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Showing posts from August, 2014

IS THERE AN EFFECTIVE TREATMENT FOR EBOLA

A leading U.S. Ebola researcher from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston has gone on record stating that a blend of three monoclonal antibodies can completely protect monkeys against a lethal dose of Ebola virus up to 5 days after infection, at a time when the disease is severe.
Thomas Geisbert, professor of microbiology and immunology, has written an editorial for Naturediscussing advances in Ebola treatment research. The filoviruses known as Ebola virus and Marburg virus are among the most deadly of pathogens, with fatality rates of up to 90 percent. Since the discovery of Ebola in 1976, researchers have been actively working on treatments to combat infection. Studies over the past decade have uncovered three treatments that offer partial protection for monkeys against Ebola when given within an hour of virus exposure. One of these treatments, a VSV-based vaccine was used in 2009 to treat a laboratory worker in Germany shortly after she was accidentally stuck with a ne…

LATEST SODIUM STUDY

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It’s long been known that eating too much salt will raise your blood pressure, but a comprehensive global study now says that too little salt in your diet also can harm your heart health. There appears to be a “sweet spot” for daily sodium intake between 3 grams and 6 grams — equal to 7.5 grams to 15 grams of salt — associated with a lower risk of death and heart disease than either more or less, researchers report. “We found that too high levels of sodium are harmful, but also eating a low amount of sodium is harmful,” said study co-author Andrew Mente, an assistant professor of clinical epidemiology and biostatistics at McMaster University in Ontario. “Having a moderate level of intake is associated with the least amount of harm.” The findings run counter to current guidelines for heart disease prevention, which recommend a maximum sodium intake of 1.5 grams to 2.4 grams per day. That’s equivalent to a maximum of just under half a teaspoon of table salt per day. “Only one in 20 people …

ANTIBIOTIC MIGHT RAISE HEART RISKS

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Taking the widely used antibiotic clarithromycin may boost some patients’ odds of dying from heart-related causes, a new study suggests. Because millions of people receive this antibiotic each year, the findings require urgent confirmation, said the Danish researchers behind the study. However, they emphasized that the actual risk is small and that guidelines for the use of the drug should not be changed until more information is available. One heart expert wasn’t surprised by the finding, however. “Some commonly used antibiotics should be taken with caution, especially for those people who are at risk for heart disease,” said Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a preventive cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “As it has been shown before, not all antibiotics are created equal when it comes to increasing the risk of cardiovascular death,” she said. “If you have an underlying heart condition, be certain to discuss it with your doctor before taking an antibiotic prescription. There are…

PREGNANT WOMEN AVOID TUNA

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In a new review of seafood safety, Consumer Reports is advising that pregnant women avoid eating tuna due to concerns about mercury exposure.  “We’re particularly concerned about canned tuna, which is second only to shrimp as the most commonly eaten seafood in the United States. We encourage pregnant women to avoid all tuna,” Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives for Consumers Union, the advocacy division of Consumer Reports, said in a news release from the group. While pregnant women and children are at greatest risk from mercury in seafood, anyone can be at risk if they eat too much seafood with high mercury levels, Consumer Reports noted. Adults who eat 24 ounces (1.5 pounds) or more of seafood per week should also avoid seafood with high mercury levels, including sushi made with tuna, the independent product testing group said. On the other hand, there are nearly 20 types of seafood that people — even pregnant women and children — can eat several times a week without wor…

COSMETIC EYELID SURGERY MAY EASE MIGRAINES

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Cosmetic eyelid surgery involving specific nerves may do more than improve your looks — the procedure may also provide migraine relief for some, according to new research. The technique involves making incisions in the upper eyelid to deactivate so-called “trigger” nerves. This process also lifts the lid, a technique known as blepharoplasty. The new approach is an alternative to another surgery sometimes used to treat migraines. That one approaches the nerves under the skin but starts at the scalp. Both procedures are known as trigger-site deactivation surgeries. Some neurologists and others who care for people with migraines view the procedures as unproven. But when the surgery is used in appropriate patients, migraine improvement is common, said study researcher Dr. Oren Tessler, an assistant professor of clinical surgery at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Medicine. “Ninety percent of our patients had over 50 percent improvement in their migra…

OVERCONFIDENT PEOPLE ARE MORE ARE MORE TALENTED

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Overconfident people are better at convincing others that they’re more talented than they really are, and therefore are more likely to get promotions and reach high-level positions, a new study indicates. The researchers added that these “self-deceived” people are also more likely to overestimate other people’s abilities and to take greater risks. And finally, people who underestimate themselves are regarded as less capable by their colleagues, according to the British researchers. Their findings were published Aug. 27 in the journal PLoS One. The study included 72 university students who, on the first day of a course, were asked to predict their own and other students’ final marks. Fifteen percent of the students made accurate predictions, 45 percent underestimated their scores and 40 percent were overconfident. Students who predicted higher marks for themselves were also predicted to have higher grades by others, whether or not that turned out to be true. “These findings suggest that pe…

