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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

How 'spontaneous' social norms emerge

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 01:07 PM PST

A scientific explanation has been provided by researchers for how social conventions -- everything from acceptable baby names to standards of professional conduct -- can emerge suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, with no external forces driving their creation.

Simple intervention can make your brain more receptive to health advice

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 01:06 PM PST

A new discovery shows how a simple intervention -- self-affirmation -- can open our brains to accept advice that is hard to hear. Psychologists have used self-affirmation as a technique to improve outcomes ranging from health behaviors in high risk patients to increasing academic performance in at risk youth, suggesting that the findings may be applicable across a wide range of interventions.

RNA: The unknotted strand of life

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 01:06 PM PST

It had never been verified before: unlike other biopolymers, RNA, the long strand that is 'cousin' to DNA, tends not to form knots.

FDA approves new drug for binge eating disorder (BED)

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 12:12 PM PST

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved lisdexamfetamine dimesylate, under the brand name Vyvanse, to treat moderate to severe binge eating disorder (BED) in adults, a first of its kind prescription drug specifically indicated for BED. Experts say that understanding the differences between obesity and BED is important for clinicians, as BED is an eating disorder that affects only a portion of those with the medical disease obesity.

Whose numbers determine if a targeted cancer therapy is 'worth it? '

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 11:10 AM PST

"Increasingly physicians are being presented with health economic analyses in mainstream medical journals as a means of potentially influencing their prescribing. However, it is only when you understand the multiple assumptions behind these calculations that you can see that they are by no means absolute truths," says one expert.

More evidence that musical training protects the brain

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 10:26 AM PST

Scientists have found some of the strongest evidence yet that musical training in younger years can prevent the decay in speech listening skills in later life. "Musical activities are an engaging form of cognitive brain training and we are now seeing robust evidence of brain plasticity from musical training not just in younger brains, but in older brains too," said the study's leader.

Expert panel recommends new sleep durations

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 09:37 AM PST

The National Sleep Foundation, along with a multi-disciplinary expert panel, issued its new recommendations for appropriate sleep durations. The NSF convened experts from sleep, anatomy and physiology, as well as pediatrics, neurology, gerontology and gynecology to reach a consensus from the broadest range of scientific disciplines. The report recommends wider appropriate sleep ranges for most age groups.

Risk for autism increases for abandoned children placed in institutions

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 09:37 AM PST

Children who were abandoned to institutional care have an increased risk for behaviors similar to those seen in children with autism, including impaired social communication, research shows. When these children were moved into child-centered foster family care at a young age, their social behaviors improved.

Impact of fetal gender on risk of preterm birth

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 09:37 AM PST

Preterm birth, a delivery before 37 weeks of gestation, is one of the most serious obstetric complications affecting around 15 million pregnancies worldwide with more than one million newborn deaths each year due to complications of prematurity. So far, the underlying causes for preterm birth are still largely unknown. Preterm birth can either occur spontaneously or can be induced for medical reasons. There are various risk factors for preterm birth, of which a previous preterm birth is one of the most important. The gender of the unborn baby also seems to play a role in the process of being born prematurely.

Interval between first and second pregnancy strongly impacts preterm birth risk

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 09:36 AM PST

The variation of interval from delivery time to conception of the next pregnancy has a strong impact on the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight.

Physician guidelines for Googling patients need revisions

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 09:36 AM PST

With the Internet and social media becoming woven into the modern medical practice, researchers contend that professional medical societies must update or amend their Internet guidelines to address when it is ethical to 'Google' a patient.

Break on through to the other side: How HIV penetrates the blood-brain barrier

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 09:36 AM PST

A new research report solves the mystery of how HIV penetrates the blood-brain barrier by showing that the virus relies on proteins expressed by a type of immune cell, called 'mature monocytes,' to enter the brain. These proteins are a likely drug target for preventing HIV from reaching brain cells.

Biological markers associated with high-risk pancreatic lesions

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 09:36 AM PST

Pancreatic cancer affects approximately 46,000 people each year in the United States and ranks fourth among the leading causes of cancer-related deaths. Only about 6 percent of individuals with pancreatic cancer will live five years after their diagnosis. One reason for this high mortality rate is the lack of effective tools to detect pancreatic cancer early enough to allow its surgical removal. Now researchers are now one step closer to devising an approach to detect pancreatic cancer earlier.

Commonly used antibiotics with diuretic can double risk of sudden death in older patients

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 09:36 AM PST

The combination of the commonly prescribed antibiotic trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole with the diuretic spironolactone, widely used for heart failure, more than doubles the risk of death for older patients, reports a study.

