Παρασκευή, 27 Ιουνίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

Little progress made in reducing health disparities for people with disabilities

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 11:10 AM PDT

Mental distress in people with disabilities is associated with increased prevalence of chronic illness and reduced access to health care and preventive care services, finds a new study. "It's important to find out why there has been so little progress, since the prevention, detection, and treatment of secondary illnesses is critical for health maintenance, halting progression of disability, and helping people with disabilities to participate in life activities," says the lead author.

Fighting parasitic infection inadvertently unleashes dormant virus

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 11:10 AM PDT

Signals from the immune system that help repel a common parasite inadvertently can cause a dormant viral infection to become active again, a new study shows. Further research is necessary to understand the clinical significance of the finding, but researchers said the study helps illustrate how complex interactions between infectious agents and the immune system have the potential to affect illness.

The social psychology of nerve cells

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 10:22 AM PDT

Cholinergic amacrine cells create a 'personal space' in much the same way that people distance themselves from one another in an elevator, researchers have discovered. In addition, the study shows that this feature is heritable and identifies a genetic contributor to it, pituitary tumor-transforming gene 1.

You can't teach speed: Sprinters break 10-year rule

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 10:22 AM PDT

Exceptional speed prior to formal training is a prerequisite for becoming a world-class sprinter, researchers have found. The authors noted that because speed is crucial for many sports, the new results imply that talent is important for many sports besides track and field. The authors also pointed out that their behavioral data complement many genetic and physiological studies indicating individual variation in athletic talent.

App focused on making obese adults less sedentary

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 10:22 AM PDT

More sedentary time, regardless of physical activity levels, is associated with greater risk for obesity, cardiovascular disease and mortality. However, a smartphone-based intervention can produce short-term reductions in sedentary behavior that may be effective in improving health.

Controlling body movement with light: Neuroscientists inhibit muscle contractions by shining light on spinal cord neurons

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 09:20 AM PDT

Neuroscientists report that they can inhibit muscle contractions by shining light on spinal cord neurons. The researchers studied mice in which a light-sensitive protein that promotes neural activity was inserted into a subset of spinal neurons. When the researchers shone blue light on the animals' spinal cords, their hind legs were completely but reversibly immobilized. The findings offer a new approach to studying the complex spinal circuits that coordinate movement and sensory processing, the researchers say.

Veterans who identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual could benefit from informed mental health services, researcher says

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 09:20 AM PDT

In 2011, the United States Military repealed its 'don't ask, don't tell' policy that prevented gay and lesbian service members from disclosing their sexual orientation. Current estimates indicate that more than one million veterans identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB). Now, a researcher says these service members and veterans often are marginalized and may benefit from mental health professionals, including social workers, who are informed about the needs of individuals who identify as LGB.

Blocking key enzyme minimizes stroke injury, research finds

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 09:20 AM PDT

A drug that blocks the action of the enzyme Cdk5 could substantially reduce brain damage if administered shortly after a stroke, research suggests. The development of a Cdk5 inhibitor as an acute neuroprotective therapy has the potential to reduce stroke injury, researchers report.

Lab monitoring tests not always ordered per recommendations

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 09:19 AM PDT

Why does one physician in a walk-in practice order laboratory monitoring tests for patients more often than a colleague working down the hallway? Which factors influence the use of these important tests? Clues to these questions lie in the age and general health of the patient, and whether the doctor is a specialist or not, says the lead author of a study.

Genetics and environment work together to help people become accomplished musicians, study finds

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 09:19 AM PDT

Mom or dad may have driven you to cello rehearsal all those years, but you can also thank your genes for pushing you to practice, according to new research. Genetics and environment work together to help people become accomplished musicians, finds the study of 850 sets of twins. It's another arrow in the quiver of the argument that both nature and nurture play a role in developing expertise.

Decoding characteristic food odors

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 09:18 AM PDT

How are we able to recognize foodstuffs like strawberries, coffee, barbecued meat or boiled potatoes by smell alone? Foodstuffs contain more than 10,000 different volatile substances. But only around 230 of these determine the odor of food. Narrowing it down further, between just three and 40 of these key odors are responsible for encoding the typical smell of an individual foodstuff. These compounds are then decoded by around 400 olfactory receptors in the nose.

Traffic light labels can give false sense of security

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 09:18 AM PDT

The labeling of product attributes using a traffic light system influences consumers in their purchasing decisions. A study reveals for the first time that this applies not only to food, but also to financial products -- but not always in the way intended. Test subjects paid less attention to the uncertainty associated with the return on an investment when a traffic light label was added to the product information.

Brain circuits involved in stress-induced fevers identified

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 09:18 AM PDT

When we feel mentally stressed, we often also feel physiological changes, including an increase in body temperature. This increase in body temperature is known as psychological stress-induced hyperthermia. Stress for people in today's society can last a long time and cause a chronic increase in body temperature, a condition called psychogenic fever. Researchers now have identified a key neural circuit connection in the brain that's responsible for the development of psychological stress-induced hyperthermia.

