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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

Tracing evolution of chicken flu virus yields insight into origins of deadly H7N9 strain

Posted: 29 Dec 2014 01:49 PM PST

An international research team has shown how changes in a flu virus that has plagued Chinese poultry farms for decades helped create the novel avian H7N9 influenza A virus that has sickened more than 375 people since 2013.

The biological spoils of war: Those engaged in more violent war have more wives, children

Posted: 29 Dec 2014 01:48 PM PST

Under certain circumstances, those who engage in violent conflict had more wives, and thus more opportunities to increase their reproductive success through having more children, a study has demonstrated.

Report on remission in patients with MS three years after stem cell transplant

Posted: 29 Dec 2014 01:48 PM PST

Three years after a small number of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) were treated with high-dose immunosuppressive therapy and then transplanted with their own hematopoietic stem cells, most of the patients sustained remission of active relapsing-remitting MS and had improvements in neurological function, according to a study.

How economic insecurity impacts diabetes control among patients

Posted: 29 Dec 2014 01:48 PM PST

Difficulty paying for food and medications appears to be associated with poor diabetes control among patients in a study that examined the impact of economic insecurity on managing the disease and the use of health care resources, according to a report.

Year of birth significantly changes impact of obesity-associated gene variant

Posted: 29 Dec 2014 01:48 PM PST

Investigators working to unravel the impact of genetics versus environment on traits such as obesity may also need to consider a new factor: when individuals were born. A multi-institutional research team finds that the impact of a variant in the FTO gene that previous research has linked to obesity risk largely depends on birth year.

Lyme disease enhances spread of emerging tick infection

Posted: 29 Dec 2014 01:48 PM PST

Mice that are already infected with the pathogen that causes Lyme disease appear to facilitate the spread of a lesser-known but emerging disease, babesiosis, into new areas. The finding provides a possible answer as to why human babesiosis is only emerging in areas where Lyme disease is well established.

Sugar molecule links red meat consumption and elevated cancer risk in mice

Posted: 29 Dec 2014 12:22 PM PST

While people who eat a lot of red meat are known to be at higher risk for certain cancers, other carnivores are not, prompting researchers to investigate the possible tumor-forming role of a sugar called Neu5Gc, which is naturally found in most mammals but not in humans.

Thanking customers can reap rewards

Posted: 29 Dec 2014 11:14 AM PST

Companies rarely acknowledge customers who fill out those ubiquitous satisfaction surveys. But a sincere, well-timed 'thank you' can reap huge rewards, finds first-of-its-kind research.

For facial transplantation patients, blink assessment is essential

Posted: 29 Dec 2014 11:14 AM PST

Face transplantation can dramatically enhance a patient's quality of life after severe facial trauma, but lack of attention to eyelid function and vision can leave patients with impaired vision, corneal exposure, eyelid retraction that occurs when the upper or lower eyelid pulls away from the eyeball, and other eyelid-related complications.

Breast reconstruction using patient's own tissues yield higher satisfaction rates

Posted: 29 Dec 2014 11:14 AM PST

For women who have undergone mastectomy, breast reconstruction using the patient's own tissues -- rather than implants -- provides higher satisfaction scores, reports a study.

Mechanism of toxin's inflammatory effect on lungs found

Posted: 29 Dec 2014 11:14 AM PST

A never-before-seen mechanism by which a bacterial toxin leads to severe inflammation in asthma and other acute and chronic pulmonary diseases has been discovered by researchers. The discovery could result in development of therapeutic strategies that improve health in individuals who suffer from airway diseases, experts say.

Complications after thigh lift surgery common, but usually minor

Posted: 29 Dec 2014 11:14 AM PST

Performed as part of body contouring procedures in patients with massive weight loss, a procedure called medial thigh lift carries a substantial risk of complications, reports a new study.

Yoga as a potential therapy for cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome

Posted: 29 Dec 2014 11:14 AM PST

The potential for yoga to have an impact on concrete, physiological outcomes that represent some of the greatest health burdens today has been demonstrated through new research.

Reprogramming stem cells may prevent cancer after radiation

Posted: 29 Dec 2014 11:14 AM PST

Pre-programmed stem cell death allows cancer to grow after full-body irradiation, researchers report, and NOTCH signaling may restore stem cell function, protecting against cancer after radiation.

Patient self-reporting version of 'blood pressure cuff' for dementia is reliable, valid

Posted: 29 Dec 2014 09:22 AM PST

Patient self-reporting version of the Healthy Aging Brain Care Monitor -- a primary-care tool to measure cognitive, functional and psychological symptoms -- is user-friendly, reliable and valid, including being sensitive to symptom change, according to a new study.

