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Patient satisfaction is a poor surrogate for quality of care in brain surgery

2015-08-18
Patient satisfaction is a very poor proxy for quality of care comparisons in elective cranial neurosurgery. Because deaths are rare events in elective cranial neurosurgery, reporting of surgeon or even department-specific mortality figures cannot differentiate a high or low level of the quality of care. The current focus on patient safety in health care has led to public quality-of-care comparisons between health care facilities and even between individual health care professionals. In the United States, a new reimbursement method based on patient satisfaction ratings ...

Challenge to classic theory of 'organic' solar cells could improve efficiency

Challenge to classic theory of organic solar cells could improve efficiency
2015-08-18
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - New research findings contradict a fundamental assumption about the functioning of "organic" solar cells made of low-cost plastics, suggesting a new strategy for creating inexpensive solar technology. Commercialization of organic solar cells has been hindered by inefficiencies, but the findings point toward a potential path to create a new class of solar technology able to compete with standard silicon cells. "These solar cells could provide a huge cost advantage over silicon," said Muhammad Ashraful Alam, Purdue University's Jai N. Gupta Professor ...

Most comprehensive projections for West Antarctica's future revealed

Most comprehensive projections for West Antarcticas future revealed
2015-08-18
A new international study is the first to use a high-resolution, large-scale computer model to estimate how much ice the West Antarctic Ice Sheet could lose over the next couple of centuries, and how much that could add to sea-level rise. The results paint a clearer picture of West Antarctica's future than was previously possible. The study is published today (18 August) in The Cryosphere, an open access journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU). "The IPCC's [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] 4th and 5th Assessment Reports both note that the acceleration ...

Possible test for liver cancer using technology for analysing rocks and minerals

2015-08-18
A group of clinicians and geochemists are working to develop a test for the most common form of primary liver cancer, HCC (Hepatocellular Carcinoma). HCC kills over 600,000 people worldwide every year. It usually develops from chronic liver disease such as hepatitis or cirrhosis, but there is no good biochemical test to indicate when the cancer develops, meaning that even for patients most at risk, it is nearly impossible to know when a cancer may develop until symptoms appear. Now a multi-national group of scientists are developing a new test for HCC, based on methods ...

How having racially diverse friends can help you on the job

2015-08-18
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Employees with a racially diverse group of friends outside of work may actually perform better at their jobs, a new study suggests. Researchers found that workers who had more different-race friends in their personal lives than their co-workers also tended to have a more racially diverse network of friends on the job. This broader network was linked to employees who did more tasks beyond their job responsibilities and who, under certain circumstances, had more trust in their supervisors. "Your friends outside of work actually have this connection to ...

Frequency of family meals increased by a new school presentation

2015-08-18
This news release is available in French. This news release is available in French. New research shows that teaching young adolescents practical cooking skills leads to positive changes for the entire family. In an article published today in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, an NRC Research Press journal (a division of Canadian Science Publishing), researchers evaluated the Kinect-Ed presentation and found an increase in the frequency of family dinners after participation. Kinect-Ed, a 90-minute motivational nutrition education presentation, was ...

Powdered cranberry combats colon cancer in mice

2015-08-18
BOSTON, Aug. 18, 2015 -- Cranberries are often touted as a way to protect against urinary tract infections, but that may be just the beginning. Researchers fed cranberry extracts to mice with colon cancer and found that the tumors diminished in size and number. Identifying the therapeutic molecules in the tart fruit could lead to a better understanding of its anti-cancer potential, they say. The team will describe their approach in one of more than 9,000 presentations at the 250th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world's largest ...

Solar cell efficiency could double with novel 'green' antenna

2015-08-18
BOSTON, Aug. 18, 2015 -- The use of solar energy in the U.S. is growing, but panels on rooftops are still a rare sight. They cost thousands of dollars, and homeowners don't recoup costs for years even in the sunniest or best-subsidized locales. But scientists may have a solution. They report today the development of a unique, "green" antenna that could potentially double the efficiencies of certain kinds of solar cells and make them more affordable. The researchers are presenting their work at the 250th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS). ...

