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Friday, December 12, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

Understanding how emotions ripple after terrorist acts

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 11:26 AM PST

Emotional reactions on Twitter have been analyzed in the hours and weeks following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. The new study is the first large-scale analysis of fear and social-support reactions from geographically distant communities following a terrorist attack.

Hepatitis C ruled out as cause of mental impairment in HIV patients

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 11:18 AM PST

Advances in treatment for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have made it possible for people with HIV to survive much longer. As they age, however, many experience impaired thinking, memory loss, mood swings and other evidence of impaired mental function. Secondary infection with the hepatitis C virus does not contribute to the mental impairments seen in many long-term survivors of HIV infection, a new study reveals.

Ebola virus may replicate in an exotic way

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 11:18 AM PST

Researchers ran biochemical analysis and computer simulations of a livestock virus to discover a likely and exotic mechanism to explain the replication of related viruses such as Ebola, measles and rabies. The mechanism may be a possible target for new treatments within a decade.

Youngest bone marrow transplant patients at higher risk of cognitive decline

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 09:45 AM PST

Toddlers who undergo total body irradiation in preparation for bone marrow transplantation are at higher risk for a decline in IQ and may be candidates for stepped up interventions to preserve intellectual functioning, investigators report. The results clarify the risk of intellectual decline faced by children, teenagers and young adults following bone marrow transplantation. The procedure is used for treatment of cancer and other diseases. It involves replacing the patient's own blood-producing stem cells with those from a healthy donor.

Herpes virus rearranges telomeres to improve viral replication

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 09:45 AM PST

An infection with herpes simplex virus 1 causes rearrangements in telomeres, small stretches of DNA that serve as protective ends to chromosomes, researchers have discovered. The findings show that this manipulation of telomeres may explain how viruses like herpes are able to successfully replicate while also revealing more about the protective role that telomeres play against other viruses.

New targeted drugs could treat drug-resistant skin cancer

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 09:45 AM PST

A brand new family of cancer drugs designed to block several key cancer-causing proteins at once could potentially treat incurable skin cancers, a major new study reports. Clinical trials to test the new drugs in patients should begin as early as 2015.

Affluence, not political complexity, explains rise of moralizing world religions

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 09:45 AM PST

The ascetic and moralizing movements that spawned the world's major religious traditions -- Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Christianity -- all arose around the same time in three different regions, and researchers have now devised a statistical model based on history and human psychology that helps to explain why. The emergence of world religions, they say, was triggered by the rising standards of living in the great civilizations of Eurasia.

Senescent cells play an essential role in wound healing

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 09:45 AM PST

Tumor suppressing senescent cells are bad for aging. The no-longer-dividing cells release a continual cascade of inflammatory factors and are implicated in many maladies including arthritis, atherosclerosis and late life cancer. But researchers show that senescent cells are good for wound healing -- identifying a single factor that causes them to promote that process. It's a crucial discovery for researchers working on developing treatments to clear senescent cells as a way to stem age-related disease.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus unlikely to reach epidemic status, experts say

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 09:44 AM PST

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is an emerging virus, with the first case reported in 2012. It exhibits a 40% fatality rate and over 97% of the cases have occurred in the Middle East. In three new studies, researchers reported on clinical outcomes in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), how long patients will shed virus during their infections, and how the Sultanate of Oman is dealing with cases that have appeared there.

Smoke flavorings, water vapor permeable bags for new fish smoking techniques

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 09:44 AM PST

A new technique based on the use of water vapor permeable bags for fish salting and smoking has been developed by researchers. This technique, which combines a "controlled salting" with the use of smoke flavorings and packaging, allows a better control of the amount of salt in the final product. Moreover, it results in better food safety as it minimizes the risk of microbial contamination caused by handling the product.

3-d maps of folded genome: Catalog of 10,000 loops reveals new form of genetic regulation

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 09:44 AM PST

 In a triumph for cell biology, researchers have assembled the first high-resolution, 3D maps of entire folded genomes and found a structural basis for gene regulation -- a kind of "genomic origami" that allows the same genome to produce different types of cells.

Getting antibodies into shape to fight cancer

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 09:44 AM PST

The precise shape of an antibody makes a big difference to how it can stimulate the body's immune system to fight cancer, paving the way for much more effective treatments, researchers have found. The latest types of treatment for cancer are designed to switch on the immune system, allowing the patient's own immune cells to attack and kill cancerous cells, when normally the immune cells would lie dormant. In a new study, a research team has found that a particular form of antibody, called IgG2B, is much more effective at stimulating cancer immunity than other types.

