New Research April 2012

Squeezing Silicone Polymers Produces Chemical Energy, but Raises Doubts About Implant Safety 

A polymer is a mesh of chains, which slowly break over time due to the pressure from ordinary wear and tear. When a polymer is squeezed, the pressure breaks chemical bonds and produces free radicals: ions with unpaired electrons, full of untapped energy. These molecules are responsible for aging, DNA damage and cancer in the human body. 

They also discovered during the study that a silicone polymer commonly used in implants for cosmetic procedures releases a large quantity of harmful free radicals when the polymer is under only a moderate amount of pressure. These findings suggest the safety of certain polymer-based medical implants should be looked at more closely. 

Lifestyle Choices Made in Your 20s Can Impact Your Heart Health in Your 40s 

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle from young adulthood into your 40s is strongly associated with low cardiovascular disease risk in middle age, according to a new Northwestern Medicine study. 

Diabetes Risk from Sitting Around 

A new study has found that women who stay seated for long periods of time every day are more prone to developing type 2 diabetes, but that a similar link wasn’t found in men. 

Training Can Improve Memory and Increase Brain Activity in Mild Cognitive Impairment 

If someone has trouble remembering where the car keys or the cheese grater are, new research shows that a memory training strategy can help. Memory training can even re-engage the hippocampus, part of the brain critical for memory formation, the results suggest. 

How Marijuana Impairs Memory 

A major downside of the medical use of marijuana is the drug’s ill effects on working memory, the ability to transiently hold and process information for reasoning, comprehension and learning. Researchers reporting in the March 2 print issue of the Cell Press journal Cell provide new insight into the source of those memory lapses. The answer comes as quite a surprise: Marijuana’s major psychoactive ingredient (THC) impairs memory independently of its direct effects on neurons. The side effects stem instead from the drug’s action on astroglia, passive support cells long believed to play second fiddle to active neurons. 

Cannabis: The Good, the Evil, the Ugly 

Cannabis-like substances that are produced by the body have both therapeutic and harmful properties, besides their well-known intoxicating effects, and the body’s cannabinoid system may be a target for new strategies in cancer treatment. This is what Sofia Gustafsson finds in the dissertation she recently defended at Umeå University in Sweden. 

Low Levels of Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Cause Memory Problems 

A diet lacking in omega-3 fatty acids, nutrients commonly found in fish, may cause your brain to age faster and lose some of its memory and thinking abilities, according to a study published in the February 28, 2012, print issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Omega-3 fatty acids include the nutrients called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). 

Research Offers Insight to How Fructose Causes Obesity and Other Illness 

A group of scientists from across the world have come together in a just-published study that provides new insights into how fructose causes obesity and metabolic syndrome, more commonly known as diabetes. In this study which was performed in lab animals, researchers found that fructose can be metabolized by an enzyme that exists in two forms. One form appears to be responsible for causing how fructose causes fatty liver, obesity, and insulin resistance. The other form may actually protect animals from developing these features in response to sugar. 

Video Games Depict Religion as Violent, Problematized, Study Shows 

In the past few years, the video game industry has grown from a niche market into a major part of mainstream media. This increase in popularity and use of technology has allowed video game developers to insert more detail and nuance into the storylines of their games. Many video games have begun incorporating religion as a key aspect to plot points and story lines. Greg Perreault, a doctoral student in the University of Missouri School of Journalism, found that the many newer-generation video games equate religion with violence in the game narratives. 

One-Way Romantic Attraction? Ways to Save Your Guy-Gal Friendship 

When one friend admits they are “into” the other but the feeling isn’t mutual, the relationship can indeed be in jeopardy. Friendships often dissolve under these circumstances, but not always, says Heidi Reeder, associate professor of communication at Boise State University. 

Dr. Jeffrey Dach: Is Your SuperMarket a Minefield?

Recently, I went shopping with my 11 year old nephew, and was shocked and unprepared for the experience. Like other kids his age, he preferred diet sodas containing aspartame and brominated vegetable oil (BVO). He also preferred processed foods high in MSG. 

Study Pinpoints Effects of Different Doses of an ADHD Drug; Finds Higher Doses May Harm Learning 

New research with monkeys sheds light on how the drug methylphenidate may affect learning and memory in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. 

Happiness: It’s Not in the Jeans 

You may throw on an outfit without much thought in the morning, but your choice is strongly affected by your mood. And the item of casual wear in almost everyone’s wardrobe — denim jeans — is what most people wear when depressed, new research from psychologists at the University of Hertfordshire reveals. 

Henry Montag in Wall St. Journal: Long-Term Care: What Now? 

Brain Fog’ of Menopause Confirmed 

The difficulties that many women describe as memory problems when menopause approaches are real, according to a study published recently in the journal Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society. 

Simple, Low-Cost Yoga Program Can Enhance Coping and Quality of Life for the Caregivers 

For every individual who’s a victim of Alzheimer’s — some 5.4 million persons in the United States alone — there’s a related victim: the caregiver. Spouse, son, daughter, other relative or friend, the loneliness, exhaustion, fear and most of all stress and depression takes a toll 

Red Meat Consumption Linked to Increased Risk of Total, Cardiovascular, and Cancer Mortality 

A new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers has found that red meat consumption is associated with an increased risk of total, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality. The results also showed that substituting other healthy protein sources, such as fish, poultry, nuts, and legumes, was associated with a lower risk of mortality. 

Growing Market for Human Organs Exploits Poor 

A Michigan State University anthropologist who spent more than a year infiltrating the black market for human kidneys has published the first in-depth study describing the often horrific experiences of poor people who were victims of organ trafficking. 

Dense Breasts Can Nearly Double the Risk of Breast Cancer Recurrence 

Women aged 50 and over with breasts that have a high percentage of dense tissue are at greater risk of their breast cancer recurring, according to Swedish research presented at the eighth European Breast Cancer Conference (EBCC-8) in Vienna on March 21.

 

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