IU School of Medicine researchers report biomarkers and apps that predict risk of suicide

IU School of Medicine researchers report biomarkers and apps that predict risk of suicide
2015-08-18
INDIANAPOLIS -- People being treated for bipolar disorder and other psychiatric illnesses are at greater risk of attempting suicide, but physicians may now have tools to predict which of those individuals will attempt it and intervene early to prevent such tragedies from occurring. Researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine reported Tuesday in the Nature Publishing Group's leading journal in psychiatry, Molecular Psychiatry, that they have developed blood tests and questionnaire instruments that can predict with more than 90 percent accuracy which of those patients ...

'Molecular tweezer' targets HIV and prevents semen from promoting infection

2015-08-18
An unprecedented potential "molecular tweezer" called CLR01, reported in the journal eLife, not only blocks HIV and other sexually transmitted viruses, but also breaks up proteins in semen that boost infection. Semen is the main vector for sexual HIV transmission. It contains proteins that assemble into very stable polymers called amyloid fibrils, which can enhance HIV infectivity by up to 10,000 times. Scientists led by the University of Pennsylvania (USA) and Ulm (Germany) now show that a molecule with the shape of a tweezer not only destroys HIV particles but also ...

Meteorite impacts can create DNA building blocks

Meteorite impacts can create DNA building blocks
2015-08-18
A new study shown that meteorite impacts on ancient oceans may have created nucleobases and amino acids. Researchers from Tohoku University, National Institute for Materials Science and Hiroshima University discovered this after conducting impact experiments simulating a meteorite hitting an ancient ocean (Fig. 1). With precise analysis of the products recovered after impacts, the team found the formation of nucleobases and amino acids from inorganic compounds. The research is reported this week in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters. All the genetic information ...

Two-year-olds with larger oral vocabularies enter kindergarten better prepared

2015-08-18
Children with better academic and behavioral functioning when they start kindergarten often have better educational and societal opportunities as they grow up. For instance, children entering kindergarten with higher reading and math achievement are more likely to go to college, own homes, be married, and live in higher-income neighborhoods as adults. Now a new study points to very early roots of differences in school readiness, with growth in vocabulary playing a particularly important role. The study found that children with larger oral vocabularies by age 2 arrived at ...

Quality counts in adolescents' and young adults' romantic relationships

2015-08-18
Adolescents who have romantic relationships tend to have more problems with psychosocial adjustment. In contrast, young adults who have romantic relationships tend to have fewer problems with psychosocial adjustment. Although the links between having a romantic relationship and psychosocial adjustment change with age, a new longitudinal study has found that it's not just having a relationship that matters, but the quality of the relationship: Higher-quality romantic relationships are associated with fewer psychosocial difficulties across adolescence and young adulthood. The ...

A brain-computer interface for controlling an exoskeleton

A brain-computer interface for controlling an exoskeleton
2015-08-18
Scientists working at Korea University, Korea, and TU Berlin, Germany have developed a brain-computer control interface for a lower limb exoskeleton by decoding specific signals from within the user's brain. Using an electroencephalogram (EEG) cap, the system allows users to move forwards, turn left and right, sit and stand simply by staring at one of five flickering light emitting diodes (LEDs). The results are published today (Tuesday 18th August) in the Journal of Neural Engineering. Each of the five LEDs flickers at a different frequency, and when the user focusses ...

Scientists and NASA astronauts developing near real-time osteoporosis and bone cancer test

2015-08-18
A new test for offers the possibility of near real time monitoring of bone diseases, such as osteoporosis and multiple myeloma. The functionality of the test, which measures changes in calcium isotope ratios, has been validated on blood samples from NASA space shuttle astronauts. Our bones are largely built of calcium, and the turnover of calcium can indicate the development of bone diseases such as osteoporosis and the cancer multiple myeloma. Geochemists have developed extremely accurate ways of measuring calcium isotope ratios, for example for the study of sea shell ...

Anonymous essay exposes scandalous doctor behavior

2015-08-18
For an embargoed PDF, please contact Cara Graeff or 215-351-2513 or Angela Collom or 215-351-2514. 1. Anonymous essay exposes scandalous doctor behavior Free abstract: http://www.annals.org/article.aspx?doi=10.7326/M14-2168 Editorial: http://www.annals.org/article.aspx?doi=10.7326/M15-1144 URLs go live when embargo lifts An anonymous and provocative essay published in Annals of Internal Medicine exposes the dark underbelly of medicine where doctors displayed stomach-churning disrespect for vulnerable patients. The author describes teaching a medical humanities ...

