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Saturday, January 24, 2015

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

Relationship between religion and educational attainment

Posted: 23 Jan 2015 04:03 PM PST

Researchers have long studied and documented the influence religion has on social groups; however, few have examined the role it plays in education. A new research article examines the relationship between religion and educational attainment in the US.

Lucid dreams and metacognition: Awareness of thinking; awareness of dreaming

Posted: 23 Jan 2015 10:51 AM PST

To control one's dreams and to live 'out there' what is impossible in real life -- a truly tempting idea. Some persons -- so-called lucid dreamers -- can do this. Researchers have discovered that the brain area which enables self-reflection is larger in lucid dreamers. Thus, lucid dreamers are possibly also more self-reflecting when being awake.

Why all-nighters don't work: How sleep, memory go hand-in-hand

Posted: 23 Jan 2015 09:17 AM PST

Scientists have long known that sleep, memory and learning are deeply connected but how has remained a mystery. The question is, does the mechanism that promotes sleep also consolidate memory, or do two distinct processes work together? In other words, is memory consolidated during sleep because the brain is quiet or are memory neurons actually putting us to sleep? In a recent paper, researchers make a case for the latter.

Stalking versus cyberstalking: Effects on victims, their responses compared

Posted: 23 Jan 2015 08:07 AM PST

The devastating effects of stalking and cyberstalking – harassing or threatening communication via the Internet – are explored in a new study. Key among the findings is that victims of cyberstalking engage in more 'self-protective' behaviours -- such as changing their normal routines or getting a new email address -- than victims of stalking.

Telomere extension turns back aging clock in cultured human cells, study finds

Posted: 23 Jan 2015 07:25 AM PST

A new procedure can quickly and efficiently increase the length of human telomeres, the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes that are linked to aging and disease, according to scientists.

Climate affects development of human speech

Posted: 23 Jan 2015 07:25 AM PST

A correlation between climate and the evolution of language has been uncovered by researchers. To find a relationship between the climate and the evolution of language, one needs to discover an association between the environment and vocal sounds that is consistent throughout the world and present in different languages. And that is precisely what a group of researchers has done.

Live broadcast from inside the nerve cell

Posted: 23 Jan 2015 07:22 AM PST

Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's or Parkinson's are caused by defect and aggregated proteins accumulating in brain nerve cells that are thereby paralyzed or even killed. In healthy cells this process is prevented by the proteasome, which removes the defective proteins. Recently, for the first time, researchers observed and structurally characterized proteasomes at work inside healthy brain cells.

Lucky charms: When are superstitions used most?

Posted: 23 Jan 2015 07:22 AM PST

People are more likely to turn to superstitions to achieve a performance goal versus a learning goal, researchers have found.

Mothers don't speak so clearly to their babies

Posted: 23 Jan 2015 07:20 AM PST

People have a distinctive way of talking to babies and small children: We speak more slowly, using a sing-song voice, and tend to use cutesy words like "tummy". While we might be inclined to think that we talk this way because it is easier for children to understand, new research suggests that, surprisingly, mothers may actually speak less clearly to their infants than they do to adults.

New breast exam nearly quadruples detection of invasive breast cancers in women with dense breast tissue

Posted: 23 Jan 2015 07:16 AM PST

Molecular Breast Imaging (MBI) is a supplemental imaging technology designed to find tumors that would otherwise be obscured by surrounding dense breast tissue on a mammogram. The new breast imaging technique nearly quadruples detection rates of invasive breast cancers in women with dense breast tissue, according to the results of a major study.

What to do in a flu epidemic? Stay at home and watch TV

Posted: 23 Jan 2015 05:19 AM PST

Non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) include actions individuals can take to reduce disease spread, such as hand washing and minimizing contacts with sick people. These can play a key role in reducing the spread of infectious diseases such as influenza, according to research.

New brain pathway offers hope for treating hypogylcemia

Posted: 23 Jan 2015 05:19 AM PST

A novel pathway buried deep within a region of the brain produces a brain hormone that acts as a crucial sensor of blood glucose levels. Learning how the hormone helps orchestrate responses around the body when levels drop too low offers hope for treating hypoglycemia.

Effect of thyroid disorders on reproductive health

Posted: 23 Jan 2015 05:19 AM PST

Thyroid disease can have significant effects on a woman's reproductive health and screening for women presenting with fertility problems and recurrent early pregnancy loss should be considered, suggests a new review.

Hidden infection shortens life in birds

Posted: 23 Jan 2015 05:17 AM PST

Mild infections without symptoms of illness can still lead to serious consequences by reducing the lifespan of the infected individuals, research shows. A new study has been carried out on malaria-infected migratory birds. The infection is thought to speed up the aging process by shortening the telomeres (i.e., the chromosomes ends) at a faster rate and thereby accelerating senescence. 

