Rabu, 23 Februari 2011

ScienceDaily Health Headlines

for Wednesday, February 23, 2011

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Using EEGs to diagnose autism spectrum disorders in infants: Machine-learning system finds differences in brain connectivity (February 23, 2011) -- A computational physicist and a cognitive neuroscientist have come up with the beginnings of a noninvasive test to evaluate an infant's autism risk. ... > full story

Huntington's disease advance: Overactive protein triggers a chain reaction that causes brain nerve cells to die (February 23, 2011) -- A major leap forward in understanding Huntington's disease may give patients hope for a cure. Laboratory tests on skin cells and post-mortem brain tissue of Huntington's disease patients determined that an overactive protein triggers a chain reaction that causes brain nerve cells to die. Toning down the activity of that protein, known as DRP1, prevented the chain reaction and kept those cells alive. ... > full story

Cancer-causing virus exploits key cell-survival proteins (February 23, 2011) -- The human T-lymphotropic virus type 1, a cancer-causing retrovirus, exploits key proteins in host cells to extend the life of those cells, thereby prolonging its own survival and ability to spread, according to a new study. The virus, which causes adult T-cell leukemia and lymphoma, produces a protein called p30 that targets two important cell proteins, one involved in DNA damage repair, the other involved in the destruction of proteins within the cell. ... > full story

Immune system: What do natural (born) killers really do? (February 23, 2011) -- Our immune systems contain three fundamentally different types of cell: B-cells, T-cells and the mysteriously named Natural Killer cells (NK cells), which are known to be involved in killing tumor cells and other infected cells. Experiments to investigate the function of NK cells have proven difficult to interpret because the interactions between the various components of the immune system make it almost impossible to isolate effects of individual cell types. This has changed with the development of a mouse in which individual genes can be knocked out (eliminated) only in NK cells, thereby providing scientists with a tool to study the importance of NK cells and indeed of individual pathways in these cells. ... > full story

Old folk remedy revived: How tansy may be a treatment for herpes (February 23, 2011) -- For centuries, tansy has been used as a folk remedy, but now scientists from Britain and Spain believe the plant may have medical benefits after all, as a treatment for herpes. The team's findings are the result of joint work between two teams to established scientific evidence for traditional medicines. ... > full story

Proteins find their way with address label and guide (February 23, 2011) -- Most newly produced proteins in a cell need to be transported to the proper place before they can be put to work. For proteins to find their way, they have a built-in signal linked to them, a kind of address label. Moreover, they are helped by a particle that guides them to the cell membrane. In a new study, researchers in Sweden show how this interaction works. ... > full story

National anti-drug campaign in US succeeds in lowering marijuana use, study suggests (February 23, 2011) -- The federal anti-drug campaign "Above the Influence" appears to have effectively reduced marijuana use by teenagers, new research shows. A study of more than 3,000 students in 20 communities nationwide found that by the end of 8th grade, 12 percent of those who had not reported having seen the campaign took up marijuana use compared to only 8 percent among students who had reported familiarity with the campaign. ... > full story

Screening mammograms catch second breast cancers early, study finds (February 22, 2011) -- More women are surviving longer after having early-stage breast cancer, but they are at risk of developing breast cancer again. Annual screening mammography has long been standard for these women, but only scant evidence on screening outcomes supported this practice. In the Feb. 23, 2011 JAMA, the most comprehensive relevant study to date shows yearly mammograms do detect second breast cancers early. The Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium study examined 12 years of information. ... > full story

Long-term use of osteoporosis medication associated with increased risk of atypical fractures (February 22, 2011) -- Older women who used bisphosphonates (medications that prevent loss of bone mass) for five years or more were more likely to experience "atypical" fractures involving the femoral shaft or subtrochanteric, compared to women with less usage. However, the absolute risk of these "atypical" fractures was low and bisphosphonate use was associated with a reduced risk of typical osteoporotic fractures, according to a new study. ... > full story

Stresses of unemployed spouse can hurt job performance of other spouse, says study (February 22, 2011) -- Ignoring the stresses of an unemployed spouse's job search does not bode well for the employed spouse's job productivity or home life, a new study finds. ... > full story

