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Health Bulletin


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  1. #1801
    vijigermany's Avatar
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    How the brain learns the way things work

    When we learn a new technical concept, something happens in our brain. But exactly what? That has been a mystery until now.

    For the first time, scientists have traced the brain processes that occur during the learning of technical concepts.

    Published in NeuroImage, the findings reveal how new technical knowledge is built up in the brain.

    "After you learn a force applied to an enclosed fluid is involved in the workings of a car's brakes, and you also learn how a force applied to an enclosed fluid is involved in the workings of a fire extinguisher, the brain representations of these two very different systems increase in their similarity to each other," said lead author Robert Mason.

    "This provides evidence that appropriate instruction can bring out the fundamental understanding of how things work at a deep level," he added.

    "This study yields an initial theory of learning of mechanical systems that can be related to the instructional methods and resulting cognitive processes that underlie science learning," said professor Marcel Just from the Carnegie Mellon University.

    Just and Mason scanned the brains of 16 healthy adults as they learned for the first time how four common mechanical systems work.

    While inside the brain scanner, the participants were shown a series of pictures, diagrams and text that described the internal workings of a bathroom scale, fire extinguisher, automobile braking system and trumpet.

    Just and Mason were able to use the fMRI images to follow how each new concept made its way from the words and pictures to neural representations over many regions of the brain.

    Interestingly, they found that the neural representations progressed through several stages, with each stage involving different parts of the brain that played different roles.

    "This will enable instructors to 'teach to the brain' instead of 'teaching to the test'," Just said.


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  2. #1802
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Aspirin may not reduce colorectal cancer risk: Study

    Regular use of aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) can reduce most people's colorectal cancer risk but a few individuals with rare genetic variants do not share this benefit, a study has suggested.

    "Previous studies, including randomised trials, demonstrated that NSAIDs, particularly aspirin, protect against the development of colorectal cancer, but it remains unclear whether an individual's genetic makeup might influence that benefit," co-senior author Andrew Chan of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Gastroenterology Division said in a statement on Tuesday.

    "Since these drugs are known to have serious side effects -- especially gastrointestinal bleeding -- determining whether certain subsets of the population might not benefit is important for our ability to tailor recommendations for individual patients," Xinhua quoted Chan as stating.

    Chan and colleagues analysed data from 10 large population-based studies in North America, Australia and Germany. They compared genetic and lifestyle data from 8,624 people who developed colorectal cancer with that of 8,553 people who did not. Both groups were matched by age and gender.

    The researchers found that regular use of aspirin or NSAID was associated with a 30 percent reduction in colorectal cancer risk for most people.

    However, they found no such protective effect among about nine percent of the study participants who had genetic variations on chromosome 15.

    What is more, about four percent of the participants who carried two even rarer genotypes on chromosome 12 had an increased risk of colorectal cancer.

    The researchers cautioned that the ability to translate genetic profiling into tailored preventive care plans for individuals is still years away.

    "It is premature to recommend genetic screening to guide clinical care, since our findings need to be validated in other populations," Chan said.

    The findings were published in the US journal JAMA.


  3. #1803
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Nice information and very useful........thanks

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  4. #1804
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Hi Krish,
    Good morning
    Thanks for the feedback
    wish you a wonderful week-end!


  5. #1805
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    New Alzheimer’s drug offers hope

    An experimental drug for Alzheimer's disease sharply slowed the decline in mental function in a small clinical trial, researchers reported on Friday, reviving hopes for an approach to therapy that until now has experienced repeated failures.

    The drug, being developed by Biogen Idec, could achieve sales of billions of dollars a year if the results from the small trial are replicated in larger trials that Biogen said it hoped to begin this year. Experts say that there are no really good drugs now to treat Alzheimer's.

    Biogen's stock has risen about 40% since early December, when the company first announced that the drug had slowed cognitive decline in the trial, without saying by how much. Analysts and investors had been eagerly awaiting the detailed results, which were presented on Friday at a neurology meeting in France.

    The drug, called aducanumab, appears to have met or exceeded Wall Street expectations in terms of how much the highest dose slowed cognitive decline. However, there was a high incidence of a particular side effect that might make it difficult to use the highest dose.

    Alzheimer's specialists were impressed, but they cautioned that it is difficult to read much from a small early-stage, or Phase I trial, that was designed to look at safety, not the effect on cognition. Also, other Alzheimer's drugs that had looked promising in early studies ended up not working in larger trials.

    Aducanumabis designed to get rid of amyloid plaque in the brain, believed to be a cause of the dementia. However, other drugs designed to prevent or eliminate plaque have failed in large clinical trials, raising questions about what role the plaque really plays.

    Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer abandoned a drug they were jointly developing after it showed virtually no effect in large trials.


  6. #1806
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Soon, a pill that boosts compassion

    Imagine a pill that makes you more compassionate and more likely to give spare change to someone less fortunate. Scientists have taken a big step in that direction!

    Experts have found that a drug that prolongs effects of the brain chemical dopamine boosts compassion. The drug changes the neurochemical balance in the prefrontal cortex, causing a greater willingness to engage in prosocial behaviours, like ensuring that resources are divided equally. Future research may lead to a better understanding of interaction between altered dopamine-brain mechanisms and mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia or addiction, and potentially light the way to possible diagnostic tools or treatments, researchers said.

    "Our hope is that medications targeting social function may someday be used to treat these disabling conditions," said Andrew Kayser, from the University of California. In the study, published in the journal Current Biology, after receiving tolcapone, participants divided the money with the strangers in a faire way.


  7. #1807
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Mom's age at childbirth linked to son's diabetes risk

    A new research has revealed that a mom's age at childbirth may affect her baby boy's birth weight as well as his adult glucose metabolism.

