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Friday, February 6, 2015

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

Drug-resistant bacteria lurk in subway stations, high school students discover

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 02:49 PM PST

Forget commuters and rats, New York City's subway system is crowded with microbes. After spending her vacation swabbing benches and turn styles beneath the city, high school students found bacteria impervious to two major antibiotics.

Organic food reduces pesticide exposure

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 02:48 PM PST

A new study is among the first to predict a person's pesticide exposure based on information about their usual diet.

Another breastfeeding benefit: Preparing baby's belly for solid food

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 02:46 PM PST

Researchers found that a baby's diet during the first few months of life has a profound influence on the composition, diversity, and stability of the gut microbiome. These factors influence the baby's ability to transition from milk to solid foods and may have long-term health effects.

Depth and rate of chest compressions during CPR impact survival in cardiac arrest

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 12:56 PM PST

The depth of chest compressions and the rate at which they were applied make a significant impact on survival and recovery of patients, a review of research by physicians shows.

Increasing individualism in US linked with rise of white-collar jobs

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 11:29 AM PST

Rising individualism in the United States over the last 150 years is mainly associated with a societal shift toward more white-collar occupations, according to new research. The study, which looked at various cultural indicators -- including word usage in books, trends in baby names, and shifts in family structure -- suggests that a shift toward greater individualism is systematically correlated with socioeconomic trends, but not with trends in urbanization or environmental demands such as frequency of diseases or disasters.

Forever young: Meditation might slow the age-related loss of gray matter in the brain

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 11:29 AM PST

Building on their earlier work that suggested people who meditate have less age-related atrophy in the brain's white matter, a new study found that meditation appeared to help preserve the brain's gray matter, the tissue that contains neurons.

Brain cells' role in navigating environment

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 11:29 AM PST

A new study sheds light on the brain cells that function in establishing one's location and direction. The findings contribute to our understanding of the neural mechanisms underlying our abilities to successfully navigate our environment, which may be crucial to dealing with brain damage due to trauma or a stroke and the onset of diseases such as Alzheimer's.

Carnivorous mushroom reveals human immune trick: How we punch our way into cancer cells

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 11:29 AM PST

Edible oyster mushrooms have an intriguing secret: They eat spiders and roundworms. And they do so using proteins that can punch their way into cells, leaving tidy but deadly holes. It's a trick that our immune cells also use to protect us, destroying infected cells, cancerous cells, and bacteria.

Why do new strains of HIV spread slowly?

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 11:29 AM PST

Most HIV epidemics are still dominated by the first strain that entered a particular population. New research offers an explanation of why the global mixing of HIV variants is so slow.

Why did people evolve to be cooperative? And why in a principled way?

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 11:12 AM PST

Researchers have developed a first-of-its-kind model, dubbed the 'envelope game,' that can help researchers understand not only not only why people evolved to be cooperative but why people evolved to cooperate in a principled way.

Improving genome editing with drugs

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 11:12 AM PST

Scientists have discovered a way to enhance the efficiency of CRISPR genome editing with the introduction of a few key chemical compounds. This has important potential implications for correcting disease-causing genetic mutations.

Prototype of a robotic system with emotion and memory

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 11:11 AM PST

Researchers have developed a prototype of a social robot which supports independent living for the elderly, working in partnership with their relatives or carers. 

Similar statistics play role in decision-making and World War II code breaking

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 10:12 AM PST

"The brain reaches a decision by combining samples of evidence in much the way a good statistician would," says a researcher. He demonstrates this theory by monitoring the decision-making process in rhesus monkeys to determine how much and what information they need to confidently choose a correct answer.

In a crisis, the bigger your social network, the better

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 09:31 AM PST

Researchers examined social networks in the late pre-Hispanic Southwest and found that communities that were more connected with their neighbors had a better chance of being able to successfully manage a crisis than did communities with fewer outside connections.

Learning with all the senses: Movement, images facilitate vocabulary learning

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 09:31 AM PST

"Atesi" - what sounds like a word from the Elven language of Lord of the Rings is actually a Vimmish word meaning "thought". Scientists have used Vimmish, an artificial language specifically developed for scientific research, to study how people can best memorize foreign-language terms. According to the researchers, it is easier to learn vocabulary if the brain can link a given word with different sensory perceptions. The motor system in the brain appears to be especially important: When someone not only hears vocabulary in a foreign language, but expresses it using gestures, they will be more likely to remember it. Also helpful, although to a slightly lesser extent, is learning with images that correspond to the word. Learning methods that involve several senses, and in particular those that use gestures, are therefore superior to those based only on listening or reading.

Microbiome linked to type 1 diabetes: Shift in microbiome species diversity prior to disease onset

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 09:30 AM PST

In the largest longitudinal study of the microbiome to date, researchers have identified a connection between changes in gut microbiota and the onset of type 1 diabetes. The study, which followed infants who were genetically predisposed to the condition, found that onset for those who developed the disease was preceded by a drop in microbial diversity -- including a disproportional decrease in the number of species known to promote health in the gut.

Spontaneous cure of rare immune disease

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 09:30 AM PST

A genetic phenomenon called chromothripsis, or 'chromosome shattering,' may have spontaneously cured the first person to be documented with WHIM syndrome. The patient was the subject of a 1964 study that first described the disorder, a syndrome of recurrent infections, warts and cancer caused by the inability of immune cells, particularly infection-fighting neutrophils, to leave the bone marrow and enter the bloodstream.

Link between inflammation and type 2 diabetes identified

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 09:30 AM PST

Scientists have identified the molecular mechanism by which insulin normally inhibits production of glucose by the liver and why this process stops working in patients with type 2 diabetes, leading to hyperglycemia.

