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Thursday, January 29, 2015

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

Why upper motor neurons degenerate in ALS

Posted: 28 Jan 2015 11:19 AM PST

Scientists have revealed a mechanism underlying the cellular degeneration of the upper motor neurons that die in ALS, and developed a model system that will allow further research on the degeneration.

Molecular alterations in head and neck cancers uncovered by study

Posted: 28 Jan 2015 11:16 AM PST

A new study shows genomic differences in head and neck cancers caused by infection with the human papillomavirus. In addition, researchers have uncovered new smoking-related cancer subtypes and potential new drug targets, and found numerous genomic similarities with other cancer types. Together, this study's findings may provide detailed explanations of how HPV infection and smoking play roles in head and neck cancer risk and disease development, and offer potential diagnostic and treatment directions.

Concentrating on word sounds helps reading instruction and intervention

Posted: 28 Jan 2015 11:14 AM PST

A neuroimaging study by psychologist suggests that phonics shouldn't be overlooked in favor of a whole-language technique, a finding that could help improve treatment and diagnosis of common reading disorders.

Damaged DNA may stall patrolling molecule to initiate repair

Posted: 28 Jan 2015 11:14 AM PST

Sites where DNA is damaged may cause a molecule that slides along the DNA strand to scan for damage to slow on its patrol, delaying it long enough to recognize and initiate repair. These finding suggest that the delay itself may be the key that allows the protein molecule to find its target, according to researchers.

Protein pathway involved in nicotine-induced lung cancer metastasis found

Posted: 28 Jan 2015 11:14 AM PST

Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, and it is estimated that more than 159,000 people in the United States died from the disease last year. Most of these deaths were because the cancer had spread to other organ sites. Following their recent discovery of a protein pathway, researchers are one step closer to understanding how lung cancer cells metastasize.

Earlier menopause linked to everyday chemical exposures

Posted: 28 Jan 2015 11:14 AM PST

Women whose bodies have high levels of chemicals found in plastics, personal-care products, common household items and the environment experience menopause two to four years earlier than women with lower levels of these chemicals, according to a new study.

Playing with puzzles, blocks may build children's spatial skills

Posted: 28 Jan 2015 10:13 AM PST

Play may seem like fun and games, but new research shows that specific kinds of play are actually associated with development of particular cognitive skills. Data from an American nationally representative study show that children who play frequently with puzzles, blocks, and board games tend to have better spatial reasoning ability. Being able to reason about space, and how to manipulate objects in space, is a critical part of everyday life, helping us to navigate a busy street, put together a piece of furniture, even load the dishwasher. And these skills are especially important for success in particular academic and professional domains, including science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

What's happening with your donated specimen?

Posted: 28 Jan 2015 09:54 AM PST

When donating blood, plasma, human tissue or any other bodily sample for medical research, most people might not think about how it's being used. But if you were told, would you care? A new study indicates that most people are willing to donate just knowing that their contribution is going toward research. But, when specific scenarios are brought into the equation, that willingness changes.

New model for preserving donor tissue will allow more natural joint repair for patients

Posted: 28 Jan 2015 09:54 AM PST

Currently, doctors have to throw away more than 80 percent of donated tissue used for joint replacements because the tissue does not survive long enough to be transplanted. Now, researchers have developed a new technology that more than doubles the life of the tissue. This new technology was able to preserve tissue quality at the required level in all of the donated tissues studied, the researchers found.

Mobile apps take students into the laboratory

Posted: 28 Jan 2015 09:54 AM PST

Mobile apps have proved to be valuable educational tools, but laboratory instructors thus far have been limited to using mobile devices only for virtual laboratories with simulated experiments. Now, researchers have developed a series of mobile applications that allow students to remotely interact with real data and equipment in real laboratories. Students reported deeper engagement levels using mobile apps and the virtual lab.

Elucidating the origin of MDR tuberculosis strains

Posted: 28 Jan 2015 09:53 AM PST

A study has focused on the evolutionary history of the mycobacterium that causes tuberculosis, and more specifically on the Beijing lineage associated with the spread of multidrug resistant forms of the disease in Eurasia. While confirming the East-Asian origin of this lineage, the results also indicate that this bacterial population has experienced notable variations coinciding with key events in human history, scientists report.

New protein detonates 'invincible' bacteria from within

Posted: 28 Jan 2015 08:41 AM PST

The epidemic of 'superbugs,' bacteria resistant to antibiotics, knows no borders -- presenting a clear and present danger around the globe. Now a groundbreaking discovery may strengthen efforts by the medical community to fight this looming superbug pandemic. By sequencing the DNA of bacteria resistant to viral toxins, researchers identified novel proteins capable of stymieing growth in treacherous antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Did genetic links to modern maladies provide ancient benefits?

