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Thursday, October 23, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

Finally: Missing link between vitamin D, prostate cancer

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 01:40 PM PDT

A new study offers compelling evidence that inflammation may be the link between vitamin D and prostate cancer. Specifically, the study shows that the gene GDF-15, known to be upregulated by vitamin D, is notably absent in samples of human prostate cancer driven by inflammation.

Real-time tracking system developed to monitor dangerous bacteria inside body

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 01:40 PM PDT

Combining a PET scanner with a new chemical tracer that selectively tags specific types of bacteria, researchers working with mice report they have devised a way to detect and monitor in real time infections with dangerous Gram-negative bacteria. These increasingly drug-resistant bacteria are responsible for a range of diseases, including fatal pneumonias and various bloodstream or solid-organ infections acquired in and outside the hospital.

Paralyzed patients have weaker bones, higher risk of fractures than expected

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 01:39 PM PDT

People paralyzed by spinal cord injuries lose mechanical strength in their leg bones faster, and more significantly, than previously believed, putting them at greater risk for fractures from minor stresses, according to a study by researchers. The results suggest that physicians should begin therapies for such patients sooner to maintain bone mass and strength, and should think beyond standard bone density tests when assessing fracture risk in osteoporosis patients.

Bipolar disorder discovery at the nano level

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 12:47 PM PDT

A nano-sized discovery helps explain how bipolar disorder affects the brain and could one day lead to new drug therapies to treat the mental illness, researchers report.

Hospital logs staggering 2.5 million alarms in just a month

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 12:47 PM PDT

Following the study of a hospital that logged more than 2.5 million patient monitoring alarms in just one month, researchers have, for the first time, comprehensively defined the detailed causes as well as potential solutions for the widespread issue of alarm fatigue in hospitals.

Thermal paper cash register receipts account for high bisphenol A (BPA) levels in humans

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 11:36 AM PDT

BPA from thermal paper used in cash register receipts accounts for high levels of BPA in humans. Subjects studied showed a rapid increase of BPA in their blood after using a skin care product and then touching a store receipt with BPA.

Baby cries show evidence of cocaine exposure during pregnancy

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 11:36 AM PDT

A new study provides the first known evidence of how a similar acoustic characteristic in the cry sounds of human infants and rat pups may be used to detect the harmful effects of prenatal cocaine exposure on nervous system development.

Highly effective new anti-cancer drug shows few side effects in mice

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 11:35 AM PDT

A new drug, OTS964, can eradicate aggressive human lung cancers transplanted into mice, scientists report. It inhibits the action of a protein that is overproduced by several tumor types but is rarely expressed in healthy adult tissues. Without it, cancer cells fail to complete the cell-division process and die.

Fast modeling of cancer mutations

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 10:14 AM PDT

A new genome-editing technique enables rapid analysis of genes mutated in tumors, researchers report. Sequencing the genomes of tumor cells has revealed thousands of genetic mutations linked with cancer. However, sifting through this deluge of information to figure out which of these mutations actually drive cancer growth has proven to be a tedious, time-consuming process -- until now.

How lymph nodes expand during disease

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 10:06 AM PDT

The same specialized immune cells that patrol the body and spot infections also trigger the expansion of immune organs called lymph nodes, scientists have discovered. The immune system defends the body from infections and can also spot and destroy cancer cells. Lymph nodes are at the heart of this response, but until now it has never been explained how they expand during disease.

Bariatric surgery success influenced by how people view their own weight

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 09:35 AM PDT

Negative feelings about one's own weight, known as internalized weight bias, influence the success people have after undergoing weight loss surgery, according to research. The study is considered the first and only study to examine internalized weight bias in relation to post-surgical weight loss success in adults.

Lessons from 'Spanish flu,' nearly 100 years later

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 09:34 AM PDT

Just in time for flu season, a new study of 'the mother of all pandemics' could offer insight into infection control measures for the flu and other epidemic diseases. Researchers studied the evolution of the 1918 influenza pandemic, aka the "Spanish flu." In 1918, the virus killed 50 million people worldwide, 10 to 20 million of whom were in India. In the United States alone, the Spanish flu claimed 675,000 lives in nine months.

Brain simulation raises questions

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 09:34 AM PDT

What does it mean to simulate the human brain? Why is it important to do so? And is it even possible to simulate the brain separately from the body it exists in? These questions are discussed in a new paper.

