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Saturday, December 13, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

Current practices in reporting on behavioural genetics can mislead the public

Posted: 12 Dec 2014 12:02 PM PST

"Media reports about behavioural genetics unintentionally induce unfounded beliefs, therefore going against the educational purpose of scientific reporting," writes a researcher following his study of 1,500 Americans. Public misunderstanding is not the only thing to blame for this misinterpretation. "Generally, science reporters' first goal is to inform the public about scientific developments. However, this practice is not disinterested; some news is purposely written in a manner intended to catch the public's attention with startling results in order to increase or to maintain market shares," the researcher explained.

Patient awakes from post-traumatic minimally conscious state after administration of depressant drug

Posted: 12 Dec 2014 09:24 AM PST

A patient who had suffered a traumatic brain injury unexpectedly recovered full consciousness after the administration of midazolam, a mild depressant drug of the GABA A agonists family. This resulted in the first recorded case of an "awakening" from a minimally-conscious state (MCS) using this therapy. Although similar awakenings have been reported using other drugs, this dramatic result was unanticipated.

Are you genetically predisposed to antisocial behaviour?

Posted: 12 Dec 2014 09:24 AM PST

Both positive and negative experiences influence how genetic variants affect the brain and thereby behavior, according to a new study. "Evidence is accumulating to show that the effects of variants of many genes that are common in the population depend on environmental factors. Further, these genetic variants affect each other," explained one researcher.

Taming the Inflammatory Response in Kidney Dialysis

Posted: 12 Dec 2014 09:23 AM PST

Frequent kidney dialysis can cause systemic inflammation, leading to complications such as cardiovascular disease and anemia by triggering the complement cascade, part of the innate immune system. Complement is inadvertently activated by modern polymer-based dialysis blood filters. New work has found an effective way to avoid these problems by temporarily suppressing complement during dialysis.

Bacterial biofilms are associated with colon cancer, imaging technique reveals

Posted: 12 Dec 2014 08:16 AM PST

An imaging technology reveals that bacterial biofilms are associated with colon cancer, researchers report. The discovery draws on a novel way to "see" microbial community structure. Called combinatorial imaging, it could potentially be used to clinically diagnose pre-cancerous and cancerous conditions in the ascending colon.

22.7% of pregnant women suffer intimate partner violence, Spanish study shows

Posted: 12 Dec 2014 07:17 AM PST

A new study analyses the violent behaviors exhibited towards pregnant women. While 21% of women suffer emotional violence during pregnancy, 3.6% encounter physical or sexual violence. Furthermore, 36.1% of those who reported physical violence claimed that it happened "very often" or "daily". A Spanish investigation into the prevalence of domestic violence against pregnant women has found that 22.7% endure some kind of violence - emotional, physical or sexual - within their relationship.

Obese children's brains more responsive to sugar

Posted: 12 Dec 2014 06:17 AM PST

The brains of obese children literally light up differently when tasting sugar, a new study has found. This elevated sense of "food reward" -- which involves being motivated by food and deriving a good feeling from it -- could mean some children have brain circuitries that predispose them to crave more sugar throughout life, researchers say.

Controversial nitrite hypothesis confirmed

Posted: 12 Dec 2014 05:51 AM PST

Understanding how nitrite can improve conditions such as hypertension, heart attack and stroke has been the object of worldwide research studies. New research has potentially moved the science one step closer to this goal.

Link between low blood glucose, cardiovascular events revealed

Posted: 12 Dec 2014 05:50 AM PST

A link between hypoglycaemia and increased risk of cardiovascular events and mortality in patients with diabetes has been confirmed by researchers. The findings could lead to changes in the way some patients' treatment is managed.

Avoid work pain by using computer models of humans first

Posted: 12 Dec 2014 05:49 AM PST

Most of us suffer from work related pain at some time. It is estimated that 70% of the working population are affected by problems with muscles or the skeleton in the Western World. Researchers want to improve the health for operators in the automotive industry by creating computer models based on human movements.

