New Delhi [India], Feb 19. : Lefty or righty? Well it was decided when you were still in your mum's womb!
A preference for the left or the right hand might be traced back to asymmetry. These results fundamentally change our understanding of the cause of hemispheric asymmetries.
The study was published in the journal eLife.
To date, it had been assumed that differences in gene activity of the right and left hemisphere might be responsible for a person's handedness. A preference for moving the left or right hand develops in the womb from the eighth week of pregnancy, according to ultrasound scans carried out in the 1980s. From the 13th week of pregnancy, unborn children prefer to suck either their right or their left thumb.
Arm and hand movements are initiated via the motor cortex in the brain. It sends a corresponding signal to the spinal cord, which in turn translates the command into a motion. The motor cortex, however, is not connected to the spinal cord from the beginning. Even before the connection forms, precursors of handedness become apparent. This is why the researchers have assumed that the cause of right respective left preference must be rooted in the spinal cord rather than in the brain.
The researchers analysed the gene expression in the spinal cord during the eighth to twelfth week of pregnancy and detected marked right-left differences in the eighth week -- in precisely those spinal cord segments that control the movements of arms and legs. Another study had shown that unborn children carry out asymmetric hand movements just as early as that.
The researchers, moreover, traced the cause of asymmetric gene activity. Epigenetic factors appear to be at the root of it, reflecting environmental influences. Those influences might, for example, lead to enzymes bonding methyl groups to the DNA, which in turn would affect and minimise the reading of genes. As this occurs to a different extent in the left and the right spinal cord, there is a difference to the activity of genes on both sides. (ANI)Region: New DelhiIndiaGeneral: Health
New Delhi [India], Feb 19. : Do you find it difficult hearing out people at a noisy bar or a restaurant even though you have passed the hearing test with flying colors? Well, you might be secretly deaf!
Now, less than six years since its initial description, scientists have made great strides in understanding what hidden hearing loss is and what causes it. In research published in Nature Communications, University of Michigan researchers report a new unexpected cause for this auditory neuropathy, a step toward the eventual work to identify treatments.
"If people can have hidden hearing loss for different reasons, having the ability to make the right diagnosis of the pathogenesis will be critical," says author Gabriel Corfas, Ph.D., director of the Kresge Hearing Research Institute at Michigan Medicine's Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery.
Corfas published the research with co-author Guoqiang Wan, now with Nanjing University in China. They discovered using mice that disruption in the Schwann cells that make myelin, which insulates the neuronal axons in the ear, leads to hidden hearing loss. This means hidden hearing loss could be behind auditory deficits seen in acute demyelinating disorders such as Guillain-Barre syndrome, which can be caused by Zika virus.
Corfas and Wan used genetic tools to induce loss of myelin in the auditory nerve of mice, modeling Guillain-Barre. Although the myelin regenerated in a few weeks, the mice developed a permanent hidden hearing loss. Even after the myelin regenerated, damage to a nerve structure called the heminode remained.
Synapse loss versus myelin disruption
When the ear is exposed to loud noises over time, synapses connecting hair cells with the neurons in the inner ear are lost. This loss of synapses has previously been shown as a mechanism leading to hidden hearing loss.
In an audiologist's quiet testing room, only a few synapses are needed to pick up sounds. But in a noisy environment, the ear must activate specific synapses. If they aren't all there, it's difficult for people to make sense of the noise or words around them. That is hidden hearing loss, Corfas says.
"Exposure to noise is increasing in our society, and children are exposing themselves to high levels of noise very early in life," Corfas says. "It's clear that being exposed to high levels of sound might contribute to increases in hidden hearing loss."
The newly identified cause -- deficiency in Schwann cells -- could occur in individuals who have already had noise exposure-driven hidden hearing loss as well. "Both forms of hidden hearing loss, noise exposure and loss of myelin, can occur in the same individual for an additive effect," Corfas says.
Previously, Corfas' group succeeded in regenerating synapses in mice with hidden hearing loss, providing a path to explore for potential treatment.
While continuing this work, Corfas started to investigate other cells in the ear, which led to uncovering the new mechanism.
There are no current treatments for hidden hearing loss. But as understanding of the condition improves, the goal is for the research to lead to the development of drugs to treat it.
"Our findings should influence the way hidden hearing loss is diagnosed and drive the future of clinical trials searching for a treatment," Corfas says. "The first step is to know whether a person's hidden hearing loss is due to synapse loss or myelin/heminode damage."(ANI)Region: IndiaGeneral: Health
American automobile giant General Motors Co. (GM) is reportedly preparing to deploy thousands of self-driving e-cars in test fleets in collaboration with ride-sharing affiliate Lyft Inc., starting next year.
