Πέμπτη, 19 Ιουνίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

Quest for education creating graying ghost towns at top of the world

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 03:46 PM PDT

Ethnic Tibetan communities in Nepal's highlands are rapidly shrinking as more parents send their children away for a better education and modern careers, a trend that threatens to create a region of graying ghost towns at the top of the world, according to a new study.

Counterterrorism, ethics, and global health

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 12:38 PM PDT

The surge in murders of polio vaccination workers in Pakistan has made headlines this year, but little attention has been devoted to the ethical issues surrounding the global health impact of current counterterrorism policy and practice. A new essay reviews the range of harms to population health traceable to counterterrorism operations.

Placental marker of prenatal stress linked to brain mitochondrial dysfunction

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 11:26 AM PDT

An enzyme found in the placenta is likely playing an important role in translating stress experienced by a mother early in pregnancy into a reprogramming of her developing baby's brain, research suggests. "People think that the placenta only serves to promote blood flow between a mom and her baby, but that's really not all it's doing," the lead investigator said. "It's a very dynamic endocrine tissue and it's sex-specific, and we've shown that tampering with it can dramatically affect a baby's developing brain."

New blood test identifies heart-transplant rejection earlier than biopsy can

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 11:26 AM PDT

A noninvasive way to detect heart-transplant rejection weeks or months earlier than previously possible has been devised by researchers. The test, which relies on the detection of increasing amounts of the donor's DNA in the blood of the recipient, does not require the removal of any heart tissue.

False negative results found in prognostic testing for breast cancer

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 11:26 AM PDT

Researchers retested tumor samples from a large group of women and found that 22 out of 530 women had their tumor type incorrectly classified, which precluded them from effective treatment options. The repercussions of incorrectly identifying a cancer's subtype are considerable. "While it is comforting that only four percent of these women were misclassified initially, this is an enormous issue for those who fall into this group," said one researcher.

Breathalyzer test may detect deadliest cancer

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 11:00 AM PDT

Lung cancer causes more deaths in the US than the next three most common cancers combined. Now a new breathalyzer test, embedded with a 'NaNose' nanotech chip to literally 'sniff out' cancer tumors, has been developed by a team of international researchers. It may turn the tide by both accurately detecting lung cancer and identifying its stage of progression.

Genetic code for diabetes in Greenland broken by scientists

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 11:00 AM PDT

New ground-breaking genetics research explains the high incidence of type 2 diabetes in the Greenlandic population, based on blood samples from 5,000 people or approximately 10% of the population. "Several epidemiological studies have looked at the health implications of the transition from life as sealers and hunters in small isolated communities to a modern lifestyle with appreciable dietary changes. Perhaps the gene variant which has been identified can be interpreted as a sign of natural selection as the traditional Greenlandic diet consisted primarily of protein and fat from sea animals," one researcher said.

Achilles' heel in antibiotic-resistant bacteria discovered

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 11:00 AM PDT

A breakthrough in the race to solve antibiotic resistance has been made by scientists. New research reveals an Achilles' heel in the defensive barrier that surrounds drug-resistant bacterial cells. The findings pave the way for a new wave of drugs that kill superbugs by bringing down their defensive walls rather than attacking the bacteria itself. It means that in future, bacteria may not develop drug-resistance at all.

Unlocking therapeutic potential of SLC13 transporters

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 10:58 AM PDT

The first functional analysis of a member of a family of transporter proteins implicated in diabetes, obesity, and lifespan, has been completed, potentially providing the key that will enable researchers to unlock their therapeutic potential. Members of the SLC13 transporter family play a key role in the regulation of fat storage, insulin resistance, and other processes.

How brain 'reboots' itself to consciousness after anesthesia

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 10:58 AM PDT

One of the great mysteries of anesthesia is how patients can be temporarily rendered completely unresponsive during surgery and then wake up again, with their memories and skills intact. "Recovery from anesthesia is not simply the result of the anesthetic 'wearing off,' but also of the brain finding its way back through a maze of possible activity states to those that allow conscious experience," one researcher said. "Put simply, the brain reboots itself."