Drones help show how environmental changes affect the spread of infectious diseases

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 09:34 AM PDT

Unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, can collect detailed information in real time at relatively low cost for ecological research. In a new article, experts demonstrate that drones can be used to understand how environmental factors influence the spread of infectious diseases.

Lose the weight, not the potatoes, study says

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 09:33 AM PDT

People can eat potatoes and still lose weight, a new study demonstrates. The study sought to gain a better understanding of the role of calorie reduction and the glycemic index in weight loss when potatoes are included in the diet. "Some people have questioned the role of potatoes in a weight loss regimen because of the vegetable's designation as a high glycemic index food," explained the lead investigator of the study. "However, the results of this study confirm what health professionals and nutrition experts have said for years: it is not about eliminating a certain food or food groups, rather, it is reducing calories that count."

Project screenings show need for more mental health services in youth detention

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 09:32 AM PDT

More mental health screenings and services are needed for juvenile offenders, experts say. The intent of this study was to implement mental health screening; determine the percentage of youth detainees in need of services; assess the availability and extent of detention center mental health follow-up and referral services; and assess whether a disparity exists due to the size and geographic location of the detention center.

Aging in place: Does a loved one need a geriatric assessment?

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 09:32 AM PDT

By a tremendous margin – over 95 percent – older Americans choose to live at home or with relatives. Families making that choice should consider seeking the assistance of a geriatric specialist, especially when they see changes in their loved one's behavior, an expert says.

Nanoparticle-based invention moves new drugs closer to clinical testing

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 09:31 AM PDT

A nanoparticle has been developed to deliver a melanoma-fighting drug directly to the cancer. Delivering cancer drugs directly to tumors is difficult. Scientists are working on new approaches to overcome the natural limitations of drugs, including loading them into nanoparticles.

Early intervention could boost education levels

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 09:30 AM PDT

Taking steps from an early age to improve childhood education skills could raise overall population levels of academic achievement by as much as 5%, and reduce socioeconomic inequality in education by 15%, according to international research.

Quality of biopsy directly linked to survival in patients with bladder cancer

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 09:30 AM PDT

The quality of diagnostic staging using biopsy in patients with bladder cancer is directly linked with survival, meaning those that don't get optimal biopsies are more likely to die from their disease, researchers have shown for the first time.

Mathematical model shows how brain remains stable during learning

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 09:30 AM PDT

Complex biochemical signals that coordinate fast and slow changes in neuronal networks keep the brain in balance during learning, according to an international team of scientists. Neuronal networks form a learning machine that allows the brain to extract and store new information from its surroundings via the senses. Researchers have long puzzled over how the brain achieves sensitivity and stability to unexpected new experiences during learning -- two seemingly contradictory requirements.

Human skin cells reprogrammed directly into brain cells

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 09:30 AM PDT

Scientists have described a way to convert human skin cells directly into a specific type of brain cell affected by Huntington's disease, an ultimately fatal neurodegenerative disorder. Unlike other techniques that turn one cell type into another, this new process does not pass through a stem cell phase, avoiding the production of multiple cell types, report researchers.

Skin patch could replace the syringe for disease diagnosis

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 07:35 AM PDT

Drawing blood and testing it is standard practice for many medical diagnostics. As a less painful alternative, scientists are developing skin patches that could one day replace the syringe. Scientists now they have designed and successfully tested, for the first time, a small skin patch that detected malaria proteins in live mice. It could someday be adapted for use in humans to diagnose other diseases, too.

Olive oil more stable and healthful than seed oils for frying food

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 07:35 AM PDT

Frying is one of the world's most popular ways to prepare food -- think fried chicken and french fries. Even candy bars and whole turkeys have joined the list. But before dunking your favorite food in a vat of just any old oil, consider using olive. Scientists report that olive oil withstands the heat of the fryer or pan better than several seed oils to yield more healthful food.

Automated tracking increases compliance of flu vaccination for health-care personnel

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 07:35 AM PDT

Tracking influenza vaccination of healthcare personnel through an automated system increased vaccination compliance and reduced workload burden on human resources and occupational health staff, a study shows.

