Παρασκευή, 6 Ιουνίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

New targets that could increase effectiveness, reduce side effects in breast cancer treatments

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 04:07 PM PDT

New targets for potential intervention in breast cancer have been identified by researchers. These new targets could eventually increase effectiveness and reduce the undesirable side effects associated with current treatments. In addition to exploring potential new drugs for breast cancer, the researchers also hope to investigate the implications for prostate cancer, another hormone-driven disease.

Demographics drive fitness partner decisions online, study finds

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 03:36 PM PDT

Participants in an online fitness program ignored the fitness aptitude of their potential partners, instead choosing partners based on age, gender and BMI. The findings suggest that although people in online health programs are beckoned with the possibilities of meeting healthier people who can provide them with information about new kinds of exercises and better strategies for getting healthy, they self-select into networks that look very similar to the kinds of networks that people typically have offline.

Novel approach to reactivate latent HIV found

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 03:36 PM PDT

A new way to make latent HIV reveal itself has been discovered by scientists, which could help overcome one of the biggest obstacles to finding a cure for HIV infection. They discovered that increasing the random activity, or noise, associated with HIV gene expression -- without increasing the average level of gene expression -- can reactivate latent HIV.

YbeY is essential for fitness and virulence of V. cholerae, keeps RNA household in order

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 03:36 PM PDT

YbeY is a conserved protein that is present in most bacteria. A new study examines the function of YbeY in the cholera bacterium and reveals critical roles in RNA metabolism in this and other pathogenic bacteria.

Short nanotubes target pancreatic cancer

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 12:58 PM PDT

Short, customized carbon nanotubes have the potential to deliver drugs to pancreatic cancer cells and destroy them from within, according to researchers. Pristine nanotubes produced through a new process can be modified to carry drugs to tumors through gaps in blood-vessel walls that larger particles cannot fit through. The nanotubes may then target and infiltrate the cancerous cells' nuclei, where the drugs can be released through sonication -- that is, by shaking them.

Mechanism that forms cell-to-cell catch bonds found by researchers

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 12:57 PM PDT

Strong cell-to-cell bonds are important to heart health and fighting cancer. The bonds connecting heart cells have to withstand constant forces caused by continuous pumping. And, in some cancers, bonds no longer resist forces, allowing cancer cells to detach and spread. A research group is studying the biophysics of certain biological bonds.

Mobile DNA test for HIV under development

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 12:57 PM PDT

Bioengineers are developing an efficient test to detect signs of HIV and its progress in patients in low-resource settings. The current gold standard to diagnose HIV in infants and to monitor viral load depends on lab equipment and technical expertise generally available only in clinics. The new research features a nucleic acid-based test that can be performed at the site of care.

Why are older women more vulnerable to breast cancer? New clues

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 12:57 PM PDT

More insights into why older women are more susceptible to breast cancer has been gained by researchers. They found that as women age, the cells responsible for maintaining healthy breast tissue stop responding to their immediate surroundings, including mechanical cues that should prompt them to suppress nearby tumors.

New therapy for pancreatic cancer patients shows promising results

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:19 AM PDT

A new drug called MM-398, given in combination with 5-flourouracil and leucovorin, produced a significant overall survival rate in patients with advanced, previously-treated pancreatic cancer, a new clinical trial has demonstrated. The NAPOLI-1 (NAnoliPOsomaL Irinotecan) Phase 3 study -- a final confirmation of a drug's safety and effectiveness -- was conducted among patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer who previously received gemcitibine, which has been the standard-of-care therapy for such patients.

Restoring trust in VA health care

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:19 AM PDT

In the wake of recent revelations of overly long patient wait times and systematic manipulation and falsification of reported wait-time data, public policy leaders believe the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health-care system's problems can be fixed by strong leadership, greater transparency and reforms that refocus the organization on its primary mission of providing timely access to consistently high-quality care.

Investors' risk tolerance decreases with the stock market

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:19 AM PDT

Scientists analyzed investors' 'risk tolerance,' or willingness to take risks, and found that it decreased as the stock market faltered. Experts say this is a very counterproductive behavior for investors who want to maximize their investment returns.

