Kamis, 10 Februari 2011

ScienceDaily Health Headlines

for Thursday, February 10, 2011

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'Gene desert' on chromosome 9 is hotspot for coronary artery disease risk (February 10, 2011) -- The discovery that a "gene desert" on chromosome 9 was a hotspot for coronary artery disease risk was among the highlights of findings produced recently by genome-wide association studies, which compare the genomes of many people for genetic variations and have been broadly used in the past few years to study hundreds of diseases and complex traits. Gene deserts are large genomic segments devoid of genes. Now scientists have developed a novel approach to detect long-distance chromosomal interactions and have applied this method to the chromosome 9 gene desert, revealing that the association results from an altered inflammatory signaling response in individuals with increased CAD risk. ... > full story

Advanced macular degeneration is associated with an increased risk of bleeding stroke, study finds (February 10, 2011) -- In the first study to examine stroke subtypes in age-related macular degeneration (AMD), older people with late-stage AMD appear to be at increased risk of bleeding stroke, but not a stroke caused by a blood clot in the brain. However the findings are preliminary and earlier stage AMD was not linked with any type of stroke. ... > full story

Key to better health care may be a walk in the park (February 10, 2011) -- The payoff for investing in public parks and recreation sites may be healthier, more physically fit residents and a less strained health-care system, according to researchers. ... > full story

New technology in human trials to spot cardiac disease, cancer, drug abuse: Diagnostic chip may help hearts, cut costs (February 10, 2011) -- Heart disease is a silent killer, but new microchip technology is expected to advance the art of diagnosis. ... > full story

Everolimus improves progression-free survival for patients with rare pancreatic cancer, study finds (February 10, 2011) -- In an international Phase III randomized study, everolimus, an inhibitor of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), has shown to dramatically improve progression-free survival for patients with advanced pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (pNET), according to researchers. ... > full story

Stroke in Mexican-Americans expected to rise 350 percent in next 40 years (February 10, 2011) -- Strokes among Mexican-Americans are expected to rise 350 percent from 2010 to 2050, according to new research. Strokes among non-Hispanic whites are expected to rise 75 percent from 2010 to 2050. ... > full story

Fetal surgery takes a huge step forward in treating children with spina bifida (February 9, 2011) -- Performing delicate surgery in the womb, months before birth, can substantially improve outcomes for children with a common, disabling birth defect of the spine. A new landmark study shows that fetal surgery for spina bifida greatly reduces the need to divert fluid from the brain, improves mobility and improves the chances that a child will be able to walk independently. ... > full story

How omega-3 fatty acids help prevent several forms of blindness (February 9, 2011) -- New research reveals exactly how omega-3 fatty acids work in preventing several forms of blindness. ... > full story

Poorer patients have more severe ischemic strokes, study indicates (February 9, 2011) -- Poorer patients have more severe ischemic strokes, or strokes resulting from blockages in blood vessels in the brain, according to new research. ... > full story

Public sector research responsible for many new drug discoveries, researchers find (February 9, 2011) -- New research shows that public-sector research has had a more immediate effect on improving public health than was previously realized. ... > full story

Microsponges from seaweed may save lives (February 9, 2011) -- Microsponges derived from seaweed may help diagnose heart disease, cancers, HIV and other diseases quickly and at far lower cost than current clinical methods. ... > full story

Stockpiled avian flu vaccine could protect against potential pandemic (February 9, 2011) -- A stockpiled vaccine designed to fight a strain of avian flu that circulated in 2004 can be combined with a vaccine that matches the current strain of bird flu to protect against a potential pandemic, researchers have found. The findings suggest public health officials can get a jump on fighting a pandemic caused by avian flu virus because they won't have to wait for a vaccine that exactly matches the current strain of bird flu to be manufactured. ... > full story

