czwartek, 19 lutego 2015

Fwd: Science X Newsletter Wednesday, Feb 18

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---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Newsletter Phys.org <not-for-reply@physorg.com>
Date: Thu, Feb 19, 2015 at 2:45 AM
Subject: Science X Newsletter Wednesday, Feb 18
To: Pascal Alter <pascal.alter@gmail.com>


The Phys.org team would like to share a valuable resource from this month's content sponsor, COMSOL.

Gain insight into simulation-driven product development and see a live demo of COMSOL Multiphysics in this free webinar on Modeling Bio-Pharmaceutical Processes. Register here: http://goo.gl/e0ZhES

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Here is your customized Phys.org Newsletter for February 18, 2015:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

- Red light goes green: Metal-free organic sensitizers portend significant advance in artificial photosynthesis
- Scientists find strongest natural material
- Study finds increased DNA mutations in children of teenage fathers
- New paper-like material could boost electric vehicle batteries
- 'Most comprehensive map' of human epigenomes is unveiled
- Scientists announce anti-HIV agent so powerful it can work in a vaccine
- Chromosome 'bumper repair' gene predicts cancer patient outcomes
- A good night's sleep keeps your stem cells young
- Tropical fire ants traveled the world on 16th century ships
- High-powered X-ray laser unlocks mechanics of pain relief without addiction
- Simple catalyst helps to construct complex biological scaffolds
- Size matters in the battle to adapt to diverse environments and avoid extinction
- Classical nova explosions are major lithium factories in the universe
- Spacesuit woes haunt NASA ahead of crucial spacewalks
- Scientists identify mineral that destroys organic compounds, with implications for Mars Curiosity mission

Astronomy & Space news

Laser 'ruler' holds promise for hunting exoplanets

The hunt for Earth-like planets around distant stars could soon become a lot easier thanks to a technique developed by researchers in Germany.

The strange case of the missing dwarf

The new SPHERE instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope has been used to search for a brown dwarf expected to be orbiting the unusual double star V471 Tauri. SPHERE has given astronomers the best look so far at the surroundings of this intriguing object and they found—nothing. The surprising absence of this confidently predicted brown dwarf means that the conventional explanation for the odd behavior of V471 Tauri is wrong.

Classical nova explosions are major lithium factories in the universe

A team of astronomers from National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), Osaka Kyoiku University, Nagoya University, and Kyoto Sangyo University observed Nova Delphini 2013 (Figure 1, 3) which occurred on August 14, 2013. Using the 8.2-meter Subaru Telescope High Dispersion Spectrograph (HDS) to observe this object, they discovered that the outburst is producing a large amount of lithium. Lithium is a key element in the study of the chemical evolution of the universe because it likely was and is produced in several ways: through Big Bang nucleosynthesis, in collisions between energetic cosmic rays and the interstellar medium, inside stellar interiors, and as a result of novae and supernova explosions. This new observation provides the first direct evidence for the supply of Li from stellar objects to the galactic medium. The team hopes to deepen the understandings of galactic chemical evolution, given that nova explosions mus! t be important suppliers of Li in the current universe.

Scientists identify mineral that destroys organic compounds, with implications for Mars Curiosity mission

Scientists have discovered that the mineral jarosite breaks down organic compounds when it is flash-heated, with implications for Mars research.

Dark matter guides growth of supermassive black holes

Every massive galaxy has a black hole at its center, and the heftier the galaxy, the bigger its black hole. But why are the two related? After all, the black hole is millions of times smaller and less massive than its home galaxy.

For the first time, spacecraft catch a solar shockwave in the act

On Oct. 8, 2013, an explosion on the sun's surface sent a supersonic blast wave of solar wind out into space. This shockwave tore past Mercury and Venus, blitzing by the moon before streaming toward Earth. The shockwave struck a massive blow to the Earth's magnetic field, setting off a magnetized sound pulse around the planet.

Spacesuit woes haunt NASA ahead of crucial spacewalks

With three complicated spacewalks planned in the coming days, NASA is rushing to resolve a spacesuit problem linked to a 2013 emergency when water dangerously flooded a European astronaut's helmet.

NASA team develops new Ka-band communications system to break through the noise

The radio frequency band that many NASA missions use to communicate with spacecraft—S-band—is getting a bit crowded and noisy, and likely to get more jammed as science missions demand higher and higher data rates.

Unlocking the mystery of the first billion years of the universe

More than 100 million years has been wiped off the age of the first stars but there is still the question of what happened in the first billion years of the universe.

Learn all about Pluto, the most famous dwarf planet

As the New Horizons spacecraft gathers information about Pluto before and after its July 2015 close encounter, practically every day we're learning more about this dwarf planet.

Close pairing of Venus and Mars on February 20-21

Look west in twilight this Friday and Saturday (February 20th and 21st), and an unusual astronomical sight will await you.

