Πέμπτη, 29 Μαΐου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News


Obesity rates climbing worldwide, most comprehensive global study to date shows

Posted: 28 May 2014 05:42 PM PDT

Worldwide, there has been a startling increase in rates of obesity and overweight in both adults (28% increase) and children (up by 47%) in the past 33 years, with the number of overweight and obese people rising from 857 million in 1980 to 2.1 billion in 2013, according to a major new analysis. However, the rates vary widely throughout the world with more than half of the world's 671 million obese individuals living in just ten countries—the USA, China and India, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Egypt, Germany , Pakistan, and Indonesia,

Brain's reaction to male odor shifts at puberty in children with gender dysphoria

Posted: 28 May 2014 01:37 PM PDT

The brains of children with gender dysphoria react to androstadienone, a musky-smelling steroid produced by men, in a way typical of their biological sex, but after puberty according to their experienced gender, finds a study for the first time. Around puberty, the testes of men start to produce androstadienone, a breakdown product of testosterone. Men release it in their sweat, especially from the armpits. Its only known function is to work like a pheromone: when women smell androstadienone, their mood tends to improve, their blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing go up, and they may become aroused.

Cynical? You may be hurting your brain health

Posted: 28 May 2014 01:37 PM PDT

People with high levels of cynical distrust may be more likely to develop dementia, according to a new study. Cynical distrust, which is defined as the belief that others are mainly motivated by selfish concerns, has been associated with other health problems, such as heart disease. This is the first study to look at the relationship between cynicism and dementia.

New mechanism explaining how cancer cells spread

Posted: 28 May 2014 01:36 PM PDT

A protein critical to the spread of deadly cancer cells has been discovered by researchers who have determined how it works, paving the way for potential use in diagnosis and eventually possible therapeutic drugs to halt or slow the spread of cancer. The protein, Aiolos, is produced by normal blood cells but commits a kind of "identity theft" of blood cells when expressed by cancer cells, allowing the latter to metastasize, or spread, to other parts of the body. Metastatic cancer cells have the ability to break free from tissue, circulate in the blood stream, and form tumors all over the body, in a way acting like blood cells.

Drug users switch to heroin because it's cheap, easy to get

Posted: 28 May 2014 01:36 PM PDT

Drug users are attracted to heroin not only for the "high," but because it is less expensive and easier to get than prescription painkillers, a nationwide survey of heroin users indicate. Researchers have found that many suburban drug users have made the switch. "In the past, heroin was a drug that introduced people to narcotics," said the principal investigator. "But what we're seeing now is that most people using heroin begin with prescription painkillers such as OxyContin, Percocet or Vicodin, and only switch to heroin when their prescription drug habits get too expensive."

Increased social network can have big payoff for nonprofits, study shows

Posted: 28 May 2014 12:06 PM PDT

Charitable fundraising once depended primarily upon a charity's size, efficiency and longstanding reputation. That was before Razoo, Chipin, Facebook and Twitter came to town. Technology and social media, it turns out, can not only raise the online profile of even small organizations, but increase their support bases and their ability to generate donations online and off.

Light coaxes stem cells to repair teeth: Noninvasive laser therapy could radically shift dental treatment

Posted: 28 May 2014 12:05 PM PDT

Scientists have used low-power light to trigger stem cells inside the body to regenerate tissue. The research lays the foundation for a host of clinical applications in restorative dentistry and regenerative medicine more broadly, such as wound healing, bone regeneration, and more.

Patient-centered educational, behavioral program to reduce lymphedema risk trialed

Posted: 28 May 2014 12:02 PM PDT

A pilot study to evaluate a patient-centered educational and behavioral self-care program called The Optimal Lymph Flow was recently launched. The goals of the program were to promote lymph flow and optimize BMI over a 12-month period after breast cancer surgery. Findings offer initial evidence in support of a shift in the focus of lymphedema care away from treatment and toward proactive risk reduction.

How long should HCV treatment last? Study suggests answers are complex

Posted: 28 May 2014 11:58 AM PDT

As new treatments for hepatitis C virus (HCV) are approved, biomedical scientists are exploring their mechanisms and what they reveal about the virus. A new report is the first to report real-time tracking of viral decay in the liver and blood in 15 patients with HCV. "Our findings begin to define for how long patients may need to be treated in order to achieve viral eradication," explained the lead researcher.

Toxins in the environment might make you older than your years

Posted: 28 May 2014 10:32 AM PDT

Why are some 75-year-olds downright spry while others can barely get around? Part of the explanation, say researchers is differences from one person to the next in exposure to harmful substances in the environment, chemicals such as benzene, cigarette smoke, and even stress.

