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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

Low-crime, walkable neighborhoods promote mental health in older Latinos

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 02:11 PM PST

Older Latinos living in the US who perceive their neighborhoods as safer and more walkable are less likely to develop severe depressive symptoms, and the effect may be long term, a new study suggests. Researchers examined links between the onset of depressive symptoms in 570 older Latino adults and various characteristics of the Greater Los Angeles neighborhoods they lived in, including crime, the availability and quality of sidewalks, traffic safety and aesthetics.

Each dollar spent on kids' nutrition can yield more than $100 later

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 02:07 PM PST

There are strong economic incentives for governments to invest in early childhood nutrition, reports a new paper that reveals that every dollar spent on nutrition during the first 1,000 days of a child's life can provide a country up to $166 in future earnings.

Injectable 3-D vaccines could fight cancer, infectious diseases

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 02:07 PM PST

A non-surgical injection of programmable biomaterial that spontaneously assembles in vivo into a 3-D structure could fight and even help prevent cancer and also infectious disease such as HIV, scientists have demonstrated. Tiny biodegradable rod-like structures made from silica, known as mesoporous silica rods (MSRs), can be loaded with biological and chemical drug components and then delivered by needle just underneath the skin, they explain.

Public servants are individually motivated to help environment, study suggests

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 12:26 PM PST

While on the job, public servants contribute not just to mandated sustainability but also to discretionary eco-friendly initiatives of their own, a study shows. "Some people are born with a higher intrinsic need to serve the public," said a study co-author. "They have a desire to help others and serve society. Government and nonprofit managers, for example, typically have higher levels of public service motivation than business managers."

Eleven maps for eleven rooms: Probing the brain's extensive capacity for storing memories

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 12:25 PM PST

The brain creates and stores memories in small networks of brain cells, with the memories of events and places stored in a structure called the hippocampus. Researchers have long wondered if there is an upper limit to our capacity to store memories and how we manage to remember so many events without mixing up events that are very similar.

Shedding new light on the formation of emotional fear memories

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 12:25 PM PST

Everyday events are easy to forget, but unpleasant ones can remain engraved in the brain. A new study identifies a neural mechanism through which unpleasant experiences are translated into signals that trigger fear memories by changing neural connections in a part of the brain called the amygdala. The findings show that a long-standing theory on how the brain forms memories, called Hebbian plasticity, is partially correct, but not as simple as was originally proposed.

Toughest breast cancer may have met its match: Protein inhibitor makes cell susceptible to chemotherapy

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 12:23 PM PST

Triple-negative breast cancer is as bad as it sounds. The cells that form these tumors lack three proteins that would make the cancer respond to powerful, customized treatments. Instead, doctors are left with treating these patients with traditional chemotherapy drugs that only show long-term effectiveness in 20 percent of women with triple-negative breast cancer.

HPV vaccine, riskier sexual activity not linked, Canadian researchers say

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 11:57 AM PST

Sexual behavior of teenage girls does not appear to be impacted by the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine, according to researchers. Since 2006, the HPV vaccine has been licensed in almost 100 countries. Many of these countries have national HPV vaccination programs to protect young girls against the virus before they become sexually active.

Voters more inclined than consumers to pay for food safety

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 11:56 AM PST

Voters are more willing to pay for a decreased risk of food-related illness than consumers, but female consumers are more willing to pay than male consumers, according to an international team of researchers.

Disorder in gene-control system is a defining characteristic of cancer, study finds

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 11:55 AM PST

The genetic tumult within cancerous tumors is more than matched by the disorder in one of the mechanisms for switching cells' genes on and off, scientists report in a new study. Their findings indicate that the disarray in the on-off mechanism -- known as methylation -- is one of the defining characteristics of cancer and helps tumors adapt to changing circumstances.

First step toward pill for obesity taken, researchers report

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 11:55 AM PST

Researchers have taken what they are describing as 'the first step toward a pill that can replace the treadmill' for the control of obesity -- though it of course would not provide all the additional benefits of exercise. The researchers have already identified two compounds that can accomplish that in human cells.

Animal research sheds light on harmful mood disorders in new mothers

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 11:51 AM PST

In the days shortly after giving birth, most mothers experience a period of increased calmness and decreased stress responses, but around 20% of mothers experience anxiety. Some women may become depressed, and around one in a thousand can develop psychosis. The latest evidence indicates that these distressing responses to motherhood are still poorly understood, but that animal research could provide valuable clues to their causes.

Targeting microRNA may benefit some ovarian and breast cancer patients

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 11:44 AM PST

A genetic misfire called the 3q26.2 amplicon can cause real havoc. In fact, it is among the most frequent chromosomal aberrations seen in many cancers, including ovarian and breast cancers. Researchers behind a new study believe they may have found a molecule-based approach to halting 3q26.2's destructive nature. By manipulating a non-coding microRNA (miRNA) known as miR569 that is part of the amplicon, scientists were able to increase cell death in vitro and in vivo. MicroRNAs are short, non-coding RNA molecules that are important to controlling gene expression.

