Τετάρτη, 11 Ιουνίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News


Public oversight improves test scores in voucher schools

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 11:47 AM PDT

Requiring private schools that receive public money to report student test scores improves academic achievement and ultimately enhances school choice, a argues. Researchers found that voucher schools in Milwaukee saw a large jump in math and reading scores the year after a new law required them to release the results. During the four years before the law was enacted, math and reading scores declined or remained stagnant.

'All systems go' for a paralyzed person to kick off the World Cup

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 11:47 AM PDT

All systems are go for a bold demonstration of neuroscience and cognitive technology in action: on June 12, during the opening of the FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil, a paralyzed person wearing a brain-controlled robotic exoskeleton is expected to make the first kick. The system records electrical activity in the patient's brain and translates that to action. It also gives the patient tactile feedback using sensitive artificial skin.

The whole truth: Children can tell when a teacher commits 'sins of omission'

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 11:47 AM PDT

Children can figure out when someone is lying to them, research shows, but cognitive scientists recently tackled a subtler question: Can children tell when adults are telling them the truth, but not the whole truth? Determining whom to trust is an important skill to learn at an early age because so much of our knowledge about the world comes from other people.

Towards new cancer therapies

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 11:44 AM PDT

In 2012, about 8.2 million people died of cancer making the disease a major cause of death worldwide. According to the WHO World Cancer Report 2014, this figure is expected to rise within the next two decades. But new drugs are already in the pipeline. The genetics of fruit flies helps researchers to identify new targets for cancer therapy and to develop more individualised treatments.

Limiting carbs could reduce breast cancer recurrence in women with positive IGF1 receptor

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 09:20 AM PDT

Reducing carbohydrate intake could reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence among women whose tumor tissue is positive for the IGF-1 receptor, researchers report. Using an unusual approach, this study assessed the combined association of two factors implicated in tumor growth -- carbohydrate intake and IGF1 receptor status -- to test whether activating the insulin/insulin-like growth-factor axis can impact breast cancer.

A life well spent: Consume now (in case you die early)

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 09:20 AM PDT

An early death constitutes a serious loss that should imply compensation to the deceased person. But how – when the person is dead? A team of economists argues that a 'life well spent' might entail consuming more and working less earlier in life. They construct a mathematical model to measure the economic losses associated with an early death.

New biometric watches use light to non-invasively monitor glucose, dehydration, pulse

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 09:20 AM PDT

Two new wearable devices have been developed that use scattered light to monitor biometrics: one tracks glucose and dehydration, and the other monitors pulse. The glucose sensor is the first wearable device that can measure glucose concentration directly but noninvasively. The new pulse monitor is an improvement over current watches in that it will be less sensitive to errors when the wearer is in motion.

Soldiers who kill in combat less likely to abuse alcohol, study finds

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 09:20 AM PDT

New research documents the impact of combat experiences on alcohol use and misuse among National Guard soldiers. Whereas much research regarding combat personnel is based on post-experience data, this study's design uses both pre- and post-deployment data to identify the association between different types of combat experiences and changes in substance use and misuse.

Law and order for juveniles: Study urges altering police interrogations

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 09:19 AM PDT

Confrontational and deceptive interrogation techniques are inappropriate for the developing adolescent mind, according to a psychology study. Such techniques purport to detect deception in criminal suspects and use methods to heighten suspects' anxiety during interviews, with the goal of obtaining an admission of guilt. Such psychologically manipulative interrogation techniques are considered contentious by critics because they can result in false confessions.

Lead abatement a wise economic, public health investment

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 09:18 AM PDT

Childhood lead exposure costs Michigan residents an estimated $330 million annually, and a statewide remediation program to eliminate the source of most lead poisoning would pay for itself in three years, according to a new report.

Inside the adult ADHD brain: Differences between adults who have recovered, and those who have not

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 08:28 AM PDT

Brain scans differentiate adults who have recovered from childhood ADHD and those whose difficulties linger, research shows. In the first study to compare patterns of brain activity in adults who recovered from childhood ADHD and those who did not, neuroscientists have discovered key differences in a brain communication network that is active when the brain is at wakeful rest and not focused on a particular task. The findings offer evidence of a biological basis for adult ADHD and should help to validate the criteria used to diagnose the disorder.

'Onion' vesicles for drug delivery developed

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 08:27 AM PDT

A certain kind of dendrimer, a molecule that features tree-like branches, offers a simple way of creating vesicles and tailoring their diameter and thickness, researchers report. Moreover, these dendrimer-based vesicles self-assemble with concentric layers of membranes, much like an onion.