Physicist whose work helped world see 1st moon walk dies

Physicist Ernest Sternglass, whose research helped make it possible for the world to see the first moon walk, has died at age 91 of heart failure.

Fireball! Meteor going 45,000 mph lights up Pennsylvania sky

A meteor moving at 45,000 mph lit up the sky over western Pennsylvania.

Image: Final goodbye to ESA automated transfer vehicle Georges Lemaître

Last Saturday, ESA's fifth and last Automated Transfer Vehicle, Georges Lemaître, undocked from the International Space Station at 13:40 GMT. Less than 30 hours later the spacecraft burnt up harmlessly in a controlled reentry over the Pacific Ocean, marking the end of the programme.

Medicine & Health news

'Most comprehensive map' of human epigenomes is unveiled

Two dozen scientific papers published online simultaneously on Feb. 18, 2015 present the first comprehensive maps and analyses of the epigenomes of a wide array of human cell and tissue types. Epigenomes are patterns of chemical annotations to the genome that determine whether, how, and when genes are activated.

Study finds increased DNA mutations in children of teenage fathers

A genetic study of over 24,000 parents and their children has shown that the children of teenage fathers have unexpectedly high levels of DNA mutations.

Mulling the marijuana munchies: How the brain flips the hunger switch

The "munchies," or that uncontrollable urge to eat after using marijuana, appear to be driven by neurons in the brain that are normally involved in suppressing appetite, according to a new study by Yale School of Medicine researchers in the Feb. 18 issue of the journal Nature.

New insights into 3-D genome organization and genetic variability

While genomics is the study of all of the genes in a cell or organism, epigenomics is the study of all the genomic add-ons and changes that influence gene expression but aren't encoded in the DNA sequence. A variety of new epigenomic information is now available in a collection of studies published Feb. 19 in Nature by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Roadmap Epigenomics Program. This information provides a valuable baseline for future studies of the epigenome's role in human development and disease.

Computational methods determine effectiveness of pain relievers

More than 90% of central nervous system drugs fail when they're tried in large human trials. The team at the Oxford Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain (FMRIB) hope that combining information from many brain imaging studies with their computational methods will provide a cheaper way of filtering out drugs that are not likely to work, without the need for expensive human clinical trials.

Tau-associated MAPT gene increases risk for Alzheimer's disease

An international team of scientists, led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, has identified the microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT) gene as increasing the risk for developing Alzheimer's disease (AD). The MAPT gene encodes the tau protein, which is involved with a number of neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson's disease (PD) and AD. These findings provide novel insight into Alzheimer's neurodegeneration, possibly opening the door for improved clinical diagnosis and treatment.

Study suggests how right hemisphere assists left when damaged in stroke

A new study conducted by a researcher at the George Washington University suggests that the right hemisphere of the brain may be able to assist a damaged left hemisphere in protecting visual attention after a stroke.

Fast-replicating HIV strains drive inflammation and disease progression

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) mutates very rapidly and circulates in many different strains. The strain of HIV someone is first infected with, and its capacity to replicate in the body, can have a lasting influence on how the virus disrupts the immune system, according to a study to be published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

A good night's sleep keeps your stem cells young

In a study just published in the journal Nature, scientists at the Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum Heidelberg and at the Institute for Stem Cell Technology and Experimental Medicine have uncovered that environmental stress is a major factor in driving DNA damage in adult hematopoietic stem cells.

Chromosome 'bumper repair' gene predicts cancer patient outcomes

Like a car's front and back bumpers, your cell's chromosomes are capped by "telomeres" that protect this genetic material against deterioration. Still, after enough replications, a chromosome's telomeres break down and once they reach a certain point of degradation, the cell dies. This is one reason that cells are mortal: telomeres only last so long. That is, unless the enzyme telomerase builds new material onto the worn telomeres to reinforce these chromosomal "bumpers". Telomere repair can be a good thing, but in some cases it's not: overactive telomerase can lengthen telomeres until a cell becomes immortal...leading to cancer.

Scientists announce anti-HIV agent so powerful it can work in a vaccine

In a remarkable new advance against the virus that causes AIDS, scientists from the Jupiter, Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have announced the creation of a novel drug candidate that is so potent and universally effective, it might work as part of an unconventional vaccine.

Researchers looking at genetically modified spider venom to treat erectile dysfunction

(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers working at the Catholic University of Korea has found that a protein found naturally in spider venom that can be created in the lab and tested on rats, can be effective in treating erectile dysfunction. In their paper published in the journal Urology, the team describes how they tested PnTx2-6 in several lab rats and what they found.

Autism genes activate during fetal brain development

Scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have found that mutations that cause autism in children are connected to a pathway that regulates brain development. The research, led by Lilia Iakoucheva, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry, is published in the February 18 issue of Neuron.

