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Health Bulletin


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  1. #1411
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Why some people are more naturally inclined to music than others

    A new study has revealed that hearing and cognitive function affecting genes determine one's musical aptitude.

    Researchers explained that extremes capacity or no capacity in musical aptitude, which is the ability to understand and perceive rhythm, pitch, timbre, tone durations, and formal structure in music, are rare within a population, with the majority of individuals having moderate aptitude.

    Co-author Irma Jarvela said that this is a typical feature of a complex trait attributable to several underlying genes, and it is influenced to varying degrees by environmental factors, such as exposure to music or musical training.

    This study is published in Journal BioEssays.


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  2. #1412
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Consuming high-fat dairy products cuts diabetes risk

    A new study has demonstrated that people who consume high-fat dairy products on a regular basis are less likely to develop diabetes.

    The study conducted by European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Vienna, Austria, showed that people with the highest consumption of high-fat dairy products had a 23 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those with the lowest consumption (1 or less per day).

    According to the study, dietary fats could affect glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity and may therefore have a crucial role in the development of type 2 diabetes (T2D) and replacing saturated fat with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats might be favorable in the prevention of T2D.

    The study included 26 930 individuals aged 45-74 years, from the population-based Malmo Diet and Cancer cohort. Dietary data was collected with a modified diet history method and 2860 incident T2D cases were identified during 14 years of follow up.

    Dr Ulrika Ericson, Lund University Diabetes Center, Malmo, Sweden, said that their observations may contribute to clarifying previous findings regarding dietary fats and their food sources in relation to T2D.

    Ericson added that the decreased risk at high intakes of high- fat dairy products, but not of low-fat dairy products, indicated that dairy fat, at least partly, explains observed protective associations between dairy intake and T2D and meat intake was associated with increased risk of developing diabetes regardless of fat content.


  3. #1413
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Why we crave for junk food revealed

    Scientists have revealed how magnetic stimulation of a brain area involved in "executive function" affects cravings and consumption of calorie-dense snack foods.

    According to the study researchers at University of Waterloo, after stimulation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), young women experience increased cravings for high-calorie snacks-and eat more of those foods when given the opportunity.

    The researchers said that the findings shed a light on the role of the DLPFC in food cravings (specifically reward anticipation), the consumption of appealing high caloric foods, and the relation between self-control and food consumption.

    The study included 21 healthy young women, selected because they reported strong and frequent cravings for chocolate and potato chips, who women were shown pictures of these foods to stimulate cravings.

    The researchers then applied a type of magnetic stimulation, called continuous theta-burst stimulation, to decrease activity in the DLPFC and found that after theta-burst stimulation, the women reported stronger food cravings-specifically for "appetitive" milk chocolate and potato chips, while during a subsequent "taste test," they consumed more of these foods, rather than alternative, less-appetitive foods (dark chocolate and soda crackers).

    At the "basic neurobiological level," the study provides direct evidence that the DLPFC is involved in one specific aspect of food cravings: reward anticipation. People with weak executive function may lack the dietary self-control necessary to regulate snack food consumption in "the modern obesogenic environment." Faced with constant cues and opportunities to consume energy-dense foods, such individuals may be more likely to become overweight or obese.

    The study was published in the Psychosomatic Medicine: Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine, the official journal of the American Psychosomatic Society.


  4. #1414
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Soon, a novel way to spot dyslexia in kids!

    Researchers have found a way that could predict the onset of dyslexia in young kids, giving clinicians a possible tool to spot children with learning disorder and other reading difficulties before they experience the challenges.

    According to UC San Francisco researchers, the developmental course of children's white matter volume may be used to predict his/her ability to read.

    “We show that white matter development during a critical period in a child's life, when they start school and learn to read for the very first time, predicts how well the child ends up reading,” said Fumiko Hoeft, a senior author and an associate professor at the University of California, San Francisco in the US.

    Doctors commonly use behavioural measures of reading readiness for assessments of ability.

    Other measures such as cognitive ability, early linguistic skills, measures of the environment such as socio-economic status and whether there is a family member with reading problems or dyslexia are all common early factors used to assess risk of developing reading difficulties.

    “What was intriguing in this study was that brain development in regions important to reading predicted above and beyond all of these measures,” Hoeft added.

    To come to the conclusion, researchers examined brain scans of 38 kindergarteners as they were learning to read formally at school and tracked their white matter development until third grade.

    The researchers found that left hemisphere white matter in the temporo-parietal region just behind and above the left ear - thought to be important for language, reading and speech - was highly predictive of reading acquisition.

    The research is published online in the journal Psychological Science.


