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Sequestered prion protein takes the good mood away, suggests new hypothesis on depression

2015-08-13
The discovery of antidepressant drugs in the 1950s led to the first biochemical hypothesis of depression, known as the monoamine hypothesis. This hypothesis proposes that an imbalance of certain brain chemicals is the key cause of depression. Research has investigated whether and to what degree the "reward and pleasure" chemical dopamine and, more recently, the "happiness" chemical serotonin, could be the neurotransmitters involved in the malady. However, the monoamine hypothesis does not seem to fully explain the complexity of human depression. Now a new study offers one ...

Dentists tapped for new role: Drug screenings

2015-08-13
August 13, 2015--A visit to the dentist has the potential to be more than a checkup of our teeth as patients are increasingly screened for medical conditions like heart disease and diabetes. A new study by researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health focuses on dental screenings for drug misuse, finding 77 percent of dentists ask patients about illicit drug use, and 54 percent of dentists believe that such screenings should be their responsibility. Results of the study are online in the journal Addiction. "There are a sizeable number of people ...

Birth factors may predict schizophrenia in genetic subtype of schizophrenia

2015-08-13
TORONTO, (Aug. 13, 2015) - Low birth weight and preterm birth appear to increase the risk of schizophrenia among individuals with a genetic condition called the 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, a new study from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) shows. The research, published in Genetics in Medicine, is "...part of ongoing efforts among schizophrenia researchers to predict and prevent illness at the earliest stages possible," says senior author Dr. Anne Bassett, Clinician-Scientist in CAMH's Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute and Canada Research ...

Biochemist studies oilseed plants for biofuel, industrial development

2015-08-13
MANHATTAN, Kansas -- A Kansas State University biochemistry professor has reached a milestone in building a better biofuel: producing high levels of lipids with modified properties in oil seeds. Timothy Durrett, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics, and collaborators at Michigan State University and the University of Nebraska, Lincoln have modified Camelina sativa -- a nonfood oilseed crop -- and produced the highest levels of modified seed lipids to date. By modifying the oilseed biochemistry in camelina, the researchers have achieved very high ...

High participation in small church groups has its downside, research shows

2015-08-13
CLEMSON, S.C. -- Parishioners who participate in small groups within a religious congregation are generally more likely to be civically engaged than their fellow worshipers unless a church has high overall small-group participation, according to research recently released by Clemson and Louisiana State universities. The study, "Small groups, contexts, and civic engagement: A multilevel analysis of United States Congregational Life Survey data," published in the July issue of the journal Social Science Research, reveals that the positive effect small-group participation ...

Toxic blue-green algae pose increasing threat to nation's drinking, recreational water

Toxic blue-green algae pose increasing threat to nations drinking, recreational water
2015-08-13
CORVALLIS, Ore. - A report concludes that blooms of toxic cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, are a poorly monitored and underappreciated risk to recreational and drinking water quality in the United States, and may increasingly pose a global health threat. Several factors are contributing to the concern. Temperatures and carbon dioxide levels have risen, many rivers have been dammed worldwide, and wastewater nutrients or agricultural fertilizers in various situations can cause problems in rivers, lakes and reservoirs. No testing for cyanobacteria is mandated by state ...

Statistical advances help unlock mysteries of the human microbiome

Statistical advances help unlock mysteries of the human microbiome
2015-08-13
SEATTLE, WA, AUGUST 13, 2015 - Advances in the field of statistics are helping to unlock the mysteries of the human microbiome--the vast collection of microorganisms living in and on the bodies of humans, said Katherine Pollard, a statistician and biome expert, during a session today at the 2015 Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM 2015) in Seattle. Pollard, senior investigator at the Gladstone Institutes and professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco, delivered a presentation titled "Estimating Taxonomic and Functional Diversity ...

Remote sensing, satellite imagery, surveys use to estimate population of Mogadishu

2015-08-13
SEATTLE, WA, AUGUST 13, 2015 - The results of the first population survey of Mogadishu, Somalia, conducted in a quarter century were presented today at a session of the 2015 Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM 2015) in Seattle. Jesse Driscoll, assistant professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego, presented the results in an invited presentation titled "Representative Surveys in Insecure Environments: A Case Study of Mogadishu, Somalia." The representative survey, conducted in March 2012, combined the use of smartphone technology and remote-sensing ...

How do continents break up?

