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Thursday, February 5, 2015

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

Pigeon power: Study suggests similarity between how pigeons learn the equivalent of words and the way children do

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 03:44 PM PST

A new study finds pigeons can categorize 128 photographs into 16 categories of natural and humanmade objects, a skill researchers say is similar to the mechanism children use to learn words.

New way to use electric fields to deliver cancer treatment

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 03:42 PM PST

A team of researchers has devised a new way to target tumors with cancer-fighting drugs, a discovery that may lead to clinical treatments for cancer patients. Called iontophoresis, the technique delivers chemotherapy to select areas.

Compound found in grapes, red wine may help prevent memory loss

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 03:42 PM PST

A compound found in common foods such as red grapes and peanuts may help prevent age-related decline in memory, according to new research.

Factors predicting infection risk in patients with serious burns

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 01:31 PM PST

Investigators have identified a set of characteristics -- including differences in gene expression -- that may indicate which patients recovering from severe burns are at greatest risk for repeat infections. The ability to predict the risk of infection before it occurs would indicate which patients should receive preventive treatment and should reduce the unnecessary use of antibiotics in those at low risk.

New microscopy technique allows mapping protein synthesis in living tissues and animals

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 01:30 PM PST

Building on previously published research, investigators have advanced technology to allow for time-lapse images of protein synthesis with high spatial-temporal resolution in live cells/tissues and map protein degradation in live cells/tissue. They've successfully demonstrated that this technology can be used to image protein synthesis in brain tissues, zebrafish and mice in vivo, making it a useful tool for biomedical researchers studying complex protein metabolism in everything from cell lines to living animals/humans.

Possible use of medical marijuana for depression

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 01:30 PM PST

Scientists are studying chronic stress and depression, with a focus on endocannabinoids, which are brain chemicals similar to substances in marijuana.

Bioengineered miniature structures could prevent heart failure

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 11:46 AM PST

The delivery of tiny biodegradable microstructures to heart tissue damaged by heart attack may help repair the tissue and prevent future heart failure.

An extra protein gives naked mole rats more power to stop cancer

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 11:46 AM PST

A protein newly found in the naked mole rat may help explain its unique ability to ward off cancer. The protein is associated with a locus that is also found in humans and mice. It's the job of that locus to encode several cancer-fighting proteins. The locus found in naked mole rats encodes a total of four cancer-fighting proteins, while the human and mouse version encodes only three.

Premature babies grow out of asthma

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 11:46 AM PST

Premature babies grow out of the asthma which they are likely to develop in early life. Babies born prematurely are more likely to develop asthma, but they grow out of it.

E-cigarette exposure impairs immune responses in mouse model

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 11:45 AM PST

In a study with mice, researchers have found that e-cigarettes compromise the immune system in the lungs and generate some of the same potentially dangerous chemicals found in traditional nicotine cigarettes.

HIV and syphilis biomarkers: Smartphone, finger prick, 15 minute diagnosis

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 11:45 AM PST

Medical researchers have developed a low-cost smartphone accessory that can perform a point-of-care test that simultaneously detects three infectious disease markers -- HIV and syphilis -- from a finger prick of blood in just 15 minutes. The device replicates, for the first time, all mechanical, optical, and electronic functions of a lab-based blood test without requiring any stored energy: all necessary power is drawn from the smartphone.

Anti-epilepsy drug preserves brain function after stroke, research suggests

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 10:41 AM PST

New research suggests that an already-approved drug could dramatically reduce the debilitating impact of strokes, which affect nearly a million Americans every year.

The brain's social network: Nerve cells interact like friends on Facebook

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 10:41 AM PST

Neurons in the brain are wired like a social network, according to new research. Each nerve cell has links with many others, but the strongest bonds form between the few cells most similar to each other.

Standardized approach to creation and use of antibodies urged

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 10:41 AM PST

A worldwide group of antibody experts appeal for a standardized approach to the creation and use of antibodies in research and therapeutics.

