Kamis, 10 Maret 2011

ScienceDaily Health Headlines

for Thursday, March 10, 2011

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New form of muscular dystrophy identified: Mutation in important muscle protein causes muscle disease and cognitive impairment (March 10, 2011) -- An international collaboration and a single patient with mild muscle disease and severe cognitive impairment have allowed researchers to identify a new gene mutation that causes muscular dystrophy. Furthermore, by engineering the human gene mutation into mice, the researchers have created a new mouse model that could help screen potential drugs to treat this type of muscular dystrophy. ... > full story

New mouse models generated for MYH9 genetic disorders (March 10, 2011) -- Researchers have created the first mouse models of human MYH9 genetic disorders, which cause several problems -- including enlarged platelets and sometimes fatal kidney disease. ... > full story

Model organisms? Broadening the biological lexicon to bolster translational research (March 10, 2011) -- So-called model organisms have long been at the core of biomedical research, allowing scientists to study the ins and outs of human disorders in non-human subjects. In the ideal, such models accurately recapitulate a human disorder so that, for example, the Parkinson's disease observed in a rat model would be virtually indistinguishable from that in a human patient. The reality, of course, is that rats aren't human, and few models actually faithfully reflect the phenotype of the disease in question. Thus, in the strictest sense of the word, many "models" aren't truly models at all. To developmental biologist, this is no small matter. ... > full story

Epilepsy-linked memory losss worries more patients than doctors (March 10, 2011) -- Patients with epilepsy worry more than their physicians do about the patients' potential memory loss accompanying their seizure disorder, according to a recent study. In a survey, patients with epilepsy as a group ranked memory loss as their second-most important concern on a list of 20 potential medical or social concerns. ... > full story

High-volume portable music players may impair ability to clearly discriminate sounds (March 10, 2011) -- Listening to loud music through earphones for extended periods in noisy surroundings can cause neurophysiological changes related to clear discrimination of sounds, even if the hearing threshold is normal, new research shows. ... > full story

Novel method could improve the performance of proteins used therapeutically (March 10, 2011) -- Scientists have created a method that site-specifically modifies proteins to exert control over their properties when administered therapeutically. The technique should be useful to increase potency, slow metabolism, and improve thermal stability of therapeutically useful proteins, such as interferon alpha 2 (IFN-alpha 2), which is used to treat variety of diseases, including leukemia, melanoma, and chronic hepatitis C. ... > full story

Novel role found for calcium channels in pacemaker cell function (March 10, 2011) -- Pacemaker cells in the sinoatrial node control heart rate, but what controls the ticking of these pacemaker cells? New research reveals, for the first time, a critical functional interaction between Cav1.3 calcium ion (Ca2+) channels and ryanodine-receptor (RyR) mediated Ca2+ signaling. ... > full story

Open-source software is actually more secure for health care IT, study suggests (March 10, 2011) -- Globally the sale of health-care information systems is a multibillion dollar industry. The vast costs and frequent failed systems regularly attract media comment. However policy makers still shy away from a class of software, open source, that could address many of these problems, because of worries about the safety and security. Now new research finds that open-source software may actually be more secure than its often more expensive alternatives. ... > full story

Negative classroom environment adversely affects children's mental health (March 10, 2011) -- Children in classrooms with inadequate material resources and children whose teachers feel they are not respected by colleagues exhibit more mental health problems than students in classrooms without these issues, finds a new study. ... > full story

New biomarker for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease identified (March 9, 2011) -- Researchers have identified the first disease-specific biomarker for sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD), a universally fatal, degenerative brain disease for which there is no cure. sCJD is one of the causes of dementia and typically leads to death within a year of disease onset. ... > full story

Gene fusion mechanisms offer new clues to origin of pediatric brain tumors (March 9, 2011) -- A detailed analysis of gene fusions present at high frequency in the most common pediatric brain tumors has been performed for the first time in a study that sheds new light on how these genomic rearrangements form in the early stages of cancer. ... > full story