A phone so smart, it sniffs out disease

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 09:33 AM PST

Imagine a smartphone that not only finds the nearest five-star restaurant or hails a cab with a quick click, but also diagnoses illness. New technology would enable smartphones to screen their users' breath for life-threatening diseases, developers report.

New mechanism of acquired resistance to breast cancer drugs

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 09:33 AM PST

In the search for new approaches to treat ERBB2 positive breast cancers that have become drug-resistant, researchers have discovered a novel cancer resistance mechanism. "Approximately 25% of breast cancers overexpress and depend on the protein ERBB2 for survival," said the lead investigator. "Current therapies take advantage of this by using targeted drugs such as Trastuzumab or Lapatinib to specifically inhibit ERBB2, but eventually they become ineffective as the cancer develops resistance to those drugs."

Laying a foundation for treating ALS, spinal cord injury

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 09:32 AM PST

A unique model for learning more about the role of human astrocytes has been published by researchers. The findings may lay a foundation for the treatment of a number of neurodegenerative diseases, including ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and debilitating spinal cord injuries.

Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia reduces suicidal thoughts in veterans

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 08:46 AM PST

The treatment of insomnia in veterans is associated with a significant reduction in suicidal ideation, researchers say. Results show that suicidal ideation decreased by 33 percent following up to six sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I). Further analysis found that the reduction in insomnia severity achieved during CBT-I was associated with a concurrent decrease in the odds of suicidal ideation. This relationship remained significant after controlling for potential confounders such as change in depression severity.

Peptide shows promise in penetrating heart attack scar tissue to regenerate cardiac nerves

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 08:46 AM PST

Chemical compound aimed at restoring spinal cord function may have an additional purpose: stopping potentially fatal arrhythmias after heart attack. A special peptide could address a critical cardiac issue by penetrating heart attack scar tissue to regenerate cardiac nerves, scientists report.

Top 10 challenges facing global pharmaceutical supply chains

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 08:46 AM PST

Global pharmaceutical supply chains are fragmented and lack coordination, facing at least 10 key challenges, according to researchers. Their new article sheds light on the key areas of weakness and what specifically is needed to strengthen the pharmaceutical supply chains.

You can be a coward or a fighter -- just pick one and stick with it, says study

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 08:45 AM PST

When the chips are down, having a strong personality may be the difference between thriving and failing, according to new research that studied how aphids reacted when faced with predatory ladybirds. The study suggests that committing to a consistent behavioural type in times of crisis results in the best overall outcome in terms of fitness and reproductive success.

Actions, beliefs behind climate change stance

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 08:45 AM PST

Strategies for building support for climate change mitigation policies should go beyond attempts to improve the public's understanding of science according to new research. Using an online survey of climate change sceptics and believers living in the US, researchers measured differences between the two groups in terms of environmental behaviours, emotional responses, national and global identification and a number of other variables.

Pregnancy outcomes similar for women with kidney transplants as child, adult

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 08:44 AM PST

Pregnancy outcomes appear to be similar for women who undergo kidney transplants as children or adults, according to an article. Previous studies have reported pregnancy outcomes for women with transplants, regardless of age at transplantation, and it is unclear whether their findings apply to women who received transplants as children.

Review of nonmedicinal interventions for delirium in older patients

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 08:44 AM PST

Interventions to prevent delirium that do not involve prescription drugs and have multiple components appeared to be effective at reducing delirium and preventing falls in hospitalized older patients, according to an article.

Microscopic monitoring may yield big advances in production of consumer products, pharmaceuticals

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 08:42 AM PST

A team of physicists has developed a method to monitor the properties of microscopic particles as they grow within a chemical reaction vessel, creating new opportunities to improve the quality and consistency of a wide range of industrial and consumer products.

How immune cells hone their skills to fight disease

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 08:41 AM PST

A new study helps explain how booster shots prompt immune "memory" to improve, an important step toward the development of more effective, longer-lasting vaccines. "We can now see the evolution of better protection in single memory cells as they respond to the boost," said the senior author of the new study.

Scientists view effect of whisker tickling on mouse brains

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 08:41 AM PST

Researchers have succeeded in peering into the brains of live mice with such precision that they were able to see how the position of specific proteins changed as memories were forged.

New reset button discovered for circadian clock

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 08:41 AM PST

A team of biologists has found a way to use a laser and an optical fiber to reset an animal's master biological clock: A discovery that could in principle be used therapeutically to treat conditions like seasonal affect disorder, reduce the adverse health effects of night shift work and possibly even cure jet lag.

