Παρασκευή, 2 Μαΐου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News


Scientists recommend further research, delay in destruction of last stocks of smallpox

Posted: 01 May 2014 04:28 PM PDT

Variola, the virus that causes smallpox, is on the agenda of the upcoming meeting of the World Health Assembly, the governing body of the World Health Organization. The body will decide whether the last known remaining live strains of the virus should be destroyed. An international group of scientists from the US CDC, argue that the WHA should not choose destruction, because crucial scientific questions remain unanswered and important public health goals unmet.

New insights into bacterial substitute for sex

Posted: 01 May 2014 04:26 PM PDT

Bacteria don't have sex as such, but they can mix their genetic material by pulling in DNA from dead bacterial cells and inserting these into their own genome. New research has found that this process -- called recombination -- is more complex than was first thought. The findings could help us understand why bacteria which cause serious diseases are able to evade vaccines and rapidly become drug-resistant.

Promising biomarkers to predict suicide risk

Posted: 01 May 2014 04:26 PM PDT

The stress-diathesis theory of suicide suggests a predisposition or diathesis interacts with stressful life experiences and acute psychiatric illness to cause suicidal behavior. The theory explains why only a small minority of individuals are at risk of taking their own lives after exposure to such stressors. The authors of a new article discuss the causes of the diathesis, or predisposition, to suicidal behavior, which may include genetic effects and the long-term impact on the brain and behavior of early life adversity (eg, physical and sexual abuse).

Reliance on voluntary sector support for suicide bereavement 'unsustainable and inappropriate'

Posted: 01 May 2014 04:26 PM PDT

People bereaved by the suicide of a partner and mothers losing an adult child to suicide run a significantly higher risk of suicide compared to people bereaved after sudden deaths from other causes. The psychological impact on other members of the family is also serious: children who lose a mother to suicide have an increased risk of depression, while people who lose a child to suicide have an increased likelihood of psychiatric admission for mental illness.

Around 60% of people who contemplate or attempt suicide do not receive treatment

Posted: 01 May 2014 04:26 PM PDT

The key psychological factors that may contribute to, or protect against, suicidal behavior include personality differences, cognitive factors, and negative life events such as serious physical illness, as well as current psychological treatments. Evidence suggests that about 60% of people struggling with suicidal thoughts or behavior do not receive any help, and, surprisingly, there is relatively little evidence for the effectiveness of treatments received by those who do.

US newspaper reporting of suicide linked with some teenage suicide clusters

Posted: 01 May 2014 04:26 PM PDT

Heightened newspaper coverage after a suicide might have a significant impact on the initiation of some teenage suicide clusters, according to new research. The study reveals that the content of media reports is also important, with more prominent stories (ie, published on the front page) and those that describe the suicide in considerable detail more likely to be associated with so-called copycat suicides.

Blood pressure control, lifestyle changes key to preventing subsequent strokes

Posted: 01 May 2014 01:56 PM PDT

Controlling blood pressure, cholesterol and irregular heart rhythms are key to stroke survivors avoiding another stroke. Updated guidelines emphasize lifestyle management, including diet, exercise and weight management. Other important updates affect management of narrowed neck arteries and irregular heartbeat.  

U. S. journalists say they are less satisfied and have less autonomy

Posted: 01 May 2014 01:55 PM PDT

The reporters, editors and producers who put out the news every day are less satisfied with their work, say they have less autonomy in their work and tend to believe that journalism is headed in the wrong direction, according to initial findings. The survey findings also indicate that U.S. journalists rely heavily on social media in their daily work.

Age, general health, antidepressant use linked to eye disorders

Posted: 01 May 2014 12:10 PM PDT

Abnormal binocular vision, which involves the way eyes work together as a team, increases dramatically as we age, according to research. The study also found a correlation between this condition, general health and antidepressant use. As many as 27 per cent of adults in their sixties have an actual binocular vision or eye movement disorder. That number rises to 38 per cent for those over age 80. About 20 per cent of the general population suffers from a binocular vision disorder, which affects depth perception and therefore may increase the risk of falls.

