>ScienceDaily Health Headlines — for Monday, March 14, 2011

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ScienceDaily Health Headlines

for Monday, March 14, 2011

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Extra iron doesn’t help many pregnant women, study suggests (March 13, 2011) — Although universal prenatal supplementation with iron is recommended, an extra intake of iron does not noticeably benefit pregnant women, except when they are anemic, new research suggests. … > full story

HIV-infected patients at higher risk for bone fractures (March 13, 2011) — Low bone mineral density in HIV-infected patients is common and raises concerns about increased risks of fracture. Although there have been several studies regarding bone mineral density, there have been few data on rates of fracture in this population. A new study examined differences in the rates of bone fractures between HIV-infected patients and the general population and found higher rates of fracture among HIV patients. … > full story

Testosterone linked to men’s ability to ‘woo’ potential mates (March 13, 2011) — Theories have long proposed that testosterone influences competition among males trying to attract females. Findings from a recent study give a clearer understanding of the links between testosterone and human mating behavior, and how testosterone is associated with dominance and competitive success when men battle for the attention of an attractive woman. … > full story

Scientists reveal role of light sensor in temperature sensation (March 13, 2011) — A light-sensing receptor that’s packed inside the eye’s photoreceptor cells has an altogether surprising role in cells elsewhere in the body, scientists have discovered. Using fruit flies, they showed that this protein, called rhodopsin, also is critical for sensing temperature. … > full story

Contrary to popular belief, not all cases of chronic pancreatitis are alcohol-induced (March 13, 2011) — The relative rate of alcohol-related chronic pancreatitis is lower when compared to other causes, according to a new study. Patients with no identifiable cause for their disease as well as those with non-alcohol-related causes represent an unexpectedly large subgroup, particularly among women. … > full story

Judging couples’ chemistry influenced by serotonin (March 13, 2011) — The judgments we make about the intimacy of other couples’ relationships are influenced by the brain chemical serotonin, a new study has found. … > full story

Mouse nose nerve cells mature after birth, allowing bonding, recognition with mother (March 13, 2011) — For rodent pups, bonding with mom isn’t hard-wired in the womb. It develops over the first few weeks of life, which is achieved by their maturing sense of smell, possibly allowing these mammals a survival advantage by learning to identify mother, siblings, and home. Blending electrophysiological, biochemical and behavioral experiments, researchers demonstrated that neurons in the noses of mice mature after birth. … > full story

Molecules work the day shift to protect the liver from accumulating fat (March 13, 2011) — Scientists have discovered molecules that act as “shift workers” to maintain the daily rhythm of fat metabolism. When those molecules do not do their jobs, the liver dramatically fills with fat. … > full story

Pushing HIV out the door: How host factors aid in the release of HIV particles (March 13, 2011) — New research shows how host enzymes contribute to the release of HIV particles from infected cells. With the aid of their new microscopy technique, they now aim to analyze the entire life cycle of the virus in unprecedented detail. … > full story

Fewer than one-third of children ages 5-15 will wake up to home smoke alarms, study suggests (March 13, 2011) — An Australian study to determine the likelihood of school-aged children waking up to their home smoke alarm found that 78 percent of children slept through a smoke alarm sounding for 30 seconds. … > full story

Keys to long life? Not what you might expect (March 12, 2011) — Cheer up. Stop worrying. Don’t work so hard. Good advice for a long life? In a groundbreaking study of personality as a predictor of longevity, researchers found just the opposite. … > full story

A blood test for lung cancer? (March 12, 2011) — Researchers have discovered genes that increase not only one’s risk of lung cancer, but perhaps one’s urge to smoke as well. Now these researchers are working on developing a blood test for lung cancer. … > full story

Pregnancy anemia linked to childhood wheezing and asthma (March 12, 2011) — Need a reason to take your iron supplements? Iron deficiency during pregnancy may directly impact infant and childhood breathing health according to a new study. … > full story

Not actually bad at math or auto repair? Women fear being stereotyped by male service providers (March 12, 2011) — Women prefer female service providers in situations where they might fall prey to stereotypes about their math and science abilities, according to a new study. … > full story

Could giftedness be linked to prenatal exposure of higher levels of hormones? (March 12, 2011) — A longstanding debate as to whether genius is a byproduct of good genes or good environment has an upstart challenger that may take the discussion in an entirely new direction. One researcher says being bright may be due to an excess level of a natural hormone. … > full story

Nanoscale whiskers from sea creatures could grow human muscle tissue (March 12, 2011) — Minute whiskers of nanoscale dimensions taken from sea creatures could hold the key to creating working human muscle tissue, researchers say. … > full story

Why low birth weight is linked to obesity later in life: Study provides explanation (March 12, 2011) — Researchers have found that nutritionally deprived newborns are “programmed” to eat more because they develop less neurons in the region of the brain that controls food intake. … > full story