Does smoking hamper treatment for alcohol abuse?

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 11:41 AM PST

Smoking can inhibit the success of treatment for alcohol abuse, putting people who are addicted to both tobacco and alcohol in a double bind, research has shown.

Punishing kids for lying just doesn't work

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 11:41 AM PST

If you want your child to tell the truth, it's best not to threaten to punish them if they lie. That's what researchers discovered through a simple experiment involving 372 children between the ages of 4 and 8.

Enzyme identified that could lead to targeted treatment for PMS

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 07:54 AM PST

Low doses of fluoxetine -- better known as the anti-depressant Prozac -- could hold the key to preventing PMS symptoms, an international team of researchers has found.

Confounding factors contribute to unexpected results of trial of renal denervation

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 07:54 AM PST

A new analysis of an important trial of the blood pressure-lowering procedure, renal denervation, shows that the main results may have been affected by a number of confounding factors that partially explain the unexpected blood pressure responses in patients. The analysis identified factors in the SYMPLICITY HTN-3 trial, such as variations in the way the procedure was performed and changes in patients' medications and drug adherence, which may have had a significant impact on the results.

Biomimetic dew harvesters: What the desert beetle could teach us about improving drinking water collection

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 07:53 AM PST

Insects are full of marvels - and this is certainly the case with a beetle from the Tenebrionind family, found in the extreme conditions of the Namib desert. Now, a team of scientists has demonstrated that such insects can collect dew on their backs - and not just fog as previously thought. This is made possible by the wax nanostructure on the surface of the beetle's elytra.

Religion or spirituality has positive impact on romantic/marital relationships, child development, research shows

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 07:53 AM PST

Adolescents who attend religious services with one or both of their parents are more likely to feel greater well-being while romantic partners who pray for their "significant others" experience greater relationship commitment, according to research.

Nearly half of U.S. kids exposed to traumatic social or family experiences during childhood

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 07:53 AM PST

Nearly half of all children in the United States are exposed to at least one social or family experience that can lead to traumatic stress and impact their healthy development – be it having their parents divorce, a parent die or living with someone who abuses alcohol or drugs – increasing the risk of negative long-term health consequences or of falling behind in school, suggests new research.

Charter schools can lead families to buy homes nearby

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 07:53 AM PST

Charter schools are not subject to school district boundaries and accept students regardless of where they live. But a new study finds that families with children enrolled at a charter school are likely to move closer to the school anyway. The finding may have relevance for urban renewal efforts.

New approach for treating Alzheimer's disease: Psoriasis drug

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 06:32 AM PST

It seems that a drug that is actually approved for treatment of the dermal disorder psoriasis stimulates the activity of the enzyme ADAM10 in the brain of Alzheimer's patients. It is estimated that about 35 million people worldwide currently suffer from dementia and it is expected that the number will increase to 135 million by the year 2050. Currently, there is no cure.

San Francisco public housing type a strong predictor of kids' use of emergency rooms

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 06:32 AM PST

San Francisco children living in non-redeveloped public housing are 39 percent more likely to repeatedly visit emergency rooms, according to new research. "The average emergency department (ED) visit costs two to five times more than an office visit, and many children visit EDs for potentially preventable reasons," said a senior author of the research. "There is a clear need to better understand the range of social and economic factors that lead to these high visit rates, and understand the link between housing and health."

Drawing lessons from Philadelphia's large-scale ob unit closures

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 06:32 AM PST

What does it mean for expectant mothers and hospitals when there are large-scale closures of maternity units? A new study provides an inside view from hospital staff members in Philadelphia, where 13 out of 19 obstetric units closed in a 15-year period.

Office jerks beware: Your good ideas may not always be welcomed by colleagues

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 06:32 AM PST

Being both original and disagreeable can backfire within a supportive group, say researchers. You don't have to be a jerk to come up with fresh and original ideas, but sometimes being disagreeable is just what's needed to sell your brainchild successfully to others. However, difficult or irritating people should be aware of the social context in which they are presenting their ideas. A pushy strategy will not always be equally successful, warn researchers.

Fewer deaths related to RSV than previously thought, research shows

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 06:31 AM PST

It's a virus that has long been characterized as dangerous and even deadly, but new research shows infant deaths from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are actually quite uncommon in the 21st century. Researchers have shown there are approximately 42 deaths annually associated with RSV in the United States - much lower than had been reported previously - and of those deaths, the majority are in infants and young children that have complex preexisting chronic conditions.

