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Trust your gut ... but only sometimes

2011-01-06
When faced with decisions, we often follow our intuition—our self-described "gut feelings"—without understanding why. Our ability to make hunch decisions varies considerably: Intuition can either be a useful ally or it can lead to costly and dangerous mistakes. A new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds that the trustworthiness of our intuition is really influenced by what is happening physically in our bodies. "We often talk about intuition coming from the body—following our gut instincts and trusting ...

Optimizing patient outcomes after therapeutic hypothermia for traumatic brain injury

Optimizing patient outcomes after therapeutic hypothermia for traumatic brain injury
2011-01-06
New Rochelle, NY, January 4, 2011—Lowering the body temperature of patients soon after they have suffered a severe brain injury may reduce neurologic complications and improve outcomes. The safety of therapeutic hypothermia for traumatic brain injury (TBI) has been demonstrated in national studies. According to a Roundtable Discussion of renowned experts in the field, when and how it is administered should depend on the clinical condition of individual patients. The Roundtable was published online ahead of print in the new peer-reviewed journal Therapeutic Hypothermia and ...

Pregnant, constipated and bloated? Fly poo may tell you why

Pregnant, constipated and bloated? Fly poo may tell you why
2011-01-06
Clues about how the human gut helps regulate our appetite have come from a most unusual source – fruit fly faeces. Scientists at the University of Cambridge are using the fruit fly to help understand aspects of human metabolism, including why pregnant women suffer from bloating and constipation, and even the link between a low calorie diet and longevity. Although scientists have known for some time that there are as many as 500 million nerve cells in our gut, the sheer complexity that this presents means that little is known about the different types of nerve cell and ...

MIT researchers study the danger of toxoplasma parasites

2011-01-06
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- About one-third of the human population is infected with a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii, but most of them don't know it. Though Toxoplasma causes no symptoms in most people, it can be harmful to individuals with suppressed immune systems, and to fetuses whose mothers become infected during pregnancy. Toxoplasma spores are found in dirt and easily infect farm animals such as cows, sheep, pigs and chickens. Humans can be infected by eating undercooked meat or unwashed vegetables. Jeroen Saeij, an assistant professor of biology at MIT is investigating ...

Current smokers with early rheumatoid arthritis less responsive to TNF inhibitors, methotrexate

2011-01-06
Patients with early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who are current smokers were less likely to achieve good response to methotrexate (MTX) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors than those who never smoked. The study by researchers from Sweden also found that RA patients who smoked in the past did not experience a lower response to these therapies. Results of the 10-year study appear in the January 2011 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). According to the World Health Organization ...

Accurate interpretation of antinuclear antibodies test key to confirming autoimmune disease

2011-01-06
The presence of antinuclear antibodies (ANA) indicates the possibility of autoimmunity and the indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) assay on HEp-2 cells is the standard blood test (ANA-HEp-2) used to detect ANA. However, studies have shown that a "false-positive" ANA test occurs in up to 13% of healthy individuals. In such cases the test detects the presence of autoantibodies that apparently are not associated with autoimmunity. Researchers from Brazil have now uncovered distinguishing characteristics of the ANA test in healthy individuals and patients with autoimmune disease, ...

Smithsonian instrument 'fills the gap,' views sun's innermost corona

Smithsonian instrument fills the gap, views suns innermost corona
2011-01-06
During a total eclipse of the Sun, skywatchers are awed by the shimmering corona -- a faint glow that surrounds the Sun like gossamer flower petals. This outer layer of the Sun's atmosphere is, paradoxically, hotter than the Sun's surface, but so tenuous that its light is overwhelmed by the much brighter solar disk. The corona becomes visible only when the Sun is blocked, which happens for just a few minutes during an eclipse. Now, an instrument on board NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), developed by Smithsonian scientists, is giving unprecedented views of the ...

Clinical practitioners not adhering to evidence-based guidelines for osteoarthritis

2011-01-06
New research found clinicians who care for patients with osteoarthritis (OA) are likely not following standard care guidelines that are based on current medical evidence. Researchers noted physicians were prescribing medications for pain and inflammation, or opting for surgical interventions rather than recommending weight loss plans or exercise programs to OA patients. Details of the this study are available in the January 2011 issue of Arthritis Care & Research, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American College of Rheumatology. A 2002 report ...

