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Thursday, November 13, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

The backwards brain? How brain maps develop to help us perceive the world

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 01:10 PM PST

Scientists reveal that physically moving forward actually trains the brain to perceive the world normally. The findings also show that, the order in which we see things could help the brain calibrate how we perceive time, as well as the objects around us.

Hope for those with social anxiety disorder: You may already be someone's best friend

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 11:48 AM PST

Making friends is often extremely difficult for people with social anxiety disorder and to make matters worse, people with this disorder tend to assume that the friendships they do have are not of the highest quality. The problem with this perception, suggests new research, is that their friends don't necessarily see it that way.

Focusing on executive functions in kindergarten leads to lasting academic improvements

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 11:47 AM PST

An educational approach focused on the development of children's executive functions – the ability to avoid distractions, focus attention, hold relevant information in working memory, and regulate impulsive behavior – improved academic learning in and beyond kindergarten, according to a new study.

Important brain reward pathway confirmed by researchers

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 10:21 AM PST

Details of the role of glutamate, the brain's excitatory chemical, in a drug reward pathway have been identified for the first time. This discovery in rodents shows that stimulation of glutamate neurons in a specific brain region leads to activation of dopamine-containing neurons in the brain's reward circuit.

Software models more detailed evolutionary networks from genetic data

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 10:21 AM PST

Computer scientists have developed software to build more accurate evolutionary networks from genomic data sets. A "maximum likelihood" method allows PhyloNet to infer network models that better describe the evolution of certain groups of species than do tree models.

Lung regeneration mechanism discovered

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 10:21 AM PST

A research team reports on the role of certain lung stem cells in regenerating lungs damaged by disease. Their work sheds light on the inner workings of the still-emerging concept of lung regeneration and points to potential therapeutic strategies that harness these lung stem cells.

HIV virulence depends on where virus inserts itself in host DNA

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 10:21 AM PST

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can insert itself at different locations in the DNA of its human host -- and this specific integration site determines how quickly the disease progresses, report researchers.

Live longer? Save the planet? Better diet could nail both

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 10:20 AM PST

A new study shows how a shift away from this trajectory and toward healthier traditional Mediterranean, pescatarian or vegetarian diets could not only boost human lifespan and quality of life, but also slash greenhouse gas emissions and save habitat for endangered species.

Research suggests how mosquitoes evolved an attraction to human scent

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 10:20 AM PST

The female mosquitoes that spread dengue and yellow fever didn't always rely on human blood to nourish their eggs. Their ancestors fed on furrier animals. But then, thousands of years ago, some of these bloodsuckers made a smart switch: They began biting humans and hitchhiked all over the globe, spreading disease in their wake. To understand the evolutionary basis of this attraction, a research team examined the genes that drive some mosquitoes to prefer humans.

‘Smart’ drugs won’t make smart people smarter, research concludes

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 10:19 AM PST

It is claimed one in five students have taken the 'smart' drug Modafinil to boost their ability to study and improve their chances of exam success. But new research into the effects of Modafinil has shown that healthy students could find their performance impaired by the drug. 

Learning languages is a workout for brains, both young, old

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 09:02 AM PST

Learning a new language changes your brain network both structurally and functionally, according to researchers. "Like physical exercise, the more you use specific areas of your brain, the more it grows and gets stronger," said the lead investigator.

Valuable movies, valued movies may be two different things

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 09:02 AM PST

Action movies may drive box office revenues, but dramas and deeper, more serious movies earn audience acclaim and appreciation, according to a team of researchers.

Self-inflation harms kids' relationships at school

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 09:02 AM PST

'I am the smartest kid in class.' We all want our kids to be self-confident, but unrealistic perceptions of their academic abilities can be harmful. These unrealistic views, a new study of eighth-graders finds, damage the a child's relationship with others in the classroom: The more one student feels unrealistically superior to another, the less the two students like each other.

Moderate consumption of sugary drinks has little impact on adolescents' metabolic health

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 09:01 AM PST

Short-term, moderate consumption of high-fructose and high-glucose beverages has little impact on the metabolic health of weight-stable, physically active adolescents, scientists have found. The study measured several aspects of metabolic health, including insulin sensitivity and cholesterol levels, after participants had consumed moderate amounts of either high-glucose or high-fructose beverages every day for two weeks.

