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Less water intake accelerates urine infection

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 09:09

New Delhi [India], Feb. 9 : Winter problems are no longer restricted to cough, cold and flu. When the temperature drops and the cold winds begin to blow, the air becomes drier and our bodies get less moisture than they do in warmer months, leading to dehydration. And that is the first step towards a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).

UTI refers to a bacterial infection anywhere in the urinary tract, such as the bladder, kidneys, ureters, or the urethra and one tends to be exposed to such infections in winters.

Dr. Anant Kumar, Chairman - Urology, Renal Transplant, Robotics, and Uro-Oncology Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket said, " Our bodies suffer from UTI in winters as we stop drinking water. While we can invest in any warm beverage rather than icy water when it comes to wintertime, it's still critical to maintain the water intake. Consumption of less water, especially during winter is one of the main causes that worsen UTI."

Moreover, the main symptom of the infection which is burning sensation is usually considered a result of eating high calorie rich food during this season. This delays the patients from approaching the doctors on time. Also, women who make contact with the infections are so apprehensive of reporting it to the doctors that they prefer to self-medicate, which in turn makes the infection acute.

While most cases of bladder infection occur suddenly, others may recur over the long-term. Early treatment is keys to preventing the spread of the infection. Bacteria that enter through the urethra and travel into the bladder cause bladder infections. Normally, the body removes the bacteria by flushing them out during urination. This overwhelms the body's ability to destroy them, resulting in a bladder infection.

According to Dr. Kumar, for preventing bladder infections the following lifestyle changes may help reduce or eliminate the occurrence of bladder infections:

• Change underwear daily: Since women are more prone to infections, they should change their undergarments twice a day.

• Don't hold urine: Urinate as soon as you feel the need. Holding urine for long multiplies the bacteria, thus causes infection.

• Wear cotton underwear: Cotton underwear's are comfortable, especially for women as it helps keep the vagina dry. Synthetic underwear's cause excessive friction, thus leading to discharge of fluid which causes irritability.

• Don't Use feminine hygiene sprays: The pH in the vagina regulates itself, and douching or spraying, changes the equilibrium.

• Urinate before and after sexual activity: Urinating right after sex can help prevent the spread of faecal bacteria to the bladder and thus reduce the risk of UTIs. Men should pass urine each time after the sexual intercourse.

Here are the five most effective bladder infection remedies:

• Drink more water: Have at least 2 litres of water every day. Water flushes out the bacteria in your bladder, helping to eliminate the infection faster. It also dilutes your urine, so urination may be less painful.

• Antibiotics: Antibiotics kill the bacteria causing the bladder infection. Antibiotics may not always be needed. In some cases, a minor bladder infection can resolve on its own. It might cause symptoms for a day or two, but with increased hydration and urination, it may pass.

• Heating pads: Putting low heat across your abdominal region or back may soothe the dull ache that sometimes occurs during bladder infections. This can be especially helpful if medications aren't enough to ease your discomfort.

• Appropriate dress: Bacteria thrive in warm and moist environments.

Tight jeans and other snugly fitting clothes can trap moisture in your most delicate areas, making them a breeding ground for bacteria. Wearing loose, casual clothing that allows your skin to breathe can keep the bacteria in your urinary tract at bay. (ANI)

Region: IndiaGeneral: Health

Find out reason behind miscarriage among women undergoing IVF

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 04:53

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 9 : In a shocking revelation, a study finds daylight savings time (DST) - turning the clock ahead as warmer weather approaches and back as it becomes colder again - increases the rate of miscarriage among women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF).

According to researchers from Boston Medical Center (BMC) and IVF New England, DST contributes to higher miscarriage rates among women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) who have had a prior pregnancy loss.

The findings, published online in the journal Chronobiology International, shed light on the impact of circadian rhythm changes on reproduction and fertility as DST represents a subtle but widespread disruption to daily circadian rhythms.

"To our knowledge, there are no other studies looking at the effects of daylight savings time and fertility outcomes", said Constance Liu from Massachusetts General Hospital.

