New Research for July, 2012

Older Adults May Need More Vitamin D to Prevent Mobility Difficulties, Study Suggests

Older adults who don’t get enough vitamin D — either from diet, supplements or sun exposure — may be at increased risk of developing mobility limitations and disability, according to new research from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Mediterranean Diet Is Definitively Linked to Quality of Life

For years the Mediterranean diet has been associated with a lesser chance of illness and increased well-being. A new study has now linked it to mental and physical health too.

Commonly Used Painkillers May Protect Against Skin Cancer

A new study suggests that aspirin and other similar painkillers may help protect against skin cancer. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the findings indicate that skin cancer prevention may be added to the benefits of these commonly used medications.

Mothers’ Teen Cannabinoid Exposure May Increase Response of Offspring to Opiate Drugs

 Mothers who use marijuana as teens — long before having children — may put their future children at a higher risk of drug abuse, new research suggests.

High Blood Caffeine Levels in Older Adults Linked to Avoidance of Alzheimer’s Disease

Those cups of coffee that you drink every day to keep alert appear to have an extra perk — especially if you’re an older adult. A recent study monitoring the memory and thinking processes of people older than 65 found that all those with higher blood caffeine levels avoided the onset of Alzheimer’s disease in the two-to-four years of study follow-up. Moreover, coffee appeared to be the major or only source of caffeine for these individuals.

Inexpensive Approach to Preventing Type 2 Diabetes Shows Promise

A simple, inexpensive method for preventing type 2 diabetes that relies on calling people and educating them on the sort of lifestyle changes they could make to avoid developing the disease has proven effective in a study conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the City of Berkeley Department of Public Health.

Vitamin D With Calcium Shown to Reduce Mortality in Elderly

A study recently published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (JCEM) suggests that vitamin D — when taken with calcium — can reduce the rate of mortality in seniors, therefore providing a possible means of increasing life expectancy. 

Virtual Colonoscopy Without Laxative Equals Standard OC in Identifying Clinically Significant Polyps

Computed tomographic colonography (CTC), also known as virtual colonoscopy, administered without laxatives is as accurate as conventional colonoscopy in detecting clinically significant, potentially cancerous polyps, according to a study performed jointly at the San Francisco VA Medical Center, the University of California, San Francisco and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Soft Drink Consumption Not the Major Contributor to Childhood Obesity, Study Says

Most children and youth who consume soft drinks and other sweetened beverages, such as fruit punch and lemonade, are not at any higher risk for obesity than their peers who drink healthy beverages, says a new study published in the October issue of Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. The study examined the relationship between beverage intake patterns of Canadian children and their risk for obesity and found sweetened beverage intake to be a risk factor only in boys aged 6-11.

Environmental Factors Spread Obesity, Study Shows

An international team of researchers’ study of the spatial patterns of the spread of obesity suggests America’s bulging waistlines may have more to do with collective behavior than genetics or individual choices. The team, led by City College of New York physicist Hernán Makse, found correlations between the epidemic’s geography and food marketing and distribution patterns.

Training Character Strengths Makes You Happy

Anyone who trains character strengths increases their sense of wellbeing, a large-scale study conducted by a team of psychologists from the University of Zurich has concluded. It proved for the first time that this kind of training works. The largest impact was evident in training the strengths “curiosity,” “gratitude,” “optimism,” “humor” and “enthusiasm.

Dissonant Music Brings out the Animal in Listeners

A UCLA-based team of researchers has isolated some of the ways in which distorted and jarring music is so evocative, and they believe that the mechanisms are closely related to distress calls in animals.

Breast Cancer Risk Can Be Lowered by Avoiding Unnecessary Medical Imaging

A report issued by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) last December reviewed all the available scientific data compiled to date about potential environmental risks of breast cancer — factors such as pesticides, beauty products, household chemicals, and the plastics used to make water bottles.

Attitude Towards Age Increases Risk of Dementia Diagnosis, Study Suggests

Our attitude towards our age has a massive impact on the likelihood of being diagnosed with dementia. New research shows that when seniors see themselves as ‘older’ their performance on a standard dementia screening test declines dramatically; making them five times more likely to meet the criteria for dementia.

Skin Cells Reprogrammed Into Brain Cells

Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes have for the first time transformed skin cells — with a single genetic factor — into cells that develop on their own into an interconnected, functional network of brain cells. The research offers

new hope in the fight against many neurological conditions because scientists expect that such a transformation — or reprogramming — of cells may lead to better models for testing drugs for devastating neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Why Belly Fat Isn’t All Bad

A fatty membrane in the belly called the omentum has until recently been considered somewhat like the appendix — it didn’t seem to serve much purpose. But Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine researchers have found that the omentum appears to play an important role in regulating the immune system. The finding could lead to new drugs for organ transplant patients and patients with auto-immune diseases such as lupus and Crohn’s disease.

Preventing or Better Managing Diabetes May Prevent Cognitive Decline

Preventing diabetes or delaying its onset has been thought to stave off cognitive decline — a connection strongly supported by the results of a 9-year study led by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the San Francisco VA Medical Center.

Common Blood Pressure Drug Linked to Severe Gastrointestinal Problems

Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered an association between a commonly prescribed blood pressure drug, Olmesartan, [Brand: Benicar] and severe gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss and electrolyte abnormalities — symptoms common among those who have celiac disease. The findings are published online June 21 in the medical journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Eating Disorder Behaviors and Weight Concerns Are Common in Women Over 50

Eating disorders are commonly seen as an issue faced by teenagers and young women, but a new study reveals that age is no barrier to disordered eating. In women aged 50 and over, 3.5% report binge eating, nearly 8% report purging, and more than 70% are trying to lose weight. The study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders revealed that 62% of women claimed that their weight or shape negatively impacted on their life.

Omega-3 Lowers Inflammation in Overweight Older Adults

New research shows that omega-3 fatty acid supplements can lower inflammation in healthy, but overweight, middle-aged and older adults, suggesting that regular use of these supplements could help protect against and treat certain illnesses.

Breast Cancer’s Many Drivers

Breast cancer is not a single disease, but a collection of diseases with dozens of different mutations that crop up with varying frequency across different breast cancer subtypes. Deeper exploration of the genetic changes that drive breast cancer is revealing new complexity in the leading cause of cancer death in women worldwide.# 

 

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