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Dying star suffers 'irregular heartbeats'

2015-08-26
Some dying stars suffer from 'irregular heartbeats', research led by astronomers at the University of Warwick has discovered. The research confirms rapid brightening events in otherwise normal pulsating white dwarfs, which are stars in the final stage of their life cycles. In addition to the regular rhythm from pulsations they expected on the white dwarf PG1149+057, which cause the star to get a few percent brighter and fainter every few minutes, the researchers also observed something completely unexpected every few days: arrhythmic, massive outbursts, which broke ...

Supercomputers enlisted to shed light on photosynthesis

Supercomputers enlisted to shed light on photosynthesis
2015-08-26
Computing --the creation of supercomputers, above all-- enables scientists and engineers to analyse highly complex physical processes using simulation techniques. In this case, researchers in the UPV/EHU's Department of Computer Architecture and Technology and the Department of Materials Physics are collaborating with researchers from various universities (including the Universidade de Coimbra, Universitat de Barcelona, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, University of Liege) to analyse the photosynthesis process basing ...

High use of alternative medicine in senior oncology patients

2015-08-26
(PHILADELPHIA) -- Alternative medicines are widely thought to be at least harmless and very often helpful for a wide range of discomforts and illnesses. However, although they're marketed as "natural," they often contain active ingredients that can react chemically and biologically with other therapies. Researchers performed a comprehensive review of all of the medications taken by senior oncology patients and found that as 26 percent were using complementary or alternative medicines (CAM), in a report published August 12th, in the Journal of Geriatric Oncology. "Currently, ...

Education positively impacts safe opioid prescribing among clinicians

2015-08-26
(Boston)--Educating clinicians on how to safely prescribe opioids can help decrease opioid misuse among chronic pain sufferers. These findings, which appear online in the journal Pain Medicine, confirm that education can empower clinicians to make more informed clinical decisions about initiating, continuing, changing or discontinuing opioids for patients suffering from chronic pain based on a careful benefit versus risk/harm assessment. Chronic pain affects approximately 100 million people in the U.S. making it one of the most common reasons patients seek medical ...

The great escape: Why awareness of mortality can be bad for health

2015-08-26
The great escape: why awareness of our own mortality can be bad for our health People with low self-esteem use a variety of escape mechanisms to avoid thinking about their own mortality, new research reveals. Researchers led by Dr Arnaud Wisman, of the University of Kent's School of Psychology, found evidence in five studies that people with low self-esteem respond to reminders of their own mortality by directing their focus away from the 'self'. The research found an empirical and causal link between people with low self-esteem having unconscious concerns about ...

Neurobiology -- tuning of timing in auditory axons

2015-08-26
This news release is available in German. An LMU team has shown that the axons of auditory neurons in the brainstem which respond to low and high-frequency sounds differ in their morphology, and that these variations correlate with differences in the speed of signal conduction. As a rule, the axons (i.e. signal-transmitting fibers) of the neurons in the central nervous systems of vertebrates are ensheathed in layers of myelin, which serves as a form of insulation that improves their electrical conduction properties. In fact, the fat-rich myelin coating largely consists ...

Rehabilitation improves the prognosis of serious heart disease

2015-08-26
Rehabilitation is recommended for many patients following a hospital stay for acute heart disease. In a recent original article in Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl int 112: 527-34) Axel Schlitt et al. show that this improves prognosis for heart disease and can thus reduce patient mortality. More than 1900 patients in Saxony-Anhalt were contacted and asked to fill out a questionnaire. They had spent time in the hospital for serious cardiovascular disease an average of 11 years earlier. The authors used the data to analyze how many of the patients who ...

Routine surgery

2015-08-26
Cholecystectomy and treatment for inguinal, femoral, umbilical, or abdominal hernia are common surgeries and are considered routine in Germany. In an original article in the current edition of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl Int 112: 535-43), Ulrike Nimptsch and Thomas Mansky show that fewer than 0.5% of patients die as a result of such surgeries. However, in those who do die risks are frequently apparent even before surgery. Between 2009 and 2013, 731 000 cholecystectomies and 1 023 000 herniotomies took place in Germany. Over 2400 of the patients ...

