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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

Modern genetics confirm ancient relationship between fins and hands

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 01:54 PM PST

Efforts to connect the evolutionary transition from fish fins to wrist and fingers with the genetic machinery for this adaptation have fallen short because they focused on the wrong fish. Now, researchers describe the genetic machinery for autopod assembly in a non-model fish, the spotted gar.

Hunter-gatherer past shows our fragile bones result from inactivity since invention of farming

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 01:50 PM PST

Latest analysis of prehistoric bones show there is no anatomical reason why a person born today could not develop the skeletal strength of a prehistoric forager or a modern orangutan. Findings support the idea that activity throughout life is the key to building bone strength and preventing osteoporosis risk in later years, say researchers.

New non-invasive method can detect Alzheimer's disease early

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 11:30 AM PST

A noninvasive MRI approach that can detect the Alzheimer's disease in a living animal, well before typical Alzheimer's symptoms appear, has been developed by researchers. The research team created an MRI probe that pairs a magnetic nanostructure with an antibody that seeks out the amyloid beta brain toxins responsible for onset of the disease. The accumulated toxins, because of the associated magnetic nanostructures, show up as dark areas in MRI scans of the brain.

Mysteries of 'molecular machines' revealed: Phenix software uses X-ray diffraction spots to produce 3-D image

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 11:30 AM PST

Scientists are making it easier for pharmaceutical companies and researchers to see the detailed inner workings of molecular machines.

Crowdsourcing with mobile apps brings 'big data' to psychological research

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 10:15 AM PST

A fast-paced game app where players pretend they are baggage screening officers operating airport x-ray scanners has provided researchers with billions of pieces of data in record time, according to an article. "Mobile devices offer researchers an exciting new means to crowdsource an experiment using games that are actually tests of cognition or other brain functions," said the lead author of the report. "Questions that could have taken decades to answer in a laboratory setting, or that could not be realistically answered in a lab, can be examined using big data gathered in a relatively short time."

Decision 'cascades' in social networks

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 10:15 AM PST

People in social networks are often influenced by each other's decisions, resulting in a run of behaviors in which their choices become highly correlated, causing a cascade of decisions.

Smoke signals: New evidence links air pollution to congenital defects

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 10:15 AM PST

The health effects of air pollution are a major concern for urban populations all over the world. A new study provides new evidence linking high exposure to air pollution to an increased risk of congenital malformations.

Suicide risk linked to insomnia, alcohol use, study shows

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 10:13 AM PST

Insomnia symptoms mediate the relationship between alcohol use and suicide risk, and that this mediation is moderated by gender, a new study demonstrates for the first time. The study suggests that the targeted assessment and treatment of specific sleep problems may reduce the risk of suicide among those who use alcohol.

Using light to understand the brain

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 10:13 AM PST

An innovative way to understand how the brain works by using flashes of light, has been developed by researchers, allowing them to both 'read' and 'write' brain signals.The new technique combines two cutting-edge technologies for reading and writing electrical activity in the brain.

Light-emitting e-readers before bedtime can adversely impact sleep

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 10:13 AM PST

Use of a light-emitting electronic device (LE-eBook) in the hours before bedtime can adversely impact overall health, alertness, and the circadian clock which synchronizes the daily rhythm of sleep to external environmental time cues, according to new research that compared the biological effects of reading an LE-eBook compared to a printed book.

Clarithromycin-statin mix can cause drug interactions, requiring hospitalization

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 10:13 AM PST

The combination of the common antibiotic clarithromycin with some statins increases the risk of adverse events, which may require hospital admission for older people, according to a new study. Statins, used to lower cholesterol, are one of the most widely prescribed drugs, with projections estimated at more than 1 billion people around the globe. Although uncommon, severe adverse events can occur in some patients when certain medications interact with the statin and affect the way it is metabolized.

Existing drug, riluzole, may prevent foggy 'old age' brain, research shows

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 08:19 AM PST

Forgetfulness, it turns out, is all in the head. Scientists have shown that fading memory and clouding judgment, the type that comes with advancing age, show up as lost and altered connections between neurons in the brain. But new experiments suggest an existing drug, known as riluzole and already on the market as a treatment for ALS, may help prevent these changes.

New, fundamental mechanism for how resveratrol provides health benefits uncovered

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 08:19 AM PST

Resveratrol, the red-wine ingredient once touted as an elixir of youth, powerfully activates an evolutionarily ancient stress response in human cells, scientists have found. The finding should dispel much of and controversy about how resveratrol really works.

Diverse autism mutations lead to different disease outcomes

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 08:19 AM PST

People with autism have a wide range of symptoms, with no two people sharing the exact type and severity of behaviors. Now a large-scale analysis of hundreds of patients and nearly 1000 genes has started to uncover how diversity among traits can be traced to differences in patients' genetic mutations.

New cell marking technique to help understand how our brain works

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 08:17 AM PST

A new technique to mark individual brain cells to help improve our understanding of how the brain works has been developed by researchers. In neuroscience research, it is a challenge to individually label cells and to track them over space or time. Our brain has billions of cells and to be able to distinguish them at the single-cell level, and to modify their activity, is crucial to understand such a complex organ. The new marking technique, known as multicolour RGB tracking, allows single cells to be encoded with a heritable color mark generated by a random combination of the three basic colours (red, green and blue).

New connection between metabolism, regulation

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 08:17 AM PST

In cells, ribonucleic acids (RNAs) are most commonly known as messengers or scaffold molecules, but they can also accelerate key biochemical reactions and regulate metabolic pathways. These regulatory RNAs were discovered just a few years ago. In studies on bacteria, scientists have now found previously unknown modifications in the RNAs that contribute to their stability against the degradation mechanisms of the cell. Among other things, regulatory RNAs are associated with cancer development and bacterial infections.