Surgery without external scars is gaining traction: Organ removal through body’s orifices is minimally invasive approach to surgery (March 12, 2011) — Innovative minimally invasive procedure called Natural Orifice Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery (NOTES) is allowing surgeons to perform organ removal surgery without any visible incisions. Northwestern Medicine physicians were among the first in the US to perform several types of the procedure and are leading the charge in organ removal through the mouth or vagina. … > full story

Consumer beware: Rejecting an option may make you more likely to choose it later (March 12, 2011) — People make purchasing decisions by choosing between alternatives or by rejecting certain options. But a new study finds that focusing on ruling out an option can lead consumers to reverse their preferences. … > full story

Reading in two colors at the same time: Patterns of synesthesia brain activity revealed (March 11, 2011) — People with synesthesia often report perceiving letters as appearing in different colors. But how do their brains accomplish this feat? What is perhaps most puzzling about this condition is that people actually claim to see two colors simultaneously when reading letters or numbers: the real color of the ink (e.g. black) and an additional — synesthetic — color. Now a new study has revealed the patterns of brain activity that allow some people to experience the sensation of “seeing” two colors at the same time. … > full story

Smoking may increase risk for lung disease (March 11, 2011) — Researchers have found that approximately one out of every 12 adult smokers have abnormal lung densities present on chest computed tomography images suggestive of interstitial lung disease which is associated with substantial reductions in lung volumes. In addition, despite being positively associated with smoking, these lung densities were inversely not associated with emphysema. … > full story

Americans have higher rates of most chronic diseases than same-age counterparts in England (March 11, 2011) — Despite the high level of spending on health care in the United States compared to England, Americans experience higher rates of chronic disease and markers of disease than their English counterparts at all ages. Why health status differs so dramatically in these two countries, which share much in terms of history and culture, is a mystery. … > full story

Early male friendship as a precursor to substance abuse in girls (March 11, 2011) — A new study shows that girls tend to pursue mixed-gender friendships earlier than boys, and may be more likely to develop substance abuse problems during late adolescence as a result. … > full story

New view of human nerve cells opens door to potential drug targets (March 11, 2011) — Scientists have found a way to uncover potential drug targets that have so far remained hidden from researchers’ view. By applying the new method to a type of nerve cell critical to regulating body temperature, the authors found more than 400 “receptors” (structures that bind other molecules, triggering some effect on the cell) responding to neurotransmitters, hormones, and other chemical signals. This represents 20 to 30 times more receptors than previous studies had identified. … > full story

Trauma patients have higher rate of death for several years following injury (March 11, 2011) — In a study that included more than 120,000 adults who were treated for trauma, 16 percent of these patients died within 3 years of their injury, compared to an expected population mortality rate of about 6 percent, according to a new study. The researchers also found that trauma patients who were discharged to a skilled nursing facility had a significantly increased risk of death compared with patients discharged home without assistance. … > full story

Conflicts-of-interest in drug studies sneaking back into medical journals, say investigators (March 11, 2011) — Hidden financial conflicts-of-interest are sneaking into published drug research through the back door, warns an international team of investigators. … > full story

New treatment strategy effective for certain lung cancers (March 11, 2011) — Two chemotherapy drugs now indicated for second and third-line therapy in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer are remarkably effective in treating a certain subset of these patients, new study suggests. Researchers say these drugs should be considered as a first-line treatment in people who are known to carry an epidermal growth factor receptor mutation. … > full story

Pinpointing air pollution’s effects on the heart (March 11, 2011) — Scientists are untangling how the tiniest pollution particles — which we take in with every breath we breathe — affect our health, making people more vulnerable to cardiovascular and respiratory problems. While scientists know that air pollution can aggravate heart problems, showing exactly how it does so has been challenging. Scientists have now shown that in people with diabetes, breathing ultrafine particles can activate platelets, cells in the blood that normally reduce bleeding from a wound, but can contribute to cardiovascular disease. … > full story

New details about medically important protein family (March 11, 2011) — Scientists have determined a new structure from a medically important superfamily of proteins. The structure should help instruct the design of a new kind of therapeutics for conditions ranging from Parkinson’s disease to inflammation. … > full story

Sleepy connected Americans (March 11, 2011) — The 2011 Sleep in America poll finds pervasive use of communications technology in the hour before bed. It also finds that a significant number of Americans aren’t getting the sleep they say they need and are searching for ways to cope. … > full story

Patient’s own bone marrow stem cells may provide treatment for brain injuries (March 11, 2011) — Stem cells derived from a patient’s own bone marrow were safely used in pediatric patients with traumatic brain injury, according to results of a Phase I clinical trial. … > full story

Depression may increase the risk of kidney failure (March 11, 2011) — Depression is associated with an increased risk of developing kidney failure in the future, according to a new study. Approximately 10 percent of the US population will suffer from depression at some point during their lifetime. … > full story

