Τρίτη, 20 Μαΐου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

Global progress in preventing newborn deaths, stillbirths hindered by inadequate investment, leadership, measurement, accountability

Posted: 19 May 2014 03:46 PM PDT

The clearest picture to date of progress and challenges in improving newborn survival around the world has been presented by researchers, and sets targets that must be achieved by 2030 in order to ensure every newborn has a healthy start. The Series shows that almost all of the 5.5 million newborn and stillborn babies who die every year enter and leave the world without a piece of paper; this lack of registration and official recognition reflects acceptance of these deaths as inevitable, the authors argue.

Should cardiac screening guidelines for survivors of childhood cancer be reviewed?

Posted: 19 May 2014 03:45 PM PDT

One of the first studies to analyze the effectiveness of screening survivors of childhood cancer for early signs of impending congestive heart failure finds improved health outcomes but suggests that less frequent screening than currently recommended may yield similar clinical benefit. The researchers utilized a simulation-based model to estimate the long-term benefits associated with routine screening.

Public reporting of ICU mortality does not improve outcomes

Posted: 19 May 2014 03:45 PM PDT

A large study of intensive care patients found that public reporting of patient outcomes did not reduce mortality, but did result in reduced admission of the sickest patients to the ICU and increased transfer of critically ill patients to other hospitals. "Public reporting is designed to reduce mortality by steering patients towards high-quality hospitals and creating incentives for hospitals to adopt quality improvement programs," said one expert. "But the reality does not necessarily meet the expectation."

Intake of dietary methyl donors in first trimester affects asthma risk in children

Posted: 19 May 2014 03:45 PM PDT

Maternal intake of dietary methyl donors during the first trimester of pregnancy modulates the risk of developing childhood asthma at age 7, according to a new study. Methyl donors are nutrients involved in a biochemical process called methylation, in which chemicals are linked to proteins, DNA, or other molecules in the body. This process is involved in a number of important functions in the body, and dietary intake of methyl donors has been shown to affect the risk of developing a number of diseases, including heart disease and cancer.

Internet-mediated exercise program improves quality of life in COPD patients

Posted: 19 May 2014 03:45 PM PDT

A pedometer-based walking program supported by Internet-based instruction and support can improve health-related quality of life in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to a new study. "Low levels of physical activity among individuals with COPD can contribute to impaired quality of life and have been linked to higher risk of exacerbations, hospitalizations, and death. However, getting patients to change behavior and stick to an exercise program can be difficult," said the lead author.

Higher BMI associated with lower mortality risk in patients with severe pulmonary hypertension

Posted: 19 May 2014 03:45 PM PDT

In patients with congestive heart failure, obesity and a larger waist size have paradoxically been associated with a better prognosis in the prior investigations. This effect, known as the obesity paradox phenomenon, is now being demonstrated in patients with severe pulmonary hypertension. "In our study of more than a thousand patients with significant pulmonary hypertension, we found that a higher body mass index (BMI) was associated with a reduced mortality risk, even after adjustment for baseline characteristics," stated a co-researcher.

Chemists discover structure of cancer drug candidate

Posted: 19 May 2014 03:45 PM PDT

Chemists have determined the correct structure of a highly promising anticancer compound approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for clinical trials in cancer patients. In the new study, scientists show that TIC10's structure differs subtly from a version published by another group last year, and that the previous structure associated with TIC10 in fact describes a molecule that lacks TIC10's anticancer activity.

Poorer patients present with more advanced pulmonary hypertension

Posted: 19 May 2014 02:08 PM PDT

Pulmonary hypertension patients from lower socioeconomic groups present for initial evaluation at a more advanced disease state than those from higher income groups, according to a new study. "Lower socioeconomic status is associated with reduced access to health care and negative effects on health status, but data on its effects on the care of patients with pulmonary hypertension is scarce," said one researcher.

How infants understand speech: New study sheds light

Posted: 19 May 2014 01:07 PM PDT

Six-month-old infants require more information from a cochlear implant than an adult or older child, a study has demonstrated. This may be due to the lack of experience infants have with speech and their inability to fill in the missing information from the cochlear implant. This research has important ramifications on the therapy infants with cochlear implants should receive.

Weight bias plagues U.S. elections, study finds

Posted: 19 May 2014 01:07 PM PDT

Overweight political candidates tend to receive fewer votes than their thinner opponents, finds a new study by a weight bias expert. Both obese men and women were less likely to get on the ballot in the first place. When it came to merely being overweight, women were underrepresented on the ballot, though men were not. This is consistent with previous research showing men who are slightly heavy tend not to experience discrimination like that of slightly overweight women.

