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Surprising new role for calcium in sensing pain

Surprising new role for calcium in sensing pain
2014-09-02
DURHAM, N.C. -- When you accidentally touch a hot oven, you rapidly pull your hand away. Although scientists know the basic neural circuits involved in sensing and responding to such painful stimuli, they are still sorting out the molecular players. Duke researchers have made a surprising discovery about the role of a key molecule involved in pain in worms, and have built a structural model of the molecule. These discoveries, described Sept. 2 in Nature Communications, may help direct new strategies to treat pain in people. In humans and other mammals, a family of ...

Single laser stops molecular tumbling motion instantly

2014-09-02
In the quantum world, making the simple atom behave is one thing, but making the more complex molecule behave is another story. Now Northwestern University scientists have figured out an elegant way to stop a molecule from tumbling so that its potential for new applications can be harnessed: shine a single laser on a trapped molecule and it instantly cools to the temperature of outer space, stopping the rotation of the molecule. "It's counterintuitive that the molecule gets colder, not hotter when we shine intense laser light on it," said Brian Odom, who led the research. ...

NYU study compares consequences of teen alcohol and marijuana use

2014-09-02
Growing public support for marijuana legalization in the U.S. has led to public debate about whether marijuana is "safer" than other substances, such as alcohol. In January, President Obama also publically stated he is not convinced that marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol. Despite the recent shift in views toward marijuana, the harms of use as compared to alcohol use are not well understood. Now a new study "Adverse Psychosocial Outcomes Associated with Drug Use among US High School Seniors: A Comparison of Alcohol and Marijuana," by researchers affiliated with ...

Discovery hints at why stress is more devastating for some

Discovery hints at why stress is more devastating for some
2014-09-02
Some people take stress in stride; others are done in by it. New research at Rockefeller University has identified the molecular mechanisms of this so-called stress gap in mice with very similar genetic backgrounds — a finding that could lead researchers to better understand the development of psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression. "Like people, each animal has unique experiences as it goes through its life. And we suspect that these life experiences can alter the expression of genes, and as a result, affect an animal's susceptibility to stress," says senior ...

Simple awareness campaign in general practice identifies new cases of AF

Simple awareness campaign in general practice identifies new cases of AF
2014-09-02
Barcelona, Spain – Tuesday 2 September 2014: A simple awareness campaign in general practice identifies new cases of atrial fibrillation (AF), according to research presented at ESC Congress today by Professor Jean-Marc Davy from France. Professor Davy said: "Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia. It multiplies the risk of heart failure risk by three-fold and the risk of stroke risk by five-fold. Similarly, AF is responsible for ischaemic stroke in 1 of 4 cases. However, AF is often overlooked and diagnosed too late. In 20% of cases, AF is diagnosed ...

ROCKET AF trial suggests that digoxin increases risk of death in AF patients

ROCKET AF trial suggests that digoxin increases risk of death in AF patients
2014-09-02
Barcelona, Spain – Tuesday 2 September 2014: Digoxin may increase the risk of death in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) by approximately 20%, according to results from the ROCKET AF trial presented at ESC Congress today by Dr Manesh Patel, director of interventional cardiology and catheterisation labs at Duke University Health System in Durham, North Carolina, US. The findings suggest that caution may be needed when using digoxin in complex AF patients but further studies are needed to confirm the observations. Dr Patel said: "In this subanalysis of the ROCKET AF ...

Health structures explain nearly 20 percent of non-adherence to heart failure guidelines

2014-09-02
Barcelona, Spain – Tuesday 2 September 2014: Health structures explain nearly 20% of the non-adherence to heart failure guidelines, according to the results of a joint ESC-OECD study presented today at ESC Congress by Professor Aldo Maggioni. Clinical variables explained more than 80% of non-adherence. Professor Maggioni said: "This is a unique evaluation which combines clinical data and health structure characteristics of different countries. It provides a fuller picture of the reasons some patients with heart failure do not receive treatment according to ESC guidelines." Heart ...

Mechanical heart valves increase pregnancy risk

2014-09-02
Barcelona, Spain – Tuesday 2 September 2014: The fact that mechanical heart valves increase risks during and after pregnancy, has been confirmed by data from the ROPAC registry presented for the first time today in an ESC Congress Hot Line session by Professor Jolien W. Roos-Hesselink, co-chair with Professor Roger Hall of the registry's executive committee. The registry found that 1.4% of pregnant women with a mechanical heart valve died and 20% lost their baby during pregnancy. The Registry Of Pregnancy And Cardiac disease (ROPAC) is an ongoing worldwide registry that ...

