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Friday, November 21, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

New device reduces scarring in damaged blood vessels

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 11:18 AM PST

A new device contains a form of vitamin A that controls inflammatory responses, preventing scar tissue formation and promoting wound healing. The soft, porous, and thin elastic material contains an acid form of vitamin A, called a retinoid, which is produced by the body to help cells develop and stay healthy. Synthetic retinoids have been formulated and traditionally used to treat acne and some types of cancer.

11-country survey of older adults: Americans sicker but have quicker access to specialists

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 11:17 AM PST

A survey of older adults in eleven countries found that Americans were sicker than their counterparts abroad, with 68 percent living with two or more chronic conditions and 53 percent taking four or more medications. More Americans, 19 percent, reported cost-related care expenses than residents in other countries -- whereas 83 percent of US respondents had treatment plans they could carry out in their daily lives, one of the highest rates across the surveyed countries.

HIV/AIDS drugs could be repurposed to treat AMD, researchers suggest

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 11:17 AM PST

Drugs that have been used for the past 30 years to treat HIV/AIDS, could be repurposed to treat the dry form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a new study suggests. AMD is a progressive condition that is untreatable in up to 90 percent of patients and is a leading cause of blindness in the elderly worldwide. The two forms of AMD, wet and dry, are classified based on the presence or absence of blood vessels that have invaded the retina.

Why some people may be immune to HIV-1: Insight

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 11:17 AM PST

Doctors have long been mystified as to why HIV-1 rapidly sickens some individuals, while in others the virus has difficulties gaining a foothold. Now, a study of genetic variation in HIV-1 and in the cells it infects has uncovered a chink in HIV-1's armor that may, at least in part, explain the puzzling difference -- and potentially open the door to new treatments.

Breakthrough in managing yellow fever disease

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 11:16 AM PST

Found in South America and sub-Saharan Africa, each year yellow fever results in 200,000 new cases and kills 30,000 people. About 900 million people are at risk of contracting the disease. Now a research team has determined that the yellow fever virus, a hemorrhagic fever virus, replicates primarily in the liver; other organ failures that often follow in people with the disease are due to secondary effects.

Imagination, reality flow in opposite directions in the brain

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 11:14 AM PST

As real as that daydream may seem, its path through your brain runs opposite reality. Aiming to discern discrete neural circuits, researchers have tracked electrical activity in the brains of people who alternately imagined scenes or watched videos.

Exercise regimens offer little benefit for one in five people with type 2 diabetes

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 10:31 AM PST

As many as one in five people with Type 2 diabetes do not see any improvement in blood sugar management when they engage in a supervised exercise regimen, according to a new scientific review.

Research finds tooth enamel fast-track in humans

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 09:32 AM PST

Researchers have discovered a link between prenatal enamel growth rates in teeth and weaning in human babies. The research found that incisor teeth grow quickly in the early stages of the second trimester of a baby's development, while molars grow at a slower rate in the third trimester. This is so incisors are ready to erupt after birth, at approximately six months of age, when a baby makes the transition from breast-feeding to weaning.

Pluripotent cells created by nuclear transfer can prompt immune reaction, researchers find

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 09:32 AM PST

Mouse cells and tissues created through nuclear transfer can be rejected by the body because of a previously unknown immune response to the cell's mitochondria, according to a study in mice.

Derivative of vitamin B3 prevents liver cancer in mice

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 09:32 AM PST

The first mouse model that faithfully reproduces the steps of human HCC development has been developed by researchers. The results of the study indicate that diets rich in nicotinamide riboside, a derivative of vitamin B3, protect these mice from developing HCC in its most initial stage, when genotoxic stress is damaging cellular DNA. They also show a curative effect of the diet in those mice that had previously developed the disease.

Cellular origin of fibrosis found

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 09:31 AM PST

The cellular origin of the tissue scarring caused by organ damage associated with diabetes, lung disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, and other conditions has been found by researchers. The buildup of scar tissue is known as fibrosis.

Signaling molecule crucial to stem cell reprogramming

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 09:31 AM PST

While investigating a rare genetic disorder, researchers have discovered that a ubiquitous signaling molecule is crucial to cellular reprogramming, a finding with significant implications for stem cell-based regenerative medicine, wound repair therapies and potential cancer treatments.

Brain training using sounds can help aging brain ignore distractions

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 09:31 AM PST

As we age, we have an increasingly harder time ignoring distractions. But new research reveals that by learning to make discriminations of a sound amidst progressively more disruptive distractions, we can diminish our distractibility. A similar strategy might also help children with attention deficits or individuals with other mental challenges.