Opioid and heroin crisis triggered by doctors overprescribing painkillers

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 09:59 AM PST

Researchers say policymakers must look beyond painkiller abuse in their efforts to reduce opioid overdose deaths. New research reframes the heroin and prescription drug abuse problem as a wave of opioid addiction caused by overprescribing of painkillers by doctors.

Listening carefully: Brain waves indicate listening challenges in older adults

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 09:59 AM PST

The elderly often complain about hearing difficulties, especially when several people are talking all at once. Researchers have discovered that the reason for this does not just concern the ear but also changes in the attention processes in the brain of older people. Particular importance is attached to the alpha waves whose adaption to altered hearing situations improves speech comprehension in everyday situations.

Contraceptive counseling at dermatologist's office improves knowledge of effectiveness

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 09:59 AM PST

Providing women who take a powerful acne drug with a fact sheet about contraception while visiting the dermatologist can significantly improve their awareness of the most effective birth control options and may prevent unintended pregnancies and birth defects that can be caused by the drug.

Rapid and unexpected weight gain after fecal transplant

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 09:58 AM PST

A woman successfully treated for a recurrent Clostridium difficile infection with stool from an overweight donor rapidly gained weight herself afterwards, becoming obese, according to a case report.

Schizophrenia, depression, addiction: Different mental disorders cause same brain-matter loss

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 09:58 AM PST

In a study analyzing whole-brain images from nearly 16,000 people, researchers identified a common pattern across a spectrum of psychiatric disorders that are widely perceived to be quite distinct.

Five-year outcomes following bariatric surgery in patients with BMIs of 50 to 60

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 09:58 AM PST

The bariatric surgical procedure biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch resulted in more weight loss and better improvement in blood lipids and glucose five years after surgery compared with usual gastric bypass surgery but duodenal switch was associated with more long-term surgical and nutritional complications and more adverse gastrointestinal effects, according to a new report.

West Africa: Hepatitis C more prevalent than HIV/AIDS or Ebola yet lacks equal attention

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 07:27 AM PST

Hepatitis C is more prevalent than HIV/AIDS or Ebola in parts of Africa, yet lacks equal attention, researchers say. 'In West Africa, we believe that there are many transmission modes and they are not through IV drug use, but through cultural and every day practices,' says the principal investigator on the study. 'In this study, tribal scarring, home birthing and traditional as opposed to hospital based circumcision procedures, were associated with hepatitis C infection in Ghana.'

Groundbreaking technique developed to measure oxygen in deep-sited tumor, brain

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 07:25 AM PST

A novel Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) oximetry technique will help clinicians directly measure oxygen and schedule treatments at times of high oxygen levels in cancer and stroke patients to improve outcomes, researchers have found.

Newly discovered protein has link to gestational diabetes

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 07:25 AM PST

For at least 40 years, scientists who study how the body metabolizes sugar have accepted one point: there are four enzymes that kick-start the body's process of getting energy from food. But this biochemical foursome may not deserve all of the credit. According to research, the hexokinase team actually has a fifth player.

Crucial role of breast cancer tumor suppressor revealed

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 06:02 AM PST

In recent years, medical professionals have been greatly interested in the development of new treatments to combat the spread of cancer, which is the largest cause of death in patients with this illness. A new study details how cells with low levels of the profilin 1 protein in breast tumors increase their capacity to metastasize and invade other tissues.

New nanoparticle gene therapy strategy effectively treats deadly brain cancer in rats

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 06:01 AM PST

Nanoparticles have been used to successfully deliver a new therapy to cancer cells in the brains of rats, prolonging their lives, scientists report. Previous research on mice found that nanoparticles carrying genes can be taken up by brain cancer cells, and the genes can then be turned on. However, this is the first time these biodegradable nanoparticles have effectively killed brain cancer cells and extended survival in animals.

Researchers question treatment of infertility with stem cells

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 04:53 AM PST

Researchers are questioning the notion that infertility can be treated with stem cells. The classical theory is based on the idea that the eggs a woman has are the ones she has had from birth, but there are researchers who claim that stem cell research could lead to the creation of new eggs. If so, this would mean that infertile women, such as those who have entered the menopause, could be given new eggs. But new studies now show that the dream of successfully treating infertility with stem cells will probably not be realized.