Development of personalized cellular therapy for brain cancer

Immune cells engineered to seek out and attack a type of deadly brain cancer were found to be both safe and effective at controlling tumor growth in mice that were treated with these modified cells, according to a study published in Science Translational Medicine by a team from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research. The results paved the way for a newly opened clinical trial for glioblastoma patients at Penn.

Popular soda ingredient poses cancer risk to consumers, new study suggests

Public health researchers have analyzed soda consumption data in order to characterize people's exposure to a potentially carcinogenic byproduct of some types of caramel color. Caramel color is a common ingredient in colas and other dark soft drinks. The results show that between 44 and 58 percent of people over the age of six typically have at least one can of soda per day, possibly more, potentially exposing them to 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI), a possible human carcinogen formed during the manufacture of some kinds of caramel color.

Napping beyond age of two linked to poorer sleep quality in young children

Napping beyond the age of 2 is linked to poorer sleep quality in young children, although the impact on behaviour and development is less clear-cut, finds an analysis of the available evidence published online in Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Protein that repels immune cells protects transplanted pancreatic islets from rejection

An approach developed by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators may provide a solution to the limitations that have kept pancreatic islet transplantation from meeting its promise as a cure for type 1 diabetes. In the March issue of the American Journal of Transplantation, the research team reports that encapsulating insulin-producing islets in gel capsules infused with a protein that repels key immune cells protected islets from attack by the recipient's immune system without the need for immunosuppressive drugs, restoring long-term blood sugar control in mouse models. The technique was effective both for islets from unrelated mice and for islets harvested from pigs.

Major study of trafficked men, women and children reveals abuse, complex health issues

The largest survey to date of the health of trafficking survivors has found high levels of abuse and serious harm associated with human trafficking. For the first time, the findings reveal severe mental and physical health problems experienced by men, women and children trafficked for forced labour and sexual exploitation in Southeast Asia. The study, published in The Lancet Global Health, also highlights frequent physical and psychological abuse and extremely hazardous living and working conditions.

Better informed women less likely to want a breast mammogram

Women who understand the risk of over-detection and over-diagnosis associated with mammography screening have lower intentions to have a breast screening test, according to a new Lancet study.

Lithuanian gets life-changing bionic arm

Martynas Girulis cannot stop moving. He forks a few potatoes onto his plate, pours himself a glass of water, drinks it through a straw, then gets right back up.

The science behind many antidepressants appears to be backwards, researchers say

The science behind many antidepressant medications appears to be backwards, say the authors of a paper that challenges the prevailing ideas about the nature of depression and some of the world's most commonly prescribed medications.

Crowdsourcing a valid option for gathering speech ratings

Crowdsourcing – where responses to a task are aggregated across a large number of individuals recruited online – can be an effective tool for rating sounds in speech disorders research, according to a study by NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

Transplant patients have high rate of cancer death

Researchers at the University of Adelaide are working to better understand how patients who receive life-saving organ transplants can be spared from dying of cancer many years later.

Simulation brings facts to measles outbreak and vaccination debate

To bring facts and clarity to the public debate about immunization in light of the recent measles outbreak, the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health today unveiled a computer simulation that explores the impact of measles outbreaks in cities across the U.S. Users can see how an outbreak would play out if their city had high or low vaccination rates.

Study shows potential new therapy for neuropathic pain

An international study led by scientists at McGill University reports, for the first time, that drugs that selectively target the melatonin MT2 receptor represent a novel class of analgesic drugs that could be used to treat patients with neuropathic pain.

Teen brain scans reveal a key to weight loss

It sounds cruel to put an already hungry teenager in an MRI scanner and show him pictures of burgers, fries, pizzas, syrupy waffles and ice cream cones.

Hidden cost of increasing drug co-payment poses a high risk

Apart from proposing a co-payment for visiting doctors, the last federal budget also contained a proposal to increase the level of co-payments for medications. The government seems to have given little attention to the effect this policy would have on the long-term health of the nation.

Researchers trial new HIV prevention method

Scientists at the University of York, in conjunction with the York Clinical Research Facility, will start the first phase of trials looking into a new way to prevent HIV transmission.

Breakthrough in the fight against blindness

A team of researchers at the IRCM led by Michel Cayouette, PhD, identified one of the genes responsible for producing a type of cell required for vision. The breakthrough, published in the scientific journal Neuron, could eventually help overcome obstacles associated with treatments to prevent blindness.

Can virtual reality help treat anxiety in older people?

Up to 25% of people aged 65 and over experience varying degrees of anxiety. Although cognitive behavioural therapy is a preferred treatment approach, it has limitations as people age (decreased mobility and visualization skills). Could virtual reality be an effective therapy for anxiety in older people? This novel therapeutic avenue for this clientele seems promising, according to a literature review conducted by the team of Sébastien Grenier, PhD, a researcher at the Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal (IUGM) and a research professor at Université de Montréal.

