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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

Sugary drinks linked to earlier onset of menstrual periods

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 06:22 PM PST

Girls who frequently consume sugary drinks tend to start their menstrual periods earlier than girls who do not, according to new research. The findings are important not only because of the growing problem of childhood obesity in a number of developed countries, but also because starting periods earlier is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer later in life.

Psychopathic Violent Offenders’ Brains Can’t Understand Punishment

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 06:21 PM PST

Psychopathic violent offenders have abnormalities in the parts of the brain related to learning from punishment, according to an MRI study.

Infant failure to thrive linked to lysosome dysfunction

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 11:08 AM PST

Neonatal intestinal disorders that prevent infants from getting the nutrients they need may be caused by defects in the lysosomal system -- or cell recycling center -- that occur before weaning. Scientists provide a new target for research and future therapies to help infants unable to absorb milk nutrients and gain weight.

How creative are you? Depends where you're from

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 09:25 AM PST

With the 'creative class' on the rise, many businesses are trying to capitalize on imagination and innovation. But when it comes to creative juices, some societies have a faster flow than others. That's because, as new research suggests, creativity is tied to culture.

That's using your head: Brain regulates fat metabolism, potentially stopping disease

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 09:25 AM PST

Atherosclerosis -- hardening and narrowing of the arteries -- can be caused by fat build up that causes plaque deposits, and is one of the main causes of cardiovascular disease. Now a researcher has shown a link between how the brain can regulate fat metabolism, potentially stopping the development of this disease risk factor in obesity and diabetes.

Things smell good for a reason

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 09:24 AM PST

Antioxidants are natural food ingredients that protect cells from harmful influences. Their main task is to neutralize so-called 'free radicals' which are produced in the process of oxidation and which are responsible for cell degeneration. Scientists now show that vinegar flies are able to detect these protective substances by using olfactory cues.

Targeted MRI/ultrasound beats standard biopsy to detect high-risk prostate cancer

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 09:12 AM PST

Targeted biopsy using new fusion technology that combines magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with ultrasound is more effective than standard biopsy in detecting high-risk prostate cancer, according to a large-scale study.

Brain region vulnerable to aging is larger in those with longevity gene variant

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 09:11 AM PST

People who carry a variant of a gene that is associated with longevity also have larger volumes in a front part of the brain involved in planning and decision-making, according to researchers.

Inherited gene variation helps explain drug toxicity in patients of East Asian ancestry

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 08:14 AM PST

About 10 percent of young leukemia patients of East Asian ancestry inherit a gene variation that is associated with reduced tolerance of a drug that is indispensable for curing acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common childhood cancer, scientists report.

Unlocking the kidney riddle in newborns

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 08:14 AM PST

Researchers are closer to understanding why babies born with smaller kidneys have a high risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Currently, renal disorders at birth affect about one in 500 babies. Many of these babies go on to lead healthy normal lives, however 20-40 per cent will develop chronic kidney disease and high blood pressure. Unfortunately, these conditions are the main cause of end-stage kidney disease and the need for dialysis in children.

Negative patient-doctor communication could worsen symptoms

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 08:14 AM PST

A type of 'nocebo' response -- where patients perceive a lack of understanding or acceptance from their doctor -- could create anger and distress, physiological conditions that could worsen illness, a new research shows.

Salivary biomarkers predict oral feeding readiness in preterm newborns

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 08:14 AM PST

Results from a new study hold the potential to substantially improve clinical decision-making to determine when a premature newborn is ready for oral feeding. The study describes developmental salivary biomarkers associated with feeding success in newborns, markers that could lead to development of objective assessment tools for caregivers.

Neuroscience researchers believe in quitting smoking gradually

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 08:11 AM PST

The immediate reaction in the brain after quitting smoking has been the focus of a recent study. At just 12 hours after kicking the habit, the oxygen uptake and blood flow in the brain decrease significantly compared to never-smokers. This could explain why it is so difficult to say goodbye to nicotine once and for all, the researchers say.

Smoking may increase risks for patients being treated for prostate cancer

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 08:10 AM PST

Among patients with prostate cancer, those who smoke have increased risks of experiencing side effects from treatment and of developing future cancer recurrences, or even dying from prostate cancer.

Web surfing to weigh up bariatric surgery options

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 08:10 AM PST

Obese people considering weight-reducing surgery are only topped by pregnant women when it comes to how often they turn to the Internet for health advice. While most use it to read up on relevant procedures and experiences, some patients actually chooses a surgeon based solely on what they have gleaned from the web, a study concludes.

Researchers find hormone that increases the sex drive of mice

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 08:09 AM PST

Mice that receive a supplement of the 'appetite hormone' ghrelin increase their sexual activity, scientists have found. Whether the hormone has the same impact on humans is unknown -- but if it does, the researchers may have found the key to future treatments for sex addiction.

Keeping the kraken asleep: Insight into the role of stem cells in leukemia

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 08:09 AM PST

Despite enormous progress in cancer therapy, many patients still relapse because their treatment addresses the symptoms of the disease rather than the cause, the so-called stem cells. New work has given a tantalizing clue to a solution. Scientists report that the cell-cycle kinase CDK6 is required for activation of the stem cells responsible for causing leukemia.

