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Friday, December 19, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

Being humble: Research shows E.B. White was right in Charlotte's Web

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 06:01 PM PST

Psychologists conducted a bottom-up exploration of what it really means to be humble. They found that people see a unique dimension of humility akin to a love of learning.

A clear, molecular view of how human color vision evolved

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 06:01 PM PST

Many genetic mutations in visual pigments, spread over millions of years, were required for humans to evolve from a primitive mammal with a dim, shadowy view of the world into a greater ape able to see all the colors in a rainbow. Now, after more than two decades of painstaking research, scientists have finished a detailed and complete picture of the evolution of human color vision.

Ability to balance on one leg may reflect brain health, stroke risk

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 06:00 PM PST

Struggling to stand on one leg for less than 20 seconds was linked to an increased risk for stroke, small blood vessel damage in the brain, and reduced cognitive function in otherwise healthy people, a study has shown. One-legged standing time may be a simple test used to measure early signs of abnormalities in the brain associated with cognitive decline, cerebral small vessel disease and stroke.

Most commonly prescribed glaucoma drug reduces risk of vision loss by more than 50% over 2 years

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 05:58 PM PST

"Medication to lower raised eye pressure has been used for decades as the main treatment for OAG to delay progressive vision loss. But, until now, the extent to which the most frequently prescribed class of pressure-lowering drugs (prostaglandin analogues) have a protective effect on vision was not known," explains the lead author of a new study. "Our findings offer solid proof to patients and practitioners that the visual deterioration caused by glaucoma can be reduced using this treatment."

Doctor who survived Ebola received experimental drug treatment

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 05:58 PM PST

On 28 September, 2014, the 38-year old doctor, who was in charge of an Ebola virus treatment unit in Lakka, Sierra Leone, developed a fever and diarrhea. He tested positive for the virus on the same day. The doctor was airlifted to Frankfurt University Hospital on the 5th day of his illness and admitted to a specialized isolation unit. Within 72 hours of admission he developed signs of vascular leakage and severe multi-organ failure, including the lungs, kidneys, and gastrointestinal tract. He was placed on a ventilator and on kidney dialysis, and was given antibiotics together with a 3-day course of an experimental drug called FX06—a fibrin-derived peptide that has been shown to reduce vascular leakage and its complications in mice with Dengue hemorrhagic shock.

Ibuprofen use leads to extended lifespan in several species, study shows

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 11:10 AM PST

A common over-the-counter drug that tackles pain and fever may also hold keys to a longer, healthier life, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist. Regular doses of ibuprofen extended the lifespan of multiple species.

How llamas' unusual antibodies might help in the fight against HIV/AIDS

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 11:10 AM PST

Most vaccines work by inducing an immune response characterized by neutralizing antibodies against the respective pathogen. An effective HIV vaccine has remained elusive so far, but researchers have continued to make progress, often employing innovative methods. A new study reports that a combination of antibodies from llamas can neutralize a wide range of circulating HIV viruses.

Mutations need help from evolution to cause cancer

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 11:08 AM PST

In addition to DNA damage, cancer depends on the slow degradation of tissue that allows cancer cells to out-compete healthy cells, a new study shows. "We show that mutations, although necessary, cannot promote blood cancer development without an age-altered tissue microenvironment," the researchers write.

Scheduling sleep: Three nighttime habits to improve rest

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 11:08 AM PST

With an increase in parties, increased food and alcohol consumption and a general disruption of normal routines, the month of December can be exhausting. Here are three tips to improve sleep habits.

Enzyme inhibitors suppress herpes simplex virus replication, study finds

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 10:19 AM PST

A family of molecules known as NTS enzyme inhibitors are promising candidates for new herpes virus treatments, a new study shows. The findings could lead to new treatment options for herpes that patients can use in conjunction with or instead of currently approved anti-viral medications like Acyclovir. Researchers likened a combination of treatments for herpes to a cocktail of medications HIV patients take.

Genetic ancestry of different ethnic groups varies across the United States

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 10:14 AM PST

The United States is a melting pot of different racial and ethnic groups, but it has not been clear how the genetic ancestry of these populations varies across different geographic regions. In a landmark study, researchers analyzed the genomes of more than 160,000 African-Americans, Latinos, and European-Americans, providing novel insights into the subtle differences in genetic ancestry across the United States.

Hot flashes linked to increased risk of hip fracture

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 10:12 AM PST

Women who experience moderate to severe hot flashes and night sweats during menopause tend to have lower bone mineral density and higher rates of hip fracture than peers who do not have menopausal symptoms, according to a new study.

Urban stressors may contribute to rising rate of diabetes in developing nations

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 10:12 AM PST

As people in developing nations relocate from rural areas to cities, the increased stress is affecting their hormone levels and making them more susceptible to diabetes and other metabolic disorders, according to a new study.

