ScienceDaily: Health - October 19, 2023
Top health research news
Investigators have identified two promising new treatment options for men with recurrent prostate cancer -- both of which helped patients live longer without their disease progressing than the current standard treatment. If these treatments are approved by the Food and Drug Administration, our results will be practice changing, said Â Stephen Freedland, MD, associate director for Training and Education and the Warschaw, Robertson, Law Families Chair in Prostate Cancer at Cedars-Sinai, and lead author of the study. In the study, both of these new options improved metastasis-free survival while preserving quality of life.
Researchers have shown how the principles of rogue waves -- huge 30-meter waves that arise unexpectedly in the ocean -- can be applied on a nano scale, with dozens of applications from medicine to manufacturing.
A woman's fertility normally decreases by her late 30s with reproductive function eventually ceasing at menopause. It is known that a small molecule called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) plays a critical role in this decline, and scientists have revealed how this happens and have identified potential new approaches to enhance reproductive longevity.
Study creates a mosquito family tree to better understand disease transmission and host choice.
Researchers have discovered that turning brain immune cells into neurons successfully restores brain function after stroke-like injury in mice. These findings suggest that replenishing neurons from immune cells could be a promising avenue for treating stroke in humans.
Robotic prosthetic ankles that are controlled by nerve impulses allow amputees to move more 'naturally,' improving their stability, according to a new study.
About 40,000 years ago, Neanderthals, who had lived for hundreds of thousands of years in the western part of the Eurasian continent, gave way to Homo sapiens, who had arrived from Africa. This replacement was not sudden, and the two species coexisted for a few millennia, resulting in the integration of Neanderthal DNA into the genome of Sapiens. Researchers have analyzed the distribution of the portion of DNA inherited from Neanderthals in the genomes of humans (Homo sapiens) over the last 40,000 years. These statistical analyses revealed subtle variations in time and geographical space.
While useful for killing pathogens including SARS-CoV-2, 222-nanometer UV lights may produce harmful compounds in indoor spaces, and should be used with ventilation, researchers have found.
Investigators found that an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm can detect an abnormal heart rhythm in people not yet showing symptoms. The algorithm, which identified hidden signals in common medical diagnostic testing, may help doctors better prevent strokes and other cardiovascular complications in people with atrial fibrillation -- the most common type of heart rhythm disorder.
Glioblastoma (GBM), an aggressive brain cancer, is notoriously resistant to treatment, with recurrent GBM associated with survival of less than 10 months. Immunotherapies, which mobilize the body's immune defenses against a cancer, have not been effective for GBM, in part because the tumor's surrounding environment is largely impenetrable to assaults from the body's immune system. To convert this immunosuppressive environment into one amenable to an immune response, investigators engineered a novel oncolytic virus that can infect cancer cells and stimulate an anti-tumor immune response. Results demonstrated the safety and preliminary efficacy of the novel gene therapy approach in high-grade glioma patients, with prolonged survival in a subgroup of recurrent GBM patients immunologically 'familiar' with the virus.
A research group has developed a new method for studying how cancer cells function in softer and stiffer tissue environments. This insight challenges the existing paradigm, opening up new possibilities for research in cancer biology and tissue engineering.
Injuries of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), located in the knee, are typically thought to be caused by acute traumatic events, such as sudden twists. New work analyzing an animal model of ACLs suggests that such injuries can also occur as a result of chronic overuse, specifically due to a reduced ability to repair microtraumas associated with overuse. Importantly, the team said, females also are less able to heal from these microtraumas than males, which may explain why females are two to eight times more likely to tear their ACL ligaments than males.
A new study looked at 926 polygenic risk scores for 310 diseases. It found that, on average, only 11% of individuals who develop disease are identified, while at the same time 5% of people who do not develop the disease test positive. Unaffected people usually outnumber those affected which results in far more false than true positive predictions.
A team has identified an essential internal control mechanism that can promote the maturation of human stem cell-derived heart muscle cells, possibly leading to new therapies for heart disease and cardiac damage.