US Affordable care act leaves many children without important benefits

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 06:31 AM PST

This study is first ever comprehensive analysis to investigate the Affordable Care Act's ( Essential Health Benefit (EHB) as it relates to children. The study found that the EHB has resulted in a state-by-state patchwork of coverage for children and adolescents that has significant exclusions, particularly for children with developmental disabilities and other special health care needs.

Macrophages chase neutrophils away from wounds to resolve inflammation

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 06:31 AM PST

Macrophages are best known for their Pac Man–like ability to gobble up cellular debris and pathogens in order to thwart infection. A new study describes how these immune cells also help resolve inflammation by inducing white blood cells called neutrophils to leave wounded tissue.

Correcting myths about the flu vaccine: Effective?

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 04:45 AM PST

Correcting myths about vaccines may not be the most effective approach to promoting immunization among vaccine skeptics according to a recent study. The research found that debunking the myth that the seasonal influenza vaccine can give you the flu actually reduced intent to vaccinate among people who are most concerned about vaccine side effects.

Cell division induces tissue ordering

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 04:45 AM PST

A layer of cells lines the interior of blood vessels. When blood flows through the vessels, such cells only divide to replace dead cells. However, if there is a blood clot preventing blood from flowing across the cells, they begin to divide actively. New research demonstrates that cell division is very ordered. The new cells move away from each other and this helps to widen the vessel around the blockage.

Study offers future hope for tackling signs of aging

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 04:43 AM PST

A new advance in biomedical research could have potential in the future to assist with tackling diseases and conditions associated with aging – as well as in treating cancer. "What we have found is a series of novel markers -- a way to detect senescent cells. What is more, we have shown that they can be used to predict increased survival in certain types of cancer," said the study's leader. "Until now, good protocols to help spot these cells have been sadly lacking. Our research has described new markers located on the surface of the old cells. This makes these markers particularly useful to quickly identify these cells in laboratory and human samples using a range of techniques."

Is it okay to vet candidates on social media during recruitment?

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 04:43 AM PST

The practice of cybervetting potential employees online as part of the recruitment process is the focus of recent study. Is such surveillance an unethical invasion of privacy? Or, is it simply a way for employers to enhance their review of formal credentials to ensure a good person-environment fit? The authors explore the legitimacy and outcomes of this practice following interviews with 45 recruiting managers.

Vitamin C may help people who suffer from airway obstruction or respiratory symptoms after exercise

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 04:43 AM PST

Vitamin C may reduce bronchoconstriction and respiratory symptoms caused by exercise, according to a study. Physical activity increases oxidative stress, and therefore, as an antioxidant vitamin C might have particularly evident effects on people who are participating in vigorous exercise. In several studies, vitamin C administration attenuated the increases in oxidative stress markers caused by exercise.

Scientists pinpoint a new line of defense used by cancer cells

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 04:43 AM PST

A new line of defense used by cancer cells to evade cell death has been found by researchers. The team identified a critical pathway of molecular signals which throw a lifeline to cancer cells, enabling them to survive even though they contain vast DNA errors which would usually trigger cell death.

Correcting metabolic abnormalities may help lessen urinary problems

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 04:43 AM PST

Metabolic syndrome is linked with an increased frequency and severity of lower urinary tract symptoms, but weight loss surgery may lessen these symptoms. The findings indicate that urinary problems may be added to the list of issues that can improve with efforts that address altered metabolism. Lower urinary tract symptoms related to urinary frequency and urgency, bladder leakage, the need to urinate at night, and incomplete bladder emptying are associated with obesity in both men and women.

Older breast cancer patients still get radiation despite limited benefit

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 04:41 AM PST

Women over the age of 70 who have certain early-stage breast cancers overwhelmingly receive radiation therapy despite published evidence that the treatment has limited benefit, researchers report. The study suggests that doctors and patients may find it difficult to withhold treatment previously considered standard of care, even in the setting of high quality data demonstrating that the advantages are small.

Narrow subset of cells is responsible for metastasis in multiple myeloma, study finds

Posted: 07 Dec 2014 07:28 PM PST

Although it is among the most highly metastatic of all cancers, multiple myeloma is driven to spread by only a subset of the myeloma cells within a patient's body, researchers have found. The study suggests that attacking those subsets with targeted drugs may degrade the disease's ability to spread throughout the bone marrow of affected patients, the authors say.

Novel combinations yield promising results for leukemia patients with poor prognoses

Posted: 07 Dec 2014 12:34 PM PST

Recognizing that leukemia cannot be conquered with a 'one-size-fits-all' approach, researchers are pursuing novel targeted therapies and combinations of existing treatment regimens with new agents for patient populations with historically poor prognoses, according to new data.