Spinal cord neurons that control skilled limb movement identified

Posted: 01 May 2014 11:22 AM PDT

Two types of neurons that enable the spinal cord to control skilled forelimb movement have been found by researchers. The first is a group of excitatory interneurons that are needed to make accurate and precise movements; the second is a group of inhibitory interneurons necessary for achieving smooth movement of the limbs. The findings are important steps toward understanding normal human motor function and potentially treating movement disorders that arise from injury or disease.

Delving deep into the brain: MRI sensor allows neuroscientists to map neural activity with molecular precision

Posted: 01 May 2014 11:22 AM PDT

An MRI sensor now allows neuroscientists to map neural activity with molecular precision. This is the first time anyone has been able to map neural signals with high precision over large brain regions in living animals, offering a new window on brain function, says the lead researcher. The new work focused on the study of the neurotransmitter dopamine in a region called the ventral striatum, which is involved in motivation, reward, and reinforcement of behavior.

'Remodelling' damaged nuclei: Discovery could lead to new treatments for accelerated aging disease

Posted: 01 May 2014 11:22 AM PDT

Scientists have identified a key chemical that can repair the damage to cells which causes a rare but devastating disease involving accelerated aging. As well as offering a promising new way of treating the condition, known as Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome, the discovery could help in the development of drugs against cancer and other genetic diseases and might also suggest ways to alleviate diseases that we associate with normal aging.

For some, money will not buy happiness: Neither life experiences nor material items make materialistic shoppers happier

Posted: 01 May 2014 10:26 AM PDT

Many shoppers, regardless of whether they buy life experiences or material items, are no happier following the purchase than they were before, a new study finds. These shoppers -- about a third of the population -- appear to be an exception to previous research that has found buying experiences will make an individual happier. Researchers found the happiness boost from experiences is often negated for material buyers because the purchase doesn't reflect their personality.

Casualties get scant attention in wartime news, with little change since World War I

Posted: 01 May 2014 10:26 AM PDT

The human costs of America's wars have received scant attention in daily war reporting -- through five major conflicts going back a century -- says a first-of-its-kind study of New York Times war coverage. Casualties get little mention no matter the number of dead and wounded, the degree of censorship, or other factors.

Compounds that control hemorrhagic viruses identified

Posted: 01 May 2014 10:26 AM PDT

Compounds that could reduce the ability of viruses that cause diseases such as Ebola, rabies, HIV and Lassa fever to spread infection have been identified and developed by veterinarian scientists. People fear diseases such as Ebola, Marburg, Lassa fever, rabies and HIV for good reason; they have high mortality rates and few, if any, possible treatments. As many as 90 percent of people who contract Ebola, for instance, die of the disease. These new prototypic compounds have the potential to one day serve as broad-spectrum anti-viral drugs.

Noncombat injury top reason for pediatric care by military surgeons in Afghanistan, Iraq

Posted: 01 May 2014 10:26 AM PDT

Noncombat-related injury -- caused by regular car accidents, falls and burns -- is the most common reason for pediatric admissions to US military combat hospitals in both Iraq and Afghanistan reveals new study findings. The primary role of a combat military hospital is to care for all sick and wounded soldiers during wartime. However, the Geneva Convention specifies that an occupying force must ensure, to the greatest extent possible, the public health of the civilian population.

Real difference between how men, women choose partners

Posted: 01 May 2014 10:26 AM PDT

A hamburger that's 90 percent fat-free sounds a lot better than one with 10 percent fat. And even when the choices are the same, humans are hard-wired to prefer the more positive option. This is because of what's known as the 'framing effect,' a principle that new research has proved, applies to mate selection, too.

Alcohol use before pregnancy linked to intestinal birth defect

Posted: 01 May 2014 10:25 AM PDT

Women should refrain from drinking alcohol before they try to become pregnant, according to maternal-fetal medicine specialists. Alcohol is associated with an increased risk for mental delays, cardiac anomalies and facial clefting in babies. In a recent study, researchers also found that alcohol is linked to gastroschisis, a birth defect of the baby's abdominal wall. "Preconception programs focused on alcohol abstinence may help to reverse the increasing incidence of this birth defect worldwide," said one researcher.