2015-08-13
12.08.2015: When the western part of the super-continent Gondwana broke up around 130 Million years ago, today's Africa and South-America started to separate and the South Atlantic was born. It is commonly assumed that enormous masses of magma ascended from the deep mantle up to higher levels, and that this hot mantle plume (the Tristan mantle plume) weakened the continental lithosphere, eventually causing the break-up of the continental plate of Gondwana. A group of German scientists are now questioning this theory. On the basis of seismic measurements published in ...

Diversity provides stability among the animals in the wild

Diversity provides stability among the animals in the wild
2015-08-13
This news release is available in German. Kalmar/Halle(Saale). Why some species of plants and animals vary more in number than others is a central issue in ecology. Now researchers at Linnaeus University in Sweden and from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) have found an important finding to answer this question: Individual differences have a positive and stabilizing effect on the number of moths. Species with varying colour drawing are generally more numerous and fluctuate less in number from year to year. The results were recently published ...

Smoking ban linked to drop in stillbirths and newborn deaths

2015-08-13
Stillbirths have dropped by almost eight per cent in England since the smoking ban was introduced, research shows. The number of babies dying shortly after birth has also dropped by almost eight per cent, the study estimates. The findings add to growing evidence that anti-smoking laws have had significant benefits for infant and child health. Researchers led by the University of Edinburgh looked at information on more than ten million births in England between 1995 and 2011. Their findings suggest that almost 1500 stillbirths and newborn deaths were averted in ...

The role of B cells in the enhancement of pollen allergy

2015-08-13
The team of Prof. Carsten Schmidt-Weber and Prof. Jan Gutermuth of the Center of Allergy & Environment (ZAUM) at Helmholtz Zentrum München and TU München investigated the influence of pollen extract of common ragweed, also known as Ambrosia artemisiifolia*, on B cells. These cells can produce immunoglobulin E (IgE**), the key trigger and an important diagnostic marker of allergic reactions. "We were able to show that pollen extract enhances the secretion of allergy driving IgE antibodies in vitro and in vivo", explains Dr. Sebastian Öder who is leading author ...

One in two dies in hospital

2015-08-13
At home on the sofa, in a hospital bed, or in a care home: where a death takes place is always recorded on the death certificate. Until now, however, this information has never been collated and evaluated. In an Original Article in the current issue of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztbl Int 112:496-504), Burkhard Dasch and his co-authors analyze for the first time the place of death records for Germany. What they found was that every second person died in a hospital; only one in four died at home. The study evaluated more than 24 000 death certificates ...

Cesarean section on request -- The risks outweigh the benefits

2015-08-13
More and more mothers facing childbirth are asking for a cesarean. There are many reasons for this, ranging from the social and cultural to the personal, such as fear about the birth. A review article in the current issue of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztbl 112: 489-95) by two Munich gynecologists, Ioannis Mylonas and Klaus Friese, considers the risks and benefits of cesarean delivery on maternal request. Delivery by cesarean section is much more popular than it used to be. In 1991 a little over one delivery in six was by cesarean; now it is almost ...

Large percentage of youth with HIV may lack immunity to measles, mumps, rubella

2015-08-13
Between one-third and one-half of individuals in the United States who were infected with HIV around the time of birth may not have sufficient immunity to ward off measles, mumps, and rubella--even though they may have been vaccinated against these diseases. This estimate, from a National Institutes of Health research network, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is based on a study of more than 600 children and youth exposed to HIV in the womb. "Having a high level of immunity to measles, mumps, and rubella is important not only for ...

Sediment dwelling creatures at risk from nanoparticles in common household products

2015-08-13
Researchers from the University of Exeter highlight the risk that engineered nanoparticles released from masonry paint on exterior facades, and consumer products such as zinc oxide cream, could have on aquatic creatures. Textiles, paint, sunscreen, cosmetics and food additives are all increasingly containing metal-based nanoparticles that are engineered, rather than found naturally. The review, published today in the journal Environmental Chemistry, highlights the risks posed to aquatic organisms when nanoparticles 'transform' on contact with water and as they pass ...

Chickenpox continues to decline in US thanks to vaccination

2015-08-13
Since the chickenpox vaccine became available in the U.S. in 1995, there has been a large reduction in chickenpox cases. Hospitalizations and outpatient visits for chickenpox have continued their decline after a second dose of the vaccine was recommended to improve protection against the disease, according to a new study published in the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society. The findings also suggest that increasing vaccination coverage against the once common childhood illness helps protect those who are not immunized themselves. Chickenpox, also known ...