Limit imaging scans for headache? Neurosurgeons raise concerns

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 08:16 AM PST

Recent guidelines seeking to reduce the use of neuroimaging tests for patients with headaches run the risk of missing or delaying the diagnosis of brain tumors, according to neurosurgeons.

Alternative for pain control after knee replacement surgery

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 08:16 AM PST

Injecting a newer long-acting numbing medicine called liposomal bupivacaine into the tissue surrounding the knee during surgery may provide a faster recovery and higher patient satisfaction, a new study has found.

Suppressing a protein reduces cancer spread in mice

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 08:16 AM PST

A specific protein called 'chitinase 3-like-1' appears key in enabling malignant melanoma or breast cancer to spread to the lungs of mice, researchers have found. Decreasing its levels or blocking the protein dramatically reduced that spread.

New technology makes tissues, someday maybe organs

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 08:16 AM PST

A new device for building large tissues from living components of three-dimensional microtissues borrows on ideas from electronics manufacturing. The Bio-Pick, Place, and Perfuse is a step toward someday making whole organs.

Blocking excessive division of cell powerhouses reduces liver cell death in cholestasis

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 08:16 AM PST

The power plants that fuel liver cells rapidly splinter when exposed to bile salts that aid digestion, prompting cell death, but blocking this excessive fission appears to protect the liver, scientists report.

Fast-food consumption linked to lower test score gains in 8th graders

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 08:16 AM PST

The amount of fast food children eat may be linked to how well they do in school, a new America-wide study suggests. This study can't say why fast-food consumption is linked to lower grades, but other studies have shown that fast food lacks certain nutrients, especially iron, that help cognitive development. In addition, diets high in fat and sugar -- similar to fast-food meals -- have been shown to hurt immediate memory and learning processes.

Disadvantaged men more likely to do 'women's work' reveals new study

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 08:16 AM PST

Men who are disabled and from an ethnic minority are significantly more likely to do jobs traditionally associated with women, a new study show. The work analyzed the workforce across the lowest grade in a very large FTSE company, focusing on the lowest paid, low skilled and often part-time jobs.

The psychology of gift-giving and receiving

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 08:15 AM PST

Researchers are exploring various aspects of gift-giving and receiving, such as how givers choose gifts, how gifts are used by recipients, and how gifts impact the relationship between givers and receivers.

'Kiddie caudal' anesthesia seems safe, but still more to learn

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 05:45 AM PST

A recent report provided anesthesiologists with reassuring data on the safety of caudal nerve block—sometimes called the "kiddie caudal"—for infants and young children undergoing surgery. But an editorial in the same journal draws attention to some important limitations of the study and to the need for further research on the safety and efficacy of this widely used pediatric anesthesia technique.

New distance rehabilitation system developed for patients with heart pathologies

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 05:43 AM PST

A new distance heart rehabilitation system based on physical exercise routines for people affected by heart pathologies has been developed by researchers. The system is designed for both chronic patients and the recovery of people who have suffered a heart event (for instance, a heart attack) or if they have had heart surgery. In any of these cases, it helps patients to exercise and adopt a healthy lifestyle.

Drug helps Huntington’s disease-afflicted mice, and their offspring

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 05:43 AM PST

Famine, drug abuse and even stress can "silence" certain genes, causing health problems in generations to come. Now scientists are wondering: Could therapies that change gene expression in parents help their children?

Consumer purchases of cakes, cookies and pies have decreased by 24 percent

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 05:39 AM PST

There has been little change in the nutritional content of ready-to-eat grain-based desserts manufactured or purchased between 2005 and 2012; however overall consumer purchases of ready-to-eat grain-based desserts declined by 24 percent during that same time period.

Lung Cancer: New Genetic Anomalies Discovered

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 05:39 AM PST

By analyzing the DNA and RNA of lung cancers, researchers have found that patients whose tumors contained a large number of gene fusions had worse outcomes than patients with fewer gene fusions. In addition, the researchers identified several new genetic anomalies that occur in lung cancer, including in patients with a history of smoking.

Bone loss drugs may help prevent endometrial cancer

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 05:39 AM PST

Women who use bisphosphonates -- medications commonly used to treat osteoporosis and other bone conditions -- have about half the risk of developing endometrial cancer as women who do not use the drugs, a new analysis shows.

Radiologist recommendations for chest CT have high clinical yield

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 05:39 AM PST

A substantial percentage of patients who receive radiologist recommendations for chest CT to evaluate abnormal findings on outpatient chest X-rays have clinically relevant findings, including cancer, according to a new study. Researchers said the findings show that radiologist recommendations for additional imaging (RAIs) after chest X-rays represent valuable contributions to patient care.

One in every three people with type 1 diabetes produces insulin years post-diagnosis

Posted: 21 Dec 2014 03:37 PM PST

About one-third of people with type 1 diabetes (T1D) produce insulin, as measured by C-peptide, a byproduct of insulin production, even upward of forty years from initial diagnosis, according to a first-of-its-kind, large-scale study. This sheds new light on the long-accepted belief that these patients lose all ability to produce any insulin, and could have significant policy implications, said the researchers.

Discovery of genes that predispose severe form of COPD

Posted: 19 Dec 2014 10:01 AM PST

The mestizo Mexican population has a number of variations in certain genes that predispose them to develop the most severe form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), scientists have discovered.

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