Immune system 'œfriendly fire' could be to blame for bowel cancer deaths

New research suggests that patients recovering from bowel cancer surgery may be at a higher risk of relapse if their blood shows an immune response to a particular protein, called carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA).

Many pregnant teens use alcohol and drugs, study finds

New research from The University of Texas at Austin suggests that many teenagers, especially younger teens, may not be getting the message about the risks of using alcohol and other drugs during pregnancy—but that having involved parents and being engaged academically can help.

Osteoarthritis patients will benefit from jumping exercise

Progressive high-impact training improved the patellar cartilage quality of the postmenopausal women who may be at risk of osteoporosis (bone loss) as well as at risk of osteoarthritis. This was found out in the study carry out in the Department of Health Sciences at University of Jyväskylä, Finland. The effects of high-impact exercise were examined on knee cartilages, osteoarthritis symptoms and physical function in postmenopausal women with mild knee osteoarthritis. The study was conducted in cooperation with the Central Finland Central Hospital and the Department of Medical Technology, Institute of Biomedicine in University of Oulu in Finland.

New growth factor indicates possible regenerative effects in Parkinson's disease

Researchers have long sought treatments that can slow the progression of Parkinson's disease. Current treatments have for decades been only symptomatic in nature, supplying the neurotransmitter dopamine, which the dying nerve cells can no longer produce. Results from a recent clinical study offer hope that future therapies could take advantage of the brain's own protective mechanisms to limit neuronal cell death and restore dopamine production to natural levels.

Identity is more than gender and sexual behavior

New Mexico is one of the most ethnically diverse states in the U.S. which is reflected at the University of New Mexico. UNM consistently strives for and receives high rankings for diversity making it what a university should be in the 21st century. While progress has been made, there is still work to be done.

Researchers describe the modular anatomical structure of the human head

A new mathematical analysis tool developed by researchers from the Theoretical Biology Group at the Cavanilles Institute of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology of the University of Valencia has allowed a deeper understanding of the anatomy of the human head thanks to describing the skull as an extended network structured in ten modules. The results of this study led by researcher Diego Rasskin Gutman have been published in the latest issue of the Scientific Reports journal, published by Nature.

Most supplement capsules don't contain what they promise

My mum and dad are troopers. Every morning, in an effort to stave off old age and dry rot, they down a tablespoon of oily, stinky fish oil. This is done without any obvious signs of distress – clearly, they are from a more stoic generation.

Genes of carcinogenic liver fluke revealed

The tiny liver fluke, Opisthorchis viverrini causes damage out of all proportion to its size. Consumed as cysts within raw fish by people in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, it causes the tropical disease, Opisthorciasis, putting its victims at risk of cancer. Despite affecting millions of people in Asia, no vaccine exists and there is only one drug available for use. Now, A*STAR researchers have sequenced its genome, shedding light on how it copes with its strange life cycle, and suggesting new approaches to treatment.

Easier access to prescription drugs puts teens at risk

When you think about substance use and teens, drugs like marijuana or Ecstasy might come to mind. But recreational prescription drug use is a significant problem. Nationally, 17.8% of high school students have used prescription drugs without a prescription in their lifetime and 7% have done so at least ten times. The most common prescription drugs adolescents misuse are narcotics like Vicodin or stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin.

Here's what happens to your brain when you give up sugar for Lent

Anyone who knows me also knows that I have a huge sweet tooth. I always have. My friend and fellow graduate student Andrew is equally afflicted, and living in Hershey, Pennsylvania – the "Chocolate Capital of the World" – doesn't help either of us.

People who believe they were "born that way" more inclined to blame God for bad behavior, researchers find

People are more likely to blame God for their bad moral behavior when they believe they were born to act that way, according to an ongoing Case Western Reserve University project on spirituality and religion.

Researchers generate a reference map of the human epigenome

The sequencing of the human genome laid the foundation for the study of genetic variation and its links to a wide range of diseases. But the genome itself is only part of the story, as genes can be switched on and off by a range of chemical modifications, known as "epigenetic marks."

Research aims to utilize 'symptom' of autism to improve reading comprehension

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder often show an unwavering focus on a specific interest, a phenomenon known as having a "perseverative interest."

DNA damage causes immune reaction and inflammation, linked to cancer development

For the first time scientists from Umeå University show the importance of DNA damage in fine tuning of our innate immune system and hence the ability to mount the optimal inflammatory response to infections and other biological dangers. The study is published on 17th February in the very prestigious international journal Immunity (CellPress).

