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Friday, October 31, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

First detailed picture of cancer-related cell enzyme in action on chromosome unit

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:43 PM PDT

New insight into the function of an enzyme related to the BRCA1 breast-cancer protein has been released by researchers. The study produced the first detailed working image of an enzyme in a group that is associated with many types of cancer. The researchers obtained the first crystal structure of a gene-regulation enzyme working on a nucleosome. The image reveals previously unknown information about how the enzyme attaches to its nucleosome target.

Case study: Hearing loss in one infant twin affects mother's speech to both babies

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:39 PM PDT

Is it possible that hearing loss in one infant from a pair of twins can affect the mother's speech to both infants? A new acoustics study zeroes in on this question and suggests that not only is this alteration of speech entirely possible, but that mothers speak to both infants as if they are hearing impaired.

The science of charismatic voices: How one man was viewed as authoritarian, then benevolent

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:39 PM PDT

When a right-wing Italian politician named Umberto Bossi suffered a severe stroke in 2004, his speech became permanently impaired. Strangely, this change impacted Bossi's perception among his party's followers -- from appearing authoritarian to benevolent. Now researchers think they know why.

Innovative study utilizing video games shows sleep apnea may affect memory of everyday events

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:37 PM PDT

Sleep apnea may affect your ability to form new spatial memories, such as remembering where you parked your car, new research suggests. The study demonstrates through the playing of a specific video game that disruption of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep as a consequence of sleep apnea impairs spatial memory in humans even when other sleep stages are intact.

Low carb, high fat diets may reduce seizures in tough-to-treat epilepsy

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:37 PM PDT

Diets high in fat and low in carbohydrates, such as the ketogenic or modified Atkins diet, may reduce seizures in adults with tough-to-treat epilepsy, according to a review of research.

Novel ultrasound technology to screen for heart conditions developed by engineers

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 11:56 AM PDT

Engineers have determined, for the first time, the impact of a ring-shaped vortex on transporting blood flow in normal and abnormal ventricles within the human heart, and have developed a novel ultrasound technology that makes screening cheaper and much easier, making it possible to reach a large number of people and even infants.

Tiny carbon nanotube pores make big impact

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 11:56 AM PDT

Scientists have created a new kind of ion channel based on short carbon nanotubes, which can be inserted into synthetic bilayers and live cell membranes to form tiny pores that transport water, protons, small ions and DNA. These carbon nanotube "porins" have significant implications for future health care and bioengineering applications.

Scientists generate first human stomach tissue in lab with stem cells

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 11:56 AM PDT

Scientists used pluripotent stem cells to generate functional, three-dimensional human stomach tissue in a laboratory -- creating an unprecedented tool for researching the development and diseases of an organ central to several public health crises, ranging from cancer to diabetes. Scientists used human pluripotent stem cells -- which can become any cell type in the body -- to grow a miniature version of the stomach.

Clean smell doesn't always mean clean air

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 11:12 AM PDT

Scientists are taking a closer look at aerosol formation involving an organic compound -- called limonene -- that provides the pleasant smell of cleaning products and air fresheners. This research will help to determine what byproducts these sweet-smelling compounds are adding to the air while we are using them to remove germs and odors.

Dozens of genes associated with autism in new research

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 11:12 AM PDT

Two major genetic studies of autism, involving more than 50 laboratories worldwide, have newly implicated dozens of genes in the disorder. The research shows that rare mutations in these genes affect communication networks in the brain and compromise fundamental biological mechanisms that govern whether, when, and how genes are activated overall.

In autoimmune diseases affecting millions, researchers pinpoint genetic risks, cellular culprits

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 11:12 AM PDT

Scores of autoimmune diseases afflicting one in 12 Americans -- ranging from type 1 diabetes, to multiple sclerosis (MS), to rheumatoid arthritis, to asthma -- mysteriously cause the immune system to harm tissues within our own bodies. Now, a new study pinpoints the complex genetic origins for many of these diseases, a discovery that may lead to better diagnosis and ultimately to improved treatments.