Protein identified as possible universal therapeutic target for many infections, including Ebola

Posted: 29 Dec 2014 09:22 AM PST

A protein called GRP78 could be a universal therapeutic target for treating human diseases like brain cancer, Ebola, Influenza, Hepatitis and superbug bacteria such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, according to a study.

Binge drinking disrupts immune system in young adults, study finds

Posted: 29 Dec 2014 06:26 AM PST

Binge drinking in young, healthy adults significantly disrupts the immune system, according to a study. Drinkers generally understand how binge drinking alters behavior, researchers note, however, there is less awareness of alcohol's harmful effects in other areas, such as the immune system.

Comparing analgesic effect of manual vs laser acupuncture for lateral epicondylalgia

Posted: 29 Dec 2014 06:26 AM PST

Comparing the analgesic effect of laser acupuncture and manual acupuncture for treating lateral epicondylalgia, applying manual acupuncture on lateral epicondylalgia produced stronger evidence of analgesic effect than laser acupuncture did in meta-analysis.

Enzyme's alter ego helps activate the immune system

Posted: 29 Dec 2014 06:26 AM PST

Already known to cut proteins, the enzyme SPPL3 turns out to have additional talents, according to a new study. In its newly discovered role, SPPL3 works without cutting proteins to activate T-cells, the immune system's foot soldiers. Because its structure is similar to that of presenilin enzymes, which have been implicated in Alzheimer's disease, the researchers believe their findings could shed more light on presenilin functions, in addition to providing new insight into how the immune system is controlled.

Estrogen worsens allergic reactions in mice

Posted: 29 Dec 2014 06:25 AM PST

Estradiol, a type of estrogen, enhances the levels and activity in mice of an enzyme that drives life-threatening allergic reactions, according to researchers. The study results may help explain why women frequently experience more severe allergic reactions compared to men. Furthermore, the results reaffirm the importance of accounting for gender in the design of animal experiments.

Live adaptation of organ models in the OR

Posted: 29 Dec 2014 05:17 AM PST

During minimally invasive operations, a surgeon has to trust the information displayed on the screen: A virtual 3D model of the respective organ shows where a tumor is located and where sensitive vessels can be found. Soft tissue, such as the tissue of the liver, however, deforms during breathing or when the scalpel is applied. Endoscopic cameras record in real time how the surface deforms, but do not show the deformation of deeper structures such as tumors. Young scientists have now developed a real-time capable computation method to adapt the virtual organ to the deformed surface profile.

Parasite Eggs From the Celtic Period Found in Basel

Posted: 29 Dec 2014 05:17 AM PST

Archaeologists have discovered eggs of intestinal parasites in samples from a former Celtic settlement and concluded that its population lived in poor sanitary conditions. Using special geoarchaelogical methods, they found three different types of parasites.

Text messaging reminders increase second dose influenza vaccinations in children

Posted: 29 Dec 2014 05:16 AM PST

Researchers studied the impact of text message reminders for the second dose of influenza vaccine required for many young children to protect them against the virus. The findings showed that sending the reminders increased receipt of the second dose of the vaccine and brought children in sooner to be vaccinated. When educational information on the importance of the second dose of influenza vaccine was embedded into the text messages there was an even greater effect.

Rare cancer's genetic pathway identified by scientists

Posted: 25 Dec 2014 11:35 AM PST

The 'mutational landscape' of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, a rare, highly fatal form of liver cancer that disproportionately affects people in Asian countries, has been identified by an international team of researchers. The findings could potentially lead to earlier and more accurate diagnosis and increased survival rates for patients with the disease, also known as intrahepatic bile duct cancer.

Optogenetics captures neuronal transmission in live mammalian brain

Posted: 25 Dec 2014 11:35 AM PST

Scientists have used a cutting-edge method to stimulate neurons with light. They have successfully recorded synaptic transmission between neurons in a live animal for the first time.

Study sheds light on what causes cells to divide

Posted: 25 Dec 2014 11:35 AM PST

When a rapidly-growing cell divides into two smaller cells, what triggers the split? Is it the size the growing cell eventually reaches? Or is the real trigger the time period over which the cell keeps growing ever larger? A novel study has finally provided an answer to this long unsolved conundrum. And it's not what many biologists expected.

Locking mechanism found for 'scissors' that cut DNA

Posted: 25 Dec 2014 11:35 AM PST

The mechanism that keeps an enzyme from becoming overzealous in its clipping of DNA has been discovered by researchers. Since controlled clipping is required for the production of specialized immune system proteins, an understanding of what keeps the enzyme in check should help explain why its mutant forms can lead to immunodeficiency and cancer.

Development of software that 'predicts' sudden cardiac death

Posted: 24 Dec 2014 07:30 AM PST

At Galway Hospital, in Ireland, a device is currently used to "predict" cardiac events in people at risk of sudden cardiac death. This technology was developed by a Mexican, and the city's University patented it looking to sell it to specialized companies.

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