"We knew that we were researching an uncharted field and it was important for us to understand the effect a one-hour change had on patients undergoing IVF," Liu added.

The team looked at the pregnancy and miscarriage rates among a sample of patients undergoing IVF prior to and during daylight savings time, in both fall and spring.

The patients were then categorised into three groups based on the timing of their embryo transfer during daylight savings time.

They found that miscarriage rates in the IVF patients, who had had a prior miscarriage were significantly higher among women whose embryo transfers occurred 21 days after spring DST began, compared to patients whose embryo transfers occurred before or well outside the spring DST window.

Successful pregnancy rates did not differ between seasons or among the three groups or among the three groups during the change to standard time in the fall.

"While our findings on the impact of DST on pregnancy loss among IVF pregnancies is intriguing, they need to be replicated in larger IVF cohorts in different parts of the world to observe DST," said study's senior author Wendy Kuohung from Boston University's school of medicine. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Marry or Divorce: Marital transition affect women health

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 08:56

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 8 : Both marriage and divorce affect the health of postmenopausal women.

A new study reveals that blood pressure, body mass index (BMI) tend to worsen if a woman marries and improves if she divorces or part ways.

The study appeared in journal of Women's Health.

Researchers analysed data from more than 79,000 postmenopausal women.

The findings indicate that marital transitions had a direct impact on health indicators -waist circumference, BMI and blood pressure and behaviors - smoking, alcohol use, physical activity and diet.

The results showed that the BMI of a postmenopausal woman increased with marriage and decreased with divorce.

Divorce was not only associated with a lower BMI, but also a reduction in waist circumference with improvements to diet and increased physical activity.

The article titled 'Relationship between Marital Transitions, Health Behaviors, and Health Indicators of Postmenopausal Women: Results from the Women's Health Initiative' describes the relationship found between marital transitions and both health indicators and behaviours.

"These new results are in stark contrast to earlier findings in which marriage has been associated with improved overall health and divorce with higher mortality," explained Susan G. Kornstein from Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women's Health.

The study was conducted by Randa Kutob and researchers from Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and Cancer Center of University of Arizona (Tucson); Brown University School of Public Health (Providence, RI); University of California, Davis; University of Texas Health Science Center (San Antonio); University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and University of Iowa College of Public Health (Iowa City). (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Pregnant women drinking from plastic bottle up risk of baby being obese

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 05:12

London [UK], Feb. 8 : Pregnant women drinking from plastic water bottles could be driving up their risk of having obese babies, a new study has found.

Scientists have found that the chemical bisphenol A (BPA), a hormone disruptor, is linked to an unborn child's increased risk of obesity.

When the child is exposed to BPA, they become less sensitive to a hormone responsible for controlling appetite.

Experts admit they are not surprised by the results, and warned of the need to be aware of environmental factors that can lead to increased susceptibility of obesity.

BPA is a chemical found in a variety of food containers, including polycarbonate plastic water bottles and can linings.

This chemical can interfere with the endocrine system (a collection of glands that produce several hormones) by mimicking estrogen, one of the main sex hormones found in women.

Research indicates BPA exposure is nearly universal. More than 90 percent of people tested in population studies had detectable levels of BPA, and compounds produced when it is metabolized by the body, in their urine.

The study, conducted by The Endocrine Society based in Washington DC, looked at baby mice. Researchers found that mice born to mothers exposed to BPA were less responsive to the hormone leptin, which is sometimes called the satiety hormone.

Leptin helps inhibit the appetite by reducing hunger pangs when the body does not need energy. The hormone sends signals to the hypothalamus region of the brain to suppress appetite.

Senior author Dr Alfonso Abizaid, of the Department of Neuroscience at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada said: 'Our findings show that bisphenol A can promote obesity in mice by altering the hypothalamic circuits in the brain that regulate feeding behavior and energy balance.

'Low level prenatal exposure to BPA delays a surge of leptin after birth that allows mice to develop the proper response to the hormone. BPA exposure permanently alters the neurobiology in the affected mice, making them prone to obesity as adults.'