Malaria-carrying mosquitoes wiped out in lab with genetic method that creates male-only offspring

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 08:24 AM PDT

Scientists have modified mosquitoes to produce sperm that will only create males, pioneering a fresh approach to eradicating malaria. Since 2000, increased prevention and control measures have reduced global malaria mortality rates by 42 per cent, but the disease remains a prevalent killer especially in vulnerable sub-Saharan African regions. Malaria control has also been threatened by the spread of insecticide resistant mosquitoes and malaria parasites resistant to drugs.

Mammography has led to fewer late-stage breast cancers

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 08:23 AM PDT

In the last 30 years, since mammography was introduced, late-stage breast cancer incidence has decreased by 37 percent, a new study finds. The analysis takes into account an observed underlying trend of increased breast cancer incidence present since the 1940s, a sort of inflation rate for breast cancer.

Human stem cells used to create light-sensitive retina in a dish

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 08:23 AM PDT

Using a type of human stem cell, researchers say they have created a three-dimensional complement of human retinal tissue in the laboratory, which notably includes functioning photoreceptor cells capable of responding to light, the first step in the process of converting it into visual images.

Malaria: Blood cells behaving badly

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 08:23 AM PDT

New insight into how malaria parasites perturb flow, turning infected cells into sticky capillary cloggers, may lead to new and better treatments. All the billions of flat, biconcave disks in our body known as red blood cells (or erythrocytes) make three basic, tumbling-treadmill-type motions when they wend their way through the body's bloodstream ferrying oxygen from our lungs to our brains and other tissues. That is, unless they are infected with malaria parasites, in which case their motions are completely different.

Compact proton therapy for fight against cancer

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 07:37 AM PDT

The future face of modern-day anti-cancer therapy based on charged particles like protons could potentially involve using laser accelerators. However, these facilities will need to be reduced in terms of both size and cost compared to conventional ones. A medical physicist is the first to present a new design for the entire complex machine – from the accelerator to the radiation site. In the process, he has successfully cut the facility's size in half.

Calls to end all violence against women and girls in conflict zones

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 07:37 AM PDT

Women in conflict zones are likely to suffer from sexual or physical violence at the hands of their husbands or partners before, during and after a period of conflict, warn experts as politicians, activists and researchers gather in London for the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict. They urge officials to invest in prevention to keep women and girls safe from all forms of violence.

Teen mental health: Teenagers go from school psychologist to family doctor

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 07:37 AM PDT

After initially visiting a school psychologist, adolescents in the United States with a mental disorder often go to seek care from their pediatricians or family doctors. Fewer of them continue their treatment directly with a psychotherapist or doctor specialized in mental disorders. These results are based on a nationally representative cohort of 6,500 US teenagers.

Guidelines address long-term needs of prostate cancer survivors

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 07:37 AM PDT

Post-treatment clinical follow-up care for long-term and late effects faced by an estimated 2.8 million prostate cancer survivors in the United States is outlined in new clinical guidelines. The guidelines are designed to promote optimal health and quality of life for the posttreatment prostate cancer survivor by facilitating the delivery of comprehensive posttreatment care by primary care clinicians.

Seafarers brought Neolithic culture to Europe, gene study indicates

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 07:20 AM PDT

Genetic evidence in modern populations suggests that Neolithic farmers from the Levant traveled mostly by sea to reach Europe. By 7,000 B.C., they were introducing their ideas and their genes to the native Paleolithic people, who had migrated to the continent 30,000 to 40,000 years before.

New teaching approach touted for engineering education

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 07:20 AM PDT

A new approach to more effectively teach large numbers of engineering students has been proposed by researchers who are recommending that the approach be considered for adoption by universities globally. The system allows students to interact with each other and faculty online while accessing hundreds of instructional videos and animations.

Bacteria help explain why stress, fear trigger heart attacks

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 07:20 AM PDT

The axiom that stress, emotional shock, or overexertion may trigger heart attacks in vulnerable people may now be explainable, researchers say. Hormones released during these events appear to cause bacterial biofilms on arterial walls to disperse, allowing plaque deposits to rupture into the bloodstream, according to research.

MRI shows brain abnormalities in late preterm infants

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 07:20 AM PDT

Babies born 32 to 36 weeks into gestation may have smaller brains and other brain abnormalities that could lead to long-term developmental problems, according to a new study. Researchers focused on moderate and late preterm (MLPT) babies -- those born between 32 weeks, zero days, and 36 weeks, six days, into gestation. MLPT babies account for approximately 80 percent of all preterm births and are responsible for much of the rise in the rates of preterm birth over the last 20 years.