Research shows start-up founders have distinct personality traits, and they're more important to the success of their companies than previously thought.
Research identifies links between gut bacteria, inflammation and brain changes associated with Alzheimer's disease. The findings suggest that Alzheimer's symptoms can be transferred via the gut microbiota.
People judge members of their own circles more harshly than they judge individuals from other groups for the same transgressions, new research has found.
Researchers have developed a human in vitro model that closely mimics the complexities of radiation-induced lung injury (RILI) and radiation dose sensitivity of the human lung. Using a previously developed microfluidic human Lung Alveolus Chip lined by human lung alveolar epithelial cells interfaced with lung capillary cells to recreate the alveolar-capillary interface in vitro, the researchers recapitulated many of the hallmarks of RILI, including radiation-induced DNA damage in lung tissue, cell-specific changes in gene expression, inflammation, and injury to both the lung epithelial cells and blood vessel-lining endothelial cells. By also evaluating the potential of two drugs to suppress the effects of acute RILI, the researchers demonstrated their model's capabilities as an advanced, human-relevant, preclinical, drug discovery platform.
Glioblastoma is the most common type of brain tumor that affects adults and, unfortunately, still remains incurable. In a new study, researchers have demonstrated that a specific mitochondrial protein plays an important role in glioblastoma, and can therefore be used as a potential target to reduce tumors.
Adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are nearly three times more likely to develop dementia than adults without ADHD, according to a new study. The study followed more than 100,000 older adults in Israel over 17 years to examine if adults with ADHD are at increased risk for dementia, including Alzheimer's disease.
In certain cases, a new method can provide as much information from brain images taken with computed tomography (CT) as images captured with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The method could enhance diagnostic support, particularly in primary care, for conditions such as dementia and other brain disorders.
Scientists examining the evolutionary roots of language say they've discovered chimp vocal development is not far off from humans.
A new study has revealed a significant association between eating disorders and physical multimorbidity, shedding new light on the health risks faced by people with these conditions. The research explores the complex relationship between eating disorders, physical health, and other issues that can influence it.
Researchers have shown female sex hormones play a significant role in how Alzheimer's manifests in the brain. The study also highlights the importance of developing therapeutic strategies focused on these hormonal connections. The research indicates a need to better understand the role of estradiol -- a form of the female sex hormone estrogen, used therapeutically to mitigate menopause symptoms -- in Alzheimer's disease.
Using cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), researchers captured unprecedented images of key immune system receptors interacting with messenger proteins, elucidating how the receptors change shape upon activation and transmit signals within the cell. The findings suggest new pathways for developing therapeutic molecules for diseases such as COVID-19, rheumatoid arthritis, neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.
Infections with cytomegalovirus (CMV) are extremely common and often pose no major threat to the vast majority of people. They can however be deadly for people whose immune system is weakened, e.g., after bone marrow transplantation. Current treatments against CMV infections are very limited and can have severe side effects. Researchers now propose a new way to protect against CMV. Instead of targeting the virus, their approach boosts the weak immune system and lets it fight the virus on its own.
Depression and anxiety among college students is a growing public health problem. And new research suggests the problem may be worse for students who aren't the same race as most of their peers. The new study found that students who were not the majority race at a predominantly white college reported significantly higher rates of depression than their white peers. At the mostly white university, more than half of the students who self-identified as races other than white reported feelings of mild depression. An additional 17% said they were experiencing moderate to severe depression.
Schizophrenia, a neurodevelopmental disorder that features psychosis among its symptoms, is thought to arise from disorganization in brain connectivity and functional integration. Now, a new study finds differences in functional brain connectivity in people with and without psychosis and schizophrenia that could help researchers understand the neural underpinnings of this disease.