To examine how BPA can encourage the development of obesity, the researchers fed pregnant mice BPA in their food.

The mice were exposed to doses of BPA that are lower than levels deemed safe by the US Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada. Once the mice gave birth, the researchers gave their offspring injections of leptin at various intervals and then examined their brain tissue and analyzed their blood to gauge the response to the hormone.

Other pregnant mice were not exposed to any chemicals or were exposed to an estrogen chemical called diethylstilbestrol (DES), so their young could be compared to those born to mice that were exposed to BPA.

Newborn mice typically exhibit a surge of leptin when they are eight days old that programs a part of the brain to respond to fullness cues. The study found that animals exposed to BPA experienced this surge two days late, and mice exposed to DES never had a surge of leptin.

When they were treated with leptin over the course of two days, control animals that weren't exposed to either chemical lost more weight than BPA - or DES- exposed mice.

'This study improves our understanding of how BPA can disrupt the endocrine system in a manner that raises the risk of obesity in animals,' Dr Abizaid said.

'Since BPA has also been linked to obesity in humans, people need to be aware that environmental factors can lead to increased susceptibility to obesity and cardio-metabolic disorders.'

A report released in October 2016 claimed that plastic bottles contain hormone-disrupting chemicals that can cause cancer, diabetes, ADHD and autism.

Yet they are found in thousands of everyday products, ranging from plastic and metal food containers, to detergents, flame retardants, toys and cosmetics.

These chemicals are responsible for scores of illnesses - costing the US an astonishing $340 billion in health-related costs each year, the NYU Langone report read.

The most common illness due to endocrine disrupting chemicals is neurological - including attention-ADHD, autism and loss of IQ. (ANI)

Region: LondonGeneral: Health

Innovative technique connects liver `directly` to the heart

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 04:48

New Delhi [India], Feb. 8 : A 21-year-old Iraqi woman, who suffered from a rare genetic condition in which blood clots prevented the flow of blood into the liver and outflow from the liver to the heart, has been given another chance to live a full and happy life by the doctors.

A team of doctors lead by Dr. Vivek Vij, Director, Liver Transplant, FMRI conducted an extremely complex lifesaving surgery, in a carefully crafted procedure on December 28, 2016.

"My parents sent me to India fearing relatives might say they didn't try enough to save my life," recalls 21-year-old Bnar Satar Mala, who till December 2016 had given up hope of survival.

It all started somewhere in the year 2014, with initial symptoms of turning pale, then yellow with severe pain shooting down the left shoulder to her arm soon developed into swelling in her limbs and abdomen. "I would feel nauseous at the mention of food, I could barely eat and often throw up soon after".

Doctors in Iran diagnosed her with a rare genetic disorder called Budd Chiari Syndrome, a condition where blood clots completely or partially blocks the blood flow to the liver in an individual. Very few cases of this syndrome have been reported worldwide so far. It is rare to the extent that many liver transplant surgeons might not have even got an opportunity to treat such a case.

The blockage may occur anywhere from the small and large veins that carry blood from the liver (hepatic veins) to the inferior vena cava (that takes the blood back to the heart). The IVC drains fluid out of the liver too. Due to the blockage in the hepatic vein which obstructed the outflow, her liver was gradually "dying".

"No doctor wanted to take the risk of operating on me, at best, a stent was put inside my liver to drain the fluid out," added Mala.

"By the time Bnar reached FMRI, her liver was completely black and shrunken, requiring urgent transplant in order to save her life. Her brother, 27-year-old Bzar, matched for a donor in Mala's case. All necessary tests were done and Mala underwent the transplant on December 28th," explained Dr Vij.