Extensive cataloging of human proteins uncovers 193 never known to exist

Posted: 28 May 2014 10:31 AM PDT

Striving for the protein equivalent of the Human Genome Project, an international team of researchers has created an initial catalog of the human 'proteome,' or all of the proteins in the human body. In total, using 30 different human tissues, the team identified proteins encoded by 17,294 genes, which is about 84 percent of all of the genes in the human genome predicted to encode proteins.

PTSD treatment cost-effective when patients given choice

Posted: 28 May 2014 10:27 AM PDT

A cost-analysis of post-traumatic stress disorder treatments shows that letting patients choose their course of treatment – either psychotherapy or medication – is less expensive than assigning a treatment and provides a higher quality of life for patients. "This is one of the first studies to look at the cost of providing mental health care and comparing different treatments for PTSD," said a co-author of the study. "It has tremendous implications for how large health care systems such as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs proceed with treating PTSD."

Uncovering Clues to the Genetic Cause of Schizophrenia

Posted: 28 May 2014 10:27 AM PDT

The overall number and nature of mutations—rather than the presence of any single mutation—influences an individual's risk of developing schizophrenia, as well as its severity, according to a new discovery. The findings could have important implications for the early detection and treatment of schizophrenia.

Major discovery on the mechanism of drug resistance in leukemia and other cancers

Posted: 28 May 2014 10:26 AM PDT

A mechanism that enables the development of resistance to Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) anticancer drugs, thereby leading to relapse, has been identified by researchers. The new discovery constitutes a major breakthrough in the fight against AML, one of the deadliest forms of leukemia, because it immediately suggests strategies to overcome drug resistance. Furthermore, the type of drug resistance the team identified is likely implicated in other cancers and a successful new treatment regimen based on these findings could have broad applications in treating cancer.

Marathon runners’ times develop in a U shape

Posted: 28 May 2014 07:33 AM PDT

Spanish researchers have demonstrated that the relationship between marathon running times and the age of the athlete is U-shaped. The work shows the unusual fact that it takes an 18-year-old athlete the same amount of time to finish a marathon as a 55- or 60-year-old runner.

Technology marketers should take consumer life-cycle into account, new study shows

Posted: 28 May 2014 08:48 AM PDT

Marketers should pay attention to where consumers are in their lifecycles when determining how to get them to adopt new technologies. Marketers may have incorrectly assumed that older consumers avoid products such as debit or credit cards because they are technophobic or find them hard to learn. Instead, the paper suggests, these consumers may simply see limited future benefits to changing their current habits because of their shorter remaining lifespans.

Dialysis patients' anxiety, depression linked to physical impairments

Posted: 28 May 2014 07:54 AM PDT

Higher rates of depression and anxiety among adults undergoing dialysis could be associated with their impaired physical exercise capability and reduced daily physical activity, researchers have found. Hemodialysis is a life-preserving treatment for hundreds of thousands of Americans with kidney failure. It is a medical procedure to remove fluid and waste products from the blood and to correct electrolyte imbalances. This is accomplished using a machine and a dialyzer, which is sometimes described as an "artificial kidney."

In Africa, STI testing could boost HIV prevention

Posted: 28 May 2014 07:53 AM PDT

Sexually transmitted infections can make HIV transmission more likely, undermining the prevention benefit of HIV treatment. A new study of HIV-positive patients in Cape Town, South Africa, found that the prevalence of such co-infections was much higher before beginning HIV treatment. Testing for and treating STIs and HIV together could therefore improve HIV prevention.

'Nanodaisies' deliver drug cocktail to cancer cells

Posted: 28 May 2014 07:53 AM PDT

Daisy-shaped, nanoscale structures that are made predominantly of anti-cancer drugs and are capable of introducing a 'cocktail' of multiple drugs into cancer cells, biomedical engineering researchers report. Once injected, the nanodaisies float through the bloodstream until they are absorbed by cancer cells. Once in a cancer cell, the drugs are released.

Flame retardants during pregnancy as bad as lead? Exposure linked to lower IQs in kids

Posted: 28 May 2014 07:52 AM PDT

Prenatal exposure to flame retardants can be significantly linked to lower IQs and greater hyperactivity in five-year old children. The researchers found that a 10-fold increase in PBDE concentrations in early pregnancy, when the fetal brain is developing, was associated with a 4.5 IQ decrement, which is comparable with the impact of environmental lead exposure. PBDEs have been widely used as flame retardants in furniture, carpet padding, car seats and other consumer products over the past three decades.

