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Friday, October 17, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

Cellular self-destruct program has deep roots throughout evolution

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 04:28 PM PDT

In what seems like a counter-intuitive move against survival, within animals, some cells are fated to die from the triggering of an elaborate cell death program, known as apoptosis. Now, researchers have honed in on understanding the evolution of caspase-8, a key cell death initiator molecule that was first identified in humans.

Blood Test Helps Predict Relapse in Patients with Autoimmune Disease Affecting the Kidneys

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 04:27 PM PDT

Among patients with an autoimmune disease called ANCA-associated vasculitis, autoantibody increases were linked with an 11-fold increased risk of relapse in patients whose kidneys were affected, a study concludes. Among patients without kidney involvement, such increases were associated only weakly with relapses.

How a molecular Superman protects genome from damage

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 02:06 PM PDT

A new role for the RNAi protein Dicer has been found in preserving genomic stability. Researchers discovered that Dicer helps prevent collisions during DNA replication by freeing transcription machinery from active genes. Without Dicer function, transcription and replication machinery collide, leading to DNA damage and massive changes across the genome – changes that are associated with aging and cancer.

Sugared soda consumption, cell aging associated in new study

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 01:59 PM PDT

Sugar-sweetened soda consumption might promote disease independently from its role in obesity, according to UC San Francisco researchers who found in a new study that drinking sugary drinks was associated with cell aging.

I have to walk how many miles to burn off this soda?

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 01:59 PM PDT

Adolescents who saw printed signs explaining the number of miles they would need to walk to burn off the calories in a sugary drink were more likely to leave the store with a lower calorie beverage, a healthier beverage or a smaller size beverage, according to new research.

Modeling tumor dormancy: What makes a tumor switch from dormant to malignant?

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 11:40 AM PDT

A new computational model may help illuminate the conditions surrounding tumor dormancy and the switch to a malignant state. The so-called cellular automaton model simulated various scenarios of tumor growth leading to tumor suppression, dormancy or proliferation.

'Paradigm shift' in understanding of potassium channels

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 11:40 AM PDT

A new discovery relating to one of the most common processes in human cells is being described as a 'paradigm shift' in understanding. Researchers have observed ion permeation in potassium channels which does not follow previously predicted pathways.

Scientists find 'hidden brain signatures' of consciousness in vegetative state patients

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 11:37 AM PDT

Scientists in Cambridge have found hidden signatures in the brains of people in a vegetative state, which point to networks that could support consciousness even when a patient appears to be unconscious and unresponsive. The study could help doctors identify patients who are aware despite being unable to communicate.

Myelin vital for learning new practical skills

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 11:37 AM PDT

New evidence of myelin's essential role in learning and retaining new practical skills, such as playing a musical instrument, has been uncovered by research. Myelin is a fatty substance produced by the brain and spinal cord into early adulthood as it is needed for many developmental processes, and although earlier studies of human white matter hinted at its involvement in skill learning, this is the first time it has been confirmed experimentally.

New front in war on Alzheimer's, other protein-linked brain diseases

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 11:36 AM PDT

Proteins must fold into the right 3-D structure to work, and the body produces many chaperone molecules to refold misfolded proteins. Heat shock boosts the number of these chaperones. Research now shows that, equally important, heat shock also boosts a protein that stabilizes actin, the building block of the cytoskeleton. This opens new avenues for therapies to prevent protein misfolding and its associated diseases -- Alzheimer's, Huntington's and Parkinson's.

Staph 'gangs' share nutrients during infection

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 11:09 AM PDT

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria can share resources to cause chronic infections, investigators have discovered. Like the individual members of a gang who might be relatively harmless alone, they turn deadly when they get together with their 'friends.' The findings shed light on a long-standing question in infectious diseases and may inform new treatment strategies.

Personalized ovarian cancer vaccines developed

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 11:09 AM PDT

New genomic analysis techniques were used by researchers to identify specific protein sequences, called epitopes, that the immune system can use to identify cancer cells. Their key insight was that the most effective epitopes to include in a personalized vaccine are not those that react most strongly with the immune system, but rather the epitopes that differ most from the host's normal tissue.

Diabetic men with low testosterone run higher risk of developing atherosclerosis

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 11:08 AM PDT

Men who have low testosterone and Type 2 diabetes face a greater risk of developing atherosclerosis – a condition where plaque builds up in the arteries – than men who have diabetes and normal testosterone levels, according to a new study.