"Her IVC was completely blocked and she required a lot of blood transfusion during the surgery. The affected liver was removed and a part of the liver was taken from her brother and transplanted in the patient. In this case, the challenge was to suture the liver "directly" to the heart as the patient's native IVC was completely blocked. In order to suture the liver as close to the heart as possible, the heart had to be pulled down into the abdominal cavity. We decided not to open the recipient's chest and instead pulled the heart down through a narrow gap made in the diaphragm separating the chest and the abdomen. By doing this, we significantly reduced the risk of any infection which could have occurred due to a large opening in the chest. Also, being a woman, her concern was the scar such an opening would have left on her chest," added Dr Vij.

The hepatic vein was sutured directly to the heart through this novel technique and the team made sure that they did all this avoiding sternotomy (cutting open the chest to reach the heart).

Doctors worked meticulously post-surgery to maintain a fine titration of her medicines to make sure of optimum anti-coagulation.

"FMRI has pioneered several complex surgeries in the past. This case was almost a lost cause when the patient reached us, however we gave it our best and were successful in our endeavour to save her life. Our efforts are proof of our need to provide quality health care services and medical aid to anyone across the globe who requires it," said Dr. Simmardeep Singh Gill, Zonal Director, Fortis Memorial Research Institute.

Liver transplantation is currently in its golden period in India. The number of transplants being performed and the steady increase in new programmes that have emerged over the last decade is a testimony to it.

A multipronged approach in developing infrastructure and the involvement of multidisciplinary teams in the management of transplant patients has had a major positive impact on the outcome and as a result a positive impetus to the growth of this specialty in India. Till date, the majority of transplants performed in India are live donor liver transplants. (ANI)

Region: IndiaGeneral: Health

A 30-minute treadmill workout can remodel your heart tissues

Tue, 02/07/2017 - 06:51

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 7 : Hitting treadmill for 30 minutes can remodel your heart tissues as expression of genes used to repair damaged DNA increased in response to endurance exercise, after a single session.

The study appeared in the journal of Experimental Physiology.

Researchers from the University of Maryland, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, East Carolina University, the Catholic University of Brasilia and Southern Methodist University showed that physiological stressors like exercise can remodel heart tissue.

These findings are important for understanding how exercise provides a protective effect on the heart.

"The genes that are important for genome stability are upregulated in the heart tissue after a single bout of endurance exercise. This may contribute to the protective effects of exercise on cardiovascular health," said researcher Stephen Roth from the University of Maryland in the U.S.

The researchers studied the hearts of mice after 30 minutes of running on a treadmill.

They looked at how genes were being expressed compared to those in hearts of mice that had not been exercised.

The group results are applicable to humans because these genes are regulated in a similar way to those in humans.

They hope that by understanding this process and basic heart biology, future research may lead to increased life expectancy and drug-free cures for chronic heart problems, including high blood pressure.(ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Careful! Are you dating a scammer online?

Tue, 02/07/2017 - 04:53

New Delhi [India], Feb. 7 : Let's face it, the days of dropping cheesy pick-up lines at social gatherings are coming to an end.

We would be hearing less cheesy lines like "Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?" or "Was your dad a thief? Because he stole the stars and put them in your eyes".

The traditional approach to getting an opposite sex to talk to you or take an interest in you by actually talking to them face to face is slowly fading. Our cavemen instinct of hunting is slowly being overtaken by convenience - The equivalent of a caveman ordering pizza delivery instead of hunting.

-Digital Dating - Broken Barrier

Before the advent of internet dating, we used to head to various places to socialize and meet people - bars, pubs, clubs, parties, weddings, places of worship and even the library! It took physical effort and mental courage to walk up to someone and introduce oneself.

Back then, it's victory when phone numbers were exchanged, which then led on to conversations to get to know each other to actually going on a date to get to know the person further. Unfortunately, all these would have to take place in the location or country you reside in - flying in and out of the country can be costly!

Now, with online dating websites and apps, it has become so easy to find a partner or in this case, a match - even from a different country if you wish. You can judge if you like the person by looking at their picture and also read their profile details to see if they're "your type".

Computers and servers in these virtual dating agencies filter the millions of people in their databases to find you your closest match. You're able to scroll through profiles of people near you on your smartphone and send them a flirty text copied from a Google search you just did, bypassing the effort and anxiety of thinking of what you would like to say to your match.