Giving children the power to be scientists (March 9, 2011) -- Children who are taught how to think and act like scientists develop a clearer understanding of the subject, a study has shown. ... > full story

Scientists discover anti-anxiety circuit in brain region considered the seat of fear (March 9, 2011) -- Stimulation of a distinct brain circuit that lies within a brain structure typically associated with fearfulness produces the opposite effect: Its activity, instead of triggering or increasing anxiety, counters it. ... > full story

Curbing cholesterol could help combat infections, study shows (March 9, 2011) -- Lowering cholesterol could help the body's immune system fight viral infections, researchers have found. Scientists have shown a direct link between the workings of the immune system and cholesterol levels. ... > full story

New type of secretory cell in the intestine (March 9, 2011) -- The intestinal epithelium consists of four main specialized cell lineages: absorptive enterocytes and three secretory cell types known as enteroendocrine, Paneth, and goblet cells. But a rare, fifth type of intestinal cell called tuft cells also exists. Defined by the thick brush of long microvilli that project from their apical surface, tuft cells are seen in several epithelial tissues, yet little is known about their function due to a lack of tuft cell-specific markers. ... > full story

More reasons to be nice: It's less work for everyone (March 9, 2011) -- A polite act shows respect. But a new study of a common etiquette -- holding a door for someone -- suggests that courtesy may have a more practical, though unconscious, shared motivation: to reduce the work for those involved. The new research is among the first to combine two fields of study ordinarily considered unrelated: altruism and motor control. ... > full story

Missing DNA helps make us human (March 9, 2011) -- Specific traits that distinguish humans from their closest living relatives -- chimpanzees, with whom we share 96 percent of our DNA -- can be attributed to the loss of chunks of DNA that control when and where certain genes are turned on. ... > full story

Newly identified spider toxin may help uncover novel ways of treating pain and human diseases (March 9, 2011) -- Spider venom toxins are useful tools for exploring how ion channels operate in the body. These channels control the flow of ions across cell membranes, and are key components in a wide variety of biological processes and human diseases. ... > full story

Medical microcamera the size of a grain of salt gives razor-sharp images, very inexpensively (March 9, 2011) -- There have been gloves and shavers for one-off use for a long time. In future, there will also be disposable endoscopes for minimally invasive operations on the human body. A new microcamera is what makes it possible. It is as large as a grain of salt, supplies razor-sharp pictures and can be manufactured very inexpensively. ... > full story

Blood-brain barrier damaged by Sanfilippo syndrome type B disease, mouse study suggests (March 9, 2011) -- When modeled in mice, Sanfilippo syndrome type B (MS III B), has been found to damage the blood-brain barrier, the structure responsible for protecting the brain from the entry of harmful blood-borne substances. Before this study, little was known about the integrity of the blood-brain barrier in this disease. The discovery of blood-brain barrier structural and functional impairment in MPS III B mice may have implications for disease pathogenesis and treatment. ... > full story

Passive news reports may lead readers to feel they can't find the truth (March 9, 2011) -- Passive news reporting that doesn't attempt to resolve factual disputes in politics may have detrimental effects on readers, new research suggests. The study found that people are more likely to doubt their own ability to determine the truth in politics after reading an article that simply lists competing claims without offering any idea of which side is right. ... > full story

Brain implant surgeries dramatically improve symptoms of debilitating condition (March 9, 2011) -- Implanting electrodes into a pea-sized part of the brain can dramatically improve life for people with severe cervical dystonia -- a rare but extremely debilitating condition that causes painful, twisting neck muscle spasms -- according to the results of a pilot study. ... > full story

Oral tongue cancer increasing in young, white females (March 9, 2011) -- A new study finds an increasing incidence of squamous cell carcinoma of the oral tongue in young white females in the United States over the last three decades. ... > full story