Malnutrition a hidden epidemic among elders

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 09:08 AM PST

Health-care systems and providers are not attuned to older adults' malnutrition risk, and ignoring malnutrition exacts a toll on hospitals, patients, and payers, according to experts. A new article points out that aging is a risk factor for malnutrition and highlights opportunities to improve nutrition awareness, interventions, and policy priorities.

New technique provides novel approach to diagnosing ciliopathies

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 09:08 AM PST

It is difficult to diagnose, study and treat cioliopathies, because it is difficult to examine cilia in molecular detail. Now researchers report that they have captured the highest-resolution images of human cilia ever, using a new approach.

'Cool' new method for probing how molecules fold

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 09:07 AM PST

A powerful new system for studying how proteins and other biological molecules form and lose their natural folded structures has been developed by scientists. Using the new system, researchers can force a sample of molecules to unfold and refold by boosting and then dropping the temperature, so quickly that even some of the fastest molecular folding events can be tracked.

Trigger mechanism for recovery after spinal cord injury revealed

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 09:07 AM PST

After an incomplete spinal cord injury, the body can partially recover basic motor function. So-called muscle spindles and associated sensory circuits back to the spinal cord promote the establishment of novel neuronal connections after injury. This circuit-level mechanism behind the process of motor recovery was elucidated by recent research; findings may contribute to designing novel strategies for treatment after spinal cord injuries.

Scientists map out how childhood brain tumors relapse

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 09:07 AM PST

The unique genetic paths that the childhood brain tumor medulloblastoma follows when the disease comes back has been mapped out, researchers report. Scientists looked at biopsies from the relapsed tumours of 29 patients. They found a range of changes that only appeared when the disease returned and were responsible for the cancer becoming more aggressive.

Islet cell transplantation restores type 1 diabetics' blood sugar defense mechanisms

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 09:05 AM PST

Type 1 diabetes patients who have developed low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) as a complication of insulin treatments over time are able to regain normal internal recognition of the condition after receiving pancreatic islet cell transplantation, according to a new study.

Researchers hope patent can pave way to future treatments of heart, lung disease

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 09:05 AM PST

Researchers have received a patent for its use of a peptide that has been shown to prevent or reduce damage to intestinal tissue. Their ongoing work may have far-reaching implications, including new ways to treat tissue damaged during a heart attack or stroke, and even a possible cure for cancer.

When planning to eat right this new year, get your advice from educated and trained experts

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 09:05 AM PST

For many people, the New Year is an opportunity for a fresh look at life – a time to resolve to return to or even begin a healthy lifestyle. But with an internet full of misinformation and some "professionals" with little, if any, formal education in nutrition, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages everyone to seek their healthy eating information from educated, trained and qualified nutrition experts – registered dietitian nutritionists.

Mutations prevent programmed cell death

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 07:32 AM PST

Programmed cell death is a mechanism that causes defective and potentially harmful cells to destroy themselves. It serves a number of purposes in the body, including the prevention of malignant tumor growth. Now, researchers have discovered a previously unknown mechanism for regulating programmed cell death. They have also shown that patients with lymphoma often carry mutations in this signal pathway.

Is there a better way to treat substance use in adolescents with co-occurring mental health disorders?

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 07:31 AM PST

The majority (55-74%) of adolescents entering substance use treatment also have psychiatric disorders, such as depression, ADHD and trauma-related problems. Unfortunately, these youth face poorer treatment outcomes (e.g., relapse), and their mental health issues are often not directly addressed. Furthermore, few studies exist to guide those clinicians who would like to use integrated care to treat adolescent with co-occurring disorders. A new review proposes that the Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (A-CRA), which is a combination of cognitive-behavioral and family therapies, may be an ideal treatment method for this patient population.

Expectant fathers experience prenatal hormone changes

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 06:09 AM PST

Impending fatherhood can lower two hormones -- testosterone and estradiol -- for men, even before their babies are born, a new study found. This is the first study to show that the decline may begin even before the child's birth, during the transition to fatherhood.

Using power of computers to harness human genome may provide clues into Ebola virus

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 06:09 AM PST

New work is blending the power of computers with biology to use the human genome to remove much of the guesswork involved in discovering cures for diseases. A corresponding article describes how key genes that are present in our cells could be used to develop drugs for Ebola virus disease.

High-dose flu vaccine superior for frail elderly living in long-term care facilities

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 05:13 AM PST

The high-dose flu vaccine is significantly better than the regular flu shot at boosting the immune response to the flu virus in frail, older residents of long-term care facilities, according to the results of a new study. It is the first evaluation of the vaccine in long-term care residents, which is the population most vulnerable to flu-related death.

Fine particulate air pollution linked with increased autism risk

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 05:13 AM PST

Women exposed to high levels of fine particulate matter specifically during pregnancy -- particularly during the third trimester -- may face up to twice the risk of having a child with autism than mothers living in areas with low particulate matter, according to a study. The greater the exposure, the greater the risk, researchers found. It was the first US-wide study exploring the link between airborne particulate matter and autism.