New solar cell self-repairs like natural plant systems

New solar cell self-repairs like natural plant systems
2011-01-06
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Researchers are creating a new type of solar cell designed to self-repair like natural photosynthetic systems in plants by using carbon nanotubes and DNA, an approach aimed at increasing service life and reducing cost. "We've created artificial photosystems using optical nanomaterials to harvest solar energy that is converted to electrical power," said Jong Hyun Choi, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University. The design exploits the unusual electrical properties of structures called single-wall carbon nanotubes, using ...

Wake up and smell the willow

2011-01-06
More plant matter could be burned in coal-fired power stations if this 'green' fuel was delivered pre-roasted like coffee beans, according to researchers from the University of Leeds, UK. Many UK power stations are now burning plant matter, or biomass, as well as coal in a bid to cut their carbon footprint. Unlike fossil fuels, plants like willow, Miscanthus and poplar are a virtually carbon-neutral source of energy: the carbon dioxide emitted when they burn is absorbed during photosynthesis by the next batch of 'energy crops' planted in their place. But the environmental ...

US does not have infrastructure to consume more ethanol

US does not have infrastructure to consume more ethanol
2011-01-06
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The United States doesn't have the infrastructure to meet the federal mandate for renewable fuel use with ethanol but could meet the standard with significant increases in cellulosic and next-generation biofuels, according to a Purdue University study. Wally Tyner, the James and Lois Ackerman Professor of Agricultural Economics, and co-authors Frank Dooley, a Purdue professor of agricultural economics, and Daniela Viteri, a former Purdue graduate student, used U.S. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency data to determine that the ...

Environmental Science & Technology special issue on environmental policy now online

2011-01-06
WASHINGTON, Jan. 4, 2011 — A special edition of the American Chemical Society journal, Environmental Science & Technology (ES&T), one of the world's premier environmental journals, is available now for a limited time online without charge. The special edition will be accessible free during 2011, when the world celebrates the International Year of Chemistry. Entitled "Environmental Policy: Past, Present, and Future," the special issue of ES&T recognizes closure of a "green" decade in which people became more aware of environmental issues, and society marked the 40th anniversaries ...

Vaccine blocks cocaine high in mice

2011-01-06
NEW YORK (Jan. 4, 2011) — Researchers have produced a lasting anti-cocaine immunity in mice by giving them a safe vaccine that combines bits of the common cold virus with a particle that mimics cocaine. In their study, published Jan. 4 in the online edition of Molecular Therapy and funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the researchers say this novel strategy might be the first to offer cocaine addicts a fairly simple way to break and reverse their habit, and it might also be useful in treating other addictions, such as to nicotine, heroin and other opiates. ...

VCU findings may help explain some major clinical symptoms of preeclampsia

2011-01-06
RICHMOND, Va. (Jan. 4, 2011) – Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine researchers have found that a significant increase of an enzyme in the blood vessels of pregnant women with preeclampsia may explain some of the symptoms associated with the condition, including hypertension, swelling and protein in the urine. The findings could lead to a treatment for pregnant women with preeclampsia, which is one of the most significant health problems in pregnancy and a leading cause worldwide of both premature delivery and of sickness and death of the mother and baby. Preeclampsia, ...

Scientists discover that a specific enzyme inhibitor may help control lung inflammation

2011-01-06
All of us may be able to breathe a little easier now that scientists from Pennsylvania have found a new therapeutic target for controlling dangerous inflammation in the lungs. A new research report in the January 2011 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology (http://www.jleukbio.org) suggests that blocking the activation of an enzyme called delta-protein kinase C (delta-PKC) could protect the lungs from neutrophil-mediated damage, which can result in out of control inflammation. In an animal model of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), inhibiting delta-PKC in ...

A new drug target in atherosclerosis: The anaphylatoxin C5a

2011-01-06
For decades, doctors have looked at fitness levels, weight, and overall health risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Now, they may soon add a new risk factor to the list: activation of the complement system. The complement system is usually implicated in immune responses, but now there's a role for it in cardiovascular disease. In a new research report appearing in the January 2011 print issue of the FASEB Journal (http://www.fasebj.org), scientists from Europe and the United States show that anaphylatoxin C5a, a protein released when complement is activated, contributes ...

Mercyhurst pioneers game-based learning in teaching strategic intelligence

2011-01-06
Kris Wheaton pushes a key on his computer and the reminder transmits to dozens of intelligence studies students: Game Lab Tonight! Himself a long-time gamer, Wheaton is a pioneer in game-based learning as it applies to the teaching of intelligence analysis. Whether wrangling over the next move in "Defiant Russia," a board game based on the 1941 German attack on the Soviet Union, where players control the units that fought in the campaign; or strategizing over the online musical puzzle journey that is "Auditorium," there's lots of learning going on. "In terms of ...