Brains of blind people reading in Braille show activity in same area that lights up when sighted readers read (February 22, 2011) -- The portion of the brain responsible for visual reading doesn't require vision at all. Brain imaging studies of blind people as they read words in Braille show activity in precisely the same part of the brain that lights up when sighted readers read. The findings challenge the textbook notion that the brain is divided up into regions that are specialized for processing information coming in via one sense or another, the researchers say. ... > full story

Compound used to block cholesterol could also kill breast cancer cells, study suggests (February 22, 2011) -- Researchers believe there could be a new drug compound that could kill breast cancer cells. The compound might also help with controlling cholesterol. ... > full story

Erg gene key to blood stem cell 'self-renewal' (February 22, 2011) -- Scientists have begun to unravel how blood stem cells regenerate themselves, identifying a key gene required for the process. The discovery that the Erg gene is vitally important to blood stem cells' unique ability to self-renew could give scientists new opportunities to use blood stem cells for tissue repair, transplantation and other therapeutic applications. ... > full story

Drinking water: Nanomembranes could filter bacteria (February 22, 2011) -- Nanomaterials research could lead to new solutions for an age-old public health problem: how to separate bacteria from drinking water. ... > full story

Gender gap: Selection bias snubs scholarly achievements of female scientists, study suggests (February 22, 2011) -- When it comes to scholarly awards, female scientists face sexism, according to a new analysis, by a sociologist. New research found women win service or teaching awards in proportion to their numbers in the Ph.D. pool for their discipline. But far fewer of that number win scholarly awards. ... > full story

Nanoparticles increase survival after blood loss, study suggests (February 22, 2011) -- In an advance that could improve battlefield and trauma care, scientists have used tiny particles called nanoparticles to improve survival after life-threatening blood loss. Nanoparticles containing nitric oxide were infused into the bloodstream of hamsters, where they helped maintain blood circulation and protect vital organs. ... > full story

Antibody-directed chemotherapy offers improved survival for some leukemia patients (February 22, 2011) -- Antibody-directed chemotherapy offers improved survival to particular sub-groups of leukemia sufferers, a new study has found. ... > full story

Crying baby draws blunted response in depressed mom's brain (February 22, 2011) -- Mothers who are depressed respond differently to their crying babies than do non-depressed moms. In fact, their reaction, according to brain scans, is much more muted than the robust brain activity in non-depressed moms. ... > full story

Unraveling how prion proteins move along axons in the brain (February 22, 2011) -- Researchers have identified the motors that move non-infectious prion proteins -- found within many mammalian cells -- up and down long, neuronal transport pathways. Identifying normal movement mechanisms of PrPC may help researchers understand the spread of infectious prions within and between neurons to reach the brain, and aid in development of therapies to halt the transport. ... > full story

What a rat can tell us about touch (February 22, 2011) -- One scientist uses the rat whisker system as a model to understand how the brain seamlessly integrates the sense of touch with movement. ... > full story

Increasing triglyceride levels linked to greater stroke risk; Study finds higher cholesterol levels only increase risk of stroke in men (February 22, 2011) -- A study by researchers in Denmark reveals that increasing levels of non-fasting triglycerides are associated with an increased risk of ischemic stroke in men and women. Higher cholesterol levels were associated with greater stroke risk in men only. ... > full story

Simple spit and blood tests might detect burnout before it happens (February 22, 2011) -- Your blood and the level of a hormone in your spit could reveal if you're on the point of burnout, according to new research. ... > full story

High cholesterol and blood pressure in middle age tied to early memory problems (February 22, 2011) -- Middle-age men and women who have cardiovascular issues, such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure, may not only be at risk for heart disease, but for an increased risk of developing early cognitive and memory problems as well, according to a new study. ... > full story

How disordered proteins spread from cell to cell, potentially spreading disease (February 22, 2011) -- Misfolded proteins can get into cells and form large aggregates by recruiting normal proteins. These aggregates are associated with neurodegenerative diseases. A new study finds that the protein linked to Huntington's can spread from one cell to another. The research may explain how these diseases spread through our brains, an understanding that might lead to the development of drugs to target the misfolded proteins. ... > full story

