Health News

Smokers ‘salivate’ to images of lighting up

Smokers ‘salivate’ to images of lighting up Washington, Jan 11 : Much like Pavlov's dogs salivating in response to hearing the bell they associate with dinner time, smokers feel cravings and have physiological reactions to pictures they associate with smoking, a new study has found.

Classical conditioning experiments link a neutral stimulus, such as a sound or a picture, to an event, like eating or smoking. Higher order, sometimes called second order conditioning, links this neutral stimulus to a second event.

Caesarean born babies at high risk of asthma by age of 3

Washington, Jan 11 : Children delivered by caesarean section have an increased risk of developing asthma at the age of three, researchers have suggested.

This was particularly seen among children without a hereditary tendency to asthma and allergies, according to the study from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa).

Data from more than 37 000 participants in the MoBa study were used to study the relationship between delivery method and the development of lower respiratory tract infections, wheezing and asthma in the first three years of life.

Children born by planned or emergency caesarean section were compared with those born vaginally.

Moderate marijuana use doesn’t damage lung function

Moderate marijuana use doesn’t damage lung functionWashington, Jan 11 : Occasional and low cumulative marijuana use is not associated with adverse effects on pulmonary function, a new study has found.

Exposure to tobacco smoke causes lung damage with clinical consequences that include respiratory symptoms, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and lung cancer.

Mark J. Pletcher and his colleagues from the University of California examined associations between marijuana, both current and lifetime exposure, and pulmonary function.

Young women often fail to recognize recent weight gain

Young women often fail to recognize recent weight gain Washington, Jan 11 : Young women commonly fail to recognize recent weight gain of as many as 11 pounds - putting them at risk for cardiovascular disease and other obesity-related conditions, say a new study.

Self-perception of weight gain also appears to be significantly influenced by race, ethnicity and contraceptive methods.

In the study, University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) researchers found that a significant number of women evaluated at six-month intervals did not recognize recent gains in weight.

Master gene controlling memory identified

Master gene controlling memory identifiedWashington, Jan 8 : Neuroscientists, led by an Indian-origin researcher, have identified what may be a master gene that controls the complex process of memorising events that an individual experiences.

When a person experiences a new event, their brain encodes a memory of it by altering the connections between neurons. This requires turning on many genes in those neurons.

Researchers led by Yingxi Lin from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) focused on the Npas4 gene, which previous studies have shown is turned on immediately following new experiences.

Moderate consumption of red wine may cut breast cancer risk

Moderate consumption of red wine may cut breast cancer riskWashington, Jan 7 : Drinking red wine in moderation may reduce one of the risk factors for breast cancer, a new study has claimed.

The study, conducted by researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, challenges the widely held belief that all types of alcohol consumption heighten the risk of developing breast cancer.

Doctors have for long determined that alcohol increases the body's estrogen levels, fostering the growth of cancer cells.

New targets for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s identified

New targets for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s identifiedWashington, Jan 7 : Two related studies have identified promising genes and small molecules to use against diseases of protein folding, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), cancer, cystic fibrosis and type 2 diabetes.

More than 300 diseases have at their root proteins that misfold, aggregate and eventually cause cellular dysfunction and death.

Protein key to survival of malaria parasite identified

Protein key to survival of malaria parasite identifiedWashington, Jan 7 : Scientists at the Washington University have cracked the structure and function of a protein that plays a key role in the life of a parasite that killed 655,000 people in 2010.

The protein is an enzyme that Plasmodium falciparum, the protozoan that causes the most lethal form of malaria, uses to make cell membrane.

The protozoan cannot survive without this enzyme, but even though the enzyme has many look-alikes in other organisms, people do not make it.

Together these characteristics make the enzyme an ideal target for new anti-malarial drugs.

Ageing in MS patients may be reversed

Ageing in MS patients may be reversed Washington, Jan 7 : Ageing in the central nervous system for multiple sclerosis (MS) patients may be reversed, a new study suggested.

