October: New Research to Help You Live and Feel Better

Here are the highlights:

  • FDA Announces Warning for Osteoporosis Drug Reclast ++
  • Why Statins Do More Harm Than Good ++
  • Birth Control Pills Affect Memory ++
  • Aerobic exercise may reduce risk of dementia ++


Schizophrenia: genes matter (even though inheritance might not)


A large number of human disorders—autism and cancer among them—display a confusing pattern of inheritance. In some cases, they are clearly genetic, with frequent occurrences in individual families. But in others, new cases will appear in families that were otherwise unaffected.

FDA Announces Warning for Osteoporosis Drug Reclast


The FDA issued an announcement yesterday indicating their decision to require labels on packages of zoledronic acid (Reclast)-which is prescribed to patients with osteoporosis and the bone disease Paget’s disease-to highlight the potential for kidney failure related to use of the drug Reclast.

Why Statins Do More Harm Than Good


Americans have been well trained over the past few decades to avoid dietary fat and cholesterol and to stay out of the sun. Their conscientious implementation of this misguided advice has led to an epidemic in obesity and heart disease, along with a host of other debilitating conditions like arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease.

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Fish Farms Become Feedlots of the Sea


If you bought a salmon filet in the supermarket recently or ordered one in a restaurant, chances are it was born in a plastic tray. Instead of streaking through the ocean or leaping up rocky streams, it spent three years like a marine couch potato, circling lazily in pens, fattening up on pellets of salmon chow.

Birth Control Pills Affect Memory, Researchers Find


Women who use contraceptives like birth control pills experience memory changes, according to new UC Irvine research. Their ability to remember the gist of an emotional event improves, while women not using the contraceptives better retain details.

Exercise Boosts Health by Influencing Stem Cells to Become Bone, Not Fat, Researchers Find


McMaster researchers have found one more reason to exercise: working out triggers influential stem cells to become bone instead of fat, improving overall health by boosting the body’s capacity to make blood.

Parents’ Stress Leaves Lasting Marks On Children’s Genes, Researchers Find


Researchers at the University of British Columbia and the Child & Family Research Institute have shown that parental stress during their children’s early years can leave an imprint on their sons’ or daughters’ genes — an imprint that lasts into adolescence and may affect how these genes are expressed later in life.

Doctors’ and Nurses’ Hospital Uniforms Contain Dangerous Bacteria a Majority of the Time, Study Shows


More than 60 percent of hospital nurses’ and doctors’ uniforms tested positive for potentially dangerous bacteria, according to a study published in the September issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of APIC — the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

Is Estrogen Going to Your Head? Growing Deposits of Bone in the Skull Means Your Hormones Are out of Whack, Say Researchers


Girls are growing up faster than ever — and not only when it comes to their taste in fashion and music. Their bodies are reaching puberty at an increasingly earlier age, and this trend to rapid maturity continues through women’s adult lives. That’s bad news, according to Tel Aviv University researchers. Women today are more likely to develop Hyperostosis Frontalis Interna (HFI), a hormonal condition once typically found in post-menopausal women, earlier and more frequently than the female population a century ago.

Babies Distinguish Pain from Touch at 35-37 Weeks, Research Finds


Babies can distinguish painful stimuli as different from general touch from around 35-37 weeks gestation — just before an infant would normally be born — according to new research.

‘Open Wide’ for New Stem Cell Potential


While highly potent embryonic stem cells are often the subject of ethical and safety controversy, adult-derived stem cells have other problems. As we age, our stem cells are less pliant and less able to transform into the stem cells that science needs to find breakthrough treatments for disease.

Structured Homeschooling Gets an A+


“There’s no place like home,” an iconic line uttered by Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, might apply to learning the ABC’s, math and other core subjects. A new study from Concordia University and Mount Allison University has found that homeschooling — as long as it’s structured or follows a curriculum — can provide kids with an academic edge.

Scientists Overcome Major Obstacle for Stem Cell Therapies and Research


Stem cells show great potential to enable treatments for conditions such as spinal injuries or Lou Gehrig’s disease, and also as research tools. One of the greatest problems slowing such work is that researchers have found major complications in purifying cell mixtures, for instance to remove stem cells that can cause tumors from cells developed for use in medical treatments. But a group of Scripps Research scientists, working with colleagues in Japan, have developed a clever solution to this purification problem that should prove more reliable than other methods, safer, and perhaps 100 times cheaper.