Improving indoor air quality in EU schools

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 07:49 AM PST

SINPHONIE, an EU-funded research project on indoor air quality in EU schools, and its impact on children's health, has recently published its conclusions. Based on the evidence gathered, the Joint Research Centre and the partners developed guidelines for maintaining good air quality. They are expected to contribute to healthier school environments in Europe. On school days, over 64 million European students and almost 4.5 million teachers are affected by the quality of the air they breathe inside their schools. Asthmatic people are particularly sensitive to poor air quality and pollutants, the authors point out.

Probiotic helps treat diabetes in rats, could lead to human remedy

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 07:48 AM PST

Researchers have engineered a strain of lactobacillus, a human probiotic common in the gut, to secrete a Glucagen-like peptide (GPL-1). They then administered it orally to diabetic rats for 90 days and found the rats receiving the engineered probiotic had up to 30 percent lower high blood glucose, a hallmark of diabetes.

Low sodium levels increases liver transplant survival benefit in the sickest patients

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 07:06 AM PST

Researchers report that low levels of sodium in the blood, known as hyponatremia, increase the risk of dying for patients on the liver transplant waiting list. The study showed an increase in survival benefit for patients with hyponatremia and a Model for End Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score of 12 or more. The MELD score measures the risk of death on waiting list. It is calculated using patient's serum bilirubin, creatinine, and prothrombin time and is used by national organ allocation policy to determine the priority for a patient on the transplant waitlist. Patients who are most sick, with a high MELD score, are at the top of the waitlist.

Association between parental time pressure, mental health problems among children

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 07:06 AM PST

Children whose parents experience time pressure are more likely to have mental health problems, a researcher has found. Children's sense of wellbeing largely reflects the circumstances in which their parents find themselves. But few scientific studies have addressed the subject head-on, the author says.

Researchers find potential anti-cancer use for anti-epilepsy drug

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 07:06 AM PST

A drug used widely to combat epilepsy has the potential to reduce the growth and spread of breast cancer, scientists have discovered. The team found that "repurposing" antiepileptic drugs, such as phenytoin, that effectively block the sodium channels, could provide a novel therapy for cancer.

Respiratory chain: Protein complex structure revealed

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 07:03 AM PST

Mitochondria produce ATP, the energy currency of the body. The driver for this process is an electrochemical membrane potential, which is created by a series of proton pumps. These complex, macromolecular machines are collectively known as the respiratory chain. The structure of the largest protein complex in the respiratory chain, that of mitochondrial complex I, has now been elucidated by scientists.

Age concern in largest ever study of heroin user deaths

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 07:03 AM PST

Older users of opioids such as heroin are 27 times more likely to become a victim of homicide than the general population, a study of almost 200,000 users has found. The study is the first to record age trends in opioid users' mortality and the results demonstrate that many health inequalities between users and the general population widen with age.

Decisions on Future Childbearing in Women Diagnosed with a Meningioma

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 07:00 AM PST

43% of surveyed female meningioma survivors aged 25–44 yrs stated they were warned that pregnancy was a risk factor for meningioma recurrence. Nevertheless, these women were more likely to want a baby (70% vs 54%) and intend to have a baby (27% vs 12%) than same-age women in the general population.

MRIs link impaired brain activity to inability to regulate emotions in autism

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 07:00 AM PST

When it comes to the ability to regulate emotions, brain activity in autistic people is significantly different than brain activity in people without autism. Researchers showed that symptoms including tantrums, irritability, and anxiety have a biological, mechanistic basis.

Analysis rejects linkage between testosterone therapy, cardiovascular risk

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 07:00 AM PST

Fears of a link between testosterone replacement therapy and cardiovascular risk are misplaced, according to a review. The therapy has come under widespread scrutiny in recent months, including by a federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel convened last fall.

Blood transfusions during heart surgery increase risk of pneumonia

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 07:00 AM PST

Patients who receive red blood cell transfusions during coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery are at an increased risk of developing pneumonia, researchers report. "Patients should receive red blood cell transfusions based on clinical need," an investigator noted. "Surgical teams may have opportunities to reduce the need for transfusions among patients, thereby reducing the risk of secondary complications."

Novel simulation model improves training experience for cardiothoracic surgeons

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 07:00 AM PST

A new surgical training model that simulates patient bleeding is providing cardiothoracic surgery residents with "real-life" experience without compromising patient safety, researchers report.

Unique aortic aneurysm repair shows promise

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 06:59 AM PST

A novel, minimally invasive approach appears safe for treating life-threatening aneurysms that occur in the deepest part of the aorta, making it easier for surgeons to repair the aorta without opening the chest and easier for patients to recover, experts report.

Drug candidates can block pathway associated with cell death in Parkinson's disease

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 06:59 AM PST

Two drug candidates can target biological pathways involved in the destruction of brain cells in Parkinson's disease, scientists have reported. The studies suggest that it is possible to design highly effective and highly selective (targeted) drug candidates that can protect the function of mitochondria, which provide the cell with energy, ultimately preventing brain cell death.

