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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

'Tis the season for youth to curb binge-drinking

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 10:37 AM PST

With the holidays around the corner, we're all a little more likely to indulge, especially when it comes to alcohol. While a few extra drinks might be brushed off as holiday cheer, they can actually signal a problem in young adults.

Genome sequencing traces MRSA spread in high transmission setting

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 10:36 AM PST

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is a common cause of hospital-acquired infections, with the largest burden of infections occurring in under-resourced hospitals. While genome sequencing has previously been applied in well-resourced clinical settings to track the spread of MRSA, transmission dynamics in settings with limited infection control is unknown. In a new study, researchers used genome sequencing to understand the spread of MRSA in a resource-limited hospital with high transmission rates.

Improved treatment for cancer patients: Topical steroid cream

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 10:35 AM PST

Researchers have shown how a topical steroid cream frequently used  to treat common skin conditions, can be used to improve dermatitis in cancer patients. Radiotherapy uses X-rays to destroy cancer cells but this can often lead to a severe skin reaction involving redness, pain and blistering similar to sunburn. The trial of this cream -- mometasone furoate--was so successful that the patients in the research will now be offered this instead of the existing treatment.

Abandoning websites: Are annoying ads good for business?

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 10:35 AM PST

Most consumers have experienced online ads so garish, loud, or aggravating that they can't possibly be ignored. But a new study suggests that this way of forcing customer's attention may actually be bad for business.

Computer system more effective than doctors at producing comprehensive patient reports

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 10:33 AM PST

A computer system was more effective than doctors at collecting information about patient symptoms, producing reports that were more complete, organized and useful than narratives generated by physicians during office visits, according to a study.

Even in our digital age, early parental writing support is key to children's literacy

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 09:03 AM PST

Children of the Information Age are inundated with written words streaming across smartphone, tablet, and laptop screens. A new study says that preschoolers should be encouraged to write at a young age -- even before they make their first step into a classroom.

Cancer therapy shows promise for nuclear medicine treatment

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 09:01 AM PST

Cancer therapy can be much more effective using a new way to customize nuclear medicine treatment, researchers say. The process could also be useful for other diseases that could benefit from targeted radiation.

Online students give instructors higher marks if they think instructors are men

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 09:01 AM PST

College students in online courses give better evaluations to instructors they think are men -- even when the instructor is actually a woman. "The ratings that students give instructors are really important, because they're used to guide higher education decisions related to hiring, promotions and tenure," says the lead author of a paper. "And if the results of these evaluations are inherently biased against women, we need to find ways to address that problem."

Metal test could help diagnose breast cancer early

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 09:01 AM PST

It may be possible to develop a simple blood test that, by detecting changes in the zinc in our bodies, could help to diagnose breast cancer early, scientists say. In a world-first, the researchers were able to show that changes in the isotopic composition of zinc, which can be detected in a person's breast tissue, could make it possible to identify a 'biomarker' (a measurable indicator) of early breast cancer.

Possible genetic link found in treatment-related cognitive issues in children with leukemia

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 09:01 AM PST

Common variations in four genes related to brain inflammation or cells' response to damage from oxidation may contribute to the problems with memory, learning and other cognitive functions seen in children treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, according to a research. The findings suggest the possibility of screening ALL patients for their risk of long-term treatment-related effects on memory, attention and learning and studying potential interventions.

Brain tumor: Key found for suppression of growth in medulloblastomas

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 09:00 AM PST

A key factor that can suppress medulloblastoma, the most frequent child brain tumor, has been identified by researchers. Medulloblastoma is the most common brain tumor in children, and its treatment remains inefficient. The work opens new perspectives on the diagnosis and treatment of these brain tumors with the discovery of a key factor called BCL6, able to suppress the growth of medulloblastomas in mice and in human tumor cells in culture.

New insight into risk of Ankylosing Spondylitis

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 09:00 AM PST

Variations in an enzyme belonging to the immune system that leaves individuals susceptible to Ankylosing Spondylitis have been identified by researchers. The variation in ERAP1 can be detected by genetic testing which, if available, could lead to people becoming aware of the risk of the condition earlier. Ankylosing Spondylitis is a chronic inflammatory disease which mainly affects joints in the spine. In severe cases, it can eventually cause complete fusion and rigidity of the spine, called "Bamboo spine". It tends to first develop in teenagers and young adults with most cases first starting in people aged 20-30.

Controlling obesity with potato extract

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 08:58 AM PST

A simple potato extract may limit weight gain from a diet that is high in fat and refined carbohydrates, according to scientists. The results of their recent study with mice were so surprising that the investigators repeated the experiment just to be sure.