Couples sleep in sync when wife is satisfied with their marriage

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:18 AM PDT

Couples are more likely to sleep in sync when the wife is more satisfied with their marriage. Results show that overall synchrony in sleep-wake schedules among couples was high, as those who slept in the same bed were awake or asleep at the same time about 75 percent of the time. When the wife reported higher marital satisfaction, the percent of time the couple was awake or asleep at the same time was greater.

Stem cells hold keys to body's plan

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:18 AM PDT

Landmarks within pluripotent stem cells that guide how they develop to serve different purposes within the body have been discovered by researchers. This breakthrough offers promise that scientists eventually will be able to direct stem cells in ways that prevent disease or repair damage from injury or illness.

Sleep after learning strengthens connections between brain cells and enhances memory

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:18 AM PDT

Researchers show for the first time that sleep after learning encourages the growth of dendritic spines, the tiny protrusions from brain cells that connect to other brain cells and facilitate the passage of information across synapses, the junctions at which brain cells meet.

Fasting triggers stem cell regeneration of damaged, old immune system

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:15 AM PDT

In the first evidence of a natural intervention triggering stem cell-based regeneration of an organ or system, a study shows that cycles of prolonged fasting not only protect against immune system damage -- a major side effect of chemotherapy -- but also induce immune system regeneration, shifting stem cells from a dormant state to a state of self-renewal.

Transplanted fetal stem cells for Parkinson's show promise

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:15 AM PDT

Fetal dopamine cells transplanted into the brains of patients with Parkinson's disease were able to remain healthy and functional for up to 14 years, a finding that could lead to new and better therapies for the illness, researchers report. The researchers looked at the brains of five patients who got fetal cell transplants over a period of 14 years and found that their dopamine transporters (DAT), proteins that pump the neurotransmitter dopamine, and mitochondria were still healthy at the time the patients died, in each case of causes other than Parkinson's.

Activating immune system could treat obesity, diabetes

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:14 AM PDT

Obesity is a worldwide epidemic that is causing alarming rates of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but currently there is a lack of effective drug treatments. Two unrelated studies reveal an important role for immune pathways in activating good types body fat, called brown and beige fat, which burn stored calories, reduce weight, and improve metabolic health. The findings could pave the way for much-needed treatments for obesity and related metabolic diseases.

Stimulating a protein in skin cells could improve psoriasis symptoms

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:14 AM PDT

Environmental contaminants can trigger psoriasis and other autoimmune disorders, and it is thought that a protein called the aryl hydrocarbon receptor, which senses environmental toxins, could play a role. A new study shows that the severity of inflammation associated with psoriasis is unexpectedly suppressed by AhR. The findings suggest that stimulation of AhR could improve symptoms and may represent a novel strategy for treating chronic inflammatory skin disorders.

How de-roling may help actors shed intense roles

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:00 AM PDT

Actors and actresses have learned many methods of becoming their characters, but how do they leave their character -- or de-role -- when the role is over? Examples of de-roling techniques include shaking limbs and body to literally shake the character off, or ritualistically stepping out of a performance by handing back a character's specific prop or costume piece to a director.

Making artificial vision look more natural

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:00 AM PDT

In laboratory tests, researchers have used electrical stimulation of retinal cells to produce the same patterns of activity that occur when the retina sees a moving object. Although more work remains, this is a step toward restoring natural, high-fidelity vision to blind people.

Chemical element bromine is essential to life in humans and other animals, researchers discover

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:00 AM PDT

Twenty-seven chemical elements are considered to be essential for human life. Now there is a 28th: bromine. In a new paper, researchers establish for the first time that bromine, among the 92 naturally-occurring chemical elements in the universe, is the 28th element essential for tissue development in all animals, from primitive sea creatures to humans.

New method reveals single protein interaction key to embryonic stem cell differentiation

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:00 AM PDT

A new method to simplify the study of protein networks has been pioneered by researchers. Through the use of synthetic proteins, they revealed a key interaction that regulates the ability of embryonic stem cells to change into other cell types. "Our work suggests that the apparent complexity of protein networks is deceiving, and that a circuit involving a small number of proteins might control each cellular function," said the senior author.