Early caregiving experiences have long-term effects on social relationships, achievement

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 05:13 AM PST

A new study has found that sensitive caregiving in the first three years of life predicts an individual's social competence and academic achievement, not only during childhood and adolescence, but into adulthood. The study used information from 243 individuals who were born into poverty, came from a range of racial/ethnic backgrounds, and had been followed from birth to age 32.

Quality of parent-infant relationships, early childhood shyness predict teen anxiety

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 05:13 AM PST

Social anxiety is one of the most common psychiatric disorders among children and adolescents. A new study has found that together, the quality of parent-infant relationships and early childhood shyness predict the likelihood of social anxiety in adolescence. In this longitudinal study, researchers studied 165 European-American, middle- to upper-middle-class adolescents who were recruited as infants.

Subtle but important memory function affected by preterm birth

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 05:13 AM PST

A study of children born prematurely has found differences in a subtle but important aspect of memory: the ability to form and retrieve memories about context. The study examined 33 8-to 10-year olds using magnetic resonance imaging to measure the volume of the hippocampi. The results suggest that the maturational state of the hippocampus at the time of birth influences the maturation of certain memory functions even at 8- to 10-years old.

Moms of food-allergic kids need dietician's support

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 05:13 AM PST

Discovering your child has a severe food allergy can be a terrible shock. Even more stressful can be determining what foods your child can and cannot eat, and constructing a new diet which might eliminate entire categories of foods. Providing parents with detailed, individual advice from a dietician is a key component of effective food allergy care, experts say.

Wild blueberries (bilberries) can help tackle adverse effects of high-fat diet

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 05:11 AM PST

Eating bilberries diminishes the adverse effects of a high-fat diet, according to a recent study. For the first time, bilberries were shown to have beneficial effects on both blood pressure and nutrition-derived inflammatory responses.

Protection of mouse gut by mucus depends on microbes

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 05:11 AM PST

The quality of the colon mucus in mice depends on the composition of gut microbiota, reports a research team whose work suggests that bacteria in the gut affect mucus barrier properties in ways that can have implications for health and disease.

Why do parents who usually vaccinate their children hesitate or refuse?

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 05:11 AM PST

Even parents who are not "vaccine refusers" and who usually comply with the routine vaccination programs may hesitate or refuse to vaccinate their children based on poor communication from the relevant healthcare provider, as well as concerns about the safety of the vaccine, a study concludes.

Why are UK teenagers skipping school?

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 05:11 AM PST

Analysis of the results of a large-scale survey reveals the extent of truancy in English secondary schools and sheds light on the mental health of the country's teens.

Could trophoblasts be the immune cells of pregnancy?

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 05:10 AM PST

Trophoblasts, cells that form an outer layer around a fertilized egg and develop into the major part of the placenta, have now been shown to respond to inflammatory danger signals, researchers have found.

Researchers discover protein protecting against chlorine

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 05:10 AM PST

Chlorine is a common disinfectant that is used to kill bacteria, for example in swimming pools and drinking water supplies. Our immune system also produces chlorine, which causes proteins in bacteria to lose their natural folding. These unfolded proteins then begin to clump and lose their function. Now researchers have discovered a protein in the intestinal bacterium E. coli that protects bacteria from chlorine. In the presence of chlorine, it tightly bonds with other proteins, thus preventing them from coagulating.

Laparoscopic surgery for bladder cancer leads to good long-term cancer control

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 05:10 AM PST

Long-term survival rates following laparoscopic surgery for bladder cancer are comparable to those of open surgery, according to a study. The findings, which come from the largest study to date with long-term follow-up after this type of minimally invasive surgery, indicate that prospective randomized trials comparing these two bladder cancer surgeries are warranted.

How does prostate cancer form? Parkinson's Link?

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 05:08 AM PST

The cause of prostate cancer may be linked to Parkinson's disease through a common enzyme family called sirtuins. Finding an enzyme that regulates this process could provide excellent new prevention approaches for this common malignancy, researchers say. Sirtuin enzymes have been implicated in neurodegeneration, obesity, heart disease, and cancer.

New hope for rare disease drug development

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 05:15 PM PST

Using combinations of well-known approved drugs has for the first time been shown to be potentially safe in treating a rare disease, according to the results of a clinical trial. The study also shows some promising preliminary results for the efficacy of the drug combination.

Airline pilots can be exposed to cockpit radiation similar to tanning beds

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 02:14 PM PST

Airline pilots can be exposed to the same amount of UV-A radiation as that from a tanning bed session because airplane windshields do not completely block UV-A radiation, according to research. Airplane windshields are commonly made of polycarbonate plastic or multilayer composite glass. UV-A radiation can cause DNA damage in cells and its role in melanoma is well known, researchers say.

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