Scientists work to engineer injectable therapy for rotator cuff injuries

Scientists work to engineer injectable therapy for rotator cuff injuries A research team is attempting to engineer an injectable therapy for the shoulder’s supraspinatus tendon, a rotator cuff tendon that is commonly torn in sports. When the tendon is damaged, the body makes things worse by activating enzymes that further break down the tendon. The scientists hope to develop an injectable compound that would deliver an inhibitor capable of blocking these enzymes, thereby reducing the severity of the injury or even healing the tissue. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 27, 2013 — For a baseball pitcher, a rotator cuff injury often means an extended stay on the disabled list for surgery and rehabilitation of the damaged tendons. But a new technology under development may stop this shoulder injury from becoming so severe that surgery is required.A research team is attempting to engineer an injectable therapy for the shoulder’s supraspinatus tendon, a rotator cuff tendon that is commonly torn in sports. When the tendon is damaged, the body makes things worse by activating enzymes that further break down the tendon. The scientists hope to develop an injectable compound that would deliver an inhibitor capable of blocking these enzymes, thereby reducing the severity of the injury or even healing the tissue.”Normally people focus on treating tendon injuries after the tear has occurred, but we’re focusing on a much earlier stage in the disease,” said Johnna Temenoff, an associate professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. “This is the first time that an injectable therapy specifically designed to interact with tissue at an early disease state has been attempted for this particular tendon injury.”Temenoff’s work is supported by a $1 million grant from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) for five years of research, which began in September 2013. Collaborating on the research is Manu Platt, an assistant professor in the same department. Temenoff’s previous work on tendon injuries, which focused on quarterbacks in football, was sponsored by the NFL Charities.Shoulder tendon injuries are common overuse injuries for athletes and also for industrial workers whose repetitive overhead motion put them at risk. The rotator cuff is a collation of four tendons, and the tendons are made of collagen. … For more info: Scientists work to engineer injectable therapy for rotator cuff injuries ScienceDaily: Top Health News Scientists work to engineer injectable therapy for rotator cuff injuries L’articolo Scientists work to engineer injectable therapy for rotator cuff injuries sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Comet ISON may have survived

Comet ISON may have survived Continuing a history of surprising behavior, material from Comet ISON appeared on the other side of the sun on the evening on Nov. 28, 2013, despite not having been seen in observations during its closest approach to the sun. via ScienceDaily: Top Science News: Dec. 1, 2013 — Continuing a history of surprising behavior, material from Comet ISON appeared on the other side of the sun on the evening on Nov. 28, 2013, despite not having been seen in observations during its closest approach to the sun.Share This:As ISON appeared to dim and fizzle in several observatories and later could not be seen at all by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory or by ground based solar observatories, many scientists believed it had disintegrated completely. However, a streak of bright material streaming away from the sun appeared in the European Space Agency and NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory later in the evening. The question remains whether it is merely debris from the comet, or if some portion of the comet’s nucleus survived, but late-night analysis from scientists with NASA’s Comet ISON Observing Campaign suggest that there is at least a small nucleus intact.Throughout the year that researchers have watched Comet ISON — and especially during its final approach to the sun — the comet brightened and dimmed in unexpected ways. Such brightness changes usually occur in response to material boiling off the comet, and different material will do so at different temperatures thus providing clues as to what the comet is made of. Analyzing this pattern will help scientists understand the composition of ISON, which contains material assembled during the very formation of the solar system some 4.5 billion years ago.For more information on Comet ISON: www.nasa.gov/isonTo download recent ISON imagery: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/Gallery/CometISON.htmlShare this story on Facebook, Twitter, and Google:Other social bookmarking and sharing tools:|Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by NASA. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above. Need to cite this story in your essay, paper, or report? … For more info: Comet ISON may have survived ScienceDaily: Top Science News Comet ISON may have survived L’articolo Comet ISON may have survived sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Micronutrient supplements reduce risk of HIV disease progression, illness

Micronutrient supplements reduce risk of HIV disease progression, illness Long-term (24-month) supplementation with multivitamins plus selenium for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients in Botswana in the early stages of disease who had not received antiretroviral therapy delayed time to HIV disease progression, was safe and reduced the risk of immune decline and illness, according to a study. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 26, 2013 — Long-term (24-month) supplementation with multivitamins plus selenium for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients in Botswana in the early stages of disease who had not received antiretroviral therapy delayed time to HIV disease progression, was safe and reduced the risk of immune decline and illness, according to a study appearing in the November 27 issue of JAMA.“Micronutrient deficiencies, known to influence immune function, are prevalent even before the development of symptoms of HIV disease and are associated with accelerated HIV disease progression. Micronutrient supplementation has improved markers of HIV disease progression (CD4 cell count, HIV viral load) and mortality in clinical trials; however, these studies were conducted either in the late stages of HIV disease or in pregnant women,” according to background information in the article.Marianna K. Baum, Ph.D., of Florida International University, Miami, and colleagues examined whether specific supplemental micronutrients enhance the immune system and slow HIV disease progression during the early stages of the disease in antiretroviral therapy (ART)-naive adults. They randomized 878 HIV patients to supplementation with daily multivitamins (B vitamins and vitamins C and E), selenium alone, multivitamins with selenium, or placebo for 24 months. The vitamins (vitamins B, C and E, and the trace element selenium) are nutrients essential for maintaining a responsive immune system. Selenium may also have an important role in preventing HIV replication.Participants receiving the combined supplement of multivitamins plus selenium had a lower risk compared to placebo of reaching a CD4 cell count 250/µL or less (a measure that is consistent with the standard of care in Botswana for initiation of ART at the time of the study). This supplement also reduced the risk of a combination of measures of disease progression (CD4 cell count ≤ 250/µL, AIDS-defining conditions, or AIDS-related death, whichever occurred earlier).“This evidence supports the use of specific micronutrient supplementation as an effective intervention in HIV-infected adults in early stages of HIV disease, significantly reducing the risk for disease progression in asymptomatic, ART-naive, HIV-infected adults. This reduced risk may translate into delay in the time when the HIV-infected patients experience immune dysfunction and into broader access to HIV treatment in developing countries,” the authors conclude.The researchers add that their “findings are generalizable to other HIV subtype C-infected cohorts in resource-limited settings where the provision of ART is being scaled up, rolled out, or not yet available to all in conditions similar to those in Botswana at the time of this study.” For more info: Micronutrient supplements reduce risk of HIV disease progression, illness ScienceDaily: Top Health News Micronutrient supplements reduce risk of HIV disease progression, illness L’articolo Micronutrient supplements reduce risk of HIV disease progression, illness sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Clevelanders: Lighting up in a new way

Clevelanders: Lighting up in a new way A new data brief shows that more than one-in-five African-American young adults in Cleveland, ages 18 to 29, routinely uses little cigars. via ScienceDaily: Living Well News: Nov. 25, 2013 — A new data brief released by the Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods at Case Western Reserve University (PRCHN) shows that more than one-in-five African-American young adults in Cleveland, ages 18 to 29, routinely uses little cigars.Additional findings detailed in the PRCHN data brief include:• Little cigar use in Cleveland is 7.1 percent overall, but it is highest among black/African-American young adults age 18-29, where as many as one in five (22.0 percent) uses little cigars.• Black/African-American males are more than twice as likely to use little cigars as black/African-American females (13.5 percent vs. 5.8 percent), as are white males compared to white females (6.2 percent vs. 1.9 percent).”There is more to tobacco use than cigarettes and we can no longer ignore the use of cigars,” said Erika Trapl, PhD, associate director of the PRCHN. “These are often an underappreciated threat since they do not fall under the same regulatory guidelines as cigarettes.”Little cigars and cigarillos, wrapped in brightly colored packaging, are often enhanced with fruity flavors that appeal to youth and adults alike. They are sold as singles or in two-or three-packs. Despite their “fun” look, these cigars contain a substantial amount of nicotine and could lead smokers to a lifetime of tobacco addiction.”Manufacturers can use ploys to promote these products that are now illegal to promote cigarettes,” noted Trapl.The PRCHN data brief was compiled using five years of local survey data detailing compiled from the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) and includes differences in little cigar use among Cleveland adults by age, gender, and race/ethnicity. Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study earlier detailing the dangers of little cigars, particularly for youth.With an eye on prevention efforts, last month Ohio raised taxes on some little cigars (those sold in packs of 20). However, these taxes do not apply to little cigars or cigarillos sold in smaller quantities.The report is available online at: http://filecabinet.eschoolview.com/DB56AAD8-DC8C-45FD-8963-9C149D3E5C7F/databriefFINAL%20Little%20Cigars.pdf For more info: Clevelanders: Lighting up in a new way ScienceDaily: Living Well News Clevelanders: Lighting up in a new way L’articolo Clevelanders: Lighting up in a new way sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Video game play may provide learning, health, social benefits

Video game play may provide learning, health, social benefits Playing video games, including violent shooter games, may boost children’s learning, health and social skills, according to a review of research on the positive effects of video game play. via ScienceDaily: Living Well News: Nov. 25, 2013 — Playing video games, including violent shooter games, may boost children’s learning, health and social skills, according to a review of research on the positive effects of video game play to be published by the American Psychological Association.The study comes out as debate continues among psychologists and other health professionals regarding the effects of violent media on youth. An APA task force is conducting a comprehensive review of research on violence in video games and interactive media and will release its findings in 2014.”Important research has already been conducted for decades on the negative effects of gaming, including addiction, depression and aggression, and we are certainly not suggesting that this should be ignored,” said lead author Isabela Granic, PhD, of Radboud University Nijmegen in The Netherlands. “However, to understand the impact of video games on children’s and adolescents’ development, a more balanced perspective is needed.”The article will be published in APA’s flagship journal, American Psychologist.While one widely held view maintains playing video games is intellectually lazy, such play actually may strengthen a range of cognitive skills such as spatial navigation, reasoning, memory and perception, according to several studies reviewed in the article. This is particularly true for shooter video games that are often violent, the authors said. A 2013 meta-analysis found that playing shooter video games improved a player’s capacity to think about objects in three dimensions, just as well as academic courses to enhance these same skills, according to the study. “This has critical implications for education and career development, as previous research has established the power of spatial skills for achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” Granic said. This enhanced thinking was not found with playing other types of video games, such as puzzles or role-playing games.Playing video games may also help children develop problem-solving skills, the authors said. The more adolescents reported playing strategic video games, such as role-playing games, the more they improved in problem solving and school grades the following year, according to a long-term study published in 2013. Children’s creativity was also enhanced by playing any kind of video game, including violent games, but not when the children used other forms of technology, such as a computer or cell phone, other research revealed.Simple games that are easy to access and can be played quickly, such as “Angry Birds,” can improve players’ moods, promote relaxation and ward off anxiety, the study said. … For more info: Video game play may provide learning, health, social benefits ScienceDaily: Living Well News Video game play may provide learning, health, social benefits L’articolo Video game play may provide learning, health, social benefits sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Study: It’s not easy ‘being green’

Study: It’s not easy ‘being green’ Think you don’t recycle enough? You’re not alone. However, people’s ability to overcome self-doubt plays a critical role in how successfully they act in support of environmental issues, according to a new study. via ScienceDaily: Living Well News: Dec. 2, 2013 — Think you don’t recycle enough? You’re not alone. However, people’s ability to overcome self-doubt plays a critical role in how successfully they act in support of environmental issues, according to a new study co-authored by management and organizational behavior scholars from Rice University, the University of Michigan and the University of Toronto.The researchers examined the role of self-evaluations among those who support environmental issues and the evaluations’ effect on supportive behaviors. Their study, “It’s Not Easy Being Green: The Role of Self-Evaluations in Explaining Support for Environmental Issues,” will be published in the February issue of the Academy of Management Journal. The co-authors are Scott Sonenshein, an associate professor of management at Rice’s Jones Graduate School of Business; Katherine DeCelles, an assistant professor of organizational behavior and human resources management at Toronto’s Rotman School of Management; and Jane Dutton, the Robert L. Kahn Distinguished University Professor of Business Administration and Psychology at Michigan’s Ross School of Business.”Supporting social issues often requires perseverance from individuals who want to make a difference,” the authors wrote. “Our research explains how the mixed self-evaluations of these individuals spring from their interpretation of issue-support challenges.”Sonenshein said people’s support for environmental issues and their doubt in their behavior’s effectiveness manifests itself in benign daily tasks such as recycling or the mode of transportation one chooses. “It’s this ongoing challenge,” Sonenshein said. “No matter what you do, the sense from the study is that it’s never enough. … For more info: Study: It’s not easy ‘being green’ ScienceDaily: Living Well News Study: It’s not easy ‘being green’ L’articolo Study: It’s not easy ‘being green’ sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Secrets to ‘extreme adaptation’ found in Burmese python genome