Posted: 28 Jan 2015 08:40 AM PST

Genetic variations associated with some modern maladies are extremely old, scientists have discovered, predating the evolution of Neanderthals, Denisovans (another ancient hominin) and contemporary humans.

Picture this: Technology tightens focus on who's watching women

Posted: 28 Jan 2015 08:39 AM PST

Findings of a new study point to emotional consequences for women who are objectified for their physical appearance. The author concludes that the findings reflect objectification theory that suggests that women are frequently evaluated by their physical appearance.

Eyeglasses that turn into sunglasses -- at your command

Posted: 28 Jan 2015 08:39 AM PST

Imagine eyeglasses that can go quickly from clear to shaded and back again when you want them to, rather than passively in response to changes in light. Scientists report a major step toward that goal, which could benefit pilots, security guards and others who need such control.

Bike-to-work events offer chance to explore barriers to cycling

Posted: 28 Jan 2015 08:39 AM PST

Cities that host bike-to-work events as their sole effort to increase commuter travel by bicycle may be missing a larger -- perhaps more valuable -- opportunity, according to a study. Local governments should use bike-to-work days to find out from participants why they're attending and -- more importantly -- what prevents them from biking more often, according to the study.

Beer compound could help fend off Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases

Posted: 28 Jan 2015 08:39 AM PST

The health-promoting perks of wine have attracted the spotlight recently, leaving beer in the shadows. But scientists are discovering new ways in which the latter could be a more healthful beverage than once thought. It turns out that a compound from hops could protect brain cells from damage -- and potentially slow the development of disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

Novel compound switches off epilepsy development

Posted: 28 Jan 2015 08:38 AM PST

A novel compound helps curtail the onset and progression of temporal lobe epilepsy, researchers have discovered. The finding may contribute to the development of anti-epileptic therapies, they say.

Communication key when dealing with aging parents

Posted: 28 Jan 2015 08:38 AM PST

Headstrong elderly parents and their adult children may be able to find common ground with proper intervention, according to researchers in human development.

New biological evidence reveals link between brain inflammation and major depression

Posted: 28 Jan 2015 08:38 AM PST

The measure of brain inflammation in people who were experiencing clinical depression was increased by 30 per cent, researchers have discovered. These findings have important implications for developing new treatments for depression.

Pacemakers with Internet connection, a not-so-distant goal

Posted: 28 Jan 2015 08:37 AM PST

An efficient security protocol has been designed to protect the information provided by pacemakers and similar medical devices connected to the Internet. Thanks to the latest advances in microelectronics and communications technologies, it is not difficult to imagine a future with medical sensors connected to the Internet. Now, thanks to a group of researchers, a little more progress has been made in the area of the remote monitoring of patients by means of implanted sensors.

How to make your New Year's resolution last one year, not one month

Posted: 28 Jan 2015 08:36 AM PST

A kinesiologist breaks down some simple steps to stick to your weight loss resolution for the full year. "If you start with lofty goals, it's easy to become discouraged if you don't meet those goals right away," she says. "Start by trying to do something once or twice a week for short durations of about 10 to 15 minutes. Then you can build up from there. This way you can set yourself up to be successful."

Hygiene practices affect contact lens case contamination

Posted: 28 Jan 2015 07:05 AM PST

Contact lens wearers who don't follow certain hygiene habits have increased bacterial contamination of their contact lens cases, reports a new study. Washing hands with soap and water, allowing cases to air-dry, and using cases and disinfecting solutions from the same manufacturer are key steps to reducing contact lens contamination, suggests the report.

Children feel most positively about mothers who respect their autonomy

Posted: 28 Jan 2015 06:35 AM PST

Mothers who support their children's need for autonomy as the children grow tend to be viewed more positively by their children. The study included more than 2,000 mothers and their children. It measured maternal directiveness -- or the extent to which mothers controlled activities -- in play when children were 2 years old and then during a discussion about areas of disagreement when the children were in the fifth grade. Mothers' tendencies to display controlling behaviors predicted the extent to which the children viewed their mothers positively or negatively when the children were in fifth grade.

'Healthy' fat tissue could be key to reversing type 2 diabetes

Posted: 28 Jan 2015 06:35 AM PST

Preventing inflammation in obese fat tissue may hold the key to preventing or even reversing type 2 diabetes, new research has found. The scientists found they could 'reverse' type 2 diabetes in laboratory models by dampening the inflammatory response in fat tissue.