Predicting risk for deadly cardiac events

2015-08-13
Boston, MA-- A marker commonly used to determine if a patient is having a heart attack can also be used to identify stable patients at high risk for deadly cardiac events, according to a new study led by investigators at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH). Using a test that is more sensitive than what is currently used in U.S. hospitals and clinics, the research team found that nearly 40 percent of patients with type 2 diabetes and stable heart disease had abnormal blood levels of the protein troponin. Patients with elevated levels of troponin were twice as likely as ...

Gravel-camouflaged nests give threatened shorebirds a boost

Gravel-camouflaged nests give threatened shorebirds a boost
2015-08-12
When it comes to reproduction, not every individual equally pulls his or her weight. Dana Herman and Mark Colwell of Humboldt State University spent 13 years tracking the successes and failures of almost 200 individual Snowy Plovers (Charadrius nivosus) nesting at a variety of sites in Humboldt County, California, to identify the factors that could be influencing reproductive success for birds in this threatened population. Their results, published this week in The Condor: Ornithological Applications, show that more than human activity, predator presence, exclosures to ...

Searching the Internet inflates estimates of internal knowledge

2015-08-12
Working in groups is advantageous because different individuals can be responsible for different information, allowing each individual to develop more in-depth expertise. For instance, a plumber, electrician, and carpenter work together to build a house, but each is responsible for unique aspects of the project. This is an example of a transactive memory system: information is distributed across the group, and each group member is aware of what he or she knows, as well as who knows what. Because the Internet surpasses any person in accessibility, speed, and breadth of ...

Protein-packed breakfast prevents body fat gain in overweight teens

Protein-packed breakfast prevents body fat gain in overweight teens
2015-08-12
COLUMBIA, Mo. (Aug. 12, 2015) Approximately 60 percent of young people habitually skip breakfast up to four times a week, previous research has shown. Although health experts recommend breakfast as a strategy to reduce an individual's chance of obesity, little research has examined if the actual type of breakfast consumed plays a significant role in one's health and weight management. University of Missouri researchers compared the benefits of consuming a normal-protein breakfast to a high-protein breakfast and found the high-protein breakfast - which contained 35 grams ...

CO2 emissions change with size of streams and rivers

CO2 emissions change with size of streams and rivers
2015-08-12
All freshwater streams and rivers actually release carbon dioxide, but the source of those emissions has for years been unclear to scientists. Now, researchers have shown that the greenhouse gas appears in streams by way of two different sources -- either as a direct pipeline for groundwater and carbon-rich soils, or from aquatic organisms releasing the gas through respiration and natural decay. CO2's origins -- land or life -- depend largely on the size of the stream or river, according to a paper published Aug. 10 in Nature Geosciences. These findings shed light ...

Quantum computing advance locates neutral atoms

2015-08-12
For any computer, being able to manipulate information is essential, but for quantum computing, singling out one data location without influencing any of the surrounding locations is difficult. Now, a team of Penn State physicists has a method for addressing individual neutral atoms without changing surrounding atoms. "There are a set of things that we have to have to do quantum computing," said David S. Weiss, professor of physics. "We are trying to step down that list and meet the various criteria. Addressability is one step." Quantum computers are constructed and ...

Can stem cells cause and cure cancer?

2015-08-12
Simply put, cancer is caused by mutations to genes within a cell that lead to abnormal cell growth. Finding out what causes that genetic mutation has been the holy grail of medical science for decades. Researchers at the Texas A&M Health Science Center Institute of Biosciences and Technology believe they may have found one of the reasons why these genes mutate and it all has to do with how stem cells talk to each other. The landmark studies by Texas A&M researchers Fen Wang, Ph.D., and Wallace McKeehan, Ph.D., appear in the Journal of Biological Chemistry and are available ...

Researchers pioneer use of capsules to save materials, streamline chemical reactions

2015-08-12
CAMBRIDGE, MA -- Chemists working in a variety of industries and fields typically go through a laborious process to measure and mix reagents for each reaction they perform. And many of the common reagents they use sit for months or years on shelves in laboratories, where they can react with oxygen and water in the atmosphere, rendering them useless. In a paper published this week in Nature, researchers at MIT describe a technique that could help avoid this costly waste, and greatly reduce the number of steps a chemist must perform to prepare common compounds for use in ...
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