Secrets to ‘extreme adaptation’ found in Burmese python genome The Burmese python’s ability to ramp up its metabolism and enlarge its organs to swallow and digest prey whole can be traced to unusually rapid evolution and specialized adaptations of its genes and the way they work, an international team of biologists says. via ScienceDaily: Top Science News: Dec. 2, 2013 — The Burmese python’s ability to ramp up its metabolism and enlarge its organs to swallow and digest prey whole can be traced to unusually rapid evolution and specialized adaptations of its genes and the way they work, an international team of biologists says in a new paper.Lead author Todd Castoe, an assistant professor of biology at The University of Texas at Arlington College of Science, and 38 co-authors from four countries sequenced and analyzed the genome of the Burmese python, or Python molurus bivittatus. Their work is scheduled for publication this week (Dec. 2) by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences along with a companion paper on the sequencing and analysis of the king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah). The papers represent the first complete and annotated snake genomes.Because snakes contain many of the same genes as other vertebrates, studying how these genes have evolved to produce such extreme and unique characteristics in snakes can eventually help explain how these genes function, including how they enable extreme feats of organ remodeling. Such knowledge may eventually be used to treat human diseases.”One of the fundamental questions of evolutionary biology is how vertebrates with all the same genes display such vastly different characteristics. The Burmese python is a great way to study that because it is so extreme,” Castoe, who began working on the python project as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in the laboratory of associate professor and paper corresponding author David D. Pollock.Castoe said: “We’d like to know how the snake uses genes we all have to do things that no other vertebrates can do.”The new python study calls into question previous theories that major obvious physical differences among species are caused primarily by changes in gene expression. Instead, it contends that protein adaptation, gene expression and changes in the structure of the organization of the genome itself are all at work together in determining the unusual characteristics that define snakes, and possibly other vertebrates.Pollock said the python and king cobra studies represent a significant addition to the field of “comparative systems genomics — the evolutionary analysis of multiple vertebrate genomes to understand how entire systems of interacting genes can evolve from the molecules on up.”He said: “I believe that such studies are going to be fundamental to our ability to understand what the genes in the human genome do, their functional mechanisms, and how and why they came to be structured the way they are.”The Burmese python’s phenotype, or physical characteristics, represents one of the most extreme examples of evolutionary adaptation, the authors said. Like all snakes, its evolutionary origin included reduction in function of one lung and the elongation of its mid-section, skeleton and organs. … For more info: Secrets to ‘extreme adaptation’ found in Burmese python genome ScienceDaily: Top Science News Secrets to ‘extreme adaptation’ found in Burmese python genome L’articolo Secrets to ‘extreme adaptation’ found in Burmese python genome sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Automated prediction alert helps identify patients at risk for 30-day readmission

Automated prediction alert helps identify patients at risk for 30-day readmission An automated prediction tool which identifies newly admitted patients who are at risk for readmission within 30 days of discharge has been successfully incorporated into the electronic health record of an American hospital. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 27, 2013 — An automated prediction tool which identifies newly admitted patients who are at risk for readmission within 30 days of discharge has been successfully incorporated into the electronic health record of the University of Pennsylvania Health System. The tool, developed by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine, is the subject of a study published in the December issue of the Journal of Hospital Medicine.The all-Penn team found that having been admitted to the hospital two or more times in the 12 months prior to admission is the best way to predict which patients are at risk for being readmitted in the 30 days after discharge. As a result of this finding, the automated tool is now able to identify patients as being “high risk” for readmission and creates a “flag” in their electronic health record. Upon admission of a high-risk patient, the flag appears next to the patient’s name in a column titled “readmission risk.” The flag can be double-clicked to display detailed information relevant to discharge planning including inpatient and emergency department visits over the previous 12 months, as well as information about the care teams, lengths of stay, and problem(s) associated with those prior admissions.”The results we’ve seen with this tool show that we can predict, with a good deal of accuracy, patients who are at risk of being readmitted within 30 days of discharge,” said lead author Charles A. Baillie, MD, an internal medicine specialist and fellow in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Penn Medicine. “With this knowledge, care teams have the ability to target these patients, making sure they receive the most intensive interventions necessary to prevent their readmission.”Interventions proven to help reduce 30-day readmissions include enhanced patient education and medication reconciliation on the day of discharge, increased home services to provide a safe landing, follow up appointments soon after discharge, and follow-up phone calls to ensure an extra level of protection. In the process of medication reconciliation, pharmacists compare a patient’s current hospital medication orders to all of the medications that the patient was taking at home prior to their hospital admission. This is done to avoid medication errors such as omissions, duplications, dosing errors, or drug interactions.In support of the study, the Penn Medicine Center for Evidence-based Practice identified in the published literature a number of variables associated with readmission to the hospital, including: prior admissions, visits to the emergency department, previous 30-day readmissions, and the presence of multiple medical disorders.Using two years of retrospective data, the team examined these variables using their own local data and found that a single variable — prior admission to the hospital two or more times within a span of 12 months — was the best predictor of being readmitted in the future. This marker was integrated into the electronic health record and was studied prospectively for the next year. … For more info: Automated prediction alert helps identify patients at risk for 30-day readmission ScienceDaily: Top Health News Automated prediction alert helps identify patients at risk for 30-day readmission L’articolo Automated prediction alert helps identify patients at risk for 30-day readmission sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Scientists design, test new approach for corneal stem cell treatments

Scientists design, test new approach for corneal stem cell treatments Researchers have designed and tested a novel, minute-long procedure to prepare human amniotic membrane for use as a scaffold for specialized stem cells that may be used to treat some corneal diseases. This membrane serves as a foundation that supports the growth of stem cells in order to graft them onto the cornea. This new method may accelerate research and clinical applications for stem cell corneal transplantation. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 27, 2013 — Researchers in the Cedars-Sinai Regenerative Medicine Institute have designed and tested a novel, minute-long procedure to prepare human amniotic membrane for use as a scaffold for specialized stem cells that may be used to treat some corneal diseases. This membrane serves as a foundation that supports the growth of stem cells in order to graft them onto the cornea.This new method, explained in a paper published this month in the journal PLOS ONE, may accelerate research and clinical applications for stem cell corneal transplantation.Corneal blindness affects more than 8 million people worldwide. Among other causes, corneal blindness can be the outcome of corneal stem cell deficiency, a disease usually resulting from genetic defects or injury to the eye — such as burns, infection or chronic inflammation — that can lead to vision loss. A feasible treatment to rectify vision loss for such patients is corneal stem cell transplantation, either as a biopsy from another eye or by transplanting cultured stem cells, although this promising approach is not yet fully standardized.An approved biological foundation for cultured stem cells is the human amniotic membrane, a thin but sturdy film that separates the fetus from the placenta. For the best growth of stem cells, amniotic cells need to be removed by chemical agents. The existing methods for removing these cells from this membrane are not standardized, leave behind amniotic cells and may cause unwanted loss of some of the membrane components.The amniotic cell removal method created at Cedars-Sinai takes less than one minute and ensures virtually complete amniotic cell removal and preservation of amniotic membrane components, and also supports the overall growth of various stem and tissue cells.”We believe that this straightforward and relatively fast procedure would allow easier standardization of amniotic membrane as a valuable stem cell support and improve the current standard of care in corneal stem cell transplantation,” said lead author Alexander Ljubimov, PhD, director of the Eye Program at the Cedars-Sinai Regenerative Medicine Institute. “This new method may provide a better method for researchers, transplant corneal surgeons and manufacturing companies alike.”Mehrnoosh Saghizadeh Ghiam, PhD, a research scientist in the Regenerative Medicine Institute’s Eye Program, assistant professor in the department of Biomedical Sciences and first author of the study, commented on the potential of the new method.”The amniotic membrane has many beneficial properties and provides an attractive framework to grow tissue and stem cells for regenerative medicine transplantations, especially in replacing missing stem cells in the cornea,” said Saghizadeh. “Our method for preparing this scaffold for cell expansion is and may streamline clinical applications of cell therapies.” For more info: Scientists design, test new approach for corneal stem cell treatments ScienceDaily: Top Health News Scientists design, test new approach for corneal stem cell treatments L’articolo Scientists design, test new approach for corneal stem cell treatments sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Negative BRCA testing may not always imply lowered breast cancer risk

Negative BRCA testing may not always imply lowered breast cancer risk Women who are members of families with BRCA2 mutations but who test negative for the family-specific BRCA2 mutations are still at greater risk for developing breast cancer compared with women in the general population, according to a study. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 27, 2013 — Women who are members of families with BRCA2 mutations but who test negative for the family-specific BRCA2 mutations are still at greater risk for developing breast cancer compared with women in the general population, according to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.Women with certain mutations in their BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes are at increased risk for breast cancer. However, if a woman who comes from a BRCA family tests negative for her family-specific BRCA mutation, her risk for breast cancer is considered to be the same as someone in the general population, according to the National Cancer Institute. This study, however, suggests that it may not always be true.”We found that women who test negative for family-specific BRCA2 mutations have more than four times the risk for developing breast cancer than the general population,” said Gareth R. Evans, M.B.B.S., M.D., M.R.C.P., F.R.C.P., honorary professor of medical genetics and cancer epidemiology at the Manchester Academic Health Science Center at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom. “We also found that any increased risk for breast cancer is largely limited to BRCA2 families with strong family history and other genetic factors.”It is likely that these women inherit genetic factors other than BRCA-related genes that increase their breast cancer risk,” he explained. “About 77 single nucleotide polymorphisms [SNPs — genetic variations that can help track the inheritance of disease genes within families] are linked to breast cancer risk. Identification of additional SNPs is necessary to understand why some of the BRCA-negative women from BRCA families are at higher risk.”The authors note that specialists should use caution when stating that a woman’s breast cancer risk is the same as that of the general population following a negative test, because it may not be true for some women who come from BRCA2 families with a strong family history.Evans and colleagues used data from the M6-Inherited Cancer in England study, which has screened families of individuals with breast and/or ovarian cancer for mutations in BRCA1 and 2 since 1996. Details on affected individuals, and all tested and untested relatives, were entered into a Filemaker Pro-7 database. From 807 BRCA families, the researchers identified 49 women who tested negative for the family-specific BRCA mutation, but subsequently developed breast cancer. … For more info: Negative BRCA testing may not always imply lowered breast cancer risk ScienceDaily: Top Health News Negative BRCA testing may not always imply lowered breast cancer risk L’articolo Negative BRCA testing may not always imply lowered breast cancer risk sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Polymer foam expands potential to treat aneurysms

Polymer foam expands potential to treat aneurysms Researchers are using the unique contraction and expansion properties of shape memory polymer foam to design a much improved treatment for brain aneurysms, which cause severe neurological damage or death for 30,000 Americans each year. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 27, 2013 — Thirty thousand Americans suffer severe neurological damage or death from brain aneurysms each year and the existing treatments eventually fail in nearly half of patients. Currently, these “bubbles” in the blood vessel are either clamped off, which requires invasive brain surgery, or filled with platinum coils to induce clotting in the aneurysm.Both treatments, although somewhat effective, can have subsequent problems, including inflammation, incomplete healing, and the development of secondary aneurysms adjacent to the initial site. These complications result in approximately 40 percent of patients needing additional treatment to attempt to re-repair the aneurysm.NIBIB-funded researchers in Texas A&M’s bioengineering department are moving rapidly to provide a better treatment for this serious disorder. The group specializes in using the unique properties of foam shape memory polymers (SMPs) to solve clinical conditions lacking satisfactory treatments.The group, led by Associate Professor Duncan Maitland, is using SMPs in a pig model of brain aneurysm to develop a minimally-invasive procedure that fills and stabilizes the aneurysm. Because the system induces only minimal inflammation, it successfully allows natural healing of the border between the aneurysm and the blood vessel. As reported in the May 22 issue of the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research, partial healing was observed at 30 days post-procedure and almost complete healing had occurred at 90 days in the pig model.2How it WorksTwo of the properties of SMP are critical to the success seen in the animal experiments: • the foam’s ability to be compressed into a very thin sheath and then induced to expand to 100 times its compressed volume when heated, and • its rigid, yet porous structure when fully expanded.The rigid uniform structure of the expanded foam is a significant improvement over the current practice of filling an aneurysm with a platinum coil. Because a coil is threaded into the aneurysm until it fills the space, pressure is exerted on the aneurysm during the process, which can damage the vessel wall. In addition, the platinum coils do not uniformly fill the space, leaving large gaps that can allow shifting of the coils as well as the formation of unstable, large clots. The platinum coil approach can also result in inflammation which destabilizes the aneurysm, resulting in incomplete healing and failure to completely wall-off from the blood vessel.The minimally-invasive procedure involves inserting the slim, compressed foam into the aneurysm using a microcatheter. … For more info: Polymer foam expands potential to treat aneurysms ScienceDaily: Top Health News Polymer foam expands potential to treat aneurysms L’articolo Polymer foam expands potential to treat aneurysms sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Oxytocin leads to monogamy

Oxytocin leads to monogamy How is the bond between people in love maintained? Scientists have discovered a biological mechanism that could explain the attraction between loving couples: If oxytocin is administered to men and if they are shown pictures of their partner, the bonding hormone stimulates the reward center in the brain, increasing the attractiveness of the partner, and strengthening monogamy. via ScienceDaily: Living Well News: Nov. 25, 2013 — How is the bond between people in love maintained? Scientists at the Bonn University Medical Center have discovered a biological mechanism that could explain the attraction between loving couples: If oxytocin is administered to men and if they are shown pictures of their partner, the bonding hormone stimulates the reward center in the brain, increasing the attractiveness of the partner, and strengthening monogamy. The results are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.Monogamy is not very widespread among mammals; human beings represent an exception. Comparatively many couples of the species Homo sapiens have no other partners in a love relationship. For a long time, science has therefore been trying to discover the unknown forces that cause loving couples to be faithful. “An important role in partner bonding is played by the hormone oxytocin, which is secreted in the brain,” says Prof. Dr. René Hurlemann, Executive Senior Physician at the Inpatient and Outpatient Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy of the Bonn University Medical Center. A team of scientists at the University of Bonn under the direction of Prof. … For more info: Oxytocin leads to monogamy ScienceDaily: Living Well News Oxytocin leads to monogamy L’articolo Oxytocin leads to monogamy sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