‘GPS system’ for protein synthesis in nerve cells gives clues for understanding brain disorders (March 11, 2011) — Scientists can now explain how a class of RNA molecules is able to target the genetic building blocks that guide the functioning of a specific part of the nerve cell. Abnormalities at this site are in involved in epilepsy, neurodegenerative disease, and cognitive disorders. … > full story

Potential Alzheimer’s treatment? Newly discovered role for enzyme in neurodegenerative diseases (March 11, 2011) — Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are partly attributable to brain inflammation. Researchers now demonstrate that a well-known family of enzymes can prevent the inflammation and thus constitute a potential target for drugs. … > full story

Sunlight can influence the breakdown of medicines in the body (March 11, 2011) — A new study has shown that the body’s ability to break down medicines may be closely related to exposure to sunlight, and thus may vary with the seasons. The findings offer a completely new model to explain individual differences in the effects of drugs, and how the surroundings can influence the body’s ability to deal with toxins. … > full story

Roundworm could provide new treatment for sepsis (March 11, 2011) — Medical researchers have found that systemic inflammation caused by sepsis can be suppressed by a protein which occurs naturally in a type of roundworm. … > full story

Cerebellum provides clues to the nature of human intelligence (March 11, 2011) — Research suggests that intelligence in humans is controlled by the part of the brain known as the “cortex,” and most theories of age-related cognitive decline focus on cortical dysfunction. A new study suggests a link between cerebellar volume and cognitive ability in older adults. … > full story

Coffee drinking linked to reduced stroke risk in women (March 11, 2011) — Drinking more than a cup of coffee per day was associated with a significantly lower risk of stroke in a study of Swedish women. Low or no coffee consumption was associated with an increased risk of stroke in women. Researchers caution that it’s too soon to change your coffee-drinking habits. … > full story

New bowel cancer evidence calls for routine DNA repair test (March 11, 2011) — Bowel cancer patients whose tumors contain defects in specific DNA repair systems are much less likely to experience tumor recurrence post surgery, results from a major clinical study have demonstrated. … > full story

New robot system to test 10,000 chemicals for toxicity (March 11, 2011) — Several federal agencies have unveiled a new high-speed robot screening system that will test 10,000 different chemicals for potential toxicity. The system marks the beginning of a new phase of an ongoing collaboration, referred to as Tox21, that is working to protect people’s health by improving how chemicals are tested in this country. … > full story

Laughter really is the best medicine (for leg ulcers) (March 11, 2011) — Forget technology. The best prescription for patients with venous leg ulcers is good quality nursing care — and the occasional belly laugh! … > full story

A glove on your hand can change your mind (March 11, 2011) — Unconsciously, right-handers associate good with the right side of space and bad with the left. But this association can be rapidly changed, according to a new study. Even a few minutes of using the left hand more fluently than the right can reverse right-handers’ judgments of good and bad, making them think that the left is the ‘right side’ of space. Conceptions of good and bad are rooted in people’s bodily experiences, and can change when patterns of bodily experience change. … > full story

Engineered protein has potential for new anti-inflamatory treatment (March 11, 2011) — Researchers have created a new protein molecule derived from the growth factor progranulin may provide the basis for new therapies in inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, according to a new study. … > full story

Sildenafil reduces Raynaud’s frequency in patients with systemic sclerosis, study finds (March 11, 2011) — Researchers in Europe report that treatment with modified-release sildenafil significantly reduced the frequency of attacks of Raynaud’s phenomenon in patients with limited cutaneous systemic sclerosis (lcSSc), also known as scleroderma. The double-blind, placebo-controlled trial found that sildenafil was well tolerated with only some subjects experiencing minor or moderate side effects. … > full story

Boy toddlers need extra help dealing with negative emotions, experts urge (March 11, 2011) — The way you react to your two-year-old’s temper tantrums or clinginess may lead to anxiety, withdrawal and behavior problems down the road, and the effect is more pronounced if the child is a boy who often displays such negative emotions as anger and social fearfulness, reports a new study. … > full story

How do people respond to being touched by a robotic nurse? (March 10, 2011) — Researchers have found people generally had a positive response toward being touched by a robotic nurse, but that their perception of the robot’s intent made a significant difference. … > full story

Synthetic compound may lead to drugs to fight pancreatic, lung cancer (March 10, 2011) — Researchers have identified a chemical compound that may eventually lead to a drug that fights cancers that are dependent on a particular anti-viral enzyme for growth. … > full story

New genetic deafness syndrome identified (March 10, 2011) — Ten years ago, scientists seeking to understand how a certain type of feature on a cell called an L-type calcium channel worked created a knockout mouse missing both copies of the CACNA1D gene. The CACNA1D gene makes a protein that lets calcium flow into a cell, transmitting important instructions from other cells. The knockout mice lived a normal life span, but their hearts beat slowly and arrhythmically. They were also completely deaf. Researchers have now identified a mutation on the CACNA1D gene affecting two families in Pakistan. … > full story


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