Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Research News:
Report: Strained Military Resulting in Abuse, Neglect
by Rose Hoban
All Things Considered, July 31, 2007 · The ongoing U.S. war on terrorism continues to strain military servicemembers and their families.
A new Journal of the American Medical Association study released Tuesday finds that deployments have resulted in increased rates of child abuse and neglect.

The Research:
Read the research behind this story in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Research News:
Exercise, caffeine fight skin cancer
Article Last Updated: 07/30/2007 11:08:19 AM MDT
WASHINGTON—Can adding a cup or two of coffee to the exercise routine increase protection from skin cancer? New research indicates that just might be the case. The combination of exercise and caffeine increased destruction of precancerous cells that had been damaged by the sun's ultraviolet-B radiation, according to a team of researchers at Rutgers University.

The Research:
Read the research behind this story in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Research News:
Multiple sclerosis findings could help pinpoint cause
By Kathleen Fackelmann, USA TODAY
Gene hunters from the USA and Europe have located two genes that appear to increase the risk of developing multiple sclerosis, studies released Sunday show. The findings are widely expected to help scientists figure out what causes MS, a baffling disease of the central nervous system that afflicts about 350,000 people in the USA. The hope is that new knowledge will lead to the development of more targeted treatments, says Jonathan Haines, director of the Center for Human Genetics Research at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

The Research:
Read the research behind this story in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Research News:
Hearing loss may be a key to SIDS
By Thomas H. Maugh II Los Angeles Times
Article Last Updated: 07/28/2007 11:30:01 PM MDT
Hearing tests routinely administered to most newborns soon might be used to identify children at risk of sudden infant death syndrome, according to Seattle researchers.
Records of hearing tests administered to 62 infants in Delaware show that those who subsequently died of SIDS had a unique pattern of partial hearing loss, according to a report last week in the journal Early Human Development.
"This discovery opens a whole new line of inquiry into SIDS research," said the lead author, Dr. Daniel Rubens of Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle.
About 3,600 children die from SIDS each year, generally in the second to fourth months of life and typically in their sleep. Although campaigns to have infants sleep on their backs have reduced the mortality rate, no cause for the deaths has been proved.

The Research:
Read the research behind this story in the journal Early human development.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Research News:
Jump in psychosis risk among pot users, study
The study couldn't prove marijuana was the sole culprit but estimated that cutting its use could reduce the number of cases.
By Maria Cheng The Associated Press
Article Last Updated: 07/27/2007 12:45:36 AM MDT

London - Using marijuana seems to increase the chance of becoming psychotic, researchers report in an analysis of past research that reignites the issue of whether pot is dangerous.
The new review suggests that even infrequent use could raise the small but real risk of this serious mental illness by 40 percent.
Doctors have long suspected a connection and say the latest findings underline the need to highlight marijuana's long-term risks. The research, paid for by the British Health Department, is being published today in the medical journal The Lancet

The Research:
Read the research behind this story in the journal Lancet.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Research News:
Fat spreads among pals, study finds
By Denise Gellene Los Angeles Times
Article Last Updated: 07/25/2007 11:58:53 PM MDT
People whose friends become obese have a greater chance of also getting too fat, a finding that suggests that obesity is "socially contagious," spreading from one person to another like a disease, according to a new study released Wednesday.
Geographic distance between friends doesn't matter - the influence of friendship is the same whether friends live next door or 500 miles away, according to the report in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The study, conducted by Dr. Nicolas Christakis of Harvard Medical School and James Fowler of the University of California, San Diego, was the first to document the spread of obesity through a social network - a pattern of contagion most often associated with infectious diseases, such as influenza and AIDS.
"People are interconnected and their health is interconnected," said Christakis, a professor of medical sociology.

The Research:
Read the research behind this story in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Research News:
Scientists speed antidepressant action
BETHESDA, Md., July 24 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists have moved closer to producing faster acting antidepressants than exist today by using the experimental medication ketamine.
The research, conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health, focused on how ketamine, when used experimentally for depression, relieves symptoms in hours instead of the weeks or months it takes for current antidepressants to work.
While ketamine itself probably won't be used as an antidepressant because of its side effects, researchers said the new finding moves scientists considerably closer to understanding how to develop faster-acting antidepressant medications.

The Research
Read the research behind this story in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Research News:
Study: Diet sodas no heart-disease deterrent
Some experts doubt results, see other factors at play
By Jay Lindsay The Associated Press
Article Last Updated: 07/24/2007 02:05:29 AM MDT
Boston - People who drank one or more diet soda a day developed the same risks for heart disease as those who downed sugary regular soda, a large but inconclusive study found.
The results surprised researchers who expected to see a difference between regular and diet soda drinkers. It could be, they suggest, that even no-calorie sweet drinks increase the craving for more sweets, and that people who indulge in sodas probably have less healthy diets overall.
The study's senior author, Dr. Vasan Ramachandran of Boston University School of Medicine, emphasized that the findings don't show diet sodas are a cause of increased heart disease risks. But he said they show a surprising link that must be studied.