Link between early menopause, chronic fatigue syndrome discovered

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 04:53 AM PST

A newfound link between chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and early menopause has been reported by researchers. This link, as well as links with other gynecologic problems and with pelvic pain, may help explain why CFS is two to four times more common in women than in men and is most prevalent in women in their 40s.

Code cracked for infections by major group of viruses including common cold and polio

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 04:52 AM PST

Researchers have cracked a code that governs infections by a major group of viruses including the common cold and polio. Until now, scientists had not noticed the code, which had been hidden in plain sight in the sequence of the ribonucleic acid (RNA) that makes up this type of viral genome.

New look at complex head and neck tumor behavior

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 04:48 AM PST

Head and neck squamous cell cancer (HNSCC) ranks among the top ten most prevalent cancers in the United States. Despite its prevalence, little is known about how this cancer develops and spreads. However, researchers now offer critical new information about head and neck cancers.

Artificially intelligent robot scientist 'Eve' could boost search for new drugs

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 05:44 PM PST

Eve, an artificially intelligent 'robot scientist' could make drug discovery faster and much cheaper, say researchers writing in the Royal Society journal Interface. The team has demonstrated the success of the approach as Eve discovered that a compound shown to have anti-cancer properties might also be used in the fight against malaria.

Cocaine users have impaired ability to predict loss

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 04:00 PM PST

Cocaine addicted individuals may continue their habit despite unfavorable consequences like imprisonment or loss of relationships because their brain circuits responsible for predicting emotional loss are impaired, according to a new study.

Intellectual privacy vital to life in digital age

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 11:19 AM PST

In our increasingly digital world, the balance between privacy and free speech is tenuous, at best. But we often overlook the important ways in which privacy is necessary to protect our cherished civil liberties of freedom of speech, thought and belief, says an expert.

Serendipity leads to discovery of adult cancer genes driving young-adult Ewing sarcoma

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 11:19 AM PST

A new study finds alterations in expression of genes PIK3R3 and PTEN, more commonly observed in adult tumors, in the rare, young-adult bone cancer Ewing Sarcoma, potentially offering ways to improve therapy.

Superager brains yield new clues to their remarkable memories

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 10:33 AM PST

'Cognitive SuperAgers,' persons aged 80 and above with extraordinarily sharp memories, have distinctly different looking brains than those of normal older people, according to new research. A new study begins to reveal why the memories of these cognitively elite elders don't suffer the usual ravages of time. The discoveries may foster the development of strategies to protect the memories of normal aging persons as well as treat dementia.

Two genetic mutations interact to lower heart attack risk

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 10:30 AM PST

Researchers have determined that two mutations on a single gene can interact in a way that lowers the carrier's risk for a heart attack.

Study investigates the complex roads that lead families to food insecurity

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 09:34 AM PST

Food insecurity creates a host of unhealthy consequences. The roads leading there can be very different. A new study examined four risk factors for families that can lead to varying degrees of hunger.

Neurons important for induction of natural REM sleep identified

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 09:34 AM PST

Scientists have found that that activation of cholinergic neurons -- those that release the neurotransmitter acetylcholine -- in two brain stem structures can induce REM sleep in an animal model. Better understanding of mechanisms that control different sleep states is essential to improved treatment of sleep disorders.

Glioblastoma: Study ties three genes to radiation resistance in recurrent tumors

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 09:34 AM PST

A new study identifies three genes that together enable a lethal form of brain cancer to recur and progress after radiation therapy. The findings could lead to new therapies for brain tumors that target cancer stem cells.

How a basic building block of the body could prevent breast cancer

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 09:31 AM PST

A physician is leading a study for women with a higher risk of breast cancer that focuses on two natural approaches to preventing breast cancer: weight loss and omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.

Kids five years after the recession: Smart policies, better lives

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 09:31 AM PST

A new analysis shows that, five years after its technical end, the recession of the mid-2000s continues to impact America's children in four key areas: health, hunger, housing, and abuse and neglect, updating research conducted in 2010. It finds lingering effects in every aspect, but it underscores the effectiveness of federal investments in mitigating harm to children.

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