The fear of trying new foods may have negative dietary implications

2015-08-26
This news release is available in Spanish. The behaviour involving rejection of new foodstuffs is a typical phase in infant development, above all in 2- to 3-year-olds and which subsides around the age of 5. The children who go through dietary neophobia also display signs of anguish and anxiety and this behaviour may even turn into a habit in adulthood. In her PhD thesis the researcher of the UPV/EHU's Faculty of Psychology Edurne Maiz conducted a study on 831 schoolchildren between the ages of 8 and 16. In the study she used questionnaires on infant neophobia -adapted ...

The missing link

The missing link
2015-08-26
University of Alberta paleontologists have discovered a new species of lizard, named Gueragama sulamericana, in the municipality of Cruzeiro do Oeste in Southern Brazil in the rock outcrops of a Late Cretaceous desert, dated approximately 80 million years ago. "The roughly 1700 species of iguanas are almost without exception restricted to the New World, primarily the Southern United States down to the tip of South America," says Michael Caldwell, biological sciences professor from the University of Alberta and one of the study's authors. Oddly however, iguanas closest ...

Home sweet microbe: Dust in your house can predict geographic region, gender of occupants

Home sweet microbe: Dust in your house can predict geographic region, gender of occupants
2015-08-26
The humble dust collecting in the average American household harbors a teeming menagerie of bacteria and fungi, and as researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder and North Carolina State University have discovered, it may be able to predict not only the geographic region of a given home, but the gender ratio of the occupants and the presence of a pet as well. The new findings, which were published today in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, highlight the impressive amount of microbial diversity in the average household and the degree to which these ...

Police professionals are better observers than ordinary civilians

2015-08-26
Dutch research shows that trained detectives of specialized observation teams are much better at registering details of a drug deal than ordinary civilians. Previous legal-psychological research revealed no relevant differences in observation skills between police professionals and civilians. The findings have been published in Legal and Criminological Psychology. Judges and juries often assume that police officers' statements are more reliable than those of regular eyewitnesses. Because of this assumption, police officers' statements typically carry more weight in legal ...

Few gay teenage boys get tested for HIV

2015-08-26
Only one in five gay and bisexual teen boys have been tested for HIV HIV infections are on the rise for young men who have sex with men Text messages, online program can identify nearby confidential testing sites Testing in schools would 'normalize' the process. CHICAGO --- Young men who have sex with men have the highest risk for HIV infection, but only one in five has ever been tested for HIV, a much lower rate than testing for non-adolescents, reports a new national Northwestern Medicine study conducted in partnership with the Center for Innovative Public ...

Foes can become friends on the coral reef

Foes can become friends on the coral reef
2015-08-26
On the coral reef, knowing who's your friend and who's your enemy can sometimes be a little complicated. Take seaweed, for instance. Normally it's the enemy of coral, secreting toxic chemicals, blocking the sunlight, and damaging coral with its rough surfaces. But when hordes of hungry crown-of-thorns sea stars invade the reef, everything changes, reports a study to be published August 25 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Seaweeds appear to protect coral from the marauding sea stars, giving new meaning to the proverb: "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." ...

Chocolate physics: How modeling could improve 'mouthfeel'

2015-08-26
Lecithin is an ingredient that you've probably never heard of, but one that plays a vital role in the production of chocolate and many other foods. It's never been clear how this ingredient works on a molecular level, and confectioners have relied on observational methods - essentially trial and error - to perfect their recipes. Now, scientists have shown how the field of molecular dynamics (simulation on a molecular level) could be a valuable tool in understanding chocolate conching - the part of the chocolate-making process where aromatic sensation, texture and 'mouthfeel' ...

New cardiovascular disease death rates show stark inequalities between European countries

2015-08-26
Diseases of the heart and blood vessels are the most common cause of death in Europe, resulting in over four million deaths a year (45% of all deaths) according to the latest available figures published today (Wednesday) in the European Heart Journal [1]. Although deaths from cardiovascular disease (CVD) are declining in most of Europe, there are large inequalities between European countries, with higher death rates seen in Eastern Europe. These high death rates correspond to the lower life expectancy also found in these countries, indicating the impact of CVD on inequalities ...

Project in West Africa sees dramatic drop in TB death rates

2015-08-26
Doctors in Togo, West Africa have seen a 10% drop in tuberculosis death rates after redesigning diagnosis and treatment services in one of the country's health districts. The full results are published in BMJ Quality Improvement Reports today - an open access forum to help clinicians share improvement ideas. Tuberculosis (TB) is the second leading cause of death among infectious diseases worldwide, killing nearly 2 million people each year, mostly in less developed countries. Even though there have been improvements in tuberculosis control over the past two decades, ...