    Charlotte Verroken of Ghent University Hospital in Ghent, Belgium said that their findings indicate that women giving birth at a very young (under 25 years) or older (over 34 years) age might result in less favorable sugar handling and thus possibly higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes in their sons.

    Maternal age at childbirth tends to be increasing worldwide, but studies investigating the effects of this trend on the metabolic health of the offspring are scarce. Whether or not and how this affects children is relatively unknown, but current thinking is that part of the association between maternal age and insulin resistance may be related to the tendency of birth weight to increase as maternal age rises.

    Verroken added that they found that in a group of healthy men between 25 and 45 years old, sugar handling was related to their mother's age at childbirth, specifically, sons of mothers under 30 and over 34 years old at childbirth were more insulin resistant than were sons of mothers between 30 and 34 years old.

    Verroken continued that moreover, sons of mothers who were younger than 25 years old at childbirth had higher fasting blood sugar levels than sons of older mothers.

    The researchers determined that the men's total cholesterol, glucose and insulin levels in fasting serum samples and they evaluated insulin resistance. After adjusting for adult age and body mass index, they found that, as the mother's age increased, the baby's birth weight increased and his fasting glucose levels and insulin resistance values decreased.

    The sons of mothers aged 30 to 34 at childbirth had significantly lower fasting insulin levels and insulin resistance values compared to sons of mothers in the other age groups, while sons of mothers aged under 25 years of age had higher fasting glucose levels compared to sons of mothers aged 30 through 34, and sons of mothers aged 35 and above.

    These associations were independent of adult age, birth weight and body mass index. No associations were found between maternal age and body composition, blood pressure or cholesterol levels. The authors called for further research before these conclusions can be generalized.


  8. #1808
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Your brain structure depends on how trusting you are of others

    A new study has revealed that brain structure depends on how trusting people are of others.

    Brian Haas, an assistant professor in the department of psychology, and his team of researchers used two measures to determine the trust levels of 82 study participants.

    Participants filled out a self-reported questionnaire about their tendency to trust others. They also were shown pictures of faces with neutral facial expressions and asked to evaluate how trustworthy they found each person in the picture. This gave researchers a metric, on a spectrum, of how trusting each participant was of others.

    Researchers then took MRI scans of the participants' brains to determine how brain structure is associated with the tendency to be more trusting of others.

    The researchers found differences in two areas of the brain.

    Haas said that the most important finding was that the grey matter volume was greater in the ventral medial prefrontal cortex, the brain region that evaluates social rewards, in people that tended to be more trusting of others.

    The research might have implications for future treatments of psychological conditions such as autism.


  9. #1809
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Doctors create woman breast using thigh fat

    Doctors here have successfully constructed a natural breast from body fats taken from the thighs of a 23-year-old woman, a statement said on Sunday.

    Due to Poland syndrome - a genetic disorder that affects the growth of one of the breasts - the left breast of the young woman from Indore, Madhya Pradesh had not developed, doctors at the Sir Ganga Ram hospital said.

    "She was under depression and suffered a low self-esteem. She then decided to explore the internet to find a solution for her problem. She could either go for breast implant or fat grafting surgery," the statement said.

    Following consultations with Ganga Ram hospital's plastic and cosmetic surgeon Vivek Kumar, the woman opted for fat grafting, also identified as fat transfer as it is a natural, marginally invasive surgery.

    "It is the latest technique for breast augmentation and has reached India recently. It is being used for many other cosmetic and reconstructive procedures of breasts," Kumar said.


  10. #1810
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    'Multiple pregnancies put mother at heart disease risk'

    Women who give birth to four or more children are at higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases than women who have fewer children, says Indian-American researcher Monika Sanghavi from University of Texas's Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

    "This study adds to a body of evidence that pregnancy, which generally occurs early in a woman's life, can provide insight into a woman's future cardiovascular risk," informed Sanghavi, assistant professor of internal medicine and lead author of the study.

    One possibility might be that women who have many pregnancies may have more visceral fat (fat around abdominal organs). This has been linked to increased heart disease risk.

    Another possibility could be that increased cholesterol and higher blood sugar associated with pregnancy may lead to increased risk.

    "During pregnancy, a woman's abdominal size increases, she has higher levels of lipids in her blood, and higher blood sugar levels. Each pregnancy increases this exposure," Sanghavi noted.

    Using data gathered for the Dallas Heart Study, Sanghavi and her team compared the number of live births reported by women in the study with their coronary artery calcium (CAC) levels and aortic wall thickness (AWT).

    High levels of coronary artery calcification and thicker aortic walls are markers of heart disease that show up before symptoms develop. Women were divided into three groups: One or no live births, two to three live births, and four or more live births.

    Women who reported four or more live births had a 27 percent prevalence of a high calcium score compared with 11 percent among those with two to three live births.

    The trend was similar when looking at AWT measurements.

    "The associations were not affected by adjusting for socio-economic status or traditional cardiovascular risk factors, suggesting that physiological changes associated with pregnancy may account for the change," Sanghavi explained.

    "We are learning that there are numerous physiologic changes during pregnancy that have consequences for future heart health," said senior author Amit Khera, associate professor of internal medicine.

    This study reminds us of the importance of taking a pregnancy history as part of cardiovascular disease screening, he concluded.

    After receiving her undergraduate degree in bioengineering from Oregon State University, Sanghavi attended medical school at Oregon Health and Science University.

    She completed her residency in internal medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and received advanced training in cardiology through a fellowship at UT Southwestern, where she was chief cardiology fellow.

    Sanghavi is a member of the American Society of Preventive Cardiology, the Texas Medical Association, the American Heart Association, and the American College of Cardiology. In 2013, she was presented the American Heart Association Women in Cardiology Trainee Awar


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