Sunday, June 17, 2018

Pregnancy Drug DES Linked to ADHD in Users’ Grandchildren

Columbia: A study by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health reports elevated odds for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the grandchildren of users of diethylstilbestrol, a synthetic estrogen commonly known as DES which was prescribed between 1938 and 1971 to prevent pregnancy complications. This is the first study to provide evidence of the potential neurodevelopmental consequences of DES use across generations. The findings are published online in JAMA Pediatrics.

A new oral treatment temporarily coats intestine, reduces blood sugar spikes

Harvard: In a recently published paper in Nature Materials, a team of Harvard Medical School researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital reported results of a preclinical study in which an oral agent was administered to deliver a substance that could temporarily coat the intestine to prevent nutrient contact with the lining in the proximal bowel and avoid post-meal spikes in blood sugar.  

Friday, June 15, 2018

Blood test shows potential for early detection of lung cancer

Dana-Farber: A test that analyzes free-floating DNA in the blood may be able to detect early-stage lung cancer, a preliminary report from the ongoing Circulating Cell-Free Genome Atlas (CCGA) study suggests.
The findings, from one of the first studies to explore whether sequencing blood-borne DNA is a feasible approach to the early cancer detection, will be featured in a press briefing today and presented at the 2018 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Fringe benefits: drug side effects could treat human hair loss

Manchester: A new drug could ease the distress of men and women who suffer from baldness, according to researchers from The University of Manchester’s Centre for Dermatology Research.
The study from the laboratory of Prof Ralf Paus, is published today (8 May) in the open access journal PLOS Biology. It shows that a drug originally designed as a treatment for osteoporosis has a dramatic stimulatory effect on human hair follicles donated by patients undergoing hair transplantation surgery.

Copying movements could help manage Parkinson's

Manchester: New research by University of Manchester psychologists has revealed that imitation of movement can help people with Parkinson’s. Dr Ellen Poliakoff and Dr Judith Bek, whose paper appears in the print version of the Journal of Neuropsychology today, are on the team of the pioneering Economic and Social Research Council funded study. The study compared the reactions of 23 people with mild to moderate Parkinson’s and 24 people without the condition.

Mechanism behind neuron death in motor neurone disease and frontotemporal dementia discovered

Cambridge: Scientists have identified the molecular mechanism that leads to the death of neurons in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as ALS or motor neurone disease) and a common form of frontotemporal dementia.
"This was a very exciting set of experiments where we were able to apply cutting edge tools from physics, chemistry and neurobiology to understand how the FUS protein normally works in nerve cells, and how it goes wrong in motor neurone disease and dementia"
Peter St George-Hyslop

Brain cholesterol associated with increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease

Cambridge: Researchers have shown how cholesterol – a molecule normally linked with cardiovascular diseases – may also play an important role in the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. 
"The question for us now is not how to eliminate cholesterol from the brain, but about how to control cholesterol’s role in Alzheimer’s disease through the regulation of its interaction with amyloid-beta". Michele Vendruscolo

Six months of Herceptin could be as effective as 12 months for some women

Cambridge: For women with HER2 positive early-stage breast cancer taking Herceptin for six months could be as effective as 12 months in preventing relapse and death, and can reduce side effects, finds new research. 
"We are confident that this will mark the first steps towards a reduction of Herceptin treatment to six months in many women with HER2-positive breast cancer". Helena Earl

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Study explores carbohydrates’ impact on head, neck cancers

Illinois: Consuming high amounts of carbohydrates and various forms of sugar during the year prior to treatment for head and neck cancer may increase patients’ risks of cancer recurrence and mortality, a new study reports. However, eating moderate amounts of fats and starchy foods such as whole grains, potatoes and legumes after treatment could have protective benefits, reducing patients’ risks of disease recurrence and death, said lead author Anna E. Arthur, a professor of food science and human nutrition at the University of Illinois.

Prosthetic arms can provide controlled sensory feedback, study finds

Illinois: Losing an arm doesn’t have to mean losing all sense of touch, thanks to prosthetic arms that stimulate nerves with mild electrical feedback. University of Illinois researchers have developed a control algorithm that regulates the current so a prosthetics user feels steady sensation, even when the electrodes begin to peel off or when sweat builds up.

Study reveals how a neural precursor protein shapes the future of neurons in the cerebral cortex

Harvard: The cerebral cortex—the brain’s epicenter of high-level cognitive functions, such as memory formation, attention, thought, language and consciousness—has fascinated neuroscientists for centuries. Scientists have long known that this command center is organized into six distinct regions, or layers, but how this complex organization arises during development has remained largely a mystery. Now, research led by Harvard Medical School scientists provides some tantalizing new clues into the development of the mammalian cerebral cortex.

