Saturday, June 29, 2013

Dangers of Distracted Walking


Driving a car while talking or texting on a cellphone is a widely recognized risk factor for accidents. Now a new study reports that a growing number of people who walk while talking or texting are ending up in the emergency room.
Using data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, which collects detailed case information from a sample of emergency rooms across the country, researchers estimated the number of pedestrians nationwide who were injured seriously enough while using cellphones to be treated in an emergency room from 2004 to 2010.

Continue here.

Cutlery 'can influence food taste'

The colour of the spoon has an impact  

Our perception of how food tastes is influenced by cutlery, research suggests.

Size, weight, shape and colour all have an effect on flavour, says a University of Oxford team.
Cheese tastes saltier when eaten from a knife rather than a fork; while white spoons make yoghurt taste better, experiments show.

The study in the journal Flavour suggests the brain makes judgements on food even before it goes in the mouth.

More than 100 students took part in three experiments looking at the influence of weight, colour and shape of cutlery on taste.

The researchers found that when the weight of the cutlery conformed to expectations, this had an impact on how the food tastes.

For example, food tasted sweeter on the small spoons that are traditionally used to serve desserts.

Colour contrast was also an important factor - white yoghurt eaten from a white spoon was rated sweeter than white yoghurt tasted on a black spoon.

Continue here.

EU heart deaths 'halved since 1980s'

About one in five men and one in eight women die from coronary heart disease in the UK

Death rates from coronary heart disease have more than halved in almost all EU countries since the early 1980s, according to research.
Most countries have seen steady reductions in deaths in both men and women of all ages, despite rises in obesity and diabetes, a UK study shows.
However, experts have warned against complacency, saying wide disparities remain across Europe.
Coronary heart disease is the UK's single biggest killer.
About one in five men and one in eight women die from the disease.

Read here.

Processed carbohydrates are addictive, brain study suggests

By Ryan Jaslow

People may joke they're addicted to desserts, but new brain imaging research shows there may be some truth to the statement.

Researchers have found eating highly-processed carbohydrates like cakes, cookies and chips could affect pleasure centers in the brain, leading to serious cravings that might cause people to overeat.

"Beyond reward and craving, this part of the brain is also linked to substance abuse and dependence, which raises the question as to whether certain foods might be addictive," study author Dr. David Ludwig, director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children's Hospital, said in a press release.

Our brains consist of a complex network of pathways and regions that control for all our bodily functions. Chemical messengers called neurotransmitters allow signals to pass from one nerve cell to the next to aid in these functions.

One neurotransmitter, dopamine, plays a major role in the brain's reward pathways. For example, the brain gets flooded with dopamine when people take addictive drugs including cocaine and nicotine.

The full article is here.

How to stay cool during a sweltering heat wave

By Michelle Castillo

A heat wave is headed to the western U.S. this weekend. The record highs may start as soon as Friday, which some experts are even predicting may be the hottest day on record.

With heat unlikely to subside even at night, experts are warning residents in affected areas about the dangers of high temperatures. A June Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study showed that about 650 deaths each year from extreme heat could have been prevented.

Heat can affect anyone, but most at risk are the elderly, children, the poor and those with pre-existing medical conditions. Also those who are outdoors often, like athletes and laborers, are also in danger.

The number one thing that you can use to protect yourself from extreme heat is air conditioning, the CDC points out. If you don't have air conditioning at home, take a trip to a shopping mall, library, movie theater or other public health sponsored heat-relief shelter.

If you have to be outdoors, try to schedule your activities to avoid the hottest points of the day. Take frequent breaks and cool showers or baths to keep your temperature down. Never leave a child, person or pet in a closed vehicle. 

Continue here.

Research In Fruit Flies Provides New Insight Into Barrett's Esophagus

Posted by Neill Abayon

Research focused on the regulation of the adult stem cells that line the gastrointestinal tract of Drosophila suggests new models for the study of Barrett's esophagus. Barrett's esophagus, a risk factor for esophageal cancer, is a condition in which the cells of the lower esophagus transform into stomach-like cells. In most cases this transformation has been thought to occur directly from chronic acid indigestion when stomach contents flow back up into the esophagus. A new study, published June 27, 2013 online in Cell Reports, suggests a different cause, namely a change in stem cell function, for this transformation.

Researchers at the Buck Institute manipulated a signaling pathway (BMP-like Dpp) implicated in the development of Barrett's esophagus. After manipulation, the adult stem cells that normally generate the lining of the esophagus of fruit flies morphed into the type of stem cells that generate stomach cells. "Up until this point, it's not been clear what this signaling pathway does in stem cells of the gastrointestinal tract, or how it influences the regeneration of various types of epithelial cells in the gut of the fly," said Heinrich Jasper, PhD, a professor at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and senior author of the study.

The full research is here.