Contamination likely explains 'food genes in blood' claim

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 11:12 AM PDT

Laboratory contaminants likely explain the results of a recent study claiming that complete genes can pass from foods we eat into our blood, according to a molecular biologist who re-examined data from the controversial research paper.

Parasite-schizophrenia connection: One-fifth of schizophrenia cases may involve the parasite T. gondii

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 10:34 AM PDT

Many factors, both genetic and environmental, have been blamed for increasing the risk of a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Some, such as a family history of schizophrenia, are widely accepted. Others, such as infection with Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite transmitted by soil, undercooked meat and cat feces, are still viewed with skepticism. A new study used epidemiological modeling methods to determine the proportion of schizophrenia cases that may be attributable to T. gondii infection. The work suggests that about one-fifth of cases may involve the parasite.

Decades of research: Effectiveness of phone counseling for cancer patients still unknown

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 10:34 AM PDT

A new study asks an important question: after decades of use and study, can we definitely show that remote interventions improve psychosocial outcomes in cancer survivors, or might there be a required, in-person component of these interventions?

Walking workstations improve physical, mental health, builds healthier workplace

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 09:46 AM PDT

Walking workstations can improve not only physical, but also mental health during the workday, a new study has found. With growing concerns regarding obesity in the United States, the author hopes the study encourages employers to examine methods to assist workers in in healthy living.

Mechanism that allows differentiated cell to reactivate as a stem cell revealed

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 09:45 AM PDT

A study, performed with fruit flies, describes a gene that determines whether a specialized cell conserves the capacity to become a stem cell again. Unveiling the genetic traits that favor the retention of stem cell properties is crucial for regenerative medicine.

Nanosafety research: The quest for the gold standard

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 09:45 AM PDT

Toxicologists have evaluated several thousand studies on the risks associated with nanoparticles and discovered no end of shortcomings: poorly prepared experiments and results that don't carry any clout. Scientists are now developing new standards for such experiments within an international network.

Thousands of substances ranked according to potential exposure level

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 09:45 AM PDT

An overwhelming number of chemicals from household and industrial products are in the environment -- and hundreds are in our bodies. But for most of them, scientists have yet to determine whether they cause health problems. Now they've taken the first step toward doing that by estimating which substances people are exposed to the most.

Support for fecal testing in familial colorectal cancer screening

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 09:45 AM PDT

Fecal immunochemical tests may be as effective as colonoscopies when it comes to detecting colorectal cancer among first-degree relatives of patients with colorectal cancer, according to a new study.

Largest ever dataset of individual deaths in Africa, SE Asia reveals changing health

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 09:45 AM PDT

An unprecedented insight into the changing health of people across Africa and Asia -- including the fluctuating burdens of HIV, malaria and childhood mortality -- is revealed today by the publication of the largest ever dataset of individual deaths recorded on-the-ground.

Liberal or conservative? Reactions to disgust are a dead giveaway

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 09:45 AM PDT

The way a person's brain responds to a single disgusting image is enough to reliably predict whether he or she identifies politically as liberal or conservative. As we approach Election Day, the researchers say that the findings come as a reminder of something we all know but probably don't always do: 'Think, don't just react.'

Can social media help stop the spread of HIV?

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 09:45 AM PDT

In addition to providing other potential benefits to public health, all of those tweets and Facebook posts could help curb the spread of HIV. Although public health researchers have focused early applications of social media on reliably monitoring the spread of diseases such as the flu, a new article tells of a future in which social media might predict and even change biomedical outcomes.

EEG test to help understand, treat schizophrenia

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 09:43 AM PDT

An EEG test to study and treat schizophrenia has been validated by researchers. The findings offer a clinical test that could be used to help diagnose persons at risk for developing mental illness later in life, as well as an approach for measuring the efficacies of different treatment options.