Researchers glimpse elusive stem cell in the early embryo

Harvard: Stem cell researchers at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital have, for the first time, profiled a highly elusive kind of stem cell in the early embryo—a cell so fleeting that it makes its entrance and exit within a 12-hour span. They described this “poised pluripotent” cell in the journal Cell Stem Cell on June 1. In mice, poised cells appear 4.75 to 5.25 days after egg and sperm join to form the embryo, right at the time when the embryo stops floating around and implants itself in the uterine wall.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Autism not linked to eating fish during pregnancy – large new study

The Conversation: Eating fish while you’re pregnant does not increase the chance that your child will be autistic or have autistic traits, our latest study shows. In fact, our study suggests that fish may be beneficial for the development of a healthy nervous system. A possible link between mercury exposure and autism has been the subject of much debate over the years. In pregnancy, mercury travels in the mother’s blood through the placenta and into the foetus, where it acts as a toxin, affecting the development of the foetal nervous system.

How does being overweight affect fertility?

The Conversation: The proportion of Australians who are overweight or obese is at an all-time high. We know excess weight is linked to many adverse health consequences, but there is now growing understanding that it also affects fertility. A fine hormonal balance regulates the menstrual cycle. Overweight and obese women have higher levels of a hormone called leptin, which is produced in fatty tissue. This can disrupt the hormone balance and lead to reduced fertility.

What’s on the horizon for a male contraceptive pill

The Conversation: The female contraceptive pill has helped millions of women take control of their fertility and reproductive health since it became available in 1961. Yet a male equivalent has yet to be fully developed. This effectively leaves men with only two viable contraceptive options: condoms or a vasectomy. The idea of creating a male contraceptive has been around almost as long as the female contraceptive. In theory, targeting the production of sperm should be a simple process. The biology of sperm production and how they swim towards the egg are well understood.

Why do we yawn and why is it contagious?

The Conversation: Consider the scenario. You’re driving on a long, straight stretch of country highway at about 2pm on a sunny afternoon, and you’re desperately keen to reach your destination. You’re trying to stay alert and attentive, but sleep pressure is building up. In response you yawn, sit up straighter in your seat, possibly fidget around a little and engage in other mannerisms that may increase your level of arousal. Is this the purpose of yawning? Yawning is generally triggered by several things, including tiredness, fever, stress, drugs, social and other psychological cues. These are generally well documented and vary between individuals.
The question of why we yawn evokes a surprising amount of controversy for what is a relatively minor field of study. We don’t have evidence that can point us to the exact purpose of yawning.

Researchers combine wearable technology and AI to predict the onset of health problems

Waterloo: A team of Waterloo researchers found that applying artificial intelligence to the right combination of data retrieved from wearable technology may detect whether your health is failing.
The study, which involved researchers from Waterloo’s Faculties of Applied Health Sciences and Engineering, found that the data from wearable sensors and artificial intelligence that assesses changes in aerobic responses could one day predict whether a person is experiencing the onset of a respiratory or cardiovascular disease.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Belief in fake causes of cancer is rife

bottles London: Mistaken belief in mythical causes of cancer is rife, according to new research from UCL and the University of Leeds. The findings, published today in the European Journal of Cancer, show that out of 1,330 people in England more than 40% wrongly thought that stress (43%) and food additives (42%) caused cancer. A third incorrectly believed that electromagnetic frequencies (35%) and eating GM food (34%) were risk factors, while 19% thought microwave ovens and 15% said drinking from plastic bottles caused cancer despite a lack of good scientific evidence.

Changing how blood pressure is measured will save lives

blood pressure London: Traditional methods of testing for high-blood pressure are no longer adequate and risk missing vital health signs, which can lead to premature death, a study co-led by UCL has found. The research, the largest ever cohort study of its kind, published in the New England Journal for Medicine, assessed 63,000 doctors’ patients, who had their blood pressure tested using traditional ‘in clinic’ methods, such as an automated or hand operated devices. Separately, the same patients, were also measured using a pocket-sized ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) device, which records blood pressure regularly across a 24 hour period. This device is worn at home and takes measurements every 20 to 30 mins.  

Potential genetic link in sudden infant death syndrome

Cot mobile London: Rare genetic mutations associated with impairment of the breathing muscles are more common in children who have died from sudden infant death syndrome, according to a new study led by UCL researchers. The study, published in The Lancet, suggests a possible genetic element of the disorder, which is also known as ‘cot death’. “Our study is the first to link a genetic cause of weaker breathing muscles with sudden infant death syndrome, and suggests that genes controlling breathing muscle function could be important in this condition. However, more research will be needed to confirm and fully understand this link,” said the study’s senior author Professor Michael Hanna (UCL Institute of Neurology).