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Friday, November 7, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

U.S. preterm birth rate hits Healthy People 2020 goal seven years early

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 05:29 AM PST

The national preterm birth rate fell to 11.4 percent in 2013 -- the lowest in 17 years -- meeting the federal Healthy People 2020 goal seven years early. The U.S. still received a 'C' on the 7th annual March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card because it fell short of the more-challenging 9.6 percent target set by the March of Dimes.

The world’s most advanced bionic hand

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 05:26 AM PST

A prosthetic hand, which provides a sense of touch acute enough to handle an egg, has been completed and is now exploited by the NEBIAS project after 10 years of research. The world's most advanced bionic hand was tested with the help of amputee Dennis Aabo Sørensen who was able to grasp objects intuitively and identify what he was touching, while blindfolded.

3-d printed heart created

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 05:24 AM PST

New 3D printed heart technology has been developed. New frontiers in cardiovascular imaging will be explored through presentations on three-dimensional imaging.

Scientists developing a device to automatically send an alarm if wearer takes a fall

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 05:24 AM PST

A new system will make life safer for older people and those at risk of falling. And the prototype is surprisingly simple – a mobile phone attached to a hip belt that can be programmed and connected to a fall algorithm. The hip belt is attached to the person requiring the alarm, and the alarm is triggered automatically as soon as the wearer takes a fall.

Teens close to high number of tobacco shops more likely to smoke

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 05:35 PM PST

Teenagers are much more likely to take up smoking if they live in neighborhoods with a large number of shops that sell tobacco products, a study suggests. Adolescents with the most tobacco outlets in their neighborhood are almost 50% more likely to smoke than those with no outlets nearby, researchers say.

Antibiotics: On-the-spot tests reduce unnecessary prescriptions

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 05:35 PM PST

Fast, on-the-spot tests for bacterial infections may help to reduce excessive antibiotic use. A systematic review found that when doctors tested for the presence of bacterial infections they prescribed fewer antibiotics.

CT lung screening appears cost-effective

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 05:35 PM PST

In 2010 the National Lung Screening Trial showed that screening for cancer with low-dose CT scans could reduce mortality by 20 percent compared to using chest X-rays. But is it cost-effective? A new study's calculations reveal that it is, but that depends on assuming many answers to questions that remain open.

Does life satisfaction increase with age? Only in some places, new study finds

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 05:35 PM PST

Life satisfaction dips around middle age and rises in older age in high-income, English-speaking countries, but that is not a universal pattern, according to a new report. Residents of other regions grow increasingly less satisfied as they age. The research also shows a two-way connection between physical health and well-being: poorer health leads to lower ratings of life satisfaction among the elderly, but higher life satisfaction seems to stave off physical health declines.

Secure genetic data moves into fast lane of discovery

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 05:35 PM PST

A new web-based platform called GWATCH provides visualization tools for identifying disease-associated genetic markers from privacy-protected human data without risk to patient privacy. This dynamic online tool facilitates disease gene discovery via automation presented with intuitive data visualization tools: results are shown in three dimensions via a scrolling (Guitar Hero-like) chromosome highway. GWATCH provides an extremely useful, visually appealing bird's-eye view of positive disease-association results, while all sensitive information remain secure behind firewalls.

Multicenter study: Hospital medical errors reduced 30 percent with improved patient handoffs

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 05:35 PM PST

Improvements in verbal and written communication between health care providers during patient handoffs can reduce injuries due to medical errors by 30 percent, according to a multicenter study. Study results show that I-PASS -- an original system of bundled communication and training tools for handoff of patient care between providers -- can greatly increase patient safety without significantly burdening existing clinical workflows.

Piglet brain atlas new tool in understanding human infant brain development

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 05:34 PM PST

A new online tool will further aid studies into postnatal brain growth in human infants based on the similarities seen in the development of the piglet brain. Through a cooperative effort, multi-disciplinary researchers have developed a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) based brain atlas for the four-week old piglet that offers a three-dimensional averaged brain and anatomical regions of interest.

Further evidence of potential for new anti-cancer drug

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 05:34 PM PST

Scientists have shown that a new drug inhibits the growth of tumors in the lab and that its effectiveness is improved by combining it with radiotherapy – suggesting a new approach that could be used in the clinic, they say.

'Aging well' must be a global priority, experts say

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 05:34 PM PST

Worldwide, life expectancy of older people continues to rise. By 2020, for the first time in history, the number of people aged 60 years and older will outnumber children younger than 5 years. By 2050, the world's population aged 60 years and older is expected to total 2 billion, up from 841 million today. 80% of these older people will be living in low-income and middle-income countries. However, although people are living longer, they are not necessarily healthier than before, experts report.

