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Health Bulletin


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  1. #301
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Emotions can affect sound perception: Study

    Scientists have established the mechanism that reveals how emotions are linked with the way humans hear and process sound, says a study.

    When certain types of sounds become associated in our brain with strong emotions, hearing similar sounds can evoke those same feelings, even when removed from their original context.

    It's a phenomenon commonly seen in combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), in whom harrowing memories of the battlefield can be triggered by something as common as the sound of thunder.

    However, the brain mechanisms responsible for creating those troubling associations remain unknown.

    Now, a pair of researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has discovered how fear can actually increase or decrease the ability to discriminate among sounds depending on context, providing new insight into the distorted perceptions of victims of PTSD.

    "Emotions are closely linked to perception and very often our emotional response really helps us deal with reality," says senior study author Maria N. Geffen, assistant professor of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery and Neuroscience at Penn.


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  2. #302
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Device to treat speech and hearing disorders

    An assistant music professor has created a device with unique therapeutic applications that can treat speech and hearing disorders and memory loss, among other things.

    ‘Sonik Spring’, a J. Tomas Henriques invention, is a 15-inch metal spring resembling a Slinky toy that is outfitted with gyroscopes and accelerometers to capture three-dimensional motion and provide kinesthetic feedback.
    The ‘Sonik Spring’ also transforms recorded sound as the user expands, compresses, twists, and bends it.

    "It's like making a sculpture only the recorded song or words are your clay," said Henriques.

    He imagines patients who have a suffered a stroke or who are in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease doing exercises with the Sonik Spring that are tied to cognitive functioning. For patients undergoing physical therapy, he sees them using it to rehabilitate upper-body muscle functioning.

    "Now, they may do exercises that are difficult to measure and boring. This can make it easier to measure and more fun for the user," he said.
    "It can tell with precision if the patient is getting better. You can send the results directly to your physician through the computer," he added.

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  3. #303
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Modern women weaker than their grannies

    Humans are getting weaker and today's generations simply don't have the same muscle power as their parents, new evidence suggests.

    In Western countries such as the UK, US and Canada, muscular strength has hit a plateau and muscular endurance — the ability to repeatedly exert force, such as doing sit-ups — has declined by 8 to 10 percent since the Eighties, according to Dr Grant Tomkinson, senior lecturer in health sciences at the University of South Australia, a leading researcher on trends in fitness over time.

    And it's women who are affected most, a daily reported.
    London-based physiotherapist Sammy Margo says he sees a massive epidemic of weak women who have no muscle strength.

    There are skinny women who have no muscles supporting their spine, and overweight ladies who don't have any muscles under the fat, he noted.
    This is because the majority of young females want to look thin and not strong, says Ken Fox, professor of exercise and health sciences at the University of Bristol.

    They don't eat much, they don't exercise much, and because of that they have weak musculatures — it's really not a healthy way to be, he said.
    Sedentary lifestyle and lack of protein intake among women are also blame for weakening muscles.

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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Night shifts up cancer risk in women

    Working night shifts for more than 30 years can double a woman's risk of developing breast cancer, scientists have warned.


    In a study published in the British Medical Journal, Canadian researchers assessed whether night shifts were linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.

    They studied 1,134 women with breast cancer and 1,179 women without the disease, but of the same age, in Vancouver , British Columbia, and Kingston, Ontario.

    Shift work has been suggested as a risk factor for breast cancer, but there has been some doubt about the strength of the findings, largely because of issues around the assessment of exposure and the failure to capture the diversity of shift work patterns. Several previous studies have also been confined to nurses rather than the general population.

    The women, who had done various different jobs, were asked about their shift work patterns over their entire work history; hospital records were used to determine tumour type.

    This may be important, said the authors, because risk factors vary according to hormone sensitivity, and the sleep hormone melatonin, disruption to which has been implicated in higher breast cancer risk among night shift workers, may boost oestrogen production.

    Around one in three women in both groups had worked night shifts. There was no evidence that those who had worked nights for up to 14 years or between 15 and 29 years had any increased risk of developing breast cancer.

    But those who had worked nights for 30 or more years were twice as likely to have developed the disease, after taking account of potentially influential factors, although the numbers in this group were comparatively small.

    The associations were similar among those who worked in healthcare and those who did not.

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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Human head transplant is possible

    Human head transplants could now be possible using currently available medical techniques, according to an Italian neurosurgeon who thinks he has worked out how it could be done. In a project proposal published by the medical journal Surgical Neurology International , Dr Sergio Canavero outlines his method for the " Head Anastomosis Venture" — or HEAVEN.


    The procedure would involve severing the heads of two human patients simultaneously using an "ultra-sharp blade" , cooling and flushing out the "recipient" head before attaching its new body with an advanced polymer "glue" . Dr Canavero suggests that the realigning of head and body could also be achieved using "electrofusion" , in an approach not entirely unlike that of Mary Shelley's Dr Frankenstein.

    But the Italian, who works for the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group and has previously published research on whole-eye transplants , says that his project is no fiction, and bases it on a similar experiment on Rhesus monkeys in the 1970s in which the patient survived for eight days.

    A few years after this first test 40 years ago, its protagonist Dr Robert White noted that: "What has been accomplished in the animal model — prolonged hypothermic preservation and cephalic transplantation, is fully accomplishable in the human sphere."

    In laying out what he says is "the groundwork for the first successful human head transplant" , Dr Canavero admits that his polymer gel reattachment method (known as GEMINI) would not be perfect . But he notes that: "as little as 10% of descending spinal tracts are sufficient for some voluntary control of locomotion in man."