Potential target for treating triple-negative breast cancer identified

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 09:43 AM PDT

A protein that could prevent metastasis and recurrence of breast cancer has been identified by researchers. So-called "triple-negative" breast cancer represents between 12 and 17 percent of all breast cancers. It derives its name from the lack of receptors for estrogen, progesterone and Her2. The absence of these receptors rules out proven hormone therapies such as tamoxifen. Triple-negative breast cancer can be more aggressive and is more likely to recur than other breast cancers.

Strong bonds with pets may help foster resiliency in military-connected children

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 09:43 AM PDT

Developing resiliency has important benefits for children, especially those from military families faced with significant challenges such as parental deployment and frequent moves. New research supports the idea that, along with other key resources, strong attachments to animals may help military-connected children develop resiliency and other positive developmental traits.

Cinema-like environment helps audiences become immersed in movies even when shown on cell phones

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 07:26 AM PDT

If the surroundings are designed to be sufficiently stimulating, even a simple computer screen is enough to generate an intense cinematic experience. After observing some 300 study subjects, researchers concluded that the angle of viewing does not play a vital role in the cinematic experience, thus disproving various hypotheses. According to the results of their study, the presence of so-called contextual visual cues plays a greater role in actually drawing viewers into a movie.

Where you live doesn't matter if you have heart disease, study finds

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 06:54 AM PDT

People living in rural areas are at no greater risk of dying from heart disease than their urban counterparts, according to a new study. The study, the first to examine outpatient quality of care between urban and rural communities, counters existing research, which suggested gaps in care for those living in rural areas.

Gentle caffeine boost for premature babies

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 06:54 AM PDT

Researchers have developed a UV-activated membrane which releases a gentle dose of medication to the skin of a patient. In future those who fear injections will be able to sleep soundly, as will premature babies too, since the new dosing technique will spare them additional stress.

Planck 2013 results

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 06:54 AM PDT

Astronomy & Astrophysics is publishing a special feature of 31 articles describing the data gathered by Planck over 15 months of observations and released by ESA and the Planck Collaboration in March 2013. This series of papers presents the initial scientific results extracted from this first Planck dataset.

To reap the brain benefits of physical activity, just get moving

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 06:52 AM PDT

Everyone knows that exercise makes you feel more mentally alert at any age. But do you need to follow a specific training program to improve your cognitive function? Science has shown that the important thing is to just get moving. It's that simple.

Nano ruffles in brain matter

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 06:52 AM PDT

Researchers have deciphered the role of nanostructures around brain cells in the central nervous system. An accumulation of a protein called amyloid-beta into large insoluble deposits called plaques is known to cause Alzheimer's disease. One aspect of this illness that has not received much attention is which role the structure of the brain environment plays. How do macromolecules and macromolecular assemblies, such as polysaccharides, influence cell interaction in the brain?

Aortic valve replacement appears safe, effective in very elderly patients

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 06:51 AM PDT

Aortic valve replacement (AVR) can safely be used to treat severe aortic stenosis in patients age 90 years and older and is associated with a low risk of operative stroke and mortality, according to a study.

Genome sequenced of enterovirus D68 circulating in St. Louis

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 06:50 AM PDT

The genome of enterovirus D68 sampled from patients treated at St. Louis Children's Hospital has been sequenced by researchers. Nationwide, the virus has spread rapidly in recent months and caused severe respiratory illness in young children, with some patients requiring hospitalization.

Latest research on thyroid cancer therapy

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 06:49 AM PDT

Novel therapeutic approaches to improve outcomes in thyroid cancer, for example using targeted delivery of cytotoxic drugs to tumor cells, are among the latest treatment approaches for thyroid cancer, experts report.

Papillary thyroid carcinoma: New research

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 06:49 AM PDT

The prevalence of papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC), the most common type of thyroid cancer, is increasing rapidly. New research to determine the impact of radioactive iodine (RAI) therapy on survival in PTC, describing a novel blood test able to detect circulating BRAFV600E-positive tumor DNA, and identifying a long non-coding.