Few seizing patients receive EEGs in emergency department, research finds

Posted: 19 May 2014 01:07 PM PDT

Even though it could impact their admission or care in the hospital, few seizing patients receive a diagnostic electroencephalogram, or EEG, in the emergency department, says a new study. The team studied the use of EEGs to diagnose status epilepticus, a life-threatening condition in which the brain is in a state of persistent seizure for more than five minutes.

I like your genes: People more likely to choose a spouse with similar DNA

Posted: 19 May 2014 01:07 PM PDT

Individuals are more genetically similar to their spouses than they are to randomly selected individuals from the same population, according to a new study. Scientists already knew that people tend to marry others who have similar characteristics, including religion, age, race, income, body type and education, among others. Scientists now show that people also are more likely to pick mates who have similar DNA.

Why you need olive oil on your salad

Posted: 19 May 2014 01:07 PM PDT

A diet that combines unsaturated fats with nitrite-rich vegetables, such as olive oil and lettuce, can protect you from hypertension, suggests a new study. The findings help to explain why some previous studies have shown that a Mediterranean diet can reduce blood pressure. The Mediterranean diet typically includes unsaturated fats found in olive oil, nuts and avocados, along with vegetables like spinach, celery and carrots that are rich in nitrites and nitrates.

Engineer invents a way to beam power to medical chips deep inside the body

Posted: 19 May 2014 01:07 PM PDT

Researchers have invented a way to wirelessly beam power to programmable devices deep inside the body. These medical chips could be as small as a grain of rice. They would sit alongside nerves, muscles and other tissues. The chips could be programmed for a wide variety of medical tasks. The wireless power recharging would enable them to be implanted once and repowered as need be. This is a platform technology to enable a new therapeutic category -- 'electroceutical' devices.

Progeria: Racing the clock to help young patients with old hearts

Posted: 19 May 2014 01:07 PM PDT

Biologists used induced plenipotent stem cell technology to discover a destructive cellular process in progeria, a rare genetic disorder that causes premature aging. Patients die in their teens of heart disease or stroke. Researchers discovered that progerin, a toxic protein, causes smooth muscle cells in patients' arteries to self-destruct. The finding speeds testing of progeria treatments and could shed light on normal aging.

Favoritism, not hostility, causes most discrimination

Posted: 19 May 2014 01:06 PM PDT

Most discrimination in the U.S. is not caused by intention to harm people different from us, but by ordinary favoritism directed at helping people similar to us, according to a theoretical review.

Could texting and autocorrect affect kids' writing skills?

Posted: 19 May 2014 01:05 PM PDT

An English teacher sees the effects of students' growing up in an age when communication is done in an abbreviated text language and where they depend on autocorrect to automatically solve the "i before e" literary dilemma.

Taste test: Could sense of taste affect length of life?

Posted: 19 May 2014 01:05 PM PDT

Perhaps one of the keys to good health isn't just what you eat but how you taste it. Taste buds -- yes, the same ones you may blame for that sweet tooth or French fry craving -- may in fact have a powerful role in a long and healthy life -- at least for fruit flies. Bitter tastes could have negative effects on lifespan, sweet tastes had positive effects, and the ability to taste water had the most significant impact -- flies that could not taste water lived up to 43% longer than other flies.

Possible cause, source of Kawasaki disease: Windborne agent from northeast China

Posted: 19 May 2014 01:05 PM PDT

The likely causative agent of Kawasaki disease (KD) in Japan is a windborne agent originating from a source in northeast China, an international research team has concluded. KD is a mysterious childhood ailment that can permanently damage coronary arteries, and is the most common cause of acquired heart disease in children. It is difficult to diagnose and, without treatment, 25 percent of children with KD develop coronary artery aneurysms -- balloon-like bulges of heart vessels -- that may eventually result in heart attacks, congestive heart failure or sudden death.

Teens who participate in sports show lower levels of hazardous drinking

Posted: 19 May 2014 10:48 AM PDT

The relationship between participation in organized sports and an increase in hazardous drinking was the focus of a new study. Unlike previous research, this study focused on an underrepresented group -- young offenders -- adolescents who were either excluded from school or involved with the justice system.

Does birth control impact women's choice of sexual partners?

Posted: 19 May 2014 10:48 AM PDT

Birth control is used worldwide by more than 60 million women. Since its introduction, it has changed certain aspects of women's lives including family roles, gender roles and social life. New research also found a link between birth control and women's preferences for psychophysical traits in a sexual mate.

Children who exercise have better body-fat distribution, regardless of their weight

Posted: 19 May 2014 10:48 AM PDT

Maybe the numbers on the scale aren't alarming, but that doesn't mean that healthy-weight children get a pass on exercising, according to a new study. "The FITKids study demonstrates the extent to which physical activity can improve body composition, and that's important because it matters to your health where fat is stored. But the study is also interesting for what happened in the control group to the kids who didn't exercise," said the study's lead author.