The Research
Read the research behind this story in the journal Circulation.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The News
Chimp research gives evolutionary clues
DAVIS, Calif., July 20 (UPI) -- A study by researchers at the University of California-Davis on chimpanzees found clues regarding the evolutionary concept of walking upright.
By analyzing how a group of trained chimps used a treadmill, the California anthropologists said they gained a better idea of why apelike beings stopped walking on all fours and began walking on two legs, a news release from the school said Friday.
"When our earliest ancestors started walking on two legs, they took the first steps toward becoming human," lead researcher Michael Sockol said. "Our findings help answer why."

The Research
Read the research behind this story in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The News
Computer wears the crown in checkers (LA Times)
reported in the Denver Post with the headline: Computer checks ancient board game.
By Karen Kaplan, Times Staff WriterJuly 20, 2007
After 13 years of brute-force computer analysis examining all 500 billion billion possible board positions, researchers announced Thursday that they had solved the centuries-old game of checkers. The result?A perfect game cannot be won or lost but will inevitably end in a draw, according to the research published in the journal Science online.The proof demonstrates that even the most skilled player can't count on executing a cunning move designed to win — he or she can only avoid making a mistake that leads to a loss.The complete solution to checkers marks a milestone in computing, achieving a goal that researchers had pondered since the earliest days of computers.It is not a victory of pure machine intelligence, but one based largely on rote calculating ability.

The Research
Read the research behind this story in the journal Science.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The News
High veggie, fruit diet fails to bar breast cancer return
By Carla K. Johnson The Associated Press
Article Last Updated: 07/17/2007 07:30:06 PM MDT
Chicago - Hopes that a diet low in fat and chock-full of fruits and vegetables could prevent the return of breast cancer were dashed Tuesday by a large, seven-year experiment in more than 3,000 women.
The government study found no benefit from a mega-veggies-and-fruit diet over the U.S. recommended servings of five fruits and vegetables a day - more than most Americans get.
Researchers noted that none of the breast cancer survivors lost weight on either diet. That led some experts to suggest that weight loss and exercise should be the next frontier for cancer prevention research. The study appears in today's Journal of the American Medical Association.

The Research
Read the research behind this story in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The News
Study: No joke for older adults
By Betsy Taylor, Associated Press
ST. LOUIS — It's no laughing matter: a new study suggests older adults have a harder time getting jokes as they age. The research indicates that because older adults may have greater difficulty with cognitive flexibility, abstract reasoning and short-term memory, they also have greater difficulty with tests of humor comprehension. Researchers at Washington University tested about 40 healthy adults over age 65 and 40 undergraduate students with exercises in which they had to complete jokes and stories. Participants also had to choose the correct punch line for verbal jokes and select the funny ending to series of cartoon panels.

The Research
Read the research behind this story in the Journal of the Neuropsychological Society.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The News
Dutch now taller than Americans
By Matt Crenson The Associated Press
Article Last Updated: 07/16/2007 05:29:20 AM MDT
New York - America used to be the tallest country in the world.
From the days of the Founding Fathers through the Industrial Revolution and two world wars, Americans literally towered over people of other nations.
But America's predominance in height has faded. Americans reached a height plateau after World War II, gradually falling behind nations around the world.
By the time the first baby boomers reached adulthood in the 1960s, most northern and western European countries had caught up with and surpassed the U.S. Young adults in Japan and other prosperous Asian countries now stand nearly as tall as Americans. In the Netherlands, the tallest country in the world, the typical man now measures 6 feet, a good 2 inches more than his average American counterpart.
Does it really matter? Does being taller give the Dutch any advantage over, say, the Chinese (men, 5 feet, 4.9 inches; women, 5 feet, 0.8 inches) or the Brazilians (men, 5 feet, 6.5 inches; women, 5 feet, 3 inches)?

The Research
Read the research behind this story in the journal Social Science Quarterly.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Editorial
KOPEL: Newshounds.us keeps tabs on Fox News
Similar watchdogs good idea for other networks.
"If you hate Fox News, you will love Newshounds.us, a citizen activist Web site dedicated to criticizing Fox. I learned about the site a few weeks ago, for its coverage of Bill O'Reilly's numerous sensational untruths about Boulder High School... Some of the Newshounds write-ups on other Fox topics strike me as too conspiracy-minded or Manichean. I agree with Newshounds that Fox is slanted to the right, but to a lesser degree than CBS, ABC and NBC slant left, as detailed in a 2005 Quarterly Journal of Economics study."