A new study has examined the role of several cognitive functions in young students learning to write English, their second language. The study conducted a battery of cognitive tests, gauged the writing skills of the students and then tested the functions again. Working memory, or how we store thoughts we want to convey, was shown to be the most significant predictor of writing ability. Other cognitive functions like phonological awareness and oral language development increased as the students aged, but were not associated with improved writing. The results not only help us understand how English learners, a growing population, learn to write, but can help educators design better interventions to help the students, researchers argue.
Amitriptyline can improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in patients seen in GP surgeries, new research has found. The cheap and widely available prescription drug, which is commonly used at low doses for a range of health concerns, has been found to improve irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms too, according to the results of the ATLANTIS trial. The results showed that patients taking amitriptyline were almost twice as likely to report an overall improvement in symptoms as those taking a placebo.
The legendary Alexander Fleming, who famously discovered penicillin, once said 'never to neglect an extraordinary appearance or happening.' And the path of science often leads to just that. New research is turning the page in our understanding of harmful bacteria and how they turn on certain genes, causing disease in our bodies.
The link between high blood pressure and a range of health problems is well known, and researchers have now found that fluctuating blood pressure can be just as risky and a potential precursor to dementia and vascular disease.
Clinicians who show more empathy promote better psychological health among breast cancer patients, according to a new study examining how oncology doctors facilitate psychological well-being.
A new study lets patients practice letting go of treasured objects in simulations of their own homes.
While most parents agree that kids benefit from opportunities to be independent, they may be engaging in more 'helicopter parenting' than they realize, suggests a new poll.
New research considers how the financial industry can identify, manage and, if necessary, remove these individuals.
Researchers have discovered how the fungus Candida albicans enters the brain, activates two separate mechanisms in brain cells that promote its clearance, and, important for the understanding of Alzheimer's disease development, generates amyloid beta (Ab)-like peptides, toxic protein fragments from the amyloid precursor protein that are considered to be at the center of the development of Alzheimer's disease.
People overeat and become overweight for a variety of reasons. The fact that flavorful high-calorie food is often available nearly everywhere at any time doesn't help. Researchers have determined for the first time why certain chemicals in cooked or processed foods, called advanced glycation end products, or AGEs, increase hunger and test our willpower or ability to make healthy choices when it comes to food.
Fathers and mothers who believe men should hold the power and authority in society and the family were less responsive to their children during family interactions, according to University of Auckland research.
A team combined cutting-edge bioprinting techniques with synthetic structures or microfluidic chips. The method will help lab researchers more accurately understand heterogeneous tumors: Tumors with more than one kind of cancer cell, often dispersed in unpredictable patterns.
Why do we dream? A product of our brain's neurophysiology, dreaming is a complex experience that can take on many emotional tones and simulate reality to varying degrees. As a result, there is still no clear answer to this question. A study compared the dreams of two forager communities, in Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo, with those of individuals living in Europe and North America. It showed that the first two groups produced more threatening, but also more cathartic and socially-oriented dreams than the Western groups. These results show how strong are the links between the socio-cultural environment and the function of dreams.
The number of hours of light exposure we experience affects how we eat and how we burn energy. This may help us understand the link between seasons and metabolism.
Playing a single 18-hole round of golf or completing 6 km of either Nordic walking or regular walking may significantly improve immediate cognitive function in older individuals.
A research team has discovered a fundamental mechanism that helps the dreaded hospital pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii to survive. This mechanism explains why the pathogen is difficult to eradicate in hospitals and why infections flare up again and again in patients: When living conditions become too unfavorable for the bacteria, they fall into a kind of slumber. In this state, conventional diagnostic methods can no longer detect them nor is it possible to kill them off. When living conditions improve again, they awaken from this 'deep sleep'.
When Hurricane Ian struck southwest Florida in September 2022, it unleashed a variety of Vibrio bacteria that can cause illness and death in humans, according to a new study.
Researchers have identified a new biomarker that can predict whether or not neurons will regenerate after an injury. The findings could help scientists develop regenerative therapies for spinal cord injuries and other neurological conditions.