Not everybody on the Internet is whom they seem to be.

You might be a guy and scrolling through profiles on a dating site and then you spot a nice girl who you might like to date. You send her a message - and she answers in a kind and lovely manner. She wants to know you better! She wants to talk to you! But behind the guise of that sweet-sounding woman may actually be a man --- a beardy cybercriminal who only wanted to get your phone number to scam you.

Last year, Russian police have arrested two men from Smolensk who pretended to be young, attractive girls stealing the hearts of men in Moscow and then threatening and tricking them into sending rather big sums of money. The criminals were found to have actually earned about one million Russian rubles (or USD16,500) with this scheme.

Now, some of you are thinking that men are more gullible in this area, but there are many cases where women have been scammed of money by their internet lovers. However, the real figures on romantic frauds are never known. Many of the victims, especially married people, prefer to keep silent.

Also, there are instances where website employees behaved like scammers as there were only a few women registered on the site. So they create accounts of pretty girls themselves using pictures copied from anywhere on the internet. Then, there are bots created to lure newcomers into chat and get them to pay money to continue the conversation.

So just believe us: anyone can be reeled in. This is how Monica Whitty, a cyber-psychologist from the University of Leicester explains the situation to the DailyMail:

"You don't have to be 'vulnerable'. You can be a highly intelligent person with a good job. The strategies these fraudsters use are highly sophisticated."

Whitty has acquired much experience working with victims of romance frauds. She admits that victims meet double pressure: they blame themselves and their friends and relatives do the same. "Most crime victims are given sympathy and support, but in the case of online fraud, friends and family are furious. Their response is, "How could you be so gullible?"

-Valentine's Day cometh

As we approach the official day of love, most of us will receive the traditional anonymous Valentines - albeit in digital form. Usually it doesn't take a rocket scientist to guess the author but some come as a surprise and the admirer is unknown.

Your curiosity is quite understandable in this case, but do not let it reduce your vigilance - instead of romance, such "letters" typically lead to malware or real money loss.

While installing a reliable internet security suite such as Kaspersky Internet Security 2017 will secure from malware and malicious links, it will not protect you from a broken heart.

So to keep you safe from being broken hearted and scammed this Valentine's Day, we have put together list of common scams and some tips to ensure your safety and your digital life is not compromised:

-Scam: Mutual connection

This is where a scammer contacts you via social channels and claims having common interest or a mutual connection with you maybe from an introduction at a wedding or large gathering. If you're a serial poster of pictures and haven't updated your privacy settings, it's easy guesswork for the cybercriminals.

Tip: If you receive such a claim, and no matter how desperate you are, dismiss the conversation and never add that person as a friend. Also, update your privacy settings to share with only those you know.

-Scam: Intimate Activity

A very common scam especially for those in a long distance internet dating relationship. After an intense courtship period, the scammer asks the victim to connect with them via webcam and "chat." The fraudster's webcam is mysteriously broken, but they heap praise on their victim and, with a combination of flattery and persistence, convince their "partner" to partially disrobe or perform other intimate acts.

The scammer then reveals their true identity. They claim to have made a video recording and threaten to share the video with mutual social media friends or post the recording online, unless the victim sends money. Once the victim complies, the cycle begins-demands increase until the victim finally refuses.

Tip: If it involves a webcam and you are asked to perform indecent acts, never ever give into to the demands, no matter what they are. If the relationship is real, then you would wait to meet each other in person.

-Scam: Fake Dating Sites

The recent Ashely Madison leak offers a glimpse into the world of fake dating sites. Services claim to offer legitimate meetups, but are either severely underpopulated or awash with scammers and bots.

Tip: Look out for sign-up questionnaires that are light on personal details, but heavy on questions about finances. Also watch for an influx of attention just after you've created your profile. If all your profile contains is a few lines of text, no photo and no set preferences, but you start getting message after message from potential suitors, chances are you've stumbled across a fake dating site.