Researchers manage transplantation of adrenal cells encapsulated in a bioreactor

If a person is under stress his body tips out stress regulators. These are Cortisol, Adrenalin and Noradrenalin - hormones and messenger substances - which intervene adjusting in the metabolism and help thus the organism to master the unusual load.

Nicotine metabolite amplifies action of the primary chemical messenger for learning and memory

Nicotine's primary metabolite supports learning and memory by amplifying the action of a primary chemical messenger involved in both, researchers report.

Epigenetic study highlights drug targets for allergies and asthma

Scientists have discovered over 30 new genes that predispose people to allergies and asthma, some of which could be targets for new drugs.

The growing evidence on standardised packaging of tobacco products

The scientific journal Addiction has today published a collection of peer-reviewed research papers and commentaries that bring together key parts of the evidence base for standardised packaging of tobacco products from 2008 to 2015.

Deconstructing the dynamic genome

Two international teams of researchers led by Ludwig San Diego's Bing Ren have published in the current issue of Nature two papers that analyze in unprecedented detail the variability and regulation of gene expression across the entire human genome, and their correspondence with the physical structure of chromosomes.

Predicting cancers' cell of origin

A study led by researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital suggests a new way to trace cancer back to its cell type of origin. By leveraging the epigenome maps produced by the Roadmap Epigenomics Program - a resource of data collected from over 100 cell types - the research team found that the unique genetic landscape of a particular tumor could be used to predict that tumor's cell type of origin. The study, which appears this week in Nature, provides new insights into the early events that shape a cancer, and could have important implications for the many cancer patients for whom the originating site of the cancer is unknown.

Mucus retained in cystic fibrosis patients' cells leads to potentially deadly infections

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that affects one out of every 3,000 children in populations of Northern European descent. One of the key signs of cystic fibrosis is that mucus lining the lungs, pancreas and other organs is too sticky, which makes it difficult for the organs to work properly and, in the lungs, attracts bacteria and viruses resulting in chronic infections. Researchers at the University of Missouri recently found that cystic fibrosis mucus actually gets stuck inside some of the cells that create it, rather than simply becoming stuck on the outside linings of organs.

Researchers offer new target for treating asthma

Researchers have found a potential new target for treating asthma, according to a study led by researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine at the Anschutz Medical Campus and published in the journal Nature Communications.

Altered microbiome linked to liver disease in adolescents with cystic fibrosis

A professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine at the Anschutz Medical Campus and his colleagues have found a possible cause of liver disease in adolescents with cystic fibrosis.

Scientists discover novel pain sensors in inner ear that warn of dangerously loud noise

Our hearing has a secret bodyguard, a newly discovered connection from the cochlea to the brain that warns of intense incoming noise that causes tissue damage and hearing loss, according to new research by Northwestern Medicine scientists.

Study holds hope for reversing childhood asthma associated with maternal smoking

A new study from Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute (LA BioMed) holds hope for reversing asthma caused by smoking during pregnancy.

Learning from extinction: New insights on controlling cancer

The earth is in the throes of a sixth mass extinction of species. Unlike those that preceded it, the current die-off is largely driven by human activity—the destruction of diverse habitats; the pollution of air, earth, and water; the disruption of the planet's climate.

Drug stops fatty liver disease from causing inflammation, scarring

Doctors believe that up to 30 percent of the U.S. population may have fat accumulation in the liver, known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), that can lead to a range of damaging health consequences.

Individuals with type 2 diabetes should exercise after dinner

Individuals with Type 2 diabetes have heightened amounts of sugars and fats in their blood, which increases their risks for cardiovascular diseases such as strokes and heart attacks. Exercise is a popular prescription for individuals suffering from the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes, but little research has explored whether these individuals receive more benefits from working out before or after dinner. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have found that individuals with Type 2 diabetes can lower their risks of cardiovascular diseases more effectively by exercising after a meal.

Unlikely that topical pimecrolimus associated with increased risk of cancer

The topical medicine pimecrolimus to treat eczema (atopic dermatitis or AD) in children appears unlikely to be associated with increased of risk of cancer based on how it was used in group of children followed for 10 years, according to an article published online by JAMA Dermatology.

3-D engineered bone marrow makes functioning platelets

A team led by researchers at Tufts University School of Engineering and the University of Pavia has reported development of the first three-dimensional tissue system that reproduces the complex structure and physiology of human bone marrow and successfully generates functional human platelets. Using a biomaterial matrix of porous silk, the new system is capable of producing platelets for future clinical use and also provides a laboratory tissue system to advance study of blood platelet diseases.

Brace yourself: Study finds people can use different strategies to prepare for stress

A pilot study from North Carolina State University finds that people are not consistent in how they prepare mentally to deal with arguments and other stressors, with each individual displaying a variety of coping behaviors. In addition, the study found that the coping strategies people used could affect them the following day.