New clues to memory formation may help better treat dementia

New clues to memory formation may help better treat dementia Do fruit flies hold the key to treating dementia? Biologists have taken a significant step forward in unraveling the mechanisms of Pavlovian conditioning. Their work will help them understand how memories form and, ultimately, provide better treatments to improve memory in all ages. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 27, 2013 — Do fruit flies hold the key to treating dementia? Researchers at the University of Houston (UH) have taken a significant step forward in unraveling the mechanisms of Pavlovian conditioning. Their work will help them understand how memories form and, ultimately, provide better treatments to improve memory in all ages.Gregg Roman, an associate professor of biology and biochemistry at UH, and Shixing Zhang, his postdoctoral associate, describe their findings in a paper titled “Presynaptic Inhibition of Gamma Lobe Neurons Is Required for Olfactory Learning in Drosophila,” appearing Nov. 27 in Current Biology, a scientific bimonthly journal published by Cell Press.”Memory is essential to our daily function and is also central to our sense of self,” Roman said. “To a large degree, we are the sum of our experiences. When memories can no longer be retrieved or we have difficulty in forming new memories, the effects are frequently tragic. In the future, our work will enable us to have a better understanding of how human memories form.”Roman and Zhang set about to unravel some of these mysteries by studying the brains of fruit flies (Drosophila). Within the fly brain, Roman says, there are nerve cells that play a role in olfactory learning and memory. Olfactory learning, he says, is an example of classical conditioning first described by Pavlov in his experiment with dogs. … For more info: New clues to memory formation may help better treat dementia ScienceDaily: Top Health News New clues to memory formation may help better treat dementia L’articolo New clues to memory formation may help better treat dementia sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

When the living, deceased don’t agree on organ donation

When the living, deceased don’t agree on organ donation All 50 states have adopted laws giving individuals the right to consent to organ donation after death via a signed donor card or driver’s license, or by enrollment in a donor registry. While such laws give hospitals legal authority to proceed with organ procurement without consent of the registered donor’s family, a new study shows that organ procurement organizations’ implementation has been inconsistent and incomplete. via ScienceDaily: Living Well News: Nov. 26, 2013 — All 50 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the 2006 Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act (UAGA) or enacted similar legislation giving individuals the “First Person Authorization” (FPA) to consent to organ donation after death via a signed donor card or driver’s license, or by enrollment in a donor registry. While such laws give hospitals legal authority to proceed with organ procurement without consent of the registered donor’s family, a new study shows that organ procurement organizations’ implementation of FPA has been inconsistent and incomplete.”Sometimes what we preach and what we practice may not be the same thing, especially when dealing with very sensitive issues such as organ donation,” said W. James Chon, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago Medicine, primary author of the study, which was published early online in the American Journal of Transplantation.Chon and his colleagues conducted a web-based survey of the executive directors of 58 organ procurement organizations to assess their policies and practices regarding donations from registered donors in cases of family objections. Most of the respondents estimated the frequency of family objection as less than 10 percent.Half the groups surveyed did not have a written policy for handling such scenarios. Twenty-one percent said they would first inform the family of the donor’s wishes and proceed with procurement, and another 59 percent said they would proceed even if they could not persuade family members. Twenty percent, however, said they would not proceed with organ procurement unless they had consent of the family, and 35 percent had not procured organs against family objections in the past five years.Chon said that despite the legal backing given by FPA legislation, procurement organizations still have difficulty dealing with family objections because questions about organ donation come at such an emotional time.”When a deadly accident hits, the family is in a state of shock,” he said. “Then out of nowhere, a total stranger comes up to say their son or daughter wanted to be an organ donor and the family often find it difficult to process the information in this time of emotional upheaval.”Lainie Friedman Ross, MD, PhD, the study’s senior author and the Carolyn and Matthew Bucksbaum Professor of Clinical Ethics at the University of Chicago Medicine, said the work highlights the importance of people talking to family members about their organ donation wishes in the event of an untimely death.”What this study shows is that family objections to a kin’s decision is rare. However, we have to remember that it only addresses those cases in which an individual has made known his or her wishes about donation,” she said. “Unfortunately, this is a minority of the country, so it is critical that we convince the public to express their wishes using web-based consent registries, organ donor cards, or driver’s licenses.”Chon added that while organ procurement organizations should continue their efforts to enforce FPA in the face of family objections, increased public awareness about the critical need for donated organs will also help to limit the number of times families refuse to honor the wishes of a loved one.”As people are better informed and better educated about why we’re doing this, I think most people will agree that it’s really up to the deceased person to dictate how the organs are used,” he said. For more info: When the living, deceased don’t agree on organ donation ScienceDaily: Living Well News When the living, deceased don’t agree on organ donation L’articolo When the living, deceased don’t agree on organ donation sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Do black holes come in size medium?

Do black holes come in size medium? Black holes can be petite, with masses only about 10 times that of our sun — or monstrous, boasting the equivalent in mass up to 10 billion suns. Do black holes also come in size medium? NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, is busy scrutinizing a class of black holes that may fall into the proposed medium-sized category. via ScienceDaily: Top Science News: Nov. 29, 2013 — Black holes can be petite, with masses only about 10 times that of our sun — or monstrous, boasting the equivalent in mass up to 10 billion suns. Do black holes also come in size medium? NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, is busy scrutinizing a class of black holes that may fall into the proposed medium-sized category.”Exactly how intermediate-sized black holes would form remains an open issue,” said Dominic Walton of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. “Some theories suggest they could form in rich, dense clusters of stars through repeated mergers, but there are a lot of questions left to be answered.”The largest black holes, referred to as supermassive, dominate the hearts of galaxies. The immense gravity of these black holes drags material toward them, forcing the material to heat up and release powerful X-rays. Small black holes dot the rest of the galactic landscape. They form under the crush of collapsing, dying stars bigger than our sun.Evidence for medium-sized black holes lying somewhere between these two extremes might come from objects called ultraluminous X-ray sources, or ULXs. These are pairs of objects in which a black hole ravenously feeds off a normal star. The feeding process is somewhat similar to what happens around supermassive black holes, but isn’t as big and messy. … For more info: Do black holes come in size medium? ScienceDaily: Top Science News Do black holes come in size medium? L’articolo Do black holes come in size medium? sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Simulating new treatment for retinal degeneration

Simulating new treatment for retinal degeneration For a few years, optogenetics has been seen as a very promising therapy for progressive blindness, for example when it is a result of retinal degeneration. In order to further develop this therapeutic approach, researchers have developed a computer model that simulates optogenetic vision. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 27, 2013 — For a few years now, optogenetics has been seen as a very promising therapy for progressive blindness, for example when it is a result of retinal degeneration. In order to further develop this therapeutic approach, Marion Mutter and project leader Dr. Thomas Münch of the Werner Reichardt Centre for Integrative Neuroscience (CIN) and the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience (BCCN) at the University of Tübingen have developed a computer model that simulates optogenetic vision. The research has been published in the November 27 issue of PLOS ONE.Retinitis Pigmentosa is a form of retinal degeneration in which the photoreceptors in the eye die off. In order to counteract the accompanying loss of light perception, light-sensitive proteins known as channelrhodopsins are introduced into the retina using an optogenetic procedure. Every cell that contains channelrhodopsins can be activated by exposure to light. After optogenetic treatment, neighboring cells can take over the lost functions of the photoreceptors. This procedure has already been successful in restoring vision in mice. Thus, in the last few years, the foundation has been laid for using optogenetics to treat blindness.However, the method has its limits. … For more info: Simulating new treatment for retinal degeneration ScienceDaily: Top Health News Simulating new treatment for retinal degeneration L’articolo Simulating new treatment for retinal degeneration sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Medal model predicts Winter Olympics leaders

Medal model predicts Winter Olympics leaders Sochi on the Black Sea coast in Russia will host the XXII Olympic Winter Games and XI Paralympic Winter Games in 2014 which country will win what number of medals is open to debate. A study published suggests that the USA will win the most models followed by Germany and Canada and then Russia, with China arriving ninth. via ScienceDaily: Living Well News: Nov. 28, 2013 — Sochi on the Black Sea coast in Russia will host the XXII Olympic Winter Games and XI Paralympic Winter Games in 2014 which country will win what number of medals is open to debate. A study published in the International Journal of Economic Policy in Emerging Economies suggest that the USA will win the most models followed by Germany and Canada and then Russia, with China arriving ninth.Share This:Economist, Wladimir Andreff, based in Lédignan, France, suggests that gross domestic product (GDP) is the major determinant of medal winners at the Olympics. Various other factors play a minor role in the final outcome and he has now analysed the relevant economics data from the nations taking part in the Games from 1964 to 2010 to arrive at a leader board for next year’s Winter Olympics. He adds that given the rapid economic growth of China it is only a matter of time before it reaches one of the top slots.Andreff has calculated that per capita GDP, a nation’s population and the endowment it receives in ski and winter sports resorts can predict the outcome of the Winter Games with a degree of certainty. His prediction conflicts, of course, with the Russian government’s suggestion that the Russian Federation will be overall winner in Sochi. This is despite the outstanding performance of the host nation at the 2008 Beijing Summer Games. He points out that The former Soviet Union was for many decades a top-ranking Olympic performer at both the Summer and Winter Games finding itself ahead of or second only to the USA .However, economic and political transition and the break-up of the USSR have disrupted the medal haul for the former high achiever, suggests Andreff.Of course, surprises often happen in sport. “My predictions on the Winter Olympics should be taken with a pinch of salt,” Andreff concedes. Russia has not recovered well from the world banking crisis despite its growth following the 1998 recession. … For more info: Medal model predicts Winter Olympics leaders ScienceDaily: Living Well News Medal model predicts Winter Olympics leaders L’articolo Medal model predicts Winter Olympics leaders sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Pre-existing diabetes in pregnancy increases risk of fetal, infant death

Pre-existing diabetes in pregnancy increases risk of fetal, infant death New research shows that pre-existing diabetes in pregnant women greatly increases the risk of death of their unborn fetus by around 4.5 times compared with pregnant women without diabetes, and also almost doubles the risk of death of infants after birth. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 27, 2013 — New research shows that pre-existing diabetes in pregnant women greatly increases the risk of death of their unborn fetus by around four-and-a-half times compared with pregnant women without diabetes, and also almost doubles the risk of death of infants after birth. The research, published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes), is by Dr Ruth Bell and Peter Tennant, Newcastle University, UK, and colleagues from Newcastle University, and the South Tees NHS Trust, UK and Public Health England.While previous research has investigated links between pre-existing diabetes in mothers and deaths of unborn fetuses and young children, it has not previously excluded congenital anomalies1 from causes of death. In this new research, the authors used unique sources of data from several long-standing population-based registers in the north of England to investigate the association between pre-existing diabetes and the risks of fetal and infant death in offspring without congenital anomalies.All normally formed singleton offspring of women with pre-existing diabetes (1,206 with type 1 diabetes and 342 with type 2 diabetes) in the North of England during 1996� were identified from the Northern Diabetes in Pregnancy Survey. The relative risk of fetal death (i.e. death of a fetus at or after 20 weeks’ gestation 2) and infant death (i.e. death during the first year of life) were estimated by comparison with population data from the Northern Perinatal Morbidity and Mortality Survey. Predictors of fetal and infant death in women with pre-existing diabetes were examined.The researchers found that women with pre-existing diabetes were 4.56 times more likely to have their unborn fetus die compared with women without diabetes, while their infants were 1.86 times more likely to die. There was no difference in the risk of fetal and/or infant death in women with type 1 diabetes compared with type 2. Women with glycated haemoglobin (a standard measure of blood sugar control) above 6.6%, those with pre-pregnancy retinopathy (a complication of diabetes) and a lack of folic acid supplementation were all found to be at higher risk of experiencing a fetal or infant death.The prevalence of fetal death was 3% in women with pre-existing diabetes, and the prevalence of infant death was 0.7%, compared with 0.7% and 0.4% in women without the condition. … For more info: Pre-existing diabetes in pregnancy increases risk of fetal, infant death ScienceDaily: Top Health News Pre-existing diabetes in pregnancy increases risk of fetal, infant death L’articolo Pre-existing diabetes in pregnancy increases risk of fetal, infant death sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Food fight or exercise attack?