Molecular 'Yin-Yang' of Blood Vessel Growth revealed

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 10:58 AM PDT

A crucial process that regulates development of blood vessels has been discovered by scientists. SerRS (seryl tRNA synthetase) belongs to a family of enzymes that have fundamental, evolutionarily ancient roles in the protein-making machinery of cells. But researchers have been finding in recent years, some of these protein-maker enzymes seem to have evolved extra functions. The finding may lead to treatments for disorders involving abnormal blood vessel growth, including diabetic retinopathy and cancer.

When it comes to numbers, culture counts

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 10:20 AM PDT

A new study finds that in a Bolivian rainforest society, children learn to count just like in the US, but on a delayed timetable.

Self-repairing mechanism can help to preserve brain function in neurodegenerative diseases

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 10:20 AM PDT

Neurogenesis, the self-repairing mechanism of the adult brain, can help to preserve brain function in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Prion or Parkinson's, research shows. The brain has some self-repairing potential that accounts for the renewal of certain neuronal populations living in the dentate gyrus, a simple cortical region that is part of the larger functional brain system controlling learning and memory, the hippocampus. This process is known as neurogenesis.

Modeling how neurons work together may help design robotic limbs

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 10:20 AM PDT

A highly accurate model of how neurons behave when performing complex movements could aid in the design of robotic limbs which behave more realistically. While an action such as reaching for a cup of coffee may seem straightforward, the millions of neurons in the brain's motor cortex must work together to prepare and execute the movement before the coffee ever reaches our lips. These signals are transmitted across synapses -- the junctions between neurons.

Groundbreaking model explains how the brain learns to ignore familiar stimuli

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 10:19 AM PDT

A neuroscientist has proposed a new, ground-breaking explanation for the process of 'habituation,' which allows the brain to filter out significant environmental stimuli from the insignificant, and which is altered in Austim Spectrum Disorders.

Blocking brain's 'internal marijuana' may trigger early Alzheimer's deficits, study shows

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 10:19 AM PDT

A new study has implicated the blocking of endocannabinoids -- signaling substances that are the brain's internal versions of the psychoactive chemicals in marijuana and hashish -- in the early pathology of Alzheimer's disease.

How genetic mutation causes early brain damage

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 10:19 AM PDT

Scientists have shed light on how a specific kind of genetic mutation can cause damage during early brain development that results in lifelong learning and behavioral disabilities. The study focuses on the role of a gene known as Syngap1. In humans, mutations in Syngap1 are known to cause devastating forms of intellectual disability and epilepsy.

Nature's chem lab: How microorganisms manufacture drugs

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 10:19 AM PDT

The first three-dimensional snapshots of the "assembly line" within microorganisms that naturally produces antibiotics and other drugs have been captured by researchers. Understanding the complete structure and movement within the molecular factory gives investigators a solid blueprint for redesigning the microbial assembly line to produce novel drugs of high medicinal value.

Kids whose time is less structured are better able to meet their own goals, study shows

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 09:23 AM PDT

Children who spend more time in less structured activities -- from playing outside to reading books to visiting the zoo -- are better able to set their own goals and take actions to meet those goals without prodding from adults, according to a new study. The study is one of the first to try to scientifically grapple with the question of how an increase in scheduled, formal activities may affect the way children's brains develop.

Stem pipeline problems to aid STEM diversity

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 09:23 AM PDT

Educators and policymakers have spent decades trying to recruit and retain more underrepresented minority students into the science, technology, engineering, and math pipeline. A new analysis of disappointing results in the pipeline's output leads two biologists to suggest measures to help with the input.

Sexting among youth more prevalent than thought? Minors unaware of harsh legal consequences, survey shows

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 09:22 AM PDT

Sexting among youth is more prevalent than previously thought, according to a new study. More than 50 percent of those surveyed reported that they had exchanged sexually explicit text messages, with or without photographic images, as minors. The study also found that the majority of young people are not aware of the legal ramifications of underage sexting.

Ban on pavement sealant lowered levels of potentially harmful compounds in lake

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 09:22 AM PDT

In 2006, Austin, Texas, became the first city in the country to ban a commonly used pavement sealant over concerns that it was a major source of cancer-causing compounds in the environment. Eight years later, the city's action seems to have made a big dent in the targeted compounds' levels -- researchers now report that the concentrations have dropped significantly.