Human stem cells repair damage caused by radiation therapy for brain cancer in rats

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 09:30 AM PST

For patients with brain cancer, radiation is a potentially life-saving treatment, but it can also cause considerable and even permanent injury to the brain. Now, through preclinical experiments conducted in rats, researchers have developed a method to turn human stem cells into cells that are instructed to repair damage in the brain. Rats treated with the human cells regained cognitive and motor functions that were lost after brain irradiation.

Malaria-in-a-dish paves the way for better treatments

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 09:30 AM PST

Researchers have engineered a way to use human liver cells, derived from induced pluripotent stem cells, to screen potential antimalarial drugs and vaccines for their ability to treat the liver stage of malaria infection. The approach may offer new opportunities for personalized antimalarial drug testing and the development of more effective individually tailored drugs to combat the disease, which causes more than 500,000 deaths worldwide each year.

Medical marijuana for children with developmental and behavioral disorders?

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 09:27 AM PST

As medical marijuana becomes increasingly accepted, there is growing interest in its use for children and adolescents with developmental and behavioral problems such as autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a new review.

Circadian clock linked to Angelman syndrome

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 09:27 AM PST

Biologists have found a direct link between the biological clock and Angelman syndrome, a neurogenetic disorder that occurs in more than one in every 15,000 live births. The link may provide a valuable way to judge the effectiveness of the first experimental drugs under development for treating the syndrome.

Accuracy of NIFTY prenatal test tracked

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 07:21 AM PST

BGI has published a study tracking the clinical performance of its whole genome sequencing-based non-invasive prenatal test (the NIFTY test) in nearly 147,000 pregnancies, the largest such study to date. The results showed high sensitivity and specificity and no significant difference between high-risk and low-risk pregnant women.

Simple ultrasound measure can diagnose postoperative urinary retention

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 07:19 AM PST

In patients who don't resume normal urination after surgery, a simple ultrasound test can accurately diagnose the common problem of postoperative urinary retention (POUR), reports a new study.

Opinions on vaccinations heavily influenced by online comments

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 06:52 AM PST

With measles and other diseases once thought eradicated making a comeback in the United States, healthcare websites are on the spot to educate consumers about important health risks. Researchers say that people may be influenced more by online comments than by credible public service announcements.

Neurogeneticists harness immune cells to clear Alzheimer's-associated plaques

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 06:52 AM PST

New research shows that the body's immune system may be able to clear the brain of toxic plaque build-up that is the hallmark of Alzheimer's disease, reversing memory loss and brain cell damage.

Parenting and depression study: Fathers are at risk, too

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 06:52 AM PST

A national study of parents found that parents with multiple parenting roles -- such as those in blended families -- are at higher risk of depression. Specifically, parents with three roles were 57 percent more likely to be depressed than those with just a single parenting role.

Lyme disease costs up to $1. 3 billion per year to treat, study finds

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 06:50 AM PST

New research suggests that a prolonged illness associated with Lyme disease is more widespread and serious in some patients than previously understood.

An 'ambulance' for the brain

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 05:30 AM PST

The brain is protected by a barrier of cells that tightly regulates the transport of substances into this organ in order to prevent infection. The essential protective function of this barrier is also a red light for 98% of drug candidates for the treatment of the central nervous system. Today scientists have presented a shuttle able to cross the blood-brain barrier and transport various substances into the brain. The team of chemists is now studying its application for specific medical conditions.

Researchers find gene that confirms existence of psoriatic arthritis

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 05:30 AM PST

Researchers have identified genetic variants that are associated with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) but not with psoriasis, in the largest study of PsA ever published.

Malocclusion and dental crowding arose 12,000 years ago with earliest farmers

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 11:46 AM PST

Hunter-gatherers had almost no malocclusion and dental crowding, and the condition first became common among the world's earliest farmers some 12,000 years ago in Southwest Asia.

Attention: How eyes reveal the brain's focus

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 09:58 AM PST

A primate's ability to pay attention to, or tune out, particular sights and sounds is crucial for success and survival. Researchers looked into monkeys' eyes for insight into how the brain processes distractions. They found that neural activity and changes to pupil size in response to distractors can predict how well the brain helps focus on a goal.

Brain marker hints at depression, anxiety years later

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 09:57 AM PST

A car accident, the loss of a loved one, and financial trouble are just a few of the myriad stressors we may encounter in our lifetimes. How well will we deal with the inevitable lows of life? By looking at an area of the brain called the amygdala, scientists can predict depression or anxiety in response to stressful life events as far as four years in the future.

How cocaine works in the brain, offers possibility of drug to treat addiction

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 07:27 AM PST

Scientists have discovered a mechanism in the brain that is key to making cocaine seem pleasurable, a finding that could lead to a drug treatment for fighting addiction.

Tiny robotic 'hand' could improve cancer diagnostics, drug delivery

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 07:26 AM PST

Many people imagine robots today as clunky, metal versions of humans, but scientists are forging new territory in the field of 'soft robotics.' One of the latest advances is a flexible, microscopic hand-like gripper. The development could help doctors perform remotely guided surgical procedures or perform biopsies. The materials also could someday deliver therapeutic drugs to hard-to-reach places.

Lung cancer now leading cause of cancer death in females in developed countries

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 07:26 AM PST

A new analysis finds lung cancer has surpassed breast cancer as the leading cause of cancer death in females in developed countries.

Pay-to-play sports: Parents with traditional beliefs about gender may shortchange daughters

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 07:25 AM PST

Parents with the most traditional beliefs about masculinity and femininity are likelier to view pay-to-play sports fees as too high for daughters compared with sons, a new study suggests.

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