  5. #1415
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Soon, a vaccine to avoid urinary tract infections linked to catheters

    A new research has revealed about the development of a vaccine that stops urinary tract infections linked to catheters in mice.

    The research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis showed that the experimental vaccine prevented urinary tract infections associated with catheters, the tubes used in hospitals and other care facilities to drain urine from a patient's bladder.

    First author Ana Lidia Flores-Mireles said that catheter-associated urinary tract infections are very common and antibiotic resistance is increasing rapidly in the bacteria that cause these infections, so developing new treatments is a priority.

    Co-author Michael Caparon said that the bacteria use long, thin hairs known as pili to anchor themselves to the fibrinogen, and then they can start to form biofilms, which are slimy coatings on the surface of the catheter composed of many bacteria.

    Caparon added that the biofilms protect the bacteria from antibiotics and immune cells, further prevent them from being washed from the body by the flow of urine, and make it possible for bacteria to seed the lining of the bladder with infections.

    Working with Enterococcus faecalis, a common cause of catheter-associated urinary tract infections, researchers showed that a protein on the end of the pili, EbpA, binds to fibrinogen and makes it possible for the bacteria to begin forming biofilms.

    When researchers prevented the bacteria from making EbpA, they couldn't start infections.

    Next, the researchers injected the mice with a vaccine containing EbpA, which caused the animal's immune systems to produce antibodies that blocked EbpA and stopped the infectious process.

    The study is published online in Science Translational Medicine.


  6. #1416
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Yoga might benefit people with bipolar disorder

    A new study has observed that a regular yoga practice may help people with bipolar disorder.

    The study conducted by recruited 109 people with bipolar disorder and as being yoga practitioners where the participants were asked to complete an online survey concerning their yoga practice and its impact on their mood disorder symptoms.

    According to the study, 86 individuals with usable responses, 70 had positive results on a screening questionnaire for manic (or less-severe hypomanic) symptoms.

    Dr Lisa A. Uebelacker of Butler Hospital and Brown University, Providence, R.I.,, said that some individuals with bipolar disorder believed that yoga had a significant positive impact on their life but they noted that their survey showed that yoga was "not without risks" including potential worsening of symptoms related to bipolar disorder.

    The researchers reported positive emotional effects of yoga, such as reduced anxiety and worry, positive cognitive effects, especially in terms of increased mindfulness, and positive physical effects, such as weight loss, increased energy, and improved sleep.

    According to the study, one-fourth of respondents reported some type of negative effects related to yoga.

    The study is published in Journal of Psychiatric Practice.


  7. #1417
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Study links artificial sweeteners to obesity, diabetes epidemic

    A new study has revealed that artificial sweeteners could actually hasten the development of glucose intolerance and metabolic disease by changing the composition and function of the gut microbiota.

    According to the study by Eran Elinav of the Weizmann Institute's Immunology Department, the widespread use of artificial sweeteners in drinks and food may be contributing to the obesity and diabetes epidemic that is sweeping much of the world.

    The scientists gave mice water laced with the three most commonly used artificial sweeteners - in the equivalent amounts to those permitted by the FDA that developed glucose intolerance, as compared to mice that drank water, or even sugar water. Next, the researchers investigated a hypothesis that the gut microbiota are involved in this phenomenon. They thought the bacteria might do this by reacting to new substances like artificial sweeteners, which the body itself may not recognize as "food." Indeed, artificial sweeteners are not absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract, but in passing through they encounter trillions of the bacteria in the gut microbiota.

    The researchers treated mice with antibiotics to eradicate many of their gut bacteria; this resulted in a full reversal of the artificial sweeteners' effects on glucose metabolism. Next, they transferred the microbiota from mice that consumed artificial sweeteners to 'germ-free' mice - resulting in a complete transmission of the glucose intolerance into the recipient mice. This, in itself, was conclusive proof that changes to the gut bacteria are directly responsible for the harmful effects to their host's metabolism.

    The group even found that incubating the microbiota outside the body, together with artificial sweeteners, was sufficient to induce glucose intolerance in the sterile mice. A detailed characterization of the microbiota in these mice revealed profound changes to their bacterial populations, including new microbial functions that are known to infer a propensity to obesity, diabetes and complications of these problems in both mice and humans.

    The findings showed that many - but not all - of the volunteers had begun to develop glucose intolerance after just one week of artificial sweetener consumption. The composition of their gut microbiota explained the difference: The researchers discovered two different populations of human gut bacteria - one that induced glucose intolerance when exposed to the sweeteners, the second that had no effect either way. Researchers believe that certain bacteria in the guts of those who developed glucose intolerance reacted to the chemical sweeteners by secreting substances that then provoked an inflammatory response similar to sugar overdose, promoting changes in the body's ability to utilize sugar.

