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Thursday, October 9, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

Drug-infused nanoparticle is right for sore eyes

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 05:40 PM PDT

For the millions of sufferers of dry eye syndrome, their only recourse to easing the painful condition is to use drug-laced eye drops three times a day. Now, researchers have developed a topical solution containing nanoparticles that will combat dry eye syndrome with only one application a week.

What's your status? Health risks of low social status

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 05:40 PM PDT

The health risks of low social status are due in part to the chronic psychosocial stress of perceived social subordination, whether by other individuals or by institutions.

Mortality risk of overweight, obesity similar for blacks, whites

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 12:37 PM PDT

The increased risk of premature death associated with a higher body mass index is similar for African Americans and whites, researchers have concluded. "While recent large studies have examined the relationship between BMI and all-cause mortality in white and Asian populations in the United States, this relationship has not been well-characterized in African Americans," said the first author of the study.

Reproducibility score for SNPs associated with human disease in GWAS

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 12:36 PM PDT

Nine traits that are not dependent on P values to predict single nucleotide polymorphisms reproducibility in genome-wide association studies and reduce false positives have been identified by researchers. Te empirical model can be used to select SNPs for validation and prioritization, one expert said.

Grapefruit juice stems weight gain in mice fed a high-fat diet, study finds

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 12:36 PM PDT

Mice fed a high-fat diet gained 18 percent less weight when they drank clarified, no-pulp grapefruit juice compared with a control group of mice that drank water, a new study demonstrated. Juice-drinking mice also showed improved levels of glucose, insulin and a type of fat called triacylglycerol compared with their water-drinking counterparts.

Amputees discern familiar sensations across prosthetic hand

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 12:36 PM PDT

Patients connected to a new prosthetic system said they 'felt' their hands for the first time since they lost them in accidents. In the ensuing months, they began feeling sensations that were familiar and were able to control their prosthetic hands with more -- well -- dexterity.

Mind-controlled prosthetic arms that work in daily life are now a reality

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 12:36 PM PDT

For the first time, robotic prostheses controlled via implanted neuromuscular interfaces have become a clinical reality. A novel osseointegrated (bone-anchored) implant system gives patients new opportunities in their daily life and professional activities.

Drug used for another disease slows progression of Parkinson's

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 12:35 PM PDT

A drug being evaluated to treat an entirely different disorder helped slow the progression of Parkinson's disease in mice, a team of researchers has reported. Their study found that the drug, AT2101, which has also been studied for Gaucher disease, improved motor function, stopped inflammation in the brain and reduced levels of alpha-synuclein, a protein critically involved in Parkinson's.

Price gap between more and less healthy foods grows

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 11:11 AM PDT

Novel use of UK national data finds a growing gap between the prices of more and less healthy foods between 2002 and 2012. Healthy foods in 2012 are three times more expensive per calorie than less healthy foods.

Conspicuous tRNA lookalikes riddle the human genome

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 11:09 AM PDT

A new discovery suggests that the number of human genomic loci that might be coding for tRNAs is nearly double what is currently known.

Minimally invasive procedures offer hope for elderly patients with heart-valve problems

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 11:09 AM PDT

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is used to replace a critically narrowed aortic valve, the valve between the heart and the main artery in the body. TAVR patients' narrowed aortic valves prevent sufficient blood flow. The TAVR procedure is a less invasive treatment, alleviating the narrowing without the need for open-heart surgery. The procedure involving the MitraClip device repairs a valve between the upper and lower chambers of the left side of the heart, called the mitral valve. The MitraClip is, literally, a clip that pinches the two leafs of the mitral valve together in the center so there is less backflow of blood.

Making sure antibiotics work as they should

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 10:17 AM PDT

Researchers are decoding the structure of the large ribosomal subunit of the mitochondria at an atomic level, thereby providing insight into the molecular architecture of this ribosome with implications for a better understanding of the mode of action of antibiotics.

Indian government health insurance reduced mortality among poor

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 10:17 AM PDT

A government program provided free, targeted health insurance to the poor -- resulting in a significant saving of lives. "This World Bank study clearly shows how this program benefits the health of the poor in Karnataka," said the state's Minister of Health and Family Welfare. "It provides hospital care that the poor would have difficulty receiving without the help of the scheme."

Epigenetic changes caused by binge drinking: Overconsumption of alcohol triggers inflammatory response in the liver

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 10:16 AM PDT

Researchers have identified epigenetic protein changes caused by binge drinking, a discovery that could lead to treatments for alcohol-related liver diseases.