Neutron beams reveal how antibodies cluster in solution

Posted: 19 May 2014 08:44 AM PDT

Results from neutron spin-echo analysis are an important advance towards enabling subcutaneous injections of concentrated biopharmaceuticals used to treat cancer and autoimmune disorders (e.g. arthritis, multiple sclerosis). The insights obtained could help drug companies reduce the viscosity and mitigate phase separation in injectable biopharmaceuticals, making them easier to manufacture and fluid enough to be self-administered in the home.

Can chemicals produced by gut microbiota affect children with autism?

Posted: 19 May 2014 08:44 AM PDT

Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have significantly different concentrations of certain bacterial-produced chemicals, called metabolites, in their feces compared to children without ASD. This research provides further evidence that bacteria in the gut may be linked to autism.

Genes play key role in brain injury risk for premature babies

Posted: 19 May 2014 08:03 AM PDT

Premature babies' risk of brain injury is influenced by their genes, a new study suggests. Researchers have identified a link between injury to the developing brain and common variation in genes associated with schizophrenia and the metabolism of fat. The study builds on previous research, which has shown that being born prematurely -- before 37 weeks -- is a leading cause of learning and behavioral difficulties in childhood.

Robot-assisted prostate cancer surgery as safe but more expensive as open surgery in older men

Posted: 19 May 2014 08:01 AM PDT

Minimally invasive robot-assisted surgery, which has become the main choice for surgically removing cancerous prostate glands during recent years, is as safe as open surgery for Medicare patients over age 65, a study shows. As of 2009, more than 60 percent of all radical prostatectomies in the U.S. were done robotically.

Keywords hold our vocabulary together in memory

Posted: 19 May 2014 07:47 AM PDT

Like key players in social networks, scientists have found evidence that there are keywords in word networks that hold together groups of words in our memory. The existence of keywords opens up many possible real-life applications such as helping individuals with word finding after stroke. Conversely, removing a keyword through psycholinguistic tasks, could actually disrupt language processing - fracturing our word network.

Robot suit helps paraplegic patients

Posted: 19 May 2014 06:22 AM PDT

For most paraplegic patients, being able to walk again remains a dream. The HAL robot suit can help them regain a certain degree of mobility and activity. A team of experts has been testing the exoskeleton that was originally developed in Japan since 2011, and have had excellent results. Paraplegia is essentially the result of damaged nerve structures in the spine. In order to perform a movement, the brain sends out a signal via the spinal cord and its surrounding nerves to a muscle. Due to his injury, a paraplegic patient's muscles operate with weakened signals, and the signal does not arrive in the leg or in the arm.

'Low-risk' prostate cancer often not low-risk when targeted biopsy is used

Posted: 19 May 2014 05:45 AM PDT

Selection of men for active surveillance for prostate cancer should be based not on the widely used conventional biopsy, but with a new, image-guided targeted prostate biopsy. Researchers found that conventional "blind" biopsy failed to reveal the true extent of presumed low-risk prostate cancers, and that when targeted biopsy was used, more than a third of these men had more aggressive cancers than they thought. Their aggressive cancers were not detected by conventional blind biopsy using ultrasound alone.

Painkillers may decrease susceptibility to recurring urinary infections

Posted: 18 May 2014 01:41 PM PDT

Women plagued by repeated urinary tract infections may be able to prevent the infections with help from over-the-counter painkillers, new research in mice shows. Scientists found that inhibiting COX-2, an immune protein that causes inflammation, eliminated recurrent urinary tract infections in the mice.

Urine test could help clinicians spot blood clots in at-risk patients

Posted: 18 May 2014 01:41 PM PDT

A simple urine test can indicate the presence of venous thromboembolism, a blood clot that has broken free from its point of origin and that travels through the bloodstream, eventually lodging in a vein. The test evaluates the levels of fibrinopeptide B (FPB), a small peptide that's released when a thrombosis forms and which is removed from the body through urine.

Most emergency department 'super-frequent users' have substance abuse addiction

Posted: 18 May 2014 06:26 AM PDT

A vast majority of so-called "super-frequent user" patients who seek care in the Emergency Department (ED) have a substance abuse addiction, according to a study. A patient is considered a super-frequent user who visits the ED at least 10 times a year. Researchers also found that super-frequent users seeking pain-relief narcotics were more common with women.

Biochemists Reduce Sickling, Progression of Sickle Cell Disease in Mice

Posted: 16 May 2014 05:26 PM PDT

New preclinical research on the molecular mechanisms responsible for sickle cell disease could aid efforts to develop much needed treatments for this devastating blood disorder that affects millions worldwide. The sickling of red blood cells is the hallmark of this disease. Normally shaped like a donut, the diseased cells instead have a crescent-like appearance. This can lead to anemia, chest pain, lung problems and stroke.

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