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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

'Frenemy' in Parkinson's disease takes to crowdsourcing

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 02:44 PM PDT

A key neuronal protein called alpha-synuclein normally gathers in synapses, where aggregates of it help regulate neurotransmissions, researchers have found. In overabundance, though, a-synuclein can choke off communication altogether, leading to neuronal death and related diseases.

Single-neuron 'hub' orchestrates activity of an entire brain circuit

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 12:47 PM PDT

New research makes a major contribution to efforts to navigate the brain, offering a precise model of the organization of developing neuronal circuits. If researchers can further identify the cellular type of 'hub neurons,' it may be possible to reproduce them in vitro and transplant them into aged or damaged brain circuitries in order to recover functionality.

Genetic modifier affects colon tumor formation

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 12:47 PM PDT

The adenomatous polyposis coli protein, which protects against colon cancer, has been the focus of recent study. Many experiments involve testing mice with APC mutations, which cause colon cancer, and seeing if any new drug compounds will work against the mutations.

DNA signature found in Ice Storm babies: Prenatal maternal stress exposure to natural disasters predicts epigenetic profile of offspring

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 07:53 AM PDT

The number of days an expectant mother was deprived of electricity during Quebec's Ice Storm in 1998 predicts the epigenetic profile of her child, a new study finds.

Ancient human genome from southern Africa throws light on our origins

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 07:53 AM PDT

The skeleton of a man who lived 2,330 years ago in the southernmost tip of Africa tells us about ourselves as humans, and throws some light on our earliest common genetic ancestry. The man's genome was sequenced and shown to be one of the 'earliest diverged' -- oldest in genetic terms -- found to-date in a region where modern humans are believed to have originated roughly 200,000 years ago.

Harvesting energy from walking around: Shoe insole charges AAA and watch batteries

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 07:52 AM PDT

A device that fits inside a pair of shoes harvests the energy left-over when someone walks. This energy is then stored in AAA or watch batteries.

Trastuzumab should remain as standard of care for HER2-positive breast cancer, trial suggests

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 07:51 AM PDT

Analysis of more than 8,000 women who participated in the world's largest study of two treatments for HER2-positive breast cancer reinforces other findings from the clinical trial showing that trastuzumab (Herceptin) should remain the standard of care for this cancer, says a researcher.

Protein that causes frontotemporal dementia also implicated in Alzheimer's disease

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 06:40 AM PDT

Low levels of the naturally occurring protein progranulin exacerbate cellular and cognitive dysfunction, while raising levels can prevent abnormalities in an Alzheimer's model.

Signature of aging in brain: Researchers suggest that the brain's 'immunological age' is what counts

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 06:38 AM PDT

Evidence of a unique 'signature' that may be the 'missing link' between cognitive decline and aging has been found by researchers. The scientists believe that this discovery may lead, in the future, to treatments that can slow or reverse cognitive decline in older people.

Hand size appears to stay constant, providing natural 'ruler'

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 06:05 AM PDT

People tend to perceive their dominant hand as staying relatively the same size even when it's magnified, lending support to the idea that we use our hand as a constant perceptual 'ruler' to measure the world around us.

new role for estrogen in pathology of breast cancer discovered

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 06:05 AM PDT

A previously unknown mechanism by which estrogen prepares cells to divide, grow and, in the case of estrogen-positive breast cancers, resist cancer drugs, has been discovered in a recent study. The researchers say the work reveals new targets for breast cancer therapy and will help doctors predict which patients need the most aggressive treatment.

Ten year trends reveal more children admitted to intensive care but with lower staffing ratios

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 06:05 AM PDT

More children than ever are being admitted to intensive care units in England and Wales, but there are fewer staff per bed available to cope with the increase, according to a new report.

Self-made billionaires more likely to give than inheritors

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 06:04 AM PDT

Billionaires who have built their own fortunes are more likely to pledge to donate a large portion of their wealth to charities, than those who are heirs to family fortunes, a study has shown. The researchers examined written testaments of wealthy philanthropists who have signed up to The Giving Pledge, a venture which encourages billionaires to donate at least half of their wealth to charitable causes.

Remote healthcare for an aging population

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 06:03 AM PDT

An aging population and an increased incidence of debilitating illnesses such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease means there is pressure on technology to offer assistance with healthcare - monitoring and treatment. Research points to remote monitoring as offering a way to improve patient care and even accelerate medical research.

Investigating 'underground' habitat of Listeria bacteria

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 06:03 AM PDT

The literature describes Listeria as ubiquitous bacteria with widespread occurrence. Yet they only become a problem for humans and animals when they contaminate food processing facilities, multiply, and enter the food chain in high concentrations. An infection with Listeria monocytogenes can even be fatal for humans or animals with weakened immune systems.

Mimicking brain cells to boost computer memory power

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 06:03 AM PDT

Researchers have brought ultra-fast, nano-scale data storage within striking reach, using technology that mimics the human brain. The researchers have built a novel nano-structure that offers a new platform for the development of highly stable and reliable nanoscale memory devices.

Promising results shown with targeted approaches in subsets of non-small cell lung cancer

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 06:03 AM PDT

The BRAF inhibitor dabrafenib has significant anti-tumour activity in patients with advanced BRAF V600E mutant non-small cell lung cancer whose disease has progressed after chemotherapy, according to phase II data.

Mesothelioma: New Findings On Treatment Options

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 06:03 AM PDT

Treating patients with high-dose radiotherapy after chemotherapy and surgery for malignant pleural mesothelioma does not achieve improvements in local relapse and overall survival, according to new data from a prospective randomized phase II trial.

New data on combination treatments for melanoma

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 06:03 AM PDT

Combination therapy with both BRAF inhibitor vemurafenib and MEK inhibitor cobimetinib achieves greater progression-free survival and response rates than vemurafenib plus placebo in BRAF-mutation positive melanoma, according to phase III data.

Nivolumab shows signs of superior response rate compared to standard chemotherapy in advanced melanoma

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 06:03 AM PDT

The monoclonal antibody nivolumab achieves superior response rates and a longer duration of response than standard chemotherapy in patients whose melanoma has progressed after treatment with ipilimumab, according to phase III data.

Asking parents smart questions can help obese kids lose weight

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 06:02 AM PDT

Preventing childhood obesity may begin at home, but there's plenty nurses can do to help parents embrace healthy lifestyle choices, says one expert. For tips about diet and exercise to stick, clinicians need to take the time to interview families about their habits, she adds.

Cells from placentas safe for patients with multiple sclerosis, study shows

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 06:02 AM PDT

Patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) were able to safely tolerate treatment with cells cultured from human placental tissue, according to a study. "This is the first time placenta-derived cells have been tested as a possible therapy for multiple sclerosis," said the lead investigator of the study. "The next step will be to study larger numbers of MS patients to assess efficacy of the cells, but we could be looking at a new frontier in treatment for the disease."

Rare type of pollen observed at record levels in air for first time in forty years in U.K.

Posted: 26 Sep 2014 05:58 AM PDT

Ragweed, which grows in late-summer and early autumn, is one of the most notorious hayfever-causing plants in North America, but is rarely found in the United Kingdom as it requires long-lasting autumns before the first winter frost to grow and survive. Now, record levels have been recorded for the first time in four decades, say researchers, who warn that mild autumn could mean more misery for hayfever sufferers.

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