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Thursday, December 18, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

Life expectancy increases globally as death toll falls from major diseases

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 05:15 PM PST

People are living much longer worldwide than they were two decades ago, as death rates from infectious diseases and cardiovascular disease have fallen, according to a new, first-ever journal publication of country-specific cause-of-death data for 188 countries.

Survey of the general population in France identifies knowledge gaps in the perception of lung cancer

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 02:15 PM PST

A prospective nationwide survey on perceptions of lung cancer in the general population of France highlights a need for increased public education on the benefits of lung cancer screening, the good survival rates of early-stage disease and the improved outcomes with new therapeutic strategies, including targeted-therapies.

Targeted next-generation sequencing reveals a high number of genomic mutations in advanced malignant

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 02:15 PM PST

Next generation sequencing in malignant pleural mesothelioma tumors shows a complex mutational setting with a high number of genetic alterations in genes involved in DNA repair, cell survival and cell proliferation pathways. Increased accumulation of mutations correlates with early progression of the tumor and decreased survival.

Weigh-in once a week or you'll gain weight

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 02:14 PM PST

Stepping on the scale is common among dieters but how does the frequency of weigh-ins impact weight? A new study showed that the more frequently dieters weighed themselves the more weight they lost, and if participants went more than a week without weighing themselves, they gained weight.

Consumer loyalty driven by aesthetics over functionality

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 02:14 PM PST

Consumers' loyalty and passion for an automobile brand are driven more by appearance than practical concerns. Aesthetics that resonate on an emotional level are more responsible for brand loyalty than such factors as functionality and price, the study found.

49 percent of patients withhold clinically sensitive information

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 12:41 PM PST

In the first real-world trial of the impact of patient-controlled access to electronic medical records, almost half of the patients who participated withheld clinically sensitive information in their medical records from some or all of their health care providers.

Lens-free microscope can detect cancer at cellular level

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 12:40 PM PST

A lens-free microscope that can be used to detect the presence of cancer or other cell-level abnormalities with the same accuracy as larger and more expensive optical microscopes, has been developed by researchers. The invention could lead to less expensive and more portable technology for performing common examinations of tissue, blood and other biomedical specimens. It may prove especially useful in remote areas and in cases where large numbers of samples need to be examined quickly.

Multiple allergic reactions traced to single protein

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 11:10 AM PST

A single protein has been identified as the root of painful and dangerous allergic reactions to a range of medications and other substances. If a new drug can be found that targets the problematic protein, researchers say, it could help smooth treatment for patients with conditions ranging from prostate cancer to diabetes to HIV.

Scientists open new frontier of vast chemical 'space': As proof-of-principle, the team makes dozens of new chemical entities

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 10:15 AM PST

Chemists have invented a powerful method for joining complex organic molecules that is extraordinarily robust and can be used to make pharmaceuticals, fabrics, dyes, plastics and other materials previously inaccessible to chemists.

Rx drugs, 'bath salts,' fake pot and laundry pods lead millions to call poison centers

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 10:14 AM PST

National Poison Control Center data from 2012 show that poisonings from prescription drugs are the leading cause of injury death in the United States, and that poisonings from 'bath salts,' synthetic marijuana and laundry detergent pods are emerging threats to public health.

How breast cancer cells break free to spread in body

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 10:14 AM PST

More than 90 percent of cancer-related deaths are caused by the spread of cancer cells from their primary tumor site to other areas of the body. A new study has identified how one important gene helps cancer cells break free from the primary tumor.

Certainty in our choices often a matter of time, researchers find

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 10:14 AM PST

When faced with making choices, but lack sufficient evidence to guarantee success, our brain uses elapsed time as a proxy for task difficulty to calculate how confident we should be, a team of neuroscientists has found. Their findings help untangle the different factors that contribute to the decision-making process.

Unpacking brain damage in ALS

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 10:14 AM PST

Researchers gain new insight into how motor neurons in the brain die during ALS. About 5 percent of ALS patients carry an altered version of a gene called C9orf72, which in ALS patients contains hundreds of repeat sequences that otherwise are not present in normal individuals. Since the gene's discovery in 2011, however, researchers have been trying to understand its normal function as well as its role in ALS, with multiple hypotheses proposed.

Contrasting views of kin selection assessed

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 10:14 AM PST

Researchers have used several different ways of testing Hamilton's rule, the core mathematical formula of kin selection, as an explanation for the evolution of much altruistic behavior in animals. These vary in their realism and their ability to generate predictions. The variety of approaches, as well as different views about what constitutes an explanation, helps explain a divisive debate about the importance of kin selection in evolution. A new criterion of 'causal aptness' could help resolve disputes.