Watch out for that boom

2011-01-06
PROVIDENCE, RI – Just as the site for the 2013 America's Cup has been announced, a study from Rhode Island Hospital highlights that the sport isn't always smooth sailing. The study was published recently in the journal Wilderness and Environmental Medicine. Through an on-line survey completed by sailors, researchers at Rhode Island Hospital have pieced together a report of the injuries that occur on two types of boats -- dinghies (small boats with crews of one or two) and keel boats (larger boats like those used in the America's Cup races with a crew of up to 16). With ...

Recycled Haitian concrete can be safe, strong and less expensive, says Georgia Tech group

2011-01-06
WESTERVILLE, OH – Nearly one year after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake rocked the Republic of Haiti, engineering and concrete experts at Georgia Tech report that concrete and other debris in Port-au-Prince could be safely and inexpensively recycled into strong new construction material. In a paper published today in the Bulletin of the American Ceramic Society, researchers Reginald DesRoches, Kimberly E. Kurtis and Joshua J. Gresham say that they have made new concrete, which meets or exceeds the minimum strength standards used in the United States, from recycled concrete ...

Model predicts a drug's likelihood of causing birth defects

2011-01-06
Boston, Mass. – When pregnant women need medications, there is often concern about possible effects on the fetus. Although some drugs are clearly recognized to cause birth defects (thalidomide being a notorious example), and others are generally recognized as safe, surprisingly little is known about most drugs' level of risk. Researchers in the Children's Hospital Boston Informatics Program (CHIP) have created a preclinical model for predicting a drug's teratogenicity (tendency to cause fetal malformations) based on characterizing the genes that it targets. The model, ...

Oceanic 'garbage patch' not nearly as big as portrayed in media

2011-01-06
CORVALLIS, Ore. – There is a lot of plastic trash floating in the Pacific Ocean, but claims that the "Great Garbage Patch" between California and Japan is twice the size of Texas are grossly exaggerated, according to an analysis by an Oregon State University scientist. Further claims that the oceans are filled with more plastic than plankton, and that the patch has been growing tenfold each decade since the 1950s are equally misleading, pointed out Angelicque "Angel" White, an assistant professor of oceanography at Oregon State. "There is no doubt that the amount of ...

Research on obesity targets the brain's use of fatty acids

2011-01-06
AURORA, Colo. (Jan. 4, 2011) - Researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine have created a new and exciting mouse model to study how lipid sensing and metabolism in the brain relate to the regulation of energy balance and body weight. The research team, led by Hong Wang, PhD, created mice with a deficiency of lipoprotein lipase (LPL) in neurons, and observed two important reactions. First, the mouse models ate more and second, they became sedentary. Because LPL is important to the delivery of fatty acids to the brain, these responses spotlight the importance ...

Team creates novel vaccine that produces strong immunity against cocaine high

2011-01-06
LA JOLLA, CA – January 4, 2011 — Researchers from The Scripps Research Institute, Weill Cornell Medical College, and Cornell University have produced a long-lasting anti-cocaine immunity in mice by giving them a unique vaccine that combines bits of the common cold virus with a particle that mimics cocaine. In their study, published January 4, 2011, in the advanced online edition of Molecular Therapy, the researchers say this novel strategy might be the first to offer cocaine addicts a fairly simple way to break and reverse their habit. The approach could also be useful ...

Detecting esophageal cancer with light

Detecting esophageal cancer with light
2011-01-06
DURHAM, N.C. – A tiny light source and sensors at the end of an endoscope may provide a more accurate way to identify pre-cancerous cells in the lining of the esophagus. Developed by biomedical engineers at Duke University and successfully tested on patients during a clinical trial at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the device holds the promise of being a less invasive method for testing patients suspected of having Barrett's esophagus, a change in the lining of the esophagus due to acid reflux. Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid splashes, or refluxes, ...

University of Illinois research makes plant breeding easier

University of Illinois research makes plant breeding easier
2011-01-06
University of Illinois research has resulted in the development of a novel and widely applicable molecular tool that can serve as a road map for making plant breeding easier to understand. Researchers developed a unified nomenclature for male fertility restorer (RF) proteins in higher plants that can make rapid advancements in plant breeding. "Understanding the mechanism by which RF genes suppress the male sterile phenotype and restore fertility to plants is critical for continued improvements in hybrid technology," said Manfredo J. Seufferheld, U of I assistant professor ...
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