Jumat, 31 Desember 2010

ScienceDaily Health Headlines

for Friday, December 31, 2010

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What makes a face look alive? Study says it's in the eyes (December 31, 2010) -- The face of a doll is clearly not human; the face of a human clearly is. Telling the difference allows us to pay attention to living things, which are capable of interacting with us. But where is the line at which a face appears to be alive? A new study finds that a face has to be quite similar to a human face to appear alive, and that the cues are mainly in the eyes. ... > full story

Risk for alcoholism linked to risk for obesity (December 31, 2010) -- Addiction researchers have found that a risk for alcoholism also may put individuals at risk for obesity, and the association between a family history of alcoholism and obesity risk has become more pronounced in recent years. ... > full story

Expansion of HIV screening cost-effective in reducing spread of AIDS, study shows (December 31, 2010) -- An expanded US program of HIV screening and treatment could prevent as many as 212,000 new infections over the next 20 years and prove to be very cost-effective, according to a new study. ... > full story

George Clooney Effect? High-earning women want older, more attractive partners, research finds (December 31, 2010) -- Psychologists have found that George Clooney may be even luckier than previously thought. New research has discovered that as women become more financially independent, they want an older, more attractive male partner. ... > full story

Your genome in minutes: New technology could slash sequencing time (December 31, 2010) -- Scientists are developing technology that could ultimately sequence a person's genome in mere minutes, at a fraction of the cost of current commercial techniques. ... > full story

New test for major killer of lung transplant patients: High stem cell count after transplant predicts debilitating syndrome (December 31, 2010) -- A lung transplant can mean a new chance at life. But many who receive one develop a debilitating, fatal condition that causes scar tissue to build up in the lungs and chokes off the ability to breathe. Researchers hope a new diagnostic tool they developed to predict bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome will allow doctors to intervene earlier and, ultimately, to provide life-saving treatments. ... > full story

Why does dialysis fail? (December 31, 2010) -- A protein implicated in the development of vascular diseases may also contribute to the failure of arteriovenous (AV) fistulas created for vascular access in dialysis patients, according to a new study. ... > full story

Depressed smokers less likely to stay tobacco free (December 31, 2010) -- Depressed smokers want to quit the nicotine habit just as much as non-depressed smokers, but a new study suggests that depression can put a kink in their success. ... > full story

Gene protects against dementia in high-risk individuals, study finds (December 30, 2010) -- Neuroscientists had assumed that a mutation in the progranulin gene, which makes the progranulin protein and supports brain neurons, was sufficient to produce a kind of dementia known as frontotemporal lobar degeneration. But now an international team of scientists has found another genetic factor they say appears to protect against the disorder in progranulin mutation carriers. ... > full story

New imaging advance illuminates immune response in breathing lung (December 30, 2010) -- In a recent study in mice, researchers developed a method to stabilize living lung tissue for imaging without disrupting the normal function of the organ. The method allowed the team to observe, for the first time, both the live interaction of living cells in the context of their environment and the unfolding of events in the immune response to lung injury. ... > full story

Trace amounts of microbe-killing molecules predict chronic granulomatous disease survival (December 30, 2010) -- Investigators have observed that the survival rate of people with a rare immunodeficiency disease called chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) is greatly improved when even very low levels of microbe-killing molecules are present. Because production of these molecules, made by an enzyme called NADPH oxidase, can be predicted from genetic analysis, a patient's risk for severe CGD could be assessed very early in life, allowing for more personalized treatment, say the researchers. ... > full story

Visual skills required for independence are impaired in children with autism, research finds (December 30, 2010) -- The ability to find shoes in the bedroom, apples in a supermarket, or a favorite animal at the zoo is impaired among children with autism, according to new research from the UK. They are unable to search effectively for objects in real-life situations -- a skill that is essential for achieving independence in adulthood. ... > full story

Bacteria provide example of one of nature's first immune systems, research shows (December 30, 2010) -- Scientists are uncovering the secrets of one of nature's most primitive immune systems through studying how bacteria incorporate foreign DNA from invading viruses into their own regulatory processes. ... > full story

Link between light signal and circadian rhythms pinpointed (December 30, 2010) -- Scientists have taken an important step in understanding the underlying molecular signals that influence a broad array of biological processes ranging from the sleep-wake cycle to cancer growth and development. ... > full story

Indoor plant intervention: New answers for health care design? (December 30, 2010) -- Could a plant "intervention" improve the well-being of patients in a difficult rehab process? Scientists have found that patients' overall physical and mental health improved during the program, but the presence of new plants did not increase the degree of improvement. However, pulmonary patients in the "plant intervention group" reported a larger increase in well-being during their rehabilitation program more often than lung patients from the "no-plant" control group. ... > full story

New regulator plays critical role in development B cells (December 30, 2010) -- Researchers have identified a new regulator playing a critical role in the development B cells, which produce antibodies -- a transcription factor called Miz-1, which is needed for the proper development and maturation of B cells in the bone marrow. ... > full story

Wake up, Mom: Gender differences in accepting sleep interruptions (December 30, 2010) -- Working mothers are two-and-a-half times as likely as working fathers to interrupt their sleep to take care of others. ... > full story

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

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