Toward a fast, simple test for detecting cholera rampaging in 40 countries (February 9, 2011) -- With cholera on the rampage in Haiti and almost 40 other countries, scientists are reporting the development of a key advance that could provide a fast, simple test to detect the toxin that causes the disease. Cholera affects more than 200,000 people annually, mainly in developing countries, and causes about 5,000 deaths. Many involve infants, children, and the elderly. ... > full story

Girls' interest in computing science piqued by making video games (February 9, 2011) -- For high-school girls the fun is in making video games, not just playing them, according to a new study. Their study shows that if you want to get more females interested in computing science, you have to rewrite the program, so to speak. ... > full story

Primates' unique gene regulation mechanism: Little-understood DNA elements serve important purpose (February 9, 2011) -- Scientists have discovered a new way genes are regulated that is unique to primates. Long-known, but little-understood DNA elements serve important purpose, according to new research. The newly identified mechanism involves Alu elements, repetitive DNA elements that spread throughout the genome as primates evolved. While scientists have known about the existence of Alu elements for many years, their function, if any, was largely unknown. This unique regulatory mechanism could prove to be a valuable treatment target as researchers seek to manipulate gene expression to improve human health. ... > full story

What makes fructose fattening? Some answers found in the brain (February 9, 2011) -- New research helps explain why fructose is fattening when compared to other sweeteners. The research demonstrates that the brain -- which serves as a master control for body weight -- reacts differently to fructose compared with another common sweetener, glucose. ... > full story

Early detection of lung cancer: Protein biomarkers in exhaled air (February 9, 2011) -- The earlier cancers can be detected, the better the chances of a cure. Researchers are now working to develop a new diagnostics platform with which the illness can be diagnosed in its early stages, even during a visit to the general practitioner: protein biomarkers in exhaled air divulge the presence of pathological cells in the lung. ... > full story

Personal well-being is linked to national satisfaction, especially when times are tough (February 9, 2011) -- The country where you live can have a big impact on your life. A new study of people from 128 countries finds that the more satisfied people are with their country, the better they feel about their lives -- especially people who have low incomes or live in relatively poor countries. ... > full story

Sweeping view of prostate cancer genome yields deep insights (February 9, 2011) -- For the first time, researchers have laid bare the full genetic blueprint of multiple prostate tumors, uncovering alterations that have never before been detected and offering a deep view of the genetic missteps that underlie the disease. The work was led by researchers from the Broad Institute, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Weill Cornell Medical College and appears in the Feb. 10 issue of the journal Nature. ... > full story

Elevated levels of cardiac biomarkers following CABG surgery associated with increased risk of death (February 9, 2011) -- Patients who underwent coronary artery bypass graft surgery and had elevated levels of the cardiac enzymes creatine kinase or troponin in the 24 hours following surgery had an associated intermediate and long-term increased risk of death, according to a new study. ... > full story

Parkinson’s disease undermines language processing (February 9, 2011) -- It is becoming generally known that Parkinson's disease influences more than a patient's motor functions. Patients often also suffer from depression, fear and incontinence, for example. Researchers have now found that the disease also undermines the language processing ability. ... > full story

Dramatic improvement in Parkinson disease symptoms following intranasal delivery of stem cells to rat brains (February 9, 2011) -- Successful intranasal delivery of stem cells to the brains of rats with Parkinson disease yielded significant improvement in motor function and reversed the dopamine deficiency characteristic of the disease. The promising findings highlight the potential for a noninvasive approach to cell therapy delivery in Parkinson disease -- a safer and effective alternative to surgical transplantation of stem cells. ... > full story

New techniques for stapling peptides could spur development of drugs for cancer (February 9, 2011) -- Researchers have devised two new ways of "stapling" peptide helices to prevent these medically important molecules from losing their shape and degrading in the presence of enzymes. ... > full story

Popular students -- but not the most popular -- more likely to torment peers , study finds (February 9, 2011) -- A new study finds that popularity increases aggression among adolescents, except for those at the very top and bottom of the social hierarchy. ... > full story