Fundamental theory about education of immune police questioned by researchers

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 10:16 AM PDT

A fundamental theory about how our thymus educates our immune police appears to be wrong, scientists say. The finding provides more insight into immunity that could one day enable a new approach to vaccines that steer the thymus to produce more of whatever T cell type a patient needs: more effector cells if they have a bad infection or cancer, more regulatory T cells if they are experiencing autoimmune diseases like arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

In a battle of brains, bigger isn't always better: Rats and mice perform similarly in cognitive tests

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 10:16 AM PDT

It's one of those ideas that seems to make perfect sense: the bigger the brain, the more intelligent the creature. Exceptions are becoming increasingly common, yet the belief persists even among scientists. Most biologists, for example, assume that rats are smarter than mice. Scientists now challenge this belief. They compared mice and rats and found very similar levels of intelligence, a result that could have powerful implications for researchers studying complex behaviors and learning.

Talking while driving safest with someone who can see what you see

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 10:16 AM PDT

A new study offers fresh insights into how talking on a cell phone or to a passenger while driving affects one's performance behind the wheel. The study used a driving simulator and videophone to assess how a driver's conversation partner influences safety on the road.

Potential link between breast cancer genes, salivary gland cancer

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 10:14 AM PDT

The risk of developing cancer in a salivary gland might be higher in people with mutations in either of two genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer. Salivary gland cancer is rare, but this new study suggests it occurs 17 times more often in people with inherited mutations in genes called BRCA1 and BRCA2.

Dynamic motion of HIV as it readies an attack: Seen in real time, for the first time

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 10:14 AM PDT

Technologies that allow investigators, for the first time, to watch what they call the 'dance' of HIV proteins on the virus' surface, which may contribute to how the virus infects human immune cells, have been developed by scientists. The new technology platform opens new possibilities for devising an approach to prevent HIV infection, note researchers

Childhood psychological abuse as harmful as sexual or physical abuse

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 10:12 AM PDT

Children who are emotionally abused and neglected face similar and sometimes worse mental health problems as children who are physically or sexually abused, yet psychological abuse is rarely addressed in prevention programs or in treating victims, according to a new study.

Insomnia among older adults may be tied to sleep quality, not duration

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 10:11 AM PDT

Reports of insomnia are common among the elderly, but a new study finds that sleep problems may stem from the quality of rest and other health concerns more than the overall amount of sleep that patients get.

Drug regimen enough to control immune disease after some bone marrow transplants

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 09:21 AM PDT

A very short course of a chemotherapy drug, called cyclophosphamide, not only can prevent a life-threatening immune response in some bone marrow transplant recipients, but also can eliminate such patients' need for the usual six months of immune suppression medicines commonly prescribed to prevent severe forms of this immune response, cancer researchers report. Patients receive cyclophosphamide for two days after their bone marrow transplant, in addition to two other chemotherapy drugs given before the transplant.

Neurons in human muscles emphasize impact of outside world

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 09:21 AM PDT

Stretch sensors in our muscles participate in reflexes that serve the subconscious control of posture and movement. According to a new study, these sensors respond weakly to muscle stretch caused by one's voluntary action, and most strongly to stretch that is imposed by external forces. The ability to reflect causality in this manner can facilitate appropriate reflex control and accurate self-perception.

Teenage girls exposed to more stressors that increase depression risk

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 09:21 AM PDT

Adolescence is often a turbulent time, and it is marked by substantially increased rates of depressive symptoms, especially among girls. New research indicates that this gender difference may be the result of girls' greater exposure to stressful interpersonal events, making them more likely to ruminate, and contributing to their risk of depression.

Dietary fat under fire: Do nutrition guidelines reflect food reality, latest science?

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 09:20 AM PDT

As there are currently no harmonized dietary guidelines in Canada for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, authors of a new study urge the Canadian nutrition community to revisit the guidelines and develop recommendations that reflect both the current food reality and the latest science.

Gay, bisexual youth can thrive with positive family relationships

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 09:19 AM PDT

Gay and bisexual youth who are supported by their family and feel comfortable talking to them about their lifestyle are less likely to become involved in high-risk sexual behaviors, according to a recent study.

Managers can boost creativity by 'empowering leadership' and earning employees' trust

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 09:19 AM PDT

Managers can promote creativity in employees by 'empowering leadership' and earning employees' trust, according to a new study.

Active aging is much more than exercise

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 09:19 AM PDT

The global population is aging rapidly, and the growing numbers of elderly challenge our societal structures, not least the health sector, which is why authorities encourage the elderly to lead active and healthy life styles. But to equate active aging strictly with health is too narrow a focus, new research shows; the elderly can reap many benefits from activities that do not necessarily conform to official life style recommendations -- billiards for instance.

Robotic surgery: More complications, higher expense for some conditions

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 09:19 AM PDT

For benign gynecologic conditions, robot-assisted surgery involves more complications during surgery and may be significantly more expensive than conventional laparoscopic surgery, according to a study.

