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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

Piecing together signaling pathway leading to obesity

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 11:22 AM PST

A team of researchers has now drawn connections between known regulators of body mass, pointing to possible treatments for obesity and metabolic disorders. As scientists probe the molecular underpinnings of why some people are prone to obesity and some to leanness, they are discovering that weight maintenance is more complicated than the old "calories in, calories out" adage.

Study blocks multiple sclerosis relapses in mice

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 11:22 AM PST

Researchers have identified a key protein that is able to reduce the severity of a disease equivalent to multiple sclerosis in mice. This molecule, Del-1, is the same regulatory protein that has been found to prevent inflammation and bone loss in a mouse model of gum disease.

First analysis of new human glucose disorder revealed

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 10:36 AM PST

Glycogen storage disorders are metabolic conditions that manifest in the first years of life. This inability to process and store glucose can be difficult to diagnose. Now, researchers who have studied enzymes involved in metabolism of bacteria have cataloged the effects of abnormal enzymes responsible for one type of this disorder in humans. Their work could help with patient prognosis and in developing therapeutic options for this glycogen storage disease.

Microtubes create cozy space for neurons to grow, and grow fast

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 10:36 AM PST

Tiny, thin microtubes could provide a scaffold for neuron cultures to grow so that researchers can study neural networks, their growth and repair, yielding insights into treatment for degenerative neurological conditions or restoring nerve connections after injury, scientists report.

Study identifying cell of origin for large, disfiguring nerve tumors lays groundwork for development of new therapies

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 10:34 AM PST

Researchers have determined the specific type of cell that gives rise to large, disfiguring tumors called plexiform neurofibromas, a finding that could lead to new therapies for preventing growth of these tumors.

Novel molecular imaging drug offers better detection of prostate cancer

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 09:40 AM PST

A novel study demonstrates the potential of a novel molecular imaging drug to detect and visualize early prostate cancer in soft tissue, lymph nodes and bone. The research compares the biodistribution and tumor uptake kinetics of two Tc-99m labeled ligands, MIP-1404 and MIP-1405, used with SPECT and planar imaging.

Why 'I'm so happy I could cry' makes sense

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 09:40 AM PST

The phrase 'tears of joy' never made much sense to one American psychologist. But after conducting a series of studies of such seemingly incongruous expressions, she now understands better why people cry when they are happy.

Mothers, babies benefit from skin-to-skin contact

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 08:17 AM PST

Research during the past 30 years has found many benefits of skin-to-skin contact between mothers and newborns immediately after birth, particularly with aiding breastfeeding. However, in some hospitals, skin-to-skin contact following cesarean birth is not implemented, due to practices around the surgery. A recent quality improvement project demonstrated that women's birth experiences were improved by implementing skin-to-skin contact after cesarean surgery.

Altered milk protein can deliver aids drug to infants

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 08:16 AM PST

A novel method of altering a protein in milk to bind with an antiretroviral drug promises to greatly improve treatment for infants and young children suffering from HIV/AIDS, according to a researcher.

Enriched environments hold promise for brain injury patients

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 08:16 AM PST

A violent blow to the head has the potential to cause mild to severe traumatic brain injury -- physical damage to the brain that can be debilitating, even fatal. But to date, there is no effective medical or cognitive treatment for patients with traumatic brain injuries. Now a new study points to an 'enriched environment' -- specially enhanced surroundings -- as a promising path for the rehabilitation of mild traumatic brain injury patients.

Tumor-analysis technology enables speedier treatment decisions for bowel cancer patients

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 08:16 AM PST

Technology helps hospitals make earlier and more accurate treatment decisions and survival assessments for patients with bowel cancer. A novel medical imaging technology, TexRAD, which analyses the texture of tumors, has been shown in trials to enable early diagnosis of those bowel cancer patients not responding to the standard cancer therapy better than other available tumor markers.

Eye diseases identified by how we watch TV

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 08:13 AM PST

One of the leading causes of blindness worldwide could be detected by how our eyes respond to watching TV according to a new study. With millions of people living with undiagnosed glaucoma, the research could help speed up diagnosis, enabling clinicians to identify the disease earlier and allowing treatment to begin before the onset of permanent damage.

Controlling genes with your thoughts

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 08:13 AM PST

Researchers have constructed the first gene network that can be controlled by our thoughts. Scientists have developed a novel gene regulation method that enables thought-specific brainwaves to control the conversion of genes into proteins (gene expression). The inspiration was a game that picks up brainwaves in order to guide a ball through an obstacle course.

Drunk driving: Helping reduce road fatalities in China

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 07:52 AM PST

Changes to China's drunk driving laws are catching the community off guard with more than 70 percent of people unaware of the blood alcohol limits that could see them face criminal charges, according to new research conducted in two Chinese cities.

