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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

Impact of traumatic brain injury on longterm memory explored

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 04:16 PM PST

A new article provides insight into the variable impact of traumatic brain injury on long-term memory. Memory impairment affects 54% to 84% of individuals with TBI. While the variable impact of TBI on long-term memory has been recognized, the underlying cognitive mechanisms have not been detailed in this population. This variability in impairment among individuals with comparable injuries has been explained, in part, by the theory of cognitive reserve, i.e., higher intellectual enrichment confers a protective effect on long-term memory. To test the role of working memory in the protective effect of cognitive reserve on long-term memory, scientists evaluated 50 patients with moderate to severe TBI for working memory, long-term memory and cognitive reserve.

Why don't more minority students seek STEM careers? Ask them.

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 04:14 PM PST

At a retreat earlier this year, 50 underrepresented minority students had wide latitude to talk about what would enhance their STEM training. They identified eight major themes summarized in a new paper.

Why do military service members marry so much younger than average Americans

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 04:13 PM PST

While numerous studies have shown that the marriage rate among military service members is much higher than civilians of the same age, new research has found specific reasons that lead these young men and women to make this important decision.

Triple-negative breast cancer patients should undergo genetic screening

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 04:13 PM PST

Most patients with triple-negative breast cancer should undergo genetic testing for mutations in known breast cancer predisposition genes, including BRCA1 and BRCA2, a study has found. The findings come from the largest analysis to date of genetic mutations in this aggressive form of breast cancer.

Exercise following bariatric surgery provides health benefits beyond weight loss

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 04:12 PM PST

Researchers discover that moderate exercise following bariatric surgery reduces specific metabolic risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes. The findings suggest that moderate exercise may provide additional benefits to health beyond weight loss in these patients.

Diabetes in midlife linked to significant cognitive decline 20 years later

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 04:12 PM PST

People diagnosed with diabetes in midlife are more likely to experience significant memory and cognitive problems during the next 20 years than those with healthy blood sugar levels, new research suggests. The study is believed to be the longest of its kind following a cross-section of adults as they age.

New tool for exploring cells in 3D created

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 01:37 PM PST

Researchers can now explore viruses, bacteria and components of the human body in more detail than ever before with new software recently developed. Researchers demonstrated how the software, called cellPACK, can be used to model viruses such as HIV.

Sophisticated HIV diagnostics adapted for remote areas

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 01:35 PM PST

Diagnosing HIV and other infectious diseases presents unique challenges in remote locations that lack electric power, refrigeration, and appropriately trained health care staff. To address these issues, researchers have developed a low-cost, electricity-free device capable of detecting the DNA of infectious pathogens, including HIV-1.

Brain folding study defines two distinct groups of mammals

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 01:33 PM PST

Programs that control the production of neurons during brain development determine how the brain folds, researchers report. The researchers analyzed the gyrencephaly index, indicating the degree of cortical folding, of 100 mammalian brains and identified a threshold value that separates mammalian species into two distinct groups: Those above the threshold have highly folded brains, whereas those below it have only slightly folded or unfolded brains. The research team also found that differences in cortical folding did not evolve linearly across species.

Ability of HIV to cause AIDS is slowing, research suggests

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 01:32 PM PST

The rapid evolution of HIV, which has allowed the virus to develop resistance to patients' natural immunity, is at the same time slowing the virus's ability to cause AIDS, according to new research. The study also indicates that people infected by HIV are likely to progress to AIDS more slowly -- in other words the virus becomes less 'virulent' -- because of widespread access to antiretroviral therapy (ART).

Study looks at falls from furniture by children in their homes

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 01:32 PM PST

Parents of children who fell at home were more likely not to use safety gates and not to have taught their children rules about climbing on things in the kitchen, according to a study. Falls send more than 1 million children in the United States and more than 200,000 children in the United Kingdom to emergency departments (EDs) each year. Costs for falls in the U.S. were estimated at $439 million for hospitalized children and $643 million for ED visits in 2005. Most of the falls involve beds, chairs, baby walkers, bouncers, changing tables and high chairs, according to the study.