Food fight or exercise attack? Experts offer two ways to battle the holiday bulge. via ScienceDaily: Living Well News: Nov. 29, 2013 — Though the Thanksgiving feast and leftovers are behind you, the holiday eating season has just begun. On average, Americans gain one or two pounds this time of year. Though that might not sound like much, the annual weight gain adds up from year to year and can lead to significant gains as time goes by.If the zipper on your favorite holiday outfit is threatening to burst and you’re despairing at the incoming tide of buffets, cookie exchanges, family meals, toasts and eggnog, pick one of the following approaches to maintain your current weight and still enjoy the season.FOOD FIGHTThis time of year, you are bombarded with food. High calorie treats appear everywhere you look. Tables are filled with home-made cookies, gingerbread, hot apple cider, Swedish meatballs and savory appetizers that are irresistible. But resist you must, says Amy Moore, Ph.D., assistant professor of nutrition and dietetics at Saint Louis University, who shares strategies to control your holiday eating.Be picky about your splurges. You can eat crackers and cheese any time, but the holidays are a time to sample special seasonal treats that people have spent a lot of energy preparing. So, if you’re at a holiday buffet, browse before you graze to size up your best options, Moore says. If Aunt Helen’s delectable Christmas Buche de Noel chocolate dessert beckons, enjoy a slice but pass on the brownies or soda. … For more info: Food fight or exercise attack? ScienceDaily: Living Well News Food fight or exercise attack? L’articolo Food fight or exercise attack? sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Scientists achieve most detailed picture ever of key part of hepatitis C virus

Scientists achieve most detailed picture ever of key part of hepatitis C virus Scientists have determined the most detailed picture yet of a crucial part of the hepatitis C virus, which the virus uses to infect liver cells. The new data reveal unexpected structural features of this protein. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 28, 2013 — Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have determined the most detailed picture yet of a crucial part of the hepatitis C virus, which the virus uses to infect liver cells. The new data reveal unexpected structural features of this protein and should greatly speed efforts to make an effective hepatitis C vaccine.The findings, which appear in the November 29, 2013 issue of the journal Science, focus on a protein known as E2 envelope glycoprotein.”We’re excited by this development,” said Ian A. Wilson, the Hansen Professor of Structural Biology at TSRI and a senior author of the new research with TSRI Assistant Professors Mansun Law and Andrew B. Ward. “It has been very hard to get a high resolution structure of E2 and it took years of painstaking work to finally accomplish that.”Any successful hepatitis C vaccine is likely to target the E2 protein. Scientists already have isolated rare antibodies from patients that can bind E2 in ways that neutralize a broad range of viral strains.”It took our team six years to crack this very difficult scientific problem, but we didn’t give up,” said Law. “Now that we can visualize the structural details of these binding sites, we can design vaccine molecules that mimic them.”A Silent KillerThere has long been an urgent need for an effective vaccine against hepatitis C virus. Once confined to isolated geographical regions, the virus spread globally during the 20th century, chiefly via blood transfusions, unsterilized medical instruments and re-used hypodermic needles. Although hospitals have screened blood products for hepatitis C virus (HCV) since the early 1990s, as many as 200 million people currently are thought to harbor the virus. … For more info: Scientists achieve most detailed picture ever of key part of hepatitis C virus ScienceDaily: Top Health News Scientists achieve most detailed picture ever of key part of hepatitis C virus L’articolo Scientists achieve most detailed picture ever of key part of hepatitis C virus sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Crossing continents — where we drive affects how we drive

Crossing continents — where we drive affects how we drive According to the International Transport Forum, Malaysia has one of the highest death rates from road traffic accidents in the world. While the number of road deaths continues to rise in Malaysia the number in the United Kingdom is much lower and experiencing a downward trend.  via ScienceDaily: Living Well News: Nov. 28, 2013 — According to the International Transport Forum, Malaysia has one of the highest death rates from road traffic accidents in the world. While the number of road deaths continues to rise in Malaysia the number in the United Kingdom is much lower and experiencing a downward trend.For the first time a team of experts have been looking at the cross-cultural effect on drivers’ hazard perception and their research has shown that compared to British drivers, Malaysian motorists are less likely to identify situations as dangerous and also react to them later. This could have consequences for hazard perception tests for drivers in developing countries where road safety is a primary concern.A cross-cultural study of drivers carried out by experts in the School of Psychology’s Driving Research Group at The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC) and The University of Nottingham in the UK showed that Malaysian drivers have much slower reaction times and required a higher threshold of danger before taking action. The study has also shown that the better we know the roads we are on the more likely we are to identify events occurring there as hazardous.The International Transport Forum’s Annual report for 2013 showed that in 2011 there were 1,960 fatalities on UK roads — a fall of nearly 64 per cent since 1990. While in Malaysia the figure stood at 6,877 — a rise of 70 per cent since 1990.Phui Cheng Lim, a Postgraduate student who led the research, said: “The fact that Malaysian drivers were slower to respond to danger possibly reflects the more hazardous road environment they are used to.”Although hazard perception tests are used in several developed countries as part of the driver licensing curriculum little research has been done in developing countries where road safety is a primary concern. Our results suggest that hazard perception testing, particularly in developing countries, would benefit from a paradigm where performance cannot be confused with differing thresholds of what is regarded as a potential hazard.”The research entitled ‘Cross-cultural effects on drivers’ hazard perception’ was carried out both in Malaysia and the UK. It was instigated by Dr Elizabeth Sheppard shortly after she arrived in Malaysia to take up an academic post at UNMC. Funded by an Early Career Research and Knowledge Transfer grant from The University of Nottingham, the research has been published in the academic journal Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour.Dr Sheppard said: “I thought getting a car would make life easier but I soon realized that driving in Malaysia was very different from back home in Britain. I had to completely rethink my driving strategy.”Dr Sheppard now heads the Driving Research Group which is made up of experts in traffic psychology and behavior. … For more info: Crossing continents — where we drive affects how we drive ScienceDaily: Living Well News Crossing continents — where we drive affects how we drive L’articolo Crossing continents — where we drive affects how we drive sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Economic development can only buy happiness up to a ‘sweet spot’ of $36,000 GDP per person

Economic development can only buy happiness up to a ‘sweet spot’ of $36,000 GDP per person Economists have shed light on the vexed question of whether economic development can buy happiness — and it seems that life satisfaction actually dips among people living in the wealthiest countries. via ScienceDaily: Living Well News: Nov. 27, 2013 — Economists have shed light on the vexed question of whether economic development can buy happiness — and it seems that life satisfaction actually dips among people living in the wealthiest countries.Politicians are intensely interested in the link between national wealth and levels of happiness among the population, but it is a subject which is still wide open to debate among economists.A new analysis led by economists Eugenio Proto in the Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy at the University of Warwick and Aldo Rustichini, from University of MInnesota finds that as expected, for the poorest countries life satisfaction rises as a country’s wealth increases as people are able to meet their basic needs.However, the new surprise finding is that once income reaches a certain level — around $36,000, adjusted for Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) — life satisfaction levels peaks, after which it appears to dip slightly in the very rich countries.According to the most recent figures, the UK had a PPP-adjusted GDP per capita of roughly $37,000 dollars.The researchers find suggestive evidence that this happiness dip in the wealthiest countries is because more money creates higher aspirations, leading to disappointment and a drop in life satisfaction if those aspirations are not met.Dr Proto said: “Whether wealth can buy a country’s happiness is a major question for governments. Many policy-makers, including in the UK, are interested in official measures of national well-being.”Our new analysis has one very surprising finding which has not been reported before — that life satisfaction appears to dip beyond a certain level of wealth.”In our study we see evidence that this is down to changes in the aspiration levels of people living in the richest countries.”As countries get richer, higher levels of GDP lead to higher aspiration. There is a sense of keeping up with the Joneses as people see wealth and opportunity all around them and aspire to having more.”But this aspiration gap — the difference between actual income and the income we would like — eats away at life satisfaction levels.”In other words, what we aspire to becomes a moving target and one which moves away faster in the richest countries, causing the dip in happiness we see in our analysis.”The study found that people in countries with a GDP per capita of below $6,700 were 12 per cent less likely to report the highest level of life satisfaction than those in countries with a GDP per capita of around $18,000.However, once countries reach around $20,400 GDP per capita, the increase in happiness that higher wealth brings is less obvious. Between this level and the very highest GDP per capita level ($54,000), the probability of reporting the highest level of life satisfaction changes by no more than two per cent.This corresponds broadly to the well-known Easterlin Paradox — that the link between life satisfaction and GDP is more or less flat in richer countries.However, instead of continuing to increase or flatten as other studies have suggested, this new analysis finds a small drop in life satisfaction once countries go beyond a level of GDP per capita of around $36,000.The researchers used data on life satisfaction gathered from the World Values Survey and GDP figures which they analyzed as quantiles, a new approach to looking at this issue.By analysing the data this way, they were able to avoid imposing restrictions on the econometric model . Furthermore, they control for country-fixed effects, in order to exclude possible effect due to culture, translation and linguistic issues.The findings were published in a study entitled A Reassessment of the Relationship Between GDP and Life Satisfaction in the open access journal PLOS ONE. For more info: Economic development can only buy happiness up to a ‘sweet spot’ of $36,000 GDP per person ScienceDaily: Living Well News Economic development can only buy happiness up to a ‘sweet spot’ of $36,000 GDP per person L’articolo Economic development can only buy happiness up to a ‘sweet spot’ of $36,000 GDP per person sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

High cholesterol fuels growth, spread of breast cancer

High cholesterol fuels growth, spread of breast cancer A byproduct of cholesterol functions like the hormone estrogen to fuel the growth and spread of the most common types of breast cancers, researchers report. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 28, 2013 — A byproduct of cholesterol functions like the hormone estrogen to fuel the growth and spread of the most common types of breast cancers, researchers at the Duke Cancer Institute report.The researchers also found that anti-cholesterol drugs such as statins appear to diminish the effect of this estrogen-like molecule.Published in the Nov. 29, 2013, edition of the journal Science, the findings are early, using mouse models and tumor cells. But the research for the first time explains the link between high cholesterol and breast cancer, especially in post-menopausal women, and suggests that dietary changes or therapies to reduce cholesterol may also offer a simple, accessible way to reduce breast cancer risk.”A lot of studies have shown a connection between obesity and breast cancer, and specifically that elevated cholesterol is associated with breast cancer risk, but no mechanism has been identified,” said senior author Donald McDonnell, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology at Duke. “What we have now found is a molecule — not cholesterol itself, but an abundant metabolite of cholesterol — called 27HC that mimics the hormone estrogen and can independently drive the growth of breast cancer.”The hormone estrogen feeds an estimated 75 percent of all breast cancers. In a key earlier finding from McDonnell’s lab, researchers determined that 27-hydroxycholesterol — or 27HC — behaved similarly to estrogen in animals.For their current work, the researchers set out to determine whether this estrogen activity was sufficient on its own to promote breast cancer growth and metastasis, and whether controlling it would have a converse effect.Using mouse models that are highly predictive of what occurs in humans, McDonnell and colleagues demonstrated the direct involvement of 27HC in breast tumor growth, as well as the aggressiveness of the cancer to spread to other organs. They also noted that the activity of this cholesterol metabolite was inhibited when the animals were treated with antiestrogens or when supplementation of 27HC was stopped.The studies were substantiated using human breast cancer tissue. An additional finding in the human tissue showed a direct correlation between the aggressiveness of the tumor and an abundance of the enzyme that makes the 27HC molecule. They also noted that 27HC could be made in other places in the body and transported to the tumor.”The worse the tumors, the more they have of the enzyme,” said lead author Erik Nelson, Ph.D., a post-doctoral associate at Duke. Nelson said gene expression studies revealed a potential association between 27HC exposure and the development of resistance to the antiestrogen tamoxifen. … For more info: High cholesterol fuels growth, spread of breast cancer ScienceDaily: Top Health News High cholesterol fuels growth, spread of breast cancer L’articolo High cholesterol fuels growth, spread of breast cancer sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Follow your gut down the aisle, new study says

Follow your gut down the aisle, new study says Although newlyweds may not be completely aware of it, they may know whether their march down the aisle will result in wedded bliss or an unhappy marriage, according to new study. via ScienceDaily: Living Well News: Nov. 28, 2013 — Although newlyweds may not be completely aware of it, they may know whether their march down the aisle will result in wedded bliss or an unhappy marriage, according to new study led by a Florida State University researcher.Associate Professor of Psychology James K. McNulty and his colleagues studied 135 heterosexual couples who had been married for less than six months and then followed up with them every six months over a four-year period. They found that the feelings the study participants verbalized about their marriages were unrelated to changes in their marital happiness over time. Instead, it was the gut-level negative evaluations of their partners that they unknowingly revealed during a baseline experiment that predicted future happiness.”Although they may be largely unwilling or unable to verbalize them, people’s automatic evaluations of their partners predict one of the most important outcomes of their lives — the trajectory of their marital satisfaction,” the researchers wrote in a paper published in the Nov. 29 issue of the journal Science.The paper, “Though They May Be Unaware, Newlyweds Implicitly Know Whether Their Marriages Will Be Satisfying,” outlined two important findings. First, people’s conscious attitudes, or how they said they felt, did not always reflect their gut-level or automatic feelings about their marriage. Second, it was the gut-level feelings, not their conscious ones, that actually predicted how happy they remained over time. “Everyone wants to be in a good marriage,” McNulty said. “And in the beginning, many people are able to convince themselves of that at a conscious level. … For more info: Follow your gut down the aisle, new study says ScienceDaily: Living Well News Follow your gut down the aisle, new study says L’articolo Follow your gut down the aisle, new study says sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Protecting vital crops in China

Protecting vital crops in China Evidence of disease in oilseed rape crops across China and how it may spread has been mapped by researchers, providing new strategic information on crop protection to the Chinese government. via ScienceDaily: Agriculture and Food News: Nov. 28, 2013 — Evidence of disease in oilseed rape crops across China and how it may spread has been mapped by researchers led by the University of Hertfordshire — providing new strategic information on crop protection to the Chinese government.Oilseed rape is prone to phoma stem canker, also known as blackleg disease, caused by two Leptosphaeria species. The more damaging pathogen Leptosphaeria maculans (L. maculans) has been spreading globally in oilseed rape crops over the last thirty years causing widespread losses with serious economic consequences. In China, phoma stem canker on oilseed rape has not generally been a serious problem because only the less damaging Leptosphaeria biglobosa (L. biglobosa) has been found there. However, as China began to import millions of tons of oilseed rape to crush for cooking oil, the route opened for L.maculans to spread via contaminated seed between countries. This put China, the world’s biggest producer of rapeseed, at risk of this highly infectious crop pathogen.Bruce Fitt, professor of plant pathology at the University of Hertfordshire, said: “Phoma stem canker is responsible for losses worth more than £1,200 million in oilseed rape crops across the world. Given the fragile state of the world’s economy and concern over food shortages, we need to protect our arable crops from disease. In China this is of particular concern as food supplies are already tight for their population of 1.35 billion people — the largest population in the world. … For more info: Protecting vital crops in China ScienceDaily: Agriculture and Food News Protecting vital crops in China L’articolo Protecting vital crops in China sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Pushing limits of light microscopy