Brain's 'radio stations' have much to tell scientists (February 9, 2011) -- Like listeners adjusting a high-tech radio, scientists have tuned in to precise frequencies of brain activity to unleash new insights into how the brain works. "What we've found is that the wavelength of the activity provides a third major branch of understanding brain physiology," says Eric C. Leuthardt, M.D. ... > full story

Gene protects lung from damage due to pneumonia, sepsis, trauma, transplants (February 9, 2011) -- Researchers report they have identified a gene that limits damage to the lung during acute stress from illness, trauma or transplant. ... > full story

New explanation for heart-healthy benefits of chocolate (February 9, 2011) -- In time for the chocolate-giving and chocolate-eating fest on Valentine's Day, scientists are reporting discovery of how this treat boosts the body's production of the "good" form of cholesterol that protects against heart disease. Polyphenols in chocolate rev up the activity of certain proteins, including proteins that attach to the genetic material DNA in ways that boost "good" cholesterol levels. ... > full story

Researchers predict nearly 1.3 million cancer deaths in Europe in 2011 (February 9, 2011) -- There will be nearly 1.3 million deaths from cancer in Europe in 2011, according to predictions from a new study. The estimates, which have been reached after researchers used for the first time in Europe a new mathematical model for predicting cancer mortality, show a fall in overall cancer death rates for both men and women when compared to 2007. But they also highlight some areas of concern, particularly rising rates of lung cancer in women. ... > full story

As many as three in four hospital tests not followed up after discharge, international study finds (February 9, 2011) -- Up to three quarters of hospital tests are not being followed up, suggests a systematic review of international evidence. ... > full story

Border patrol: Immune cells protect body from invaders (February 9, 2011) -- Barrier sites -- the skin, gut, lung -- limit the inner body's exposure to allergens, pollutants, viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Understanding how the immune system works in these external surfaces has implications for understanding such inflammatory diseases as asthma, psoriasis, IBD, and food allergies, all of which occur at the body's barriers. Researchers have identified an immune cell population that acts as the body's border patrol with the outside world. ... > full story

The hitch in the drug? The itch in the drug: Scientists discover clue to ending chronic itching side effect of certain drugs (February 9, 2011) -- Scratching deep beneath the surface, a team of researchers the U.S. and South Korea have identified two distinct neuronal signaling pathways activated by a topical cream used to treat a variety of skin diseases. One pathway produces the therapeutic benefit; the other induces severe itching as a side effect. ... > full story

Method to identify fleetingly ordered protein structures identified (February 9, 2011) -- Scientists have developed a novel technique to observe previously unknown details of how folded structures are formed from an intrinsically disordered protein. The insights could help scientists to better understand the mechanism of plaque formation in neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. ... > full story

Huge decline in HIV rates in Zimbabwe driven by fear of infection, says study (February 9, 2011) -- The big drop in the numbers of people infected with HIV in Zimbabwe is because of mass social change, driven by fear of infection, according to an international study. The scientists unravelling the reasons behind this unexpected downturn now reveal what they hope are the most important lessons in the fight against the disease for the rest of Africa. ... > full story

Why HIV-uninfected babies born to mothers with HIV might be more vulnerable to infections (February 9, 2011) -- Babies whose mothers have HIV, but who are not HIV-infected themselves, are born with lower levels of specific proteins in their blood called antibodies, which fight infection, compared with babies not exposed to HIV, a new study has found. The finding might explain in part why uninfected babies born to women with HIV have a higher risk of illness and death early in life. ... > full story

Second pathway for antidepressants: New fluorescent assay reveals TREK1 mechanism (February 9, 2011) -- Researchers have developed a unique cell-based fluorescent assay that enabled them to identify a means by which fluoxetine, the active ingredient in Prozac, suppresses the activity of the TREK1 potassium channel. TREK1 could be an important new target for antidepressant drugs. ... > full story