Anticholesterol rosuvastatin not associated with reduced risk for fractures

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 01:32 PM PST

Treatment with the anticholesterol medicine rosuvastatin calcium did not reduce the risk of fracture among men and women who had elevated levels of an inflammatory biomarker, according to a report. "Our study does not support the use of statins in doses used for cardiovascular disease prevention to reduce the risk of fracture," the study concludes.

Cheaper private health care prices mean more Medicare spending

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 10:26 AM PST

Doctors may be shifting health care services to Medicare when they stand to make money by doing so, though further study is required, researchers report.

Prompt, appropriate medical care for dislocated shoulder injuries

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 09:53 AM PST

Prompt and appropriate treatment of a dislocated shoulder -- when the head of the upper arm bone is completely knocked out of the shoulder socket -- can minimize risk for future dislocations as well as the effects of related bone, muscle and nerve injuries, according to a literature review.

Restrooms: Not as unhealthy as you might think

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 09:53 AM PST

Microbial succession in a sterilized restroom begins with bacteria from the gut and the vagina, and is followed shortly by microbes from the skin. Restrooms are dominated by a stable community structure of skin and outdoor associated bacteria, with few pathogenic bacteria making them similar to other built environments such as your home, researchers report.

Test for horse meat developed

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 09:53 AM PST

A fast, cheap alternative to DNA testing has been developed as a means of distinguishing horse meat from beef. Because horses and cattle have different digestive systems, the fat components of the two meats have different fatty acid compositions. The new method looks at differences in the chemical composition of the fat in the meats, using NMR-based technology.

Supplemental co-enzyme Q may prevent heart disease in some individuals

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 09:52 AM PST

New research involving rats suggests that if you were born at a low birth weight, supplemental co-enzyme Q may lower your risk for heart disease.

How lungs protect themselves from infection

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 09:52 AM PST

Scientists have taken an important step toward a new class of antibiotics aimed at stopping lung infections. They found that a protein found in large airways, called 'SPLUNC1,' binds to lipids critical to defending against bacterial and viral infections, as well as keeping lung tissue flexible and hydrated. This discovery moves SPLUNC1 closer toward becoming a viable therapy.

Plant used in traditonal Chinese medicine may treat metabolic diseases and obesity

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 09:52 AM PST

New research shows that a component found in in the plant, Glycyrrhiza uralensis, may inhibit the development of metabolic disorders by stopping the activation of NLRP3, a protein involved in the disease process. Specifically, the researchers identified isoliquiritigenin as having the ability to attenuate high-fat, diet-induced obesity, type 2 diabetes and hepatic steatosis in mice.

How early trauma influences behavior

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 09:51 AM PST

Traumatic and stressful events during childhood increase the risk to develop psychiatric disorders, but to a certain extent, they can also help better deal with difficult situations later in life. Researchers have studied this phenomenon in mice to learn how these effects could be transmitted to the next generation.

Clue to why females live longer than males

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 09:51 AM PST

Male flies die earlier than their female counterparts when forced to evolve with the pressures of mate competition and juvenile survival. The results could help researchers understand the mechanisms involved in aging.

Ciliopathies lie behind many human diseases

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 09:51 AM PST

Growing interest in cilia, which are finger-like organelles that extend from the bodies of individual cells, has revealed their role in a number of human ailments. As a result of cilia's presence in a wide variety of cells, defects in them cause diverse human diseases that warrant further study.

Genetic mutation responsible for serious disorder common in Inuit discovered

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 09:51 AM PST

The cause for a disorder common in Inuit people that prevents the absorption of sucrose, causing gastrointestinal distress and failure to thrive in infants, has been discovered by researchers. The study identified a genetic mutation responsible for the disorder, called congenital sucrose-isomaltase deficiency.

