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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

CDC and Texas Health Department confirm first Ebola case diagnosed in the U.S.

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 04:09 PM PDT

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed today, through laboratory tests, the first case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the United States in a person who had traveled to Dallas, Texas from Liberia. The patient did not have symptoms when leaving West Africa, but developed symptoms approximately four days after arriving in the U.S. on Sept. 20.

Improving babies' language skills before they're even old enough to speak

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 02:14 PM PDT

In the first months of life, when babies begin to distinguish sounds that make up language from all the other sounds in the world, they can be trained to more effectively recognize which sounds "might" be language, accelerating the development of the brain maps which are critical to language acquisition and processing, according to new research.

Study uncovers important process for immune system development

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 11:42 AM PDT

Immunologists reveals new information about how our immune system functions, shedding light on a vital process that determines how the body's ability to fight infection develops.

Disease decoded: Gene mutation may lead to development of new cancer drugs

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 11:42 AM PDT

The discovery of a gene mutation that causes a rare premature aging disease could lead to the development of drugs that block the rapid, unstoppable cell division that makes cancer so deadly, researchers report.

Memory loss associated with Alzheimer's reversed: Small trial succeeds using systems approach to memory disorders

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 11:34 AM PDT

In the first, small study of a novel, personalized and comprehensive program to reverse memory loss, nine of 10 participants displayed subjective or objective improvement in their memories beginning within three to six months after the program's start.

Depression increasing across the United States

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 10:28 AM PDT

Americans are more depressed now than they have been in decades, a recent study shows. Analyzing data from 6.9 million adolescents and adults from all over the country, researchers found that Americans now report more psychosomatic symptoms of depression, such as trouble sleeping and trouble concentrating, than their counterparts in the 1980s.

High-speed drug screen developed

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 10:27 AM PDT

Engineers have devised a way to rapidly test hundreds of different drug-delivery vehicles in living animals, making it easier to discover promising new ways to deliver a class of drugs called biologics, which includes antibodies, peptides, RNA, and DNA, to human patients.

How to predict who will suffer the most from stress

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 10:27 AM PDT

New research has found a way to identify those most susceptible to stress. That's a huge help for health-care professionals working to stop stress before it gets out of control. "By pinpointing those in the general population who are most vulnerable to stress, we can intervene before they hit the breaking point -- and hopefully prevent the negative consequences of stress by doing so. That's why it's important to have an objective diagnostic tool like this one," a researcher says.

Longitudinal report shows challenging reality of aging with an intellectual disability

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 10:27 AM PDT

The serious, complex and unique health and social challenges facing Ireland's intellectual disability population are outlined in a new report. The study is the first study of its kind in Europe and the only one in the world with the ability to compare the aging of people with intellectual disability directly with the general aging population.

Medications are main culprit of allergic deaths in U.S., comprehensive study finds

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 10:25 AM PDT

Medications are the leading cause of allergy-related sudden deaths in the U.S., according to an analysis of death certificates from 1999 to 2010. The study also found that the risk of fatal drug-induced allergic reactions was particularly high among older people and African-Americans and that such deaths increased significantly in the U.S. in recent years.

A heartbeat away? Hybrid 'patch' could replace transplants

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 08:34 AM PDT

Because heart cells cannot multiply and cardiac muscles contain few stem cells, heart tissue is unable to repair itself after a heart attack. Now researchers are literally setting a new gold standard in cardiac tissue engineering, using gold particles to increase the conductivity of biomaterials.

Potential biomarker to detect SCID (severe combined immunodeficiency)

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 08:33 AM PDT

A genetic disease called SCID -- short for severe combined immunodeficiency -- forces patients to breathe filtered air and avoid human contact because their bodies cannot fight germs. Now, using a mouse model, researchers describe a potential biomarker to detect SCID.

Synthetic sperm protein raises the chance for successful in vitro fertilization

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 08:32 AM PDT

Having trouble getting pregnant -- even with in vitro fertilization? Here's some hope: A new research report explains how scientists developed a synthetic version of a sperm-originated protein which induced embryo development in human and mouse eggs similar to the natural triggering of embryo development by the sperm cell during fertilization.

New blood test determines whether you have or are likely to get cancer

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 08:32 AM PDT

Early detection and the risk assessment of cancer as easy as a simple blood test, a new study suggests. "A blood test to detect cancer and determine one's risk for cancer is a game-changer," said one expert. "A test like this -- which is sophisticated in design and simple to perform -- could make effective cancer screening available in places where traditional medical technology might not be available."

Scientists identify which genes are active in muscles of men, women

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 08:31 AM PDT

If you want your doctor to know what goes wrong with your muscles because of age, disease or injury, it's a good idea to know what 'normal' actually is. That's where a new research report comes in, authors explain.