Two studies predict surgery outcomes for high-risk epilepsy patients

Posted: 07 Dec 2014 12:32 PM PST

Anti-epileptic drugs control seizures and improve quality of life for most people with epilepsy. But for those who find medical treatment ineffective or intolerable, brain surgery is sometimes the next best option. Two studies explore the outcomes of brain surgery for children with severe epilepsy.

Efficacy and safety of new anti-epileptic drug revealed by phase III study

Posted: 07 Dec 2014 12:32 PM PST

New findings from a phase 3 clinical trial suggest an additional therapeutic option may be coming down the pike. Researchers performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in the United States and Europe on the efficacy and safety of the drug brivaracetam, an analog of the commonly used AED levetiracetam, in adults with poorly controlled partial onset seizures.

Immunotherapy achieves breakthrough result in patients with Hodgkin lymphoma

Posted: 07 Dec 2014 06:16 AM PST

Eighty-seven percent of Hodgkin lymphoma patients who participated in an early-phase immunotherapy clinical trial experienced cancer remission, scientists report. The results provide some of the most dramatic evidence to date of the potential of therapies that increase the ability of the immune system to kill cancer cells. While clinical trials of such immunotherapies in other cancers have shown them to be highly effective in a subgroup of patients, the new study stands out because nearly all patients benefited from the treatment.

Unprecedented benefit seen in worldwide test of a three-drug treatment for multiple myeloma

Posted: 07 Dec 2014 06:14 AM PST

In the treatment of multiple myeloma, the addition of carfilzomib to a currently accepted two-drug combination produced significantly better results than using the two drugs alone, according to a worldwide research team.

Positive data from pivotal phase III study could improve standard of care for Hodgkin lymphoma patients

Posted: 07 Dec 2014 06:14 AM PST

In a late-stage clinical trial, Hodgkin lymphoma patients who received brentuximab vedotin post-transplant lived longer without disease progression than patients who received only supportive care, researchers report.

Immunotherapy drugs improve outcomes in Hodgkin lymphoma patients, study shows

Posted: 07 Dec 2014 06:14 AM PST

In recent years, a number of scientific breakthroughs have led to the development of drugs that unleash the power of the immune system to recognize and attack cancer. For Classical Hodgkin lymphoma patients, two phase I studies are already demonstrating dramatic results.

Benefits persist in T cell therapy for children with relapsed leukemia

Posted: 07 Dec 2014 06:14 AM PST

An innovative therapy against a highly aggressive leukemia continues to show highly promising results in children treated in a pilot study. Of 39 children receiving bioengineered T cells, 92 percent had no evidence of cancer a month after treatment.

Cardiac mechanisms underlying sudden unexpected death

Posted: 07 Dec 2014 06:14 AM PST

Groundbreaking findings describing the link between cardiac abnormalities and sudden unexpected death in epilepsy are the focus of new research. Sudden death is more than 20 times more common in patients with epilepsy than in the general population. Defects in cardiac and respiratory function are assumed to play a role in this phenomenon, but few studies have explored the underlying mechanisms and risk factors in human patients.

Optogenetics: Identifying new targets for intervention

Posted: 07 Dec 2014 06:14 AM PST

The reliability of optogenetics as a method of intervention of temporal lobe seizures, and the role the cerebellum may play in hippocampal function and seizure reduction, have been the focus of recent study. Optogenetics is one of the hottest tools in biomedical research today, a method that uses gene therapy to deliver light-sensitive proteins into specific cells.

Researchers explore genetic basis of early childhood epilepsies

Posted: 07 Dec 2014 06:14 AM PST

A pair of studies provides innovative insights into the genetic underpinnings of childhood epilepsies. Technological advances in genetic analysis have uncovered changes in single genes that account for a surprising number of infantile and early-childhood epilepsies. Though some of the affected genes have been identified, the physical manifestations of these alterations remain largely uncharacterized.

Making shRNA gene knockdown more effective

Posted: 06 Dec 2014 08:13 AM PST

A powerful algorithm that improves the effectiveness of an important research technology harnessing RNA interference, or RNAi, has been developed by scientists.

Young Puerto Rican women and their mothers know little about HPV, cervical cancer

Posted: 06 Dec 2014 08:12 AM PST

Young Puerto Rican women and their mothers know little about the human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer, according to researchers. HPV vaccination rates are low among Puerto Rican women. Fifty one percent of Puerto Rican girls aged 11 to 18 have started the 3-step vaccination process and only 21 percent have completed the series.

Crowdsourcing advances epileptic seizure detection, prediction

Posted: 06 Dec 2014 08:12 AM PST

An international competition using the wisdom of crowds has developed computer algorithms to detect, predict, and ultimately prevent epileptic seizures. A total of five-hundred and four teams competed in two challenges, one for Seizure Detection and a second for Seizure Prediction.

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