Kamis, 30 Desember 2010

ScienceDaily Health Headlines

for Thursday, December 30, 2010

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98.6 degrees Fahrenheit ideal temperature for keeping fungi away and food at bay (December 30, 2010) -- Two researchers have found that our 98.6 F (37 C) body temperature strikes a perfect balance: warm enough to ward off fungal infection but not so hot that we need to eat nonstop to maintain our metabolism. ... > full story

Coma and general anesthesia demonstrate important similarities (December 30, 2010) -- The brain under general anesthesia isn't "asleep" as surgery patients are often told -- it is placed into a state that is a reversible coma, according to three neuroscientists who have recently published an extensive review of general anesthesia, sleep and coma. This insight and others reported in their review article could eventually lead to new approaches to general anesthesia and improved diagnosis and treatment for sleep abnormalities and emergence from coma. ... > full story

Diabetes: Poor response to anti-anemia drug predicts higher risk of heart disease or death (December 30, 2010) -- Patients with diabetes, kidney disease and anemia who don't respond to treatment with an anti-anemia drug have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease or death, researchers have found. ... > full story

Doctors should be required to disclose sleep deprived status to patients before elective surgeries, experts urge (December 30, 2010) -- While regulations have been put in place to restrict the work hours of doctors in training, no such regulations exist for fully trained physicians. An editorial argues that sleep-deprived physicians should not be permitted to proceed with an elective surgery without a patient's informed, written consent. ... > full story

MRI scans reveal brain changes in people at genetic risk for Alzheimer's (December 30, 2010) -- People with a known, high risk for Alzheimer's disease develop abnormal brain function even before the appearance of telltale, amyloid plaques that are characteristic of Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study. The findings suggest that a gene variant affects brain function long before the brain begins accumulating the amyloid that will eventually lead to dementia. ... > full story

Protein involved in cystic fibrosis also plays role in emphysema, chronic lung disease (December 30, 2010) -- Researchers have discovered that a protein involved in cystic fibrosis also regulates inflammation and cell death in emphysema and may be responsible for other chronic lung diseases. The findings pave the way toward new treatments to prevent lung damage caused by infections or cigarette smoke in emphysema. ... > full story

African-Americans with liver cancer more likely to die, study finds (December 30, 2010) -- African-Americans with early stage liver cancer were more likely than white patients to die from their disease, according to a new study. Five years after diagnosis, 18 percent of white liver cancer patients were alive but only 15 percent of Hispanic patients and 12 percent of black patients were. Median survival times ranged from 10 months for whites and Hispanics to 8 months for blacks. The researchers also found racial and ethnic disparities in how often patients received treatment, with black and Hispanic patients less likely than whites to have any kind of treatment. ... > full story

Mortality rates are an unreliable metric for assessing hospital quality, study finds (December 30, 2010) -- A comparative analysis found wide disparities in the results of four common measures of hospital-wide mortality rates, with competing methods yielding both higher- and lower-than-expected rates for the same Massachusetts hospitals during the same year. ... > full story

'Breathalyzers' may be useful for medical diagnostics (December 29, 2010) -- Researchers have overcome a fundamental obstacle in developing breath-analysis technology to rapidly diagnose patients by detecting chemical compounds called "biomarkers" in a person's respiration in real time. ... > full story

Human protein improves muscle function of muscular dystrophy mice (December 29, 2010) -- A novel potential therapy based on a natural human protein significantly slows muscle damage and improves function in mice who have the same genetic mutation as boys with the most common form of muscular dystrophy. Now headed toward human trials, biglycan significantly slows the weakening of muscles in mice with the genetic mutation that causes muscular dystrophy. Biglycan causes utrophin,a natural muscle-building protein prevalent in young children, to collect in muscle cell membranes. ... > full story

How cortical nerve cells form synapses with neighbors (December 29, 2010) -- Important new light has been shed on how neurons in the developing brain make connections with one another. This activity, called synapse validation, is at the heart of the process by which neural circuits self-assemble. ... > full story

Structure deep within the brain may contribute to a rich, varied social life (December 29, 2010) -- Scientists have discovered that the amygdala, a small almond shaped structure deep within the temporal lobe, is important to a rich and varied social life among humans. ... > full story

Gene alteration in mice mimics heart-building effect of exercise (December 29, 2010) -- By tweaking a single gene, scientists have mimicked in sedentary mice the heart-strengthening effects of two weeks of endurance training, according to new research. The specific gene manipulation can't be done in humans, they say, but the findings may suggest a future strategy for repairing injured hearts through muscle regeneration. ... > full story

Protein helps parasite, toxoplasma gondii, survive in host cells (December 29, 2010) -- Researchers have learned why changes in a single gene, ROP18, contribute substantially to dangerous forms of the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. The answer has likely moved science a step closer to new ways to beat Toxoplasma and many other parasites. ... > full story

