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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

Increase seen in use of emergency departments by children, regardless of insurance type

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 02:07 PM PDT

In contrast to previous research that documented decreases or no change in children's rates of emergency department use in the 1990s and the early 2000s, an analysis of ED visits by children, adolescents, and young adults in California by insurance status from 2005-2010 found that rates increased across all insurance groups and the uninsured.

Study warns swift action needed to curb exponential climb in Ebola outbreak

Posted: 22 Sep 2014 08:11 AM PDT

Unless Ebola control measures in west Africa are enhanced quickly, experts from the WHO and Imperial College, London, predict numbers will continue to climb exponentially, and more than 20,000 people will have been infected by early November, according to a new article in the New England Journal of Medicine released 6 months after WHO was first notified of the outbreak in west Africa.

Fish oil supplements have little effect on irregular heartbeat

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 01:04 PM PDT

High doses of fish oil supplements, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, do not reduce atrial fibrillation, a common type of irregular heartbeat in which the heart can beat as fast as 150 beats a minute, results from a clinical trial indicate.

Corruption of health care delivery system?

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 12:26 PM PDT

The foundation of evidence-based research has eroded, experts say, and the trend must be reversed so patients and clinicians can make wise shared decisions about their health. Authors of a new report highlight five major problems set against a backdrop of 'obvious corruption.'

New information about how neurons act could lead to brain disorder advancements

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 12:26 PM PDT

Neurons are electrically charged cells, located in the nervous system, that interpret and transmit information using electrical and chemical signals. Now, researchers have determined that individual neurons can react differently to electrical signals at the molecular level and in different ways -- even among neurons of the same type. This variability may be important in discovering underlying problems associated with brain disorders and neural diseases such as epilepsy.

Potential drug that could help treat cystic fibrosis identified by researchers

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 12:25 PM PDT

By screening over 2,000 approved drugs and natural products, scientists have shown that tannic acid may help ease the impact of bacterial lung infections in cystic fibrosis patients. Tests completed using experimentally modified frog oocytes show that tannic acid counteracts the harmful effect of an enzyme produced by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus). However, more research is needed to find out if tannic acid can help treat S. aureus infections in humans.

Immune cells in liver drive fatty liver disease, liver cancer

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 12:25 PM PDT

Immune cells that migrate to the liver and interact there with liver tissue cells get activated by metabolic stress (e.g. through lipids of a high fat diet) and drive the development of fatty liver disease, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and liver cancer. Scientists made this discovery and thus identified the previously unknown mechanism underlying these serious and widespread diseases.

Testing parents' patience, while treating kids' problem behavior

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 11:29 AM PDT

Researchers are studying delay discounting as it applies to parents' decision-making, when it comes to engaging in treatment for their children's problem behavior.

New treatment designed to save more eyes from cancer

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 11:28 AM PDT

A new technique for treating the eye cancer retinoblastoma has been developed to improve the odds for preventing eye loss, blindness or death in children with advanced forms of the disease. The new procedure is credited saving the eyesight of a 4-year-old girl.

Molecular 'breadcrumb trail' that helps melanoma spread found

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 11:27 AM PDT

Melanoma cells are drawn to follow the 'trail' of a naturally-occurring molecule in the body, which directs this serious type of skin cancer to spread, scientists have discovered.

Helping outdoor workers reduce skin cancer risk

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 10:04 AM PDT

Skin cancer is one of the biggest fears for one in two outdoor workers, and when the boss and staff work together the sun safe message gets through, a study has found.

Defective gene renders diarrhea vaccine ineffective

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 10:04 AM PDT

Every year rotavirus causes half a million diarrhea-related deaths amongst children in developing countries. Existing vaccines provide poor protection. The reason could be a widespread genetic resistance amongst children, according to virologists.

Discovery of cellular snooze button advances cancer, biofuel research

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 09:40 AM PDT

The discovery of a cellular snooze button has allowed a team of scientists to potentially improve biofuel production and offer insight on the early stages of cancer.

Scientists create new protein-based material with some nerve

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 09:39 AM PDT

Scientists have taken proteins from nerve cells and used them to create a 'smart' material that is extremely sensitive to its environment. The work could lead to new types of biological sensors, flow valves and controlled drug release systems, they report.