Crohn's Disease Linked To Enterovirus

Posted by Neill Abayon

Researchers have discovered that a cohort of children with Crohn's disease also have a virus in their intestines, known as enterovirus. 

This is the first time that a link has been discovered between the inflammatory bowel disease and enteroviruses, which are a genus of positive-sense single-stranded RNA viruses.

The finding was published in the international journal Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology.

One of the authors of the study, Alkwin Wanders, at Uppsala University and Uppsala University Hospital, believes that the results could help better understand the root causes of Crohn's disease. 

More here.

Scientists may have found a biological basis for homosexuality.

By Mark Joseph Stern

“Baby, you were born this way.” As soon as Lady Gaga sang these words on her smash hit "Born This Way," they became a rallying cry for gay people around the world, an anthem for sexual minorities facing discrimination. The shiny, catchy song carries an empowering (if simple) message: Don’t be ashamed about being gay, or bi, or trans, or anything—that’s just how you were born. Gaga later named her anti-bullying charity after the same truism, and two filmmakers borrowed it for their documentary exposing homophobia in Africa. A popular "Born This Way" blog encourages users to submit reflections on “their innate LGBTQ selves.” Need a quick, pithy riposte against anti-gay bigotry? Baby, we were born this way.

But were we? That’s the foundational question behind the gay rights movement—and its opponents. If gay people were truly born that way, the old canard of homosexuality as a “lifestyle choice” (or “sexual preference”) is immediately disproven. But if gay people weren’t born that way, if scientists were unable to find any biological basis for sexual orientation, then the Family Research Council crowd could claim vindication in its fight to label homosexuality unnatural, harmful, and against nature.
 Continue here.

Adding butter to coffee increases energy: coffee executive

Image Source RF/Sydney Bourne/Getty Images/Image Source

Posted by Neill Abayon

Butter makes everything taste better and now it's the driving ingredient behind a new coffee fad said to boost energy and increase weight loss.
But there's a catch: you have to use the right coffee and butter.
"Just putting butter into bad coffee is a bad idea," Dave Asprey, executive of the Bulletproof brand and blog told the Daily News.

Read here.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Surgeons Report Melanoma Recurs After 10 Years in More Than 6 Percent of Patients

Posted by  Neill Abayon

Recurrence of melanoma skin cancer 10 or more years after initial treatment is more common than previously thought, occurring in more than one in 20 patients. However, according to a new study, these patients tend to live longer after their cancer returns than patients whose melanoma recurs in the first three years. The study results appear in the July issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

"For patients with melanoma, survival beyond 10 years without a recurrence has been considered nearly synonymous with a cure," said principal investigator Mark Faries, MD, FACS, a professor of surgery at the John Wayne Cancer Institute at Saint John's Health Center, Santa Monica, CA. "However, most studies do not follow up patients longer than 10 years. Our study found that late melanoma recurrence is not rare and that it occurs more frequently in certain patient groups."
Patients with a higher chance of melanoma -- the deadliest form of skin cancer -- recurring more than a decade later, compared with early recurrence of melanoma within the first three years, were typically a younger age at initial diagnosis and generally exhibited less serious characteristics of the original tumor, Dr. Faries and colleagues reported.

Full article here.

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Top 50 Recipes for Summer

 Posted by Neill Abayon

Full of the season's best produce, our top 50 recipes for summer are perfect for picnics and potlucks.

Whether you’re making a side dish to share at a summer picnic or a no-fuss, easy dinner for a hot summer’s night, our top 50 recipes for summer are perfect recipes to make throughout the summer months. Our best recipes for summer feature lots of healthy fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes, corn, zucchini, blueberries, peaches and more. Try our Baked Parmesan Tomatoes for an easy side dish or Zucchini Rice Casserole for a crowd-pleasing dish to share.

Check it here.


Getting Men to Want to Use Condoms

The United Nations Population Fund uses hundreds of condoms in its work around the world to curb sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. Officials are interested in condoms in new designs, sizes and materials, and are also trying to package and advertise them in ways that make them more enticing.


It takes just a peek at the online store Condomania to appreciate the variety of condoms out there.

Flavors like island punch, banana split and bubble gum. Vibrating condom rings with batteries that last up to 20 minutes. Glow-in-the-dark condoms promising “30 minutes of glowing fun.”

And under the category “Celebrity Condoms,” there is the “Obama Condoms Stimulus Package,” each condom embossed with an image of the president giving two thumbs up.

But even if that presidential seal of approval were real, it would not overcome a chronic and serious public health obstacle: Most men do not like condoms.

Now an influential player in global health, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is getting into the game. The foundation just finished collecting applications for what it calls a Grand Challenge: to develop “a next-generation condom that significantly preserves or enhances pleasure.”

Continue reading here.