Lung disease case finding in pharmacies could save £264 million

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 07:52 AM PST

Using community pharmacies to identify undiagnosed cases of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at an early stage could save £264 million a year, English researchers report. The new research shows the value of pharmacies in addressing diseases at an early stage. It reveals that case-finding would provide 'significant NHS and societal benefits' and save the NHS more money than the service costs to deliver.

Typhoid gene unravelled

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 07:51 AM PST

People who carry a particular type of gene have natural resistance against typhoid fever according to new research. Enteric fever, or typhoid fever as it more commonly known, is a considerable health burden to lower-income countries. This finding is important because this natural resistance represents one of the largest human gene effects on an infectious disease.

The Trojan horse burger: Do companies that 'do good' sell unhealthy food?

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 07:49 AM PST

When consumers see a company performing good deeds, they often assume that the company's products are healthy. According to a new study this may be far from true, and the company's socially responsible behavior may be creating a "health halo" over unhealthy foods.

HIV-infected adults diagnosed with age-related diseases at similar ages as uninfected adults

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 07:48 AM PST

HIV-infected adults are at a higher risk for developing heart attacks, kidney failure and cancer. But, contrary to what many had believed, the researchers say these illnesses are occurring at similar ages as adults who are not infected with HIV.

Mapping spread of diarrhea bacteria a major step toward new vaccine

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 06:28 AM PST

Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) bacteria are responsible each year for around 400 million cases of diarrhea and 400,000 deaths in the world's low- and middle-income countries. Children under the age of five are most affected. ETEC bacteria also cause diarrhea in nearly one in two travelers to these areas. In a major breakthrough, researchers used comprehensive DNA analyses to reveal the ETEC bacteria's genetic composition – an analysis that also makes it possible to map how the bacteria spread.

Promising prognostic biomarker candidates for ovarian cancer uncovered

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 06:27 AM PST

Through separate studies, researchers have clarified the role of cancer testis antigen in ovarian cancer, and report new evidence that certain ligand/receptor interactions influence ovarian cancer prognosis.

Controversial medication has benefits for breastfeeding

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 06:27 AM PST

A controversial medication used by breastfeeding women should not be restricted because of the benefits it offers mothers and their babies, according to researchers. The medication domperidone has recently been the subject of warnings based on research that there is a link between the medication and fatal heart conditions.

'Landmark' results for curing hepatitis C in liver transplant patients

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 06:27 AM PST

A new treatment regimen for hepatitis C, the most common cause of liver cancer and transplantation, has produced results that will transform treatment protocols for transplant patients, according to research.

Prosthetic, orthotic service in developing countries examined

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 05:38 AM PST

How well do prosthetic and orthotic services work in countries characterized by poverty and civil war? A new study focuses on this issue, revealing current the state of the matter.

Toxic mix of fast-food outlets in inner city neighborhoods fuelling diabetes, obesity epidemic

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 05:38 AM PST

There is twice the number of fast-food outlets in inner city neighborhoods with high density non-white ethnic minority groups and in socially deprived areas, a study shows. "The results are quite alarming and have major implications for public health interventions to limit the number of fast food outlets in more deprived areas," notes one researcher.

Legionella outbreaks of Alcoy may have multiple sources

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 05:38 AM PST

A genomic analysis has been carried out of Legionella pneumophila strains of 13 legionellosis outbreaks produced in Alcoy during the period from 1999 to 2010. Legionella pneumophila is a strictly environmental pathogen, an opportunistic bacterium that inhabits aquatic and soil environments, spreading through the air and that can infect humans with certain susceptibility characteristics, such as being over 65 years, with breathing problems or smokers, among others. L. pneumophila is the causative agent of Legionnaire's disease.

Beta-blockers have no mortality benefit in post-heart attack patients, say researchers

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 05:38 AM PST

Beta-blockers have been a cornerstone in the treatment of heart attack survivors for more than a quarter of a century. However, many of the data predate contemporary medical therapy such as reperfusion, statins, and antiplatelet agents, and recent data have called the role of beta-blockers into question. Two new studies evaluated the traditional management of these patients after their discharge from the hospital and in the light of changing medical treatment, as well as the impact of the discharge heart rate and conventional treatment with beta-blockers.

Multiple models reveal new genetic links in autism

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 05:33 AM PST

With the help of mouse models, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and the "tooth fairy," researchers have implicated a new gene in idiopathic or non-syndromic autism.

Lung cancer screening with low-dose CT could be cost effective

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 06:10 PM PST

Lung cancer screening in the National Lung Screening Trial meets a commonly accepted standard for cost effectiveness, researchers report. This relatively new screening test uses annual low-dose CT scans to spot lung tumors early in individuals facing the highest risks of lung cancer due to age and smoking history.