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Experimental post-exposure antiviral treatment may protect humans from Ebola virus

2015-08-26
For the first time, UK physicians have demonstrated that antiviral-based therapies have the potential to protect humans from the deadly Ebola virus. The report, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, describes a case-series of eight British health-care workers who were evacuated to the Royal Free Hospital in London, UK after possible accidental exposure to Ebola virus in Sierra Leone between January and March 2015. Four of the health-care workers were considered to have been at significant risk of exposure to Ebola from needlestick injuries and were given ...

Study validates monkey model of visual perception

2015-08-26
A new study from The Journal of Neuroscience shows that humans and rhesus monkeys have very similar abilities in recognizing objects "at a glance," validating the use of this animal model in the study of human visual perception. In the study, published August 26, humans and monkeys not only demonstrated similar ease in recognizing objects in varied positions and landscapes, but both species also tended to make the same errors. For the study, researchers from MIT compared the performance of two rhesus macaque monkeys and 638 adult human subjects on a large set of object ...

Study finds major lack of resources for rehab patients in Malawi

2015-08-26
Baltimore, Md., August 25, 2015 - Malawi has a population of 16 million, yet, only one inpatient rehabilitation center for individuals with stroke, spinal cord injury, and similar conditions. With just 40 beds, the Kachere Rehabilitation Center in Blantyre, Malawi's second largest city, provides services to the entire country. Because there is little funding for rehabilitation in the country, there is essentially no rehabilitation and follow-up services for patients after they return to their families, homes, and communities. Leslie B. Glickman, PT, PhD, an assistant ...

Quitting smoking after heart attack reduces chest pain, improves quality of life

2015-08-25
DALLAS, Aug. 25, 2015 -- Smokers who quit after having a heart attack have similar levels of chest pain and mental health as non-smokers, according to research in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. Researchers assessed 4,003 adults in two U.S. multi-center heart attack patient registries for smoking, chest pain and health-related quality of life measures, such as physical and mental components at admission, at one, six and 12 months after their heart attacks. At admission, patients were identified as those who never ...

Quitting smoking after heart attack gives quick boost to mental health, quality of life

2015-08-25
A new study shows that quitting smoking after a heart attack has immediate benefits, including less chest pain, better quality of daily life and improved mental health. Many of these improvements became apparent as little as one month after quitting and are more pronounced after one year, according to the research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. "Even in people who smoked and had a heart attack, we see fairly rapid improvements in important measures of health and quality of life when they quit smoking after their heart attacks, compared with ...

Algorithm helps identify elusive genes that express like clockwork

2015-08-25
Genes that express in precisely timed patterns, known as oscillatory genes, play an essential role in development functions like cell division, circadian rhythms and limb formation. But without a time-lapse view of genetic expression, these genes have gone largely undiscovered. An algorithm developed by scientists at the Morgridge Institute for Research and the University of Wisconsin-Madison is giving scientists a new way to identify the dynamics of oscillatory genes, and perhaps defining the roles of these early-development forces for the first time. A paper published ...

Many parents unaware of e-cigarette dangers to children?

2015-08-25
As the use of e-cigarettes has risen dramatically in the United States in recent years, so have calls to poison centers about them. Yet many parents who use e-cigarettes - or "vape" - aren't aware of the dangers to children, according to a new study at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The devices are used like typical cigarettes but instead of tobacco, they vaporize a liquid mixture of nicotine, glycerin and glycol ethers. The liquid form is flavored, which appeals to children. If ingested, a teaspoon of this "e-liquid" can be lethal to a child, ...

Study finds paramedic care delivered on-scene for 10-35 minutes leads to better outcomes

2015-08-25
Less than 10 per cent of paediatric patients who suffer a cardiac arrest outside of the hospital survive. There are many factors which can influence survival rates; paramedic care is one of them. Thanks to the advanced training of paramedics, today, they can spend more time on the scene doing CPR or providing medical care including administering intravenous fluids and medications. However until now, it has not been known if the length of time spent on the scene and onsite medical interventions by paramedics are associated with improved survival for paediatric patients. In ...
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