Universal antidote for snakebite: Experimental trial represents promising step toward

Posted: 28 May 2014 07:52 AM PDT

Another promising step has been made toward developing a universal antidote for snakebite. The results of this pilot study revealed findings that support the team's idea that providing fast, accessible, and easy-to-administer treatment can increase survival rates in victims of venomous snakebite.

Dads who do chores bolster daughters' aspirations

Posted: 28 May 2014 07:52 AM PDT

Fathers who help with household chores are more likely to raise daughters who aspire to less traditional, and potentially higher paying, careers. So finds a new study that suggests how parents share dishes, laundry and other domestic duties plays a key role in shaping the gender attitudes and aspirations of their children, especially daughters.

Variety in diet can hamper microbial diversity in the gut

Posted: 28 May 2014 07:52 AM PDT

Scientists have discovered that the more diverse the diet of a fish, the less diverse are the microbes living in its gut. If the effect is confirmed in humans, it could mean that the combinations of foods people eat can influence their gut microbe diversity. The research could impact how probiotics and diet are used to treat diseases associated with bacteria in human digestive systems.

Scientists control rapid re-wiring of brain circuits using patterned visual stimulation

Posted: 28 May 2014 07:49 AM PDT

Researchers have shown for the first time how the brain re-wires and fine-tunes its connections differently depending on the relative timing of sensory stimuli. In most neuroscience textbooks today, there is a widely held model that explains how nerve circuits might refine their connectivity based on patterned firing of brain cells, but it has not previously been directly observed in real time.

Artificial lung the size of a sugar cube may replace animal testing

Posted: 28 May 2014 07:40 AM PDT

What medications can be used to treat lung cancer, and how effective are they? Until now, drug companies have had to rely on animal testing to find out. But in the future, a new 3-D model lung is set to achieve more precise results and ultimately minimize -- or even completely replace -- animal testing.

Research demonstrates how much we distrust people who are mean with money

Posted: 28 May 2014 07:33 AM PDT

We distrust people who are mean with their money, according to new findings. Study participants had no face-to-face contact but played a series of interactive games. They had to make decisions about whom to trust in their dealings with other players, based on information they were given on the level of these other players' generosity in previous games. The experiments revealed that participants who had been mean with their money were trusted less, and indeed were more likely to be untrustworthy.

Sperm, egg donors comfortable assisting with betweeen one and 10 childen, Swedish study finds

Posted: 28 May 2014 07:33 AM PDT

Between one and ten children: that is what the majority of Swedish egg and sperm donors think is an acceptable level for their assistance to childless couples. Female donors are more restrictive than male donors, according to a study. The study, the first of its kind, included 119 sperm donors and 181 egg donors. Prior to their first donation they had to complete a questionnaire that was followed up five to eight years later.

MRI catches breast cancer early in at-risk survivors of childhood Hodgkin lymphoma

Posted: 28 May 2014 07:29 AM PDT

Magnetic-resonance imaging (MRI) detected invasive breast tumors at very early stages, when cure rates are expected to be excellent reports the largest clinical study to evaluate breast cancer screening of female survivors of childhood Hodgkin lymphoma (HL). These patients are at increased risk because they received chest radiation.

FDA approves many drugs that predictably increase heart, stroke risk

Posted: 27 May 2014 03:54 PM PDT

The agency charged to protect patients from dangerous drug side effects needs to be more vigilant when it comes to medications that affect blood pressure. A clinical professor of family medicine has issued this call to the Food and Drug Administration. At issue is the apparent disconnect between what patients and doctors might consider "clinically significant" risk and the standards that some FDA reviewers apply when evaluating the safety of new therapeutics.

Disturbance in blood flow leads to epigenetic changes, atherosclerosis

Posted: 27 May 2014 03:53 PM PDT

Disturbed patterns of blood flow induce lasting epigenetic changes to genes in the cells that line blood vessels, and those changes contribute to atherosclerosis, researchers have found. The findings suggest why the protective effects of good blood flow patterns, which aerobic exercise promotes, can persist over time.

Risk of chemotherapy related hospitalization for eary-stage breast cancer patients

Posted: 27 May 2014 01:17 PM PDT

Oncologists now have a new understanding of the toxicity levels of specific chemotherapy regimens used for women with early stage breast cancer, according to research. The retrospective study used large population-based data to compare the risk of hospitalization for six common chemotherapy regimens. Reasons for hospitalization included infection, fever, anemia, dehydration, neutropenia (low white blood cell count), thrombocytopenia (low blood platelets) and delirium.

Precision-guided epidurals, better blood monitors for better care

Posted: 27 May 2014 10:33 AM PDT

An established imaging technology called 'optical coherence tomography,' or OCT, has been integrated with other instruments to bring about the next revolution in imaging by helping doctors provide safer, less painful and more effective care for women in labor and people with diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma.