Switching from Coal to Natural Gas Would Do Little for Global Climate, Study Indicates


Although the burning of natural gas emits far less carbon dioxide than coal, a new study concludes that a greater reliance on natural gas would fail to significantly slow down climate change.

Aerobic Exercise May Reduce the Risk of Dementia, Researchers Say


Any exercise that gets the heart pumping may reduce the risk of dementia and slow the condition’s progression once it starts, reported a Mayo Clinic study published this month in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Researchers examined the role of aerobic exercise in preserving cognitive abilities and concluded that it should not be overlooked as an important therapy against dementia.

TV Found to Have Negative Impact On Parent-Child Communication and Early Literacy Compared to Books and Toys


Since the first television screens lit up our living rooms scientists have been studying its affect on young children. Now scientists in Ohio have compared mother-child communication while watching TV to reading books or playing with toys to reveal the impact on children’s development. The results, published in Human Communication Research, show that watching TV can lead to less interaction between parents and children, with a detrimental impact on literacy and language skills.

Facial Expressions Develop Before Birth, Researchers Show


Babies in the womb develop a range of facial movements in such a way that it is possible to identify facial expressions such as laughter and crying. For the first time, a group of researchers was able to show that recognisable facial expressions develop before birth and that, as the pregnancy progresses from 24 to 36 weeks gestation, fetal facial movements become more complex.

Fast-Paced, Fantastical Television Shows May Compromise Learning, Behavior of Young Children


Young children who watch fast-paced, fantastical television shows may become handicapped in their readiness for learning, according to a new University of Virginia study published in the October issue of the journal Pediatrics.

Scientists Successfully Expand Bone Marrow-Derived Stem Cells in Culture


All stem cells — regardless of their source — share the remarkable capability to replenish themselves by undergoing self-renewal. Yet, so far, efforts to grow and expand scarce hematopoietic (or blood-forming) stem cells in culture for therapeutic applications have been met with limited success.

Humor as Effective as Medication in Treating Agitation in Dementia


Humor therapy is as effective as widely used antipsychotic drugs in managing agitation in patients with dementia — and avoids serious drug side effects, a new study shows.

Science and Religion Do Mix? Only 15 Percent of Scientists at Major Research Universities See Religion and Science Always in Conflict


Throughout history, science and religion have appeared as being in perpetual conflict, but a new study by Rice University suggests that only a minority of scientists at major research universities see religion and science as requiring distinct boundaries.

University Students Who Use Cannabis, Tobacco and Alcohol Take Too Many Non-Prescribed Drugs, Study Suggests


A Spanish study carried out by the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC) on the consumption of drugs amongst university students confirms that non-prescribed drug abuse amongst those who use cannabis, tobacco and alcohol could be considered “another form of multi-drug consumption.”

Elderly Breast Cancer Patients Risk Treatment Discrimination


Women diagnosed with breast cancer late in life are at greater risk of dying from the disease than younger patients, assuming they survive other age-related conditions, according to a study to be presented at the 2011 European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress on September 24. The results point to shortcomings in patient care for elderly women as well as differences in the progress of the disease.

Scientists Turn Back the Clock On Adult Stem Cells Aging


Researchers have shown they can reverse the aging process for human adult stem cells, which are responsible for helping old or damaged tissues regenerate. The findings could lead to medical treatments that may repair a host of ailments that occur because of tissue damage as people age.

Stopping Smoking Boosts Everyday Memory, Research Finds


Giving up smoking isn’t just good for your health, it’s also good for your memory, according to research from Northumbria University. Research published in this month’s online edition of Drug and Alcohol Dependence reveals that stopping smoking can restore everyday memory to virtually the same level as non-smokers.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All for Vitamin D and Men: African-American Men in Northern Regions Especially Need High Doses of Supplements


African-American men living in areas with low sunlight are up to 3.5 times more likely to have Vitamin D deficiency than Caucasian men and should take high levels of Vitamin D supplements, according to a new study from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

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