Marked benefits found for cancer prevention with a higher intake of fatty fish

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 09:01 AM PST

A new research review will once again have people asking for a second helping of wild Alaskan salmon at the dinner table. While several other studies have recently challenged the long-held belief of the benefits of a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids, this new study cites compelling evidence that eating the right kinds of fatty fish, in the right quantity, and prepared the right way, can in fact help prevent the body's development of adenocarcinomas, a common type of cancerous tumor.

Genetic variant linked to better memory performance found

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 08:59 AM PST

People with a newly identified genetic variant perform better on certain types of memory tests, a discovery that may point the way to new treatments for the memory impairments caused by Alzheimer's disease or other age-associated conditions, experts report.

Artificial retina could someday help restore vision

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 07:25 AM PST

The loss of eyesight, often caused by retinal degeneration, is a life-altering health issue for many people, especially as they age. But a new development toward a prosthetic retina could help counter conditions that result from problems with this crucial part of the eye.

Single-dose, needle-free ebola vaccine provides long-term protection in macaques

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 07:25 AM PST

Scientists have demonstrated for the first time that a single-dose, needleless Ebola vaccine given to primates through their noses and lungs protected them against infection for at least 21 weeks.

Want to improve your putt? Try listening to jazz

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 07:25 AM PST

Listening to jazz music while putting can boost your performance on the putting green, according to new research. While any kind of music improves performance compared to listening to no music at all, jazz is the most effective musical genre for improving putting.

In preschoolers, office test overestimates eye's ability to change focus

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 07:25 AM PST

In preschool-aged children, a simple test performed in the ophthalmologist's or optometrist's office greatly overestimates the eye's ability to "flex and focus" in order to see small objects clearly, reports a study.

Common chemotherapeutic agent reduces resistance to virus therapy in brain tumor patients

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 07:25 AM PST

The common chemotherapeutic agent cyclophosphamide can help improve the success of oncolytic virus therapy in patients with malignant gliomas, a common type of brain tumor, researchers have found. Oncolytic virus therapy is an innovative therapeutic approach that uses viruses to target and kill cancer cells. The viruses can be modified to allow them to target specific cancer cells or to deliver therapy-modifying genes.

Predicting dengue fever outbreaks in China using Internet searches

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 06:31 AM PST

The habit of searching online for a diagnosis before visiting the doctor can be a powerful predictor of infectious diseases outbreaks, researchers have found. Now studies show that combining information from monitoring internet search metrics such as Baidu (China's equivalent of Google), with a web-based infectious disease alert system from reported cases and environmental factors hold the key to improving early warning systems and reducing the deadly effects of dengue fever in China.

Facial structure predicts goals, fouls among World Cup soccer players

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 06:31 AM PST

The structure of a soccer player's face can predict his performance on the field -- including his likelihood of scoring goals, making assists and committing fouls -- according to a new study.

Virtual reality speeds up rehabilitation: Integrating force feedback into therapies for impaired hands

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 06:30 AM PST

A novel training program uses haptic technology for impaired hands that cannot function normally. This program is unique as it provides force feedback, which creates a true sense of weight to the user through the control device.

Best supporting actors -- in your ears? Research points to potential way to restore hearing

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 06:30 AM PST

There's a cast of characters deep inside your ears -- many kinds of tiny cells working together to allow you to hear. The lead actors, called hair cells, play the crucial role in carrying sound signals to the brain. But new research shows that when it comes to restoring lost hearing ability, the spotlight may fall on some of the ear's supporting actors – and their understudies.

'Nudges' try to help college students live healthier

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 06:30 AM PST

Here's one way to try to get college students to live healthier lifestyles: They log onto their computer and get lessons and emails, telling them why they should eat better, exercise and sleep right. That's what researchers at 13 universities discovered.

New properties of microbes that cause common eye infection discovered

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 05:45 AM PST

The power of new genomic technology has been used by scientists to discover that microbes that commonly infect the eye have special, previously unknown properties. These properties are predicted to allow the bacterium -- Streptococcus pneumoniae -- to specifically stick to the surface of the eye, grow, and cause damage and inflammation.