The key to drilling wells with staying power in the developing world

The key to drilling wells with staying power in the developing world
2014-09-02
What happens after a well is drilled, fitted with a hand pump, and a community celebrates having access to clean water for the first time? Half of them break down in a year. When a community lacks sufficient resources and training, these wells would be rendered unusable; however, a new study by the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill's (UNC) Water Institute and Water and Sanitation for Africa, a Pan-African humanitarian agency, found that if local water communities collect fees for repairs and train community members to fix the wells, they can remain in use for ...

Cannabis withdrawal symptoms common among adolescents treated for substance use disorder

2014-09-02
Although cannabis – commonly known as marijuana – is broadly believed to be nonaddictive, a study by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators found that 40 percent of cannabis-using adolescents receiving outpatient treatment for substance use disorder reported experiencing symptoms of withdrawal, which are considered a hallmark of drug dependence. Study participants reporting withdrawal were more likely to meet criteria for severe substance use and for mood disorders, although the presence or absence of withdrawal did not appear to change long-term treatment ...

WSU 'deadly force' lab finds racial disparities in shootings

WSU deadly force lab finds racial disparities in shootings
2014-09-02
SPOKANE, Wash.—Participants in an innovative Washington State University study of deadly force were more likely to feel threatened in scenarios involving black people. But when it came time to shoot, participants were biased in favor of black suspects, taking longer to pull the trigger against them than against armed white or Hispanic suspects. The findings, published in the recent Journal of Experimental Criminology, grow out of dozens of simulations aimed at explaining the disproportionate number of ethnic and racial minorities shot by police. The studies use the most ...

Experts defend operational earthquake forecasting, counter critiques

2014-09-02
SAN FRANCISCO -- Experts defend operational earthquake forecasting (OEF) in an editorial published in the Seismological Research Letters (SRL), arguing the importance of public communication as part of a suite of activities intended to improve public safety and mitigate damage from earthquakes. In a related article, Italian scientists detail the first official OEF system in Italy. What is known about the probability of an earthquake on a specific fault varies over time, influenced largely by local seismic activity. OEF is the timely dissemination of authoritative scientific ...

Likely near-simultaneous earthquakes complicate seismic hazard planning for Italy

2014-09-02
SAN FRANCISCO -- Before the shaking from one earthquake ends, shaking from another might begin, amplifying the effect of ground motion. Such sequences of closely timed, nearly overlapping, consecutive earthquakes account for devastating seismic events in Italy's history and should be taken into account when building new structures, according to research published in the September issue of the journal Seismological Research Letters (SRL). "It's very important to consider this scenario of earthquakes, occurring possibly seconds apart, one immediately after another," said ...

Low-carb vs. low-fat diets

2014-09-02
1. Low-carb trumps low-fat for weight loss and cardiovascular risk Free Summary for Patients http://www.annals.org/article.aspx?doi=10.7326/P14-9029 A low-carbohydrate diet is more effective for weight loss and reducing cardiovascular risk factors than a low-fat diet, according to an article being published in Annals of Internal Medicine. More than one third of American adults have at least one form of cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular disease causes one third of all deaths. Low-carbohydrate diets are a popular strategy for weight loss, but their cardiovascular ...

Can action movies make you fat?

Can action movies make you fat?
2014-09-01
Is television making us fat? An increasing amount of research shows an association between TV viewing and higher food consumption and a more sedentary lifestyle. Now, a new Cornell University study points out that not all TV is alike. Some TV programs might lead people to eat twice as much as other programs! "We find that if you're watching an action movie while snacking your mouth will see more action too!" says Aner Tal, Ph.D. lead author on the new article just published in the Journal of the American Medical Association: Internal Medicine. "In other words, the more ...

Family dinners reduce effects of cyberbullying in adolescents

2014-09-01
Sharing regular family meals with children may help protect them from the effects of cyberbullying, according to a study by McGill professor Frank Elgar, Institute for Health and Social Policy. Because family meal times represent social support and exchanges in the home that benefit adolescents' well-being, Elgar suggests that this family contact and communication can also reduce some of the distressing effects of cyberbullying. "One in five adolescents experience cyberbullying," says Elgar, who is also a researcher at the Douglas Mental Health Institute, "Many adolescents ...