Reprogrammed stem cells hit a roadblock: Reprogramming cells leads to genomic aberrations (February 22, 2011) -- Is there a future for stem cell therapies that don't use embryonic stem cells? An international study has raised doubts, by showing that "reprogramming" adult stem cells leads to genetic aberrations. ... > full story

Pollution with antibiotics leads to resistant bacteria, scientists find (February 22, 2011) -- Many of the substances in our most common medicines are manufactured in India. Some of these factories release huge quantities of drugs to the environment. Swedish scientists now show that bacteria in polluted rivers become resistant to a range of antibiotics. International experts fear that this may contribute to the development of untreatable infectious diseases worldwide. ... > full story

When fingers start tapping, the music must be striking a chord (February 22, 2011) -- According to a psychologist, understanding how people follow a musical beat could be revealing how children master one of the most complex tasks of all -- speech. Earlier research showed that adults who stutter have problems in acquiring new and unusual tapping sequences and not just speech. The research suggests an underlying neural basis for the motor deficit. ... > full story

Cancer-related pathways reveal potential treatment target for congenital heart disease (February 22, 2011) -- Cross-disciplinary teams of scientists studying genetic pathways that are mutated in many forms of cancer, but which also cause certain forms of congenital heart disease -- including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a thickening of the heart muscle that is the leading cause of sudden death in children and young adults, have introduced these mutations into mice and successfully treated HCM in the lab. ... > full story

Bone-anchored hearing aids appear beneficial for hearing-impaired children (February 22, 2011) -- Bone-anchored hearing aids appear helpful in improving hearing and quality of life in children with hearing loss in one or both ears, according to a new study. ... > full story

Who can drive after a stroke? Tests can help decide (February 22, 2011) -- Many people want to keep driving after having a stroke, and many can do so safely. Simple tests in the office can help doctors determine who is more likely to be a safe driver after a stroke, according to new research. ... > full story

Careful cleaning of children's skin wounds key to healing, regardless of antibiotic choice (February 22, 2011) -- When it comes to curing skin infected with the antibiotic-resistant bacterium MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), timely and proper wound cleaning and draining may be more important than the choice of antibiotic, according to a new study. ... > full story

Antifungal compound found on tropical seaweed has promising antimalarial properties (February 22, 2011) -- A group of chemical compounds used by a species of tropical seaweed to ward off fungus attacks may have promising antimalarial properties for humans. The compounds are part of a unique chemical signaling system that seaweeds use to battle enemies -- and that may provide a wealth of potential new pharmaceutical compounds. ... > full story

Hearing impairment common, perhaps preventable, chronic disease among middle-aged adults (February 22, 2011) -- Several factors may be associated with hearing impairment in middle-aged adults, including cardiovascular disease risks, being male and having a noisy job, according to new study. ... > full story

Practice more important than child's age in learning to use computer mouse (February 22, 2011) -- Children as young as five years old can learn how to use a computer mouse, new research suggests. While age is an important component in determining how well a child controls a mouse, the study also found that how frequently a child practices may be even more important. ... > full story

Gastric bypass surgery associated with improved health outcomes, studies find (February 22, 2011) -- Gastric bypass surgery appears to lead to better long-term results including greater weight loss, resolution of diabetes and improved quality of life compared with sleeve gastrectomy and "lap-band" surgery, according to two new studies. ... > full story

Surgery sooner rather than later better for children with perforated appendicitis (February 22, 2011) -- For children with a perforated appendix, early appendectomy appears to reduce the time away from normal activities and has fewer adverse events as compared to another common option, the interval appendectomy, which is performed several weeks after diagnosis, according to a new study. ... > full story

Famed neurosurgeon's century-old notes reveal 'modern' style admission of medical error (February 22, 2011) -- The current focus on medical errors isn't quite as new as it seems. A new review of groundbreaking neurosurgeon Harvey Cushing's notes, made at the turn of the last century, has turned up copious documentation of his own surgical mishaps as well as his suggestions for preventing those mistakes in the future. ... > full story