ACE-inhibitors associated with lower risk for ALS above certain dose over time

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 06:10 PM PST

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease and most patients die within three to five years after symptoms appear. Studies have suggested antihypertensive medications angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) may decrease the risk for developing neurodegenerative diseases. "The findings in this total population-based case-control study revealed that long-term exposure to ACEIs was inversely associated with the risk for developing ALS. To our knowledge, the present study is the first to screen the association between ACEIs and ALS risk in a population-based study," note the authors.

Overall risk of birth defects appears low for women taking antiretrovirals during early pregnancy

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 06:10 PM PST

Among pregnant women infected with HIV, the use of antiretroviral medications early in pregnancy to treat their HIV or to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV does not appear to increase the risk of birth defects in their infants, according to a new study.

Home health nurses integrated depression care management but limited benefit

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 06:09 PM PST

Medicare home health care nurses effectively integrated a depression care management program into routine practice but the benefit appeared limited to patients with moderate to severe depression, according to a report.

Second-hand smoke exposure of hospitalized nonsmoker cardiac patients

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 06:09 PM PST

While nonsmoking patients hospitalized with coronary heart disease reported secondhand tobacco smoke exposure in the days before their hospital admission, only 17.3 percent of patients recalled a physician or nurse asking them about their SHS exposure despite evidence that SHS increases nonsmokers' risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a report.

Half of premature colorectal cancer deaths due to socioeconomic inequality

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 06:09 PM PST

Half of all premature deaths from colorectal cancer -- described as deaths in people ages 25 to 64 -- in the United States are linked to ethnic, socioeconomic, and geographic inequalities, and therefore could be prevented according to a new study.

Explosive compound reduced blood pressure in female offspring of hypertensive rats

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 06:09 PM PST

The explosive organic compound pentaerythritol tetranitrate helped lower blood pressure in the female offspring of hypertensive rats. Pentaerythritol tetranitrate had no effect on parent rats or their male offspring.

The brain’s 'inner GPS' gets dismantled

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 06:06 PM PST

Imagine being able to recognize your car as your own but never being able to remember where you parked it. Researchers have induced this all-too-common human experience -- or a close version of it -- permanently in rats and from what is observed perhaps derive clues about why strokes and Alzheimer's disease can destroy a person's sense of direction.

Hospital workers wash hands less frequently toward end of shift, study finds

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 06:06 PM PST

Hospital workers who deal directly with patients wash their hands less frequently as their workday progresses, probably because the demands of the job deplete the mental reserves they need to follow rules, according to new research.

Marijuana's long-term effects on the brain demonstrated

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 01:11 PM PST

The effects of chronic marijuana use on the brain may depend on age of first use and duration of use, according to new research. Researchers for the first time comprehensively describe existing abnormalities in brain function and structure of long-term marijuana users with multiple magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques.

Playing action video games can boost learning, study finds

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 01:10 PM PST

A new study shows for the first time that playing action video games improves not just the skills taught in the game, but learning capabilities more generally.

Interstitial lung disease is significant risk factor for lung inflammation

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 12:09 PM PST

Pretreatment interstitial lung disease is a significant risk factor for developing symptomatic and severe radiation pneumonitis in stage I non-small cell lung cancer patients treated with stereotactic body radiation therapy alone, researchers say.

Sweet music or sour notes? Test will tell

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 12:08 PM PST

Most people rarely sing publically outside of "Happy Birthday." And since that particular song is usually offered as a group performance, even the reluctant join in, hoping their individual shortcomings will be cloaked by the chorus. One psychologist believes that most people are not as bad at singing as they might think and he is collaborating on the development of an online test that will evaluate participants' ability to match specific tones and melodies.

Opioid overdose: Cause for over two thirds of emergency department visits in 2010 in U.S.

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 09:43 AM PST

Researchers have found that prescription opioids, including methadone, were involved in 67.8 percent of -- or over 135,971 visits to -- emergency department visits in 2010 in the U.S., with the highest proportion of opioid overdoses occurring in the South.

Mothers' education significant to children's academic success

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 09:43 AM PST

A mother knows best -- and the amount of education she attains can predict her children's success in reading and math. In fact, that success is greater if she had her child later in life, according to a new study.

New target for blood cancer treatment discovered

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 09:43 AM PST

A therapeutic target that could lead to the development of new treatments for specific blood cancers has been identified by researchers. Using laboratory models, they found that 'switching off' half the gene in the Mpl receptor reduced its expression with the result that the disease did not develop.

Statins reverse learning disabilities caused by genetic disorder

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 09:42 AM PST

Neuroscientists discovered that statins, a popular class of cholesterol drugs, reverse the learning deficits caused by a mutation linked to a common genetic cause of learning disabilities. The findings were studied in mice genetically engineered to develop the disease, called Noonan syndrome.