MERS-related abnormality distribution on CT identifed, clarified

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 08:20 AM PDT

Key defining characteristics of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in CT imaging of patients confirmed as having the disease have been identified by researchers. The study found that the most common CT finding in hospitalized patients with MERS infection is suggestive of an organizing pneumonia pattern.

Cost-effectiveness of smoking cessation counseling during hospitalization shown in study

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 08:18 AM PDT

The cost-effectiveness of the Ottawa Model for Smoking Cessation, an intervention that includes in-hospital counseling, pharmacotherapy and post-hospital follow-up, has been demonstrated compared to usual care among smokers hospitalized with acute myocardial infarction, unstable angina, heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Suicidal behaviour not increased by ADHD drugs, research concludes

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 08:17 AM PDT

Drug therapy for ADHD does not entail an increased risk of suicide attempts or suicide, as was previously feared, a new register-based study from Sweden shows. Earlier research has indicated that ADHD drug treatment would increase the occurrence of suicidal thoughts. One strong point of the study now being published is that all the individuals were compared to themselves, as this allowed the researchers to take into account the differences between those taking the drugs and those who do not.

Food poisoning cases underreported, food safety specialist says

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 08:16 AM PDT

There are distinct symptoms for food poisoning and reporting it to your doctor is an important step in improving food safety, a food safety specialist says. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19,056 cases of infection were reported in 2013 in the United States. However, it is expected that many people don't report getting sick from contaminated food because they don't realize they have food poisoning.

Electrical switch during labor could be faulty in overweight women

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 07:06 AM PDT

Researchers have identified an electrical switch in the muscle of the uterus that plays a key role in the progression into labor. Crucially, the discovery shows that women who are overweight have a faulty switch. The finding may explain why overweight women have a higher likelihood of irregular contractions and are more likely to require a caesarean section than other women.

Race a factor in mortality in heart attack patients on anti-clotting drug

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 07:06 AM PDT

The first genetic variations linked to race have been identified that begin to explain a higher risk of death among some African American and Caucasian patients taking the anti-clotting drug clopidogrel after a heart attack. In particular, the team found that two DNA variants common in African Americans were associated with an increased risk of both bleeding and death. In Caucasians, a different variant was linked to additional heart attacks and a higher risk of death.

Hippocampal activity during music listening exposes the memory-boosting power of music

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 07:05 AM PDT

For the first time the hippocampus —- a brain structure crucial for creating long-lasting memories —- has been observed to be active in response to recurring musical phrases while listening to music. Thus, the hippocampal involvement in long-term memory may be less specific than previously thought, indicating that short and long-term memory processes may depend on each other after all.

Yoga exercise program tailored for pulmonary hypertension patients

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 07:05 AM PDT

A first-of-its-kind yoga exercise program has been developed for patients living with pulmonary hypertension, a chronic lung disease that afflicts women at least two times more than men. Called Yoga for PH, the 40-minute program includes three yoga exercise levels and a nutrition and lifestyle discussion.

Punishment plays important role in forgiveness

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 07:05 AM PDT

It's easier for people to forgive someone for doing wrong against them if some form of punishment is involved, according to psychology researchers. "Justice and forgiveness are often considered to be opposites, but we've found that victims who punish their offender are more able to forgive and move on," one researcher says.

Exposure to TV violence related to irregular attention and brain structure

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 07:05 AM PDT

Young adult men who watched more violence on television showed indications of less mature brain development and poorer executive functioning, according to new results. Executive functioning abilities can be important for controlling impulsive behaviors, including aggression.

Moral tales with positive outcomes motivate kids to be honest

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 04:20 AM PDT

A moral story that praises a character's honesty is more effective at getting young children to tell the truth than a story that emphasizes the negative repercussions of lying, according to research. The findings suggest that stories such as 'The Boy Who Cried Wolf' and 'Pinocchio' may not be effective cautionary tales when it comes to inspiring honest behavior in children.

Supplements of calcium, vitamin D may have too much for some older women

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 04:20 AM PDT

Calcium and vitamin D are commonly recommended for older women, but the usual supplements may send calcium excretion and blood levels too high for some of them, shows a new study. The good news in this study is that the investigators found a way to predict which women were likely to develop these excess levels.