Can cockpit automation cause pilots to lose critical thinking skills? Research says yes

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 09:50 AM PST

Researchers studied how the prolonged use of cockpit automation negatively impacts pilots' ability to remember how to perform key critical thinking tasks. "There is widespread concern among pilots and air carriers that as the presence of automation increases in the airline cockpit, pilots are losing the skills they still need to fly the airplane the 'old-fashioned way' when the computers crash," said a coauthor.

New therapeutic strategy for chronic kidney disease

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 09:50 AM PST

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects at least one in four Americans who are older than 60 and can significantly shorten lifespan. Yet the few available drugs for CKD can only modestly delay the disease's progress towards kidney failure. Now, a team has found an aspect of CKD's development that points to a promising new therapeutic strategy.

Revolutionizing genome engineering

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 08:34 AM PST

Genome engineering with the RNA-guided CRISPR-Cas9 system in animals and plants is changing biology. It is easier to use and more efficient than other genetic engineering tools, thus it is already being applied in laboratories all over the world just a few years after its discovery. This rapid adoption and the history of the system are the core topics of a new review paper.

Duality in the human genome

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 08:34 AM PST

Human genomes are extraordinarily individual -- a challenge for personalized medicine. Results of a new study show that most genes can occur in many different forms within a population: On average, about 250 different forms of each gene exist. The researchers found around four million different gene forms just in the 400 or so genomes they analysed. This enormous diversity means that over half of all genes in an individual, around 9,000 of 17,500, occur uniquely in that one person -- and are therefore individual in the truest sense of the word.

Girls better than boys at making story-based computer games, study finds

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 08:34 AM PST

Teenage boys are perhaps more known for playing computer games but girls are better at making them, a study has found. Researchers asked pupils at a secondary school to design and program their own computer game using a new visual programming language that shows pupils the computer programs they have written in plain English.

Gene associated with an aggressive breast cancer uncovered

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 08:34 AM PST

A biomarker that is strongly associated with triple negative breast cancer, a highly aggressive carcinoma that often has early relapse and metastasis following chemotherapy, has been found by researchers. The newly identified biomarker, a gene called RASAL2, provides a target for developing new therapeutics designed to treat this often deadly disease.

Men's sperm quality declines with age, review of 90 studies confirms

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 08:34 AM PST

Conflicting evidence about the extent to which men's semen quality declines with age -- likely lowering their fertility -- is being cleared up by new research that has collated and reviewed data from 90 previous studies from around the world.

It's mean boys, not mean girls, who rule at school, study shows

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 08:32 AM PST

Debunking the myth of the 'mean girl,' new research has found that boys use relational aggression -- malicious rumors, social exclusion and rejection -- to harm or manipulate others more often than girls. The longitudinal study followed a cohort of students from middle to high school and found that, at every grade level, boys engaged in relationally aggressive behavior more often than girls.

Sleep apnea linked to impaired exercise capacity

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 08:32 AM PST

Obstructive sleep apnea is associated with impaired exercise capacity, which is an indicator of increased cardiovascular risk, a new study shows. Results show that the predicted peak oxygen uptake, a measure of aerobic physical fitness, was significantly lower in people with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea than in controls. Further analysis found that sleep apnea severity alone explained 16.1 percent of this variability.

Natural 'high' could avoid chronic marijuana use

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 08:32 AM PST

Replenishing the supply of a molecule that normally activates cannabinoid receptors in the brain could relieve mood and anxiety disorders and enable some people to quit using marijuana, a new study suggests.

WHACK! Study measures head blows in girls' lacrosse

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 08:32 AM PST

As debate increases about whether female lacrosse players should wear headgear, a new study reports measurements of the accelerations that stick blows deliver to the head. The study also measured the dampening effect of various kinds of headgear.