Interactive teaching methods help students master tricky calculus

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 08:37 AM PDT

The key to helping students learn complicated math is to understand how to apply it to new ideas and make learning more interactive, according to a new study. Pre-class assignments, small group discussions and clicker quizzes improve students' ability to grasp tricky first-year calculus concepts.

Can mice mimic human breast cancer? Study says 'yes'

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 08:37 AM PDT

Many of the various models used in breast cancer research can replicate several characteristics of the human disease, especially at the gene level, researchers report. "There are definitely clear parallels between mice and men in relation to breast cancer and this study provides legitimacy to using these models so ultimately a cure can be found," one researcher said.

Race could be a factor in head, neck cancer survival rates

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 08:37 AM PDT

The national survival rates for African-Americans diagnosed with head and neck cancer have not improved in the last 40 years despite advances in the treatment and management of the disease, researchers have found. The researchers suggest that inherent genetic factors in African-Americans may make some tumors resistant to treatments. However, more research needs to be done on the subject of survival disparity in patients with head and neck cancer.

Toward a better drug against malaria

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 08:36 AM PDT

Structural biologists explain on the molecular level, how the drug atovaquone acts on the pathogen of malaria. Malaria is one of the most dangerous tropical diseases in the world. Anopheles mosquitoes infected with Plasmodium species -- unicellular parasites -- transmit the disease by biting. Atovaquone blocks a protein of the respiratory chain in the mitochondria, the power plants of the cell, thus killing off the parasites. However, the pathogen is susceptible to mutations so that drug resistant strains are arising and spreading.

Molecular secret of short, intense workouts clarified

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 08:35 AM PDT

The benefits of short, intense workouts have been extolled as a metabolic panacea for greater overall fitness, better blood sugar control and weight reduction. Scientists confirm something is molecularly unique about intense exercise: the activation of a single protein. The new findings open the door to a range of potential exercise enhancements.

Shorter tuberculosis treatment regimens will reduce cost for patients, families

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 07:08 AM PDT

Shorter tuberculosis treatment regimens will reduce costs for patients and their families, conclude researchers who carried out a comparative study in Tanzania and Bangladesh looking at the out-of-pocket costs incurred by TB patients in both countries. The main objective of the study was to quantify the potential savings of a 4 month regimen to patients, because a number of new drugs in the current development pipeline have the potential to shorten standard first-line TB therapy from 6 months to 4 months.

New diagnostic tool for dementia diseases

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 07:07 AM PDT

A new diagnostic tool helps clinicians to differentiate between Alzheimer's disease, frontotemporal dementia and mild cognitive impairment. The new method consists of a Disease State Index combining data from multiple sources, and of a Disease State Fingerprint showing the findings in a visual format.

Bloodstream infections reduced through better central line care at three hospitals

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 07:07 AM PDT

Whether through the use of alcohol-containing caps or basic cleaning of the injection port of the central line, infection preventionists at three hospitals are finding successful ways to stop germs from entering central line catheters and causing bloodstream infections in patients. Many facilities follow a bundle of best practices to reduce risk factors during the insertion of a central line, but continuous and safe maintenance of the line is difficult.

Rhythmic brain activity used to track memories in progress

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 06:33 AM PDT

Using EEG electrodes attached to the scalps of 25 student subjects, researchers have tapped the rhythm of memories as they occur in near real time in the human brain. The new findings show that EEG measures of synchronized neural activity can precisely track the contents of memory at almost the speed of thought, the lead investigator said.

Research on marijuana's negative health effects summarized in report

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 06:33 AM PDT

The current state of science on the adverse health effects of marijuana use links the drug to several significant adverse effects including addiction, a review reports. The review describes the science establishing that marijuana can be addictive and that this risk for addiction increases for daily or young users. It also offers insights into research on the gateway theory indicating that marijuana use, similar to nicotine and alcohol use, may be associated with an increased vulnerability to other drugs.