The heat shock response of cells is a classic model of biological adaptation, part of the fundamental processes of life -- conserved in creatures from single-celled yeast to humans -- that allow our cells to adjust to changing conditions in their environment. For years, scientists have focused on how different genes respond to heat stress to understand this survival technique. Now, thanks to the innovative use of advanced imaging techniques, researchers are getting an unprecedented look at the inner machinery of cells to see how they respond to heat stress.
Researchers have developed a visualization tool that combines high-speed cameras and fluorescent injection to distinguish tumor tissue from normal tissue across cancer types. The team evaluated the new imaging technology, known as fluorescence lifetime (FLT) imaging, using specimens from more than 60 patients that underwent surgery of various cancers. The team reported that the technique was over 97 percent accurate across tumor types, with the potential to improve the accuracy of cancer surgeries.
Data from more than 15,000 lower-income children ages 2 to 6 reveals higher-than-expected levels of significant behavioral dysfunction. Co-authors urge increased screening, prevention programs in primary care settings.
A novel therapeutic approach that combines human epidermal growth receptor factor 2 (HER2)-targeted therapies with the cholesterol-lowering drug lovastatin can reduce the number of cancer treatments required to prevent tumor growth. Monitored by immuno-PET scans, this combination therapy has the potential to personalize treatment for cancer patients and spare them from harmful side effects.
A new study of sleep in women shows that delaying bedtime by just 90 minutes each night damages cells that line the blood vessels, supporting the hypothesis that poor sleep is linked to heart health.
Researchers conducted a statewide survey of all patients on breathing machines in hospitals and long-term care facilities and found that a significant percentage of them harbored two pathogens known to be life-threatening in those with compromised immune systems. One pathogen, Acinetobacter baumannii, was identified in nearly 31 percent of all patients on ventilators to assist with their breathing; Candida auris was identified in nearly 7 percent of patients on ventilators, according to the study.
Reducing overall calorie intake may rejuvenate your muscles and activate biological pathways important for good health, according to researchers. Decreasing calories without depriving the body of essential vitamins and minerals, known as calorie restriction, has long been known to delay the progression of age-related diseases in animal models. This new study suggests the same biological mechanisms may also apply to humans.
It can be a relief to scratch the occasional itch, but when itch gets out of control, it can become a serious health problem. How does the body know when to stop?
Fecal microbe transplants from healthy donors can treat patients with recurrent Clostridium difficile infections. However, after tens of thousands transplants, little was known about which donor strains provide long-term engraftment, and which engraft early after the transplant. Most failures of fecal microbe transplantation occur in the first four weeks. Researchers have now found 19 Bacteroides vulgatus genes that were unique to three strains that show early engraftment in patients after a fecal transplant, as opposed to seven strains that did not show early engraftment.
To examine the global state of AI ethics, a team of researchers performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of global guidelines for AI use. The researchers found that while most of the guidelines valued Privacy, Transparency, and Accountability, very few valued Truthfulness, Intellectual Property, or Children's Rights. Additionally, most of the guidelines described ethical principles and values without proposing practical methods for implementing them, and without pushing for legally binding regulation.
Relief could be on the way for people with painful hand osteoarthritis after a new study found an affordable existing drug can help. Until now there has been no effective treatment. The paper investigated methotrexate, a low-cost, effective treatment for inflammatory joint conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. It has been widely used in Australia and globally since the early 1980s.
Researchers have developed a new test that can accurately measure biological aging in a clinical setting. The discovery was made while studying patients for the aging effects of chronic kidney disease.
Scientists have developed an innovative catalyst that achieves a significantly lower carbon footprint, paving the way for greener chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing processes.
Self-reported sleepiness relates to poorer performance in tasks requiring vigilance, such as driving and has also been associated with reduced motivation to engage in social or physical activities. Better mood can result in more productive behavior, better job performance and higher academic achievement. Finally, higher motivation has been tied to greater productivity among working adults and higher grade-point averages in students.