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Thursday, January 22, 2015

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

Four in 10 American children live in low-income families, new report shows

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 11:48 AM PST

Four out of ten American children live in low-income families, according to latest research from the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP). This finding underscores the magnitude of the problem of family economic insecurity and child poverty in the United States. The NCCP researchers found that 44 percent of children under age 18 lived in low-income families in 2013, and 22 percent lived in poor families.

Neuroscientists lead global consortium to crack brain's genetic code

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 11:48 AM PST

About 300 scientists used more than 30,000 brain scans and DNA samples to find eight gene mutations that affect the size of specific parts of the brain. The study could help identify people who would most benefit from new drugs designed to save brain cells, but more research is necessary to determine if the genetic mutations are implicated in disease, the researchers say.

Fatty acids in fish may shield brain from mercury damage

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 11:48 AM PST

The benefits of fish consumption on prenatal development may offset the risks associated with mercury exposure, new findings from research in the Seychelles suggests. In fact, the new study suggests that the nutrients found in fish have properties that protect the brain from the potential toxic effects of the chemical.

Job seekers with 'learning' attitude have more success

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 10:56 AM PST

Job seekers with attitudes focused on 'learning' from the job-seeking process will have more success finding their dream jobs, researchers have discovered.

Animal-to-human transmission of Ebola virus appears tied to increasing human population density in forested regions

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 10:52 AM PST

An apparent link between human population density and vegetation cover in Africa, and the spread of the Ebola virus from animal hosts to humans, has been identified by researchers. "These findings cannot be viewed as causal due to the observational nature of the data," one investigator says, "but they do suggest that the specific landscape configuration of interaction between human populations and forested land may facilitate transmission of the Ebola virus from animals to humans."

Proteins likely to trigger psoriasis identified

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 10:08 AM PST

Scientists have taken a huge leap toward identifying root causes of psoriasis, an inflammatory skin condition affecting 125 million people around the world. Of the roughly 50,000 proteins in the human body, researchers have zeroed in on four that appear most likely to contribute this chronic disease. The findings dramatically advance efforts to understand how psoriasis develops -- and, in turn, how to stop it.

Study maps travel of H7 influenza genes

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 10:08 AM PST

In a new bioinformatics analysis of the H7N9 influenza virus that has recently infected humans in China, researchers trace the separate phylogenetic histories of the virus's genes, giving a frightening new picture of viruses where the genes are traveling independently in the environment, across large geographic distances and between species, to form 'a new constellation of genes -- a new disease, based not only on H7, but other strains of influenza.'

Blood vessels in older brains break down, possibly leading to Alzheimer's

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 10:08 AM PST

Researchers used high-resolution imaging of the living human brain to show for the first time that the brain's protective blood barrier becomes leaky with age, starting at the hippocampus, a critical learning and memory center that is damaged by Alzheimer's disease.

Closer than ever to a personalized treatment solution for intellectual disability

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 10:06 AM PST

Scientists have developed an approach that completely protects animal models against a type of genetic disruption that causes intellectual disability, including serious memory impairments and altered anxiety levels.

Humorous complaining: Funny online reviews get lots of attention but do they get results?

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 09:14 AM PST

Unless you're just looking to entertain your fellow online shoppers, you may want to think twice about writing that funny Amazon or Yelp review. According to a new study, humorous complaints get a lot more attention from other consumers but may not be taken seriously by businesses.

Weight Watchers: Shed pounds but lose your friends?

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 08:50 AM PST

If you're trying to lose weight, Weight Watchers might seem like the ideal place to share advice and get support. While this may be true when you first join, a new study shows you'll bond less with the other members of a support group as you get closer to reaching your goals.

Twitter can predict rates of coronary heart disease, according to research

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 08:49 AM PST

Twitter has broken news stories, launched and ended careers, started social movements and toppled governments, all by being an easy, direct and immediate way for people to share what's on their minds. Researchers have now shown that the social media platform has another use: Twitter can serve as a dashboard indicator of a community's psychological well being and can predict rates of heart disease.

Teen girls report less sexual victimization after virtual reality assertiveness training

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 08:49 AM PST

Teen girls were less likely to report being sexually victimized after learning to assertively resist unwanted sexual overtures and practicing resistance in a realistic virtual environment, a new study finds. 'My Voice, My Choice' teaches girls to stand up for themselves, and that coercive behavior is never okay. The findings suggest that learning resistance skills with virtual simulations can reduce risk of sexual victimization, said the lead researcher.

Pasture feeding may improve nutritional benefits of red meat

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 08:49 AM PST

Pasture-fed lamb meat is high in polyunsaturated fat due to the specific plant species consumed, researcher say, indicating that it may be better for your health.