Detailed assessment of heart failure identifies patients needing pacemaker treatment

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 07:18 AM PDT

By measuring how synchronized the heart chambers work together, it is possible to identify which patients with heart failure who benefit from pacemaker therapy, and which ones who do not. Heart failure is not only a health problem for the patient but also an economic problem for society, since a large proportion of the patients have persistent symptoms like shortness of breath, fatigue, swollen legs, etc., despite that they receive treatment.

Anti-microbial coatings with a long-term effect for surfaces

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 07:18 AM PDT

Researchers have now produced antimicrobial abrasion-resistant coatings with both silver and copper colloids with a long-term effect that kill germs reliably and at the same time prevent germs becoming established.

The Irish rugby team has exceptional guts: Exercise and diet impact gut microbial diversity

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 07:15 AM PDT

Exercise and diet impact gut microbial diversity, according to recent research. The gut microbiota of athletes is more diverse than that of controls and this diversity is linked to exercise and protein consumption in athletes. Athletes also have lower inflammatory and improved metabolic markers relative to controls.

World cup: Why mirror neurons play a part in jubilation

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 07:13 AM PDT

The FIFA World Cup starts next Thursday in Brazil. When you, as a soccer fan, join in the celebrations because your favorite team wins or are extremely crestfallen at a defeat then the so-called mirror neurons are in play.

Insomnia: Sleep loss causes brain vulnerability to toxic elements

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 07:13 AM PDT

In search of the answer to why do we sleep, researcher have now revealed that chronic sleep loss can cause certain neurotoxic molecules, which normally circulate in the blood, to be transported to the central nervous system and interfere with the function of neurons. The longer the insomnia, the more junctions of cerebral blood vessels begin to degrade.

Headaches during sex likely more common than reported

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 07:03 AM PDT

About one percent of adults report they have experienced headaches associated with sexual activity, and that such headaches can be severe. But the actual incidence is almost certainly higher, according to a neurologist and headache specialist. "Many people who experience headaches during sexual activity are too embarrassed to tell their physicians, and doctors often don't ask," he said.

Game changer for leukemia therapy may lead to less clinical treatment

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 07:02 AM PDT

Researchers are zeroing in on a promising new approach to killing off cancer cells in patients with leukemia. Researchers have found that cancer cells decide whether to live or die after a short period of intense exposure to targeted therapy, opposing the current requirement for continuous treatment.

Women, health-care providers differ on what matters most about contraception

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 05:57 PM PDT

When women are choosing a contraceptive, health care providers should be aware that the things they want to discuss may differ from what women want to hear, according to a survey. Most of the information women receive about contraceptives focuses heavily on the effectiveness in preventing pregnancy, but this information was ranked fifth in importance by women, according to the study.

Caution urged over new analysis of Medicare payments

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 05:57 PM PDT

There's much to learn from the recent release of unprecedented amounts of data from the nation's second largest health insurer, Medicare, but only if interpreted cautiously, write two doctors.

Cell phones negatively affect male fertility, new study suggests

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 05:56 PM PDT

Men who keep a cell phone in their pant pocket could be inadvertently damaging their chances of becoming a father, according to a new study. Previous research has suggested that radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation (RF-EMR) emitted by the devices can have a detrimental effect on male fertility. Most of the global adult population own mobile phones, and around 14% of couples in high and middle income countries have difficulty conceiving.

What's the best test for cervical cancer? Pap, HPV or both?

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 05:56 PM PDT

Should US women be screened for cervical cancer with Pap tests, HPV tests or both? According to researchers, while the merits of screening tests and screening intervals warrant further discussion, they firmly believe that increasing the number of women who participate in cancer screenings and ensuring that women are not lost to follow-up with lengthened screening intervals is more important than the choice of test to decrease rates of cervical cancer.

'Tomato pill' improves function of blood vessels in patients with cardiovascular disease

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 05:56 PM PDT

A daily supplement of an extract found in tomatoes may improve the function of blood vessels in patients with cardiovascular disease, according to new research. The incidence of cardiovascular is notably where a 'Mediterranean diet' consisting of a larger consumption of fruit, vegetables and olive oil predominates. Recent dietary studies suggest that this diet reduces the incidence of events related to the disease, including heart attack and stroke, in patients at high cardiovascular risk, or those who have previously had the disease.