Mediterranean diet, olive oil and nuts can help reverse metabolic syndrome

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 09:39 AM PDT

For people with metabolic syndrome, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts may help reverse the condition, indicate findings from a clinical trial.

Academia can learn from Hollywood, researchers say

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 08:47 AM PDT

While science is increasingly moving in the direction of teamwork and interdisciplinary research, changes need to be made in academia to allow for a more collaborative model to flourish, according to experts.

Uncertain reward more motivating than sure thing, study finds

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 08:47 AM PDT

Researchers compared the time, money and effort that people put into winning a certain reward versus an uncertain reward, and found that the uncertain reward was more motivating.

Size of minority population impacts states' prison rates, study finds

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 08:47 AM PDT

States with a large minority population tend to incarcerate more people, research has concluded. States with large African-American populations are more likely to have harsher incarceration practices, worse conditions of confinement and tougher policies toward juveniles compared with other states. These findings, experts say, provide support for long-standing arguments that the criminal justice system is used as a mechanism for controlling members of the population who are perceived as threats because of race.

How metastases develop in the liver

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 08:47 AM PDT

Most tumors are only fatal if the cancer cells spread in the body and form secondary tumors, known as metastases, in other organs, such as the liver. Scientists have now shown that increased amounts of a particular protein in the liver create favorable conditions for the implantation of cancer cells and thus for the formation of metastases. The researchers have already succeeded in preventing these processes in an animal model.

Dental anxiety leads cause for moderate sedation

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 08:46 AM PDT

Dental anxiety can be so extreme for some patients that a simple cotton swab on the gums makes them flinch. And others, fearful of pain, simply avoid seeing the dentist, according to a new study by dental researchers on when and how to use sedatives during dental procedures.

Teachable moments about climate change

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 07:31 AM PDT

Mapping first-hand experience of extreme weather conditions helps to target climate education efforts. First-hand experience of extreme weather often makes people change their minds about the realities of climate change. That's because people are simply more aware of an extreme weather event the closer they are to its core, and the more intense the incidence is.

Older women more likely to have multiple health conditions

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 06:52 AM PDT

In the context of an aging population, the number of cases of people with multimorbidity, or multiple health conditions, is increasing, creating significant healthcare challenges. Now, the first comprehensive systematic review in this field has found higher levels of multimorbidity in women.

Scientists sniff out unexpected role for stem cells in the brain

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 06:52 AM PDT

For decades, scientists thought that neurons in the brain were born only during the early development period and could not be replenished. More recently, however, they discovered cells with the ability to divide and turn into new neurons in specific brain regions. Scientists now report that newly formed brain cells in the mouse olfactory system -- the area that processes smells -- play a critical role in maintaining proper connections.

Women with high blood pressure get different treatment to men, Swedish research finds

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 06:47 AM PDT

Women who are treated for high blood pressure are not given the same medication as men, nor do they hit the treatment targets as often, reveals new research from Sweden.

More physical activity improved school performance in Swedish study

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 06:47 AM PDT

Just two hours of extra physical activity each week can improve school performance, researchers report. This has been shown by a study of approximately 2,000 twelve-year-olds.

Diet, exercise during pregnancy has hidden benefits

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 06:47 AM PDT

It might not be obvious on the scales, but healthy eating and increased physical activity from walking during pregnancy is directly associated with a range of improved outcomes at birth, according to researchers.

Stenting safe, effective for long-term stroke prevention

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 05:51 AM PDT

Using stents to keep neck arteries open is just as effective as invasive neck surgery for long-term prevention of fatal and disabling strokes, reports an international trial.

Cautious optimism as childhood obesity rates in Ireland plateau

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 05:51 AM PDT

Childhood overweight and obesity rates have plateaued in primary school aged children in the Republic of Ireland, reveals new research. The study found that although obesity rates remain high, there is evidence that they have stabilized and may be beginning to fall.