Changing roles of physicians with MBAs

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 09:17 AM PDT

Physician graduates from the MBA program in heath care management at Penn's Wharton School report that their dual training had a positive effect on their individual careers and professional lives. Study respondents reported such benefits as career acceleration, professional flexibility, and credibility in multidisciplinary domains.

Chimps like listening to music with a different beat

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 09:16 AM PDT

While preferring silence to music from the West, chimpanzees apparently like to listen to the different rhythms of music from Africa and India, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

Researchers hone in on way to predict aggressiveness of oral cancer

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 09:16 AM PDT

Studying mouth cancer in mice, researchers have found a way to predict the aggressiveness of similar tumors in people, an early step toward a diagnostic test that could guide treatment, according to researchers. The investigators found a consistent pattern of gene expression associated with tumor spreading in mice. Analyzing genetic data from human oral cancer samples, they also found this gene signature in people with aggressive metastatic tumors.

Fruit flies help scientists uncover genes responsible for human communication

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 07:18 AM PDT

Toddlers acquire communication skills by babbling until what they utter is rewarded; however, the genes involved in learning language skills are far from completely understood. Now, using a gene identified in fruit flies, scientists have discovered a crucial component of the origin of language in humans.

Virus infection supports organ acceptance

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 07:18 AM PDT

Chronic hepatitis C virus infections are among the most common reasons for liver transplants. Because existing viruses also infect the new liver, the immune system is highly active there. Despite this, the new organ is not rejected, as scientists have now discovered. The long-term stimulation of the innate immune system by the virus actually increases the probability of tolerance.

Tuberculosis infection may be underestimated among people taking corticosteroid pills

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 07:17 AM PDT

Tuberculosis infection among people taking corticosteroid pills may be underestimated, new research suggests. Current guidelines for what constitutes a positive TB skin test among corticosteroid pill users may not be capturing all those who are infected, says one respirologist, who adds that although taking corticosteroid pills was a risk factor for turning latent TB into active TB, those patients were screened less often for TB than others. They were also less likely to be prescribed TB-fighting drugs prophylactically.

Continued use of low-dose aspirin may lower pancreatic cancer risk

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 07:17 AM PDT

The longer a person took low-dose aspirin, the lower his or her risk for developing pancreatic cancer, according to a study recently published. Men and women who took low-dose aspirin regularly had 48 percent reduction in their risk for developing pancreatic cancer. Protection against pancreatic cancer ranged from 39 percent reduction in risk for those who took low-dose aspirin for six years or less, to 60 percent reduction in risk for those who took low-dose aspirin for more than 10 years.

Men, women use mental health services differently

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 07:16 AM PDT

Women with chronic physical illnesses are more likely to use mental health services than men with similar illnesses. Research shows that they also seek out mental health services six months earlier than those same men. "Chronic physical illness can lead to depression," said the lead author. "We want to better understand who will seek mental health services when diagnosed with a chronic physical illness so we can best help those who need care."

Teachers more likely to use ineffective instruction when teaching students with mathematics difficulties

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 07:15 AM PDT

First-grade teachers in the United States may need to change their instructional practices if they are to raise the mathematics achievement of students with mathematics difficulties (MD), according to new research. The study found that first-grade teachers in classrooms with higher percentages of students with MD were more likely to be using ineffective instructional practices with these students.

Who's got food ingredient fears?

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 07:01 AM PDT

Researchers investigated who might be most prone to food fears, why, and what can be done to correct misperceptions. A phone survey of 1008 U.S. mothers revealed key findings about those who avoid specific ingredients such as high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), mono sodium glutamate (MSG), and others.

We speak as we feel, we feel as we speak

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 06:57 AM PDT

Ground-breaking experiments have been conduced to uncover the links between language and emotions. Researchers were able to demonstrate that the articulation of vowels systematically influences our feelings and vice versa. The authors concluded that it would seem that language users learn that the articulation of 'i' sounds is associated with positive feelings and thus make use of corresponding words to describe positive circumstances. The opposite applies to the use of 'o' sounds.

Public sector not more effective in attracting socially motivated workers than private sector

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 06:57 AM PDT

Research has found workers in the public sector are more likely to engage in socially motivated activities than their private sector counterparts. However, the findings also show this is only because public services employ more highly educated and skilled people -- characteristics that increase the likelihood of being socially engaged.

'Likes' provide humanitarian support

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 06:57 AM PDT

According to a Norwegian study, 'likes' on Facebook are providing a new type of humanitarian support and social responsibility. Scientists have been mapping the habits of more than 400 Facebook users recruited from Plan Norge's Facebook page. The aim was to identify their motives in 'liking' a particular humanitarian cause or organization on Facebook.