Researchers pinpoint two genes that trigger severest form of ovarian cancer

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 06:59 AM PST

Researchers create first mouse model of ovarian clear cell carcinoma using data from human cancer genome atlas. They show how when the genes ARID1A and PIK2CA are mutated in specific ways, the result is ovarian cancer 100 percent of the time. They show that a known drug can suppress tumor growth.

Using stem cells to grow new hair

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 06:59 AM PST

Researchers have used human pluripotent stem cells to generate new hair. The study represents the first step toward the development of a cell-based treatment for people with hair loss. In the United States alone, more than 40 million men and 21 million women are affected by hair loss.

Protein-based therapy shows promise against resistant leukemia

Posted: 26 Jan 2015 05:19 PM PST

The efficacy and safety of the new fusion protein has been demonstrated in mouse models of aggressive human leukemia using leukemia cells taken directly from patients with ALL. Resistance of leukemia cells to contemporary chemotherapy is one of the most formidable obstacles to treating acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common form of childhood cancer.

Lung cancer predicted to overtake breast cancer as leading cause of cancer death among European women in 2015

Posted: 26 Jan 2015 05:18 PM PST

Death rates from lung cancer will exceed those for breast cancer for the first time among European women in 2015, according to the latest predictions. The study by researchers in Italy and Switzerland predicts that although the actual number of deaths from all cancers in the European Union will continue to rise due to growing populations and numbers of elderly people, the rate of cancer deaths will continue to decline overall, with some notable exceptions: lung cancer in women and pancreatic cancer in both sexes.

New model better predicts breast cancer risk in African American women

Posted: 26 Jan 2015 02:06 PM PST

A breast cancer risk prediction model for African American women has been developed by scientists that found greater accuracy in predicting risk for the disease. The use of this model could result in increased eligibility of African Americans in breast cancer prevention trials.

Care eliminates racial disparity in colon cancer survival rates, study finds

Posted: 26 Jan 2015 02:06 PM PST

More equitable delivery of evidence-based care can close a persistent racial disparity in colon cancer survival rates in the United States. African-American patients have consistently had lower survival rates when compared with white patients, despite a nationwide decline in colon cancer deaths overall.

Genetic safety switches could help curb potential bioterror risks

Posted: 26 Jan 2015 01:46 PM PST

The potential threat of bioterrorism using man-made biological organisms could be reduced, thanks to a new method developed by scientists. Synthetic biologists -- who can design and modify the DNA of living organisms to give them novel, useful functions -- have devised a way of containing their products to help ensure that they work only as intended.

Cooperation between cancer cells makes therapies ineffective, suggests new treatment

Posted: 26 Jan 2015 01:46 PM PST

New research shows why many cancers are difficult to treat and come back following treatment. Scientists have shown that cancer cells cooperate with each other in the production of growth factors (molecules produced by the cancer cells that are essential for tumor progression). It is hoped that the findings will lead to a new type of treatment involving genetically modified cancer cells being reinserted into a tumor.

Risk for younger adults with isolated systolic hypertension

Posted: 26 Jan 2015 01:46 PM PST

Younger adults with elevated systolic blood pressure -- the top number in the blood pressure reading -- have a higher risk for cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease than those with normal blood pressure, according to a large long-term study of younger adults. The risk was higher for women.

More than half of ICU patients on ventilators have the ability to communicate

Posted: 26 Jan 2015 11:13 AM PST

More than half of patients in intensive care units (ICU) using ventilators to help them breathe could benefit from assistive communication tools, a new study has concluded. "Our findings challenge the commonly held assumption of many clinicians and researchers that these patients are unable to communicate or participate in their care," said a co-author of the study.

Study of former NFL players reveals specifics of concussive brain damage

Posted: 26 Jan 2015 10:51 AM PST

Results of a small study of nine men provide further evidence for potential long-term neurological risk to football players who sustain repeated concussions and support calls for better player protections.

Bad middle managers are just a reflection of their bosses, study says

Posted: 26 Jan 2015 10:51 AM PST

Keeping middle managers happy with their supervisors is the key to retaining the lower-level workers they manage and avoiding expensive turnover costs, according to a study.

Many U.S. consumers do not use a food thermometer when cooking poultry, despite hazardous risks

Posted: 26 Jan 2015 10:51 AM PST

Many consumers do not follow some recommended food safety practices when handling raw poultry at home, according to a study. The study found that fewer than two-thirds of consumers own a food thermometer, and less than 10 percent of food thermometer owners actually use it to check for doneness of all types of poultry.

Heart surgeons explore changing patterns in care of patients with aortic dissection

Posted: 26 Jan 2015 09:49 AM PST

Cardiothoracic surgeons have long played a central role in caring for patients with aortic dissection, a life-threatening condition that in the past was treated only with open surgery or medicines. But according to a new study, thanks to new minimally invasive endovascular procedures, other specialists are becoming increasingly involved in the management of patients with aortic dissection.

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