Healthy tissue grafted to brains of Huntington's patients also develops the disease

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 06:33 AM PDT

Healthy human tissue grafted to the brains of patients with Huntington's disease in the hopes of treating the neurological disorder also developed signs of the illness, several years after the graft, a study shows. This discovery will have profound implications on our understanding of the disease and how to treat it, and may also lead to the development of new therapies for neurodegenerative disorders.

Entitlement predicts sexism, in both men and women, study finds

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 06:33 AM PDT

Entitled attitudes appear to be linked to sexism -- even among women, according to a personality study by psychologists. In general, entitled men are more likely to endorse hostile views of women and entitled women are more likely to endorse views of women as frail and needing extra care. The attitudes observed by men have been linked by past research as predictors of violence toward women. Conversely, the attitudes observed by women have been linked to reduction of advancement in education and jobs.

Understanding active pharmaceutical ingredients

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 06:33 AM PDT

Active pharmaceutical ingredient is the term used to refer to the biologically active component of a drug product (e.g. tablet, capsule). Scientists unravel some of the complexities of these ingredients in a new report.

Looking for the best strategy? Ask a chimp

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 05:35 AM PDT

If you're trying to outwit the competition, it might be better to have been born a chimpanzee, according to a new study which found that chimps consistently outperform humans in simple contests drawn from game theory.

Use of gestures reflects language instinct in young children

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 05:34 AM PDT

Young children instinctively use a 'language-like' structure to communicate through gestures. Research suggests when young children are asked to use gestures to communicate, their gestures segment information and reorganize it into language-like sequences. This suggests that children are not just learning language from older generations, their preference for communication has shaped how languages look today.

Elucidating pathogenic mechanism of meningococcal meningitis

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 05:30 AM PDT

Neisseria meningitidis, also called meningococcus, is a bacterium responsible for meningitis and septicemia. Its most serious form, purpura fulminans, is often fatal. This bacterium, which is naturally present in humans in the nasopharynx, is pathogenic if it reaches the blood stream. Teams of scientists have deciphered the molecular events through which meningococci target blood vessels and colonize them. This work opens a path to new therapeutic perspectives for treating vascular problems caused by this type of invasive infection.

Basis of allergic reaction to birch pollen identified

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 05:29 AM PDT

In Austria alone around 400,000 people are afflicted by a birch pollen allergy and its associated food intolerances. Why so many people have allergic reactions to birch pollen has still not been completely explained. It is known that a certain birch pollen protein causes an overreaction of the immune system. Researchers have now discovered what makes this protein an allergen, that is, an allergy trigger.

Doing more means changing less when it comes to gene response, new study shows

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 05:29 AM PDT

The more biological functions a gene has, the less it responds to environmental change, a team of researchers has discovered, based on work focused on thermally-adapted fish populations. "In addition to having important implications for climate change adaptation, these findings could radically change the way we study gene responses to any external stimulus like for example to drug treatments," the authors suggest.

Severe intellectual disability diagnosed by analysis of entire genome

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 05:29 AM PDT

With a new technique, which at once studies the whole genome, a genetic cause can be identified in six out of ten children with severe intellectual disability. This makes the method more successful than all the usual methods together. Moreover, almost all mental impairments are caused by new mutations that have not yet occurred in father or mother.

New research provides better understanding of endometriosis

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 05:29 AM PDT

A mouse model of endometriosis has been developed that produces endometriosis lesions similar to those found in humans, according to a report. This model closely mirrors the human condition as an estrogen-dependent inflammatory disorder, and findings from the study suggest that macrophages present in shed endometrium contribute to the development of the lesions.

Central line bloodstream infections reduced at one hospital

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 05:27 AM PDT

One hospital has achieved a 68 percent decrease in the overall number of central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) over a 12-month period. A two-year study compared the use of disinfection caps to an intense scrub-the-hub intervention to standard care. Scrub-the-hub refers to cleaning catheter connector hubs and injection ports with alcohol for the recommended 15 seconds before accessing the central line, a catheter placed in a large vein to deliver medicine and liquids during hospitalization.