Food in early life affects fertility, study suggests (December 29, 2010) -- The reproductive success of men and women is influenced by the food they receive at an early stage in life, according to new research. ... > full story

Doctors on Facebook risk compromising doctor-patient relationship, study suggests (December 29, 2010) -- Doctors with a profile on the social networking site Facebook may be compromising the doctor-patient relationship, because they don't deploy sufficient privacy settings, new research suggests. ... > full story

Key interaction in hepatitis C virus identified (December 29, 2010) -- Scientists have identified a molecular interaction between a structural hepatitis C virus protein and a protein critical to viral replication. This new finding strongly suggests a novel method of inhibiting the production of the virus and a potential new therapeutic target for hepatitis C drug development. ... > full story

Activity of certain stem cell genes linked with worse outcomes in acute myeloid leukemia patients (December 29, 2010) -- Leukemia patients whose cancers express higher levels of genes associated with cancer stem cells have a significantly poorer prognosis than patients with lower levels of the genes, according to new research. ... > full story

Many cancer cells found to have an 'eat me' signal (December 29, 2010) -- Researchers have discovered that many cancer cells carry the seeds of their own destruction -- a protein on the cell surface that signals circulating immune cells to engulf and digest them. On cancer cells, this "eat me" signal is counteracted by a separate "don't eat me" signal that was described in an earlier study. ... > full story

Virus previously linked to chronic fatigue syndrome was a lab contaminant, not cause of disease, new study shows (December 29, 2010) -- A virus previously thought to be associated with chronic fatigue syndrome is not the cause of the disease, a detailed study has shown. The research shows that cell samples used in previous research were contaminated with the virus identified as XMRV and that XMRV is present in the mouse genome. ... > full story

Quitting menthol cigarettes may be harder for some smokers (December 29, 2010) -- Menthol cigarettes may be harder to quit, particularly for some teens and African-Americans, who have the highest menthol cigarette use, according to a new study. ... > full story

New clues uncover how 'starvation hormone' works (December 28, 2010) -- Researchers may solve a 17-year-old mystery about how the so-called "starvation hormone" affects multiple biological systems, including preventing insulin sensitivity and promoting cell survival. ... > full story

Malaria-infected cells stiffen, block blood flow (December 28, 2010) -- Researchers have completed the first modeling, followed by experiments, of how red blood cells are infected by a malarial parasite that attacks the brain. The researchers report that infected cells stiffen by as much as 50 times more than healthy cells. Infected cells also tend to stick along blood vessel walls, impeding the flow of blood to critical organs. ... > full story

Exposure to North Dakota road material may increase risk of lung cancer (December 28, 2010) -- New data shows that people exposed to the mineral erionite found in the gravel of road materials in North Dakota may be at significantly increased risk of developing mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer most often associated with asbestos exposure. ... > full story

Newborns with low vitamin D levels at increased risk for respiratory infections (December 28, 2010) -- The vitamin D levels of newborn babies appear to predict their risk of respiratory infections during infancy and the occurrence of wheezing during early childhood, but not the risk of developing asthma. ... > full story

High red blood cell folate levels linked to silenced tumor-suppressors (December 28, 2010) -- A study of 781 people enrolled in a colorectal cancer prevention clinical trial finds that elevated levels of red blood cell folate is associated with the deactivation of two anti-cancer genes known to be silenced in colorectal cancer. ... > full story

Psychologists find skill in recognizing faces peaks after age 30 (December 28, 2010) -- Scientists have made the surprising discovery that our ability to recognize and remember faces peaks at age 30 to 34, about a decade later than most of our other mental abilities. ... > full story

Not all infant formulas are alike: Differential effects on weight gain (December 28, 2010) -- New findings reveal that weight gain of formula-fed infants is influenced by the type of formula the infant is consuming. The findings highlight the need to understand the long-term influences of infant formula composition on feeding behavior, growth and metabolic health. ... > full story

Some brain tumors mimic the genetic program of germline cells (December 28, 2010) -- Scientists have discovered that some brain tumors in larvae of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster use the genetic program of germline cells to grow. The removal of some of these genes leads to healthy brains. This finding demonstrates that these genes are crucial for tumor development. ... > full story

Features of the metabolic syndrome common in persons with psoriasis (December 28, 2010) -- Individuals with psoriasis have a high prevalence of the metabolic syndrome, according to a new study. ... > full story

Prayer can help people handle difficult emotions, study suggests (December 28, 2010) -- Those who choose to pray find personalized comfort during hard times, according to a sociologist. The 75 percent of Americans who pray on a weekly basis do so to manage a range of negative situations and emotions -- illness, sadness, trauma and anger -- but just how they find relief has gone unconsidered by researchers. ... > full story