A previously unrecognized flame retardant found in Americans for the first time

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 05:45 AM PST

A new study has found the carcinogenic flame retardant TCEP in the bodies of Americans. The study evaluated urinary levels of several phosphate flame retardant metabolites, like TCEP, which have been largely under the radar. Six metabolites were found in urine samples from California residents. People with the highest metabolite levels of two carcinogenic flame retardants also had the highest levels in their house dust, which were previously tested.

Bilingual brains better equipped to process information

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 05:45 AM PST

Speaking more than one language is good for the brain, according to new research that indicates bilingual speakers process information more efficiently and more easily than those who know a single language. The benefits occur because the bilingual brain is constantly activating both languages and choosing which language to use and which to ignore, said a researcher.

New 'care bundle' achieves drop in death rate for emergency abdominal surgery patients

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 05:45 AM PST

Four UK hospitals have achieved a huge reduction in the number of patients dying following emergency abdominal surgery, after adopting a 'care bundle' devised by patient safety specialists.

Mothers nurture emotions in girls over boys, new study finds

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 05:45 AM PST

Conversations mothers have with their daughters tend to contain more emotional words and content, than the conversations they have with their sons, new research has found. "This inevitably leads to girls growing up more attuned to their emotions then boys. Having this edge to be more expressive and cope well with emotions may matter more than ever in the workplace, as more companies are starting to recognize the advantages of high emotional intelligence when it comes to positions such as sales, teams and leadership," authors note.

Positive relationships strengthen nurses' performance in low-income countries

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 05:43 AM PST

When health workers develop positive, collaborative relationships with managers and local community leaders in rural Guatemala, their capacity to help vulnerable populations is increased, according to recent research.

Making a global action plan for antibiotics

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 05:43 AM PST

Every year, thousands of people die as a result of antimicrobial resistance. A global action plan against one of the greatest health threats of our time is the focus of recent conversation amongst experts and clinicians.

Furin: The answer to the ebola crises?

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 05:42 AM PST

With an estimated fatality rate of 52%, the need to discover a cure for Ebola has never been more urgent. New research suggests that scientists currently investigating potential cures for the Ebola virus should focus more attention on the protein furin. Furin is responsible for activating certain proteins and is involved in the processing and maturation of viral and bacterial preproteins.

Older women are frequent victims of domestic abuse

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 05:42 AM PST

Older women are frequent victims of domestic abuse, but their plight is often overlooked, because of a mistaken belief that only younger females are affected. Now, researchers are turning a spotlight on this neglected social problem. 

Fewer surgeries with degradable implants

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 05:42 AM PST

Until now, in cases of bone fracture, doctors have used implants made of steel and titanium, which have to be removed after healing. To spare patients burdensome interventions, researchers are working on a bone substitute that completely degrades in the body. Towards this end, material combinations of metal and ceramic are being used.

Understanding natural compounds when antibiotics no longer work

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 05:41 AM PST

Medicine is drifting towards a major problem. An increasing number of bacteria is no longer sensitive to known antibiotics. Doctors urgently need to find new ways of fighting these multi-resistant pathogens. To address the problem, pharmaceutical research is turning back to the source of most of our drugs: nature.

Memory disorders: New targets, test to develop treatments

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 05:41 AM PST

In a pair of related studies, scientists have identified a number of new therapeutic targets for memory disorders and have developed a new screening test to uncover compounds that may one day work against those disorders.

Oral cancer-causing HPV may spread through oral, genital routes

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 05:38 AM PST

Oral human papillomavirus (HPV) infections were more common among men who had female partners with oral and/or genital HPV infection, suggesting that the transmission of HPV occurs via oral-oral and oral-genital routes, according to a study.

The great digital divide in healthcare: Older Americans may be left behind

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 05:38 AM PST

When it comes to the benefits of electronic health records, older Americans may be left behind, new study says. Less than a third of Americans age 65 and over use the Web for health information and barely 10 percent of those with low health literacy -- or ability to navigate the health care system -- go online for health-related matters, according to the nationally-representative study.

Promising anti-cancer activity in experimental drug: Next-gen melanoma drug, TAK-733, excels in lab tests

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 02:01 PM PST

Medical researchers report anti-cancer activity in 10 out of 11 patient tumor samples grown in mice and treated with the experimental drug TAK-733, a small molecule inhibitor of MEK1/2.

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