Illusion aids understanding of autism

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 07:57 AM PST

New research could lead to a better understanding of how the brain works in people with autism. Using the 'rubber-hand' illusion, the researchers examined how adults with autism experienced 'ownership' of a fake prosthetic hand. In the 'rubber-hand' illusion, one of the subject's hands is placed out of sight, while a rubber hand sits in front of them. By stroking the fake hand at the same time as the visible real one, the subject can be convinced the fake hand is theirs. The results of this experiment showed differences between those with autism and those without.

Abnormalities in pregnancies with failures for noninvasive prenatal testing

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 07:57 AM PST

Researchers report on the high rate of chromosomal abnormalities in patients in whom noninvasive prenatal testing fails to provide results.

Low birth weight and preeclampsia tend to reoccur in the next generation

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 07:57 AM PST

Researchers will present findings on a study of mothers and daughters where low birth weight and preeclampsia were found to reoccur in the next generation.

Pregnancy associated hypertension associated with an increased frequency of subsequent hypertension and metabolic syndrome

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 07:57 AM PST

Researchers have found long term cardiovascular and metabolic abnormalities five to ten years later in women with preeclampsia/gestational hypertension during pregnancy.

Impact of probiotics on metabolic health in women with gestational diabetes

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 07:57 AM PST

Researchers have reported on the effect of a probiotic capsule intervention on maternal metabolic parameters and pregnancy outcomes among women with gestational diabetes.

Effect of maternal glycemia on childhood obesity and metabolic dysfunction

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 07:56 AM PST

Researchers have reported on the impact of maternal glycemia on childhood obesity and metabolic dysfunction.

Fetal decent and maternal feedback substantially shortens second stage labor

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 07:56 AM PST

Researchers reported that the use of a system that provides precise measurement of fetal decent and maternal feedback during second stage labor substantially shortens second stage and improves outcomes.

The effect of expanded midwifery on Cesarean delivery

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 07:56 AM PST

Researchers will report that changes to the labor and delivery care system can reduce Cesarean delivery rates.

STAN as an adjunct to intrapartum fetal heart rate monitoring did not improve perinatal outcomes

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 07:56 AM PST

Researchers have reported that use of the ST segment as an adjunct to conventional intrapartum electronic fetal heart rate monitoring did not improve perinatal outcomes or decrease operative deliveries in hospitals in the United States. STAN is used in Europe as an adjunct to conventional intrapartum fetal heart rate monitoring, and was approved by the FDA for use in the US, mostly based on results of studies in Europe and one small study in the US.

New '2-in-1' test simplifies retina evaluations

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 07:56 AM PST

A new test developed using mice can help measure two important aspects of retinal health--the function of retinal blood vessels and light-detecting cells. This approach opens new possibilities for understanding the molecular changes that occur in retinal disease and for evaluating the benefits of treatment early in the course of disease.

How spaceflight ages the immune system prematurely

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 07:56 AM PST

As the world waits to see if Mars One can establish a human colony on Mars, scientists are working to determine the long-term consequences of living in low or no-gravity conditions, such as those that might exist on the trip to another planet. New research shows that spaceflight may be associated with a process of accelerated aging of the immune system.

New method shrinks metastatic ovarian cancer and reduces chemotherapy dose

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 07:56 AM PST

New research may eventually help improve the five-year survival rate of ovarian cancer patients by describing a new way of shrinking ovarian cancer tumors while also simultaneously improving drug delivery, scientists report.

Laser treatment reverses effects of early age-related macular degeneration

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 07:56 AM PST

During early stages, it might be possible to reverse age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness that is currently irreversible, researchers report. The treatment involving a nanosecond laser may also have further implications for other eye diseases such as diabetic macular oedema, diabetic retinopathy and retinopathy of prematurity.

Epigenetic signatures that differentiate triple-negative breast cancers

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 07:55 AM PST

Epigenetic 'signatures' have been identified that could help clinicians tell the difference between highly aggressive and more benign forms of triple-negative breast cancer. The study reveals "distinct methylation patterns" in the primary biopsy breast cancer cells indicating better or worse prognosis.

Physical activity as medicine among Family Health Teams: Study

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 07:55 AM PST

To better understand the current use of physical activity as medicine among Family Health Teams (FHTs) in Ontario, researchers conducted an environmental scan of 102 FHTs. Family Health Teams (FHTs) are part of a shift towards a multidisciplinary primary care model that addresses the healthcare needs of a community by allowing different healthcare professionals to work collaboratively under one roof.

Augmented labor during childbirth is not associated with increased odds of autism

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 07:55 AM PST

Induced or augmented labor are not associated with increased odds of Autism spectrum disorder.