No evidence that soy food protects against endometrial cancer, study finds

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 04:20 AM PDT

No evidence of a protective association between soy food and endometrial cancer risk has been found, concludes a new study. Soy foods are an almost exclusive dietary source of isoflavones, a plant-derived estrogen. Some studies have highlighted their potential cancer protective properties, however, research looking at the link to endometrial cancer has been inconsistent.

Gender 'rebalancing' in China: An uncertain future

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 04:17 AM PDT

China is the most gender imbalanced country in the world, with an official sex ratio at birth (SRB) of 117.78 (boys for every one hundred girls) in 2011. Over the past two decades the rise in China's SRB has had a wide range of economic and social consequences. Researchers investigate the future impact of this rise using demographic and economic projections. Their results suggest that even if the Chinese government takes action to rebalance the sex ratio, the long-term picture is uncertain.

Proteins in urine could play important role in stress incontinence

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 04:17 AM PDT

Incontinence is the world's most common chronic condition. However, the problem continues to be a taboo subject: two out of three sufferers do not talk about it, preventing access to successful treatment. Stress incontinence, in which urine is lost involuntarily when coughing, laughing or sneezing, is the most common form of incontinence, affecting 60 per cent of all cases. How it develops is largely unresearched. Scientists have now been able to demonstrate that proteins in the urine could play an important role.

Vaccine 'reprograms' pancreatic cancers to respond to immunotherapy

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 04:15 AM PDT

A vaccine that triggered the growth of immune cell nodules within pancreatic tumors, essentially reprogramming these intractable cancers and potentially making them vulnerable to immune-based therapies, has developed and tested by researchers. The reprogramming is designed to make the tumors more vulnerable to other immune-modulating drugs that have been useful in fighting other cancers, researchers explain.

Brain imaging shows enhanced executive brain function in people with musical training

Posted: 17 Jun 2014 06:10 PM PDT

A controlled study using functional MRI brain imaging reveals a possible biological link between early musical training and improved executive functioning in both children and adults, report researchers. The study uses functional MRI of brain areas associated with executive function, adjusting for socioeconomic factors.

Kidney problems may prevent heart attack patients from receiving life-saving care

Posted: 17 Jun 2014 06:10 PM PDT

Heart attack patients with kidney problems may not be getting the full treatment they need, according to a new study. The study found that patients admitted to hospital with chest pains and poorly functioning kidneys are less likely to be given an angiogram and early invasive treatment, which might increase their chance of surviving a heart attack.

Transfusion after trauma can benefit or harm patients depending on their risk of death

Posted: 17 Jun 2014 06:08 PM PDT

The risks and benefits of red blood cell transfusions for patients with trauma and major bleeding might vary considerably based on a patient's predicted risk of death on arrival at a trauma center, according to new research.

Human sweat can reduce anti-bacterial properties of brass objects in hospitals and schools

Posted: 17 Jun 2014 06:03 PM PDT

Researchers discover sweat can cause corrosion of protective qualities of door knobs and taps within an hour of contact. Sweaty hands can reduce the effectiveness of bacteria-fighting brass objects in hospitals and schools after just an hour of coming into contact with them.

Suicides among mental health patients under home treatment in England double the number of suicides in mental health inpatient units

Posted: 17 Jun 2014 06:03 PM PDT

The number of deaths by suicide among mental health patients treated at home by crisis resolution home treatment teams has more than doubled in England in recent years, rising from an average of 80 in 2003-2004 to 163 in 2010-2011, according to new research. In contrast, suicides on psychiatric wards fell by more than half, from 163 in 2003-2004 to 76 in 2010-2011.

Mental health patients more than twice as likely to be victims of homicide than the general public

Posted: 17 Jun 2014 06:03 PM PDT

Patients with mental illness are two and a half times more likely to be victims of homicide than people in the general population, according to a national study examining the characteristics of homicide victims across England and Wales. Homicides committed by patients with mental illness have received much media attention, but patients' risk of being victims of homicide and their relationship to the perpetrators has rarely been examined.