The language of T lymphocytes deciphered, the 'Rosetta Stone' of the immune system

Posted: 23 Jan 2015 05:17 AM PST

How can our immune system defend us against aggressors so diverse such as viruses, parasites, fungi and tumors? The secret lies in the large number of clones of T and B lymphocytes, each of which expresses a particular specific receptor. Until a few years ago, deciphering the complexity of this vast repertoire was considered impossible. A "Rosetta stone", or a key for decoding, was missing in order to "translate" and understand this "language" in all its complexity.

The brain's electrical alphabet: Timing, rate underlie neural information, study shows

Posted: 23 Jan 2015 05:17 AM PST

The brain's alphabet is a mix of rate and precise timing of electrical pulses, researchers have revealed. The study shows that the nervous system features a "multichannel" language that makes up the neural code, or the alphabet that processes information in the brain.

Sexually-transmitted diseases: Do multiple partners mean more immunity?

Posted: 23 Jan 2015 05:17 AM PST

It has been assumed that the increased transmission of sexually-transmitted diseases in the case of mating promiscuity is influential in shaping the immune system of mammals. Results of a new study demonstrate that this simple idea does not apply to rodents, and that living circumstances and the environment can be a key factor in determining variation in immune investment among mammals.

Scientists map brains of the blind to solve mysteries of human brain specialization

Posted: 23 Jan 2015 05:17 AM PST

Studying the brain activity of blind people, scientists are challenging the standard view of how the human brain specializes to perform different kinds of tasks, and shedding new light on how our brains can adapt to the rapid cultural and technological changes of the 21st Century.

New 'systems genetics' study identifies possible target for epilepsy treatment

Posted: 23 Jan 2015 05:17 AM PST

A single gene that coordinates a network of about 400 genes involved in epilepsy could be a target for new treatments, according to research. Epilepsy is a common and serious disease that affects around 50 million people worldwide. The mortality rate among people with epilepsy is two to three times higher than the general population. It is known that epilepsy has a strong genetic component, but the risk is related to multiple factors that are 'spread' over hundreds of genes.

Parents' Belief That a Child Will Attend College Plays Big Role in Early Academic Success

Posted: 23 Jan 2015 05:13 AM PST

The factors influencing children's readiness for kindergarten include not only whether they attend preschool, but also their families' behaviors, attitudes and values, research indicates. In addition, parents' expectations go a long way toward predicting children's success throughout their schooling, the researchers found.

Gene may open door for improved keloid, scar treatment

Posted: 23 Jan 2015 05:13 AM PST

A gene that may offer a better understanding of how keloid scars develop has been discovered, potentially opening the door to improved treatment for the often painful, itchy and tender scars. The study is the first to demonstrate that an altered AHNAK gene may have a significant biological role in keloid development.

Revolutionary device found to lower blood pressure

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 04:39 PM PST

A revolutionary device has been shown to significantly lower blood pressure among patients with uncontrolled high blood pressure, compared to those treated with usual drug measures. "High blood pressure is very dangerous and leads to hospital treatment, stroke, heart attack and chronic kidney disease. We must find better means of treating high blood pressure as drugs do not work for everyone and the Coupler is a big step forward in our search for alternative treatment," said the lead investigator.

Celiac disease rate among young children has almost tripled in past 20 years

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 04:39 PM PST

The number of young children diagnosed with celiac disease in the UK has almost tripled over the past 20 years, but kids from poorer families are only half as likely to be diagnosed with the condition, reveals research.

Checklist devised to spot elderly patients most at risk of death

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 04:39 PM PST

A checklist has been designed to spot elderly hospital patients likely to die within the next three months, a new article outlines. The researchers emphasize that the checklist is not intended to substitute healthcare for the elderly who are terminally ill. Instead, it is meant to "provide an objective assessment and definition of the dying patient as a starting point for honest communication with patients and families about recognizing that dying is part of the life cycle."

Falls in blood pressure, cholesterol have saved 20,000+ lives in England

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 04:39 PM PST

Falls in blood pressure and total cholesterol staved off more than 20,000 deaths from coronary heart disease in England between 2000 and 2007, shows a mathematical analysis. The impact of statins was greatest among the most affluent in the population, suggesting that these drugs have helped maintain health inequalities between rich and poor, say the researchers.

Risk of HIV infection in studies of African women using hormonal contraceptives

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 11:54 AM PST

Use of the injectable progestin contraceptive depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) is linked to an increased risk for HIV infection, according to a new article. The researchers did not find a significantly increased risk for HIV infection in women who used a different injectable progestin, norethisterone enanthate (NET-EN), nor in those who used combined oral contraceptives (COC).

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