The science behind the cape: How one physiology researcher is using batman to put some POW! Into physiology studies (March 9, 2011) -- What do you have when you line up a martial artist, acrobatic gymnast, police officer, firefighter, NASCAR driver, and NFL running back? "Watson," the IBM super-computer that recently routed humanity's best on Jeopardy might have guessed the answer was "the Village People," to which host Alex Trebek could have replied, "Sorry. The answer we were looking for is 'Batman'." ... > full story

Drug stops progression of Parkinson's disease in mice; Medication turns on critical gene, protects brain cells (March 9, 2011) -- In a major breakthrough, scientists have discovered a drug that stops progression of Parkinson's disease. ... > full story

New instrument for analyzing viruses: Sensitive 'PING' device (March 9, 2011) -- Scientists in Israel and California have developed an instrument for rapidly analyzing molecular interactions that take place viruses and the cells they infect. By helping to identify interactions between proteins made by viruses like HIV and hepatitis and proteins made by the human cells these viruses infect, the device may help scientists develop new ways of disrupting these interactions and find new drugs for treating those infections. ... > full story

Why poor diet during pregnancy negatively affects offspring's long-term health (March 9, 2011) -- Poor diet during pregnancy increases offspring's vulnerability to the effects of aging, new research has shown for the first time. ... > full story

Mediterranean diet: A heart-healthy plan for life (March 9, 2011) -- The Mediterranean diet has proven beneficial effects not only regarding metabolic syndrome, but also on its individual components including waist circumference, HDL-cholesterol levels, triglycerides levels, blood pressure levels and glucose metabolism, according to a new study. The study is a meta-analysis, including results of 50 studies on the Mediterranean diet, with an overall studied population of about half a million subjects. ... > full story

ADAM-12 gene could hold key to cancer, arthritis and cardiac treatments (March 9, 2011) -- ADAM-12 is not only the name of a 1970s television police drama -- it's also the gene that researchers believe could be an important element in the fight against cancer, arthritis, and cardiac hypertrophy, or thickening of the heart's walls. ... > full story

Receiving work-related communication at home takes greater toll on women, study finds (March 9, 2011) -- Communication technologies that help people stay connected to the workplace are often seen as solutions to balancing work and family life. However, a new study suggests there may be a "dark side" to the use of these technologies for workers' health -- and these effects seem to differ for women and men. ... > full story

Chemist discovers shortcut for processing drugs (March 9, 2011) -- Highly pressurized carbon dioxide at room temperature could replace the time consuming and expensive methods currently used to manufacture certain pharmaceutical drugs, new research suggests. ... > full story

'Cross-talk' research may pave the way to understanding and controlling chronic pain (March 9, 2011) -- Researchers have discovered a "cross-talk" between two major biological pathways that involve pain -- research that may pave the way to new approaches to understanding and controlling chronic pain. ... > full story

A new stem cell enters the mix: Induced conditional self-renewing progenitor cells (March 9, 2011) -- Generated from progenitor cells, ICSP cells are easier to produce than iPS cells and show therapeutic benefit in a rodent stroke model. ... > full story

Neurologists predict more cases of stroke, dementia, Parkinson's disease and epilepsy (March 9, 2011) -- As the population ages, neurologists will be challenged by a growing population of patients with stroke, dementia, Parkinson's disease and epilepsy. ... > full story

Text messaging helps smokers break the habit: Studies demonstrate brain activity link and use a new technology to monitor smoking (March 9, 2011) -- New studies have isolated the brain regions most active in controlling urges to smoke and demonstrated the effectiveness of text-messaging to measure and intervene in those urges. ... > full story

Right-handers, but not left-handers, are biased to select their dominant hand (March 8, 2011) -- The vast majority of humans -- over 90 percent -- prefer to use their right hand for most skilled tasks. For decades, researchers have been trying to understand why this asymmetry exists. Why, with our two cerebral hemispheres and motor cortices, are we not equally skilled with both hands? ... > full story