Proper dental care linked to reduced risk of respiratory infections in ICU patients

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 07:35 AM PDT

Vulnerable patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) who received enhanced oral care from a dentist were at significantly less risk for developing a lower respiratory tract infection, like ventilator-associated pneumonia, during their stay, research shows.

Association between air toxics, childhood autism

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 07:35 AM PDT

Children with autism spectrum disorder were more likely to have been exposed to higher levels of certain air toxics during their mothers' pregnancies and the first two years of life compared to children without the condition, according to the preliminary findings of an investigation of American children.

Aphthous ulcers: Causes of mucosal inflammation unclear

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 07:34 AM PDT

A painful inflamed lesion on the oral mucosa, which often seems to be burning at the periphery: every third individual has at one point had such a lesion -- an aphthous ulcer. Often they resolve after a brief period of time. In 2 to 10 percent of patients these lesions are recurrent and require medical treatment.

Sopping up proteins with thermosponges

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 07:34 AM PDT

A research team has developed and tested a novel nanoparticle platform that efficiently delivers clinically important proteins in vivo in initial proof-of-concept tests.

Silencing the speech gene FOXP2 causes breast cancer cells to metastasize

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 07:33 AM PDT

It is an intricate network of activity that enables breast cancer cells to move from the primary breast tumor and set up new growths in other parts of the body, a process known as metastasis. Researchers have now discovered an unexpected link between a transcription factor known to regulate speech and language development and metastatic colonization of breast cancer.

Criminologists try to solve murder mystery: Who will become a killer?

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 06:30 AM PDT

In a study of 1,354 youths charged with serious crimes, the youths charged with homicide had lower IQs and more exposure to violence.

Early palliative care can cut hospital readmissions for cancer patients

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 06:30 AM PDT

A new collaborative model in cancer care has reduced the rates at which patients were sent to intensive care or readmitted to the hospital after discharge. In the new treatment model, medical oncologists and palliative care physicians partnered in a "co-rounding" format to deliver cancer care for patients admitted to a solid tumor unit. The model fostered collaboration and communication between the specialists, who met several times a day to discuss patient care.

Team-based care is most effective way to control hypertension

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 06:30 AM PDT

Patients diagnosed with high blood pressure are given better control of their condition from a physician-pharmacist collaborative intervention than physician management alone, according to new research.

Clinical trial could change standard treatment for stroke

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 06:30 AM PDT

A large international clinical trial has shed new light on the effectiveness of current hospital protocols for managing blood pressure in stroke patients. The study has tried to solve two major conundrums faced by doctors when treating people who have suffered a stroke -- should blood pressure be lowered using medicated skin patches, and should existing blood pressure medication be stopped or continued after a stroke?

No increase in pregnancy-related death for African American women

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 06:29 AM PDT

In contrast to national trends, a study performed at a large, American hospital finds no racial difference in the risk of pregnancy-related death between African American and Caucasian women, report researchers.

Susceptibility for relapsing major depressive disorder can be calculated

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 05:43 AM PDT

The question if an individual will suffer from relapsing major depressive disorder is not determined by accident. Neuroscientists have chosen a new research approach, using computer-based models to study the disease. They show that chronic depression is triggered due to an unfortunate combination of internal and external factors.

Cause of aging remains elusive, researchers assert

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 05:43 AM PDT

A report by Chinese researchers a few months ago was a small sensation: they appeared to have found the cause for why organisms age. Another international team of scientists has now refuted a basic assumption of the article. The reasons for aging thus remain elusive, they say.

Assessing safety of masks: Efficacy of anti-particle filters under examination

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 05:43 AM PDT

Researchers have developed a method to assess the efficacy of anti-particle filters and masks. This method will help to decide the most suitable system depending on the professional activity. Thanks to the development of a simulation model for the breathing process of a person in a dusty work environment, researchers have designed a method capable to experimentally determine the efficacy of a series of existing filters and masks in the market.

Seaweed menace may yield new medicines

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 05:42 AM PDT

An invasive seaweed clogging up British coasts could be a blessing in disguise. British scientists have won a cash award to turn it into valuable compounds which can lead to new, life-saving drugs.

Protecting us from our cells: Research could speed trials to treat auto-immune diseases

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 05:42 AM PDT

Our immune system defends us from harmful bacteria and viruses, but, if left unchecked, the cells that destroy those invaders can turn on the body itself, causing auto-immune diseases like type-1 diabetes or multiple sclerosis. A molecule called insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) boosts the body's natural defense against this 'friendly fire', scientists have found. The findings are especially exciting because IGF-1 is already approved for use in patients, which could speed up the move to clinical trials for treating auto-immune diseases.