In multiple sclerosis, the insulating layers that protect nerve fibres in the brain, known as myelin sheaths, become damaged. The loss of myelin in the brain prevents nerve fibres from sending signals properly and will eventually lead to the loss of the nerve fibre itself.

Chinese herbal medicine may counteract alcohol intoxication

Chinese herbal medicine may counteract alcohol intoxicationWashington, Jan 6 : A constituent of ancient Chinese herbal anti-hangover medicine called dihydromyricetin may help in thwarting alcohol intoxication and dependence, leading to new therapeutic treatments.

A UCLA research team found that dihydromyricetin, isolated from the plant Hovenia, blocks the action of alcohol on the brain and neurons and also reduces voluntary alcohol consumption, with no major side effects, in an early study with rats.

Specifically, dihydromyricetin inhibited alcohol's effect on the brain's GABAA receptors, specific sites targeted by chemicals from brain cells.

Marathon runners 6 times more likely to catch cold

Marathon runners 6 times more likely to catch coldWashington, Jan 6 : While going for regular brisk walks can cut flu risk, running a marathon can make an individual 2-6 times more susceptible to the respiratory infection, a new study has revealed.

Upper- respiratory tract infections (URTIs) are acute infections that affect the nose, throat and sinuses, and include the common cold, tonsillitis, sinusitis and flu.

Viruses that circulate in the environment usually cause URTIs. While we are constantly exposed to these viruses, it is the status of our immune system that determines whether we succumb to infection or not.

Genital Herpes vaccine comes closer to reality

Genital Herpes vaccine comes closer to reality Washington, Jan 5 : Scientists have come up with an investigational vaccine that can protect some women against infection from one of the two types of herpes simplex viruses that cause genital herpes.

The study led by Robert Belshe, M. D., showed that vaccine was partially effective at preventing herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), but did not protect women from herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2).

There were less than half of the cases of genital herpes caused by HSV-1 -- 58 percent fewer in women who received the investigational vaccine compared to women who received the control vaccine.

Soy germ-based nutritional supplement alleviates menopausal discomfort

Soy germ-based nutritional supplement alleviates menopausal discomfort Washington, Jan 5 : Daily doses of nutritional supplement containing S-equol, produced during fermentation of soy germ can help improve menopausal symptoms, including reduction in hot flash frequency, a new study has revealed.

In the double-blind, randomized study, the daily frequency of the women''s hot flashes after 12 weeks of treatment decreased by 58.7 percent for the 66 women receiving a daily dose of 10 milligrams of S-equol contained in SE5-OH , significantly more than the 34.5 percent reduction experienced by the 60 women receiving a placebo.

Brain protein that regulates body weight identified

Brain protein that regulates body weight identifiedWashington, Jan 5 : Scientists have discovered a brain protein that plays a role in regulating body weight.

The protein, called RGS9 2, had been previously related to the involuntary, random and repetitive body movements that are side effects of drugs used to treat Parkinson's disease and schizophrenia.

Abraham Kovoor, an assistant professor in the University of Rhode Island's College of Pharmacy, found the new role of RGS9 2 while studying these side effects, which are called dyskinesia.

Kovoor and his collaborators found that humans with a gene variation that could reduce RGS9 2 levels had a significantly higher body mass index.

Fish oil during pregnancy does not control excessive weight gain in infants

Fish oil during pregnancy does not control excessive weight gain in infantsWashington, Jan 5 : Taking Omega 3 fatty acids during pregnancy does not prevent expansive adipose tissue development and growth of fat mass in offspring as believed, a new study has revealed.

Previously, researchers assumed that consumption of "bad" fats during pregnancy contribute to excessive infant adipose tissue growth and that "good" Omega 3 fatty acids prevent expansive adipose tissue development.

But, the intervention study run by the Technische Universitat Munchen (TUM) has found no evidence to support this "perinatal programming" theory.

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