New Research For February, 2012

Elderly Can Be as Fast as Young in Some Brain Tasks, Study Shows 

Both children and the elderly have slower response times when they have to make quick decisions in some settings. But recent research suggests that much of that slower response is a conscious choice to emphasize accuracy over speed.

Alzheimer’s: Diet Patterns May Keep Brain from Shrinking

People with diets high in several vitamins or in omega 3 fatty acids are less likely to have the brain shrinkage associated with Alzheimer’s disease than people whose diets are not high in those nutrients, according to a new study published in the December 28, 2011, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Vitamin Therapy Can Still Reduce Stroke, Researchers Contend

A commentary by University of Western Ontario’s David Spence and Harvard School of Public Health’s Dr. Meir Stampfer in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association argues vitamin therapy still has a role to play in reducing stroke.

Diet Rich in Slowly Digested Carbs Reduces Markers of Inflammation in Overweight and Obese Adults

Among overweight and obese adults, a diet rich in slowly digested carbohydrates, such as whole grains, legumes and other high-fiber foods, significantly reduces markers of inflammation associated with chronic disease, according to a new study by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Such a “low-glycemic-load” diet, which does not cause blood-glucose levels to spike, also increases a hormone that helps regulate the metabolism of fat and sugar.

Why Are Older People Happier?

Older people tend to be happier. But why? Some psychologists believe that cognitive processes are responsible — in particular, focusing on and remembering positive events and leaving behind negative ones; those processes, they think, help older people regulate their emotions, letting them view life in a sunnier light. “There is a lot of good theory about this age difference in happiness,” says psychologist Derek M. Isaacowitz of Northeastern University, “but much of the research does not provide direct evidence” of the links between such phenomena and actual happiness.

Bacteria in the Gut of Autistic Children Different from Non-Autistic Children

The underlying reason autism is often associated with gastrointestinal problems is an unknown, but new results to be published in the online journal mBio® on January 10 reveal that the guts of autistic children differ from other children in at least one important way: many children with autism harbor a type of bacteria in their guts that non-autistic children do not.

Is There a Dark Side to Moving in Sync?

Moving in harmony can make people feel more connected to one another and, as a result, lead to positive collective action. Think of those feel-good vibes created in a yoga class as students move in unison through their downward-facing dogs. Yet given that synchronized physical activities are also a cornerstone of military training and are the highlights of military propaganda reels, could the interconnectedness created by coordinated action be mined to make people behave destructively instead?

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Could Prevent and Treat Nerve Damage, Research Suggests

Research from Queen Mary, University of London suggests that omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish oil, have the potential to protect nerves from injury and help them to regenerate. When nerves are damaged because of an accident or injury, patients experience pain, weakness and muscle paralysis which can leave them disabled, and recovery rates are poor.

Stem Cell Therapy Reverses Diabetes: Stem Cells from Cord Blood Used to Re-Educate Diabetic’s Own T Cells

Type 1 diabetes is caused by the body’s own immune system attacking its pancreatic islet beta cells and requires daily injections of insulin to regulate the patient’s blood glucose levels. A new method described in BioMed Central’s open access journal BMC Medicine uses stem cells from cord blood to re-educate a diabetic’s own T cells and consequently restart pancreatic function reducing the need for insulin.

Low Vitamin D Levels May Contribute to Development of Type 2 Diabetes

A recent study of obese and non-obese children found that low vitamin D levels are significantly more prevalent in obese children and are associated with risk factors for type 2 diabetes. This study was accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

Moderate Red Wine Drinking May Help Cut Women’s Breast Cancer Risk, Study Suggests

Drinking red wine in moderation may reduce one of the risk factors for breast cancer, providing a natural weapon to combat a major cause of death among U.S. women, new research from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center shows.

High Levels of MRSA Bacteria in U.S. Retail Meat Products, Study Suggests

Retail pork products in the U.S. have a higher prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria (MRSA) than previously identified, according to new research by the University of Iowa College of Public Health and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

Statin Use in Postmenopausal Women Associated With Increased Diabetes Risk 

The use of statins in postmenopausal women is associated with increased diabetes risk, according to a study published Online First by the Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Enhancing Cognition in Older Adults Also Changes Personality

A program designed to boost cognition in older adults also increased their openness to new experiences, researchers report, demonstrating for the first time that a non-drug intervention in older adults can change a personality trait once thought to be fixed throughout the lifespan.

Why Coffee Drinking Reduces the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Why do heavy coffee drinkers have a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, a disease on the increase around the world that can lead to serious health problems? Scientists are offering a new solution to that long-standing mystery in a report in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry.

Increase Dietary Fiber, Decrease Disease

We should all be eating more dietary fiber to improve our health — that’s the message from a health review by scientists in India. The team has looked at research conducted into dietary fiber during the last few decades across the globe and now suggests that to avoid initial problems, such as intestinal gas and loose stool, it is best to increase intake gradually and to spread high-fiber foods out throughout the day, at meals and snacks. Writing in the International Journal of Food Safety, Nutrition and Public Health, the team offers fruit, vegetables, whole-grain foods, such as muesli and porridge, beans and pulses, as readily available foods rich in dietary fiber.

Chemotherapy May Influence Leukemia Relapse

The chemotherapy drugs required to push a common form of adult leukemia into remission may contribute to DNA damage that can lead to a relapse of the disease in some patients, findings of a new study suggest.

 

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