Advances in Graves' disease, including a new mouse model

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 06:49 AM PDT

A unique mouse model of Graves' disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes hyperthyroidism, has been developed by scientists, and new research findings may help improve the treatment of Graves' disease, experts report.

Tourism as a driver of illicit drug use, HIV risk in the Dominican Republic

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 06:49 AM PDT

A new study concludes three thing: (1) local demand shifts drug routes to tourism areas, (2) drugs shape local economies and (3) drug use facilitates HIV risk behaviors in tourism areas.

Overuse injuries becoming more common in young athletes

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 06:49 AM PDT

From Little League players injuring their elbow ligaments to soccer and basketball players tearing their ACLs, sports injuries related to overuse are becoming more common in younger athletes.

ECG on the run: Continuous ECG surveillance of marathon athletes is feasible

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:41 AM PDT

The condition of an athlete's heart has for the first time been accurately monitored throughout the duration of a marathon race. The real-time monitoring was achieved by continuous electrocardiogram (ECG) surveillance and data transfer over the public mobile phone network to a telemedicine center along the marathon route. This new development in cardiac testing in endurance athletes, said investigators, 'would allow instantaneous diagnosis of potentially fatal rhythm disorders.'

Diets high in fruit, vegetables, whole grains and nuts among factors to lower first-time stroke risk

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:41 AM PDT

Eating Mediterranean or DASH-style diets, regularly engaging in physical activity and keeping your blood pressure under control can lower your risk of a first-time stroke, experts say. Additionally, these experts not updated prevention guidelines that focus on lowering stroke risk among women.

Brain abnormalities found in chronic fatigue patients

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:41 AM PDT

An imaging study has found distinct differences between the brains of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and those of healthy people.

Ghrelin stimulates an appetite for drinking alcohol

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:40 AM PDT

Ghrelin is a hormone released by the stomach and it stimulates appetite and food intake. Alcohol is commonly viewed as a psychoactive substance that primarily affects brain function, but it is also a highly caloric food. This knowledge, combined with findings from animal studies, led researchers to the hypothesis that ghrelin has the potential to stimulate alcohol craving.

Evolution of competitiveness: Scientists explain diversity in competitiveness

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:40 AM PDT

Virtually all organisms in the living world compete with members of their own species. However, individuals differ strongly in how much they invest into their competitive ability. Some individuals are highly competitive and eager to get access to high-quality resources, while others seem to avoid competition, instead making prudent use of the lower-quality resources that are left over for them. Moreover, the degree of competitiveness in animal and human societies seems to fluctuate considerably over time. A new study sheds some new light on these findings.

Prenatal phthalate exposures and anogenital distance in swedish boys

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:36 AM PDT

The first study to examine prenatal exposure to the phthalate DiNP finds it is associated with a shorter anogenital distance (AGD) in Swedish boys at the age of 21 months.  These findings raise concern since animal research has linked DiNP exposure to a shorter AGD, and studies on humans have related shorter AGD to male genital birth defects as well as impaired reproductive function in adult males, and the levels of DiNP metabolites in humans are increasing globally.  

Integrins losing their grip drive activate T cell immune responses

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:36 AM PDT

When integrins let go of their ligands and the actin cytoskeleton inside the dendritic cell, the activity of another cell surface receptor, the GM-CSF receptor, rises. This increased signaling induces the dendritic cells to head to lymph nodes to activate T cells, experts say.

Genetic architecture of kidney cancer uncovered by research

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:36 AM PDT

An apparent link between exposure to aristolochic acid and incidence of kidney cancer, has been uncovered by researchers conducting a new study on a large cohort of kidney cancer patients in Europe. This study sheds light on the genetic architecture of the disease, and underscores the importance of investigating possible sources of exposure to aristolochic acid.

Prostate cancer medications linked with increased risk of heart-related deaths in men with cardiovascular problems

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:36 AM PDT

A new study has found that certain prostate cancer medications are linked with an increased risk of dying from heart-related causes in men with congestive heart failure or prior heart attacks.