Resistance to lung cancer targeted therapy can be reversed, study suggests

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 05:56 PM PDT

Up to 40 percent of lung cancer patients do not respond to a targeted therapy designed to block tumor growth -- a puzzling clinical setback that researchers have long tried to solve. Now, scientists have discovered why that intrinsic resistance occurs -- and they pinpoint a drug they say could potentially reverse it.

Pathway between gut, liver regulates bone mass: Biological process behind role of vitamin B12 in bone formation unravelled

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 05:53 PM PDT

A previously unknown biological process involving vitamin B12 and taurine that regulates the production of new bone cells has been uncovered by researchers. This pathway could be a potential new target for osteoporosis treatment. Through the study, researchers found that bone mass was severely reduced at eight weeks of age in the offspring of mice with vitamin B12 deficiency. Giving the mother a single injection of vitamin B12 during pregnancy was enough to prevent stunted growth and the onset of osteoporosis in the offspring.

Protein that keeps blood stem cells healthy as they age identified by researchers

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 05:50 PM PDT

A protein may be the key to maintaining the health of aging blood stem cells, according to researchers. Human adults keep stem cell pools on hand in key tissues, including the blood. These stem cells can become replacement cells for those lost to wear and tear. But as the blood stem cells age, their ability to regenerate blood declines, potentially contributing to anemia and the risk of cancers like acute myeloid leukemia and immune deficiency. Whether this age-related decline in stem cell health is at the root of overall aging is unclear.

Needle biopsy underused in breast cancer diagnosis, negatively impacting diagnosis and care

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 05:50 PM PDT

Needle biopsy, the standard of care radiological procedure for diagnosing breast cancer, is underused with too many patients undergoing the more invasive, excisional biopsy to detect their disease, according to research. The study also finds that patients are often influenced by surgeons to undergo the unnecessary surgery -- a decision that's costly and can negatively impact their diagnosis and treatment.

Grain legume crops sustainable, nutritious

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 05:50 PM PDT

The mineral micronutrient content of four types of grain legumes has been examined in a new study. Grain legumes are often overlooked as valuable sources of micronutrients, such as zinc and potassium. Diets that do not provide adequate amounts of micronutrients lead to a variety of diseases that affect most parts of the human body. One researcher notes, "Iron deficiency is the most common, followed by zinc, carotenoids, and folate."

Protein could put antibiotic-resistant bugs in handcuffs

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 01:18 PM PDT

The structure of a key protein that drives DNA copying in the plasmids that make staphylococcus bacteria antibiotic resistant has been identified by scientists. Knowing how this protein works may now help researchers devise new ways to stop the plasmids from spreading antibiotic resistance in staph by preventing the plasmids from copying themselves.

Addiction recast as manageable disease

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 01:17 PM PDT

The societal scourge of addiction is a case of good evolution gone bad in modern contexts, but scientists are closing in on new biomedical interventions. A group of addiction researchers recommended that the problem of substance use disorders should be approached as a medical, not a legal, issue. In this vein, New York City's police department has begun to equip its officers with naloxone, a medication that can be used to save lives in the event of a heroin overdose. Results are discussed in a subsequent report.

Coral, human cells linked in death

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 01:17 PM PDT

Humans and corals are about as different from one another as living creatures get, but a new finding reveals that in one important way, they are more similar than anyone ever realized. A biologist has discovered they share the same biomechanical pathway responsible for triggering cellular self-destruction. The finding has implications for biologists, conservationists and medical researchers.

'Jekyll and Hyde' protein linked to type 1 diabetes

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 01:17 PM PDT

Researchers are a step closer to establishing the link between a protein with a split personality and type 1 diabetes. New research shows how a protein, called GAD65, changes its shape when it turns itself on and off. Curiously, this characteristic may also link it to type 1 diabetes. In the human brain, GAD65 performs an essential role, making 'neurotransmitters,' chemicals that pass messages between brain cells.

Statin use associated with less physical activity

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 01:17 PM PDT

Statin use in older men is associated with less physical activity, a significant issue for a population that's already sedentary, concludes one of the longest studies of its type. The findings raise concerns about a decline in much-needed physical activity among men who take some of the most widely prescribed medications in the world.

Lifetime costs for autism spectrum disorder may reach $2. 4 million per patient

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 01:16 PM PDT

Costs for a lifetime of support for each individual with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may reach $2.4 million, according to a new study. In the study, the team found that costs for a person with ASD and an intellectual disability reaches $2.4 million in the United States and $2.2 million in the United Kingdom; costs for those who have ASD without an intellectual disability are estimated to cost $1.4 million in both the U.S. and the U.K.