Ultra-high pressure processing may increase salmon shelf-life

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 08:49 AM PST

The researchers found that salmon flesh treated with UHP at levels greater than or equal to 400 MPa improved the color, hardness, and chewiness of the flesh, and inhibited microorganism proliferation, thus increasing shelf life.

Only about half of teenage girls receive HPV vaccine at CDC's recommended age

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 08:49 AM PST

A virus is responsible for most cases of cervical cancer, but a new study indicates that only about half of the girls receive the vaccine at the recommended age. The Human papilloma virus vaccine protects against 70 percent of cervical cancers. The CDC has recommended that girls get the vaccine when they are 11-12, because it is most effective when it is given before girls become sexually active.

Study examines NSAID use, risk of anastomotic failure following surgery

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 08:49 AM PST

Use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) has been associated with an increased risk of anastomotic leak at the surgical junction in patients undergoing nonelective colorectal procedures, according to a report.

Immune system may play a key role in viral therapy's effectiveness against tumors

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 08:49 AM PST

Viral therapy for childhood cancer could possibly improve if treatments such as chemotherapy do not first suppress patients' immune systems, according to new research findings. Research on mouse tumors resembling rhabdomyosarcoma, the most common soft tissue sarcoma in children, revealed that the immune system's T cells may be just as critical to fighting tumor cells as the viral therapy injections themselves.

Editing the brain: How new epigenetic tools could rewrite our understanding of memory and more

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 08:46 AM PST

Epigenetic changes are implicated in a host of neural conditions, from Alzheimer's-related memory loss to depression. Now, a revolutionary set of molecular editing tools is allowing scientists to alter the epigenome like never before.

New fat-fighting tactics show promise for combatting global obesity epidemic

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 08:46 AM PST

More than 2.1 billion people worldwide are now overweight or obese and at risk for major chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and heart problems. But new types of evidence-based interventions, such as targeted drug treatments and foods created to be more satiating, may be able to help reverse the upward trajectory of global obesity rates, according to experts.

Close monitoring of renal tumors may provide alternative to surgery

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 08:45 AM PST

In patients likely to have surgery, close, active monitoring of small renal tumors confined to the kidneys is associated with low rates of tumor growth or death, scientists say. The incidence of kidney cancer in the United States has been increasing for two decades, with the trend partly attributed to the introduction of abdominal imaging studies such as CT scans or MRIs in the 1980's. However, death rates due to renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer) have not decreased, indicating that surgery may be of little or no benefit to some patients.

When Parkisonism does not mean Parkinson's

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 08:45 AM PST

Lewy body dementia is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease. Lewy body dementia refers to two related diagnoses: Parkinson's disease dementia (PDD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). Both PDD and DLB are considered Lewy body dementias. The difference is in the presentation of symptoms based on the "one-year rule." With DLB, cognitive (thinking) symptoms that interfere with daily living appear before or within a year of movement problems resembling Parkinson's disease. With PDD, cognitive symptoms do not typically develop until more than a year after movement problems begin.

Toxic Ebola protein fragment identified

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 07:33 AM PST

A fragment of an Ebola virus protein that is toxic to cells and may contribute to infection and illness, has been identified by researchers. The 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa. Two imported cases, including one death, and two locally acquired cases in healthcare workers have been reported in the United States. As of January 16, 2015, the CDC and World Health Organization report 13,510 laboratory-confirmed cases and 8,483 deaths worldwide.

Oranges versus orange juice: Which one might be better for your health?

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 07:33 AM PST

Many health advocates advise people to eat an orange and drink water rather than opt for a serving of sugary juice. But now scientists report that the picture is not clear-cut. Although juice is indeed high in sugar, the scientists found that certain nutrients in orange juice might be easier for the body to absorb than when a person consumes them from unprocessed fruit.

Toward a cocaine vaccine to help addicts kick the habit

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 07:32 AM PST

In their decades-long search for vaccines against drugs of abuse, scientists have hit upon a new approach to annul cocaine's addictive buzz. They report that their strategy, which they tested on mice, harnesses a bacterial protein to trigger an immune system attack on the drug if it enters the body. This response could dull cocaine's psychotropic effects and potentially help users of the drug kick the habit.

Task length linked with cognitive fatigue in MS

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 07:32 AM PST

Insight into factors contributing to cognitive fatigue in multiple sclerosis have been gained through a new study. Cognitive fatigue, which is common in MS, has subjective and objective manifestations. Treatment for fatigue is hindered by the lack of understanding of contributing factors. This study examined how the variables of processing speed, working memory, time on task and cognitive load influence cognitive fatigue in 32 individuals with MS and 24 controls.

Seeing is not remembering, it turns out

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 07:32 AM PST

People may have to 'turn on' their memories in order to remember even the simplest details of an experience, according to psychologists. This finding, which has been named 'attribute amnesia,' indicates that memory is far more selective than previously thought.

