Archive for the ‘medicine’ Category

November 26, 2008

Caution: These are synopses of scientific press releases whose findings might not hold up. Also, I might have skipped the ones you would consider most important.

From http://eurekalert.org:

Public Release: 25-Nov-2008
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Understanding donor-recipient genetics could decrease early kidney transplant complications
Researchers have found an association between the genetics of donor-recipient matches in kidney transplants and complications during the first week after transplantation. The team has shown that small differences in the building blocks of cell-surface proteins used to match donors and recipients for deceased-donor kidney transplantation was associated with an increased risk for delayed allograft function.
NIH/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/2008/11/genetic-match-transplant.html

Public Release: 25-Nov-2008
Nature Neuroscience
Carnegie Mellon scientists offer explanation for ‘face blindness’
For the first time, scientists have been able to map the disruption in neural circuitry of people suffering from congenital prosopagnosia, sometimes known as face blindness, and have been able to offer a biological explanation for this intriguing disorder. Currently thought to affect roughly two percent of the population, congenital prosopagnosia manifests as the lifelong failure to recognize faces in the absence of obvious neurological damage, and in individuals with intact vision and intelligence.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/cmu-cms112508.php

Public Release: 25-Nov-2008
Astrophysical Journal Letters
Sweet molecule could lead us to alien life
Scientists have detected an organic sugar molecule that is directly linked to the origin of life, in a region of our galaxy where habitable planets could exist.
Science and Technology Facilities Council
http://www.stfc.ac.uk/PMC/PRel/STFC/iram.aspx

Public Release: 24-Nov-2008
Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Flies may reveal evolutionary step to live birth
A species of fruit fly from the Seychelles Islands often lays larvae instead of eggs, UC San Diego biologists have discovered. Clues to how animals switch from laying eggs to live birth may be found in the well-studied species’ ecology and genes.
UC San Diego
http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/newsrel/science/11-08Flies.asp

Public Release: 25-Nov-2008
Psychological Science
In sickness and health: Caring for ailing spouse may prolong your life
Older people who spent at least 14 hours a week taking care of a disabled spouse lived longer than others. That is the unexpected finding of a University of Michigan study forthcoming in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
NIH/National Institute on Aging
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/uom-isa112508.php

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November 24, 2008

These are synopses of scientific press releases. They are not yet established as scientific fact, and may turn out to be wrong.

From http://eurekalert.org:

Public Release: 24-Nov-2008
Chinese forest project could reduce number of environmental disasters
A study published in Journal of the American Water Resources Association states that the “Green Great Wall,” a forest shelterbelt project in northern China running nearly parallel to the Great Wall, is likely to improve climatic and hydrological conditions in the area when completed.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/w-cfp112408.php

Public Release: 24-Nov-2008
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Mammals can be stimulated to regrow damaged inner retina nerve cells
For the first time the mammalian retina has now shown the capacity to regenerate new neurons after damage. This research in mice shows that at least some types of retinal damage can be repaired. The loss of neurons in the retina in people in conditions like glaucoma or macular degeneration leads to visual loss and blindness. This new research shows there might someday be a way to restore vision in people with these conditions.
NIH/National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, National Research Service Award, German Research Foundation, ProRetina Travel Grant
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/uow-mcb112408.php

Public Release: 24-Nov-2008
76 percent of American middle-class households not financially secure
As the economy continues to reel, a new report finds that 4 million American households lost economic security between 2000 and 2006 and that a majority of America’s middle class households are either borderline or at high risk of falling out of the middle class altogether. The new report, “From Middle to Shaky Ground: The Economic Decline of America’s Middle Class, 2000-2006” was published by the policy center Demos and the Institute for Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/bu-7oa112408.php

Public Release: 24-Nov-2008
British Journal of Sociology
Race bigotry falling in Britain
Racial prejudice in Britain has been declining sharply in Britain since the 1980s thanks to the greater tolerance of younger generations, according to a new study. Dr. Rob Ford from the University of Manchester says that social contact with black or Asian Britons is becoming increasingly unremarkable to white people in their 20s and 30s.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/uom-rbf112408.php

Public Release: 23-Nov-2008
Nature Chemical Biology
Scripps research team defines new painkilling chemical pathway
Marijuana can be an effective painkiller, but social issues and unhealthy smoke inhalation complicate its use. As a result, researchers have focused great attention on understanding the biochemical system involved so they might manipulate it by other means. Toward that end, a Scripps Research Institute group has definitively identified a chemical pathway that, in mice, imitates marijuana’s painkilling effect. The work could enable the development of new pain treatments.
National Institutes of Health, Helen L. Dorris Child and Adolescent Neuro-Psychiatric Disorder Institute, Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/sri-srt111908.php