Adolescent exposure to THC may cause immune systems to go up in smoke

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 08:31 AM PDT

When it comes to using marijuana, new research involving mice suggests that just because you can do it, doesn't mean that you should. That's because a team of scientists have found that using marijuana in adolescence may do serious long-term damage to the immune system.

Bacteria may have ability to reduce impact of diazepam on UK river environments

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 08:31 AM PDT

A reaction pathway that could reduce the potentially harmful impact of diazepam and similar chemicals on the UK's freshwater environment has been discovered by researchers. Diazepam -- used to treat anxiety and other similar conditions -- has been detected in rivers across the UK and Europe, having been released from waste water treatment plants. At the levels recorded, it has the potential to produce harmful ecological effects in surface waters, including changing the behavior of fish shoals and their ability to sense danger from predators.

Gender equality leads to more Olympic medals for men, women

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 08:20 AM PDT

Gender equality boosts a country's Olympic medal count for both women and men, shows a new study. Researchers compared a country's tendency toward sexual equality with its medal counts from the London 2012 Olympic Games and the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Countries with greater parity -- particularly for measures of educational equality -- had more women and men reach the podium.

Breakthrough study discovers six changing faces of 'global killer' bacteria

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 08:19 AM PDT

Every ten seconds a human being dies from pneumococcus infection, making it the leading cause of serious illness across the globe. New research discovers six unique states of pneumococcus, which may help in the development of tailored vaccines.

Ebola: New therapies to combat virus

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 08:14 AM PDT

New human antibody therapies have been developed for people exposed to the deadly Ebola and Marburg viruses, researchers report. Researchers are using a high-efficiency method to isolate and generate large quantities of human antibodies from the blood of people who have survived Ebola and Marburg infections and who are now healthy. No live virus is used, they say.

Genomic data could help doctors know whether to prescribe statins

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 06:06 AM PDT

Genomic data could predict whether statins will benefit a patient or not, according to a new article. The research suggests that genomic data alone can explain around 15 percent of patients' responses to a cholesterol-lowering statin, and further studies could increase the accuracy of these predictions.

Alcohol makes smiles more 'contagious,' but only for men

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 06:06 AM PDT

Consuming an alcoholic beverage may make men more responsive to the smiles of others in their social group, according to new research. The findings suggest that, for men, alcohol increases sensitivity to rewarding social behaviors like smiling, and may shed light on risk factors that contribute to problem drinking among men.

Endoscopists recommend frequent colonoscopies, leading to its overuse, study finds

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 06:06 AM PDT

An overuse of colonoscopies for colorectal cancer screening and surveillance has been identified by a retrospective study. The study demonstrated that endoscopists commonly recommended shorter follow-up intervals than established guidelines support, and these recommendations were strongly correlated with subsequent colonoscopy overuse.

High-dose vitamin D for ICU patients who are vitamin D deficient does not improve outcomes

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 06:06 AM PDT

Administration of high-dose vitamin D3 compared with placebo did not reduce hospital length of stay, intensive care unit length of stay, hospital mortality, or the risk of death at 6 months among patients with vitamin D deficiency who were critically ill, according to a study.

Gut bacteria promote obesity in mice

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 06:06 AM PDT

A species of gut bacteria called Clostridium ramosum, coupled with a high-fat diet, may cause animals to gain weight, researchers report. They observed that mice harboring human gut bacteria including C. ramosum gained weight when fed a high-fat diet. Mice that did not have C. ramosum were less obese even when consuming a high-fat diet, and mice that had C. ramosum but consumed a low-fat diet also stayed lean.

New learning mechanism for individual nerve cells

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 06:05 AM PDT

Learning is based on the strengthening or weakening of the contacts between the nerve cells in the brain -- this has been the traditional understanding. However, this has been challenged by new research findings. These indicate that there is also a third mechanism -- a kind of clock function that gives individual nerve cells the ability to time their reactions.

Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids linked to reduced risk of coronary heart disease

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 06:04 AM PDT

Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, a recent study has found. The sources of polyunsaturated fatty acids include fish, vegetable oils, and nuts. The present study shows, in line with earlier research, that the risk of cardiovascular diseases can be reduced by replacing saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats.

Cancer therapy: Driving cancer cells to suicide

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 06:04 AM PDT

A new class of chemical compounds makes cancer cells more sensitive to chemotherapeutic drugs, researchers report. They have also pinpointed the relevant target enzyme, thus identifying a new target for anti-tumor agents.

First evidence that reptiles can learn through imitation

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 06:04 AM PDT

New research has for the first time provided evidence that reptiles could be capable of social learning through imitation. The ability to acquire new skills through the 'true imitation' of others' behavior is thought to be unique to humans and advanced primates, such as chimpanzees.  