    He says that full and open research on the topic could bear fruit in just two years, and that the first patient should be someone young, with a fully-functioning brain, but suffering from "progressive muscular dystrophies or even several genetic and metabolic disorders".

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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Golden triangle of happiness revealed

    A new study has revealed what leads to the " golden triangle of happiness" — a loving partner, up to $100,000 of household income and a social activity that offers a sense of purpose.


    According to Deakin University psychologist professor Robert Cummins, being fat is no barrier to happy life, News.com.au reported. Cummins has taken aim at doctors and societal attitudes which push the idea that fat or obese people are unhappy.

    Doctors should start thinking more about their patient's overall happiness instead of focusing solely on high blood pressure and cholesterol problems, he said. The culmination of 29 surveys over 12 years of research has found that health is not part of the three elements that comprise the golden triangle. It also revealed that if you live within the golden triangle you are more than likely to have a permanent smile on your face.

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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Liver protein crucial for pregnancy

    Scientists have found that a protein shown to function in the liver has a key role in human menstrual cycle and may also play a crucial role in pregnancy.

    According to researchers at the University of Montreal in Canada, mice that were genetically engineered not to produce the liver receptor homolog-1 (Lrh-1) molecule were unable to create the uterine conditions necessary for establishing and sustaining pregnancy, resulting in the formation of defective placentas. The researchers then showed that Lhr-1 was present in the human uterus and the essential processes related to the success of early gestation.

    "We previously showed that Lrh-1 is essential for ovulation. Our newest studies have revealed that it plays an important role in the uterus, raising the possibility that Lrh-1 deficiency contributes to human gestational failure," said lead author Bruce Murphy, of the university's Animal Reproduction Research Centre.

    "We worked with mice before looking at human tissues. I believe it premature to propose determination of Lrh-1 in uterine biopsies as a diagnostic tool, but we are working on determining the receptor's pattern of expression across the menstrual cycle," Murphy said. The researchers also looked at whether hormone replacement therapy might restore normal uterine functions in the mice.

    "Progesterone did not make a difference. Although hormone therapy allowed for the embryos to implant, we saw problems with the lining in the uterus, compromised formation of the placenta, foetal growth retardation and foetal death," Murphy said.

    "However, there are new Lrh-1 agonists and antagonists, currently in clinical trials to treat hepatic consequences of type II diabetes, and thus therapeutic intervention might be possible," he said.

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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Very useful information you have posted. thank you

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  9. #309
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Male infertility IVF tied to autism in kids?

    Children born after IVF treatments used for male infertility are 50% more likely to suffer from an intellectual disability and are also at a higher risk of autism, a new largest-of-its-kind study has claimed. The study led by researchers at King's College London, Karolinska Institutet (Sweden) and Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York is the first to compare all available IVF treatments and the risk of neurodevelopmental disorders in kids.

    By using anonymous data from the Swedish national registers, researchers analysed more than 2.5 million birth records from 1982 and 2007 and followedup whether children had a clinical diagnosis of autism or intellectual disability (defined as having an IQ below 70) up until 2009.

    Of the 2.5m children, 1.2% (30,959) were born following IVF. Of the 6,959 diagnosed with autism, 103 were born after IVF; of the 15,830 with intellectual disability, 180 were born after IVF.

    "IVF treatments are vastly different in terms of their complexity. When we looked at IVF treatments combined, we found there was no overall increased risk for autism, but a small increased risk of intellectual disability," said Sven Sandin, co-author of the study from King's College London's Institute of Psychiatry. "When we separated the different IVF treatments, we found that 'traditional' IVF is safe, but that IVF involving ICSI, which is specifically recommended for paternal infertility is associated with an increased risk of both intellectual disability and autism in children," he said.


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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Stem-cell therapy wipes out HIV in 2 patients

    Two HIV-positive patients in the US who underwent bone marrow transplants for cancer have stopped anti-retroviral therapy and still show no detectable sign of the HIV virus, researchers said on Wednesday.

    The Harvard University researchers stressed it was too early to say the men have been cured, but said it was an encouraging sign that the virus hasn't rebounded in their blood months after drug treatment ended.

    The first person reported to be cured of HIV, American Timothy Ray Brown, underwent a stem cell transplant in 2007 to treat his leukemia. He was reported by his German doctors to have been cured of HIV two years later.

    Brown's doctors used a donor who had a rare genetic mutation that provides resistance against HIV. So far, no one has observed similar results using ordinary donor cells such as those given to the two patients by the Harvard University researchers.

    The researchers, Timothy Henrich and Daniel Kuritzkes of the Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, announced last year that blood samples taken from the men — who both had blood cancers — showed no traces of the HIV virus eight months after they received bone marrow transplants to replace cancerous blood cells with healthy donor cells. The men were still on anti-HIV drugs at the time.

    The men have both since stopped anti-retroviral therapy — one 15 weeks ago and the other seven weeks ago — and show no signs of the virus, Henrich told an international AIDS conference in Malaysia on Wednesday. "They are doing very well," Henrich said. "While these results are exciting, they do not yet indicate that the men have been cured. Only time will tell."

    The HIV virus may be hiding in other organs such as the liver, spleen or brain and could return months later, he warned.

    Further testing of the men's cells, plasma and tissue for at least a year will help give a clearer picture on the full impact of the transplant on HIV persistence, he said. Kuritzkes said the patients will be put back on the drugs if there is a viral rebound.


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