Sequential screening provides better test performance than cell free DNA

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 07:55 AM PST

Researchers have reported that cell free DNA analysis is less effective than sequential screening as primary testing for fetal chromosomal abnormalities.

Confidence in government linked to willingness to vaccinate

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 07:55 AM PST

Confidence in government may play a key role in the public's willingness to get at least some vaccines, a new study suggests. The study found that people trusting the government's ability to deal with an epidemic were almost three times more likely to take the vaccine than were others.

Keep your enemies close? Study finds greater proximity to opponents leads to more polarization

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 07:54 AM PST

Encouraging adversaries to have more interpersonal contact to find common ground may work on occasion, but not necessarily in the U.S. Senate, according to new research.

Reasons why winter gives flu a leg up could be key to prevention

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 07:54 AM PST

As flu season continues, researchers are studying how the disease is transmitted through the air, in hopes that her results will lead to new strategies to fight the flu.

Potential health risks of hookah smoking are being overlooked by users, concerning toxicologists

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 07:53 AM PST

Toxicologists are concerned about the public perception that hookah smoking is a safer alternative to other forms of tobacco use. Hookah smoking can produce carcinogens and other chemicals associated with ill health at levels similar to or higher than cigarette smoking.

Many universities undercount sexual assaults on campus, research finds

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 07:53 AM PST

A pattern of underreporting of on-campus sexual assaults by universities and colleges across the United States has been uncovered by researchers. Some schools have continued to underreport even after being fined for violations of federal law, according to a study.

Babies can follow complex social situations

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 05:19 AM PST

Infants can make sense of complex social situations, taking into account who knows what about whom, according to new research.

Metformin may lower lung cancer risk in diabetic nonsmokers

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 05:19 AM PST

Among nonsmokers who had diabetes, those who took the diabetes drug metformin had a decrease in lung cancer risk, scientists report. Metformin use for five or more years was associated with a 31 percent decrease in the risk for adenocarcinoma, the most common type of lung cancer diagnosed in nonsmokers, and an 82 percent increase in the risk for small-cell carcinoma, a type of lung cancer often diagnosed in smokers, they say.

Fitness game for the physically impaired

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 05:07 AM PST

Modern IT has the potential to make fitness training more varied for people with physical limitations. But what exactly is required? Researchers put this question to thalidomide victims, and developed new IT-based fitness training technology in close collaboration with them. The method motivates users with elements found in computer games.

Supercomputing reveals genetic code of cancer

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 05:07 AM PST

Cancer researchers must use one of the world's fastest computers to detect which versions of genes are only found in cancer cells. Every form of cancer, even every tumor, has its own distinct variants, they report.

Non-damaging, efficient sterilization: Plasma sterilizer for medical, aerospace applications

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 05:07 AM PST

Traditional sterilization methods are no longer effective against all pathogens. By means of plasma, on the other hand, exceptionally stubborn bacteria stems can be killed off, researchers have demonstrated. A new sterilizer that is specifically suited for ridding medical instruments of germs efficiently, yet without damaging the material, has been developed and may also have applications for the aerospace industry.

Mini synthetic organism instead of test animals

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 05:06 AM PST

In medical research, animal-based experiments have thus far been a necessary evil. Now researchers have developed a highly promising alternative, however: They are developing a mini-organism inside a chip. This way, complex metabolic processes within the human body can be analyzed realistically.

Possible cause of IVF failure in some women identified

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 05:06 AM PST

A previously unexplored biological process, which can lead to the failure of embryos to attach to the uterine wall during in vitro fertilisation (IVF), has been identified by researchers. IVF only has around a 25% success rate, researchers report.

Baby's genes, not mom's, may trigger some preterm births

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 05:04 AM PST

Changes in genetic regions in infants linked with an increased risk of premature birth -- and the data change the preterm paradigm.

Extracorporeal support offers hope for pediatric patients unresponsive to traditional CPR

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 05:04 AM PST

Extracorporeal life support is a promising treatment for pediatric patients in cardiac arrest who are unresponsive to traditional CPR. A new article examines ECPR and addresses ethical principles related to its use and the continued advancement of end-of-life care.

Master switch found to stop tumor cell growth by inducing dormancy

Posted: 31 Jan 2015 10:11 AM PST

Commonly used anticancer drugs may help to make tumor cells dormant, scientists report. "Our results explain why some tumor cells scattered through the body are committed to remaining harmless for years, while others cause active disease," said one investigator. "In finding this master switch we found a way to analyze tumor cells before treatment to determine the risk of a cancer recurrence or metastasis."

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