From age 8 to 80, expert reveals the price we pay for not sleeping

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:33 AM PDT

Most Americans who spend part of the year on daylight saving time look forward to the extra hour of sleep when it's time to "fall back" to standard time. We are a nation of sleep-deprived people, and experts say all ages suffer in various, unhealthy ways.

Oxygen-deprived RNA molecules lead to tumor progression, study finds

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:33 AM PDT

A previously unknown phenomenon has been uncovered by research: Key regulatory molecules are decreased when deprived of oxygen which leads to increased cancer progression in vitro and in vivo.

Heavy drinking in adolescence associated with lasting brain changes, animal study suggests

Posted: 28 Oct 2014 06:41 PM PDT

Heavy drinking during adolescence may lead to structural changes in the brain and memory deficits that persist into adulthood, according to an animal study. The study found that, even as adults, rats given daily access to alcohol during adolescence had reduced levels of myelin -- the fatty coating on nerve fibers that accelerates the transmission of electrical signals between neurons.

Politics can interact with evolution to shape human destiny

Posted: 28 Oct 2014 06:41 PM PDT

Politics can have unintentional evolutionary consequences that may cause hastily issued policies to cascade into global, multigenerational problems, according to political scientists.

Different brain tumors have the same origin, new findings show

Posted: 28 Oct 2014 06:40 PM PDT

Glioma is a common name for serious brain tumors. Different types of glioma are usually diagnosed as separate diseases and have been considered to arise from different cell types in the brain. Now researchers have shown that one and the same cell of origin can give rise to different types of glioma. This is important for the basic understanding of how these tumors are formed and can contribute to the development of more efficient and specific glioma therapies.

Bee's knees for identifying genetic triggers of novel adult traits

Posted: 28 Oct 2014 06:40 PM PDT

Scientists have long sought to identify the specific DNA changes that can trigger new traits, allowing species to adapt. For development of the embryo, it is usually the master control regions of a gene that dominate, but what about in an adult? Researchers have now found that adults play by a different set of rules, relying on the contributions of novel genes -- called taxonomically restricted genes, TRGs are only found in a given species -- found in honeybees.

High milk intake linked with higher fractures and mortality, research suggests

Posted: 28 Oct 2014 06:40 PM PDT

A high milk intake in women and men is not accompanied by a lower risk of fracture and instead may be associated with a higher rate of death, suggests observational research. Women who drank more than three glasses of milk a day had a higher risk of death than women who drank less than one glass of milk a day.

Neglect of culture in medicine is 'single biggest barrier' to achieving better health

Posted: 28 Oct 2014 06:39 PM PDT

"Health is as much about caring as it is about curing," experts argue in a new article. Culture is often blamed for clinical malpractice, such as in the case of the Francis Inquiry in the UK, where serious malpractice at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust was ultimately attributed to the organisation's culture. But the authors point out that if culture can be responsible for such a serious lapse in standards of care, examining culture more deeply might also hold the key to better practice.

Major factor in development of Huntington's disease uncovered

Posted: 28 Oct 2014 06:38 PM PDT

A major contributor to Huntington's disease, a devastating progressive neurological condition that produces involuntary movements, emotional disturbance and cognitive impairment, has been uncovered by scientists. The new study shows that signaling by a specific protein can trigger onset of the disease and lead to exacerbation of symptoms.

Scientists discover exact receptor for DEET that repels mosquitoes

Posted: 28 Oct 2014 11:57 AM PDT

The odorant receptor that makes DEET repellant to mosquitoes has been identified by a research team. DEET has been the gold standard of insect repellents for more than six decades, and more than 200 million people worldwide use DEET, the scientists say.

Figuring out how we get the nitrogen we need

Posted: 28 Oct 2014 11:57 AM PDT

Chemists have taken a crucial step toward unlocking the mystery of how bacteria use an enzyme called nitrogenase to convert nitrogen -- an essential component of all living systems -- from the inert molecule found in the atmosphere to a form that living systems can use.

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