Brain protein may explain depression in pre-menopausal women

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 05:31 PM PDT

Women nearing menopause have higher levels of a brain protein linked to depression than both younger and menopausal women, a new study shows. This finding may explain the high rates of first-time depression seen among women in this transitional stage of life, known as perimenopause. The results suggest new opportunities for prevention, says one researcher.

New antibiotic proven effective to treat acute bacterial skin infections

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 05:31 PM PDT

The antibiotic dalbavancin is as effective as vancomycin, the current standard-of-care antibiotic used to treat serious bacterial skin and skin-structure infections, research shows. The study results establish dalbavancin as a therapy for Staphylococcus aureus infections, including methicillin-resistant S. aureus, or MRSA.

Faster DNA sleuthing saves critically ill boy

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 05:31 PM PDT

A 14-year-old boy's turnaround and quick recovery after mysteriously being stricken by brain-inflaming encephalitis -- which led to him being hospitalized for six weeks and put into a medically induced coma after falling critically ill -- shows that the newest generation of DNA analysis tools can be harnessed to reveal the cause of a life-threatening infection even when physicians have no suspects.

Air pollution linked to irregular heartbeat, lung blood clots

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 05:30 PM PDT

Air pollution is linked to an increased risk of developing an irregular heartbeat -- a risk factor for stroke -- and blood clots in the lung, finds a large study. The evidence suggests that high levels of certain air pollutants are associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular problems, but exactly how this association works has not been clarified.

Divorce may be linked to higher risk of overweight/obesity among kids involved

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 05:30 PM PDT

Divorce may be linked to a higher risk of overweight and obesity among children affected by the marital split, suggests research. These children were 54% more likely to be overweight/obese and 89% more likely to be (abdominally) obese. Children whose parents had never married had a similar prevalence of overweight and obesity to those with married parents.

Sperm size, shape in young men affected by cannabis use

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 05:29 PM PDT

Young men who use cannabis may be putting their fertility at risk by inadvertently affecting the size and shape of their sperm, according to new research. In the world's largest study to investigate how common lifestyle factors influence the size and shape of sperm, a research team found that sperm size and shape was worse in samples ejaculated in the summer months, but was better in men who had abstained from sexual activity for more than six days.

Jump into bounce house safety this summer

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 05:29 PM PDT

Summer block party season is here and that means inflatable bounce houses will be springing up in neighborhoods across the country. As kids jump into this fun summer activity it's important to ensure they are safe.

How high blood pressure in middle age may affect memory in old age

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 05:21 PM PDT

High blood pressure in middle age plays a critical role in whether blood pressure in old age may affect memory and thinking, research shows. The study found that the association of blood pressure in old age to brain measures depended on a history of blood pressure in middle age. Higher systolic and diastolic blood pressure were associated with increased risk of brain lesions and tiny brain bleeds. This was most noticeable in people without a history of high blood pressure in middle age.

Poor health, lifestyle factors linked to memory complaints, even among younger adults

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 05:21 PM PDT

Researchers polled more than 18,000 people about their memory and a variety of lifestyle and health factors previously shown to increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia. They found that many of these risk factors increased the likelihood of self-perceived memory complaints across all adult age groups. The findings may help scientists better identify how early lifestyle and health choices impact memory later in life.

One and done: New antibiotic could provide single-dose option

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 05:20 PM PDT

In the battle against stubborn skin infections, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a new single-dose antibiotic is as effective as a twice-daily infusion given for up to 10 days, according to a large study.

Increase in number of total knee replacement surgeries, especially in younger adults, linked to obesity

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 10:38 AM PDT

The number of total knee replacement surgeries more than tripled between 1993 and 2009, and experts say that this is linked to the increasing rate of obesity in the United States. Previous studies have found a strong link between a higher body mass index (BMI) and knee osteoarthritis. The effects of weight on hip osteoarthritis were less clear. In this study, researchers reviewed at least 10 years of national data (through 2009) on TKR and THR volume, length of hospital stay, in-hospital mortality, and orthopaedic workforce trends.

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