Sharp rise in teenage childbearing during Iraq War

Posted: 12 Dec 2014 05:49 AM PST

The nine-year Iraq War led to a sharp rise in teenage childbearing, according to new research. Teenage fertility in Iraq rose by more than 30 per cent between 2003 and 2010 due to increased early marriage among less-educated girls.

Poor diet links obese mothers, stunted children

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 06:00 PM PST

Malnutrition is a major cause of stunted growth in children, but new research on mothers and children in Egypt suggests that the problem is not just about quantity of food but also quality.

Jamie's Ministry of Food brings about changes in food attitudes, behaviors

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 06:00 PM PST

A study looking at Jamie's Ministry of Food Australia 10-week program has found that it brings not only a change in attitudes but also in behavior when buying healthy food. The research has found that these changes continue up to six months after completion of the program. Jamie's Ministry of Food was a campaign started with the aim of encouraging people to develop cooking skills to prepare simple, fresh and healthy food easily and quickly.

Infertility is a warning: Poor semen quality linked to hypertension, other health problems

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 03:18 PM PST

A study of men who were evaluated for the cause of their infertility finds previously unknown relationships between deficiencies in their semen and other, seemingly unrelated health problems.

Parkinson's disease: Study focuses on regulation of dopamine levels

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 03:05 PM PST

A mechanism regulating dopamine levels in the brain has been revealed by a study on a mouse model of late onset Parkinson's disease. Using gene expression profiling, a method to measure the activity of thousands of genes, researchers investigated dopaminergic neurons in the midbrain, which are nerve cells that use dopamine to send signals to other nerve cells. These neurons are known to degenerate in Parkinson's disease.

Rates of intracerebral haemorrhage in Australia appear to be falling

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 03:05 PM PST

A large retrospective, observational study of hospital admissions and death registrations data has shown that both the overall incidence and mortality rates of intracerebral hemorrhage -- a type of stroke -- are falling in Australia. This may be the result of widespread implementation of prevention and treatment programs, the researchers say.

Drug may help prevent bone fractures in patients on dialysis

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 03:02 PM PST

In patients on dialysis, cinacalcet reduced the rate of bone fracture by 16% to 29%, after accounting for patient characteristics and other factors, researchers report. Patients with kidney failure who are undergoing dialysis have an increased risk of bone fractures, and the risk of dying after a hip fracture in such a patient is double that of the general population. Unfortunately, none of the approved drugs for fracture prevention in osteoporosis in the general population are approved for use in patients on dialysis, and some are actually contraindicated.

Boosting healthy cells during chemo

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 01:25 PM PST

Scientists are closer to discovering a possible way to boost healthy cell production in cancer patients as they receive chemotherapy. By adding thymine -- a natural building block found in DNA -- into normal cells, they found it stimulated gene production and caused them to multiply.

Mitochondrial research: New studies build on 60 years of work

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 01:25 PM PST

New research was built on a mission to determine, bit by bit, how mitochondria -- the power plants of cells -- generate the energy required to sustain life. What these researchers found, a compound called coenzyme Q, was a missing piece of the puzzle and became a major part of a legacy of sixty years worth of mitochondrial research.

Important gene interaction defined that drives aggressive brain cancer

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 01:25 PM PST

Targeted therapies are a growing and groundbreaking field in cancer care in which drugs or other substances are designed to interfere with genes or molecules that control the growth and survival of cancer cells. Now, scientists have identified a novel interaction between a microRNA and a gene that could lead to new therapies for the most common and deadly form of brain tumor, malignant glioma.

Timing of test, surgery, insurance examined in sleep-disordered breathing cases; public insurance holders wait longer

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 01:24 PM PST

Children with public insurance waited longer after initial evaluation for sleep-disordered breathing to undergo polysomnography (PSG, the gold standard diagnostic test) and also waited longer after PSG to have surgery to treat the condition with adenotonsillectomy compared with children who were privately insured, according to a report.

