links intimate partner abuse to postpartum mental health problems. They discovered that 61 percent of all women who participated in the study experienced mental health symptoms.

Treat homelessness first, everything else later: Study

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 09:13 AM PDT

Providing safe, stable and affordable housing first is the best way to help homeless, according to new research. The findings show that providing prompt, permanent shelter to homeless people is cheaper and more effective than trying to treat underlying conditions such as mental health or addictions first.

Breast cancer patients place huge emphasis on gene expression profiling test

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 09:13 AM PDT

Gene expression profiling tests play a critical role when women with early-stage breast cancer decide whether to have chemotherapy, but many of them do not fully understand what some of the test results mean, new research suggests. Current guidelines for treating early-stage breast cancer result in thousands of women receiving chemotherapy without benefitting from it. A gene expression profiling test can help differentiate women who might benefit from chemotherapy versus those that might not.

Kidney, liver transplantation from those with cancer history: Studies provide insight on quality of donations

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 09:13 AM PDT

The quality of kidney and liver donations is fundamentally important for the longevity of transplants and the health of recipients. "The findings of our research indicate that the perceived risk of certain organ donors to their recipients is likely to have been over-estimated. Organ donors with a history of certain types of cancers who are excluded from transplantation in fact pose very little risk of cancer transmission to their recipients," said a researcher. "These organs can be transplanted with very little risk to their recipients, resulting in significant improvement in the survival and health of the recipients."

Mechanism of cancer caused by loss of BRCA1, BRCA2 gene function identified

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 09:12 AM PDT

Inherited mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 tumor suppressor genes are by far the most frequent contributors of hereditary cancer risk in the human population, often causing breast or ovarian cancer in young women of child-bearing age. Now investigators report a new mechanism by which BRCA gene loss may accelerate cancer-promoting chromosome rearrangements.

Loss of Y chromosome can explain shorter life expectancy, higher cancer risk for men

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 09:12 AM PDT

It is generally well known that men have an overall shorter life expectancy compared to women. A recent study shows a correlation between a loss of the Y chromosome in blood cells and both a shorter life span and higher mortality from cancer in other organs.

First disease-specific human embryonic stem cell line by nuclear transfer

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 09:11 AM PDT

Using somatic cell nuclear transfer, a team of scientists has created the first disease-specific embryonic stem cell line with two sets of chromosomes. "From the start, the goal of this work has been to make patient-specific stem cells from an adult human subject with type 1 diabetes that can give rise to the cells lost in the disease," said the leader of the research. "By reprograming cells to a pluripotent state and making beta cells, we are now one step closer to being able to treat diabetic patients with their own insulin-producing cells."

'Gaydar': Are women better at spotting one of their own?

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 09:08 AM PDT

Previous research has demonstrated that 'gaydar' appears to be a real phenomenon. Reliable predictions of sexual orientation have been made simply by hearing a voice or seeing a face. A new article asks who has better gaydar? Lesbian women or straight? The expectation was that lesbians due to their experience of choosing partners would be more tuned in to others orientation. The authors conducted a study which revealed some thought-provoking insights into who has greater interpersonal sensitivity.

New method to analyze how cancer cells die

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 09:08 AM PDT

The number of cells within tissue is controlled through apoptosis -- a process where cells shrink and their components break up, also known as programmed cell death. Cancer is often characterized by a disruption to the normal process of this cell death. Being able to study this process accurately would allow doctors to more effectively diagnose and monitor cancer and to test and develop new treatments designed to kill cancer cells. Thanks to new research, scientists are a step closer to this.

Potential new strategy to treat ovarian cancer discovered

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 09:08 AM PDT

A potential new strategy to treat ovarian cancer has been identified by researchers. Recently developed drugs have increased patient survival rates by targeting a tumor's blood vessels that supply essential nutrients and oxygen to cancer cells. However, many patients go on to develop resistance to these therapies and grow new blood vessels that spread the cancer again. Ovarian cancer is the deadliest of all gynaecological cancers, and since the majority of patients are diagnosed when the disease is at an advanced stage, prognosis is generally poor.

Toll of trampoline fractures on children is high

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 09:07 AM PDT

Trampoline accidents sent an estimated 288,876 people, most of them children, to hospital emergency departments with broken bones from 2002 to 2011, at a cost of more than $400 million, according to an analysis by researchers. Including all injuries, not just fractures, hospital emergency rooms in the USA received more than 1 million visits from people injured in trampoline accidents during those 10 years, boosting the emergency room bills to just over $1 billion, according to the study.