Massive non-Hodgkin lymphoma study underway

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 05:33 PM PST

The search for genetic and environmental links to lymphomas, resulting in the largest epidemiology and genome-wide association studies of non-Hodgkin lymphoma ever conducted, is coming to a close. This study has resulted many published papers and is considered "huge in scale."

Having a Y chromosome doesn't affect women's response to sexual images, brain study shows

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 01:52 PM PST

Women born with a rare condition that gives them a Y chromosome don't only look like women physically, they also have the same brain responses to visual sexual stimuli, a new study shows.

The female nose always knows: Do women have more olfactory neurons?

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 01:52 PM PST

Using a new method called isotropic fractionator, a group of researchers has found biological evidence that may explain the superior olfactory abilities that women have over men.

Safest cosmetic surgery procedures: National study offers broad evidence of safety for minimally invasive procedures

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 01:52 PM PST

Minimally invasive cosmetic procedures, including fillers, neurotoxins and laser and energy device procedures are exceedingly safe and have essentially no risk of serious adverse events, reports a new study that analyzed more than 20,000 procedures around the country.

For leaders, looking intelligent is less important than looking healthy

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 01:52 PM PST

People look for candidates with a healthy complexion when choosing a leader, but don't favor the most intelligent-looking candidates except for positions that require negotiation between groups or exploration of new markets, a study shows.

Number of young patients with newly diagnosed colorectal cancer anticipated to nearly double by 2030

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 01:50 PM PST

In the next 15 years, more than one in 10 colon cancers and nearly one in four rectal cancers will be diagnosed in patients younger than the traditional screening age, according to researchers.

More evidence arthritis/pain relieving drugs may contribute to stroke death

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 01:50 PM PST

Commonly prescribed, older drugs for arthritis and pain may increase the risk of death from stroke, according to a study. "Our study supports stepping up efforts to make sure people with a higher risk of stroke are not prescribed these medications when other options are available," authors concluded.

Ah-choo! Expect higher grass pollen, allergen exposure in coming century

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 12:45 PM PST

There will be notable increases in grass pollen production and allergen exposure up to 202 percent in the next 100 years, leading to a significant, worldwide impact on human health due to predicted rises in carbon dioxide and ozone due to climate change. This is the conclusion of researchers who say that while CO2 stimulates reproduction and growth in plants, ozone has a negative impact on plant growth.

ADHD-air pollution link: Breathing dirty air during pregnancy raises odds of childhood ADHD-related behavior problems

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 12:45 PM PST

Prenatal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAH, a component of air pollution, raises the odds of behavior problems associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, at age 9, according to researchers.

Direct brain interface between humans

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 12:45 PM PST

Researchers have successfully replicated a direct brain-to-brain connection between pairs of people as part of a scientific study following the team's initial demonstration a year ago. In the newly published study, which involved six people, researchers were able to transmit the signals from one person's brain over the Internet and use these signals to control the hand motions of another person within a split second of sending that signal.

Pediatricians' communication with parents critical to overcoming obesity in Latino children

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 12:45 PM PST

Physician-researchers found that 1-in-5 parents of overweight Latino children is not directly told that the child is overweight. "Special attention should be paid to directly telling Latino families that the child is overweight using family-preferred terms," said researchers. "For example, pediatricians should use phrases such as 'too much weight for his/her health' or 'demasiado peso para su salud,' and avoid terms such as 'fat,' 'heavy,' or 'obese.' "

Expansion of gambling does not lead to more problem gamblers, study finds

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 12:45 PM PST

In the past decade, online gambling has exploded and several states have approved measures to legalize various types of gambling. So, it's only natural that the number of people with gambling problems has also increased, right? Science says no.

Humans, baboons share cumulative culture ability

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 11:10 AM PST

The ability to build up knowledge over generations, called cumulative culture, has given humankind language and technology. While it was thought to be limited to humans until now, researchers have recently found that baboons are also capable of cumulative culture.

Osteoporosis: Not just a woman's disease

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 11:07 AM PST

While osteoporosis prevention and treatment efforts have historically been focused on post-menopausal women, a new study suggests that critical opportunities are being lost by not focusing more attention on bone loss and fracture risk in older men.

High rate of insomnia during early recovery from addiction

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 11:07 AM PST

Insomnia is a "prevalent and persistent" problem for patients in the early phases of recovery from the disease of addiction — and may lead to an increased risk of relapse, according to a results of a recent study.

Multiple factors, not just mental illness, associated with gun possession, violence among youths

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 11:07 AM PST

A new study applies the latest computational methodologies to nationally representative data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. Researchers identified more than 40 different behavioral factors other than mental illness that are strongly associated with gun possession. These include heroin use, substance use on school property, having been injured in a fight, and having been a victim of sexual violence.

Risk stratification model may aid in lung cancer staging and treatment decisions

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 10:20 AM PST

A risk stratification model based on lymph node characteristics confirms with a high level of confidence the true lack of lung cancer in lymph nodes adequately sampled with endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration and classified as negative, researchers report.