Resistance to antibiotics: New rapid diagnosis

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 06:57 AM PDT

A rapid diagnostic test for multi-resistance to broad-spectrum antibiotics has just been developed by researchers. This new test allows the identification, in less than two hours, of multidrug-resistant strains of Acinetobacter baumannii, an important hospital pathogen. The large-scale application of this test will mean better control of the spread of certain traits of antibiotic resistance.

Climate control for the burns unit

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 06:46 AM PDT

Individualized climate control for burns victims in hospitals might not only improve comfort for such patients, but improve working conditions for those taking care of them, research suggests. In addition, it could cut energy requirements by three quarters where cooling is needed and by up to a quarter where heating is used.

Mothers are more altruistic than fathers but only if they are acting alone

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 06:46 AM PDT

The assumption that mothers are more driven by altruism with regard to their children than fathers is more complex than once thought. The results add qualifications to an important evolutionary theory.

Peanuts don't panic parents as much as milk and eggs

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 06:29 AM PDT

A new study examined 305 caregivers of children allergic to milk, egg, peanut or tree nut. The researchers were surprised to discover that milk and eggs, not peanuts, were the largest source of anxiety and worry.

Increased nearsightedness linked to higher education levels and more years spent in school

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 06:29 AM PDT

Researchers have found strong evidence that attaining a higher level of education and spending more years in school are two factors associated with a greater prevalence and severity of nearsightedness, or myopia. The research is the first population-based study to demonstrate that environmental factors may outweigh genetics in the development of myopia.

Researchers find portable, low-cost optical imaging tool useful in concussion evaluation

Posted: 25 Jun 2014 11:20 PM PDT

Two separate research projects, published recently, represent important steps toward demonstrating on patients the utility of portable, optical brain imaging for concussion and substantiating -- via a large-scale statistical analysis -- computerized neurocognitive testing for concussion.

'Nanosubmarine' designed that delivers complementary molecules inside cells

Posted: 25 Jun 2014 05:19 PM PDT

Nanoparticles that under the right conditions, self-assemble -- trapping complementary guest molecules within their structure -- have been recently created by scientists. Like tiny submarines, these versatile nanocarriers can navigate in the watery environment surrounding cells and transport their guest molecules through the membrane of living cells to sequentially deliver their cargo.

Causal link between vitamin D deficiency, hypertension suggested by researchers

Posted: 25 Jun 2014 05:17 PM PDT

New genetic research provides compelling evidence that low levels of vitamin D have a causal role in the development of high blood pressure (hypertension). The findings suggest that vitamin D supplementation could be effective in combating some cases of hypertension. "In view of the costs and side effects associated with antihypertensive drugs, the potential to prevent or reduce blood pressure and therefore the risk of hypertension with vitamin D is very attractive," explains study leader.

People with tinnitus process emotions differently from their peers, researchers report

Posted: 25 Jun 2014 03:49 PM PDT

Patients with persistent ringing in the ears -- a condition known as tinnitus -- process emotions differently in the brain from those with normal hearing, researchers report. Tinnitus afflicts 50 million people in the United States, and causes those with the condition to hear noises that aren't really there. These phantom sounds are not speech, but rather whooshing noises, train whistles, cricket noises or whines. Their severity often varies day to day.

Alcohol use increases over generation in study of moms, daughters in Australia

Posted: 25 Jun 2014 03:48 PM PDT

Previous research suggests drinking patterns have changed with more heavy drinking at younger ages. New research shows drinking alcohol has increased over a generation in a study of mothers and daughters in Australia.

New material improves wound healing, keeps bacteria from sticking

Posted: 25 Jun 2014 07:16 AM PDT

As many patients know, treating wounds has become far more sophisticated than sewing stitches and applying gauze, but dressings still have shortcomings. Now scientists are reporting the next step in the evolution of wound treatment with a material that leads to faster healing than existing commercial dressings and prevents potentially harmful bacteria from sticking.

Using femtosecond lasers to administer drugs

Posted: 25 Jun 2014 07:14 AM PDT

Scientists are using lasers, nanotechnology and neuroscience to develop a new, versatile drug delivery system.  The system uses a laser to release a neurochemical that is dysfunctional in Parkinson's Disease in a controlled and repeatable manner.

Music can help neuroscience: Detecting patterns in neuronal dendrite spines by translating them into music

Posted: 25 Jun 2014 07:14 AM PDT

Scientists have analyzed morphological features extracted from dendritic spines of brain neurons to detect patterns in their distribution. Then a software tool was developed in order to convert these features into musical notes. This new technique will be able to explore new hypothesis to understand how human brain works and also search for new solutions to fight against diseases such as Alzheimer's, epilepsy and Parkinson's.

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