Water test for the world: Simple pill brings lab to water to test for contamination

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 09:07 AM PDT

The problem of cumbersome, painfully slow water-testing has been solved by researchers who have turned the process upside-down by creating a way to take the lab to the water, putting potentially life-saving technology into a tiny pill. The team has reduced the sophisticated chemistry required for testing water safety to a simple pill, by adapting technology found in a dissolving breath strip. Want to know if a well is contaminated? Drop a pill in a vial of water and shake vigorously. If the color changes, there's the answer.

Using a foreign language changes moral decisions

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 09:06 AM PDT

Would you sacrifice one person to save five? Such moral choices could depend on whether you are using a foreign language or your native tongue. A new study from psychologists finds that people using a foreign language take a relatively utilitarian approach to moral dilemmas, making decisions based on assessments of what's best for the common good.

Origin of Huntington's disease found in brain; insights to help deliver therapy

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 09:06 AM PDT

The gene mutation that causes Huntington's disease appears in every cell in the body, yet kills only two types of brain cells. Why? Scientists used a unique approach to switch the gene off in individual brain regions and zero in on those that play a role in causing the disease in mice. Their findings shed light on where Huntington's starts in the brain. It also suggests new targets and routes for therapeutic drugs to slow the devastating disease, which strikes an estimated 35,000 Americans.

The scent of a man: Gender of experimenter has big impact on rats' stress levels, explains lack of replication of some findings

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 09:06 AM PDT

Scientists' inability to replicate research findings using mice and rats has contributed to mounting concern over the reliability of such studies. Pain researchers have now found that the gender of experimenters has a big impact on the stress levels of rodents used in research. The presence of male experimenters produced a stress response in mice and rats equivalent to that caused by restraining the rodents for 15 minutes in a tube or forcing them to swim for three minutes. This stress-induced reaction made mice and rats of both sexes less sensitive to pain.

Strategic thinking strengthens intellectual capacity

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 06:42 AM PDT

Strategy-based cognitive training has the potential to enhance cognitive performance and spill over to real-life benefit according to a data-driven perspective article. The research-based perspective highlights cognitive, neural and real-life changes measured in randomized clinical trials that compared a gist-reasoning strategy-training program to memory training in populations ranging from teenagers to healthy older adults, individuals with brain injury to those at-risk for Alzheimer's disease.

Complications from kidney stone treatments are common, costly

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 06:42 AM PDT

Despite their overall low risk, procedures to treat kidney stones lead to complications that require hospitalization or emergency care for one in seven patients, according to researchers. These complications are costly. When complications occurred, they were least common following shock wave lithotripsy. Those treated with ureteroscopy, the second most common procedure, had slightly more unplanned visits, with 15 percent of patients.

Weekly emails to hospital C-suite halt two decades of superbug outbreak

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 06:42 AM PDT

Efforts to reduce and stop the spread of infections caused by a highly resistant organism, carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii, at a large hospital proved ineffective until they added another weapon: weekly emails from the medical director of Infection Control to hospital leadership, according to a study. Prior to this, endemic rates of A. baumannii had been present at the institution for nearly two decades.

Immunology touted as next big thing for popular science

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 06:42 AM PDT

A professor says scientific jargon could be making the science of the human immune system a turn-off for the general public. Immunology explores how our immune system seeks out and destroys dangerous bacteria, viruses and fungi. It also examines how its activity connects with other body systems and influences, for example, our metabolism and hormone levels -- and controls how well we feel.

Lessons from NASA helps manage threats, errors in pediatric cardiac surgery

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 06:42 AM PDT

Investigators propose that NASA's "threat and error model" -- derived from analyzing >30,000 commercial flights and which explains >90% of crashes -- is directly applicable to pediatric cardiac surgery. Using their experience with aviation errors, NASA/FAA researchers generated a "threat and error model," and researchers suggest there are ways to adapt it to a clinical setting.

Statin users consume more calories, fat, and weigh more, than their predecessors

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 06:40 AM PDT

People who took statins in the 2009–10 year were consuming more calories and fat than those who used statins 10 years earlier, research shows. There was no similar increase in caloric and fat intake among non–stain users during that decade. Researchers believe this is connected to a false sense of security that could lead to heart disease and other obesity-related illnesses.