Decision Making And Perception Of Risk Affected By Hunger

Posted  by Neill Abayon

Hungry people are often difficult to deal with. A good meal can affect more than our mood, it can also influence our willingness to take risks. This phenomenon is also apparent across a very diverse range of species in the animal kingdom. Experiments conducted on the fruit fly, Drosophila, by scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried have shown that hunger not only modifies behaviour, but also changes pathways in the brain.

Animal behaviour is radically affected by the availability and amount of food. Studies prove that the willingness of many animals to take risks increases or declines depending on whether the animal is hungry or full. For example, a predator only hunts more dangerous prey when it is close to starvation. This behaviour has also been documented in humans in recent years: one study showed that hungry subjects took significantly more financial risks than their sated colleagues.

Also the fruit fly, Drosophila, changes its behaviour depending on its nutritional state. The animals usually perceive even low quantities of carbon dioxide to be a sign of danger and opt to take flight. However, rotting fruit and plants - the flies' main sources of food - also release carbon dioxide. Neurobiologists in Martinsried have now discovered how the brain deals with this constant conflict in deciding between a hazardous substance and a potential food source taking advantage of the fly as a great genetic model organism for circuit neuroscience.

Here is the full article.

Stress Can Significantly Impact Your Heart

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Posted by Neill Abayon

Anticipating that you are unhealthy because of stress may have a negative influence on your heart health, according to a new study published in the European Heart Journal.

Investigators examined data from the Whitehall II study which is partly funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF). The Whitehall II study, established in 1985, gathered health data from several thousand civil servants.

They found people who perceived stress as significantly affecting their health had twice the risk of experiencing coronary heart disease - compared with those who did not think stress was making an impact.

Read the full report here.


Aspirin's Preventive Colon Cancer Effect Depends On Genes

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Posted By Neill Abayon

Taking a daily dose of aspirin helps lower the risk of colon cancer. However, a new study has found that the reduced risk of colorectal cancer is affected by a mutation of a gene called BRAF.

Colon cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. In 2008, there were 1.23 million new clinically diagnosed cases of colorectal cancer; over 608,000 people died from the disease that year.

The study, published in JAMA, identified that the association between daily aspirin use and reduced risk of colon cancer depends on specific gene mutations.

Data was collected from 2 large studies, the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, which included over 127,000 people.

The researchers, led by Reiko Nishihara of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, found that those who were at a reduced risk of developing colon cancer had the "typical", wild-type, form of the BRAF gene. Regular aspirin use lowered the risk of developing BRAF-wild-type cancer by 27 percent.

The full article here. 

Ban Unhealthy Foods In Hospitals To Fight Obesity

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Posted by Neill Abayon

Experts are working to ban unhealthy foods and drinks, such as crisps, chocolates, and sodas, in hospitals, as an effort to fight obesity, according to a new report.

The motion was put forward at the British Medical Association Conference and will be put into effect if it gains backing from health professionals.

The motion was put forward by a cardiologist named Dr. Aseem Malhotra at the BMA Conference in a bid to prevent hospital patients from being offered junk food.

The cardiologist believes that by doing so, it is a way of starting to get the medical profession's own "house in order" in an attempt to stem the increasing issue of obesity amongst the UK population.

Continue reading here.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ginger may relieve asthma symptoms

Posted By Neill Abayon

New York: Purified components of the humble ginger have properties that can help asthma patients breathe more easily, a new study has found.
Asthma is characterised by bronchoconstriction, a tightening of the bronchial tubes that carry air into and out of the lungs.

Bronchodilating medications called beta-agonists are among the most common types of asthma medications and work by relaxing the airway smooth muscle (ASM) tissues.

Researchers from Columbia University in New York looked at whether specific components of ginger could help enhance the relaxing effects of bronchodilators.

"Asthma has become more prevalent in recent years, but despite an improved understanding of what causes asthma and how it develops, during the past 40 years few new treatment agents have been approved for targeting asthma symptoms," said lead author Elizabeth Townsend, post-doctoral research fellow in the Columbia University Department of Anesthesiology.

"In our study, we demonstrated that purified components of ginger can work synergistically with beta-agonists to relax ASM," said Townsend.

The full article is here.


The highest-calorie item at 10 fast-food chains

Starbucks joins other chains in posting calorie counts nationwide

Whether you like it or not, America, the number of calories packed into fast-food eats are getting harder to ignore.

 View whole report here.


Nano-ray of hope for Breast Cancer sufferers

Photo source

Published by Amy Fernandes

Angelina Jolie’s recent double mastectomy has highlighted the debate on breast cancer. The fact remains, however, that the number of new cases of breast cancer has jumped dramatically worldwide, from about 640,000 in 1980 to more than 1.6 million in 2010, according to the University of Washington researchers’ report. One of the many causes for fatalities is the high toxicity of the treatment and the current disability of affected cells to absorb the dosage.