How a cancer-killing gene may actually work

Posted: 27 May 2014 09:41 AM PDT

Scientists armed with a supercomputer and a vast trove of newly collected data on the body's most potent "tumor suppressor" gene have created the best map yet of how the gene works, an accomplishment that could lead to new techniques for fighting cancers, which are adept at disabling the gene in order to thrive.

Why retailers need to pay attention to the smell of their stores

Posted: 27 May 2014 09:41 AM PDT

Retail stores overflowing with merchandise can make consumers feel claustrophobic rather than ready to spend. But the recent move towards open, minimally stocked spaces can leave them feeling just as anxious. The solution to this shopping conundrum may be smell, as new research shows. "Our study shows that retailers need to carefully consider how they pair shopping space and ambient scent in order to decrease consumers' anxiety levels and improve their shopping experience," says a co-author.

New suppressor of breast metastasis to the lung discovered

Posted: 27 May 2014 09:40 AM PDT

The loss of function of the gene RARRES3 in breast cancer cells promotes metastasis to the lung, research has demonstrated. The scientists have demonstrated that RARRES3 is suppressed in estrogen receptor-negative (ER-) breast cancer tumours, thus stimulating the later invasion of the cancer cells and conferring them "a greater malignant capacity."

Many children affected by PTSD after traffic accidents, Swedish study finds

Posted: 27 May 2014 08:44 AM PDT

Many children who are injured in traffic is subsequently affected by post traumatic stress disorder, a new study has shown. Many continue to suffer from mental and psychosocial problems one year after the accident. In addition, the rate still remains low of children who are involved in traffic accidents while wearing a helmet when cycling.

Health issues, relationship changes trigger economic spirals for low-income rural families

Posted: 27 May 2014 07:12 AM PDT

When it comes to the factors that can send low-income rural families into a downward spiral, health issues and relationship changes appear to be major trigger events. Fortunately, support networks -- in particular, extended families -- can help ease these poverty spells, according to new research. "We found health issues, either for a mother, child or partner/spouse, to be a recurring problem. Whether or not the health issue caused the mothers to regress from their state of functioning depended on how they were able to manage it," the lead researcher says.

HIV can cut and paste in human genome

Posted: 27 May 2014 07:12 AM PDT

A technology that uses the HIV virus as a tool in the fight against hereditary diseases -- and in the long term, against HIV infection as well -- has been developed in a first of its kind study. The technology repairs the genome in a new and safer manner. "Now we can simultaneously cut out the part of the genome that is broken in sick cells, and patch the gap that arises in the genetic information which we have removed from the genome. The new aspect here is that we can bring the scissors and the patch together in the HIV particles in a fashion that no one else has done before," says one researcher.

Immune system's rules of engagement discovered

Posted: 27 May 2014 07:06 AM PDT

Surprising similarities in the way immune system defenders bind to disease-causing invaders have been found by researchers. "Until now, it often has been a real mystery which antigens T cells are recognizing; there are whole classes of disease where we don't have this information," said the study's senior author. "Now it's far more feasible to take a T cell that is important in a disease or autoimmune disorder and figure out what antigens it will respond to."

Attack is not always the best defense: Immune system sometimes gets out of control

Posted: 27 May 2014 05:54 AM PDT

It is something like the police force of our body: the immune system. It disables intruding pathogens, it dismantles injured tissue and boosts wound healing. In this form of 'self-defense' inflammatory reactions play a decisive role. But sometimes the body's defense mechanism gets out of control and cells or tissues are affected: "Then excessive reactions can occur and illnesses along with them," one scientist says. He gives asthma, rheumatism, arteriosclerosis and cancer as examples: "For many of these diseases there are only few effective therapies without severe side effects."

Secret cargo of mosquitoes: Dirofilaria repens detected for time in Austria

Posted: 27 May 2014 05:54 AM PDT

Until a short while ago, infections with the parasite Dirofilaria repens was regarded as a classical traveler's disease. Mosquitoes from abroad passed the parasite on to dogs, in some cases even to humans. The most recent research data have shown, for the first time that the parasite has been imported to Austria and established here. In mosquitoes from the state of Burgenland, the scientists found larvae of the parasite. The infected mosquitoes possibly migrated to Austria through Eastern and Southern Europe.

X-ray dark-field radiography provides detailed imaging of lung diseases

Posted: 27 May 2014 05:54 AM PDT

Scientists tested for the first time X-ray dark-field radiography on a living organism for the diagnosis of lung disease. This enables highly detailed images of the lung to be produced. As the team reports, this method shows promise in detecting diseases such as pulmonary emphysema at an earlier stage, than it is currently available.

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