Function of 'junk DNA' in human genes (March 8, 2011) -- Part of the answer to how and why humans differ from other primates may lie in the repetitive stretches of the genome that were once considered "junk." A new study finds that when a particular type of repetitive DNA segment, known as an Alu element, inserts into existing genes, they can alter the rate of protein production -- a mechanism that could contribute to the evolution of different biological characteristics in different species. ... > full story

Stroke survivors with irregular heartbeat may have higher risk of dementia (March 8, 2011) -- Stroke survivors who have an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation may be at higher risk of developing dementia than stroke survivors who do not have the heart condition, according to new research. ... > full story

Cleansing the soul by hurting the flesh: The guilt-reducing effect of pain (March 8, 2011) -- Lent in the Christian tradition is a time of sacrifice and penance. It also is a period of purification and enlightenment. Pain purifies. It atones for sin and cleanses the soul. Or at least that's the idea. Theological questions aside, can self-inflicted pain really alleviate the guilt associated with immoral acts? A new study explores the psychological consequences of experiencing bodily pain. ... > full story

An Alzheimer's vaccine in a nasal spray? (March 8, 2011) -- Scientists are working on a nasal vaccine that repairs vascular damage in the brain caused by stroke, restoring cognitive impairment and preventing brain tissue damage. In early pre-clinical studies, results show that it also has a prophylactic effect against many strokes associated with Alzheimer's. ... > full story

Genetic makeup and duration of abuse reduce the brain's neurons in drug addiction (March 8, 2011) -- Drug addicted individuals who have a certain genetic makeup have lower gray matter density -- and therefore fewer neurons -- in areas of the brain that are essential for decision-making, self-control, and learning and memory, a new study shows. ... > full story

Malaria’s weakest link: Class of chemotherapy drugs also kills the parasite that causes malaria (March 8, 2011) -- Researchers in Europe have discovered that a class of chemotherapy drugs originally designed to inhibit key signaling pathways in cancer cells also kills the parasite that causes malaria. The discovery could quickly open up a whole new strategy for combating this deadly disease. ... > full story

Big games, close scores lead to more auto fatalities for winning fans (March 8, 2011) -- Closely contested major sporting events are followed by a significant increase in traffic fatalities for fans of the winning team, according to new research. It turns out there may be more on the line than many sports fans bargained for. ... > full story

New weight loss discovery moves us closer to 'the Pill' for obesity (March 8, 2011) -- A discovery in mice may make a big difference in people's waistlines thanks to scientists who found that reducing the function of a transmembrane protein, called Klotho, in obese mice with high blood sugar levels produced lean mice with reduced blood sugar. This protein exists in humans, suggesting that targeting Klotho could lead to new drugs that reduce obesity and possibly type 2 diabetes. ... > full story

Key mechanism of childhood respiratory disease identified (March 8, 2011) -- Researchers have identified a critical part of the process by which one of the world's most common and dangerous early childhood infections, respiratory syncytial virus, causes disease. ... > full story

Physician's empathy directly associated with positive clinical outcomes (March 8, 2011) -- It has been thought that the quality of the physician-patient relationship is integral to positive outcomes but until now, data to confirm such beliefs has been hard to find. Researchers have now been able to quantify a relationship between physicians' empathy and their patients' positive clinical outcomes, suggesting that a physician's empathy is an important factor associated with clinical competence. ... > full story

High levels of 'good' cholesterol may cut bowel cancer risk (March 8, 2011) -- High levels of "good" (high density lipoprotein) HDL cholesterol seem to cut the risk of bowel cancer, suggests new research. ... > full story

Experts develop tool to predict course of Haiti's cholera outbreak, offer disease control strategies for immediate implementation (March 8, 2011) -- A new study outlines the path of the cholera outbreak in Haiti and identifies immediate strategies for controlling the epidemic. Control strategies are needed, as Haiti is in the midst of a cholera epidemic that has killed 4,000 people, and sickened at least 217,000 more in all of Haiti's ten geographical "departments." ... > full story

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