Fly genome could help improve health, environment

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 05:51 AM PDT

The house fly might be a worldwide pest, but its genome will provide information that could improve our lives. From insights into pathogen immunity, to pest control and decomposing waste, the 691 Mb genome has been sequenced and analyzed by a global consortium of scientists.

Memories of pain during childbirth tied to intensity rather than length of labor

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 05:51 AM PDT

Childbirth is physically intense and, for many women, it is the most painful experience they will have. And yet, new research shows that the amount of time a woman spends in labor doesn't seem to impact how she remembers her labor pain afterwards. The research reveals that the peak and end levels of pain women experienced, and whether they received an epidural, impacted their recall of labor pain afterward.

Factors that may contribute to pancreatic cancer: New insight

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 05:51 AM PDT

New research provides a better understanding of pancreatic cancer, and may help identify individuals at increased risk. Pancreatic cancer is a stealthy cancer that is usually detected at very late stages and has a 5-year survival rate of less than 5 percent.

Chlamydia: New clues behind resilience of leading sexually transmitted pathogen

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 05:51 AM PDT

Factors behind the resilience of the most common sexually transmitted disease in the US, chlamydia, have been explored through new research. Chlamydia affects an estimated 1 million people who are infected.

Teenage baseball pitchers at risk for permanent shoulder injury

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 05:51 AM PDT

Young baseball pitchers who throw more than 100 pitches per week are at risk for a newly identified overuse injury that can impede normal shoulder development and lead to additional problems, including rotator cuff tears, according to a new study.

Personalized treatment for stress-related diabetes

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 05:50 AM PDT

A treatment for type 2 diabetes that targets the disease mechanism itself -- and not just the symptoms -- has been developed by researchers. For the first time, knowledge about the individual patient's genetic risk profile is being used. The treatment completely restores the capacity to secrete insulin, which is impaired by the risk gene.

Autophagy helps fast track stem cell activation

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 05:49 AM PDT

A link between a protective mechanism used by cells and the activation of muscle stem cells has been discovered by researchers. Cells use autophagy to recycle cellular "building blocks" and generate energy during times of nutrient deprivation. The scientists report that when this protective mechanism is operational it also seems to assist in the activation of stem cells.

Soviet fixator heals fractures just as well as pins, screws

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 05:49 AM PDT

The Ilizarov method is routinely used in eastern Europe in the treatment of bone fractures. Studies of patients have shown that the unorthodox steel frame has many advantages over traditional open surgery, opening the way for it to be introduced as an alternative treatment.

Institutional rearing may increase risk for attention-deficit disorder by altering cortical development

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 05:49 AM PDT

Over the past decades, we have seen numerous tragic examples where the failure of institutions to meet the needs of infants for social contact and stimulation has led to the failure of these infants to thrive. Infancy and childhood are critical life periods that shape the development of the cortex. A generation of research suggests that enriched environments, full of interesting stimuli to explore, promote cortical development and cognitive function. In contrast, deprivation and stress may compromise cortical development and attenuate some cognitive functions.

Do cycle lanes increase safety of cyclists from overtaking vehicles?

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 05:38 AM PDT

Cycling is well known to improve individual health and fitness; it also benefits the wider population in terms of economy, road congestion and environmental impact. However, despite benefits outweighing the risks by 20:1, many consider the risk too great and fear of perceived danger on the road needs to be tackled.

Light-activated drug could reduce side effects of diabetes medication

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 05:35 AM PDT

Scientists have created a drug for type 2 diabetes that is switched on by blue light, which they hope will improve treatment of the disease. The drug would be inactive under normal conditions, but a patient could in theory switch it on using blue LEDs stuck to the skin. Only a small amount of light would need to penetrate the skin to change the drug's shape and turn it on. This change is reversible, so the drug switches off again when the light goes off.

Side effects of cancer prevention surgery can be helped with a single-day education program, study finds

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 05:33 AM PDT

More women are having ovary-removing surgery as a cancer prevention measure, but many are often unaware of sexual or psychological side effects of the procedure. A new study shows a half-day educational program can help successfully deal with these issues by educating women on how to address them.