Increased use of hypofractionated whole-breast irradiation for patients with early-stage breast cancer

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 08:58 AM PST

The use of hypofractionated whole-breast irradiation (HF-WBI) for patients with early-stage breast cancer increased 17.4 percent from 2004 to 2011, and patients are more likely to receive HF-WBI compared to conventionally fractionated whole-breast irradiation (CF-WBI) when they are treated at an academic center or live ≥50 miles away from a cancer center, according to a study.

New treatment strategy for epilepsy

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 07:18 AM PST

Researchers found out that the conformational defect in a specific protein causes autosomal dominant lateral temporal lobe epilepsy which is a form of familial epilepsy. They showed that treatment with chemical corrector called 'chemical chaperone' ameliorates increased seizure susceptibility in a mouse model of human epilepsy by correcting the conformational defect.

Smoking still causes large proportion of cancer deaths in the United States

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 07:13 AM PST

Despite significant drops in smoking rates, cigarettes continue to cause about three in ten cancer deaths in the United States, a study has found. "Reducing smoking prevalence as rapidly as possible should be a top priority for US public health efforts to prevent future cancer deaths," the authors say.

Are you helping your toddler's aggressive behavior? Link between affectionate parenting, language development, aggression explored

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 07:10 AM PST

Physical aggression in toddlers has been thought to be associated with the frustration caused by language problems, but a recent study shows that this isn't the case. The researchers did find, however, that parental behaviors may influence the development of an association between the two problems during early childhood. Frequent hitting, kicking, and a tendency to bite or push others are examples of physical aggression observed in toddlers.

Turning biological cells to stone improves cancer, stem cell research

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 06:19 AM PST

Near-perfect replications of human and animal cells enables improved study of certain cancers and stem cells, as well as the creation of complex durable objects without machinery, scientists report. A new technique to transmute living cells into more permanent materials that defy decay and can endure high-powered probes is widening research opportunities for biologists who are developing cancer treatments, tracking stem cell evolution or even trying to understand how spiders vary the quality of the silk they spin.

Paying attention makes touch-sensing brain cells fire rapidly and in sync

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 06:18 AM PST

Whether we're paying attention to something we see can be discerned by monitoring the firings of specific groups of brain cells. Now, new work shows that the same holds true for the sense of touch. The study brings researchers closer to understanding how animals' thoughts and feelings affect their perception of external stimuli.

People with opioid dependence in recovery show 're-regulation' of reward systems

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 06:18 AM PST

Within a few months after drug withdrawal, patients in recovery from dependence on prescription pain medications may show signs that the body's natural reward systems are normalizing, reports a new study. In brain activity studies, patients with recent drug withdrawal showed heightened responses to drug-related cues, such as pictures of pills. In the extended-care patients, these increased responses to drug cues -- in a region of the brain called the prefrontal cortex, involved in attention and self-control -- were significantly reduced.

Platinum agent combination treatment for triple-negative breast cancer well tolerated in phase II clinical trial

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 06:18 AM PST

New research shows that a combination of doxil, carboplatin and bevacizumab is a well-tolerated treatment regimen in patients with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer who received no prior treatment for their metastatic disease. The work also included genomic profiling to measure molecular correlates of response.

New resource on health threats posed by endocrine-disrupting chemicals

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 06:18 AM PST

As governments, industry and public interest groups from across the globe prepare to meet next week to discuss endocrine-disrupting chemicals and other international chemical safety issues, scientists have released a new guide documenting the threat endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) pose to human health.

Experience counts with radiation therapy for head and neck cancer, study shows

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 05:23 AM PST

Radiation therapy for head and neck cancer is highly complex, and a new study suggests that medical centers with more experience centers have better patient outcomes. The study compared survival and other outcomes in 470 patients treated with radiation therapy at 101 treatment centers through a clinical trial held from 2002 to 2005.

Immunotherapy shows clinical benefit in relapsed transplant recipients

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 05:23 AM PST

A multicenter phase 1 trial of the immune checkpoint blocker ipilimumab found clinical benefit in nearly half of blood cancer patients who had relapsed following allogeneic stem cell transplantation, according to investigators.

Debate on safety of e-cigarettes continues

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 05:21 AM PST

Opposing views on the potential impact of electronic cigarettes on public health are published in a new article. The commentaries, by two experts, differ in their views on the topic but are united in their call for a rational discussion based on evidence.

Major complications after abortion are extremely rare, study shows

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 05:21 AM PST

In the most comprehensive look yet at the safety of abortion, researchers have concluded that major complications are rare, occurring less than a quarter of a percent of the time, about the same frequency as colonoscopies.