MAGE genes provide insight into optimizing chemotherapy

UT Southwestern Medical Center scientists have identified a new biomarker that could help identify patients who are more likely to respond to certain chemotherapies.

MS drug Tysabri shows promise in efforts to combat HIV's 'viral reservoirs'

A drug used to treat patients with Crohn's disease and multiple sclerosis has helped scientists confirm how "viral reservoirs" form in patients living with HIV and also proven effective in animal trials at blocking the pathways to those reservoirs in the brain and gut, a team of researchers reported recently in the journal PLOS Pathogens.

Scientists use MRI to visualize pancreas inflammation in type 1 diabetes

A pilot study led by researchers at Joslin Diabetes Center has revealed that it is possible to use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to "see" the inflammation in the pancreas that leads to type 1 diabetes. This discovery could be a boon for research on methods to slow or halt the disease at an early stage, and could also guide insights into how diabetes progresses.

Study finds link between relative lengths of index and ring fingers in men and behaviour towards women

Maybe you should take a good look at your partner's fingers before putting a ring on one. Men with short index fingers and long ring fingers are on average nicer towards women, and this unexpected phenomenon stems from the hormones these men have been exposed to in their mother's womb, according to a new study by researchers at McGill University. The findings might help explain why these men tend to have more children. The study, showing a link between a biological event in fetal life and adult behaviour, was published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

In higher doses, over longer periods, painkillers for chronic pain raise overdose risk

It's been seven years since actor Heath Ledger, only 28, was found dead in his Manhattan apartment. The New York medical examiner ruled that Ledger died of "acute intoxication" from six kinds of painkillers, sleeping pills and anti-anxiety drugs.

Study finds physicians less likely than other health professionals to be divorced

The largest investigation of divorce rates among physicians has made what may be a surprising finding - physicians are actually less likely to be or to have been divorced than those in other occupations - including lawyers, nurses, and other health care professionals. The study, which has been published online in The BMJ (formerly The British Medical Journal), did find that female physicians had a greater likelihood of being divorced than did male physicians, particularly those female physicians who worked longer hours.

Cancer treatments could evolve from research showing that acetate supplements speed up cancer growth

UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers seeking novel ways to combat cancer found that giving acetate, a major compound produced in the gut by host bacteria, to mice sped up the growth and metastasis of tumors.

How stress can lead to inequality

Stress is a staple of our lives today, and we know intuitively that it can influence our confidence in competing with others. But how exactly does stress do that? Scientists at EPFL have carried out the first behavioral study to show how stress actually affects our degree of confidence, implying that it can even be a cause of social inequality rather than just a consequence of it. On a biological level, the researchers have also associated the effects of stress with the release of the hormone cortisol. The study is published in Psychoneuroendocrinology.

Brain imaging links language delay to chromosome deletion in children with neuro disorders

Children born with a DNA abnormality on chromosome 16 already linked to neurodevelopmental problems show measurable delays in processing sound and language, says a study team of radiologists and psychologists.

Cost-effectiveness of immediate HCV Rx in early disease analyzed

(HealthDay)—For patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV), immediate treatment seems to be cost-effective in those with moderate and advanced fibrosis, and can be cost-effective in patients with no or minimal fibrosis, according to a study published online Feb. 11 in Hepatology.

Post-electrophysiology mortality usually not related to procedure

(HealthDay)—Half of major complications within 30 days of electrophysiology (EP) procedures occur after discharge, but the majority of deaths are not directly related to the procedure, according to a study published online Feb. 14 in the Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology.

Manual-thrust manipulation boosts short-term benefit in LBP

(HealthDay)—For patients with low back pain (LBP), manual-thrust manipulation (MTM) is associated with greater short-term reductions in disability and pain than mechanical-assisted manipulation (MAM) or usual medical care (UMC), according to a study published in the Feb. 15 issue of Spine.

CDC: Biggest rise in recent measles cases in illinois

(HealthDay)—The number of measles cases in the United States has reached 141 patients in 17 states and the District of Columbia, federal health officials reported Tuesday.

Study confirms finding of higher diabetes indicator in black children

A new study confirms the findings of two earlier LSU Health New Orleans studies that the definitive indicator of diabetes control, the HbA1c, is deceptively high in African-American children. The 2000 and 2010 studies led by Stuart A. Chalew, MD, Professor of Pediatrics and Head of the Division of Endocrinology in the Department of Pediatrics at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, first reported the major difference in the hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) response to blood glucose between African-American and Caucasian children with diabetes.

A new weapon in the fight against cancer

Where can you find the next important weapon in the fight against cancer? Just do a little navel-gazing. New research from Concordia confirms that a tool for keeping the most common forms of cancer at bay could be in your gut.

Older adults with limited mobility may lessen heart problems with activity

Older adults with limited mobility may lower their risk of heart attack and coronary death for every minute of physical activity, according to research in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Help for people with muscle cramps?