Retinal-scan analysis can predict advance of macular degeneration, study finds

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 10:20 AM PST

Scientists have found a new way to forecast which patients with age-related macular degeneration are likely to suffer from the most debilitating form of the disease. The new method predicts, on a personalized basis, which patients' AMD would, if untreated, probably make them blind, and roughly when this would occur. Simply by crunching imaging data that is already commonly collected in eye doctors' offices, ophthalmologists could make smarter decisions about when to schedule an individual patient's next office visit in order to optimize the chances of detecting AMD progression before it causes blindness.

Bone drug should be seen in a new light for its anti-cancer properties

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 10:19 AM PST

Researchers have shown why calcium-binding drugs commonly used to treat people with osteoporosis, or with late-stage cancers that have spread to bone, may also benefit patients with tumors outside the skeleton, including breast cancer.

Protein linked to aging identified as new target for controlling diabetes

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 09:20 AM PST

Researchers have identified a small protein with a big role in lowering plasma glucose and increasing insulin sensitivity. The report indicates that Sestrin 3 plays a critical role in regulating molecular pathways that control the production of glucose and insulin sensitivity in the liver, making it a logical target for drug development for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, which can produce increased blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels and insulin resistance.

Betting on brain research: Experts review challenges of translational neuroscience

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 09:20 AM PST

Despite great advances in understanding how the human brain works, psychiatric conditions, neurodegenerative disorders, and brain injuries are on the rise. Progress in the development of new diagnostic and treatment approaches appears to have stalled. Experts look at the challenges associated with 'translational neuroscience,' or efforts to bring advances in the lab to the patients who need them.

Research suggests high-fat diets during pregnancy could influence brain functioning, behavior of children

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 09:20 AM PST

A diet high in fat can increase one's risk for diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome; however few studies have assessed the effects of a maternal high fat diet on offspring. New research suggests that a high-fat maternal diet during pregnancy and while breastfeeding could have significant and lasting detrimental effects on the brain function and behavior of children. The study is one of few basic science studies conducted to measure the direct effect of a high-fat maternal diet on the cognitive functioning on offspring.

Shape of things to come in platelet mimicry

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 08:26 AM PST

For the first time, researchers have been able to integratively mimic the shape, size, flexibility and surface chemistry of real blood platelets on albumin-based particles. The platelet mimics halt bleeding in mouse models 65 percent faster than nature alone.

IBS managed effectively with the right drugs, for the right symptoms

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 08:26 AM PST

Up to 15 percent of the general adult population is affected by irritable bowel syndrome and most patients struggle to find effective drug therapy. A new guideline provides these patients and their physician's guidance.

Mouse model that reproduces noonan syndrome created

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 08:26 AM PST

A single mutation in the mouse genome -- within the K-Ras gene -- reproduces the main alterations found in humans of this rare syndrome, which include short stature, facial dysmorphia, cardiac dysfunction and haematological alterations. Researchers are able to prevent the development of symptoms via prenatal treatment with MEK inhibitors The discovery opens avenues to novel therapeutic strategies for the disease.

Brain dissociates emotional response from explicit memory in fearful situations

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 08:26 AM PST

Researchers have been tracking the traces of implicit and explicit memories of fear in human. The study describes how in a context of fear, our brain differently encodes contextual memory of a negative event (the place, what we saw ...) and emotional response associated.

High-fat diet postpones brain aging in mice

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 08:26 AM PST

New research suggests that signs of brain aging can be postponed in mice if placed on a high-fat diet. In the long term, this opens the possibility of treatment of children suffering from premature aging and patients with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

How livable are our cities? New measure developed

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 08:26 AM PST

An international study has devised a new measure for the 'livability' of major cities across the world. The Global Liveable Cities Index takes into account the sensibilities of ordinary working people from 64 cities, balancing work and play, environmental awareness, localism, globalism and many other factors.

Stiff artery walls may cause high blood pressure instead of being its consequence

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 08:25 AM PST

The stiffness of the arterial wall can be determined through the pulse wave velocity, which can be measured by use of an applanation tonometer. Scientists discovered that this stiffness has predictive value for the development of hypertension. This suggests that arterial stiffness, instead of being a consequence of high blood pressure, might be its cause. Stiffness of the arterial walls can, in other words, be the best predictor of this pathology.

Americans' view on obesity is changing: Fewer adults see it as a personal problem of bad choices

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 08:25 AM PST

This research evaluates the perception of obesity among both the American public and healthcare professionals during the past year. Results show a significant shift in perceptions of obesity in 2014, with the percent of Americans seeing obesity as a community problem increasing as much as 13% and the percent of healthcare professionals increasing 18%. Data also show differences among various demographic groups.