Pushing limits of light microscopy A team of researchers established a new microscopy technique which greatly enhances resolution in the third dimension. In a simple set-up, the scientists used the translation of position information of fluorescent markers into color information. Overcoming the need for scanning the depth of a sample, they were able to generate the precise 3D information at the same speed as it would take to acquire a 2D image. via ScienceDaily: Top Science News: Nov. 28, 2013 — A team of researchers from the IMP Vienna together with collaborators from the Vienna University of Technology established a new microscopy technique which greatly enhances resolution in the third dimension. In a simple set-up, the scientists used the translation of position information of fluorescent markers into color information. Overcoming the need for scanning the depth of a sample, they were able to generate the precise 3D information at the same speed as it would take to acquire a 2D image. The general principle of this innovative approach can be used for broader applications and is published online in the PNAS Early Edition this week.For many disciplines in the natural sciences it is desirable to get highly enlarged, precise pictures of specimens such as cells. Depending on the purpose of an experiment and the preparation of the sample, different microscopy-techniques are used to analyze small structures or objects. However, a drawback of most current approaches is the need to scan the depth of a sample in order to get a 3D picture. Especially for optically sensitive or highly dynamic (fast moving) samples this often represents a serious problem. Katrin Heinze and Kareem Elsayad, lead authors of the PNAS publication, managed to circumvent this difficulty during their work at the IMP.Precise images of sensitive and dynamic samplesElsayad, who was part of a research team led by Katrin Heinze at the IMP, used fluorescence microscopy for his experimental set-up. The principle of fluorescence microscopy — now a common tool in biomedical research labs — is as follows: Fluorescent dyes, so-called fluorophores, are turned on by light of a certain wavelength and, as a consequence, “spontaneously” emit light of a different wavelength. … For more info: Pushing limits of light microscopy ScienceDaily: Top Science News Pushing limits of light microscopy L’articolo Pushing limits of light microscopy sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Tongue-controlled wheelchair outperforms popular wheelchair navigation system

Tongue-controlled wheelchair outperforms popular wheelchair navigation system Individuals with paralysis in a new clinical trial were able to use a tongue-controlled technology to access computers and execute commands for their wheelchairs at speeds that were significantly faster than those recorded in sip-and-puff wheelchairs, but with equal accuracy. The new study is the first to show that the wireless and wearable Tongue Drive System outperforms sip-and-puff in controlling wheelchairs. Sip-and-puff is the most popular assistive technology for controlling a wheelchair. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 27, 2013 — After a diving accident left Jason DiSanto paralyzed from the neck down in 2009, he had to learn how to navigate life from a powered wheelchair, which he controls with a sip-and-puff system. Users sip or puff air into a straw mounted on their wheelchair to execute four basic commands that drive the chair. But results from a new clinical study offer hope that sip-and-puff users like DiSanto could gain a higher level of independence than offered by this common assistive technology.In the study, individuals with paralysis were able to use a tongue-controlled technology to access computers and execute commands for their wheelchairs at speeds that were significantly faster than those recorded in sip-and-puff wheelchairs, but with equal accuracy. This study is the first to show that the wireless and wearable Tongue Drive System outperforms sip-and-puff in controlling wheelchairs. Sip-and-puff is the most popular assistive technology for controlling a wheelchair.The Tongue Drive System is controlled by the position of the user’s tongue. A magnetic tongue stud lets them use their tongue as a joystick to drive the wheelchair. Sensors in the tongue stud relay the tongue’s position to a headset, which then executes up to six commands based on the tongue position.The Tongue Drive System holds promise for patients who have lost the use of their arms and legs, a condition known as tetraplegia or quadriplegia.”It’s really easy to understand what the Tongue Drive System can do and what it is good for,” said Maysam Ghovanloo, an associate professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a study co-author and principal investigator. “Now, we have solid proof that people with disabilities can potentially benefit from it.”The study was published on Nov. 27 in the journal Science Translational Medicine. … For more info: Tongue-controlled wheelchair outperforms popular wheelchair navigation system ScienceDaily: Top Health News Tongue-controlled wheelchair outperforms popular wheelchair navigation system L’articolo Tongue-controlled wheelchair outperforms popular wheelchair navigation system sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Figure eights and peanut shells: How stars move at the center of the galaxy

Figure eights and peanut shells: How stars move at the center of the galaxy Two months ago astronomers created a new 3-D map of stars at the center of our Galaxy (the Milky Way), showing more clearly than ever the bulge at its core. Previous explanations suggested that the stars that form the bulge are in banana-like orbits, but a new article suggests that the stars probably move in peanut-shell or figure of eight-shaped orbits instead. via ScienceDaily: Top Science News: Nov. 27, 2013 — Two months ago astronomers created a new 3D map of stars at the centre of our Galaxy (the Milky Way), showing more clearly than ever the bulge at its core. Previous explanations suggested that the stars that form the bulge are in banana-like orbits, but a paper published this week in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society suggests that the stars probably move in peanut-shell or figure of eight-shaped orbits instead.The difference is important; astronomers develop theories of star motions to not only understand how the stars in our galaxy are moving today but also how our galaxy formed and evolves. The Milky Way is shaped like a spiral, with a region of stars at the centre known as the “bar,” because of its shape. In the middle of this region, there is a “bulge” that expands out vertically.In the new work Alice Quillen, professor of astronomy at the University of Rochester, and her collaborators created a mathematical model of what might be happening at the centre of the Milky Way. Unlike the Solar System where most of the gravitational pull comes from the Sun and is simple to model, it is much harder to describe the gravitational field near the centre of the Galaxy, where millions of stars, vast clouds of dust, and even dark matter swirl about. In this case, Quillen and her colleagues considered the forces acting on the stars in or near the bulge.As the stars go round in their orbits, they also move above or below the plane of the bar. When stars cross the plane they get a little push, like a child on a swing. At the resonance point, which is a point a certain distance from the centre of the bar, the timing of the pushes on the stars is such that this effect is strong enough to make the stars at this point move up higher above the plane. (It is like when a child on the swing has been pushed a little every time and eventually is swinging higher.) These stars are pushed out from the edge of the bulge.The resonance at this point means that stars undergo two vertical oscillations for every orbital period. … For more info: Figure eights and peanut shells: How stars move at the center of the galaxy ScienceDaily: Top Science News Figure eights and peanut shells: How stars move at the center of the galaxy L’articolo Figure eights and peanut shells: How stars move at the center of the galaxy sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Fast, furious, refined: Smaller black holes can eat plenty

Fast, furious, refined: Smaller black holes can eat plenty Gemini observations support an unexpected discovery in the galaxy Messier 101. A relatively small black hole (20-30 times the mass of our sun) can sustain a hugely voracious appetite while consuming material in an efficient and tidy manner — something previously thought impossible. The research also affects the long quest for elusive intermediate-mass black holes. via ScienceDaily: Top Science News: Nov. 27, 2013 — Observations of a black hole powering an energetic X-ray source in a galaxy some 22 million light-years away could change our thinking about how some black holes consume matter. The findings indicate that this particular black hole, thought to be the engine behind the X-ray source’s high-energy light output, is unexpectedly lightweight, and, despite the generous amount of dust and gas being fed to it by a massive stellar companion, it swallows this material in a surprisingly orderly fashion.”It has elegant manners,” says research team member Stephen Justham, of the National Astronomical Observatories of China, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Such lightweights, he explains, must devour matter at close to their theoretical limits of consumption to sustain the kind of energy output observed. “We thought that when small black holes were pushed to these limits, they would not be able to maintain such refined ways of consuming matter,” Justham explains. “We expected them to display more complicated behavior when eating so quickly. Apparently we were wrong.”A Surprising TwistX-ray sources give off high- and low-energy X-rays, which astronomers call hard and soft X-rays, respectively. In what might seem like a contradiction, larger black holes tend to produce more soft X-rays, while smaller black holes tend to produce relatively more hard X-rays. This source, called M101 ULX-1, is dominated by soft X-rays, so researchers expected to find a larger black hole as its energy source.In a surprising twist, however, the new observations made at the Gemini Observatory, and published in the November 28th issue of the journal Nature, indicate that M101 ULX-1′s black hole is on the small side, and astrophysicists don’t understand why.In theoretical models of how matter falls into black holes and radiates energy, the soft X-rays come primarily from the accretion disk (see illustration), while hard X-rays are typically generated by a high-energy “corona” around the disk. The models show that the corona’s emission strength should increase as the rate of accretion gets closer to the theoretical limit of consumption. … For more info: Fast, furious, refined: Smaller black holes can eat plenty ScienceDaily: Top Science News Fast, furious, refined: Smaller black holes can eat plenty L’articolo Fast, furious, refined: Smaller black holes can eat plenty sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Big brains are all in the genes

Big brains are all in the genes Scientists have moved a step closer to understanding genetic changes that permitted humans and other mammals to develop such big brains. via ScienceDaily: Top Science News: Nov. 27, 2013 — Scientists have moved a step closer to understanding genetic changes that permitted humans and other mammals to develop such big brains.During evolution, different mammal species have experienced variable degrees of expansion in brain size. An important goal of neurobiology is to understand the genetic changes underlying these extraordinary adaptations.The process by which some species evolved larger brains — called encephalization — is not well understood by scientists. The puzzle is made more complex because evolving large brains comes at a very high cost.Dr Humberto Gutierrez, from the School of Life Sciences, University of Lincoln, UK, led research which examined the genomes of 39 species of mammals with the aim of better understanding how brains became larger and more complex in mammals.To do this, the scientists focussed on the size of gene families across these species. Gene families are groups of related genes which share similar characteristics, often linked with common or related biological functions. It is believed that large changes in the size of gene families can help to explain why related species evolved along different paths.The researchers found a clear link between increased brain size and the expansion of gene families related to certain biological functions.Dr Gutierrez said: “We found that brain size variations are associated with changes in gene number in a large proportion of families of closely related genes. These gene families are preferentially involved in cell communication and cell movement as well as immune functions and are prominently expressed in the human brain. Our results suggest that changes in gene family size may have contributed to the evolution of larger brains in mammals.”Mammalian species in general tend to have large brains compared to their body size which represent an evolutionary costly adaptation as they require large amounts of energy to function.Dr Gutierrez explained: “The brain is an extremely expensive organ consuming a large amount of energy in proportion to its volume, so large brains place severe metabolic demands on animals. Larger brains also demand higher parental investment. For example, humans require many years of nurturing and care before their brains are fully matured.”Dr Gutierrez’s research concluded that variations in the size of gene families associated with encephalization provided an evolutionary support for the specific physiological demands associated with increased brain size in mammals. For more info: Big brains are all in the genes ScienceDaily: Top Science News Big brains are all in the genes L’articolo Big brains are all in the genes sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

High salt levels in medicines increase risk of cardiovascular events

High salt levels in medicines increase risk of cardiovascular events Millions of patients taking effervescent, dispersible and soluble medicines containing sodium are at greater risk of cardiovascular events compared with patients taking non-effervescent, dispersible and soluble versions of the same drugs, finds a study published. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 26, 2013 — Researchers at the University of Dundee and University College London found that taking the maximum daily dose of some medicines would exceed the recommended daily limits for sodium, without any additional dietary intake.They say the public “should be warned about the potential dangers of high sodium intake from prescribed medicines” and that sodium-containing formulations “should be prescribed with caution only if the perceived benefits outweigh the risks.”They also call for the sodium content of medicines to be clearly labelled in same way as foods are labelled.Numerous studies have shown that excess salt is harmful to heart health. Many commonly prescribed medicines have sodium added to improve their absorption into the body, but the effect of this is unknown.The team, led by Dr Jacob George, Senior Clinical Lecturer and Honorary Consultant in Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Dundee, compared the risk of cardiovascular events (non-fatal heart attack, non-fatal stoke, or vascular death) in patients taking sodium-containing effervescent, dispersible and soluble medications with those taking non-sodium versions of the same drugs between 1987 and 2010.Over 1.2 million UK patients were tracked for an average of just over seven years. During this time, over 61,000 incident cardiovascular events occurred.Factors likely to affect the results, such as body mass index, smoking, alcohol intake, history of various chronic illnesses and use of certain other medications, were taken into account.Overall, the researchers found that patients taking the sodium-containing effervescent, dispersible and soluble medications had a 16% increased risk of a heart attack, stroke or vascular death compared with other patients taking the non-sodium versions of those exact medications .Patients taking the sodium-containing drugs were also seven times more likely to develop high blood pressure and overall death rates were also 28% higher in this group. These events are largely driven by an increased risk of hypertension and stroke.The authors acknowledge that there is still some controversy regarding the relation between dietary sodium and cardiovascular events, but say their findings “are potentially of public health importance.”They conclude: “Prescription of these sodium-containing formulations should be done with caution, and patients prescribed them should be closely monitored for the emergence of hypertension.” For more info: High salt levels in medicines increase risk of cardiovascular events ScienceDaily: Top Health News High salt levels in medicines increase risk of cardiovascular events L’articolo High salt levels in medicines increase risk of cardiovascular events sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Lasers deemed highly effective treatment for excessive scars