Trying to fool a kindergartner? Not so fast

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 09:19 AM PDT

A new study shows that by the age of five, children become wary of information provided by people who make overly confident claims.

Did fruit contribute to Apple's success?

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 07:39 AM PDT

Steve Jobs swore by a fruit diet, as he believed it improved his ideas. And he wasn't wrong: food with high levels of tyrosine, like bananas, peaches and almonds, allow us to think harder and more creatively.

Smoking cannabis doesn't make you more creative, study suggests

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 07:14 AM PDT

Some people think that smoking cannabis makes them more creative. However, new research shows that the opposite is true. Smokers who ingested a low dose of THC, or none at all (they were given a placebo), performed best in the thinking tasks that the test candidates had to carry out.

Flies with colon cancer help unravel genetic keys to disease in humans

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 07:14 AM PDT

A fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) model has been developed that reproduces human colon cancer. Through their work, the scientists have identified a human gene that favors the proliferation of tumour cells in early stages of colon cancer. Flies, it turns out, are useful for faster and more economic drug screening.

Gluing chromosomes at the right place

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 05:36 AM PDT

During cell division, chromosomes acquire a characteristic X-shape with the two DNA molecules (sister chromatids) linked at a central "connection region" that contains highly compacted DNA. It was unknown if rearrangements in this typical X-shape architecture could disrupt the correct separation of chromosomes. A recent study now shows that the dislocation of particular DNA segments perturbs proper chromosome separation. The results of this study raise the possibility that chromosome rearrangements involving these regions, often seen in many cancers, can induce additional errors in cell division and thereby compromise genetic stability.

Combined behavioral support, medication offers smokers best chance of quitting

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 05:35 AM PDT

Numerous randomized clinical trials have shown the effectiveness of the two major forms of smoking cessation treatment -- behavioral support and medication -- in helping smokers quit. Researchers have now demonstrated that this approach can successfully translate to the "real world" and that a combination of the two treatments offers almost a threefold chance of success over attempts to quit without using a cessation aid.

'Recapturable' heart valve tested as alternative to open heart surgery

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 05:32 AM PDT

Medical researchers have announced the implant of the latest minimally-invasive advancement to treat patients with failing aortic heart valves.

Large chain restaurants appear to be voluntarily reducing the calories in their menu items

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 05:32 AM PDT

Large chain restaurants, whose core menu offerings are generally high in calories, fat and sodium, introduced newer food and beverage options that, on average, contain 60 fewer calories than their traditional menu selections in 2012 and 2013.

Childhood eating difficulties could be a sign of underlying psychological issues

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 05:31 AM PDT

Parents are being warned by scientists that difficult eaters could have underlying psychological issues, as they have found that restrictive behaviors can appear before puberty.

Schools key to reaching the 1 in 10 children with mental health problems

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 06:22 PM PDT

Schools are a vital way of reaching the 10–20% of children and young people across the globe who would benefit from some sort of mental health intervention, according to new research. The most common disorders in school children are behavioral disorders and anxiety, with depression becoming common later. Untreated depression and other mental health problems affect many different aspects of a young person's development and can lead to school failure and non-attendance, as well as affecting long-term career choices and relationships.

Working memory hinders learning in schizophrenia

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 03:42 PM PDT

Trouble with working memory makes a distinct contribution to the difficulty people with schizophrenia sometimes have in learning, according to a new study. The researchers employed a specially designed experiment and computational models to distinguish the roles of working memory and reinforcement learning.

Candidate H7N9 avian flu vaccine works better with adjuvant

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 01:17 PM PDT

An experimental vaccine to protect people against H7N9 avian influenza prompted immune responses in 59 percent of volunteers who received two injections at the lowest dosage tested, but only if the vaccine was mixed with adjuvant -- substance that boosts the body's response to vaccination. Without adjuvant, immune responses produced by the investigational vaccine were minimal regardless of vaccine dosage, according to findings from a clinical trial.

It's time to fight sepsis like we fight heart attack, researchers say

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 01:14 PM PDT

A decade ago, America's health care community took on heart attacks with gusto, harnessing the power of research and data to make sure that every patient got the best possible care. It worked. Now, say a pair of experts, it's time to do the same for sepsis.

Tobacco use associated with increased risk of oral HPV-16 infection

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 01:14 PM PDT

Study participants who reported tobacco use or had higher levels of biomarkers of tobacco exposure had a higher prevalence of the sexually transmitted infection, oral human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV-16), according to a study.