Lapses in infection control associated with spread of severe respiratory virus MERS, according to study

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 08:30 AM PST

Little is known about the often fatal virus known as Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), but researchers have identified gaps in infection control as a major culprit in all eleven published cases involving healthcare-associated transmission of the virus.

Warning to bariatric surgery patients: Take your supplements, for eye's sake

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 08:30 AM PST

Obese patients who have undergone bariatric surgery to shed weight should take the supplements prescribed to them to protect their eyes. Taking in too little Vitamin A, in particular, could in some cases actually cause night blindness, dry eyes, corneal ulcers, and in extreme cases total blindness. Researchers reviewed what little research there currently is on the occurrence of eye conditions following bariatric surgery.

Traits: Silver lining playbook for performance

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 08:29 AM PST

If we believe a negative trait we possess is linked to a related positive characteristic, we will be more productive in that domain, researchers have found. Their study establishes a novel "silver lining theory": negative attributes can produce positive results.

Athletes perform better when exposed to subliminal visual cues

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 07:04 AM PST

Athletes who are exposed to subliminal visual cues when they are participating in endurance exercise will perform significantly better, a study has demonstrated. Subliminal visual cues are words, pictures or symbols which are unidentifiable in someone's conscious.

Politics, not severe weather, drive global-warming views

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 07:03 AM PST

Scientists have presented the most comprehensive evidence to date that climate extremes such as droughts and record temperatures are failing to change people's minds about global warming.

Women outperform men in some financial negotiations

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 07:03 AM PST

In certain circumstances, women may be more effective than men when negotiating money matters, contrary to conventional wisdom that men drive a harder bargain in financial affairs, according to a new meta-analysis.

Cold-related asthma attacks predictable with new test

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 07:01 AM PST

People who have asthma generally suffer worse with colds caused by rhinoviruses than other people do. There are also asthmatics and patients with the severe lung condition COPD in whom the cold virus can trigger serious flare-ups of their condition. A team of researchers has now discovered how this risk group can be filtered out using a blood test.

Some newborns lose weight much faster than previously recognized

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 07:00 AM PST

A new study is the first to detail the weight loss patterns of exclusively breastfed newborns. The investigators have captured their findings in an online tool that is the first of its kind to help pediatricians determine whether exclusively breastfed newborns have lost too much weight in the first days of life.

Unhappy hour: Non-drinkers devise strategies to navigate booze-centered work events

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 07:00 AM PST

From holiday parties to happy hours, social events with co-workers often revolve around alcohol, which can put non-drinkers in an awkward position. A new study shows that tensions in these environments lead non-drinkers to develop techniques to fit in socially without taking a drink.

Many people with missing teeth don't need dentures

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 07:00 AM PST

The latest research challenges current thinking on whether many people with tooth loss really need dentures, and the findings have major implications for public dental health resources and costs for patients.

Widening wage gap linked to more deaths among black Americans

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 06:06 AM PST

Income inequality matters for everyone, but it matters differently for different groups of people, concludes the authors of a new study. Researchers linked greater gaps in wealth to more deaths among black Americans, but fewer deaths among white Americans.

High school football players show brain changes after one season, even in absence of concussions

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 06:06 AM PST

Some high school football players exhibit measurable brain changes after a single season of play even in the absence of concussion, according to a new study.

Imaging shows brain connection breakdown in early Alzheimer's disease

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 06:06 AM PST

Changes in brain connections visible on MRI could represent an imaging biomarker of Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study. Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia. As many as 5 million Americans are affected, a number expected to grow to 14 million by 2050.

PET/CT shows pituitary abnormalities in veterans with PTSD

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 06:06 AM PST

Hybrid imaging with positron emission tomography and computed tomography (PET/CT) in the pituitary region of the brain is a promising tool for differentiating military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from those with mild traumatic brain injury, according to a new study.

3-D printing used to guide human face transplants

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 06:06 AM PST

Researchers are using computed tomography and 3-D printing technology to recreate life-size models of patients' heads to assist in face transplantation surgery, according to a new study.