    The study was published in Nature.


  8. #1418
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    New gene associated with 'diabetes' traits found

    In a new study, scientists have discovered a gene that is linked to traits involved in diabetes.

    According to the collaborative research , which was led by Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) scientist Leah Solberg Woods, the gene called Tpcn2 was associated with fasting glucose and insulin levels in rats, mice and in humans.

    The authors said that there was a variant in the gene which was associated with fasting glucose levels in a rat model. Studies in Tpcn2 knockout mice also demonstrated the difference in fasting glucose levels as well as insulin response between the knockout animals and regular mice.

    Dr. Woods' team identified variants within Tpcn2 associated with fasting insulin in humans. Tpcn2 was a lysosomal calcium channel that likely played a role in insulin signaling. Glucose tolerance, insulin resistance and beta cell dysfunction were key underlying causes of type 2 diabetes.

    According to the American Diabetes Association, 29 million Americans have diabetes, which is more than9 percent of the total population. It is the 7th leading cause of death, and experts estimate diabetes to be an underreported cause of death due to the comorbidities and complications associated with the disease.

    The study is published in Genetics.


  9. #1419
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Why stress makes people grumpy

    Why is it that when people are too stressed they are often grouchy, grumpy, nasty, distracted or forgetful? Researchers have now discovered the mechanism that explains the relationship between chronic stress and the loss of social skills and cognitive impairment.

    When triggered by stress, an enzyme attacks a synaptic regulatory molecule in the brain, leading to behavioural problems, the findings showed.

    "The identification of this mechanism is important because it suggests potential treatments for neuropsychiatric disorders related to chronic stress, particularly depression," said co-researcher Carmen Sandi from Brain Mind Institute (BMI) at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland.

    For the study, researchers studied a region of the hippocampus known for its involvement in behaviour and cognitive skills.

    In there, scientists were interested in a molecule, the nectin-3 cell adhesion protein, whose role is to ensure adherence, at the synaptic level, between two neurons.

    Positioned in the postsynaptic part, these proteins bind to the molecules of the presynaptic portion, thus ensuring the synaptic function.

    However, the researchers found that on rat models affected by chronic stress, nectin-3 molecules were significantly reduced in number.

    The investigations conducted by the researchers led them to an enzyme involved in the process of protein degradation: MMP-9.

    It was already known that chronic stress causes a massive release of glutamate, a molecule that acts on NMDA receptors, which are essential for synaptic plasticity and thus for memory.

    What these researchers found now is that these receptors activated the MMP-9 enzymes which, like scissors, literally cut the nectin-3 cell adhesion proteins.

    "When this happens, nectin-3 becomes unable to perform its role as a modulator of synaptic plasticity" Sandi explained.

    In turn, these effects lead subjects to lose their sociability, avoid interactions with their peers and have impaired memory or understanding.

    The study appeared in the journal Nature Communications.


  10. #1420
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Single dose of antidepressant changes brain

    A single dose of antidepressant is enough to produce dramatic changes in the functional architecture of the human brain, scientists have found.

    Brain scans taken of people before and after an acute dose of a commonly prescribed SSRI (serotonin reuptake inhibitor) showed changes in connectivity within three hours, researchers said.

    "We were not expecting the SSRI to have such a prominent effect on such a short timescale or for the resulting signal to encompass the entire brain," said Julia Sacher of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Germany.

    While SSRIs are among the most widely studied and prescribed form of antidepressants worldwide, it's still not entirely clear how they work.

    The drugs are believed to change brain connectivity in important ways, but those effects had generally been thought to take place over a period of weeks, not hours.

    The new findings show that changes begin to take place right away.
    Sacher said what they are seeing in medication-free individuals who had never taken antidepressants before may be an early marker of brain reorganisation.

    Study participants let their minds wander for about 15 minutes in a brain scanner that measures the oxygenation of blood flow in the brain.

    The researchers characterised three-dimensional images of each individual's brain by measuring the number of connections between small blocks known as voxels (comparable to the pixels in an image) and the change in those connections with a single dose of escitalopram (trade name Lexapro).

    Their whole-brain network analysis showed that one dose of the SSRI reduces the level of intrinsic connectivity in most parts of the brain.

    However, Sacher and her colleagues observed an increase in connectivity within two brain regions, specifically the cerebellum and thalamus.

    The researchers said the new findings represent an essential first step toward clinical studies in patients suffering from depression.

    The study is published in the Cell Press journal Current Biology.


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