Memory lapses among highly educated may signal higher stroke risk

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 01:24 PM PST

People with a high level of education who complain about memory lapses have a higher risk of stroke. Researchers suggest such people should be considered for screening for stroke risk.

Geospatial study identifies hotspots in deaths from HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C in Massachusetts

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 01:22 PM PST

A new retrospective study by epidemiologists finds significant geographic disparities in HIV and hepatitis C related mortality in Massachusetts from 2002-2011. The study used geospatial techniques to identify hotspots and coldspots in the state.

Weighing in on the Role of Mindfulness in Slimming Down

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 01:22 PM PST

If dieting is on your New Year agenda, it might pay to be mindful of a study suggesting there is little hard evidence that mindfulness leads to weight loss. Researchers reviewed 19 previous studies on the effectiveness of mindfulness-based programs for weight loss. Thirteen of the studies documented weight loss among participants who practiced mindfulness, but all lacked either a measure of the change in mindfulness or a statistical analysis of the relationship between being mindful and dropping pounds. In many cases, the studies lacked both.

Happy-go-lucky CEOs score better returns

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 11:26 AM PST

A CEO's natural sunny disposition can have an impact on the way the market reacts to announcements of company earnings, according to new research.

Blood lipid metabolites allow early identification of cardiovascular disease

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 11:21 AM PST

New circulating metabolites might allow early diagnosis of cardiovascular disease. Scientists have identified novel lipid-derived molecules associated with future coronary heart disease events. The study has examined the metabolic profile of blood samples from more than 3,600 individuals that have been followed-up for up to 10 years.

As gay marriage gains voter acceptance, study illuminates a possible reason

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 11:21 AM PST

Conventional wisdom holds that changing the views of voters on divisive issues is difficult if not impossible -- and that when change does occur, it is almost always temporary. But political scientists have demonstrated that a single conversation can go a long way toward building lasting support for a controversial social issue.

A key human gene modifies the immune response to flu vaccine

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 11:21 AM PST

How much protection the annual flu shot provides depends on how well the vaccine (which is designed based on a 'best guess' for next season's flu strain) matches the actually circulating virus. However, it also depends on the strength of the immune response elicited by the vaccine. A study reports that genetic variants in a gene called IL-28B influence influenza vaccine responses.

Cause of malaria drug resistance in Southeast Asia identified

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 11:20 AM PST

Malaria drug resistance in Southeast Asia is caused by a single mutated gene in the disease-causing parasite, a study has found. This finding provides public health officials around the world with a way to look for pockets of emerging resistance and potentially eliminate them before they spread, researchers say.

Mental illness is the wrong scapegoat after mass shootings, experts say

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 11:20 AM PST

In the shadow of the two year anniversary of one of the worst mass shootings in American history, at Sandy Hook Elementary School, an extensive new study challenges common assumptions about gun violence and mental illness that often emerge in the aftermath of mass shootings. When a mass shooting occurs there seems to be a familiar narrative that untreated mental illness is the primary cause for the terrifying act. But a new study finds that an isolated focus on mental illness is misguided. There are 32,000 gun deaths in the United States on average every year and people are far more likely to be shot by relatives, friends or acquaintances than they are by lone violent psychopaths, according to the researchers.

Cancer therapy using specialized apheresis holds great promise

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 11:18 AM PST

Apheresis, the simple process of drawing blood, becomes a powerful therapeutic in extracorporeal photopherisis (ECP) according to clinicians and scientists. In the case of ECP, investigators' expanding knowledge of the basic science of immunology is on track to intersect with and inform the questions clinicians have about how best to use the power of ECP to treat patients.

Human DNA shows traces of 40-million-year battle for survival between primate and pathogen

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 11:18 AM PST

Examination of DNA from 21 primate species – from squirrel monkeys to humans – exposes an evolutionary war against infectious bacteria over iron that circulates in the host's bloodstream. Supported by experimental evidence, these findings demonstrate the vital importance of an increasingly appreciated defensive strategy called nutritional immunity.

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