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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

Help wanted: Fast food cashier, $15 an hour

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 12:50 PM PST

Researchers have released a working paper verifying the ability of American fast food restaurants to more than double the minimum wage of their lowest paid workers to $15 an hour over a four-year period without causing the widespread employment losses and decline in profits often cited by critics of such increases.

Evaluations that consider school resources could fairly assess teacher performance

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 12:12 PM PST

Researchers have identified a plan to evaluate teachers fairly using a 'proportional' system. "One of the biggest criticisms of proposed teacher evaluations is that teachers in less wealthy districts with fewer resources will be unfairly evaluated in relation to teachers with access to more resources," an author noted. "By leveling the playing field among all teachers, we can mitigate this issue."

Connection between childhood adversity, psychiatric disorders seen at cellular level

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 11:28 AM PST

An association between biological changes on the cellular level and both childhood adversity and psychiatric disorders has been identified by researchers. These changes in the form of telomere shortening and alterations of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), are important in the aging process.

Living longer, but not healthier?

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 11:28 AM PST

A study of long-lived mutant C. elegans shows that the genetically altered worms spend a greater portion of their life in a frail state and exhibit less activity as they age then typical nematodes. These findings suggest that genes that increase longevity may not significantly increase healthy lifespan and point to the need to measure health as part of aging studies going forward.

New cancer-fighting strategy would harden cells to prevent metastasis

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 11:26 AM PST

Existing cancer therapies are geared toward massacring tumor cells, but researchers propose a different strategy: subtly hardening cancer cells to prevent them from invading new areas of the body. They devised a way of screening compounds for the desired effect and have identified a compound that shows promise in fighting pancreatic cancer.

Scientists invent system to improve effectiveness of cancer surgery

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 11:25 AM PST

With the goal of making it easier for surgeons to detect malignant tissue during surgery and hopefully reduce the rate of cancer recurrence, scientists have invented a new imaging system that causes tumors to "light up" when a hand-held laser is directed at them.

Facebook not to blame for negative impact on grades, professor says

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 11:25 AM PST

The more time college students, particularly freshman, spend on Facebook, the more their grades suffer. But a professor says the problem is not Facebook -- it's an issue of self-regulation.

BPA exposure during pregnancy causes oxidative stress in child, mother

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 11:25 AM PST

Exposure to the endocrine-disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA) during pregnancy can cause oxidative damage that may put the baby at risk of developing diabetes or heart disease later in life, according to a new study.

One nanoparticle, six types of medical imaging

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 11:25 AM PST

Researchers have designed a nanoparticle that can be detected by six medical imaging techniques: computed tomography (CT) scanning; positron emission tomography (PET) scanning; photoacoustic imaging; fluorescence imaging; upconversion imaging; and Cerenkov luminescence imaging.

China's aging population poses challenges, but policy changes can help

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 09:13 AM PST

China's population is aging at a rapid pace, posing a significant challenge to the nation's economic advancement. While many observers say the trend condemns the nation to a dismal future, a new study finds that past policies on education and new policies to improve health and foster internal migration could ease the challenges posed by an older citizenry.

New signaling pathway provides clues to obesity

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 09:13 AM PST

A molecular 'rheostat' in the brain's appetite control center has been discovered that may provide new insights into obesity, which is at epidemic levels in the United States. The discovery of this novel cell signaling pathway revises the previous 'on-off' switch model of appetite control, say researchers.

Poor social integration = poor health

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 09:11 AM PST

There are many benefits to being supported by a strong social network. But can a bigger friend base actually make you healthier? New research shows that social relationships do have a positive influence our physical well-being.

Muscle weakness studies suggest possible therapeutic strategies

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 09:11 AM PST

Potential therapies for central core disease, a condition that can delay development of motor skills such as sitting, crawling and walking in affected infants, have been proposed by researchers. Central core disease is most often caused by a mutation in the gene that makes a protein called ryanodine receptor type 1 (RyR1). RyR1 belongs to a family of proteins that create channels for the controlled release of calcium ions from stores within cells.