Orphan receptor proteins deliver two knock-out punches to glioblastoma cells

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 08:36 AM PST

Two related proteins exert a lethal double whammy effect against glioblastoma cells when activated with a small molecule. Scientists say when activated, one protein, called the short form, stops glioblastoma cells from replicating their DNA, and the other, called the long form, prevents cell division if the DNA has already been replicated.

New class of synthetic molecules mimics antibodies

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 08:36 AM PST

The first synthetic molecules that have both the targeting and response functions of antibodies have been crafted by scientists. The new molecules -- synthetic antibody mimics -- attach themselves simultaneously to disease cells and disease-fighting cells. The result is a highly targeted immune response, similar to the action of natural human antibodies.

Watch out Internet meanies: Game could soon be over for you

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 08:36 AM PST

Bullies and mean girls have been around forever but, with the arrival of smartphones and social media, meanness has taken on new forms and dramatically extended its reach. Digital abuse is now so widespread, and such are its dramatic effects on victims, that the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a stern warning about the risks posed by cyberbullying to adolescents' mental health. But 'how much do we really know about how to tackle online bullies?,' asks a new study.

Privacy policies good for big business, not so good for consumers

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 08:35 AM PST

Research suggests effective self regulation has yet to emerge for the majority of businesses whose privacy policies keep them from sharing consumers' private information, but are not readable by the average consumer.

Employees who are open about religion are happier, study suggests

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 08:35 AM PST

Employees who openly discuss their religious beliefs at work are often happier and have higher job satisfaction than those employees who do not, according to a new study.

Amputee makes history controlling two modular prosthetic limbs

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 08:35 AM PST

A Colorado man made history this summer when he became the first bilateral shoulder-level amputee to wear and simultaneously control two modular prosthetic limbs. Most importantly, the patient, who lost both arms in an electrical accident 40 years ago, was able to operate the system by simply thinking about moving his limbs, performing a variety of tasks during a short training period.

Novel insights into pathogen behavior

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 07:13 AM PST

New insights into the behavior of an important bacterial pathogen have been provided by researchers. The researchers investigated, using combination of experiments and computational modeling, how bacteria swarm in groups containing millions of cells. "We show in this paper that appendages of this bacterium called 'pili' link together to alter group motion and give swarming groups a form of braking power," an author explained.

Heat boosts phthalate emissions from vinyl crib mattress covers

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 07:13 AM PST

The US continues to look at the use and regulation of phthalates, which have been associated with health problems. Of particular concern is the safety of these plastic additives to children. A new study aims to improve our understanding of one possible exposure route for babies: vinyl crib mattress covers. Scientists report that as these covers warm up, they emit more phthalates into the air.

Not just for the holidays, mistletoe could fight obesity-related liver disease

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 07:13 AM PST

Mistletoe hanging in doorways announces that the holidays are just around the corner. For some people, however, the symbolic plant might one day represent more than a kiss at Christmas time: It may mean better liver health. Researchers have found that a compound produced by a particular variety of the plant can help fight obesity-related liver disease in mice.

Hugs help protect against stress, infection, say researchers

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 07:13 AM PST

Researchers tested whether hugs act as a form of social support, protecting stressed people from getting sick. They found that greater social support and more frequent hugs protected people from the increased susceptibility to infection associated with being stressed and resulted in less severe illness symptoms.

Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria syndrome: Substance from broccoli can moderate defects

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 07:13 AM PST

Children who suffer from Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria syndrome age prematurely due to a defective protein in their cells. Scientists have now identified another important pathological factor: the system responsible for removing cellular debris and for breaking down defective proteins operates at lower levels in HGPS cells than in normal cells. The researchers have succeeded in reactivating protein breakdown in HGPS cells and thus reducing disease-related defects by using a substance from broccoli.

Anti-diabetic drug springs new hope for tuberculosis patients

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 07:13 AM PST

A more effective treatment for tuberculosis (TB) could soon be available as scientists have discovered that metformin, a drug for treating diabetes, can also be used to boost the efficacy of TB medication without inducing drug resistance, scientists report.

Women are more empathetic toward their partner than men

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 06:49 AM PST

Women may long have suspected it to be the case, but large-scale research has found women are more empathetic toward their partners than men.

Personality outsmarts intelligence at school: Conscientiousness and openness key to learning

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 06:08 AM PST

Recent research has found that personality is more important than intelligence when it comes to success in education and this needs to take this into account when guiding students and teachers. Furthermore these personality traits for academic success can be developed.

Firearm violence trends in the 21st century

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 06:08 AM PST

While the overall death rate from firearm violence has remained unchanged for more than a decade, the patterns for suicide and homicide have changed dramatically, a study on the epidemiology of gun violence from 2003 to 2012 has found.