Lasers deemed highly effective treatment for excessive scars Current laser therapy approaches are effective for treating excessive scars resulting from abnormal wound healing, concludes a study. via ScienceDaily: Cosmetic Surgery News: Nov. 27, 2013 — Current laser therapy approaches are effective for treating excessive scars resulting from abnormal wound healing, concludes a special topic paper in the December issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).The review by Dr. Qingfeng Li and colleagues of Shanghai Ninth People’s Hospital in Shanghai, China, provides strong support for laser treatment of hypertrophic scars — but less so for another type of abnormal scars called keloids. The authors highlight the need for further research in this and other key areas, including the benefits of different types of lasers and the results of laser treatment for scarring in patients with darker skin.Seventy Percent Success Rates with Laser Treatment for Excessive Scars… Dr. Li and coauthors identified and analyzed previous studies of laser treatment for abnormal scarring. They found 28 well-designed clinical trials using various medical lasers for two types of excessive scarring: hypertrophic scarring and keloids. Both are abnormal tissue responses that lead to raised and thickened areas of scarring, resulting in cosmetic and sometimes functional problems.Hypertrophic scars are limited to the initially injured area. Keloids — which are more common in dark-skinned individuals — can spread beyond the area of the initial wound. Most of the studies evaluated the effects of laser therapy for hypertrophic scarring; just three reports focused exclusively on keloids.Data from more than 900 patients showed high success rates with laser treatment: about 70 percent for both hypertrophic scarring and keloids. Based on studies targeting scars that were less than one month old, laser therapy had a similar success rate in prevention of excessive scarring.The responses appeared best with two specific lasers: the 585/595 nm pulsed-dye laser (PDL) and the 532 nm laser. … For more info: Lasers deemed highly effective treatment for excessive scars ScienceDaily: Cosmetic Surgery News Lasers deemed highly effective treatment for excessive scars L’articolo Lasers deemed highly effective treatment for excessive scars sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Brain reward gene influences food choices in the first years of life

Brain reward gene influences food choices in the first years of life Research has suggested that a particular gene in the brain’s reward system contributes to overeating and obesity in adults. This same variant has now been linked to childhood obesity and tasty food choices, particularly for girls, according to a new study. via ScienceDaily: Living Well News: Nov. 26, 2013 — Research has suggested that a particular gene in the brain’s reward system contributes to overeating and obesity in adults. This same variant has now been linked to childhood obesity and tasty food choices, particularly for girls, according to a new study by Dr. Patricia Silveira and Prof. Michael Meaney of McGill University and Dr. Robert Levitan of the University of Toronto.Contrary to “blaming” obese individuals for making poor food choices, Meaney and his team suggest that obesity lies at the interface of three factors: genetic predispositions, environmental stress and emotional well-being. These findings, published in the journal, Appetite, shed light on why some children may be predisposed to obesity, and could mark a critical step towards prevention and treatment.”In broad terms, we are finding that obesity is a product of genetics, early development and circumstance,” says Meaney, who is also Associate Director of the Douglas Mental Health University Institute Research Centre.The work is part of the MAVAN (Maternal Adversity Vulnerability & Neurodevelopment) project, headed by Meaney and Hélène Gaudreau, Project Coordinator. Their team studied pregnant women, some of whom suffered from depression or lived in poverty, and followed their children from birth until the age of ten.For the study, researchers tested 150 four-year old MAVAN children by administering a snack test meal. The children were faced with healthy and non-healthy food choices. Mothers also completed a questionnaire to address their child’s normal food consumption and preferences. … For more info: Brain reward gene influences food choices in the first years of life ScienceDaily: Living Well News Brain reward gene influences food choices in the first years of life L’articolo Brain reward gene influences food choices in the first years of life sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Regular physical activity in later life boosts likelihood of ‘healthy aging’ up to sevenfold

Regular physical activity in later life boosts likelihood of ‘healthy aging’ up to sevenfold It’s never too late to get physically active, with even those starting relatively late in life reaping significant health benefits, finds research. via ScienceDaily: Living Well News: Nov. 25, 2013 — It’s never too late to get physically active, with even those starting relatively late in life reaping significant health benefits, finds research published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.Four years of sustained regular physical activity boosted the likelihood of healthy aging sevenfold compared with consistent inactivity, the findings show.The researchers tracked the health of almost 3500 people, whose average age was 64, for more than eight years. All were participants in the English Longitudinal Study of aging, which involves a nationally representative sample of the household population of England, born on or before 29 February 1952.The researchers wanted to quantify the impact of physical activity on the risk of developing long term conditions, depression, and dementia, and on the likelihood of “healthy aging.”This is usually taken to mean not only an absence of major disease and disability, but also good mental health, the preservation of cognitive abilities, and the ability to maintain social connections/activities.There’s a growing body of evidence to suggest that regular physical activity is essential for the maintenance of good health, while across the developed world, inactivity is ranked alongside smoking, excess drinking, and obesity as a leading cause of reduced life expectancy.Participants described the frequency and intensity of regular physical activity they did in 2002-3, and then every subsequent two years until 2010-11.Their responses were categorised as: inactive (no moderate or vigorous activity on a weekly basis); moderately active (at least once a week); and vigorously active (at least once a week).Any changes in frequency and intensity were noted at the two yearly monitoring sessions: always inactive; became inactive; became active; always active.Serious ill health, such as heart disease/stroke, diabetes, emphysema, or Alzheimer’s disease, was confirmed by medical records.Cognitive abilities and mental health were assessed using a battery of validated tests, while disability was measured according to participants’ responses to questions about the ease with which they were able to carry out routine activities of daily living, and an objective test of walking speed.Nearly one in 10 of the sample became active and 70% remained active. The rest remained inactive or became inactive.At the end of the monitoring period almost four out of 10 had developed a long term condition; almost one in five was depressed; a third had some level of disability; and one in five was cognitively impaired.But one in five was defined as a healthy ager. And there was a direct link to the likelihood of healthy aging and the amount of exercise taken.Those who had regularly indulged in moderate or vigorous physical activity at least once a week were three to four times more likely to be healthy agers than those who had remained inactive, after taking account of other influential factors.Those who became physically active also reaped benefits, compared with those who did nothing. They were more than three times as likely to be healthy agers.And those who sustained regular physical activity over the entire period were seven times as likely to be healthy agers as those who had consistently remained inactive.”This study supports public health initiatives designed to engage older adults in physical activity, even those who are of advanced age,” conclude the authors. For more info: Regular physical activity in later life boosts likelihood of ‘healthy aging’ up to sevenfold ScienceDaily: Living Well News Regular physical activity in later life boosts likelihood of ‘healthy aging’ up to sevenfold L’articolo Regular physical activity in later life boosts likelihood of ‘healthy aging’ up to sevenfold sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Alcohol use disorders linked to death and disability

Alcohol use disorders linked to death and disability Disorders related to the abuse of alcohol contribute significantly to the burden of disease in the U.S., finds a new study. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 26, 2013 — Disorders related to the abuse of alcohol contribute significantly to the burden of disease in the U.S., finds a new study in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. Researchers estimated that in 2005, about 53,000 men and 12,000 women died from issues related to alcohol use disorders (AUD).The results of the meta-analysis were surprising, said lead author Jürgen Rehm, Ph.D., director of social and epidemiological research at the Centre of Addiction and Mental Health at the University of Toronto in Canada. “We had done meta-analyses on AUD before and knew it would be higher than previous literature, but we did not expect the burden for disease to be so high.”Previous research has shown that heavy drinking is a risk factor for more than 200 diseases or injuries. To quantify the influence of alcohol use on the burden of disease, researchers analyzed information from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions and the burden of disease study of the National Institutes of Health and found that AUD was linked to three percent of all deaths in adults 18 and older in the U.S.Alcohol use disorders contributed even more significantly to a measure of disease burden known as years lived with disability (YLD), with 1,785,000 YLD for men and 658,000 YLD for women in 2005.Stuart Gitlow, M.D., psychiatrist and president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine agreed that alcohol is definitely linked to burden of disease in the United States. “But the problem is everyone in the field defines AUD, a fairly new term, differently. For example, alcohol can lead to morbidity such as in traffic accidents, but this may have nothing to do with addiction, abuse and dependence.”Reducing burden of AUD on society needs to have a multi-pronged approach, said Rehm, and prevention can’t be regulated by health care policy makers. “There needs to be restrictions on the availability of alcohol. Increases in taxation or bans of advertisements are not part of health care, and this is part of the problem.”Rehm explained it will take the same long-term perspective as used with tobacco to implement more effective measures in curbing alcohol use. “The most realistic short-term goal is probably an increase in brief intervention and treatment rates.”Gitlow added that alcohol is a public health issue and its cost to society is huge. … For more info: Alcohol use disorders linked to death and disability ScienceDaily: Top Health News Alcohol use disorders linked to death and disability L’articolo Alcohol use disorders linked to death and disability sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Flower Power – Researchers breed new varieties of chamomile

Flower Power – Researchers breed new varieties of chamomile Plants can reproduce in a multitude of different ways, unlike humans and animals. Scientists have been working on developing new varieties of chamomile that can be cultivated as a medicinal plant. The researchers have been trying to identify varieties that will bloom longer and make its cultivation easier. via ScienceDaily: Agriculture and Food News: Nov. 26, 2013 — Plants can reproduce in a multitude of different ways, unlike humans and animals. Scientists at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna have been working on developing new varieties of chamomile that can be cultivated as a medicinal plant. The researchers have been trying to identify varieties that will bloom longer and make its cultivation easier.Chamomile is a medicinal plant used mainly in the treatment of stomach and intestinal diseases, including the field of veterinary medicine. Agricultural scientist Bettina Fähnrich from the Institute of Animal Nutrition and Functional Plant Compounds has been focusing on the genetics of chamomile (Matricaria recutita). She has been looking for chamomile varieties with a triploid (threefold) set of chromosomes instead of the natural diploid (double) set. Plants with the triploid form produce blooms that last longer and have a longer harvesting period. An additional advantage of a triploid variety of chamomile is that most of the seeds produced would be sterile. This slows down the reproductive cycle so that the plant would not germinate in the following season, when the farmer wants to grow another crop in the field. This means less chamomile has to be removed as a weed in subsequent years. … For more info: Flower Power – Researchers breed new varieties of chamomile ScienceDaily: Agriculture and Food News Flower Power – Researchers breed new varieties of chamomile L’articolo Flower Power – Researchers breed new varieties of chamomile sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Leukemia cells exploit ‘enhancer’ DNA elements to cause lethal disease

Leukemia cells exploit ‘enhancer’ DNA elements to cause lethal disease A team of researchers has identified a leukemia-specific stretch of DNA called an enhancer element that enables cancerous blood cells to proliferate in acute myeloid leukemia, a devastating cancer that is incurable in 70 percent of patients. Just as important, the findings offer a mechanistic insight into how a new class of promising drugs — one version of which is already in human clinical trials — appears to halt the growth of cancer cells so effectively. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 26, 2013 — A team of researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) has identified a leukemia-specific stretch of DNA called an enhancer element that enables cancerous blood cells to proliferate in Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), a devastating cancer that is incurable in 70% of patients. Just as important, the findings offer a mechanistic insight into how a new class of promising drugs — one version of which is already in human clinical trials — appears to halt the growth of cancer cells so effectively.The research, appearing today in Genes & Development and led by CSHL Assistant Professor Chris Vakoc, centers on the way a cancer-promoting gene is controlled. When this oncogene, called Myc, is robustly expressed, it instructs cells to manufacture proteins that contribute to the uncontrolled growth that is cancer’s hallmark. The Myc oncogene is also implicated in many other cancer types, adding to the significance of the new finding.Vakoc’s team discovered an enhancer element that controls the Myc oncogene specifically in leukemia cells. Unlike many other DNA-based gene regulators, this string of DNA “letters” is nowhere near the Myc gene it regulates. In fact, it’s far away, and in order to affect the Myc gene, some other element — unknown, prior to these experiments — has to bring the enhancer in proximity to the gene. In their experiments, the team found a protein complex, called SWI/SNF, that links the enhancer element and the Myc gene it activates.”The enhancer elements we discovered are 1.7 million DNA bases away from their target gene, Myc,” says Vakoc. “But we were able to show that this long stretch of the genome is bent and looped in the cell nucleus in such a way that the remote enhancer segment literally touches the distant segment harboring the cancer gene. Our results suggest that this regulatory conformation fuels the uncontrolled growth of cancer cells and may explain why the Myc gene is so uniquely sensitive to targeting with a new class of drugs being developed for leukemia.” The Vakoc lab in 2011 discovered a novel therapeutic strategy to shut off Myc in cancer, an approach now being tested in phase 1 clinical trials.Vakoc and Junwei Shi, a graduate student in the Vakoc lab and lead author on the new paper, identified the SWI/SNF protein complex in an experiment that searched for proteins that stop AML disease progression while still allowing healthy cells to grow normally. … For more info: Leukemia cells exploit ‘enhancer’ DNA elements to cause lethal disease ScienceDaily: Top Health News Leukemia cells exploit ‘enhancer’ DNA elements to cause lethal disease L’articolo Leukemia cells exploit ‘enhancer’ DNA elements to cause lethal disease sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Incidental by-catch of marine turtles in the Mediterranean Sea

Incidental by-catch of marine turtles in the Mediterranean Sea When a marine turtle is incidentally by-caught by a longliner, fishermen try to cut the line — without hauling it on board — and release the turtle into the sea. However, research published determines that about 40% of post-released turtles die some months later due to the impact of longline fishing. via ScienceDaily: Ecology News: Nov. 26, 2013 — When a marine turtle is incidentally by-caught by a longliner, fishermen try to cut the line — without hauling it on board — and release the turtle into the sea. However, a research published in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series alerts that about 40% of post-released turtles die some months later due to the impact of longline fishing. The study is signed by experts Lluís Cardona and Irene Álvarez de Quevedo, from the Department of Animal Biology and the Biodiversity Research Institute of the University of Barcelona (IRBio), and Manu San Félix, from Vellmarí Formentera. It is the first scientific study based on satellite tracking of a group of loggerhead turtles released into the sea after being by-caught by Spanish longliners.The Mediterranean Sea: a cul-de-sacLoggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) is the most common turtle inhabiting Mediterranean grounds and one of the most threatened species around the world. Its migrations are long; it comes back to sandy beaches to nest. Main nesting areas are located at North-American coast, Brazil, Japan, Oman, Australia, Cape Verde and Eastern Mediterranean (specially, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus and Libya). To be exact, in Spanish waters there are turtles of Atlantic and Eastern Mediterranean origin.The Spanish longline fleet has been reported to by-catch around 10,000 turtles in the Mediterranean annually. However, more than 95% of them are still alive when longlines are collected. When looking for food, turtles bite baits and get caught by longliners’ hooks. … For more info: Incidental by-catch of marine turtles in the Mediterranean Sea ScienceDaily: Ecology News Incidental by-catch of marine turtles in the Mediterranean Sea L’articolo Incidental by-catch of marine turtles in the Mediterranean Sea sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Bonobo: ‘Forgotten’ ape threatened by human activity and forest loss