Resveratrol boosts spinal bone density in men with metabolic syndrome

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 11:08 AM PDT

Resveratrol, a natural compound found in red wine and grapes, increased spinal bone density in men with metabolic syndrome and could hold promise as a treatment for osteoporosis, according to a new study.

Simple test may predict surgical wound healing complications

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 10:28 AM PDT

A simple test called transcutaneous oximetry may be able to predict which patients with soft tissue sarcomas will experience complications while healing from surgery, potentially enabling surgeons to take extra precautions, a study has found.

Cadavers beat computers for learning anatomy

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 09:36 AM PDT

Despite the growing popularity of using computer simulation to help teach college anatomy, students learn much better through the traditional use of human cadavers, according to new research.

Survey: Texans share lessons learned as second enrollment period of ACA health insurance nears

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 09:36 AM PDT

While most Texans used earlier this year to get information or to enroll in a health insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), larger percentages of Texans found talking to the call center or a navigator was the most helpful. Those are just some of the lessons learned.

First-ever patient care guidelines in prevention of acute exacerbations of COPD

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 09:36 AM PDT

Leading lung health organizations release the first-ever evidence-based patient care guidelines in prevention of acute exacerbations of COPD.

Stem cells discovered in the esophagus

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 09:36 AM PDT

Despite previous indications to the contrary, the esophagus does have its own pool of stem cells, say researchers. The findings could lead to new insights into the development and treatment of esophageal cancer and the precancerous condition known as Barrett's esophagus.

MicroRNA molecules serve as on/off switches for inflammation

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 09:36 AM PDT

Two microRNA molecules that control chronic inflammation have been found by researchers, a discovery that one day may help researchers prevent certain fatal or debilitating conditions before they start.

Myth-conceptions: How myths about the brain are hampering teaching

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 09:36 AM PDT

Myths about the brain are common among teachers worldwide and are hampering teaching, according to new research. The report highlights several areas where new findings from neuroscience are becoming misinterpreted by education, including brain-related ideas regarding early educational investment, adolescent brain development and learning disorders such as dyslexia and ADHD.

Are male brains wired to ignore food for sex? Nematode study points to basic biological mechanisms

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 09:35 AM PDT

Choosing between two good things can be tough. When animals must decide between feeding and mating, it can get even trickier. In a discovery that might ring true even for some humans, researchers have shown that male brains -- at least in nematodes -- will suppress the ability to locate food in order to instead focus on finding a mate.

Human cancer prognosis related to newly identified immune cell

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 09:35 AM PDT

A newly discovered population of immune cells in tumors is associated with less severe cancer outcomes in humans, and may have therapeutic potential, according to a new study of 3,600 human tumors of 12 types, as well as mouse experiments.

Male and female brains aren't equal when it comes to fat

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 09:35 AM PDT

Researchers have found that male and female brains respond in remarkably different ways to high-fat meals. Those differences in the brain lead to greater inflammation and increased health risks in males that indulge on fatty foods in comparison to females, a new study in mice shows. The findings may help to explain observed differences in obesity outcomes between women and men and suggest that dietary advice should be made more sex-specific.

Human genetic research uncovers how omega-6 fatty acids lower bad cholesterol

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 09:35 AM PDT

Research based on the genetic information from over 100,000 individuals of European ancestry has uncovered a gene that affects blood cholesterol levels through the generation of a compound from omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, called lipoxins. The new study also provides additional evidence that aspirin assists in preventing heart attacks by promoting lipoxin production. These insights could change the way doctors care for patients at increased risk for heart disease.

Jet lag can cause obesity by disrupting the daily rhythms of gut microbes

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 09:35 AM PDT

Organisms ranging from bacteria to humans have circadian clocks to help them synchronize their biological activities to the time of day. A study now reveals that gut microbes in mice and humans have circadian rhythms that are controlled by the biological clock of the host in which they reside. Disruption of the circadian clock in the host alters the rhythms and composition of the microbial community, leading to obesity and metabolic problems.

School, job failure may increase drug users' risks of suffering fatal overdose

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 09:33 AM PDT

For the first time, researchers have found that problem drug users with less successful educational and employment careers are more likely to die of an overdose. Moreover, there is no link between parents' professional status and the likelihood that their problem drug-using child will die from an overdose.

Trigger for crucial immune system cell identified

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 09:32 AM PDT

The long-sought activating molecules for a rare but crucial subset of immune system cells that help rally other white blood cells to fight infection have been identified by researchers.