Thousands of never-before-seen human genome variations uncovered

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 09:42 AM PST

Thousands of never-before-seen genetic variants in the human genome have been uncovered using a new genome sequencing technology. These discoveries close many human genome mapping gaps that have long resisted sequencing. The technique, called single-molecule, real-time DNA sequencing, may now make it possible for researchers to identify potential genetic mutations behind many conditions whose genetic causes have long eluded scientists.

Some neurons can multitask, raising questions about importance of specialization

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 09:42 AM PST

The brain is constantly processing sensory information while supporting a dizzying array of behaviors. For decades, biologists have assumed that specialized classes of neurons process all this information at once. But a team of scientists has found a population of neurons in the rat brain that support multiple behaviors at once. These neurons cannot be individually classified by specialization, challenging assumptions about how information is encoded in the brain.

Birthweight charts tailored to specific ethnic groups may be better predictor of adverse outcomes

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 09:41 AM PST

Immigrant women give birth to about one-third of the babies born in Ontario. Yet clinicians still measure those babies before and after birth using the same scales that measure babies whose mothers were born in Canada, often of Western European ancestry.

Is your relationship moving toward marriage? If it isn't, you probably can't admit it

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 09:40 AM PST

Dating couples who have moved toward marriage over the course of their relationship remember accurately what was going on at each stage of their deepening commitment. But couples whose commitment to each other has stagnated or regressed are far less accurate in their memories of their relationships, says a new study.

Classification of gene mutations in a children's cancer may point to improved treatments

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 09:34 AM PST

Oncology researchers studying gene mutations in the childhood cancer neuroblastoma are refining their diagnostic tools to predict which patients are more likely to respond to drugs called ALK inhibitors that target such mutations. Removing some of the guesswork in diagnosis and treatment may lead to more successful outcomes.

'Darting' mice may hold clues to ADHD, autism, bipolar disorder

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 08:07 AM PST

A darting mouse may hold an important clue in the development of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), autism and bipolar disorder, according to a study. The transgenic mouse, into which was inserted a rare human genetic variation in the dopamine transporter (DAT), could lead to improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of these all-too-common brain disorders, said the report's senior author.

Pre-symptomatic markers for hemorrhagic viruses like Ebola identified

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 08:04 AM PST

It is possible to distinguish between different hemorrhagic fevers, including Marburg (Ebola cousin) and Lassa before the person becomes symptomatic, new research has found. This study will allow for the development of better diagnostics, especially during the early stages of disease, when treatments have a greater chance of being effective.

New state level data demonstrate geographical variation in 10-year cardiovascular risk

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 08:02 AM PST

Public health researchers seeking to determine an individual's risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD), coronary heart disease (CHD), or stroke have previously relied on national US data, such as that provided by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES). Now, new data compiled and evaluated by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide information at the state level for the first time, paving the way for targeted intervention programs.

Successful implant of next-generation heart device marks Canadian first

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 08:02 AM PST

A surgical team in Toronto has successfully implanted a novel mechanical device, the HeartMate IIITM, into a patient with advanced heart failure. This is the first time this procedure has been conducted on Canadian soil.

Combination therapy offers quicker, less toxic eradication of hepatitis C in liver transplant patients

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 08:01 AM PST

All patients with hepatitis C who receive a liver transplant will eventually infect their new livers. These transplanted organs then require anti-viral treatment before they become severely damaged. But traditional post-transplant hepatitis C therapy can take up to a year, is potentially toxic and can lead to organ rejection. Now researchers report that use of two new oral medications post-transplant is safe and beneficial, and requires only 12 weeks of treatment.

First steps in formation of pancreatic cancer identified

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 08:01 AM PST

The first steps in the origin of pancreatic cancer have been identified by researchers who say that their findings suggest preventive strategies to explore. The scientists described the molecular steps necessary for acinar cells in the pancreas -- the cells that release digestive enzymes -- to become precancerous lesions. Some of these lesions can then morph into cancer.

Physicians play critical role in ensuring bladder cancer patients understand link between smoking, their disease

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 05:37 AM PST

When bladder cancer patients are well-informed by their physicians, they acknowledge that tobacco use was likely the cause of their disease. At least half of bladder cancer cases diagnosed in the United States are the result of cigarette smoking. Bladder cancer is the second most common tobacco-related malignancy, a fact that is not well known even among bladder cancer surgeons, let alone the general public.

Recognizing emotions, and what happens when this is interrupted

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 05:35 AM PST

Recognizing the emotions other people feel is crucial for establishing proper interpersonal relations. To do so, we look at (amongst other things) facial expressions and body posture. Unfortunately, in some neurological disorders this ability is heavily impaired. This happens, for example, in multiple sclerosis where scientific evidence shows that people affected by the disease often have trouble recognizing expressions that communicate emotions. A new study now demonstrates that the same difficulty may also be encountered with emotions conveyed by posture.

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