As for the triple negative breast cancer sufferers this becomes even harder to treat. These breast cancers do not respond to hormonal therapy and require more than one chemotherapy drug for treatment. Unfortunately, such combination chemotherapy increases the toxicity of the treatment, often limiting the extent of therapy tolerated. Further, many women with triple negative breast cancer develop “multidrug resistance” which makes them insensitive to anticancer drugs similar to the concept of antibiotic resistance.

Continue reading here.

Woman Drinks Coke Instead Of Water For 16 Years

Coke Bottle Service Wikimedia Commons

A real-life Super Size Me, only for 16 years instead of a month. Want to take a guess what happens to your body?

Article published by  Dan Nosowitz

A 31-year-old Monaco woman was recently admitted to the hospital after suffering arrhythmia and fainting spells. Her potassium levels were found to be absurdly, dangerously low. These are bad warning signs, but the woman had no family history of heart problems. Further investigation revealed that the patient had not had a sip of water in 16 years; instead she drank only cola.
The doctors told her to stop drinking cola, and then promptly wrote a paper describing the case.
This is one of those instances, like in the movie Super Size Me, that isn't really indicative of anything besides the specific case it describes. In Super Size Me, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock consumed nothing by McDonald's for a full month, and found that his health rapidly deteriorated. And, well, yes, of course it did; probably not even McDonald's executives would suggest that anybody actually do this.

The full report here.

How to Spot a Sociopath (Hint: It Could Be You)

Posted By: Neill Abayon 

A dishy book from an avowed sociopath has stirred up an awkward debate: perhaps all of us have a bit of the personality disorder. Caitlin Dickson on why that may not be such a bad thing.

  M.E. Thomas describes herself as a cutthroat attorney who sailed through law school without much effort, landed a position at a prestigious law firm, and then became a professor. She also claims to fantasize about murder, drops friends when their personal problems get in the way of her fun, and plots ways to “ruin people” in her spare time. She straddles a fine line between success and failure, with the traits that have gotten her ahead simultaneously contributing to her periodic downfalls.

Read the full article here.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Breast-feeding may help children climb social ladder

Photo courtesy from breastfeeding-problems

Posted By; Neill Abayon

Breast-feeding a child may give him or her a leg up towards the top of the social ladder.

A new study published in BMJ journal Archives of Disease in Childhood on June 24 revealed that children who were breast-fed moved higher up in social class than their counterparts.

"Breast-feeding has lifelong benefits," study author Amanda Sacker, a researcher at the University College London, said to HealthDay. "Breast-feeding not only gives children a good start in life, but also boosts chances of a healthy and successful adulthood. For most women, breast-feeding offers them a simple way to improve their child's life chances."

The World Health Organization says babies should be exclusively breast-fed for the first six months of life, and then receive a combination of food and mother's milk through 2 years of age. If 90 percent of families breast-fed for the recommended 6-month period, almost 1,000 infant deaths would be prevented and $13 billion in annual medical costs would be saved.

In reality, the rate is much lower. In the U.S., about 45 percent of mothers were breast-feeding at six months, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC also noted that 40 percent of parents gave their infants solid food before they were 4 months old.

Read the full story here.


Dogs Are Similar To Young Kids, Study Shows

Photo courtesy of all-creatures

Posted By: Neill Abayon

The relationship between dogs and their owners is very similar to the bond between young kids and their parents, a new study revealed.

For approximately 15,000 years, pet dogs have been closely associated with people, the research, published in PLoS One explained.

"The animals are so well adapted to living with human beings that in many cases the owner replaces conspecifics and assumes the role of the dog's main social partner," according to the experts.

Dogs and children seem to share what is known as the "secure base effect". This effect is seen in parent-child bonding as well as the bond between humans and dogs.

This refers to the idea that when human infants interact with the environment, they use their caregivers as a secure base.

Read the full article here.

New bird flu deadlier than swine flu

 Posted  By: Neill Abayon

The H7N9 bird flu virus, first identified in humans earlier this year, kills about 36% of infected people admitted to hospitals in China, according to a new report published Sunday in the British medical journal The Lancet.

Far more difficult to estimate, according to the study, is how many die in the general population after becoming infected, as the most severe cases are also more likely to lead to hospitalization.

That estimate – a 0.16% to 2.8% overall fatality rate for those showing symptoms of infection – suggests that the H7N9 virus is less deadly than the H5N1 Bird Flu first appearing in 2003, and more deadly than the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic.

Others infected with the virus may never show symptoms.

“There’s almost always a large portion of asymptomatic (flu virus) cases, and cases where infected people don’t seek treatment,” says Dr. Gabriel Leung, one of the study's authors and head of the University of Hong Kong’s School of Public Health.

Read the full article here.