Low income kids eat more fruits, vegetables when they are in school

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 09:40 AM PST

The fruits and vegetables provided at school deliver an important dietary boost to low income adolescents, according to a study. "Innovation in school food offerings for kids has emphasized increased consumption of fruits and vegetables and it's working for low income kids, but the evidence shows that a different strategy may be needed to have the same positive effect on high income kids," authors noted.

Research raises consciousness for dehydration concerns in diabetic patients

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 09:40 AM PST

Some drugs used to treat diabetes mimic the behavior of a hormone that a psychologist has learned controls fluid intake in subjects. The finding creates new awareness for diabetics who are already at risk for dehydration.

One of the most difficult challenges in weight loss is keeping the weight off over the long term

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 09:40 AM PST

A new report outlines differences between individuals as one of the key challenges associated with weight loss and long-term weight control. Authors reinforce that maintaining weight loss over the long term can be a major challenge. They recommend a number of novel approaches to improve obesity therapeutics.

Tool to better classify tumor cells developed for personalized cancer treatments

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 08:56 AM PST

A new statistical model may enable physicians to create personalized cancer treatments for patients based on the specific genetic mutations found in their tumors. The model uses an advanced algorithm to identify the multiple genetic cell subtypes typically found in solid tumors by analyzing gene expression data from a small biopsy sample. The results can help shape more effective treatments and also guide future research.

Many U.S. workers are sacrificing sleep for work hours, long commutes

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 08:55 AM PST

An analysis of 124,000 responses to a survey shows that paid work time is the primary waking activity exchanged for sleep. The study also suggests that chronic sleep loss potentially could be prevented by strategies that make work start times more flexible. 'The evidence that time spent working was the most prominent sleep thief was overwhelming,' said the study's lead author.

Decoding fat cells: Discovery may explain why we gain weight

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 08:55 AM PST

Researchers believe they're on track to solve the mystery of weight gain -- and it has nothing to do with indulging in holiday eggnog. They discovered that a protein, Thy1, has a fundamental role in controlling whether a primitive cell decides to become a fat cell, making Thy1 a possible therapeutic target, according to a study.

Diagnostic tool Oncotype DX associated with reduction in chemotherapy rates post-surgery in younger women with breast cancer

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 08:53 AM PST

No association has been found with assay and decreased chemotherapy use in older patients, researchers report. Oncotype DX is a 21-gene assay used to help estimate the likelihood of recurrence in women with early-stage breast cancer and, thus, determine those who may or may not benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy.

Roller coaster rides trigger stroke in young boy

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 08:53 AM PST

Riding a couple roller coasters at an amusement park appears to have triggered an unusual stroke in a 4-year-old boy, according to a report.

Method to assess UTI risk in women after pelvic-floor surgery

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 07:20 AM PST

Researchers may have devised a way to assess who is at risk for developing a urinary tract infection following pelvic-floor surgery. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are the most common type of bacterial infection. Women who undergo surgery for pelvic-organ prolapse or urinary incontinence are more likely to develop a UTI following the procedure.

Energy efficient homes linked to asthma

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 07:20 AM PST

The drive for energy efficient homes could increase asthma risks, according to new research that has found that a failure by residents to heat and ventilate retrofitted properties could lead to more people developing the respiratory condition.

Body's cold 'sensor' could hold key for frostbite and hypothermia treatments

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 07:20 AM PST

A cold 'sensor' that triggers the skin's vascular response to the cold could represent an exciting new therapeutic target for the treatment of frostbite and hypothermia, according to scientists.

Is that Ginkgo biloba supplement really what you think it is?

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 07:20 AM PST

A new study has investigated the use of DNA barcoding to test the authenticity of Ginkgo biloba, an herbal dietary supplement sold to consumers that is purported to boost cognitive capacity.

Major milestone in communications standards for diabetes devices

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 07:18 AM PST

Interoperability standards for diabetes devices have been published. This work defines how diabetes devices, such as insulin pumps, blood glucose meters, and continuous glucose monitors, communicate with one another and with other devices.

Studies target androgen in breast cancer

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 07:18 AM PST

"We're on the cusp of a major revolution in the way we treat breast cancer," says a researcher who is involved in studies looking at the relationship between androgen and breast cancer. "Our work and others show that in, many subtypes of breast cancer, targeting androgen receptors can be a powerful therapy, sometimes alone and sometimes as a way to increase the effectiveness of existing drugs."

Early adoption of robotic surgery leads to organ preservation for kidney cancer patients

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 07:18 AM PST

Researchers found that partial nephrectomy -- the recommended treatment for localized kidney tumors -- was performed more frequently at hospitals that were early adopters of robotic surgery.

Relationship between personality, health: Study sheds new light on link

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 06:06 AM PST

New evidence has been found that explains how some aspects of our personality may affect our health and wellbeing, supporting long-observed associations between aspects of human character, physical health and longevity. But researchers ask: "Is this our biology determining our psychology or our psychology determining our biology?"