The Research
Read the research behind this editorial in Quarterly Journal of Economics. See v.120 number 4 (Nov. 2005), pp. 1191-1237. A Measure of Media Bias by Tim Groseclose & Jeffrey Milyo.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The News
CU: Trauma can be forgotten
CU study finds practice may help put painful thoughts out of mind
By Katy Human Denver Post Staff Writer Staff writer Katy Human can be reached at 303-954-1910 or khuman@denverpost.com.
Article Last Updated: 07/13/2007 06:21:55 AM MDT
There may yet be a way to erase that aching memory of the middle school snub, the deafening car crash - or the fiery explosion that killed your friend and took your leg. Forget it - with practice. "Individuals can learn to suppress emotional memories," said Brendan Depue, a doctoral candidate in psychology at the University of Colorado at Boulder and lead author of a memory study published today in the journal Science. Depue and two colleagues at CU and the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center coached 16 people to forget terrible images they'd been shown earlier - car crashes, the electric chair, a wounded soldier.

The Research
Read the research behind this story in the journal Science.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The News
Study says ex-uninsured more costly to Medicare
New research shows that once eligible for the federal benefit, those who were never insured were hospitalized more often.
By Gina Kolata The New York Times
Article Last Updated: 07/12/2007 02:02:25 AM MDT
When uninsured adults with common chronic illnesses became eligible for Medicare, they saw doctors and were hospitalized more often and reported greater medical expenses than people who had had insurance. And their increased use of medical services continued until at least age 72, researchers are reporting today.

The Research
Read the research behind this story in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The News
Researchers: 1 tablet may kick 2 habits
A pill already sold to help smokers quit their nicotine addiction appears to hold promise.
By Andrew Bridges The Associated Press
Article Last Updated: 07/10/2007 03:47:38 AM MDT
Washington - A single pill appears to hold promise in curbing the urges to both smoke and drink, according to researchers trying to help people overcome addiction by targeting a pleasure center in the brain. The drug, called varenicline, already is sold to help smokers kick the habit. New but preliminary research suggests it could gain a second use in helping heavy drinkers quit, too.

The Research
Read the research behind this story in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Abstract available. Click on Full Text (PDF) for the complete study.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

The News
Study Questions Success of Pregnancy Technique
NPR's Morning Edition, July 4, 2007 · A new study finds that a technique called preimplantation — intended to help older women get pregnant — may not work. Kathy Hudson, director of the Genetics and Public Policy Center at Johns Hopkins University, talks with Renee Montagne.

The Research
Read the research behind this story in The New England Journal of Medicine.
Read an editorial about this story in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

The News
Study recommends a nip of chocolate
The dark confection lowers blood pressure in a small study that echoes other research on cocoa. The dark side: It takes only a tiny amount to have that effect.
By Lindsey Tanner The Associated Press
Article Last Updated: 07/04/2007 01:28:29 AM MDT
Chicago - Here's some good and bad news for chocoholics: Dark chocolate seems to lower blood pressure, but it requires an amount less than two Hershey's Kisses to do it, a small study suggests. The new research from Germany adds to mounting evidence linking dark chocolate with health benefits, but it's the first to suggest that just a tiny amount may suffice.

The Research
Read the research behind this story in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The News
Alzheimer's study on the nose?
Fading sense of smell may be disease omen
By Carla K. Johnson The Associated Press
Article Last Updated: 07/03/2007 02:51:08 AM MDT
Chicago - Difficulty identifying common smells such as lemon, banana and cinnamon may be the first sign of Alzheimer's disease, according to a study that could lead to scratch-and-sniff tests to determine a person's risk for the progressive brain disorder. Such tests could be important if scientists find ways to slow or stop Alzheimer's and the severe memory loss associated with it. For now, there's no cure for the more than 5 million Americans with the disease.

The Research
Read the research behind this story in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Monday, July 2, 2007

The News
Stress can lead to obesity, study says
By Simeon Bennett
Bloomberg News
Article Last Updated: 07/02/2007 12:24:15 AM MDT
Scientists say they have found a link between stress and obesity, which offers hope in treating the one-third of Americans who are overweight. The brain under stress releases a hormone that activates a gene in fat cells, causing them to grow in size and number, according to a study published Sunday in the journal Nature Medicine. Scientists found stressed mice gained twice as much fat as those fed the same high-calorie diet. The stressed mice didn't gain weight when the gene was removed or blocked.

The Research
Read the research behind this story in Nature Medicine.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

The News
Diaper Data Sheds Light on Intestinal Development
Talk of the Nation, June 29, 2007 · Scientists tracking the surprising things that (literally) come out of a baby over the course of a year have been able to trace a timeline of the development of bacterial ecosystems within the human gut. Scientists are learning more about how our intestinal tracts become colonized with bacteria.

The Research
Read the research behind this story in the journal PLoS Biology.