Multiple anonymous sources familiar with GM's plans revealed the automaker has plans to allow Lyft to test thousands of specially equipped versions of its Chevrolet Bolt e-cars in various states in the U. S.
Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 18 : Clean drinking water for everyone is one major health goal for decades, in one a shocking revelation, a study warns that while it reduces chances of catching many deadly diseases, but it can increase the risk of childhood asthma.
Researchers from the University of British Columbia in Canada suggested that there could be a link between the risk of asthma and the cleanliness of the environment.
The findings indicated that while gut bacteria plays a role in preventing asthma, but it was the presence of a microscopic fungus or yeast known as Pichia that was more strongly linked to asthma. Instead of helping to prevent asthma, however, the presence of Pichia in those early days puts children at risk.
"Children with this type of yeast called Pichia were much more at risk of asthma," said Brett Finlay.
"That was a surprise because we tend to think that clean is good, but we realise that we actually need some dirt in the world to help protect you," Finlay added.
The new research furthers our understanding of the role microscopic organisms play in our overall health.
In previous research, Finlay and his colleagues identified four gut bacteria in children and if present in the first 100 days of life, seem to prevent asthma.
In a follow-up to this study, they repeated the experiment using fecal samples and health information from 100 children in a rural village in Ecuador.
As part of the study, the researchers noted whether children had access to clean water.
They found a yeast in the gut of new babies in Ecuador that appears to be a strong predictor that they will develop asthma in childhood.
They also found the presence of four types of bacteria in the gut of babies less than 100 days old seemed to prevent them from developing asthma in later life.
"Those that had access to good, clean water had much higher asthma rates and we think it is because they were deprived of the beneficial microbes," Finlay stated. (ANI)Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health
Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 18 : Now you can save your kid from surgery, as a study shows that antibiotics may be an effective treatment for acute non-complicated appendicitis in children, instead of surgery.
Appendicitis is a serious medical condition in which the appendix becomes inflamed and causes severe pain.
The appeared in the journal of Pediatrics
The condition, which causes the appendix -- a small organ attached to the large intestine -- to become inflamed due to a blockage or infection, affects mainly children and teenagers.
Appendicitis is currently treated through an operation to remove the appendix, known as an appendicectomy, and it is the most common cause of emergency surgery in children.
The study, led by Nigel Hall from the University of Southampton in England, assessed existing literature published over the past 10 years that included 10 studies reporting on 413 children, who received non-operative treatment rather than an appendectomy.
It showed that no study reported any safety concern or specific adverse events related to non-surgical treatment, although the rate of recurrent appendicitis was 14 percent.
"Our review shows that antibiotics could be an alternative treatment method for children. When we compared the adult literature to the data in our review it suggested that antibiotic treatment of acute appendicitis is at least as effective in children as in adults,"
To further this research, the scientists are currently carrying out a year-long feasibility trial which will see children with appendicitis randomly allocated to have either surgery or antibiotic treatment.
"In our initial trial, we will see how many patients and families are willing to join the study and will look at how well children in the study recover. This will give us an indication of how many children we may be able to recruit into a future larger trial and how the outcomes of non-operative treatment compare with an operation," Hall stated. (ANI)Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health
Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 18 : Attention new mommies, sing lullabies to your new born to feel more connected to your babies, suggests a study.
The research, published in the Journal of Music Therapy, finds that through song, the infants are provided with much-needed sensory stimulation that can focus their attention and modulate their arousal.
"One of the main goals of the research was to clarify the meaning of infant-directed singing as a human behaviour and as a means to elicit unique behavioural responses from infants," said study author Shannon de l'Etoile from the University of Miami in the US.
The researchers also explored the role of infant-directed singing in relation to intricate bond between mother and infant.
They filmed 70 infants and observed their responses to six different interactions: mother sings an assigned song, "stranger" sings an assigned song, mother sings song of choice, mother reads book, mother plays with toy and the mother and infant listen to recorded music.
The findings suggested that high cognitive scores during infant-directed singing suggested that engagement through song is just as effective as book reading or toy play in maintaining infant attention and far more effective than listening to recorded music.
The results also revealed that when infants were engaged during song, their mother's instincts are also on high alert and when infant engagement declined the mother adjusted her pitch, tempo or key to stimulate and regulate infant response.
For mothers with postpartum depression, infant-directed singing creates a unique and mutually beneficial situation," de l'Etoile noted.
"Simultaneously, mothers experience a much-needed distraction from the negative emotions and thoughts associated with depression, while also feeling empowered as a parent," de l'Etoile explained. (ANI)Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health
Snap Inc. on Thursday filed updated paperwork with the U. S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) detailing its eagerly-awaited initial public offering (IPO).