Study calls for new global standard for safe drinking water and sanitation

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 09:11 AM PST

A new study calls for a new global standard for improvements in household drinking water and sanitation access. The study highlights that current benchmarks for access, established by the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation (JMP), treat water and sanitation differently, masking deficits in household water access.

Alcohol ads on TV associated with drinking behavior in young people

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 09:11 AM PST

Seeing and liking alcohol advertising on television among underage youths was associated with the onset of drinking, binge drinking and hazardous drinking, according to a study. Alcohol is the most common drug used by young people. In 2013, 66.2 percent of U.S. high school students reported trying alcohol, 34.9 percent reported alcohol use in the past 30 days and 20.8 percent reported recent binge drinking.

Portable stimulator being tested on Parkinson's patients

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 09:08 AM PST

A weak electric 'noise' can improve balance and motor skills in patients with Parkinson's disease, researchers have demonstrated. In cooperation with NASA, the research team has now developed a portable prototype that will be used in long-term studies of Parkinson's patients in their home environment.

'Trustworthy' hedge fund execs generate more business but weaker returns

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 09:08 AM PST

Hedge-fund managers who appear 'trustworthy' in photographs attract more clients than their more 'undependable'-looking counterparts. But their clients also saw lower returns on their investments -- rendering them less successful than their less 'trustworthy' colleagues.

New hope for understanding sudden cardiac arrest

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 09:08 AM PST

New biosciences research could point the way to greater understanding of the heart mutations that cause sudden cardiac arrest. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a genetic condition that one in 500 people carry and is a leading cause of sudden cardiac arrest in young athletes.

Drugs from dirt: Scientists develop first global roadmap for drug discovery

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 09:08 AM PST

Scientists have analyzed soils from beaches, forests, and deserts on five continents and discovered the best places in the world to mine untapped antibiotic and anticancer drugs. The findings provide new insights into the natural world as well as a road map for future drug discovery.

Unexpected turn in diabetes research suggests reinterpretation of years of research

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 09:08 AM PST

Years of diabetes research carried out on mice whose DNA had been altered with a human growth hormone gene is now ripe for reinterpretation after a new study confirms that the gene had an unintended effect on the mice's insulin production, a key variable in diabetes research.

Breakthrough may impact flu vaccination

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 09:08 AM PST

An analysis of 10 years' worth of data on human influenza B viruses has shed new light on the pathogen which can cause the seasonal flu. Findings from this study could help make flu immunization programs more effective; by better targeting vaccines or by eventually eliminating one of the flu lineages completely.

Hospitalized for pneumonia? Your risk of cardiovascular disease is higher

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 09:06 AM PST

Your chance of having a heart attack or stroke increases significantly if you have been hospitalized for pneumonia and, as such, should be considered its own independent risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease. This study is the first to show this association using only patients with no cardiovascular disease previous to their contracting pneumonia.

Stem cell transplantation shows potential for reducing disability in patients with MS

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 09:06 AM PST

Results from a preliminary study indicate that among patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS), treatment with nonmyeloablative hematopoietic stem cell transplantation was associated with improvement in measures of disability and quality of life, according to a study.

Patients actively warmed during surgery still experience hypothermia, study finds

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 09:04 AM PST

Body temperature decreases during the first hour of surgery, even when patients are actively warmed with forced air, reports a new study. Furthermore, patients who experience the most hypothermia are more likely to require blood transfusions.

Study challenges best way to position women during childbirth

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 09:04 AM PST

New research is challenging what many obstetricians and physician anesthesiologists believe is the best way to position women during labor. According to a study, the traditional practice of positioning women on their side, with hips tilted at 15 degrees, during labor does not effectively reduce compression of the inferior vena cava, a large vein located near the abdominal area that returns blood to the heart, as previously thought. In fact, not until the degree of tilt reached 30 degrees did blood flow only partially increase in patients, the study found.

Current nutrition labeling is hard to digest

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 08:17 AM PST

Current government-mandated nutrition labeling is ineffective in improving nutrition, but there is a better system available, according to a study. The researchers compared four different labeling systems and found that the Nutrition Facts label currently required on most food products in the US and Canada was least useable.