Standard assessments miss early signs of cardiovascular disease in firefighters

Posted: 01 May 2014 09:52 AM PDT

Traditional first-line checks of such heart disease risk factors as cholesterol, blood pressure and smoking habits aren't nearly good enough to identify cardiovascular disease in otherwise healthy, young firefighters, according to results of a small study. Previous studies have found that cardiovascular disease accounts for 45 percent of deaths of on-duty firefighters nationwide, in contrast to 15 percent of deaths among those with conventional occupations, with heart attack being the number one cause of death.

Hyperfractionated radiation therapy improves local-regional control for patients with head, neck cancer

Posted: 01 May 2014 09:52 AM PDT

Patients with locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck treated with hyperfractionated radiation therapy experienced improved local-regional control and, with patients censored at five years, improved overall survival with no increase in late toxicity, according to a study.

Stem cells from some infertile men form germ cells when transplanted into mice

Posted: 01 May 2014 09:34 AM PDT

Stem cells made from the skin of adult, infertile men yield primordial germ cells -- cells that normally become sperm -- when transplanted into the reproductive system of mice, according to new research.

Humans have a nose for gender: Chemical cues influence perceptions of movement as more masculine or feminine

Posted: 01 May 2014 09:34 AM PDT

The human body produces chemical cues that communicate gender to members of the opposite sex, according to new research. Whiffs of the active steroid ingredients (androstadienone in males and estratetraenol in females) influence our perceptions of movement as being either more masculine or more feminine. The effect, which occurs completely without awareness, depends on both our biological sex and our sexual orientations.

Malnutrition during pregnancy may affect the health of future generations

Posted: 01 May 2014 09:34 AM PDT

New research reveals how environmental factors in the womb can predispose not only the mother's own offspring but also the grand-offspring to metabolic disorders like liver disease. Researchers found for pregnant mice that are malnourished that their offspring are at first growth restricted and have low birth weight but then go on to become obese and diabetic as they age. Strikingly, the offspring of the growth-restricted males are predisposed to metabolic abnormalities.

Landscape architect designs toolkit to make cities inclusive of adults with autism

Posted: 01 May 2014 09:34 AM PDT

An urban toolkit that help designers and planners make cities more inclusive for adults with autism has been developed by a landscape architect. The National Institutes of Health has identified six needs for adults with autism: vocational training, life skills, mental and physical health support, employment, public transportation and affordable housing. This urban toolkit addresses these needs because many cities do not have adequate services for adults with autism.

Staying power of HIV-fighting enzyme figured out

Posted: 01 May 2014 09:34 AM PDT

Biochemists have figured out what is needed to activate and sustain the virus-fighting activity of an enzyme found in CD4+ T cells, the human immune cells infected by HIV. The discovery could launch a more effective strategy for preventing the spread of HIV.

New combination therapy developed for multiple myeloma

Posted: 01 May 2014 08:23 AM PDT

Each year, more than 25,000 Americans are diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer that often develops resistance to therapies. However, researchers are reporting promising results from laboratory experiments testing a new combination therapy that could potentially overcome the resistance hurdle.

Experimental drug prolongs life span in mice

Posted: 01 May 2014 08:23 AM PDT

Scientists newly identified a protein's key role in cell and physiological aging and have developed an experimental drug that inhibits the protein's effect and quadrupled the lifespan in a mouse model of accelerated aging. Their lungs and vascular system were protected from rapid aging. The experimental drug could potentially be used to treat human diseases that cause accelerated aging such as chronic kidney disease, diabetes and HIV infection and even extend someone's healthy life.

Risk of weight gain deters some smokers from seeking treatment to quit

Posted: 01 May 2014 08:23 AM PDT

Smokers may avoid treatment to quit smoking if they previously gained weight while trying to quit, according to researchers. Weight gain is a predictable occurrence for smokers who have recently quit. Within the first year after quitting, they gain an average of eight to 14 pounds, and some smokers report that they keep smoking simply because they do not want to gain weight from quitting.