Public Release: 23-Nov-2008
Nature Neuroscience
‘Wiring’ in the brain influences personality
Some people are constantly seeking a new kick; some prefer to stick to tried and tested things. Which group you belong to seems to be connected, inter alia, with the ‘wiring’ of specific centers of the brain. This was discovered by scientists at the University of Bonn using a new method. Even how much acceptance people seek is apparently also determined by nerve fibers in the brain. The study will appear in the next issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/uob-it111908.php

November 18, 2008

From http://eurekalert.org:

Public Release: 18-Nov-2008
New tool trains athlete brains to react 53 percent faster
Two researchers from the School of Optometry of the Universite de Montreal have discovered how to train the brain of athletes to improve their overall athletic performance.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/uom-ntt111808.php

Public Release: 18-Nov-2008
Kids from juvenile justice system 7 times more likely to commit criminal acts
The study showed that kids who went through the system were seven times more likely to commit criminal acts as adults that correlated with the severity of their sentence. For instance, for the least severe sentence (community service) the risk of relapse is 2.3 percent. However, for the most severe sentence (juvenile retreat) the risk of relapse is 38 percent.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/uom-kfj111808.php

Public Release: 17-Nov-2008
Billions of particles of anti-matter created in laboratory
Take a gold sample the size of the head of a push pin, shoot a laser through it, and suddenly more than 100 billion particles of anti-matter appear. The anti-matter, also known as positrons, shoots out of the target in a cone-shaped plasma “jet.”
https://publicaffairs.llnl.gov/news/news_releases/2008/NR-08-11-03.html

Public Release: 17-Nov-2008
Canadian Medical Association Journal
Study finds Canada’s supervised injection facility cost-effective
Canada’s only supervised injection facility is extending lives and saving the health-care system millions of dollars, a new study from the University of Western Ontario and University of Toronto shows. In analyzing the cost-effectiveness of Vancouver-based Insite, a safe injection facility in a downtown neighborhood where about 5,000 injection drug users live, researchers found $14 million in savings and health gains of 920 life-years over 10 years.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/uowo-sfc111708.php

Public Release: 17-Nov-2008
Medical Teacher
Non-white med students reject therapies associated with their culture
Non-white medical students are more likely to embrace orthodox medicine and reject therapies traditionally associated with their cultures. That is one finding from an international study that measures the attitudes of medical students toward complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). While seemingly counter-intuitive, white students view CAM more favorably than their non-white counterparts, the study authors say.
NIH/National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/gumc-nms111708.php

Public Release: 17-Nov-2008
Minnesota Law Review
Democratic Party control could ban mandatory arbitration, expert says
Democratic Party control in Washington could restore lawsuits as an option for workers and consumers now forced to settle disputes through mandatory arbitration that gives employers and businesses an unfair edge, a University of Illinois labor law expert says.
http://news.illinois.edu/news/08/1117arbitration.html

Public Release: 17-Nov-2008
American Journal of Psychiatry
Novel imaging technique reveals brain abnormalities that may play key role in ADHD
A new study in the advance edition of the American Journal of Psychiatry reveals shape differences in the brains of children with ADHD. Researchers from the Kennedy Krieger Institute and the Johns Hopkins Center for Imaging Science used a new tool, large deformation diffeomorphic mapping, allowing them to examine the shape of the basal ganglia. Boys with ADHD had shape differences and decreased volume of the basal ganglia compared to typically developing children.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/kki-nit111708.php

November 12, 2008

From http://eurekalert.org:

Physical Review Letters
Evolution’s new wrinkle
A team of Princeton University scientists has discovered that chains of proteins found in most living organisms act like adaptive machines, possessing the ability to control their own evolution. The research, which appears to offer evidence of a hidden mechanism guiding the way biological organisms respond to the forces of natural selection, provides a new perspective on evolution, the scientists said.
National Science Foundation
http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S22/60/95O56/index.xml?section=science

Public Release: 11-Nov-2008
Quarterly Review of Biology
The miseries of allergies just may help prevent some cancers, study finds
There may be a silver — and healthy — lining to the miserable cloud of allergy symptoms: Sneezing, coughing, tearing and itching just may help prevent cancer — particularly colon, skin, bladder, mouth, throat, uterus and cervix, lung and gastrointestinal tract cancer, according to a new Cornell study.
http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/Nov08/allergies.cancer.sl.html

Public Release: 11-Nov-2008
Lab on a Chip
New laser method reproduces art masterworks to protein patterns
To illustrate the precision of their protein patterning technique, the research team reproduced a masterwork of Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, specifically Girl with a Pearl Earring, in the miniature dimension of 200 microns wide or about the thickness of two hairs. The researchers also used their novel technology to replicate the brain’s complex cellular environment.
Natural Science and Engineering Council of Canada, Fonds quebecois de la recherche sur la nature et les technologies, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Fonds de la recherche en sante du Quebec
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/uom-nlm111108.php