Researchers prevent type I diabetes in mouse model

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 08:12 AM PST

A new approach developed by scientists stops the destruction of beta cells and preserves insulin production. Type I diabetes is a chronic autoimmune disease that occurs when the body's immune system destroys insulin producing pancreatic beta cells, resulting in insulin deficiency and hyperglycemia. Researchers focused on blocking the autoimmune process that destroys beta cells and leads to diabetes, with the aim of developing therapies that can prevent the illness from developing rather than treating its symptoms.

Bioethicists call for return to asylums for long-term psychiatric care

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 08:12 AM PST

As the United States population has doubled since 1955, the number of inpatient psychiatric beds in the United States has been cut by nearly 95 percent to just 45,000, a wholly inadequate equation when considering that there are currently 10 million U.S. residents with serious mental illness. A new article looks at the evolution away from inpatient psychiatric beds, evaluates the current system for housing and treating the mentally ill, and then suggests a modern approach to institutionalized mental health care as a solution.

Twist1: Complex regulator of cell shape, function

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 07:25 AM PST

Transcription factor Twist1 is involved in many processes where cells change shape or function. Thereby, Twist1 is crucial for embryonic development, but has also been implicated in cancer progression, researchers say. However, the precise contribution of Twist1 to these processes is under much debate. Scientists describe a new mode of action: a short-term, transient activation of Twist1 primes cells for stem cell-like properties. By contrast, prolonged, chronic Twist1 activity suppresses stem cell-like traits.

Wearable sensor clears path to long-term EKG, EMG monitoring

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 07:25 AM PST

A new, wearable sensor that uses silver nanowires to monitor electrophysiological signals, such as electrocardiographyor electromyography, has been developed by researchers. The new sensor is as accurate as the 'wet electrode' sensors used in hospitals, but can be used for long-term monitoring and is more accurate than existing sensors when a patient is moving.

Genetic changes in Ebola virus in West African outbreak could hinder potential treatments

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 07:24 AM PST

Researchers have tracked the genetic mutations that have occurred in the Ebola virus during the last four decades. Their findings identified changes in the current West African outbreak strain that could potentially interfere with experimental, sequence-based therapeutics.

Updated assessment of medications to treat acute migraine

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 07:23 AM PST

An updated assessment of the best treatments to use when a migraine attack occurs has been published by experts. The assessment forms the basis of new American Headache Society treatment guidelines.

Use of methadone to treat pain increases risk of death, study shows

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 07:23 AM PST

Outside the hospital, use of methadone to treat pain carries a 46 percent increased risk of death when compared to the equally effective but more costly alternative, morphine SR (sustained release), according to a recent study.

First successful organ donation from newborn carried out in UK

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 06:02 AM PST

The very first successful organ donation from a newborn carried out in the UK is has been reported. The donation involved the kidneys, which were transplanted into a patient with renal failure, and liver cells (hepatocytes), which were transfused into a further recipient.

Group walking cuts risk of life-threatening conditions

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 06:02 AM PST

Risk of stroke, coronary heart disease, depression and other life-threatening conditions can be reduced through regular outdoor walking in groups, according to research. Findings reveal that people who regularly walk in groups have lower blood pressure, resting heart rate and total cholesterol.

Drinking moderate amounts of alcohol is linked to reduced risk of heart failure, large study finds

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 05:59 AM PST

Evidence already exists for the beneficial effects of drinking moderate amounts of alcohol on the risk of developing a number of heart conditions; however, the role it plays in the risk of developing heart failure has been under-researched with conflicting results. Now, a large study of nearly 15,000 men and women shows that drinking up to seven drinks a week in early to middle age is associated with a 20% lower risk of men developing heart failure in the future when compared to people who did not drink at all, and a more modest 16% reduced risk for women.

New 'microcapsules' have potential to repair damage caused by osteoarthritis

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 05:59 AM PST

A new 'microcapsule' treatment delivery method could reduce inflammation in cartilage affected by osteoarthritis and reverse damage to tissue, scientists report.

Men who live alone run a greater risk of dying prematurely after stroke

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 05:59 AM PST

Men who live alone have a considerably greater long-term risk of dying prematurely than other patients. This is shown in a doctoral thesis that followed 1,090 stroke cases in western Sweden.