Safer than silver: Antibacterial material made with algae

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 06:03 AM PDT

Consumers concerned about safety of silver ions in antibacterial and odor-free clothing will soon have a proven safe alternative thanks to ultra-thin thread and a substance found naturally in red algae.

Genetic test would help cut bowel cancer spread, research suggests

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 06:03 AM PDT

Screening families of patients with bowel cancer for a genetic condition would cut their risk of developing bowel, womb, and ovarian cancers, new research has found. "It's critical that more lives are saved by ensuring people gain access to the screening surveillance they need, so that bowel cancer can be ruled out first, not last, in younger patients," researchers note.

Development models put to the test: Low birth weight children are particularly vulnerable to environmental influences

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 06:03 AM PDT

Low birth weight children are more vulnerable to environmental influences than infants born with normal weight. When brought up with a great deal of sensitivity, they will be able to catch up in school, but on average they will not become better students than normal birth weight children. This result, provided by an international psychologist team, has confirmed the so-called diathesis-stress model of development for low birth weight populations.

Selectively rewiring brain's circuitry to treat depression

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 06:03 AM PDT

On Star Trek, it is easy to take for granted the incredible ability of futuristic doctors to wave small devices over the heads of both humans and aliens, diagnose their problems through evaluating changes in brain activity or chemistry, and then treat behavior problems by selectively stimulating relevant brain circuits. While that day is a long way off, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex does treat symptoms of depression in humans by placing a relatively small device on a person's scalp and stimulating brain circuits.

Asthma symptoms kicking up? Check your exposure to air pollution

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 06:01 AM PDT

A woman who suffers from asthma has been the subject of a recent case study. She, along with her doctor, realized that by changing her bike route to and from work every day, she can cut down on the pollution to which she's exposed, thereby improving her asthma symptoms.

New discovery approach accelerates identification of potential cancer treatments

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 06:01 AM PDT

A new approach to discovering potential cancer treatments has been described by researchers that requires a fraction of the time needed for more traditional methods. The researchers have used their method to identify an antibody that stops breast cancer tumor growth in animal models, and they are investigating the antibody as a potential treatment in humans.

An apple a day could keep obesity away

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 03:11 PM PDT

Nondigestible compounds in apples -- specifically, Granny Smith apples -- may help prevent disorders associated with obesity, scientists have concluded. "We know that, in general, apples are a good source of these nondigestible compounds but there are differences in varieties," said the study's lead researcher. "Results from this study will help consumers to discriminate between apple varieties that can aid in the fight against obesity."

Brief depression questionnaires could lead to unnecessary antidepressant prescriptions

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 03:05 PM PDT

Short questionnaires used to identify patients at risk for depression are linked with antidepressant medications being prescribed when they may not be needed, according to new research. Known as "brief depression symptom measures," the self-administered questionnaires are used in primary care settings to determine the frequency and severity of depression symptoms among patients.

Higher nurse-to-patient standard improves staff safety, study shows

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 03:05 PM PDT

A 2004 California law mandating specific nurse-to-patient staffing standards in acute care hospitals significantly lowered job-related injuries and illnesses for both registered nurses and licensed practical nurses, according to research.

'Deadly diarrhea' rates nearly doubled in 10 years: Study

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 03:05 PM PDT

Infections with the intestinal superbug C. difficile nearly doubled from 2001 to 2010 in US hospitals without noticeable improvement in patient mortality rates or hospital lengths of stay, according to a study of 2.2 million C. difficile infection cases.

Childhood asthma linked to lack of ventilation for gas stoves

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 03:05 PM PDT

Parents with children at home should use ventilation when cooking with a gas stove, researchers are recommending, after a new study showed an association between gas kitchen stove ventilation and asthma, asthma symptoms and chronic bronchitis.

Chefs at schools can increase school meal participation, vegetable intake among students

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 03:04 PM PDT

Gourmet pizza in school? According to a new pilot study, chef-made meals can increase participation in the National School Lunch Program by 9 percent and overall selection and consumption of vegetables by 16 percent.

Self-compassion key to positive body image, coping

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 03:04 PM PDT

Women who accept and tolerate their imperfections appear to have a more positive body image despite their body mass index and are better able to handle personal disappointments and setbacks in their daily lives. Research has found that this self-compassion might be an important means to increase positive body image and protect girls and young women against unhealthy weight-control practices and eating disorders.

Sweat-eating bacteria may improve skin health

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 03:00 PM PDT

Bacteria that metabolize ammonia, a major component of sweat, may improve skin health and some day could be used for the treatment of skin disorders, such as acne or chronic wounds. Human volunteers using the bacteria reported better skin condition and appearance compared with a placebo control group.