Struggling to follow doctor's orders: Paid caregivers may lack the skills to take on health-related tasks in senior's homes (February 22, 2011) -- Paid caregivers make it possible for seniors to remain living in their homes, but a new study found that more than one-third of caregivers had difficulty reading and understanding health-related information and directions. Sixty percent made errors when sorting medications into pillboxes. ... > full story

Capacity of developing country NRAs key to accelerated introduction of upcoming dengue vaccines (February 22, 2011) -- At least one dengue vaccine could be licensed within the next 4 years, as manufacturers are speeding up the development process for multiple dengue vaccine candidates in collaboration with health authorities and developing countries to expedite the necessary testing, clinical trial design, and licensure, a team of leading scientists said. ... > full story

New face of sleeping sickness epidemiology highlights need for new tools (February 22, 2011) -- Recent developments have rekindled hopes of eliminating human African trypanosomiasis, more familiarly known as sleeping sickness, as a public health problem in those areas of sub-Saharan Africa where the disease is endemic. ... > full story

E-health must be a priority, Canadian researchers say; System would bolster chronic disease management and improve access to care (February 22, 2011) -- An e-health record system should be the backbone of health care reform in Canada and more must be done to speed up the implementation of this initiative across the country. Furthermore for this system to be put in place effectively, doctors and front line health care workers and administrators must be encouraged to play a more active role. These are the findings of an innovative new study assessing the effectiveness Canada Health Infoway's e-health plan. ... > full story

Anti-clotting agent does not improve outcomes of patients with severe pneumonia, study suggests (February 22, 2011) -- Use of the blood clot-inhibiting medication tifacogin does not appear to improve outcomes of patients with severe community-acquired pneumonia (sCAP), according to a new study. The drug had shown some potential benefit in the sCAP subgroup of an earlier trial involving sepsis patients. ... > full story

Racial and ethnic minority adolescents less likely to receive treatment for major depression, study finds (February 22, 2011) -- Adolescence can herald the onset of major depression and the associated short- and long-term consequences including developmental and social impairment. Research that focuses on access to treatment for adolescents with depression can shine a bright light on the persistent disparities based on race and ethnicity. Unfortunately such research reinforces the fact that equitable mental health care across all individuals and communities has yet to be achieved. ... > full story

Healthcare disparities seen in epilepsy patients with low socioeconomic status (February 22, 2011) -- A newly published report reveals patients with epilepsy and low socioeconomic status (SES) are more likely to have uncontrolled seizures, drug-related side effects, and a lower overall quality of life. The study also indicates that low SES patients used the hospital emergency room more often and had more visits to a general practitioner than epileptic patients at higher socioeconomic levels. ... > full story

Statins may prevent diabetic-related blindness, study suggests (February 21, 2011) -- New research has found that a statin drug that is often known by the brand-name Lipitor may help prevent blindness in people with diabetes. ... > full story

Brain-machine interfaces make gains by learning about their users, letting them rest, and allowing for multitasking (February 21, 2011) -- You may have heard of virtual keyboards controlled by thought, brain-powered wheelchairs, and neuro-prosthetic limbs. But powering these machines can be downright tiring, a fact that prevents the technology from being of much use to people with disabilities, among others. Researchers in Switzerland have a solution: engineer the system so that it learns about its user, allows for periods of rest, and even multitasking. ... > full story

Enzyme helps prepare lung tissue for metastatic development (February 21, 2011) -- Scientists have identified a new role for an important enzyme in preparing lung tissue for the development of metastases. Their report describes how focal adhesion kinase is involved in producing areas of vascular leakiness in lung tissue -- known to be part of the premetastatic process -- and increases expression of a molecule that attracts cancer cells to potential metastatic sites. ... > full story

Better way to diagnose pneumonia (February 21, 2011) -- Researchers have created a new sampling device that could prevent thousands of people worldwide from dying of pneumonia each year. ... > full story

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