Limited lymph node removal for certain breast cancer does not appear to result in poorer survival (February 9, 2011) -- Among patients with early-stage breast cancer that had spread to a nearby lymph node and who received treatment that included lumpectomy and radiation therapy, women who just had the sentinel lymph node removed (the first lymph node to which cancer is likely to spread from the primary tumor) did not have worse survival than women who had more extensive axillary lymph node dissection (surgery to remove lymph nodes found in the armpit), according to a new study. ... > full story

Heavy drinking in older teenagers has long- and short-term consequences (February 9, 2011) -- In a systematic review of current evidence, researchers conclude that there is enough evidence to recommend that reducing drinking during late adolescence is likely to be important for preventing long-term adverse consequences of drinking, as well as protecting against more immediate harms. ... > full story

Key role proposed for pediatricians in curbing tobacco use (February 9, 2011) -- Nicotine addiction usually begins during the critical teenage years, and pediatric health-care professionals can play a prominent role in promoting a tobacco-free lifestyle among children and adolescents, as described in a new article. ... > full story

From base pairs to bedside: Charting a course for the next phase of genomics research (February 9, 2011) -- A new strategic plan from an arm of the National Institutes of Health envisions scientists being able to identify genetic bases of most single-gene disorders and gaining new insights into multi-gene disorders in the next decade. ... > full story

Ischemic stroke hospitalizations decline in middle-aged, elderly, increases in young (February 9, 2011) -- The prevalence of ischemic stroke has declined in the middle-aged and elderly, but sharply increased in children, young adults and early middle-aged people since 1994, according to an analysis. Researchers are unclear on the reasons for the increase, but said obesity and hypertension may be factors. ... > full story

Innovative iPhone app developed to carry out psychological and social research (February 9, 2011) -- An international team of researchers is developing a new way of conducting psychological and social research. Instead of bringing people into laboratories the team has launched an iPhone/iPad app that people can download for free in English, French and Dutch. ... > full story

Turning bacteria against themselves (February 8, 2011) -- Bacteria often attack with toxins designed to hijack or even kill host cells. To avoid self-destruction, bacteria have ways of protecting themselves from their own toxins. Now, researchers have described one of these protective mechanisms, potentially paving the way for new classes of antibiotics that cause the bacteria's toxins to turn on themselves. ... > full story

Generic drug may improve the effectiveness of cancer nanotherapies (February 8, 2011) -- Low doses of losartan, an FDA-approved generic hypertension medication, may improve the results of nanotherapeutic approaches to cancer treatment by modifying the network of abnormal collagen fibers that characterizes most solid tumors. ... > full story

Male cancer survivor offspring slightly higher risk of congenital birth abnormalities (February 8, 2011) -- The incidence of major congenital birth abnormalities was slightly higher in the offspring of male cancer survivors compared with children of fathers with no history of cancer, according to a new study. ... > full story

Charismatic leadership can be measured, learned, study finds (February 8, 2011) -- How do you measure charisma? Much has been written in business management textbooks and self-help guides about the role that personal charisma plays in leadership. But according to a newly published study, until recently no one was able to describe and measure charisma in a systematic way. ... > full story

Brief diversions vastly improve focus, researchers find (February 8, 2011) -- A new study overturns a decades-old theory about the nature of attention and demonstrates that even brief diversions from a task can dramatically improve one's ability to focus on that task for prolonged periods. ... > full story

Delayed-enhancement MRI may predict, prevent strokes, study shows (February 8, 2011) -- Researchers have found that delayed-enhancement magnetic resonance imaging holds promise for predicting the risks of strokes, the third leading cause of death in the US. ... > full story

Figuring out fetal alcohol syndrome in fruit flies (February 8, 2011) -- Drinking excess alcohol while pregnant can harm an unborn baby, often causing fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) or even death. FAS is the leading cause of congenital mental retardation in the Western world, resulting in severe behavioral problems and stunted growth. However, despite its harmful effects, alcohol consumption during pregnancy is common. Researchers now show that a simple experimental system -- the fruit fly -- can be used to study how alcohol causes damage during development. ... > full story

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