Geographic, gender disparities among stroke patients identified in U.S.

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 06:40 AM PDT

A map demonstrating geographic hotspots of increased stroke mortality across the United States has been developed by researchers. Clusters of "hot" spots -- counties where the mortality rate from stroke was as much as 40 percent higher than the national average and 1.5 times higher than mortality of patients in "cool" spots -- were found in the southeastern United States, but extended farther west and north than the traditionally defined "stroke belt." In addition, researchers found isolated areas of low stroke mortality clustered within hot spots and isolated areas of high stroke mortality clustered within cool spots.

Teens who use alcohol, marijuana together are at higher risk for unsafe driving

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 04:48 AM PDT

Teenagers who drink alcohol and smoke marijuana may be at increased risk for unsafe driving, according to a study. The findings point to a need for education on the risks of "simultaneous use" of alcohol and marijuana. The study of U.S. high school seniors found that teens who had used both in the past year had higher rates of traffic tickets/warnings and car accidents. At particular risk were kids who used alcohol and marijuana at the same time: They were about 50 to 90 percent more likely to admit to unsafe driving than their peers who did not drink or smoke pot.

Dipping blood sugars cause surprisingly irregular heart rhythms in diabetics

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 04:46 AM PDT

Dangerous overnight blood sugar levels often go undetected and cause prolonged periods of heart rhythm disturbances in older patients with Type 2 diabetes and associated heart problems, new research reveals. The findings could offer vital clues to the mechanism by which low blood sugar levels could contribute to life-threatening changes in heart rhythm, a major risk for patients with diabetes.

Collagen for the knee: Gel-like implant invented

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 04:46 AM PDT

Millions of people suffer cartilage damage to the knee every year. Cartilage injuries are not only painful; they can lead to osteoarthritis decades later. In the course of the disease, the protective shock absorbing cartilage that covers the bone within the joint slowly is removed until the bone is finally exposed, typically requiring an artificial joint replacement. A biotechnology company has developed a one-step minimally-invasive surgical procedure for the treatment of cartilage defects: a gel-like implant.

Development in the womb: New insight on epigenetic influence on baby

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 04:46 AM PDT

Scientists have performed an analysis of epigenetic marks on DNA to measure how much a baby's development in the womb is determined by the genes inherited from the parents, as compared with the mother's nutrition, mental health and lifestyle. The baby's epigenetic profile was determined using infinium array technology and a million potential inherited genetic polymorphisms were measured. Epigenetics refers to the complex set of reactions that control the development and maintenance of plants and animals by switching parts of the DNA on and off at strategic times and locations.

Who are the aggressive stars of closed circuit television?

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 04:46 AM PDT

A computer program can analyze closed circuit television (CCTV) images and spot aggressive human behavior nine times out of ten, according to new research. The research is an important step forward in intelligent security systems that could raise an alarm without requiring constant human vigilance.

Marketing to Internet-savy moms

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 04:44 AM PDT

Moms on the internet should be the focus of those carrying out market research as it turns out that the old word-of-mouth benefits to sales are stronger than ever now that the school gathering places, shops and mother and child groups have been augmented by online social networks aimed at mothers.

Patients report high satisfaction with pain treatment when involved

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 04:44 AM PDT

Patient satisfaction with pain treatment after surgery has been evaluated by researchers. The study, based on an extensive multi-national dataset, shows that patients actively involved in their treatment report higher levels of satisfaction. Overall, satisfaction seems to be less associated with actual pain but rather with impressions of improvement. Every year, millions of surgeries are performed. At least half of the patients suffer from moderate to severe pain after surgery.

Unemployment common after breast cancer treatment

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 04:43 AM PDT

Nearly one-third of breast cancer survivors who were working when they began treatment were unemployed four years later. Women who received chemotherapy were most affected, according to a new study. Many of these women reported that they want to work: 55 percent of those not working said it was important for them to work and 39 percent said they were actively looking for work. Those who were not working were significantly more likely to report they were worse off financially.

Antibiotics from mangroves?

Posted: 27 Apr 2014 04:07 PM PDT

A study on the mangrove ecosystem has focused on the search for actinomycetes bacteria. The mangrove ecosystem is known as a highly productive habitat for isolating actinomycetes, which has the potential of producing biologically active secondary metabolites. The study took samples from eight different mangrove sites in Malaysia, which were chosen at random to isolate and screen actinomycetes from soil samples.

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