Heart disease patients advised to avoid being outside in rush hour traffic

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 05:19 AM PST

Heart disease patients have been advised to avoid being outside during rush hour traffic. The position paper on air pollution and cardiovascular disease also recommends decreasing the use of fossil fuels. "More than 3 million deaths worldwide are caused by air pollution each year. Air pollution ranks ninth among the modifiable disease risk factors, ahead of low physical activity, high sodium diet, high cholesterol and drug use," a corresponding author noted.

Combining insecticide spraying and bed nets no more protective against malaria than nets alone

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 05:18 AM PST

The combined use of spraying insecticide inside homes and insecticide-treated bed nets is no better at protecting children against malaria than using bed nets alone, a study in The Gambia suggests. The findings should encourage donors to invest their limited resources in additional bed nets, the more cost-effective solution to tackling malaria, authors say.

Staining every nerve: New approach offers scientists best image resolution

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 05:16 AM PST

Scientists can now explore nerves in mice in much greater detail than ever before, thanks to an approach that enables researchers to easily use artificial tags, broadening the range of what they can study and vastly increasing image resolution.

Nanotechnology against malaria parasites

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 05:16 AM PST

Malaria parasites invade human red blood cells, they then disrupt them and infect others. Researchers have now developed so-called nanomimics of host cell membranes that trick the parasites. This could lead to novel treatment and vaccination strategies in the fight against malaria and other infectious diseases.

Long-term endurance training impacts muscle epigenetics

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 05:16 AM PST

Long-term endurance training in a stable way alters the epigenetic pattern in the human skeletal muscle, research shows. The research team behind a new study also found strong links between these altered epigenetic patterns and the activity in genes controlling improved metabolism and inflammation. The results may have future implications for prevention and treatment of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

Stroke: Neuro-rehabilitation helps patients cope with loss of motor function

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 05:16 AM PST

The majority of patients who survive a stroke usually continue to suffer from permanent motor disorders (hemiparesis) or a linguistic handicap (aphasia). A new study reveals an improvement in the efficiency of the brain activity when patients receive a treatment combining motor revalidation with non-invasive brain stimulation. These results were demonstrated via the technique of functional MRI.

Higher earning clinicians make more money by ordering more procedures per patient rather than by seeing more patients

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 05:10 AM PST

In results characterized as "very surprising," researchers found for the first time that higher-earning clinicians make more money by ordering more procedures and services per patient rather than by seeing more patients, which may not be in patients' best interest.

PRM-151 therapy well tolerated in patients with advanced myelofibrosis

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 05:10 AM PST

A study that investigated the potential of the compound PRM-151 (PRM) for reducing progressive bone marrow fibrosis (scarring) in patients with advanced myelofibrosis has shown initial positive results. Myelofibrosis is a life-threatening bone marrow cancer.

Asbestos: An ongoing challenge to global health

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 02:08 PM PST

Challenges to global health can evolve from policies and decisions that take years or decades to unfold. A new article describes the current state of asbestos use worldwide, a story that began over 100 years ago, and the real and contrived controversies regarding asbestos.

Brain mechanism that drives us to eat glucose discovered

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 02:07 PM PST

Scientists have discovered a mechanism in the brain that may drive our appetite for foods rich in glucose and could lead to improved treatments for obesity.

Behavioral and intellectual disabilities in pediatric epilepsy

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 12:23 PM PST

New research explores the complex emotional, behavioral and intellectual disabilities associated with childhood epilepsy and their effect on development.

High level engagement in comment sections can curb internet trolling

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 11:57 AM PST

Having a journalist engage with commenters can affect the deliberative tone of the comments, effectively reducing trolling.

New 'science of climate diversity'

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 11:49 AM PST

There is cloud hanging over climate science, but one expert on communication and environmental issues says he knows how to help clear the air. He argues that only by creating a "science of climate diversity" can climate science and the larger climate change movement overcome a crippling lack of ethnic and racial diversity.

Adults and epilepsy diets: A novel therapy

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 11:41 AM PST

A pair of studies will offer insights into the therapeutic effects of specialized diets in adults with epilepsy.

Epilepsy and a purified form of cannabis: New reports of epidiolex(r) efficacy and safety

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 11:41 AM PST

Three new studies explore the efficacy and safety in the development of a purified and formulated form of cannabis called Epidiolex.

Patient use of cannabis in epilepsy

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 11:41 AM PST

Three studies offer new insights into diverse patient experiences with CBD. Despite all the media and legislative attention, there is little scientific evidence about its effectiveness.

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