Structure of key molecule in immune system provides clues for designing drugs (December 28, 2010) -- A research team has deciphered a key step in an evolutionarily old branch of the immune response. This system, called complement, comprises a network of proteins that "complement" the work of antibodies in destroying foreign invaders. Complement proteins mark both bacterial and dying host cells for elimination by the body's cellular cleanup services and have been implicated in at least 30 diseases. The findings provide a molecular scaffold for designing novel drug therapeutics. ... > full story

New study upends thinking about how liver disease develops (December 28, 2010) -- In the latest of a series of related papers, researchers present a new and more definitive explanation of how fibrotic cells form, multiply and eventually destroy the human liver, resulting in cirrhosis. In doing so, the findings upend the standing of a long-presumed marker for multiple fibrotic diseases and reveal the existence of a previously unknown kind of inflammatory white blood cell. ... > full story

New cell biological mechanism that regulates protein stability in cells uncovered (December 28, 2010) -- The cell signaling pathway known as Wnt, commonly activated in cancers, causes internal membranes within a healthy cell to imprison an enzyme that is vital in degrading proteins, preventing the enzyme from doing its job and affecting the stability of many proteins within the cell, researchers have found. ... > full story

Outcomes after recurrence of oral cancer vary by timing, site (December 28, 2010) -- Patients who have recurrence of oral squamous cell carcinoma tend to do worse if the new cancer appears at the same site early or if it appears in the lymph nodes six months or longer after initial treatment, according to a new study. ... > full story

Bonding with newborn baby: Once upon a time in the Intensive Care Unit ... (December 28, 2010) -- The first few days after birth is an important time when babies learn to recognize the sound of their parents' voice and the parents in turn bond with their children. However, the separation between parents and newborns admitted to the NICU can disrupt the early development of this relationship. Innovative research suggests reading to newborns in the NICU allows parents to feel closer to their babies during this difficult period. ... > full story

Human immune system has emergency backup plan (December 27, 2010) -- New research reveals that the immune system has an effective backup plan to protect the body from infection when the "master regulator" of the body's innate immune system fails. ... > full story

Platinum and blue light combine to combat cancer (December 27, 2010) -- When it comes to health care blue lights, are usually most useful on the top of ambulances but now new research has found a way to use blue light to activate what could be a highly potent platinum-based cancer treatment. ... > full story

A new surgical tool -- the IKEA pencil (December 27, 2010) -- IKEA pencils are better at marking out cuts in the bone for facial and head surgery than traditional felt tipped pens, say two surgeons. ... > full story

Genetic variant that can lead to severe impulsivity identified (December 27, 2010) -- Scientists have found that a genetic variant of a brain receptor molecule may contribute to violently impulsive behavior when people who carry it are under the influence of alcohol. ... > full story

Compound that prevents the growth of prostate cancer cells identified (December 27, 2010) -- Researchers have demonstrated that an antibiotic called "monensin" prevents the growth of prostate cancer cells. Monensin is used in the meat and dairy industry, for example. ... > full story

Supercomputing research opens doors for drug discovery (December 27, 2010) -- A quicker and cheaper technique to scan molecular databases could put scientists on the fast track to developing new drug treatments. ... > full story

Study identifies genetic mutations associated with tumor of adrenal gland (December 27, 2010) -- Analysis has identified variations of a gene that are associated with a type of tumor that forms within the adrenal gland, according a new study. The age group in which these variations were found are frequently excluded from genetic screening models for this type of tumor. ... > full story

Electronic medical records not always linked to better care in hospitals, study finds (December 27, 2010) -- Use of electronic health records by hospitals across the United States has had only a limited effect on improving the quality of medical care, according to a new study. ... > full story

Learning to read the genome: Most detailed annotation of fruit-fly genome points way to understanding all organisms' genomes (December 27, 2010) -- Scientists have recently made major advances in understanding the complex relationships between the Drosophila genome, as recorded by DNA and RNA base pairs, and the patterns and physical organization of its chromosomes. These insights into reading the genome will apply to many organisms, including human beings. ... > full story

Protein targeted to stop melanoma tumor growth (December 27, 2010) -- Halting the growth of melanoma tumors by targeting the MIC-1 protein that promotes blood vessel development in tumors may lead to better treatment of this invasive and deadly cancer, according to new research. ... > full story

Circulating tumor cells predicted recurrence, death in patients with early-stage breast cancer (December 27, 2010) -- The presence of one to four circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the blood of early-stage breast cancer patients almost doubled patient's risk of cancer relapse and death, and five or more CTCs increased recurrence by 400 percent and death by 300 percent, according to Phase III results of the SUCCESS trial. These cells were found in patients after surgery but before chemotherapy treatment. ... > full story

Treating women’s depression might help them lose weight (December 27, 2010) -- For many women coping with obesity and depression, new research finds that improving your mood might be the link to losing weight. ... > full story

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