Brain's compass relies on geometric relationships, say researchers

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 08:20 AM PDT

The brain has a complex system for keeping track of which direction you are facing as you move about; remembering how to get from one place to another would otherwise be impossible. Researchers have now shown how the brain anchors this mental compass. Their findings provide a neurological basis for something that psychologists have long observed about navigational behavior: people use geometrical relationships to orient themselves.

Executive scandal hurts job prospects even for entry-level employees

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 08:20 AM PDT

There's more bad news for job seekers with a scandal-hit company like Lehman Brothers or Countrywide Mortgage on their résumés. As if it weren't already hard enough to get a new job in this market, people who worked for those companies have tarnished reputations to overcome: New research finds that moral suspicion from higher-ups' wrongdoing spills down to people lower in an organization, even if they did not work directly under the moral transgressor.

Renewing health insurance should take more than 15 minutes, specialist says

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 08:18 AM PDT

Renewing health insurance is more complicated than simply choosing the same plan year after year because plans change annually, a community health specialist says.

Cryptic clues drive new theory of bowel cancer development

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 07:04 AM PDT

Researchers have challenged conventional thinking on how the bowel lining develops and, in the process, suggested a new mechanism for how bowel cancer starts. The researchers produced evidence that stem cells are responsible for maintaining and regenerating the 'crypts' that are a feature of the bowel lining, and believe these stem cells are involved in bowel cancer development, a controversial finding as scientists are still divided on the stem cells' existence.

Oh, brother! Having a sibling makes boys selfless, study suggests

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 07:04 AM PDT

A study found that siblings uniquely promote sympathy and altruism. Boys and girls benefited equally -- a surprise since girls generally benefit more from friendships. However, researchers found that hostile relationship with a sibling made boys more likely to have behavior problems.

Pre-eclampsia may be caused by the fetus, not the placenta, says expert

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 07:03 AM PDT

Pre-eclampsia, the potentially deadly condition that affects pregnant women, may be caused by problems meeting the oxygen demands of the growing fetus, according to experts. The researchers believe that pregnancy is uneventful in women who are able to maintain a sustained, balanced oxygen supply to meet the changing metabolic demands of the fetus. It is when a woman has a reduced capacity to provide oxygen to the fetus that it can become deadly to the mother and baby.

Mild traumatic brain injury can have lasting effects for families

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 07:02 AM PDT

Families of patients with mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) may expect them to return to normal quickly — after all, it's "just a concussion." But mild TBI can have a lasting impact on families as well as patients, according to research.

Ebola highlights disparity of disease burden in developed vs. developing countries

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 05:59 AM PDT

A recent study shows Ebola and other diseases with skin manifestations have rates that are hundreds of times higher in developing than in developed countries. The study highlights the need for disease monitoring even when the global burden of disease remains low.

Older adults satisfied with aging more likely to seek health screenings

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 05:58 AM PDT

Adults over 50 who feel comfortable about aging are more proactive in getting preventive health care services, a new study has found. For women, they received a mammogram/X-ray or pap smear with greater frequency. Men made medical appointments more often to get a prostate exam, the study showed.

Some rice-based foods for people with celiac disease contain relevant amounts of arsenic

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 05:57 AM PDT

Rice is one of the few cereal grains consumed by people with celiac disease, as it does not contain gluten. However, it can have high concentrations of a toxic substance - arsenic - as revealed by the analyses of flour, cakes, bread, pasta and other foods made with rice, research shows. This is important for those suffering from celiac disease, which affects almost 1% of the population of the western world. These people cannot tolerate gluten and are thus obliged to consume products without it, such as rice.

Neglected tropical diseases: Looking at Ebola through a different lens

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 05:56 AM PDT

The current Global Ebola crisis presents a multitude of challenges in terms of our capacity to respond; the future is even less predictable. Statements from the World Bank President and the Director General of WHO highlight the potential devastation of Ebola: its long term economic and social impact and the reasons for the epidemic spread - the neglect of the health services and lack of human capacity.