Stress hormone linked to short-term memory loss as we age, animal study suggests

Posted: 17 Jun 2014 06:01 PM PDT

A new study reports a potential link between stress hormones and short-term memory loss in older adults. The study reveals that having high levels of cortisol—a natural hormone in our body whose levels surge when we are stressed—can lead to memory lapses as we age.

Limited motor skills in early infancy may be trait of autism

Posted: 17 Jun 2014 02:08 PM PDT

Researchers have announced findings that provide evidence for reduced grasping and fine motor activity among six-month-old infants with an increased familial risk for autism spectrum disorders.

Fireworks, construction, marching bands can cause permanent hearing loss

Posted: 17 Jun 2014 01:42 PM PDT

One in 10 Americans has hearing loss that affects their ability to understand normal speech. Exposure to excessive noise also can damage hearing in higher pitches. "Hearing loss due to excessive noise is totally preventable, unlike hearing loss due to old age or a medical condition," one expert says.

For patients with sickle cell disease, blood donors are a matter of life and death

Posted: 17 Jun 2014 01:41 PM PDT

Every six weeks for the past nine years, Mawasi Belle has been donating blood, totaling nearly 80 trips to the medical institution and thousands of pints of blood collected. But for Belle, this selfless act is merely a part of her lifestyle. "My decision to give is easy. If I do not donate, patients with serious blood diseases, like sickle cell anemia, will die." And Belle is right: Patients with sickle cell disease and other serious blood conditions rely on donors to keep their blood flowing and hearts beating.

Death by prescription painkiller?

Posted: 17 Jun 2014 01:41 PM PDT

The number of deaths involving commonly prescribed painkillers is higher than the number of deaths by overdose from heroin and cocaine combined, according to researchers. In a first-of-its-kind review of existing research, researchers have put the spotlight on a major public health problem: the dramatic increase in deaths due to prescribed painkillers, which were involved in more than 16,000 deaths in 2010 in the U.S. alone. Currently, the US and Canada rank #1 and #2 in per capita opioid consumption.

Survival compared for treatments of uncommon eye cancer

Posted: 17 Jun 2014 01:41 PM PDT

In patients with advanced uveal melanoma, treatment with the agent selumetinib, compared with chemotherapy, resulted in an improved cancer progression-free survival time and tumor response rate, but no improvement in overall survival, according to a study. The modest improvement in clinical outcomes was accompanied by a high rate of adverse events.

Treatment of bowel disease not linked with increased risk of cancer

Posted: 17 Jun 2014 01:41 PM PDT

Use of a popular class of medications known as tumor necrosis factor alpha antagonists was not associated with an increased risk of cancer over a median follow-up of 3.7 years, according to a study that included more than 56,000 patients with inflammatory bowel disease. However, an increased risk of malignancy in the long term, or with increasing number of doses, cannot be excluded.

Self-reported health of young adults has improved

Posted: 17 Jun 2014 01:41 PM PDT

Since 2010, when young adults could be covered under their parents' health insurance plans until age 26, self-reported health among this group has improved, a large survey indicates, along with a decrease in out-of-pocket health care expenditures. The dependent coverage provision was associated with an increase in insurance coverage among adults ages 19 to 25 years; no statistically significant changes in health care use; an increase in the probability of reporting excellent physical health; and an increase in the probability of reporting excellent mental health.

'Clot-busting' drugs reduce deaths from pulmonary embolism by nearly half

Posted: 17 Jun 2014 01:41 PM PDT

Adding clot-busting medications known as thrombolytics to conventional approaches when treating sudden-onset pulmonary embolism patients is associated with 47 percent fewer deaths than using standard intravenous or under-the-skin anticoagulant medications alone, a team of researchers has found, bringing clarity to a decades-long debate.

Heparin derivative suppresses neuroblastoma tumor growth

Posted: 17 Jun 2014 10:07 AM PDT

A new strategy for treating neuroblastoma using a modified version of heparin, a century-old injectable drug that thins the blood to prevent clots from forming, has been discovered by researchers. The study, conducted in mice, found that when heparin is altered to remove its blood-thinning properties, it can suppress and shrink neuroblastoma tumors without causing severe bleeding.

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