Researchers design model to predict effects of chemical substances on health

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 06:05 AM PST

The analysis of drugs, natural products, and chemical substances found in the environment allows the identification of the chemical fragments responsible for a therapeutic or deleterious effect on human health. This knowledge may be valuable for the design of drugs with fewer secondary effects, for associating diseases, and for identifying new uses for drugs currently on the market.

Understanding the Brain's 'Suffocation Alarm'

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 06:04 AM PST

Panic disorder is a severe form of anxiety in which the affected individual feels an abrupt onset of fear, often accompanied by profound physical symptoms of discomfort. Scientists have known from studying twins that genes contribute to the risk of panic disorder, but very little is known about which specific genes are involved. Two of the most common and terrifying symptoms of this severe anxiety are a sense of shortness of breath and feelings of suffocation. One theory exists that panic disorder involves an overly sensitive "suffocation alarm system" in the brain that evolved to protect us from suffocating, and that panic attacks result when this alarm gets triggered by signals of impending suffocation like rising carbon dioxide levels.

Bilingualism delays Alzheimer's manifestation by more than four years

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 06:04 AM PST

The symptoms of Alzheimer disease (AD) manifest themselves about four to five years later in bilinguals as opposed to monolinguals. In bilinguals, the disease onset was estimated at the age of 77, while in monolinguals, this was at the age of 73.

Causal link between antibiotics, childhood asthma dismissed

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 06:04 AM PST

Researchers have dismissed previous claims that there is a link between the increased use of antibiotics in society and a coinciding rise in childhood asthma. The study includes half a million children and shows that exposure to antibiotics during pregnancy or early in life does not appear to increase the risk of asthma.

Breast cancer vaccine shows promise in small clinical trial

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 06:03 AM PST

A breast cancer vaccine is safe in patients with metastatic breast cancer, results of an early clinical trial indicate. Preliminary evidence also suggests that the vaccine primed the patients' immune systems to attack tumor cells and helped slow the cancer's progression.

HIV drug blocks bone metastases in prostate cancer

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 06:03 AM PST

Although prostate cancer can be successfully treated in many men, when the disease metastasizes to the bone, it is eventually lethal. The receptor CCR5, targeted by HIV drugs, is also key in driving prostate cancer metastases, suggesting that blocking this molecule could slow prostate cancer spread.

Child treated in U.S. emergency department every 3 minutes for a toy-related injury

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 06:03 AM PST

In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers have found that an estimated 3,278,073 children were treated in United States emergency departments from 1990 through 2011 for a toy-related injury. Children of different ages face different hazards from toys, the lead investigator said. Children younger than 3 years of age are at particular risk of choking on small toys and small parts of toys. During the study period, there were more than 109,000 cases of children younger than 5 swallowing or inhaling "foreign bodies," the equivalent of almost 14 cases per day.

Preoperative interventions improve patient outcomes after cardiac surgery

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 06:03 AM PST

Implementing a readiness bundle of preoperative interventions was associated with reduced risk of mortality and morbidity, shorter intubation times and shorter hospital stays for urgent patients after CABG surgery, a study has demonstrated.

Structure of Neuron-Connecting Synaptic Adhesion Molecules Discovered

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 06:00 AM PST

A research team has found the three-dimensional structure of synaptic adhesion molecules, which orchestrate synaptogenesis. The research findings also propose the mechanism of synapses in its initial formation.

Does sleep really shorten when we get older?

Posted: 01 Dec 2014 06:00 AM PST

As we age, the quality of our sleep gets gradually worse. People who were able to sleep deeply all night in their twenties become increasingly likely to wake up in the night in their forties. This is a common change to sleeping patterns that can happen to anyone as a result of aging, and is not abnormal. As we enter old age, our sleep becomes even lighter and we wake up frequently during our sleep. In a new article, an author reviews sleeping and aging, and gives some advice.

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