Reprogramming 'support cells' into neurons could repair injured adult brains

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 09:31 AM PST

The cerebral cortex lacks the ability to replace neurons that die as a result of Alzheimer's, stroke, and other devastating diseases. A new study shows that a Sox2 protein, alone or in combination with another protein, Ascl1, can cause nonneuronal cells, called NG2 glia, to turn into neurons in the injured cerebral cortex of adult mice. The findings reveal that NG2 glia represent a promising target for neuronal cell replacement strategies to treat brain injury.

Dominant people can be surprisingly social

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 09:30 AM PST

In contrast to the lay stereotype, dominant people prove to be avid social learners, just like dominant individuals in the animal kingdom. Neuroscientists show this with a complex decision-making task. They offer a more subtle perspective on the lay view wherein dominant individuals ignore others' views and advice.

Education empowers Canadians, but raises risks of overwork, work-family stress

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 09:30 AM PST

The higher your level of education, the greater your earnings and your sense of "personal mastery" or being in control of your fate, researchers say. But wait: there's a downside. A new study confirms that well-educated people are also more likely to encounter overwork, job pressure, and work-to-family conflict. And, in turn, each of these stressors actually undermines mastery.

Unwinding the mysteries of the cellular clock

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 09:30 AM PST

Underlying circadian rhythms is a clock built of transcription factors that control the oscillation of genes, serving as the wheels and springs of the clock. But, how does a single clock keep time in multiple phases at once? A genome-wide survey found that circadian genes and regulatory elements called enhancers oscillate daily in phase with nearby genes – both the enhancer and gene activity peak at the same time each day.

Gene therapy provides safe, long-term relief for patients with severe hemophilia B

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 08:35 AM PST

Gene therapy has transformed life for men with a severe form of hemophilia B by providing a safe, reliable source of the blood clotting protein Factor IX that has allowed some to adopt a more active lifestyle, researchers report.

Unstable child care can affect children by age 4

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 08:34 AM PST

Disruptions in child care negatively affect children's social development as early as age 4. However, the study also shows that the effects of child care instability are not unduly large -- and some types of instability appear to have no negative impact on children.

The American athletics track is still a man's world

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 08:34 AM PST

The limited coverage that American female athletes get in the media is one of many subtle forms of gender biases they have to cope with. The little exposure they do get often focuses more on their attire, or how attractive, sexy or ladylike they are than on their actual athletic prowess. In the long run, this influences their performance in sports. So say the authors of a new review.

Scientists study effects of sunlight to reduce number of nearsighted kids

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 08:23 AM PST

Kids who spend more time outside are less likely to need glasses for nearsightedness – but scientists don't know why. Researchers are now looking more closely at physical changes in the eye influenced by outdoor light exposure in the hopes of reducing cases of myopia, which affects one-third of the American population.

Contact lens discomfort linked to changes in lipid layer of tear film

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 08:22 AM PST

Changes in the lipid layer of the eyes' natural tear film may contribute to the common problem of contact lens discomfort.

Identifying onset of local influenza outbreaks: New Tool

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 05:23 AM PST

Hospital epidemiologists and others responsible for public health decisions do not declare the start of flu season lightly. All the extra precautions cost time and money, so they do not want to declare flu season too early. For hospitals, there is a strong incentive to define a really clear period as flu season. Now, just in time for flu season, researchers have devised a simple yet accurate method for hospitals and public health departments to determine the onset of elevated influenza activity at the community level.

Weight, eating habits in Parkinson's disease

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 05:21 AM PST

A review of the scientific literature on Parkinson's disease shows that even the non-motor symptoms associated with the disease can contribute to the changes in body weight seen in patients (including those subjected to deep brain stimulation). Among the factors affecting eating habits and body weight there could be, for example, an impaired ability to derive pleasure from food and changes in motivation. These are important findings which can help to understand how to reduce these effects of Parkinson's that exacerbate an already negative clinical situation.

Hand dryers can spread bacteria in public toilets, research finds

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 05:21 AM PST

Modern hand dryers are much worse than paper towels when it comes to spreading germs, according to new research. Airborne germ counts were 27 times higher around jet air dryers in comparison with the air around paper towel dispensers.

How do teenage boys perceive their weight?

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 05:21 AM PST

Almost one third of male adolescents inaccurately perceive their weight. This can influence their eating habits and, consequently, their health, according to a study conducted with 600 teenage boys from Barcelona and surrounding areas. Up to 25% of the boys reported trying to lose or control their weight in the past year.

Key factor discovered in progression of liver cancer

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 05:21 AM PST

One of the most aggressive and common forms of liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma. A team of researchers has now identified the crucial key factor involved in the development and progression of this malignant type of tumour: the AXL receptor supports cancer-promoting processes and slows down cancer-inhibiting factors. This finding could make a targeted therapeutic approach possible in future.