According to the social media company's SEC filing, it will sell up to 230 million shares with price tag range between $14 and $16 per share. That would generate up to $3.6 billion for the company.
Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 17 : As a saying, "beauty is skin deep" sounds fair, but in the real world where money is top priority, physical attractiveness might have a lot more prominence than just inner beauty.
A study finds that healthier, more intelligent people have superior personality traits are preferred more for taking fatter pay checks home than those who are aesthetically compromised.
The study appeared in Springer's Journal of Business and Psychology.
The findings indicated that population-based surveys showed that people who are physically attractive earn more than the average Joe or Jane, while those who are aesthetically compromised - that gives pleasure through beauty - earn less.
More attractive lawyers and MBA graduates are also said to earn more.
Researchers, Satoshi Kanazawa of the London School of Economics and Mary Still of the University of Massachusetts in Boston analysed a nationally representative sample from a US data set that had very precise and repeated measures of physical attractiveness.
It measured physical attractiveness of all respondents on a five-point scale at four different points in life over 13 years.
Their analysis showed that people are not necessarily discriminated against because of their looks. The beauty premium theory was dispelled when the researchers took into account factors such as health, intelligence and major personality factors together with other correlates of physical attractiveness.
Healthier and more intelligent respondents and those with more conscientious, more extraverted and less Neurotic personality traits earned significantly more than others.
"Physically more attractive workers may earn more, not necessarily because they are more beautiful, but because they are healthier, more intelligent and have better personality traits conducive to higher earnings, such as being more conscientious, more extraverted and less Neurotic," Kanazawa explained.
Still stated that the methods used in other studies might explain why the findings in the current research are contrary to many current thoughts about the economics of beauty. (ANI)Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health
London [UK], Feb. 17 : Consume a healthy dose of vitamin D supplements during winters, as a study finds that taking them may protect you from acute respiratory infections and flu.
The study, published in The BMJ, suggests that taking vitamin D - also known as the sunshine vitamin - may have benefits beyond bone and muscle health and protects against acute respiratory infections.
Researchers from Queen Mary University of London found that vitamin D supplementation cut the proportion of participants experiencing at least one acute respiratory tract infection by 12 percent, reports the Mirror.
"The bottom line is that the protective effects of vitamin D supplementation are strongest in those who have the lowest vitamin D levels and when supplementation is given daily or weekly rather than in more widely spaced doses," said lead researcher Adrian Martineau.
Respiratory tract infections are infection of the sinuses, throat, airways or lungs and can last up to 30 days.
They analyzed the data from almost 11,000 participants aged up to 95, who took part in 25 clinical trials.
The findings indicated that that supplements can help to prevent acute respiratory tract infections, particularly among those who are deficient in vitamin D.
After adjusting for other potentially influential factors, the team found that vitamin D supplementation cut the proportion of the participants experiencing at least one acute respiratory tract infection by 1 percent.
The results fit with the observation that colds and flu are most common during winter and spring, when levels of vitamin D are at their lowest.
"The evidence on vitamin D and infection is inconsistent and this study does not provide sufficient evidence to support recommending vitamin D for reducing the risk of respiratory tract infections," Martineau explained. (ANI)Region: LondonGeneral: Health
Following years of speculation that Facebook could try to harness its huge audience to take on services like LinkedIn, the social-networking giant has announced that it will soon allow businesses to post job openings and job seekers to hunt for new jobs.
Andrew Bosworth, Facebook's vice president of ads and business platform, told reporters that the company has created new tools to allow small and midsized businesses to hire the right people through the service.
Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 15, : A study finds that changes in the size of mitochondria in a small subset of brain cells, may play a crucial role in safely maintaining blood sugar levels.
The study appeared in the journal Cell Metabolism.
"Low blood sugar can be as dangerous as high blood sugar," said senior author Sabrina Diano.
"We've found that changes in the size of mitochondria -- small intracellular organelles responsible for energy production -- in certain cells in the brain, could be key to maintaining the blood sugar within a safe range," Diano added.
"This new finding adds to our understanding of how the body keeps blood sugar levels within a safe range when sugar levels drop, like during fasting, or when they spike after a meal," Diano added.
The team designed the study to help understand how neurons in the brain that regulate appetite affect systemic glucose levels.
They used mouse models in which a specific mitochondrial protein, dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1), was either missing or present in varying amounts in the subset of brain cells that sense circulating sugar levels.
They found that depending on whether the mouse was hungry or not, mitochondria displayed dynamic changes in size and shape, driven by the DRP1 protein.