A new treatment may bring hope for people who suffer from muscle cramps or spasms from neuromuscular disorders, diseases such as multiple sclerosis or simply from nighttime leg cramps that keep people from sleeping, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 67th Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, April 18 to 25, 2015.

Chicken pox virus may be linked to serious condition in the elderly

A new study links the virus that causes chicken pox and shingles to a condition that inflames blood vessels on the temples and scalp in the elderly, called giant cell arteritis. The study is published in the February 18, 2015, online issue of Neurology. The condition can cause sudden blindness or stroke and can be life-threatening.

Eylea outperforms other drugs for diabetic macular edema with moderate vision loss

In an NIH-supported clinical trial comparing three drugs for diabetic macular edema (DME), Eylea (aflibercept) provided greater visual improvement, on average, than did Avastin (bevacizumab) or Lucentis (ranibizumab) when vision was 20/50 or worse at the start of the trial. However, the three drugs resulted in similar average improvement when starting vision was 20/40 to 20/32. Investigators found no major differences in the safety of the three drugs. The trial was funded by the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health.

New HPV vaccine offers greater protection against cervical cancer than current vaccine

Scientists have developed a new HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine which protects against nine types of the virus - seven of which cause most cases of cervical cancer. The new vaccine offers significantly greater protection than the current vaccine, which protects against only two cancer causing types of HPV.

Possible strategy identified to combat major parasitic tropical disease

Research led by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists has identified a potential target in the quest to develop a more effective treatment for leishmaniasis, a parasitic tropical disease that kills thousands and sickens more than 1 million people worldwide each year. The findings were published online in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Bacterial defense mechanism targets duchenne muscular dystrophy

Duke researchers have demonstrated a genetic therapeutic technique that has the potential to treat more than half of the patients suffering from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD).

Proactive labor induction can improve perinatal outcomes, study suggests

A proactive labour induction practice once women are full term can improve perinatal outcomes suggests a new Danish study, published today (18 February) in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (BJOG).

Ranibizumab reverses vision loss caused by diabetes

Ranibizumab, a prescription drug commonly used to treat age-related vision loss, also reverses vision loss caused by diabetes among Hispanic and non-Hispanic whites, according to a new study led by investigators from the University of Southern California (USC) Eye Institute.

Medtech meets cleantech: Malaria vaccine candidate produced from algae

Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine used algae as a mini-factory to produce a malaria parasite protein. The algae-produced protein, paired with an immune-boosting cocktail suitable for use in humans, generated antibodies in mice that nearly eliminated mosquito infection by the malaria parasite. The method, published Feb. 17 by Infection and Immunity, is the newest attempt to develop a vaccine that prevents transmission of the malaria parasite from host to mosquito.

Needle-free vaccination: How scientists ask skin cells for help

Vaccination is an effective method of stimulating the human body's immune system to fight against various pathogens (e.g. bacteria, viruses). Worldwide vaccination needs safe, easy-to-use and inexpensive tools for vaccine administration. The skin immune system is a promising target as the skin lies directly in front of us. New research published in the January 2015 issue of Experimental Dermatology introduces a new approach to stimulate the skin immune response by applying needle-free vaccination.

Licorice extract protects the skin from UV-induced stress

The skin is constantly challenged, and very often harmed, by environmental stressors such as UV radiation and chemicals. To cope with UV radiation, various skin cells have evolved a complex protective antioxidant defense system. New research published in the January 2015 issue of Experimental Dermatology introduces a new plant-derived agent which protects skin from the harmful effects of UV irradiation.

Australia mulls tougher food screening after China hepatitis scare

Tougher food screening measures could be introduced in Australia with frozen berries from China linked to a growing number of hepatitis A infections, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said Wednesday.

Accountable care organizations improving health care in California

California has more accountable care organizations (ACOs) than any other state in the country, with particularly rapid growth over the past two years. This is a good thing, according to the Berkeley Forum for Improving California's Healthcare Delivery System, which released a report today with new evidence that ACOs improve the quality of care, increase patient satisfaction, and may reduce costs.

New device enables 3D tissue engineering with multicellular building blocks

In creating engineered tissues intended to repair or regenerate damaged or diseased human tissues, the goal is to build three-dimensional tissue constructs densely packed with living cells. The Bio-P3, an innovative instrument able to pick up, transport, and assemble multi-cellular microtissues to form larger tissue constructs is described in an article in Tissue Engineering, Part C: Methods, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers The article is available free on the Tissue Engineering website until March 20th, 2015.

Emotional health of men with cancer often unaddressed

Downplay it. Joke about it. Block it out and keep going. These are common reactions of Kiwi men diagnosed with cancer, says a Massey University psychology researcher.