New way to lose weight: Scientists stimulate brown fat to burn more energy from food

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 05:56 AM PDT

The number of overweight persons is greatly increasing worldwide - and as a result is the risk of suffering a heart attack, stroke, diabetes or Alzheimer's disease. For this reason, many people dream of an efficient method for losing weight. Scientists have now come one step closer to this goal. The scientists discovered a new way to stimulate brown fat and thus burn energy from food: The body's own adenosine activates brown fat and "browns" white fat.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus: New perspectives for development of a vaccine

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 05:54 AM PDT

Respiratory Syncytial Virus causes severe respiratory tract infections and worldwide claims the lives of 160,000 children each year. Scientists have succeeded in developing a promising vaccination strategy to counteract this common virus infection. "We discovered a new vaccination strategy that paves the way for the development of a novel approach to vaccination against RSV, a virus that causes suffering in numerous small children and elderly people," experts report.

Diabetic sweetener obtained from tropical tree

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 05:54 AM PDT

Mexican students obtained an ideal product for patients with diabetes

Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy: Learning more

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 05:54 AM PDT

Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) is concerning and many — even those with seizure disorders — may not be aware of this condition. New research reports that 76% of caregivers are more likely to have heard of SUDEP compared with 65% of patients with epilepsy. The lead author of a new study says, "When someone with epilepsy dies suddenly we want to understand why. Our research calls attention to SUDEP and provides important knowledge to help neurologists have open discussions with patients, especially those at greatest risk of epilepsy–related death."

e-healthcare may help reverse trend of high cardiovascular disease, obesity in China

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 06:08 PM PDT

The use of electronic health care services (versus more traditional methods) to reduce the high incidence of heart disease in China will be debated by leading cardiologists from around the world. "Clearly there is an urgent need to do something to reverse the trend in China where one in five people have cardiovascular disease and smoking and obesity are major issues," said one expert.

Ovarian cancer: New test can help doctors choose best treatment

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 06:08 PM PDT

A new test to help doctors diagnose ovarian tumors and choose the most appropriate treatment has been devised by researchers. Successful treatment depends in part on accurately identifying the type of tumor, but this can be difficult. The new test can discriminate between benign and malignant tumors, and identify different types of malignant tumor, with a high level of accuracy.

Adenocarcinoma: UK tops global league table for gullet cancer in men

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 04:08 PM PDT

The UK tops the international league table for a type of gullet (oesophageal) cancer, known as adenocarcinoma, in men, reveals a comprehensive estimate of the total number of new cases around the globe in 2012. Worldwide, men are around four times as likely as women to develop the disease, the findings show.

Giving physicians immunity from malpractice claims does not reduce 'defensive medicine'

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 04:08 PM PDT

Conventional wisdom says that a lot of medical care in the United States is 'defensive medicine' prescribed because doctors want to protect themselves from the risk of malpractice lawsuits. But a new study that examines three states where emergency room doctors were given immunity from malpractice claims finds that such protections do little to reduce the cost of medical care.

Use of Intensive Medical Services for Ovarian Cancer Patients at End of Life Increases Despite Rise in Use of Hospice

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 04:06 PM PDT

As more patients choose to spend their final days and weeks in hospice care rather than a hospital, the hope is the use of intensive and costly hospital services would decline. A new study shows that for one group of terminally ill cancer patients, that is not what is happening. Authors suggest that many patients received aggressive treatments while in the hospital, and resorted to hospice care as an "add-on" when those treatments fail, the authors write.

How closely do urologists adhere to AUA guidelines?

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 01:52 PM PDT

Evidence-based guidelines play an increasing role in setting standards for medical practice and quality but are seldom systematically evaluated in the practice setting. Investigators evaluated the rate of physician adherence to the American Urological Association's guidelines on the management of benign prostatic hyperplasia/lower urinary tract symptoms to establish a benchmark for future research.

Weight gain study suggests polyunsaturated oil healthier option

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 01:52 PM PDT

Rapid weight gain from eating foods rich in saturated fats quickly increased bad cholesterol levels, even in otherwise healthy and normal-weight adults in their mid-20s. The opposite was true in those who ate products made with polyunsaturated fats, even though they gained equal weight in the same amount of time.

Why me? Many women living in poverty blame children, love life

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 12:25 PM PDT

Having had children -- particularly early in life -- and a dysfunctional romantic relationship are the two most frequently cited reasons when low-income mothers are asked about why they find themselves in poverty, report American researchers

Brain surgery, by robot, through the cheek

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 12:25 PM PDT

Engineers have developed a surgical robot designed to perform brain surgery by entering through the cheek instead of the skull that can operate on a patient in an MRI scanner. Additionally, the engineers have designed the system so that much of it can be made using 3-D printing in order to keep the price low.

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