Should arsenic in food be a concern?

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 07:29 AM PST

The topic of arsenic in the U.S. diet has sparked considerable public interest following publication of an article analyzing arsenic findings from fruit juices and rice products. Researchers now write about how levels of consumer exposure to arsenic are still below levels of toxicological concern.

Eribulin effective in metastatic breast cancer, researchers find

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 07:29 AM PST

While not superior to capecitabine, eribulin is an active and well-tolerated therapy in women with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) receiving this therapy as a first, second, or third line chemotherapy regimen, researchers say.

Drug targets identified through cell line to potentially treat rare pediatric cancer

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 06:35 AM PST

A team of investigators has made key new findings about an extremely rare childhood cancer called neurocutaneous melanocytosis. This malignant cancer is characterized by an excessive growth of melanin-producing cells in both the skin and the brain. The study's authors found potential drug targets for the disease by using a molecular analysis of patient tumor cells grown in animal models.

Study shows how ebola becomes lethal as it spreads

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 06:35 AM PST

Researchers have determined why Ebola virus becomes increasingly lethal as it jumps species. The research team looked at the Zaire Ebola strain in an animal system to understand how it gains strength. This virus is responsible for the current outbreak in West Africa.

Classic psychedelic use protective with regard to psychological distress and suicidality

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 06:35 AM PST

Classic psychedelics, such as LSD, psilocybin mushrooms and mescaline, previously have been shown to occasion lasting improvements in mental health. But researchers, through a new study, wanted to advance the existing research and determine whether classic psychedelics might be protective with regard to suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

New type of antibiotic resistance living in hiding

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 05:46 AM PST

New research shows how MRSA bacterial strains under special circumstances can withstand higher concentration of antibiotics. The bacteria attain new multi-resistant properties, but fly under the doctors' radar, as their genetic profile remains intact.

Link found between pain during or after sexual intercourse and mode of delivery

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 05:46 AM PST

Operative birth is associated with persisting pain during or after sexual intercourse, known as dyspareunia, suggests a new study. The study aimed to investigate the contribution of obstetric risk factors, including mode of delivery and perineal trauma to postpartum dyspareunia. It also examined the influences of other risk factors, including breastfeeding, maternal fatigue, maternal depression and intimate partner abuse.

A spoonful of sugar in silver nanoparticles to regulate their toxicity

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 05:45 AM PST

The use of colloidal silver to treat illnesses has become more popular in recent years, but its ingestion, prohibited in countries like the US, can be harmful to health. Scientists have now confirmed that silver nanoparticles are significantly toxic when they penetrate cells, although the number of toxic radicals they generate can vary by coating them with carbohydrates. Silver salts have been used externally for centuries for their antiseptic properties in the treatment of pains and as a surface disinfectant for materials. There are currently people who use silver nanoparticles to make homemade potions to combat infections and illnesses such as cancer and AIDS, although in some cases the only thing they achieve is argyria or blue-tinged skin.

Watching protein crystal nucleation in real time

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 05:45 AM PST

A major hurdle in structural biology and pharmacology is growing crystals to determine the structure of the biomolecules and pharmaceuticals under study. Researchers have now observed a key step in the nucleation and growth of some protein crystals. For this, they exploited the power of in-situ real-time X-ray scattering techniques. Their study could help to gain a deeper understanding of protein crystallization and its kinetics on nanometer length scales. The researchers observed a multi-step crystallization mechanism.

Mutated atrx gene linked to brain and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors is potential biomarker for rare adrenal tumors too

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 05:35 AM PST

For the first time, researchers have found that a mutation in the ATRX gene may serve as a much-needed biomarker for the pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas that become malignant. These rare neuroendocrine tumors are typically benign, but when they go rogue, they become very aggressive.

Largest study of babies born after infertility treatment shows significant improvements in health over past 20 years

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 05:06 AM PST

The last two decades has seen a steady improvement in the health outcomes of children born after assisted reproduction (ART), with fewer babies being born preterm, with low birth weight, stillborn or dying within the first year of life.

Can coffee protect against malignant melanoma? Study looks at trends

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 03:59 PM PST

Both epidemiological and pre-clinical studies have suggested that coffee consumption has a protective effect against non-melanoma skin cancers. However the protective effect for cutaneous melanoma (malignant and in situ) is less clear, according to a new study.

Men and women process emotions differently

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 03:58 PM PST

Women rate emotional images as more emotionally stimulating than men do and are more likely to remember them. However, there are no gender-related differences in emotional appraisal as far as neutral images are concerned. These were the findings of a large-scale study that focused on determining the gender-dependent relationship between emotions, memory performance and brain activity.

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