Quality of US diet shows modest improvement, but overall remains poor

2014-09-01
Boston, MA ─ Dietary quality in the U.S. has improved steadily in recent years—spurred in large part by reduced trans fat intake—but overall dietary quality remains poor and disparities continue to widen among socioeconomic and racial/ethnic groups, according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). "The study provides the most direct evidence to date that the extensive efforts by many groups and individuals to improve U.S. dietary quality are having some payoff, but it also indicates that these efforts need to be expanded," said Dong Wang, lead ...

Research letter: Viewers ate more while watching Hollywood action flick on TV

2014-09-01
Television shows filled with action and sound may be bad for your waistline. TV viewers ate more M&Ms, cookies, carrots and grapes while watching an excerpt from a Hollywood action film than those watching an interview program. Television has been blamed for helping Americans to gain weight because it encourages a sedentary lifestyle. But the focus of why has been on the medium and not the message. TV is like other distracting activities that can cause people to eat more, including reading, listening to the radio and interacting with dinner companions. However, little ...

Quality of US diet improves, gap widens for quality between rich and poor

2014-09-01
The quality of the U.S. diet showed some modest improvement in the last decade in large measure because of a reduction in the consumption of unhealthy trans fats, but the gap in overall diet quality widened between the rich and the poor. An unhealthy diet is closely linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers. Eating a healthy diet is an important part of the strategy to prevent adverse health outcomes. Evaluating population trends in diet quality is important because it can offer guidance for public health policy. The authors used the Alternate ...

Family dinners good for teens' mental health, could protect from cyberbullying

2014-09-01
Bottom Line: Cyberbullying was associated with mental health and substance use problems in adolescents but family dinners may help protect teens from the consequences of cyberbullying and also be beneficial for their mental health. Author: Frank J. Elgar, Ph.D., of McGill University, Montreal, Canada, and colleagues. Background: About 1 in 5 adolescents has experienced recent online bullying and cyberbullying, like traditional bullying, can increase the risk of mental health problems in teens as well as the misuse of drugs and alcohol. It is important to understand ...

Engineers develop new sensor to detect tiny individual nanoparticles

Engineers develop new sensor to detect tiny individual nanoparticles
2014-09-01
Nanoparticles, engineered materials about a billionth of a meter in size, are around us every day. Although they are tiny, they can benefit human health, as in some innovative early cancer treatments, but they can also interfere with it through viruses, air pollution, traffic emissions, cosmetics, sunscreen and electronics. A team of researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, led by Lan Yang, PhD, the Das Family Career Development Associate Professor in Electrical & Systems Engineering, and their collaborators at Tsinghua University in China have developed a new ...

Sierra Nevada freshwater runoff could drop 26 percent by 2100, UC study finds

2014-09-01
Irvine, Calif. — Freshwater runoff from the Sierra Nevada may decrease by as much as one-quarter by 2100 due to climate warming on the high slopes, according to scientists at UC Irvine and UC Merced. Accelerated plant growth at higher elevations caused by increasing temperatures would trigger more water absorption and evaporation, accounting for the projected runoff declines, the researchers add. A diminished river flow will only add to the burden of providing resources to the thirsty farms and homes that rely on it. The state is currently experiencing a severe drought, ...

Nature's tiny engineers

2014-09-01
CAMBRIDGE, Mass-- Conventional wisdom has long held that corals — whose calcium-carbonate skeletons form the foundation of coral reefs — are passive organisms that rely entirely on ocean currents to deliver dissolved substances, such as nutrients and oxygen. But now scientists at MIT and the Weizmann Institute of Science (WIS) in Israel have found that they are far from passive, engineering their environment to sweep water into turbulent patterns that greatly enhance their ability to exchange nutrients and dissolved gases with their environment. "These microenvironmental ...

Location of body fat can increase hypertension risk

2014-09-01
WASHINGTON (Sept. 1, 2014) — People with fat around their abdominal area are at greater risk of developing hypertension when compared to those with similar body mass index but fat concentrations elsewhere on the body, according to a study published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Obesity is a known risk factor for hypertension, or high blood pressure, and it is widely reported that the location of fat on a person's body can lead to increased risk of other health issues like heart disease and cancer. However, the relationship between hypertension ...

Ride-sharing could cut cabs' road time by 30 percent

2014-09-01
CAMBRIDGE, Mass-- Cellphone apps that find users car rides in real time are exploding in popularity: The car-service company Uber was recently valued at $18 billion, and even as it faces legal wrangles, a number of companies that provide similar services with licensed taxi cabs have sprung up. What if the taxi-service app on your cellphone had a button on it that let you indicate that you were willing to share a ride with another passenger? How drastically could cab-sharing reduce traffic, fares, and carbon dioxide emissions? Authoritatively answering that question ...
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