How fast you age depends on your parents

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 06:06 AM PST

In the hunt for better knowledge on the aging process, researchers have now enlisted the help of small birds. A new study investigates various factors which affect whether chicks are born with long or short chromosome ends, called telomeres.

Tamoxifen reduces breast cancer rates by nearly a third for 20 years

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 06:06 AM PST

The preventive effect of breast cancer drug 'tamoxifen' remains virtually constant for at least 20 years – with rates reduced by around 30 per cent – a new analysis reveals. During the study 7,154 pre and post-menopausal women were randomized to receive either tamoxifen (20mg daily) or a matching placebo for five years. After completing treatment, the health of all participants was monitored with an average follow-up time of 16 years and maximum of 22 years.

One in six Ontario adults say they've had a traumatic brain injury in their lifetime

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 05:15 AM PST

Nearly 17 percent of adults surveyed in Ontario said they have suffered a traumatic brain injury that left them unconscious for five minutes or required them to be hospitalized overnight, according to new research. These same adults also reported more substance use, smoking and recent psychiatric distress.

Human exposure to metal cadmium may accelerate cellular aging

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 05:15 AM PST

The metal cadmium has been the focus of new study that finds that higher human exposure can lead to significantly shorter telomeres, bits of DNA at the ends of chromosomes that are associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other diseases of old age.

Early identification of modifiable risk factors for cognitive decline

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 05:15 AM PST

Researchers now believe it's possible that risk factors for cognitive decline may show up long before diseases such as Alzheimer's develop. In a new study, scientists found that clues such as high blood pressure are often present in mid-life, and that identification and modification of such factors could prevent the progression of debilitating cognitive deficits later in life.

Gut microbiota and Parkinson’s disease: Connection made

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 05:11 AM PST

Parkinson's disease sufferers have a different microbiota in their intestines than their healthy counterparts, according to a study.  Researchers are now trying to determine what the connection between intestinal microbes and Parkinson's disease is.

'Trojan horse' proteins: step forward for nanoparticle-based anti-cancer, anti-dementia therapeutic approaches

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 05:11 AM PST

Scientists have found a way of targeting hard-to-reach cancers and degenerative diseases using nanoparticles, but without causing the damaging side effects the treatment normally brings.

Cocaine consumption quadruples the risk of sudden death in people between 19 and 49

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 05:11 AM PST

The increase in sudden cardiovascular death with the recent consumption of cocaine has been, for the first time, documented by researchers. In people in the 19-49 age bracket this risk is quadrupled. In fact, cocaine consumption doubles the risk of death of cardiovascular origin that can be attributed to smoking, and becomes the main risk factor among subjects under 50.

Nighttime gout attack risk more than two times higher than in the daytime

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 05:11 AM PST

Novel research reveals that the risk of acute gout attacks is more than two times higher during the night or early morning hours than it is in the daytime. The study confirms that nocturnal attacks persist even among those who did not consume alcohol and had a low amount of purine intake during the 24 hours prior to the gout attack The body produces uric acid from the process of breaking down purines -- natural substances in cells in the body and in most foods -- with especially high purine levels found in organ meat, seafood, and alcohol (yeast). Acute gout flares are triggered by the crystallization of uric acid within the joints, and experts believe these flares are "among the most painful events experienced by humans."

Short sleep duration, sleep-related breathing problems increase obesity risk in kids

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 05:09 AM PST

Sleep-related breathing problems and chronic lack of sleep may each double the risk of a child becoming obese by age 15, according to new research. The good news is that both sleep problems can be corrected.

Food ingredient created that will make you feel fuller

Posted: 10 Dec 2014 05:46 PM PST

Scientists have developed an ingredient that can be added to foods to make them more filling. In its first tests in humans, researchers found that the ingredient is effective at preventing weight gain in overweight volunteers.

Alcohol interferes with body's ability to regulate sleep

Posted: 10 Dec 2014 01:23 PM PST

Drinking alcohol to fall asleep interferes with sleep homeostasis, the body's sleep-regulating mechanism, researchers have found. Sleep homeostasis balances the body's need for sleep in relation to how long a person has been awake. If an individual loses sleep, the body produces adenosine, a naturally occurring sleep-regulating substance that increases a person's need for sleep. When a person goes to sleep early, sleep homeostasis is shifted and he or she may wake up in the middle of the night or early morning.

Novel approach for estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer reported

Posted: 10 Dec 2014 01:21 PM PST

Promising results from a novel therapeutic approach for women with estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer have been reported by scientists. The new approach, a new drug class called gamma secretase inhibitors (GSI), specifically inhibits Notch and shuts down critical genes and cancer cells responsible for tumor growth.

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