Bonobo: ‘Forgotten’ ape threatened by human activity and forest loss The most detailed range-wide assessment of the bonobo (formerly known as the pygmy chimpanzee) ever conducted has revealed that this poorly known and endangered great ape is quickly losing space in a world with growing human populations. The loss of usable habitat is attributed to both forest fragmentation and poaching, according to a new study. via ScienceDaily: Top Science News: Nov. 26, 2013 — The most detailed range-wide assessment of the bonobo (formerly known as the pygmy chimpanzee) ever conducted has revealed that this poorly known and endangered great ape is quickly losing space in a world with growing human populations.The loss of usable habitat is attributed to both forest fragmentation and poaching, according to a new study by University of Georgia, University of Maryland, the Wildlife Conservation Society, ICCN (Congolese Wildlife Authority), African Wildlife Foundation, Zoological Society of Milwaukee, World Wildlife Fund, Max Planck Institute, Lukuru Foundation, University of Stirling, Kyoto University, and other groups.Using data from nest counts and remote sensing imagery, the research team found that the bonobo — one of humankind’s closest living relatives — avoids areas of high human activity and forest fragmentation. As little as 28 percent of the bonobo’s range remains suitable, according to the model developed by the researchers in the study, which now appears in the December edition of Biodiversity and Conservation.”This assessment is a major step towards addressing the substantial information gap regarding the conservation status of bonobos across their entire range,” said lead author Dr. Jena R. Hickey of Cornell University and the University of Georgia. “The results of the study demonstrate that human activities reduce the amount of effective bonobo habitat and will help us identify where to propose future protected areas for this great ape.””For bonobos to survive over the next 100 years or longer, it is extremely important that we understand the extent of their range, their distribution, and drivers of that distribution so that conservation actions can be targeted in the most effective way and achieve the desired results,” said Ashley Vosper of the Wildlife Conservation Society. “Bonobos are probably the least understood great ape in Africa, so this paper is pivotal in increasing our knowledge and understanding of this beautiful and charismatic animal.”The bonobo is smaller in size and more slender in build than the common chimpanzee. The great ape’s social structure is complex and matriarchal. Unlike the common chimpanzee, bonobos establish social bonds and diffuse tension or aggression with sexual behaviors.The entire range of the bonobo lies within the lowland forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the largest country in sub-Saharan Africa and currently beset with warfare and insecurity. The research team created a predictive model using available field data to define bonobo habitat and then interpolated to areas lacking data. … For more info: Bonobo: ‘Forgotten’ ape threatened by human activity and forest loss ScienceDaily: Top Science News Bonobo: ‘Forgotten’ ape threatened by human activity and forest loss L’articolo Bonobo: ‘Forgotten’ ape threatened by human activity and forest loss sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Unhappy meals? Majority of very young children in California eat fast food at least once per week

Unhappy meals? Majority of very young children in California eat fast food at least once per week A surprisingly large percentage of very young children in California, including 70 percent of Latino children, eat fast food regularly, according to a new policy brief. via ScienceDaily: Living Well News: Nov. 26, 2013 — A surprisingly large percentage of very young children in California, including 70 percent of Latino children, eat fast food regularly, according to a new policy brief by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.The study found that 60 percent of all children between the ages of 2 and 5 had eaten fast food at least once in the previous week.The majority of the state’s young children also do not eat enough fruits and vegetables, with only 57 percent of parents reporting that their child ate at least five fruit and vegetable servings the previous day.”A weekly happy meal is an unhappy solution, especially for toddlers,” said Susan Holtby, the study’s lead author and a senior researcher at the Public Health Institute. “Hard-working, busy parents need support to make healthy food selections for their kids.”The new study used data from several cycles of the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) to examine dietary behaviors of very young children, including their consumption of fast food, sugar-sweetened beverages, fruits and vegetables, and to gauge how much influence parents have over what their children eat.The study’s authors found that in both 2007 and 2009, about two-thirds of children between the ages of 2 and 5 ate at least one fast food meal during the previous week, and 29 percent ate two or more. About 10 percent of children in this age group ate three or more fast food meals the previous week.Although this and previous studies by the center have noted a general decline in the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages among children in California, that positive trend is reversed when linked to fast food. Specifically, the study’s authors found that children who ate two to three fast-food meals a week were much more likely to drink soda than those who ate less fast food.”Fast food combined with drinking soda at such a young age can set these kids up for obesity-related health problems,” Holtby said.Other key findings from the study:Asian children eat the fewest fruits and vegetables — Defying the stereotype of the vegetable-rich Asian diet, Asian children were found to eat the fewest fruits and vegetables of any group — only 40 percent ate at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, compared with 56 percent of all the state’s children.Poverty and influence — Parents living in the poorest households — those below 100 percent of the federal poverty level — were less likely than parents in all other income groups to say they have “a lot” of influence over what their children eat.Simple solutions – The authors noted that the data can help identify communities that may benefit from targeted messages about healthy eating and could help promote programs and policies that support parents in offering healthier options to their very young children. For example, an educational campaign to encourage parents to swap fruit juice for actual fruit would go far in reducing unnecessary sugar and increasing fiber and other nutrients, the authors noted.”Simple messages and programs can reinforce what every parent wants — the good health of their children,” said Camille Maben, executive director of First 5 California, which funded the study. “This shows there is more work to be done to reach families with the critical education and support they need.”Read the policy brief, “Majority of Young Children in California Eat Fast Food Regularly but Drink Less Soda” here: http://healthpolicy.ucla.edu/publications/search/pages/detail.aspx?PubID=1236 For more info: Unhappy meals? Majority of very young children in California eat fast food at least once per week ScienceDaily: Living Well News Unhappy meals? Majority of very young children in California eat fast food at least once per week L’articolo Unhappy meals? Majority of very young children in California eat fast food at least once per week sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Delaying resistance to Bt corn in western corn rootworm

Delaying resistance to Bt corn in western corn rootworm While Bt corn has been highly effective against the European corn borer, it has been less so against the western corn rootworm. A new article explains why and recommends an integrated pest management approach to address it. via ScienceDaily: Agriculture and Food News: Nov. 26, 2013 — Corn that contains proteins that protect it from insect damage has been grown in the U.S. since the mid-1990s. Known as Bt corn, because the proteins are derived from a bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis, these plants have been widely grown by farmers.While Bt corn has been highly effective against the European corn borer, it has been less so against the western corn rootworm, which has been documented to show resistance to the Bt proteins. In a new article in the Journal of Integrated Pest Management — an open-access, peer-reviewed, extension journal — the authors explain why this has occurred, and they recommend an integrated pest management (IPM) approach to address it.In “Resistance to Bt Corn by Western Corn Rootworm (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) in the U.S. Corn Belt,” Drs. Aaron Gassmann (Iowa State University), Michael Gray (University of Illinois), Eileen Cullen (University of Wisconsin), and Bruce Hibbard (University of Missouri) examine why Bt corn has been more effective against the European corn borer, which tunnels in the stem of the plant, and less so against the rootworm, which attacks the roots.First, Bt proteins intended for the European corn borer are produced at a higher dose than the ones intended for rootworms; this ensures that fewer corn borers are likely to survive, which lowers the chances of them producing offspring that may be resistant. Second, corn borer moths travel farther before mating, which increases the chances of potentially resistant insects mating with non-resistant ones that have not been exposed to Bt proteins; this lowers the chances of them producing resistant offspring. Finally, fitness costs — or negative effects — of resistance in rootworms appear to be low.”One approach to IRM is not necessarily optimal for all insect pests,” according to the authors, who recommend that growers use the following IPM approaches to delay further rootworm resistance to Bt corn:- Rotate to soybean or other crops to break the corn rootworm life cycle between growing seasons.- Occasionally rotate to a non-Bt corn hybrid and consider use of a rootworm soil insecticide during planting.- Consider using corn that contains different Bt proteins than ones that may have performed poorly in the past.- Consider using pyramided Bt hybrids, which is defined as corn that contains multiple Bt proteins targeting corn rootworm .- If crop rotation is not an option and corn containing multiple Bt proteins is not available, suppression of rootworm adults by using insecticides for one or two growing seasons may be an appropriate remediation step.- Most importantly, implement a long-term integrated approach to corn rootworm management, based on scouting information and knowledge of corn rootworm densities, that uses multiple tactics such as rotation with other crops, rotation of Bt proteins, and the use of soil insecticides at planting with a non-Bt hybrid. Integration of tactics across seasons is fundamental to prolonging the usefulness of any effective management strategy. For more info: Delaying resistance to Bt corn in western corn rootworm ScienceDaily: Agriculture and Food News Delaying resistance to Bt corn in western corn rootworm L’articolo Delaying resistance to Bt corn in western corn rootworm sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

How scavenging fungi became a plant’s best friend

How scavenging fungi became a plant’s best friend More than two thirds of the world’s plants depend on Glomeromycota soil-dwelling symbiotic fungus to survive, including critical agricultural crops such as wheat, cassava, and rice. The analysis of the Rhizophagus irregularis genome has revealed that it doesn’t shuffle genes the way researchers expected. Moreover it has expanded its range of cell-to-cell communication genes and phosphorus-capturing genes. via ScienceDaily: Ecology News: Nov. 25, 2013 — Glomeromycota is an ancient lineage of fungi that has a symbiotic relationship with roots that goes back nearly 420 million years to the earliest plants. More than two thirds of the world’s plants depend on this soil-dwelling symbiotic fungus to survive, including critical agricultural crops such as wheat, cassava, and rice. The analysis of the Rhizophagus irregularis genome has revealed that this asexual fungus doesn’t shuffle its genes the way researchers expected. Moreover, rather than having lost much of its metabolic genes, as observed in many mutualistic organisms, it has expanded its range of cell-to-cell communication genes and phosphorus-capturing genes.A team led by the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) and including researchers from the Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI) reported the complete genome of R. irregularis (formerly Glomus intraradices) in a paper published online November 25 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The fungus is a member of the Glomeromycota family and frequently colonizes many plants important to agriculture and forestry. Glomeromycota, also called arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), play a vital role in how phosphorus and carbon cycles through the atmosphere and land-based ecosystems, but exactly how it does this vital job is poorly understood.”This is the first sequenced genome of arbuscular mycorrhizae, the type that is dominant on the planet,” said Igor Grigoriev, one of the senior authors on the paper and lead for the Fungal Genomics Program at the DOE JGI.It was a long hard road to a sequenced arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus. In 2006, shortly after the DOE JGI sequenced the first tree genome, Populus trichocarpa, it became apparent that it took a village (of other organisms) to raise a poplar tree. Researchers Jerry Tuskan of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Francis Martin of INRA, recommended that the assembly of Populus-associated fungi and bacteria be sequenced to inform research on perennial plant growth, ecosystem function and plant microbe interactions. … For more info: How scavenging fungi became a plant’s best friend ScienceDaily: Ecology News How scavenging fungi became a plant’s best friend L’articolo How scavenging fungi became a plant’s best friend sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Alzheimer’s, vascular changes in the neck

Alzheimer’s, vascular changes in the neck An international research team studying Alzheimer’s and mild cognitive impairment is reporting potentially significant findings on a vascular abnormality outside the brain. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 25, 2013 — Studies on Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia have long focused on what’s happening inside the brain. Now an international research team studying Alzheimer’s and mild cognitive impairment is reporting potentially significant findings on a vascular abnormality outside the brain.The finding has potential implications for a better understanding of Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders associated with aging.The pilot study was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease Nov. 8 online ahead of print by researchers from the University at Buffalo, the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom and National Yang-Ming University School of Medicine in Taiwan. The authors caution that the study is small and that the results must be validated in larger, future studies.They studied a hemodynamic abnormality in the internal jugular veins called jugular venous reflux or JVR. It occurs when the pressure gradient reverses the direction of blood flow in the veins, causing blood to leak backwards into the brain.JVR occurs in certain physiological situations, if the internal jugular vein valves do not open and close properly, which occurs more frequently in the elderly. This reverse flow is also believed to impair cerebral venous drainage.”We were especially interested to find an association between JVR and white matter changes in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and those with mild cognitive impairment,” says Robert Zivadinov, MD, PhD, FAAN, professor of neurology at the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and senior author.The brain’s white matter is made of myelin and axons that enable communication between nerve cells.”Age-related white matter changes have long been associated with dementia and faster cognitive decline,” he says. “To the best of our knowledge, our study is the first to show that JVR is associated with a higher frequency of white matter changes, which occur in patients with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.”Ching-Ping Chung, the first author on the study and assistant professor of neurology at National Yang-Ming University, adds: “We are the first to observe that JVR may be associated with formation of these lesions in the brain, given the fact that Alzheimer’s patients have more white matter lesions than healthy people.”If this observation is validated in larger studies,” she continues, “it could be significant for the development of new diagnostic tools and treatments for pathological white matter lesions developed in Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.”White matter changes have been found to have a direct relationship to the buildup of amyloid plaque long seen as central to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.”The accumulation of amyloid plaque may result from the inability of cerebrospinal fluid to be properly cleared from the brain,” says Clive Beggs, second author on the study and professor of medical engineering at the University of Bradford. In addition, he says, the study found that JVR appeared to be associated with dirty-appearing white matter, which is thought to represent early stage lesion formation.”To the best of our knowledge, this is one of the first studies to explore the impact of dirty-appearing white matter in the elderly,” Beggs continues. He adds that the significance of dirty-appearing white matter in the elderly needs more study.The research involved 12 patients with Alzheimer’s disease, 24 with mild cognitive impairment and 17 age-matched elderly controls. … For more info: Alzheimer’s, vascular changes in the neck ScienceDaily: Top Health News Alzheimer’s, vascular changes in the neck L’articolo Alzheimer’s, vascular changes in the neck sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Graphic warnings labels on cigarette packs could lead to 8.6 million fewer smokers in US