Immunotherapy inhibits heroin effects in research animals

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 05:59 AM PST

Immunotherapy could have a place in the treatment of substance abuse in the future. A specific antibody can reduce the acute effects of heroin, according to a new experimental study. This would be particularly useful as adjunctive therapy for specific patient groups, for example for pregnant drug abusers and during vulnerable periods after detoxification, where the risk of relapse is great, researchers say.

How to attack and paralyze myeloma cells: Comprehensive review on multiple myeloma

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 05:58 AM PST

Multiple myeloma is a malignant disease characterized by proliferation of clonal plasma cells in the bone marrow and typically accompanied by the secretion of monoclonal immunoglobulins that are detectable in the serum or urine. Increased understanding of the microenvironmental interactions between malignant plasma cells and the bone marrow niche, and their role in disease progression and acquisition of therapy resistance, has helped the development of novel therapeutic drugs for use in combination with cytostatic therapy.

Anti-microbial coatings with a long-term effect for surfaces

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 05:58 AM PST

Hygienic conditions and sterile procedures are particularly important in hospitals, kitchens and sanitary facilities, air conditioning and ventilation systems, in food preparation and in the manufacture of packaging material. In these areas, bacteria and fungi compromise the health of both consumers and patients. Researchers have now produced antimicrobial abrasion-resistant coatings with both silver and copper colloids with a long-term effect that kill germs reliably and at the same time prevent germs becoming established. The coatings are particularly suitable for the application on large and solid surfaces, on doorhandles and for textiles.

Iodine deficiency in pregnant women impairs embryonic brain development

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 05:58 AM PST

Pregnant women sometimes suffer from an iodine deficiency. This may have a negative impact on the development of their unborn child's brain, research shows. "This leads to the conclusion that women need to take higher quantities of iodine if they are planning to become pregnant," say the study authors.

Most prison staff in Switzerland are satisfied with their jobs

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 05:58 AM PST

Job satisfaction among people working in prisons and similar institutions is on average high in Switzerland - it's actually even higher than in other professions. Nevertheless, about ten per cent of prison staff risk suffering a burnout, particularly in western Switzerland and Ticino. These findings are the fruit of the first representative study of Swiss prison workers ever undertaken.

Time to rethink the inner-city asthma epidemic?

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 05:56 AM PST

Challenging the long-standing belief that city dwellers suffer disproportionately from asthma, the results of a new study of more than 23,000 U.S. children reveal that income, race and ethnic origin may play far more potent roles in asthma risk than kids' physical surroundings.

Possible new general anesthetics discovered

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 05:56 AM PST

Researchers, in a continuation of their groundbreaking work to better understand how anesthesia works in the body, have found the first new class of novel anesthetics since the 1970s. Their findings detail the processes through which the group uncovered these compounds.

Hostile boss? Study finds advantages to giving it right back

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 05:56 AM PST

In a result that surprised researchers, a new study found that employees who had hostile bosses were better off on several measures if they returned the hostility. "Before we did this study, I thought there would be no upside to employees who retaliated against their bosses, but that's not what we found," said the lead author of the study.

Pay-to-play keeping kids on the sidelines

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 05:56 AM PST

The cost of school sports keeps many children from participating, according to an American national poll. Many schools charge fees for students who participate in sports at the middle or high school level, often called "pay to play" fees. In this month's poll, parents of children 12 to 17 years old nationwide were asked about participation fees for school sports.

Stem cell success: One couple's effort to protect their son from fatal nerve disease will help other boys, too

Posted: 19 Jan 2015 01:48 PM PST

A new human embryonic stem cell line containing the genetic mutation for adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD), and neurons grown from those cells, are now helping scientists study the condition -- thanks to an embryo donated by a couple seeking to avoid passing the disease to their son.

New laser could upgrade the images in tomorrow's technology

Posted: 19 Jan 2015 12:45 PM PST

A new semiconductor laser has the potential to significantly improve the imaging quality of the next generation of high-tech microscopes, laser projectors, photolithography, holography and biomedical imaging.

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