"We found that when DRP1 activity in the neurons was missing, these neurons were more sensitive to changes in glucose levels," said Diano,
"What surprised our research team was that these intracellular changes in this small subset of neurons were specifically important to increase blood sugar levels during a fasting period by activating the so-called counter-regulatory responses to hypoglycemia, in which the brain senses lower glucose levels and sends signals to peripheral organs such as the liver to increase glucose production," diano explained. (ANI)Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health
Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 15 : A team of U.S. researchers finds that a combination of drugs may help in killing of brain cancer tumour cells with high cure rates in mice.
A combination of drugs may help in killing of brain cancer tumour cells with high cure rates in mice, finds a study.
The study appeared in journal Nature Communications.
Researchers at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa conducted the study on mice and found that a combination of drugs known as SMAC Mimetics and immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) amplifies kill rates of cancer tumour cells in laboratory testing.
They also found that the new mechanism also promotes long-term immunity against glioblastoma tumours and is highly effective against breast cancer and multiple myeloma - a malignant tumour of the bone marrow.
"These findings represent a significant evolution in our research and the field of immunotherapy. We are the first in the world to show the synergistic tumour-killing impact of combining SMAC Mimetics with immune checkpoint inhibitors for glioblastoma," said Robert Korneluk from the University of Ottawa.
"You could say it takes two to tango. We believe that it takes a combination strategy to impact cancer cure rates," Korneluk added.
The finds indicate that SMAC Mimetics also have a powerful synergistic effect with ICIs, relatively new drugs that are showing great promise in the clinic.
"Two drug companies have initiated human clinical trials this year to assess the impact of this combination of SMAC Mimetics and ICIs on patients with a variety of cancers," said another researcher ,Eric Lacasse.
"Although it could be years before any clinical trials begin for adults or children with the deadly brain cancer, glioblastoma, we're looking forward to seeing how scientific evidence from these experimental treatments adds to our knowledge," Lacasse explained. (ANI)Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health
T-Mobile's aggressive pricing has emphatically punched a hole in rivals Verizon and AT&T, which have little choice but to fight fire with fire to retain existing customers and attract new ones.
In a tightly-competitive market like the U. S., telecommunication services providers have to slash their prices even if their margins and ARPUs have to take a hit. T-Mobile's newest stats and guidance indicate that it continues to inflict pain on rivals.
New Delhi [India], Feb. 15 : In what is a new approach to joint fractures in India, doctors at Indian Spinal Injuries Hospital, New Delhi, have used an arthroscope even while fixing a simple ankle fracture.
This the first time such a surgery is being done in Delhi. When a patient comes in with a joint fracture, a tiny camera is used to go inside the joint, to help doctors understand internal damage.
"Usually, we simply align the bone so it sets; we don't really look at cartilage damage. Naturally, on impact, the cartilage may also be broken-a complication of the fracture. So we open up the joint, sending in an arthroscope, to understand any other damage. Previously, we would fix the bone, and the patient would often get recurring pain. After several months, doctors would realize that there has been damage to the cartilage as well. By then, it is difficult to treat and the pain becomes a lifelong problem," said Dr Maninder Singh, Senior Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Chief-Foot & Ankle Unit, Coordinator Sports Injury Unit, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, New Delhi.
Adding, "To avoid this, the arthroscopic-assisted ankle fracture fixation method, gives the best possible patient outcome when it comes to ankle-fracture surgeries."
Understanding the importance of the surgery and the effect it is bound to have on patient outcomes, Indian Spinal Injuries Hospital has subsidized the rate of the arthroscopy, to encourage more and more people adopt this when they come in with ankle fractures. Within the Foot and Ankle Unit, it has become the protocol to do the arthroscopy. The hospital is now carrying out a study on the level of success of the surgery, again one of the first in the country.
"Once we know the extent of the damage to the cartilage, we can take suitable action, such as the shaving off any tiny shards of cartilage, so that it does not float around the joint and cause immense pain. Sometimes, the extent of breakage is so great that it needs a microfracture. This is a surgical technique wherein holes are drilled into the underlying bone in order to stimulate cartilage regrowth. The body's own stem cells will grow into new cartilage" said Dr Singh.
The arthroscopic-assisted ankle fracture fixation ensures that the surgeon is better able to understand how an accident or even a twist in the ankle that causes a fracture have impacted the joint in its entirety. It helps the doctor prescribe the best possible treatment for the patient's unique case, thereby getting the best patient outcomes.
While the surgery at Indian Spinal Injuries Hospital was done on the ankle, this can be performed on other joints as well.(ANI)Region: IndiaGeneral: Health
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