Challenges of soldier rehabilitation and reintegration need closer attention

Veterans returning from combat often face a multitude of challenges: Debilitating physical and psychological conditions, a civil society that does not support and even actively criticizes the war from which the soldiers have returned, or personal and family circumstances that changed while they were away. These and many other factors can create a situation in which veterans are unable to reintegrate into civilian life as they had planned and hoped. In a special issue of WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation, authors, many of whom are veterans themselves, present a wide-ranging view of the environment and treatment options for returning soldiers.

Never too early to consider end-of-life wishes

Most cases of disagreements over patients' wishes for end-of-life care that have made national headlines have typically involved previously healthy people who didn't think the conversation was relevant to them. Dr. Susan Levine, medical director of UConn Health's general medicine practice, says it's never too early to plan for end-of-life decisions in the event you become unable to speak for yourself.

Malaria: a new treatment to slow down resistance

The appearance of malaria parasites resistant to medicines is one of the main obstacles in combating the disease. In order to slow down this phenomenon, it is essential to avoid exposing the pathogen to the same molecules. For this reason, researchers at the IRD and their partners in OCEAC in Cameroon are testing new treatments. They have recently demonstrated the efficacy of a "bi-therapy", which combines artesunate (a derivative of artemisinin, recommended by the WHO) with Malarone (or Malanil). The latter has been administered up to now as a preventative treatment for travellers or as a treatment in the industrialised nations, because it is so expensive. The fact that its patent entered the public domain in 2013 has made it possible to envisage its use among populations living in regions where the disease is endemic.

Research shows value of additional PET/CTscans in follow-up of lung cancer patients

New research from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine reveals a high value of scans which could lead to future change of reimbursement policies for follow-up positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) studies in lung cancer. The study, featured in the February 2015 issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine, establishes the value of fourth and subsequent follow-up PET/CT scans in clinical assessment and management change in patients with the disease.

Actavis plans name change to Allergan

Drugmaker Actavis is planning to change its name as it draws closer to finishing another big deal, the $66 billion purchase of Botox maker Allergan that it announced last fall.

Videos help seriously ill patients outline their end-of-life wishes

Most seriously ill elderly people who view video material about the pros and cons of available resuscitation and assistive procedures decide they would rather not receive such treatment when the time comes. So says Areej El-Jawahri of Massachusetts General Hospital and the Harvard Medical School in the US, lead author of a study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Their findings outline the use of videos to inform patients about heart resuscitation (CPR) and intubation to help with breathing or the administration of drugs.

Two studies to test safety of injectable drugs to prevent HIV

The HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) has launched two new phase 2 studies, HPTN 076 and HPTN 077, which are designed to evaluate new drugs to protect people from getting infected with HIV.

Partners for Kids, Nationwide Children's demonstrate cost savings, quality as pediatric ACO

A new study published in Pediatrics demonstrates the cost-saving and health care quality outcomes of the pediatric Accountable Care Organization (ACO) Partners for Kids. Results of this study indicate that Partners for Kids successfully improved the value of pediatric healthcare over time through cost containment, while maintaining quality of care.

Surge in e-cigarette use triggers new health research and calls for regulation

Sales of e-cigarettes, which emerged on the U.S. market less than 10 years ago, are booming, reaching an estimated $2.2 billion in 2014. But very little is known about their potential health risks or benefits. Scientists, health advocates, regulators and lawmakers are struggling to weigh the potential promises and threats of the popular products, according to an article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society.

SLeone hunts infected as Ebola crisis hits 'turning point'

Sierra Leone launched a door-to-door search Wednesday for "hidden" Ebola patients as the head of the United Nations announced the world was at "a critical turning point" in the crisis.

UN to issue first report on Ebola funds

The United Nations will this week publish a first report on funding for the Ebola response, a top official said Wednesday, after Sierra Leone lost track of more than $3 million donated to fight the epidemic.

Cancer survivors need healthful lifestyle advice

(HealthDay)—Clinical interventions should be implemented to help cancer survivors make lifestyle behavior changes, according to research published online Feb. 13 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

Florida has highest number of enrollees under health law

Florida has eclipsed California to become the state with the highest number of consumers buying health coverage through new insurance markets under the Affordable Care Act, according to federal statistics released Wednesday.

Stroke researchers report uniqueness of KF-NAP for assessing spatial neglect after stroke

Stroke researchers have determined that the Kessler Foundation Neglect Assessment Process (KF-NAP) measures severity of spatial neglect during activities of daily living. "Kessler Foundation Neglect Assessment Process Uniquely Measures Spatial Neglect during Activities of Daily Living" was e-published by the Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.

New insights into underlying cellular mechanisms of information processing in the brain

Researchers at the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience and the Pasteur Institute have uncovered a key factor in regulating information transmittal during the early stages of auditory processing.


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