E. coli outbreak at hospital in Illinois associated with contaminated specialized gastrointestinal endoscopes

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 01:14 PM PDT

Despite no lapses in the disinfection process recommended by the manufacturer being identified, specialized gastrointestinal endoscopes called duodenoscopes had bacterial contamination associated with an outbreak of a highly resistant strain of E coli at a hospital in Illinois, according to a study.

Studies examine vaccination strategies for prevention, control of avian flu

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 01:14 PM PDT

New vaccination strategies for the prevention and control of avian influenza, often referred to as "bird flu," have been examined by two randomized trials, scientists report.

Antimicrobial use in hospitals appears to be common

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 01:14 PM PDT

A one-day prevalence survey of 183 hospitals found that approximately 50 percent of hospitalized patients included in the survey were receiving antimicrobial drugs, and that about half of these patients were receiving 2 or more antimicrobial drugs. Most antimicrobial use was for infection treatment.

Universal Ebola drug target identified by researchers

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 12:26 PM PDT

A new tool can be used as a drug target in the discovery of anti-Ebola agents that are effective against all known strains and likely future strains, researchers report. Current experimental drugs generally target only one of Ebola's five species. "The current growing epidemic demonstrates the need for effective broad-range Ebola virus therapies," says the lead author on the study.

Survival molecule helps cancer cells hide from the immune system

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 12:26 PM PDT

The molecule nuclear factor kappa B helps tumors grow by inhibiting the body's ability to detect cancer cells, research shows. The molecule suppresses immune surveillance mechanisms, including the production of cells that inhibit immune responses. The research suggests that cancer immune therapy might be improved if combined with NF-kB inhibitors, and it provides new details about interactions between cancer cells and non-cancer cells that assist tumor growth.

Talking to kids about death amidst the fantasy of Halloween

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 12:25 PM PDT

During the weeks leading up to Halloween, kids dressed in white sheets as ghosts, silly-looking goblins and dancing zombies can make death seem comical or cartoonish. However, this pretend, temporal idea of death can be confusing for children, especially a child who is trying to understand the loss of a loved one.

'Achilles heel' in metabolic pathway identified, could lead to new treatments for lung cancer

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 12:25 PM PDT

An "Achilles heel" in a metabolic pathway crucial to stopping the growth of lung cancer cells has been identified by researchers. At the heart of this pathway lies PPAR³, a protein that regulates glucose and lipid metabolism in normal cells. Researchers demonstrated that by activating PPAR³ with antidiabetic drugs in lung cancer cells, they could stop these tumor cells from dividing.

Sleeping in dentures doubles risk of pneumonia in elderly

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 11:45 AM PDT

Poor oral health and hygiene are increasingly recognized as major risk factors for pneumonia among the elderly. To identify modifiable oral health-related risk factors, researchers investigated associations between a constellation of oral health behaviors and incidences of pneumonia in the community-living of elders.

State policies can influence access to heroin treatment, study finds

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 11:45 AM PDT

Abuse of heroin and prescription opioid drugs is growing rapidly, creating a need for more treatment options. A new study finds that state policies can influence the number of physicians licensed to prescribe buprenorphine, a drug that can treat addiction to heroin and other opioids in outpatient settings.

How female flies know when to say 'yes'

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 11:45 AM PDT

A fundamental question in neurobiology is how animals, including humans, make decisions. A new study reveals how fruit fly females make a very important decision: to either accept or reject male courtship. This decision appears to be generated by a very small number of excitatory neurons that use acetylcholine as their neurotransmitter located in three brain regions. This study provides the framework to understand how decisions are generated.

Oral chelation for environmental lead toxicity

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 11:45 AM PDT

Treatment with dimercaptosuccinic acid, an oral chelation agent, was linked to reductions in the amount of lead in blood in young children in Zamfara State, Nigeria following environmental lead contamination, according to a new study.

Hypoglycemia link to HbA1c has declined in type 1 diabetes

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 11:45 AM PDT

The link between low average glucose blood levels and greater risk for severe hypoglycemia and hypoglycemic coma substantially declined between 1995 and 2012 in young Germans and Austrians with type 1 diabetes, according to a new study.

New at-risk group identified for gastrointestinal stromal tumors

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 11:43 AM PDT

The clearly defined epidemiology of gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), have been identified by researchers for the first time. These tumors occur primarily in the lining of the stomach and small intestine. One key finding: Patients of Asian descent, who have not previously been identified as an at-risk population, are 1.5 times more likely than other patient groups to be diagnosed with this type of tumor.

Even motivated dieters need close access to healthy food

Posted: 07 Oct 2014 10:14 AM PDT

Not having close access to healthy foods can discourage even the most motivated dieters. "The findings of this study support a cornerstone theory of the Mass in Motion program that supportive environments can facilitate behavior change and ultimately improve health," said a co-author.

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