Some older cancer patients can avoid radiotherapy, study finds

Posted: 28 Jan 2015 06:35 AM PST

Some older women with breast cancer could safely avoid radiotherapy, without harming their chances of survival, a study has shown. Older women with early breast cancer who are given breast-conserving surgery and hormone therapy gain very modest benefit from radiotherapy, researchers conclude.

Cell mechanism discovered that may cause pancreatic cancer

Posted: 28 Jan 2015 06:34 AM PST

Researchers have found that defects in how cells are squeezed out of overcrowded tissue to die, a process called extrusion, may be a mechanism by which pancreatic cancer begins. From these findings, they may have identified an effective way to reverse the defective extrusion's effects without destroying normal tissues nearby.

Seeing selves as overweight may be self-fulfilling prophecy for some teens

Posted: 28 Jan 2015 05:22 AM PST

Teens who mistakenly perceive themselves as overweight are actually at greater risk of obesity as adults, according to research findings.

Dutch babies trump US peers in laughing, smiling, cuddling

Posted: 28 Jan 2015 05:22 AM PST

Dutch babies laugh, smile and like to cuddle more than their American counterparts. A new study examining temperamental differences between US and Dutch babies found infants born in the Netherlands are more likely to be happy and easier to soothe in the latter half of their first year. US infants, on the other hand, were typically more active and vocal, said an author of the study.

Communication is key to emergency department success, new study says

Posted: 28 Jan 2015 05:22 AM PST

The high-risk, rapidly changing nature of hospital Emergency Departments creates an environment where stress levels and staff burnout rates are high, but researchers have identified the secret sauce that helps many emergency clinicians flourish -- communication.

From bacterium to biofactory

Posted: 28 Jan 2015 05:20 AM PST

A genetic blueprint for organelles that give simple cells new functions has been developed by scientists. A research team has refuted a long-held assumption in biology: The scientists have shown that it is not only possible to extend the functions of organelles - organs of the cell - but also to form them from scratch with the help of genetic blueprints

New method for identifying most aggressive childhood cancers

Posted: 28 Jan 2015 05:20 AM PST

A new way to identify the most malignant tumors in children has been identified by researchers. The method involves studying genetic 'micro-variation', rather than the presence of individual mutations.

Game theory explains social interactions of cancer cells

Posted: 28 Jan 2015 05:20 AM PST

The interactions of cancer cells may be explained by using game theory. The Public Goods Game is part of game theory and is used in economics as a model to analyze the provision of common goods. There is an imbalance in the consumption of these goods between those that provide them and pay the production costs and those that do not pay but consume anyway -- a situation that is known in economics as the free rider problem. The researchers now applied this model to the cooperation between producing and non-producing members of a cancer cell population, in order to examine if the model is also applicable to biological processes, such as carcinogenesis.

Antibiotics as new cancer treatments? Conversation with schoolgirl sparks idea

Posted: 28 Jan 2015 05:19 AM PST

A way to eradicate cancer stem cells, using the side-effects of commonly used antibiotics, has been discovered by a University of Manchester researcher following a conversation with his young daughter. "This is a perfect example of why it is so important to continue to invest in scientific research. Sometimes there are answers to some of the biggest questions right in front of us but without ongoing commitment to the search for these answers, we'd never find them," said the lead researcher.

Novel radioguided brain surgery technique could help pinpoint cancerous tissue

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 08:09 AM PST

A novel radioguided surgery technique could quickly and effectively identify residual cancer cells during brain tumor surgery, with low radiation exposure for both patients and surgeons. The study reports that Y-90 DOTATOC, a beta-minus-emitting tracer, can effectively delineate the margins of meningiomas and high-grade gliomas.

Modular disability aids for world's poorest

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 07:49 AM PST

A design engineering student's final year project aims to help developing countries make their own disability aids using modular components. The modular kit of interchangeable mobility aid parts from crutches to walking frames is set to change the lives of some of the world's poorest people with disabilities, she says.

Where you can find new labels and why it's not all about the numbers

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 07:48 AM PST

A nutritionist explains a new regulation requiring calorie labeling at restaurants and why it's not just the numbers that put weight on your waistline.

Incisional hernia repairs among older men rose 24. 2 percent from 2001 to 2010

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 07:48 AM PST

Incisional hernia repairs among men age 65 years and older rose 24.2 percent in the United States from 2001 to 2010, according to a study. "The rising rates of emergent incisional hernia repair are troublesome due to the significantly increased risk of morbidity and mortality associated with the procedure," said the ead author of the study. "While many factors play into this mortality risk, it is most likely associated with increasing prevalence of abdominal surgeries, older age and its associated conditions or diseases."

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