Readmission rates above average for survivors of septic shock

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 08:23 AM PST

A diagnosis of septic shock was once a near death sentence. At best, survivors suffered a substantially reduced quality of life. Researchers have now shown that while most patients now survive a hospital stay for septic shock, 23 percent will return to the hospital within 30 days, many with another life-threatening condition -- a rate substantially higher than the normal readmission rate at a large academic medical center.

Epilepsy research opens a window on the brain

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 08:23 AM PST

While current epilepsy research may seem like it's ripped from the pages of a science fiction novel, it's real -- and even pretty cool. Epilepsy provides researchers with unparalleled avenues to discover how the brain is structured and how it functions: a true 'window on the brain.'

Can love make us mean? Researchers explore the relationship between empathy and aggression

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 08:23 AM PST

Empathy is among humanity's defining characteristics. Yet under certain circumstances, feelings of warmth, tenderness and sympathy can in fact predict aggressive behaviors, according to new research.

Mosquito feeding study may help stem dangerous viruses

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 08:23 AM PST

Mosquitoes bite male birds nearly twice as often as they bite females, a finding that may help scientists understand how to stem some viruses from spreading to humans. This marks the first step for scientists to try to determine why mosquitoes bite men more often than women in some parts of the world and vice versa in other areas, said one researcher.

Powerful imaging for optical point-of-care diagnostics

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 07:13 AM PST

A new handheld probe could give doctors powerful new imaging capabilities right in the palms of their hands. The imaging system shrinks a technology that once filled a whole lab bench down to a computer screen and a small probe about the size of a stapler.

Links between grammar, rhythm explored by researchers

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 07:12 AM PST

A child's ability to distinguish musical rhythm is related to his or her capacity for understanding grammar, according to a recent study. The study is the first of its kind to show an association between musical rhythm and grammar.

Could non-gluten proteins play a role in Celiac disease?

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 07:12 AM PST

Although gluten-free foods are trendy among the health-conscious, they are necessary for those with celiac disease. But gluten, the primary trigger for health problems in these patients, may not be the only culprit. Scientists are reporting that people with the disease also have reactions to non-gluten wheat proteins. The results could help scientists better understand how the disease works and could have implications for how to treat it.

Thinspiration: Why women buy magazines that promote impossible body images

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 07:10 AM PST

A new study reveals the secret of how some fashion and beauty magazines continue to attract devoted audiences, even though they glamorize super-thin models that would seem to taunt normal-sized women.

First long-term study on calorie labeling shows strategy effective in reducing weight gain by 50%

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 07:10 AM PST

Recent guidance from the United States' Affordable Care Act and the United Kingdom's Responsibility Deal encourage calorie labeling in chain restaurants, yet there have been mixed results as to the effects of calorie labeling on consumers' meal choices and weight status. This first-ever, long-term study on calorie labeling shows that consistent exposure to prominent calorie labeling of main meals reduced the likelihood of young adults gaining any weight over a one-year period by 50%.

How important is long-distance travel in spread of epidemics?

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 06:35 AM PST

When modeling the spread of epidemics, such as the Ebola outbreak, scientists must take into account the long-distance hops now possible with international air travel. But how important are such long-distance jumps? A new model by biophysicists shows that how common long-range jumps are makes a big difference in the dispersal of a disease, that is, whether you get slow, rippling versus rapid metastatic spread.

Researchers engineer 'smart bomb' to attack childhood leukemia

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 06:35 AM PST

The first steps towards developing a so-called 'smart bomb' to attack the most common and deadly form of childhood cancer -- called B-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemia -- have been taken by researchers who describe how this approach could eventually prove lifesaving for children who have relapsed after initial chemotherapy and face a less than 20 percent chance of long-term survival.

Patients benefit from caregiver involvement in hospital discharge intervention

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 06:35 AM PST

The presence of a family caregiver during patient recruitment is associated with a greater rate of completion of a post hospital transitional care coaching intervention, particularly among men, results of a new study show.

Blocking mitochondrial fission: Effective treatment for Parkinson's disease?

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 06:35 AM PST

The inhibition of a particular mitochondrial fission protein could hold the key to potential treatment for Parkinson's disease (PD), a new study has concluded. PD is a progressive neurological condition that affects movement. At present there is no cure and little understanding of why some people get the condition.

New dietary supplement beats calcium, vitamin D for bone strength

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 06:33 AM PST

A new study reveals that a new dietary supplement is superior to calcium and vitamin D when it comes to bone health in post-menopausal women.

Diagnosing prostate cancer quickly, safely

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 05:47 AM PST

Distinguishing between benign and malignant prostate tissue is difficult. A new device facilitates the diagnosis for doctors: Through a visual analysis, they can reliably determine if they are dealing with carcinoma within a minute-and-a-half, developers report.

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