Combining social media, behavioral psychology could lead to more HIV testing

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 06:08 AM PST

Social media such as Twitter and Facebook, combined with behavioral psychology, could be a valuable tool in the fight against AIDS by prompting high-risk individuals to be tested, research shows. Though there have been many experimental HIV testing interventions in international settings, none have used social media technologies, said one investigator.

Bugs life: The nerve cells that make locusts ‘gang up’

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 06:06 AM PST

A team of biologists has identified a set of nerve cells in desert locusts that bring about 'gang-like' gregarious behavior when they are forced into a crowd. The findings demonstrate the importance of individual history for understanding how brain chemicals control behaviour, which may apply more broadly to humans also.

Predicting antibiotic resistance

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 04:45 AM PST

Treating bacterial infections with antibiotics is becoming increasingly difficult as bacteria develop resistance not only to the antibiotics being used against them, but also to ones they have never encountered before. By analyzing genetic and phenotypic changes in antibiotic-resistant strains of E. coli, researchers have revealed a common set of features that appear to be responsible for the development of resistance to several types of antibiotics.

Many children, adolescents get too much caffeine from energy drinks

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 04:43 AM PST

When children aged 10-14 consume energy drinks, one in five consumes too much caffeine. When their caffeine intake from other sources such as cola and chocolate is included, every second child and more than one in three adolescents aged 15-17 consume too much caffeine. Researchers estimate that energy drinks cause or contribute to a large proportion of children and adolescents exceeding the recommended maximum daily intake of caffeine.

Severely mentally ill criminals: who goes to prison and who goes to psych institutions?

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 04:43 AM PST

People with a severe mental disorder who commit a crime and who are incarcerated have different characteristics compared to people who are hospitalized after committing an offense, say researchers who focused on the differences of these people and their places of incarceration.

Electronic cigarettes facilitate smoking cessation, new evidence shows

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 04:43 AM PST

Do electronic cigarettes help smokers to quit? Yes, but… Researchers found that while nicotine containing electronic cigarettes were more effective than electronic cigarettes without nicotine (placebo) in helping smokers kick the habit, the results need to be confirmed by more studies.

Growing shortage of stroke specialists seen in U.S.

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 04:41 AM PST

Although stroke is the number four cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States, there's an increasing shortage of neurologists who specialize in stroke care, researchers say. More than 800,000 strokes -- one every 40 seconds -- occur in the United States each year. The number of strokes is expected to grow substantially due to the growing elderly population.

Combining images, genetic data proves gene loss behind aggressive ovarian cancers

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 06:20 PM PST

Loss of a gene called PTEN triggers some cases of an aggressive form of ovarian cancer, called high-grade serous ovarian cancer, researchers have demonstrated. In a revolutionary approach, the researchers made the discovery by combining images from cancer samples with genetic data. They proved conclusively that loss of PTEN was commonly found only in the cancerous cells and not the 'normal' cells that help make up the tumour mass.

New study outlines research priorities to improve the care of women with female genital mutilation

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 06:20 PM PST

Further evidence on how to improve the care of women living with Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is urgently needed, suggests a new study. A new study reviews existing evidence and key knowledge gaps in the clinical care of women with FGM. It also identifies research priorities to improve the evidence necessary to establish further guidelines for the best multidisciplinary, high-quality care for women with FGM.

Herd mentality: Are we programmed to make bad decisions?

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 06:20 PM PST

A natural desire to be part of the 'in crowd' could damage our ability to make the right decisions, a new study has shown. Research has shown that individuals have evolved to be overly influenced by their neighbors, rather than rely on their own instinct. As a result, groups become less responsive to changes in their natural environment.

Evolution: Complexity key propagating future generations.

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 11:41 AM PST

The KISS concept -- keep it simple, stupid -- may work for many situations. However, when it comes to evolution, complexity appears to be key for prosperity and propagating future generations.

Most patients do not use inhalers, epinephrine autoinjectors correctly

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 11:41 AM PST

For people with asthma or severe allergies, medical devices like inhalers and epinephrine autoinjectors, such as EpiPen, can be lifesaving. However, a new study indicates that a majority of patients often do not use these devices correctly. They conducted an investigation to identify factors associated with incorrect use of inhalers and epinephrine autoinjectors so that health care providers are aware of the problem and can plan better ways to increase proper usage.

When pursuing goals, people give more weight to progress than setbacks

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 11:41 AM PST

New Year's resolution-makers should beware of skewed perceptions. People tend to believe good behaviors are more beneficial in reaching goals than bad behaviors are in obstructing goals, according to a study.

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