Unlocking mystery of thalidomide's malformation of limbs

Posted: 01 May 2014 08:17 AM PDT

Shortly after thalidomide was released to market in the 1950s, a reported 10,000 infants were born with an extreme form of a rare congenital syndrome -- phocomelia -- which caused death in 50 percent of cases. Now, half a century later, new research has identified a regulator responsible for the malformation of limbs in phocomelia, pinpointing a specific target for possible future intervention.

Antimicrobial edible films inhibit pathogens in meat

Posted: 01 May 2014 08:17 AM PDT

Antimicrobial agents incorporated into edible films applied to foods to seal in flavor, freshness and color can improve the microbiological safety of meats, according to new research.

Individual brain activity predicts tendency to succumb to daily temptations

Posted: 01 May 2014 08:17 AM PDT

Activity in areas of the brain related to reward and self-control may offer neural markers that predict whether people are likely to resist or give in to temptations, like food, in daily life, according to new research.

Rules of thumb: Three simple ideas for overcoming childhood obesity

Posted: 01 May 2014 08:17 AM PDT

A new approach to overcome the complex problem of childhood obesity and related mental disorders has been published by one expert. Using heuristics, or mental shortcuts, the approach can be used for both treatment and prevention. His "rules," meant to facilitate healthy choices, are straightforward and practical.

Killing Kindlin-3 to cure breast cancer: 'Blood' protein implicated

Posted: 01 May 2014 08:17 AM PDT

A protein believed to be limited to the hematopoietic system, called Kindlin-3, has been identified as a major player in both the formation and spread of breast cancer to other organs. This discovery could open the door to an entirely new class of breast cancer drugs that targets this protein's newly found activity.

New molecule links asthma, cancer; could aid in developing new treatments

Posted: 01 May 2014 08:17 AM PDT

A newly discovered molecule provides a new drug target for controlling both asthma-induced muscle thickening and cancerous tumor growth. This molecule, called "microRNA-10a," normally helps genes produce proteins or make copies of themselves, also play an important role in the growth or overgrowth of human airway smooth muscle cells and some forms of cancer.

When it comes to classes, small is better

Posted: 01 May 2014 07:12 AM PDT

Small classes, especially in the first four years of school, can have an important and lasting impact on student achievement, a new report shows. In a review of over 100 papers from 1979-2014, an education expert looked at whether the conclusions reached on the effect of smaller class sizes still hold true today. "Smaller classes in the early years can lift a child's academic performance right through to Year 12 and even into tertiary study and employment," he concluded.

Playing outside could make kids more spiritual

Posted: 01 May 2014 07:11 AM PDT

Children who spend significant time outdoors could have a stronger sense of self-fulfillment and purpose than those who don't, according to new research linking children's experiences in nature with how they define spirituality. "These values are incredibly important to human development and well-being," said a co-author. "We were surprised by the results. Before we did the study, we asked, 'Is it just a myth that children have this deep connection with nature?' But we found it to be true in pretty profound ways."

China study improves understanding of disease spread

Posted: 01 May 2014 07:11 AM PDT

The travel and socialization patterns of people in Southern China can give greater insight into how new diseases such as bird flu may spread between populations. "The next flu pandemic may well come from Asia so the more we know now about how flu and other infections may spread in this region, the better prepared we are to limit them and save lives," authors concluded at the end of their study

Low-fat diet helps fatigue in people with MS, study shows

Posted: 01 May 2014 07:11 AM PDT

People with multiple sclerosis who for one year followed a plant-based diet very low in saturated fat had much less MS-related fatigue at the end of that year -- and significantly less fatigue than a control group of people with MS who didn't follow the diet, according to a study. "Fatigue can be a debilitating problem for many people living with relapsing-remitting MS," said one researcher. "So this study's results -- showing some notable improvement in fatigue for people who follow this diet -- are a hopeful hint of something that could help many people with MS."