Flu virus key machine: First complete view of structure revealed

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 05:21 AM PST

Scientists looking to understand – and potentially thwart – the influenza virus now have a much more encompassing view, thanks to the first complete structure of one of the flu virus' key machines. Knowing the structure allows researchers to finally understand how the machine works as a whole, and could prove instrumental in designing new drugs to treat serious flu infections and combat flu pandemics.

What's behind our music tastes? Some common perceptions

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 05:19 AM PST

Metal heads, jazz purists and folkies may have more in common musically than you imagined. A new study sheds light on the shared ways in which humans perceive music.

Oat oil preparation makes you feel fuller

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 05:19 AM PST

Oats contain more fat than other cereals, and oat oil has a unique composition. Researchers have now outlined why oat oil supplement makes you feel fuller.

Snus use in Norway has tripled in five years

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 05:19 AM PST

The increase in Scandinavian snus consumption in Norway is highest among young people, according to a new report. Scandinavian snus is a smokeless, ground tobacco product that is held between the lip and gum. It is sold as a loose product or as portions supplied in small pouches. The sale of snus is illegal in the European Union, but some countries are exempt.

With immunotherapy, physicians avoid diabetes complications

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 05:19 AM PST

What is the difference between the treatment of diabetes under an immune scheme compared to the traditional one? The patient gets a diagnosis and receives attention, but is also checked for a systemic immune problem and thereby prevent possible consequences as diabetic foot, glaucoma, nephropathy and retinopathy, experts say.

Only half of patients take their medications as prescribed: Are there interventions that will help them?

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 05:19 AM PST

The cost of patients not taking their medications as prescribed can be substantial in terms of their health. Although a large amount of research evidence has tried to address this problem, there are no well-established approaches to help them.

Job authority increases depression symptoms in women, decreases them in men

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 05:17 AM PST

Having job authority increases symptoms of depression among women, but decreases them among men, a new study has found.

Fat a culprit in fibrotic lung damage

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 05:17 AM PST

Researchers debate whether the lung tissue in pulmonary fibrosis is directly damaged, or whether immune cells initiate the scarring process – an important distinction when trying to find new ways to battle the disease. Now research shows that both processes may be important, and suggest a new direction for developing novel therapies.

New computer model predicts gut metabolites to better understand gastrointestinal disease

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 05:17 AM PST

The first research to use computational modeling to predict and identify the metabolic products of gastrointestinal (GI) tract microorganisms has been published by researchers. Understanding these metabolic products, or metabolites, could influence how clinicians diagnose and treat GI diseases, as well as many other metabolic and neurological diseases increasingly associated with compromised GI function.

New approach for treating ALS: Re-evaluation of older drugs?

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 05:17 AM PST

Blocking molecules involved in ALS-drug resistance may improve how well ALS therapeutics work, suggesting that re-evaluation of drugs that appeared to have failed might be appropriate.

Bacterial slime: It's what's for dinner

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 05:17 AM PST

If natural or humanmade disaster strikes, causing global crop failures, the world won't starve -- providing they are willing to eat bacterial slime and bugs. "People have been doing catastrophic risk research for a while. But most of what's been done is dark, apocalyptic and dismal. It hasn't provided any real solutions," says the author of a new book that provides a more optimistic outlook.

Bad marriage, broken heart?

Posted: 19 Nov 2014 05:48 PM PST

Older couples in a bad marriage -- particularly female spouses -- have a higher risk for heart disease than those in a good marriage, finds the first nationally representative study of its kind.

Terrorist attacks decrease fertility levels, says new research

Posted: 19 Nov 2014 05:48 PM PST

On average, terrorist attacks decrease fertility, reducing both the expected number of children a woman has over her lifetime and the number of live births occurring during each year, a new study has found.

From architect to social worker: Complex jobs may protect memory and thinking later in life

Posted: 19 Nov 2014 02:47 PM PST

People whose jobs require more complex work with other people, such as social workers and lawyers, or with data, like architects or graphic designers, may end up having longer-lasting memory and thinking abilities compared to people who do less complex work, according to new research.

Why we need to fund newer blood-thinning agents to prevent strokes

Posted: 19 Nov 2014 05:45 AM PST

Care gaps are emerging due to disharmony between healthcare reimbursement policies and evidence-based clinical guideline recommendations, cautions a group of Canadian physicians. They use the example of stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation (AF) to make a case for engaging with policy-makers to address the growing barriers to patients' access to optimal care.

From dried cod to tissue sample preservation

Posted: 19 Nov 2014 05:45 AM PST

Could human tissue samples be dried for storage, instead of being frozen? Researchers are looking at the salt cod industry for a potential tissue sample drying technology that could save money without sacrificing tissue quality.

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