Public Release: 11-Nov-2008
Proceedings of the National Academy of Science
Without enzyme, biological reaction essential to life takes 2.3 billion years
All biological reactions within human cells depend on enzymes. Their power as catalysts enables biological reactions to occur usually in milliseconds. But how slowly would these reactions proceed spontaneously, in the absence of enzymes — minutes, hours, days? And why even pose the question?
NIH/National Institute of General Medicine
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/uonc-web111008.php

Public Release: 11-Nov-2008
Journal of Neuroscience
Fatty diet during pregnancy makes new cells in fetal brain that cause early onset obesity
A study in rats shows that exposure to a high-fat diet during pregnancy produces permanent changes in the offspring’s brain that lead to overeating and obesity early in life. This surprising finding provides a key step toward understanding mechanisms of fetal programming involving the production of new brain cells that may help explain the increased prevalence of childhood obesity during the last 30 years.
National Institutes of Health
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/ru-fdd110708.php

Public Release: 11-Nov-2008
Miniaturizing memory: Taking data storage to the molecular level
Researchers at The University of Nottingham are now exploring ways of exploiting the unique properties of carbon nanotubes to create a cheap and compact memory cell that uses little power and writes information at high speeds.
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
http://tinyurl.com/68fmdj

November 11, 2008

From http://eurekalert.org:

Public Release: 10-Nov-2008
Mayo Clinic Proceedings
Eye conditions linked with obstructive sleep apnea
Numerous studies have shown a connection between sleep disorders and medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, and metabolic disorders, including the risk of obesity and diabetes mellitus.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/mc-ecl111008.php

Public Release: 10-Nov-2008
Physical Review E
Forced evolution: Can we mutate viruses to death?
Can scientists create a designer drug that forces viruses to mutate themselves out of existence? A new study by Rice University bioengineers could help make it happen. The study, which will appear in Physical Review E, offers the most comprehensive mathematical analysis to date of the mechanisms that drive evolution in viruses and bacteria, and it could help scientists who are looking to add “lethal mutagenesis” to medicine’s disease-fighting arsenal.
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Korea Research Foundation
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/ru-fec111008.php

Public Release: 10-Nov-2008
Ethanol will curb farm income until economy rebounds, economist says
Ethanol helped drive two years of record profits for grain farmers, but also will hold income down during a looming recession that has already sliced crop prices in half, a University of Illinois economist says.
http://news.illinois.edu/news/08/1110farmrecession.htm

Public Release: 10-Nov-2008
A perfect bond
A new laser technique from Tel Aviv University seals and heals wounds.
http://www.aftau.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=7925

Public Release: 10-Nov-2008
Science
Maastricht University researchers produce ‘neural fingerprint’ of speech recognition
Scientists from Maastricht University have developed a method to look into the brain of a person and read out who has spoken to him or her and what was said. With the help of neuroimaging and data mining techniques the researchers mapped the brain activity associated with the recognition of speech sounds and voices.
Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research
http://www.unimaas.nl/default.asp?template=werkveld.htm&id=Q06604X23SUA400B5HD2&taal=en

Public Release: 10-Nov-2008
Current Biology
Study doubles species diversity of enigmatic ‘flying lemurs’
Colugos, the closest living relatives of primates most notable for their ability to glide from tree to tree over considerable distances, are more diverse than had previously been believed, according to a new report published in the Nov. 11 issue of Current Biology, a Cell Press publication.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/cp-sds110408.php

Public Release: 10-Nov-2008
American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2008
Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association
Heart’s surplus energy may help power pacemakers, defibrillators
In an experimental study researchers show a beating heart may produce enough energy to power a pacemaker or defibrillator. An experimental microgenerator captured enough surplus heart energy to provide 17 percent of the power needed to run an implantable pacemaker. Generator refinements could yield smaller, longer-lasting, and more sophisticated implantable devices.
United Kingdom Technology Strategy Board
http://americanheart.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=547

July 24, 2008

From http://eurekalert.org:

Public Release: 24-Jul-2008
Journal of Behavioral Decision Making
Why play a losing game? Study uncovers why low-income people buy lottery tickets
Although state lotteries, on average, return just 53 cents for every dollar spent on a ticket, people continue to pour money into them — especially low-income people, who spend a greater percentage of their incomes on lottery tickets than the wealthier segments of society. A new Carnegie Mellon University study points to income as an influential factor in the decision to invest in a product that provides poor returns.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-07/cmu-wpa072408.php
“In the study, the researchers note that lotteries set off a vicious cycle that not only exploits low-income individuals’ desires to escape poverty but also directly prevents them from improving upon their financial situations. They recommend that state lottery administrators explore strategies that balance the economic burdens faced by low-income households with the need to maintain important funding streams for state governments.