Pioneering forensics research into body fluids in sexual assaults

Posted: 01 May 2014 07:10 AM PDT

New techniques for identifying body fluids -- especially important in cases of alleged sexual assault -- have been pioneered by a PhD candiate, who has focused her studies on the topic. "If a male doesn't produce sperm, he doesn't produce DNA, so I am trying to differentiate between seminal fluid and semen so that I can strongly support the hypothesis that sexual intercourse did occur even if the DNA isn't present," she explains, adding that the ability to identify accurately the presence or absence of fluids at a crime scene could be vital to prove the innocence of an alleged offender -- in cases of false accusation -- as well as being an important prosecution tool.

Looks really can kill you: Protect yourself against skin cancer

Posted: 01 May 2014 07:09 AM PDT

It only takes a few bad sunburns or trips to the tanning bed to put someone at risk for melanoma. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States and when left untreated, melanoma is the most dangerous and aggressive form. It accounts for more than 9,000 of the 12,000-plus skin cancer deaths each year. In observance of May's Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month, focus is turned to helping teens keep their skin safe this spring.

'Til sickness do us part: How illness affects the risk of divorce

Posted: 01 May 2014 04:59 AM PDT

In the classic marriage vow, couples promise to stay together in sickness and in health. But a new study finds that the risk of divorce among older married couples rises when the wife -- but not the husband -- becomes seriously ill. "We found that women are doubly vulnerable to marital dissolution in the face of illness," researchers said. "They are more likely to be widowed, and if they are the ones who become ill, they are more likely to get divorced."

UV nail salon lamps linked to small increased risk of skin cancer

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 04:26 PM PDT

Using higher-wattage ultra violet lamps at nail salons to dry and cure polish was associated with more ultra violet-A radiation being emitted, but the brief exposure after a manicure would require multiple visits for potential DNA damage and the risk for cancer remains small. The authors tested 17 light units from 16 salons with a wide range of bulbs, wattage and irradiance emitted by each device.

Yoga can help keep expectant mothers stress free: First evidence found

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 04:25 PM PDT

The effects of yoga on pregnant women has been studied, with results showing that it can reduce the risk of anxiety and depression. Stress during pregnancy has been linked to premature birth, low birth weight and increased developmental and behavioral problems in the child as a toddler and adolescent, as well as later mental health problems in the mother. A high level of anxiety during pregnancy is linked with postnatal depression which in turn is associated with increased risk of developing depression later in life.

Damage control: Recovering from radiation, chemotherapy

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 04:25 PM PDT

A protein called beta-catenin plays a critical, and previously unappreciated, role in promoting recovery of stricken hematopoietic stem cells after radiation exposure, researchers report. The findings provide a new understanding of how radiation impacts cellular and molecular processes, but perhaps more importantly, they suggest new possibilities for improving hematopoietic stem cell regeneration in the bone marrow following cancer radiation treatment.

New version of old MS drug performs well in clinical trial

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 04:25 PM PDT

Tests of a new long-acting version of one of the oldest multiple sclerosis (MS) drugs on the market show it worked significantly better than placebo in reducing the number of patient relapses and developments of new or active lesions, researchers report. Most important, they add, the updated version was effective even though injections were given every two weeks instead of every other day, and it appears that fewer patients develop resistance to it.

U.S. should significantly reduce rate of incarceration, says new report

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 12:17 PM PDT

Given the minimal impact of long prison sentences on crime prevention, and the negative social consequences and burdensome financial costs of US incarceration rates, which have more than quadrupled in the last four decades, the nation should revise current criminal justice policies to significantly reduce imprisonment rates, says a new report.

Regenerative medicine approach improves muscle strength, function in leg injuries: Derived from pig bladder

Posted: 30 Apr 2014 11:30 AM PDT

Damaged leg muscles grew stronger and showed signs of regeneration in three out of five men whose old injuries were surgically implanted with extracellular matrix derived from pig bladder, according to a new study. Early findings are from a human trial of the process as well as from animal studies.

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