Living near major roads may increase risk of sudden cardiac death in women

Posted: 13 Oct 2014 04:06 PM PDT

Living near a major road was associated with an increased risk of sudden cardiac death in women. Environmental exposure may increase heart disease risk as much as smoking, poor diet or obesity.

Evolution of extreme parasites explained by scientists

Posted: 13 Oct 2014 04:04 PM PDT

Extreme adaptations of species often cause such significant changes that their evolutionary history is difficult to reconstruct. Zoologists have now discovered a new parasite species that represents the missing link between fungi and an extreme group of parasites. Researchers are now able to understand, for the first time, the evolution of these parasites, causing disease in humans and animals.

Guideline offers direction in genetic testing for certain types of muscular dystrophy

Posted: 13 Oct 2014 04:03 PM PDT

A new guideline recommends guidance on how doctors should evaluate the full picture—from symptoms, family history and ethnicity to a physical exam and certain lab test results—in order to determine what genetic tests may best diagnose a person's subtype of limb-girdle or distal muscular dystrophy.

How deadly MERS virus enters human cells

Posted: 13 Oct 2014 04:03 PM PDT

Details of how the deadly Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) enters host cells have been uncovered by researchers. These findings offer possible new avenues for treatment.

Youth sports injury rates examined in study

Posted: 13 Oct 2014 12:26 PM PDT

The patterns of youth sports injury rates, such as top 5 most common sports and recreation injuries, have been explored by researchers. The study suggests that tailoring safety regulations more closely by age could impact the incidence of injury.

New target for personalized brain cancer treatment: PTPRZ-MET fusion protein

Posted: 13 Oct 2014 12:26 PM PDT

A new fusion protein found in approximately 15 percent of secondary glioblastomas or brain tumors has been identified by researchers. The finding offers new insights into the cause of this cancer and provides a therapeutic target for personalized oncologic care.

Oral drug reduces formation of precancerous polyps in colon

Posted: 13 Oct 2014 12:26 PM PDT

Inflammatory cells in the colon, or polyps, are very common after the age of 50. Most are benign, but some will develop into colon cancer. Now, in an animal study, an oral medication has successfully treated chronic, precancerous inflammation in the intestine.

Seven surprising facts about stroke

Posted: 13 Oct 2014 12:26 PM PDT

Here are seven surprising things you may not know about stroke, including how strokes are surprisingly common in young people and U.S. presidents, and how sex can trigger a stroke.

Parents' perception of teens' experiences related to mental health

Posted: 13 Oct 2014 12:26 PM PDT

Adolescents whose parents better understand their daily experiences have better psychological adjustment, suggests a study. "These results provide preliminary evidence that parental accuracy regarding their adolescent's daily experiences may be one specific daily parent factor that plays a role in adolescent health and well-being," according to the study's researchers.

Precise control over genes results from game-changing research

Posted: 13 Oct 2014 12:26 PM PDT

The application of a new, precise way to turn genes on and off within cells is likely to lead to a better understanding of diseases and possibly to new therapies, according to scientists.

World's smallest liver-kidney transplant performed to save toddler's life

Posted: 13 Oct 2014 12:26 PM PDT

A recent case of a baby's liver-kidney transplantation not only saved her life, but has in fact been recognized as the world's smallest transplantation of its kind.

Out-of-step cells spur muscle fibrosis in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy patients

Posted: 13 Oct 2014 11:17 AM PDT

Like a marching band falling out of step, muscle cells fail to perform in unison in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Researchers reveal how this breakdown leads to the proliferation of stiff fibrotic tissue within muscles.

Sustained feedback to doctors may be needed to maintain appropriate antibiotic use in children

Posted: 13 Oct 2014 10:01 AM PDT

A program that provides guidance to primary care physicians about appropriately prescribing antibiotics for children is effective, but its improvements wear off after regular auditing and feedback are discontinued, a study finds.

Treating cancer: Biologists find gene that could stop tumors in their tracks

Posted: 13 Oct 2014 09:30 AM PDT

A gene in a soil amoeba that can overcompensate for the specific mutations of a similar gene has been found by researchers. In humans, those genetic mutations can often lead to tumor growth. Researchers are now looking for a separate human gene that could overcompensate for mutations in the same way.

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