“‘State lotteries are popular revenue sources that are unlikely to go away anytime soon,’ said George Loewenstein, a study co-author and Herbert A. Simon professor of economics and psychology at Carnegie Mellon. ‘However, it is possible to implement measures that can actually benefit low-income lottery players and lead to fairer outcomes.’ Loewenstein noted that one such potential method for addressing income inequality, which has shown promise in other countries, is tying lottery tickets to savings accounts.”

Public Release: 23-Jul-2008
Perception
Study suggests human visual system could make powerful computer
Rensselaer professor Mark Changizi has begun to develop a technique to turn our eyes and visual system into a programmable computer. His findings are reported in the latest issue of the journal Perception.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-07/rpi-ssh072308.php

Public Release: 23-Jul-2008
Nature
Sex and lifespan linked in worms
In findings published in Nature, scientists have discovered that smaller, but more structurally diverse chemicals are a significant part of a living thing’s biology. When food is scarce or colonies become crowded, young worms stop developing normally and enter the dauer stage. In this form they can live, without eating or reproducing, for months — about ten times longer than the worm’s normal lifespan. When the dauer finds greener pastures, it finally develops into an adult and resumes its normal aging process.
National Institutes of Health
http://bti.cornell.edu/frankSchroederNature2008.php

Public Release: 23-Jul-2008
FASEB Journal
Licking your wounds: Scientists isolate compound in human saliva that speeds wound healing
A report by scientists from the Netherlands published online in rhe FASEB Journal identifies a compound in human saliva that greatly speeds wound healing. This research may offer hope to people suffering from chronic wounds related to diabetes and other disorders, as well as traumatic injuries and burns. In addition, because the compounds can be mass produced, they have the potential to become as common as antibiotic creams and rubbing alcohol.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-07/foas-lyw072308.php

Public Release: 23-Jul-2008
Nature
‘Nanonet’ circuits closer to making flexible electronics reality
Researchers have overcome a major obstacle in producing transistors from networks of carbon nanotubes, a technology that could make it possible to print circuits on plastic sheets for applications including flexible displays and an electronic skin to cover an entire aircraft to monitor crack formation.
National Science Foundation
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-07/pu-cc072208.php

May 22, 2008

From http://eurekalert.org:

Public Release: 21-May-2008
Earth may hide a lethal carbon cache
Carbon locked away deep within the Earth’s crust could have profound implications on our climate, according to a meeting in the US last week. It has long been assumed that this “deep carbon,” buried in old carbonate rocks, fossil fuels and ice lattices, could be safely ignored when it came to analyzing the effect of greenhouse gases on climate. But now it is emerging there is much more deep carbon ready to spew out than previously thought.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-05/ns-emh052108.php
http://www.newscientist.com

Public Release: 21-May-2008
Why do astronauts suffer from space sickness?
Centrifuging astronauts for a lengthy period provided Dutch researcher Suzanne Nooij with better insight into how space sickness develops, the nausea and disorientation experienced by many astronauts. Nooij defended her PhD theses on this subject at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft, The Netherlands) on Tuesday May, 20.
http://www.tudelft.nl/live/pagina.jsp?id=4b5a9d8e-7e2c-4659-a3a4-4d27124b4ca4&lang=en

Public Release: 21-May-2008
Nature
A missing link settles debate over the origin of frogs and salamanders
The description of an ancient amphibian that millions of years ago swam in quiet pools and caught mayflies on the surrounding land in Texas has set to rest one of the greatest current controversies in vertebrate evolution. The discovery was made by a research team led by scientists at the University of Calgary.
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-05/uoc-aml052008.php

Public Release: 21-May-2008
New England Journal of Medicine
Smokers flock together, quit together
When smokers kick the habit, odds are they are not alone in making the move. Instead, the decision to quit smoking often cascades through social networks, with entire clusters of spouses, friends, siblings and co-workers giving up the habit roughly in tandem, according to a new study supported in part by the National Institutes of Health.
NIH/National Institute on Aging, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-05/nioa-sft051908.php

Public Release: 21-May-2008
Brain’s ‘trust machinery’ identified
The brain centers triggered by a betrayal of trust have been identified by researchers, who found they could suppress such triggering and maintain trust by administering the brain chemical oxytocin. The researchers said their findings not only offer basic insights into the neural machinery underlying trust; the results may also help in understanding the neural basis of social disorders such as phobias and autism.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-05/cp-bm051508.php

Public Release: 20-May-2008
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Study reveals link among childhood allergies, asthma symptoms, and early life exposure to cats
A study released by researchers at the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, shows that cat ownership may have a protective effect against the development of asthma symptoms in young children at age five. The study found that children with cats in the home were more likely to have made allergy-related antibodies to cats.
National Institutes of Health
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-05/cums-srl052008.php