Lifetime cancer risk from heart imaging low for most children, but rises with more complex tests

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 01:16 PM PDT

Children with heart disease are exposed to low levels of radiation during X-rays, which do not significantly raise their lifetime cancer risk. However, children who undergo repeated complex imaging tests that deliver higher doses of radiation may have a slightly increased lifetime risk of cancer, according to researchers.

Antiviral therapy may prevent liver cancer in hepatitis B patients

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 12:35 PM PDT

Researchers have found that antiviral therapy may be successful in preventing hepatitis B virus from developing into the most common form of liver cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma. "The results of this study allow us to reassure our patients that we are not just treating their viral levels, but that antiviral therapy may actually lessen their chance of developing liver cancer," said the study's lead investigator.

Patent output from the National Institutes of Health vital to understanding America's innovation economy

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 12:35 PM PDT

Patent output from the National Institutes of Health is vital to understanding which various areas of science are contributing most to America's innovation economy, according to a new report. Patents are widely-accepted as being vital to growing America's innovation economy, and the U.S. Congress and the White House have been taking steps to strengthen America's patent system.

Faster, higher, stronger: Protein that enables powerful initial immune response

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 12:35 PM PDT

A protein, called Foxp1, is a key controller of our immune system's ability to generate an antibody response, researchers report. Manipulating this protein's activity, they say, could provide a useful pathway to boosting antibody responses to treat infectious diseases, for example, or suppressing them to treat autoimmune disorders.

Does 'free will' stem from brain noise?

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 12:35 PM PDT

Our ability to make choices -- and sometimes mistakes -- might arise from random fluctuations in the brain's background electrical noise, according to a recent study. New research shows how arbitrary states in the brain can influence apparently voluntary decisions.

To recover consciousness, brain activity passes through newly detected states

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 12:34 PM PDT

Research shows that recovery from deep anesthesia is not a smooth, linear process but is instead a dynamic journey with specific states of activity the brain must temporarily occupy on the way to full recovery.

Game technology teaches mice, men to hear better in noisy environments

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 12:34 PM PDT

A new type of game has been programmed that trained both mice and humans to enhance their ability to discriminate soft sounds in noisy backgrounds. Their findings suggest new therapeutic options for clinical populations that receive little benefit from conventional sensory rehabilitation strategies.

Parent and child must get enough sleep to protect against child obesity

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 12:33 PM PDT

Is sleep one of your most important family values? A new study suggests that it should be, reporting that more parental sleep is related to more child sleep, which is related to decreased child obesity. And the effects of sleeplessness go beyond just being tired the next day.

Confiding in friends, not relatives, shows health benefits in older adults, following loss of spouse

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 12:33 PM PDT

Older adults who lose their spouse tend to fare better health-wise if they have a friend -— someone who is not a family member -— in whom they can confide. Why not a family member? A researcher explains that the emotional complexities of family can add stress. "Friendships are discretionary while family relationships are obligatory," she says, "and past research shows that obligatory relationships can be less beneficial than discretionary relationships during times of stress."

Specific gene linked to adult growth of brain cells, learning, memory

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 12:33 PM PDT

Stimulating a specific gene could prompt growth – in adults – of new neurons in this critical region, leading to faster learning and better memories, researchers report. Understanding the link between this gene and the growth of new neurons – or neurogenesis – is an important step in developing therapies to address impaired learning and memory associated with neurodegenerative diseases and aging.

Economic duress may spur racial discrimination: As economy declines, African Americans perceived as 'blacker', study suggests

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 12:33 PM PDT

When the economy declines, African Americans are more likely to be seen as "Blacker" and to bear stereotypical features, according to a new study by psychology researchers. Their findings suggest that economic duress may spur racial discrimination.

Humanitarian liking on Facebook

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 11:09 AM PDT

'Liking' a page on the social networking site Facebook is a new form of civic engagement and humanitarian support, researchers conclude. According to the paper's authors, social motives and an emotional response underpinned users' inclination to like, or follow, a page, rather than their simply seeking information and news.

Mechanism that helps viruses spread explained

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 11:09 AM PDT

Researchers explain how RNA molecules found in certain viruses mimic the shape of other molecules as part of a strategy to 'hijack' the cell and make more viruses. Viruses are worldwide threats to health and agriculture. To multiply, viruses infect a cell and take over that cell's biochemical machinery. Thus, understanding the fundamental molecular processes used by viruses to conquer cells is important.

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