Genes exhibit different behaviours in different stages of development

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 05:42 AM PDT

The effect that genes have on our brain depends on our age, researchers say. It has been known for a number of years that particular genetic variations are of importance for the functioning of neural circuits in the brain. Just how these effects differ in the various stages of life has until recently not been fully understood. This international study has been able to demonstrate that genetic variations at different times in our lives can actually have opposite effects on the brain, which provides an explanation for the differences that clinicians observe in the psychiatric symptoms and response to medications of adolescents and adults.

Hidden subpopulation of melanoma cells discovered

Posted: 22 Oct 2014 05:41 AM PDT

A subpopulation of melanoma cancer cells has been discovered in the blood vessels of tumors, researchers report. These cells, which mimic non-cancerous endothelial cells that normally populate blood vessels, could provide researchers with another target for cancer therapies.

Unsteady on your feet? Little touches could make all the difference

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 06:07 PM PDT

When a toddler takes their first steps we observe an uncertain sway in their walking. Being unsteady on our feet is something we can experience throughout life -- and a new study has shown how even the lightest fingertip touch can help people to maintain their balance.

Teenage self-harm linked to problems in later life

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 06:07 PM PDT

Those who self-harm as teenagers are more at risk of developing mental health and substance misuse problems as adults, new research from the biggest study of its kind in the UK has revealed.

Does exercise slows the onset of type 1 diabetes in children, adults?

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 06:07 PM PDT

Rates of type 1 diabetes -- the autoimmune form of the condition that often begins in childhood and eventually results in lifelong dependency on insulin -- are increasing in almost all nations worldwide. However, while it appears possible from research in other forms of diabetes that physical exercise could slow the progression of this disease, there have been no studies to date that explore this in patients with type 1 diabetes.

Osteoporosis screening guidelines miss many younger post-menopausal women

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 06:06 PM PDT

The United States Preventive Services Task Force strategy to predict the risk of osteoporotic fractures among women aged 50 to 64 failed to detect nearly 75 percent of those who went on to experience major fractures within 10 years, a study has found.

Fecal blood test may save more lives than colonoscopy

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 06:06 PM PDT

State public health programs could screen nearly eight times as many individuals and prevent nearly twice as many CRC cases by using fecal immunochemical testing, or FIT, instead of colonoscopies, finds a new study.

Technology helps even the odds for blind students

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 01:21 PM PDT

Technology to help a blind student see math clearly and pursue a degree has been uncovered by researchers. Despite losing her vision three years ago due to complications from the flu, one study entered university last fall with the specific goal of pursuing a dual degree in mathematics and business. Technology is helping her make this a reality.

Getting healthier before surgery gives patients a jump start on recovery

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 01:20 PM PDT

Following a conditioning, nutritional, and relaxation program before surgery is more helpful than waiting until after surgery to rehabilitate, suggests a new study. Colorectal cancer patients who participated in a "prehabilitation" program before surgery recovered more quickly than those who only did traditional rehabilitation afterward, according to research.

High percentage of recalled dietary supplements still have banned ingredients

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 01:20 PM PDT

About two-thirds of FDA recalled dietary supplements analyzed still contained banned drugs at least 6 months after being recalled, according to a study. Banned substances identified in recalled supplements included sibutramine, sibutramine analogs, sildenafil, fluoxetine, phenolphthalein, aromatase inhibitor, and various anabolic steroids.

Differences between types of physician practice ownership, expenditures examined

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 01:20 PM PDT

From the perspective of the insurers and patients, between 2009 and 2012, hospital-owned physician organizations in California incurred higher expenditures for commercial health maintenance organization enrollees for professional, hospital, laboratory, pharmaceutical and ancillary services than did physician-owned organizations, according to a study.

Effect of hospital conversions to for-profit status

Posted: 21 Oct 2014 01:20 PM PDT

Hospital conversion from nonprofit to for-profit status in the 2000s was associated with better subsequent financial health but had no relationship to the quality of care delivered, mortality rates, or the proportion of poor or minority patients receiving care, according to a study.

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