FISH OIL SUPPLEMENTS MAY IMPROVE MEMORY FUNCTION

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Rhode Island Hospital researchers have completed a study that found regular use of fish oil supplements (FOS) was associated with a significant reduction in cognitive decline and brain atrophy in older adults. The study examined the relationship between FOS use during the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) and indicators of cognitive decline. The findings are published online in advance of print in the journalAlzheimer's & Dementia
At least one person is diagnosed every minute with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and despite best efforts, we have not yet found a cure for this pervasive and debilitating disease," said principal investigator Lori Daiello, PharmD, of the Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Disorders Center at Rhode Island Hospital. "The field is currently engaged in numerous studies to find better treatments for people suffering with AD; however, researching ways to prevent AD or slow cognitive decline in normal aging is of utmost importa…

TUMOR SOFTENING TREATMENT FOR BLADDER CANCER

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Scientists in Manchester have identified a protein that could help doctors decide which bladder cancer patients would benefit from a treatment that makes radiotherapy more effective, according to a study published in theBritish Journal of Cancer(BJC)
This fascinating new finding could help doctors adapt their treatments to patients with bladder cancer," said Nell Barrie, Cancer Research UK
The team from The University of Manchester, funded by the Medical Research Council, found that patients whose bladder tumor had high levels of a protein, called 'HIF-1α', were more likely to benefit from having carbogen -- oxygen mixed with carbon dioxide gas -- and nicotinamide tablets at the same time as their radiotherapy. The treatment, called 'CON', makes radiotherapy more effective.
By comparing levels of HIF-1α in tissue samples from 137 patients who had radiotherapy on its own or with CON, the researchers found the protein predicted which patients benefited from having CON.…

ELECTRIC CURRENT TO BRAIN BOOSTS MEMORY

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Stimulating a particular region in the brain via non-invasive delivery of electrical current using magnetic pulses, called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, improves memory, reports a new Northwestern Medicine® study
The discovery opens a new field of possibilities for treating memory impairments caused by conditions such as stroke, early-stage Alzheimer's disease, traumatic brain injury, cardiac arrest and the memory problems that occur in healthy aging.
"We show for the first time that you can specifically change memory functions of the brain in adults without surgery or drugs, which have not proven effective," said senior author Joel Voss, assistant professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "This noninvasive stimulation improves the ability to learn new things. It has tremendous potential for treating memory disorders."
The study will be published August 29 in Science. The study also is the first to demonstrate…

THE UNIVERSAL ANGER FACE : EACH ELEMENT MAKES YOU LOOK PHYSICALLY STRONGER AND MORE FORMIDABLE

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The next time you get really mad, take a look in the mirror. See the lowered brow, the thinned lips and the flared nostrils? That's what social scientists call the "anger face," and it appears to be part of our basic biology as humans
Now, researchers at UC Santa Barbara and at Griffith University in Australia have identified the functional advantages that caused the specific appearance of the anger face to evolve. Their findings appear in the current online edition of the journal Evolution and Human Behavior. "The expression is cross-culturally universal, and even congenitally blind children make this same face without ever having seen one," said lead author Aaron Sell, a lecturer at the School of Criminology at Griffith University in Australia. Sell was formerly a postdoctoral scholar at UCSB's Center for Evolutionary Psychology.
The anger expression employs seven distinct muscle groups that contract in a highly stereotyped manner. The researchers sought to …

HIGH INSULIN LEVELS TIED TO OBESITY PATHWAY

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UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have identified a crucial link between high levels of insulin and pathways that lead to obesity, a finding that may have important implications when treating diabetes
Researchers with the UT Southwestern's Touchstone Center for Diabetes found that giving mice high levels of insulin, which is typically done to counter the effects of diabetes or insulin resistance in Type 2 diabetes, also fosters processes that lead to obesity.
The discovery was made by studying mice engineered to lack receptors for a hormone called glucagon. Glucagon spurs the liver's production of glucose into the bloodstream and thus maintains the fuel supply for the brain. Insulin blocks the secretion of glucagon, opposes glucagon action on the liver, and instructs the body to take up glucose from the blood. Type 2 diabetics cannot respond properly to insulin and have uncontrolled glucagon production, thereby causing their livers to overproduce glucose, contributing…