Graphic warnings labels on cigarette packs could lead to 8.6 million fewer smokers in US A paper published shows that graphic warning labels on cigarette packs led to a decrease in smoking rates in Canada of 12 percent to 20 percent from 2000 to 2009. Researchers estimate that the introduction of graphic warnings in the United States could lead to a decrease of between 5.3 and 8.6 million smokers. via ScienceDaily: Living Well News: Nov. 25, 2013 — A research paper published in the scientific journal Tobacco Control, “Cigarette graphic warning labels and smoking prevalence in Canada: a critical examination and reformulation of the FDA regulatory impact analysis,” shows that graphic warning labels on cigarette packs led to a decrease in smoking rates in Canada of between 12% and 20% from 2000 to 2009. The authors estimate that if the same model was applied to the United States, the introduction of graphic warnings would potentially lead to a decrease of between 5.3 and 8.6 million smokers.FDA model under-estimated the health impact of graphic warningsIn 2011 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimated the impact of graphic warning labels on U.S. smoking rates, based on Canada’s experience. This analysis was a key factor in an August 2012 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that found that the FDA’s analysis “essentially concedes the agency lacks any evidence that the graphic warnings are likely to reduce smoking rates.” The authors of this new scientific paper — led by Jidong Huang and Frank J. Chaloupka of theUniversity of Illinois at Chicago and Geoffrey T. Fong of the University of Waterloo and the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research in Canada — assert that the model used by the FDA significantly under-estimated the actual impact of graphic warning labels. Using statistical methods to compare smoking rates in Canada nine years before and nine years after the introduction of graphic warnings, researchers found that:smoking rates in Canada decreased more sharply after the introduction of graphic warnings, and the sharper decrease in smoking rates in Canada was greater than the difference in smoking rates during the same two nine-year periods in the United States,where there was no change in the warnings. … For more info: Graphic warnings labels on cigarette packs could lead to 8.6 million fewer smokers in US ScienceDaily: Living Well News Graphic warnings labels on cigarette packs could lead to 8.6 million fewer smokers in US L’articolo Graphic warnings labels on cigarette packs could lead to 8.6 million fewer smokers in US sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Archaeological discoveries confirm early date of Buddha’s life

Archaeological discoveries confirm early date of Buddha’s life Archaeologists working in Nepal have uncovered evidence of a structure at the birthplace of the Buddha dating to the sixth century B.C. This is the first archaeological material linking the life of the Buddha — and thus the first flowering of Buddhism — to a specific century. via ScienceDaily: Top Science News: Nov. 25, 2013 — Archaeologists working in Nepal have uncovered evidence of a structure at the birthplace of the Buddha dating to the sixth century B.C. This is the first archaeological material linking the life of the Buddha — and thus the first flowering of Buddhism — to a specific century.Pioneering excavations within the sacred Maya Devi Temple at Lumbini, Nepal, a UNESCO World Heritage site long identified as the birthplace of the Buddha, uncovered the remains of a previously unknown sixth-century B.C. timber structure under a series of brick temples. Laid out on the same design as those above it, the timber structure contains an open space in the center that links to the nativity story of the Buddha himself.Until now, the earliest archaeological evidence of Buddhist structures at Lumbini dated no earlier than the third century B.C., the time of the patronage of the Emperor Asoka, who promoted the spread of Buddhism from present-day Afghanistan to Bangladesh.”Very little is known about the life of the Buddha, except through textual sources and oral tradition,” said archaeologist Professor Robin Coningham of Durham University, U.K., who co-led the investigation. Some scholars, he said, have maintained that the Buddha was born in the third century B.C. “We thought ‘why not go back to archaeology to try to answer some of the questions about his birth?’ Now, for the first time, we have an archaeological sequence at Lumbini that shows a building there as early as the sixth century B.C.”Early Buddhism revealedThe international team of archaeologists, led by Coningham and Kosh Prasad Acharya of the Pashupati Area Development Trust in Nepal, say the discovery contributes to a greater understanding of the early development of Buddhism as well as the spiritual importance of Lumbini. Their peer-reviewed findings are reported in the December 2013 issue of the international journal Antiquity. The research is partly supported by the National Geographic Society.To determine the dates of the timber shrine and a previously unknown early brick structure above it, fragments of charcoal and grains of sand were tested using a combination of radiocarbon and optically stimulated luminescence techniques. Geoarchaeological research also confirmed the presence of ancient tree roots within the temple’s central void.”UNESCO is very proud to be associated with this important discovery at one of the most holy places for one of the world’s oldest religions,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, who urged “more archaeological research, intensified conservation work and strengthened site management” to ensure Lumbini’s protection.”These discoveries are very important to better understand the birthplace of the Buddha,” said Ram Kumar Shrestha, Nepal’s minister of culture, tourism and civil aviation. … For more info: Archaeological discoveries confirm early date of Buddha’s life ScienceDaily: Top Science News Archaeological discoveries confirm early date of Buddha’s life L’articolo Archaeological discoveries confirm early date of Buddha’s life sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Breastfeeding provides babies with iodine

Breastfeeding provides babies with iodine WHO recommends that breastfeeding mothers without access to iodised salt should take an iodine supplement capsule to provide a year’s worth of iodine for them and their infant. Researchers tested the effectiveness of this method for the first time. via ScienceDaily: Living Well News: Nov. 25, 2013 — Iodine is essential for the human body. This trace element is especially crucial for infants in order to ensure healthy development. Iodine deficiency can disrupt growth and damage the nervous system. In iodine-poor regions, such as Switzerland with its iodine-deficient soils, iodized salt is recommended for use in cooking and the food industry. So newborns generally receive enough of the trace element through breast milk and baby food containing added iodine. However, iodized salt or supplemented baby food are not available everywhere, particularly in remote areas of developing countries, and do not always reach vulnerable segments of the population.To ensure newborns receive enough of the trace element, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that new mothers take one iodine capsule to provide a year’s dose of iodine for the mother and child by way of breastfeeding. If breastfeeding is not possible, physicians give a lower concentration pill directly to the infant. The effectiveness of these two methods, however, had never been tested. For the first time, a team of researchers from ETH compared the direct administration of iodine with indirect nourishment through breast milk in newborns and monitored the iodine status of mothers and their babies over a one-year period. … For more info: Breastfeeding provides babies with iodine ScienceDaily: Living Well News Breastfeeding provides babies with iodine L’articolo Breastfeeding provides babies with iodine sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Pill-popping galaxy hooked on gas

Pill-popping galaxy hooked on gas Our Galaxy may have been swallowing “pills” — clouds of gas with a magnetic wrapper — to keep making stars for the past eight billion years. via ScienceDaily: Top Science News: Nov. 25, 2013 — “Food pills” were a staple of science fiction for decades. For our Galaxy, they may be real.The Galaxy has been making stars for the last 8 billion years. What’s kept it going all that time?When old stars die, some of their gas goes back into the galactic “soup” for star making. But in the long run a lot of it gets locked up in long-lived dwarf stars.So the Galaxy needs fresh supplies of gas.Astronomer think that gas rains in from intergalactic space, probably in the form of “clouds,” and that this fuels the star-making.But there’s a problem.If a regular gas cloud were to hit the warm outer parts of the Galaxy — the halo — the gas would dissipate, and not reach the Galaxy’s starry disk where the party is going on.Something must hold the gas clouds together on their way to the Galaxy’s digestive system.CSIRO astronomer Alex Hill and his colleagues think they have the answer.These researchers have been studying a gas cloud falling into the Galaxy — a big one, called the Smith Cloud, after the woman who discovered it — and have found it has a magnetic field.The field is weak, about 0.002% of the strength of Earth’s.But the astronomers think it’s strong enough to hold the cloud together, so that it can deliver its payload of gas into the Galaxy’s disk.The Cloud’s like a coated aspirin tablet that goes through your stomach undigested, then releases its contents when it hits your intestine.Also known as Smith’s Cloud, it’s one of thousands of high-velocity clouds of hydrogen gas flying around the outskirts of our Galaxy.Astronomers think their origins are mixed, some stemming from burst “bubbles” in the gas of our Galaxy, some being primordial gas, and some associated with small galaxies our Galaxy’s gravity is shredding from a distance. The Smith Cloud is probably either semi-primordial gas condensing from the halo of our Galaxy or gas stripped from another galaxy. For more info: Pill-popping galaxy hooked on gas ScienceDaily: Top Science News Pill-popping galaxy hooked on gas L’articolo Pill-popping galaxy hooked on gas sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Swarming insect provides clues to how the brain processes smells

Swarming insect provides clues to how the brain processes smells Our sense of smell is often the first response to environmental stimuli. Odors trigger neurons in the brain that alert us to take action. However, there is often more than one odor in the environment, such as in coffee shops or grocery stores. How does our brain process multiple odors received simultaneously? via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 25, 2013 — Our sense of smell is often the first response to environmental stimuli. Odors trigger neurons in the brain that alert us to take action. However, there is often more than one odor in the environment, such as in coffee shops or grocery stores. How does our brain process multiple odors received simultaneously?Barani Raman, PhD, of the School of Engineering & Applied Science at Washington University in St. Louis, set out to find an answer. Using locusts, which have a relatively simple sensory system ideal for studying brain activity, he found the odors prompted neural activity in the brain that allowed the locust to correctly identify the stimulus, even with other odors present.The results were published in Nature Neuroscience as the cover story of the December 2013 print issue.The team uses a computer-controlled pneumatic pump to administer an odor puff to the locust, which has olfactory receptor neurons in its antennae, similar to sensory neurons in our nose. A few seconds after the odor puff is given, the locust gets a piece of grass as a reward, as a form of Pavlovian conditioning. As with Pavlov’s dog, which salivated when it heard a bell ring, trained locusts anticipate the reward when the odor used for training is delivered. Instead of salivating, they open their palps, or finger-like projections close to the mouthparts, when they predict the reward. … For more info: Swarming insect provides clues to how the brain processes smells ScienceDaily: Top Health News Swarming insect provides clues to how the brain processes smells L’articolo Swarming insect provides clues to how the brain processes smells sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Ancient minerals: Which gave rise to life?

Ancient minerals: Which gave rise to life? Life originated as a result of natural processes that exploited early Earth’s raw materials. Scientific models of life’s origins almost always look to minerals for such essential tasks as the synthesis of life’s molecular building blocks or the supply of metabolic energy. But this assumes that the mineral species found on Earth today are much the same as they were during Earth’s first 550 million years — the Hadean Eon — when life emerged. A new analysis of Hadean mineralogy challenges that assumption. via ScienceDaily: Top Science News: Nov. 25, 2013 — Life originated as a result of natural processes that exploited early Earth’s raw materials. Scientific models of life’s origins almost always look to minerals for such essential tasks as the synthesis of life’s molecular building blocks or the supply of metabolic energy. But this assumes that the mineral species found on Earth today are much the same as they were during Earth’s first 550 million years — the Hadean Eon — when life emerged. A new analysis of Hadean mineralogy challenges that assumption.The work is published in American Journal of Science.Carnegie’s Robert Hazen compiled a list of every plausible mineral species on the Hadean Earth and concludes that no more than 420 different minerals — about 8 percent of the nearly 5,000 species found on Earth today — would have been present at or near Earth’s surface.”This is a consequence of the limited ways that minerals might have formed prior to 4 billion years ago,” Hazen explained. “Most of the 420 minerals of the Hadean Eon formed from magma — molten rock that slowly crystallized at or near Earth’s surface — as well as the alteration of those minerals when exposed to hot water.”By contrast, thousands of mineral species known today are the direct result of growth by living organisms, such as shells and bones, as well as life’s chemical byproducts, such as oxygen from photosynthesis. In addition, hundreds of other minerals that incorporate relatively rare elements such as lithium, beryllium, and molybdenum appear to have taken a billion years or more to first appear because it is difficult to concentrate these elements sufficiently to form new minerals. So those slow-forming minerals are also excluded from the time of life’s origins.”Fortunately for most origin-of-life models, the most commonly invoked minerals were present on early Earth,” Hazen said.For example, clay minerals — sometimes theorized by chemists to trigger interesting reactions — were certainly available. Sulfide minerals, including reactive iron and nickel varieties, were also widely available to catalyze organic reactions. However, borate and molybdate minerals, which are relatively rare even today, are unlikely to have occurred on the Hadean Earth and call into question origin models that rely on those mineral groups.Several questions remain unanswered and offer opportunities for further study of the paleomineralogy of the Hadean Eon. … For more info: Ancient minerals: Which gave rise to life? ScienceDaily: Top Science News Ancient minerals: Which gave rise to life? L’articolo Ancient minerals: Which gave rise to life? sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.