Healthy fats help diseased heart muscle process, use fuel

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 03:00 PM PDT

Oleate, a common dietary fat found in olive oil, restored proper metabolism of fuel in an animal model of heart failure, researchers report. Heart failure affects nearly 5 million Americans, and more than half a million new cases are diagnosed each year. Heart failure is not the same as having a heart attack -- it is a chronic disease state where the heart becomes enlarged, or hypertrophic, in response to chronic high blood pressure which requires it to work harder to pump blood.

Use of broad-spectrum antibiotics before age 2 associated with obesity risk

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 03:00 PM PDT

The use of broad-spectrum antibiotics by children before the age of 24 months was associated with increased risk of obesity in early childhood, a study concludes. The authors used electronic health records spanning from 2001 to 2013 from a network of primary care clinics. All children with annual visits at ages 0 to 23 months, as well as one or more visit at ages 24 to 59 months were enrolled. The final group included 64,580 children. Children were followed-up until they were 5 years old.

Sleep twitches light up the brain

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 12:39 PM PDT

A new study finds twitches during rapid eye movement sleep comprise a different class of movement, which researchers say is further evidence that sleep twitches activate circuits throughout the developing brain and teach newborns about their limbs and what they can do with them.

Transplant drug could boost power of brain tumor treatments, study finds

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 12:39 PM PDT

Every day, organ transplant patients around the world take a drug called rapamycin to keep their immune systems from rejecting their new kidneys and hearts. New research suggests that the same drug could help brain tumor patients by boosting the effect of new immune-based therapies.

What makes a song sing? Backup singers

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 12:39 PM PDT

What made Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" a No. 1 hit on Billboard's Hot 100 in 1983, and other songs, like Madonna's 1999 "Nothing Really Matters," flounder at 90 or below? New research suggests that back-up singers may finally be getting their due.

Liver gene therapy corrects heart symptoms in model of rare enzyme disorder

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 12:39 PM PDT

Researchers examined systemic delivery of a vector to replace the enzyme IDUA, which is deficient in patients with a rare enzyme deficiency disorder. The works describes how an injection of a vector expressing the IDUA enzyme to the liver can prevent most of the systemic manifestations of the disease, including those found in the heart.

Spastic paraplegia: New light shed on cause

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 12:39 PM PDT

A gene mutation linked to hereditary spastic paraplegia, a disabling neurological disorder, interferes with the normal breakdown of triglyceride fat molecules in the brain, scientists have found. The researchers found large droplets of triglycerides within the neurons of mice modeling the disease.

New clues revealed to understand brain stimulation

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 12:39 PM PDT

Brain networks -- the interconnected pathways that link brain circuits to one another -- can help guide site selection for brain stimulation therapies, a new study suggests. Over the past several decades, brain stimulation has become an increasingly important treatment option for a number of psychiatric and neurological conditions.

Acetate supplements speed up red blood cell production, anemia research shows

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 10:35 AM PDT

Researchers seeking novel treatments for anemia found that giving acetate, the major component of household vinegar, to anemic mice stimulated the formation of new red blood cells.

Calling 9-1-1 can be the difference between life and death, new study reconfirms

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 10:35 AM PDT

It's a simple message: call 911 at the first warning signs of a heart attack. Unfortunately, many still choose to either drive to the hospital, or wait to see if the symptoms disappear. New research reconfirms relying on emergency medical services helps heart attack patients avoid delays and expedite treatment.

Decision to reintroduce aprotinin in cardiac surgery may put patients at risk

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 09:40 AM PDT

Cardiac surgery patients may be at risk because of the decision by Health Canada and the European Medicines Agency to reintroduce the use of aprotinin after its withdrawal from the worldwide market in 2007, assert the authors of a previous major trial that found a substantially increased risk of death associated with the drug.

New way to detox? 'Gold of Pleasure' oilseed boosts liver detoxification enzymes

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 09:40 AM PDT

Scientists have found compounds that boost liver detoxification enzymes nearly fivefold, and they've found them in a pretty unlikely place -- the crushed seeds left after oil extraction from an oilseed crop used in jet fuel. Oilseed crops, including rapeseed, canola, and camelina, contain some of the same bioactive ingredients -- namely, glucosinolates and flavonoids -- found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables.

Unlocking enzyme synthesis of rare sugars to create drugs with fewer side effects

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 09:39 AM PDT

The enzymatic synthesis process of rare sugars, which are useful in developing drugs with low side effects using a process more friendly to the environment, has been unlocked by researchers. Rare sugars have important commercial and biomedical applications as precursors for the synthesis of different antiviral and anti-cancer drugs with fewer side effects.

Quest continues for peanut that won't cause allergic reaction

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 09:39 AM PDT

A food scientist has removed 80 percent of allergens from whole peanuts, moving him a step closer to eliminating 99.9 percent of peanut allergens. For the study, researchers used a pulsating light system to direct concentrated bursts of light to modify the peanut allergenic proteins. That way, they say, human antibodies can't recognize them as allergens and begin to release histamines.

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