Health insurance websites show improved efforts to support patient decision making

2015-08-18
PHILADELPHIA - Websites for national and state health insurance marketplaces show evidence of improved efforts to assist patients in choosing health insurance plans, such as providing decision support tools, experts from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have found. However, in a letter published in the August 18 issue the Annals of Internal Medicine, the Penn team recommends taking more steps to better support consumers in making informed health plan decisions. The marketplaces, also called health exchanges, were established by the Patient ...

Aspirin reverses obesity cancer risk

2015-08-17
Research has shown that a regular dose of aspirin reduces the long-term risk of cancer in those who are overweight in an international study of people with a family history of the disease. The study, conducted by researchers at Newcastle University and the University of Leeds, UK, is published today in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. They found that being overweight more than doubles the risk of bowel cancer in people with Lynch Syndrome, an inherited genetic disorder which affects genes responsible for detecting and repairing damage in the DNA. Around half of these ...

Genetic test could improve blood cancer treatment

2015-08-17
Testing for genetic risk factors could improve treatment for myeloma - a cancer of the blood and bone marrow - by helping doctors identify patients at risk of developing more aggressive disease. New research, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology today (Monday), found as few as nine genetic features would need to be tested to identify high-risk patients who might benefit from intensive treatment. The study, led by researchers at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, is the first to link genetic mutations in myeloma cells to the chances of surviving the disease. The ...

Drinking coffee daily may improve survival in colon cancer patients

Drinking coffee daily may improve survival in colon cancer patients
2015-08-17
Drinking caffeinated coffee daily significantly reduced cancer recurrence and death in stage III colon cancer. Greatest benefits were in those drinking four or more cups a day. Researchers are not recommending people drink more coffee pending further studies. BOSTON - Regular consumption of caffeinated coffee may help prevent the return of colon cancer after treatment and improve the chances of a cure, according to a new, large study from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute that reported this striking association for the first time. The patients, all of them treated ...

First-of-its-kind study finds music therapy lowers anxiety during surgical breast biopsies

2015-08-17
CLEVELAND - A first-of-its-kind study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology finds that music therapy lessened anxiety for women undergoing surgical breast biopsies for cancer diagnosis and treatment. The two-year study out of University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center involved 207 patients. "To the best of our knowledge, this is the first randomized controlled trial to test music therapy for anxiety management with women undergoing outpatient breast cancer surgery, and the largest study of its kind to use live music therapy in the surgical arena," said lead ...

Retinal changes may serve as measures of brain pathology in schizophrenia

2015-08-17
NEW YORK, NY - August 17, 2015 - Schizophrenia is associated with structural and functional alterations of the visual system, including specific structural changes in the eye. Tracking such changes may provide new measures of risk for, and progression of the disease, according to a literature review published online in the journal Schizophrenia Research: Cognition, authored by researchers at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai and Rutgers University. Individuals with schizophrenia have trouble with social interactions and in recognizing what is real. Past research ...

NASA's LADEE spacecraft finds neon in lunar atmosphere

2015-08-17
The moon's thin atmosphere contains neon, a gas commonly used in electric signs on Earth because of its intense glow. While scientists have speculated on the presence of neon in the lunar atmosphere for decades, NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft has confirmed its existence for the first time. "The presence of neon in the exosphere of the moon has been a subject of speculation since the Apollo missions, but no credible detections were made," said Mehdi Benna of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland and the University ...

New approach could reduce human health impacts of electric power generation

New approach could reduce human health impacts of electric power generation
2015-08-17
By combining information about power plant operation with real-time air quality predictions, researchers have created a new capability to minimize the human health effects of air pollution resulting from electric power generating facilities. The Air Pollutant Optimization Model, described in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provides a new approach for reducing the health effects of ozone and fine particulate pollution. By helping to minimize both health impacts and generating costs, the hybrid model may provide a new tool for utility companies ...

Return on investment slipping in biomedical research

2015-08-17
As more money has been spent on biomedical research in the United States over the past 50 years, there has been diminished return on investment in terms of life expectancy gains and new drug approvals, two Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers say. In a report published Aug. 17 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers found that while the number of scientists has increased more than nine-fold since 1965 and the National Institutes of Health's budget has increased four-fold, the number of new drugs approved by the Food ...
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