Other things to pay attention to even on legitimate dating sites - let's face it, scammers are everywhere - include the following:

-Suspicious Spelling and Grammar

If they supposedly come from an English-speaking nation, be on the lookout for awful spelling and grammar. While not everyone looking for love online has the soul and finesse of William Shakespeare, truly terrible grammatical errors and run-on sentences are red flags.

The same goes for emails. Native English speakers have a natural cadence when they speak and write that isn't easily mimicked. Be suspicious if something seems "off" about the tone or pacing.

-Cut-and-Paste

If messages and profile descriptions read too well, be worried. Often, scammers won't bother writing their own material, but instead lift it from other websites or dating profiles. Here, it's a good idea to run suspicious text through an Internet search to see if any matches come up. If they do, don't message or respond to this scam artist.

-Weird Links

Legitimate users often post links to their favourite bands, travel destinations or hobbies. Scammers typically fill their profiles with links to low-quality "spam" sites that are trying to sell a product or teach you to "get rich quick." You may also find links to X-rated websites-a warning sign that the profile isn't entirely legitimate.

-Double Time

While strong feelings often accompany the first few weeks of any new romance, scammers will try to accelerate this process even further by offering not only a huge volume of compliments and kind words, but also intimate details of their own life that they have "never shared with anyone else."

What can be even more troubling is if after just a few chat sessions or emails, they're asking for a small amount of money to cover strange expenses-perhaps they're stranded in a foreign country, have a family member in medical distress or have just been robbed, and need you to wire transfer money ASAP. If requests for money are ever on the table, walk away.

"As we get closer to Valentine's Day, everyone, especially single folks will be scurrying to find themselves a date with a potential Mr. or Ms. Right. One of the many ways would be through the use of internet dating sites or apps. We would like to arm everyone with knowledge about common romance scams and how to avoid these fraudsters so you can skip the fake romance and seek out your true love instead," said AltafHalde, Managing Director, Kaspersky Lab, South Asia. (ANI)

Region: IndiaGeneral: Health

Liquorice can bring harm to pregnant women: Report

Mon, 02/06/2017 - 04:43

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 6 : All the women who are currently going through the process of pregnancy or planning to have a child in the near future should be cautious of consuming large amount of liquorice during pregnancy.

A Finnish study proves, youth who were exposed to larger amount of liquorice in the womb performed less than others in cognitive reasoning tests done by the psychologist.

Those exposed also performed less in memory measuring capacity tasks and they also had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)-related problems more than others.

The study report was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

The author of the article is Academy Professor Katri Raikkonen from the University of Helsinki.

The study carried out by University of Helsinki, the National Institute for Health and Welfare and the Uusimaa hospital districts equated 378 youth of about 13 years whose mother had consumed large amounts or little/no liquorice during pregnancy.

In the research, a large amount was explicated over as over 500 mg and little/no as 249 mg glycyrrhizin per week.

It is suggested that all the women who are pregnant and women planning pregnancy should be told about the harmful effects of the products containing glycyrrhizin on the foetus.

In Finland, this has already become a reality. In January 2016, the National Institute for Health and Welfare published food recommendations for families with children, in which liquorice was placed in the 'not recommended' category for pregnant women.

But, occasional consumption of small amounts such as a portion of liquorice ice cream or sweets is not dangerous.

Glycyrrhizin is one of the main factors that affect the development of a foetus. But it is impossible to say whether it was glycyrrhizin expressly that affected the development of a certain individual.

Glycyrrhizin intensifies the effects of stress hormone cortisol by inhibiting the enzyme that inactivates cortisol, while cortisol is essential to the development of a foetus.

Short term effects of glycyrrhizin have been seen from a long time, but such long-lasting effects on the foetus have not been proven before. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Go camping to get rid of sleep problems!

Sat, 02/04/2017 - 06:52

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 4 : Good news for people facing sleep problems as a new study says that spending a weekend out camping can reset your circadian rhythm that may help you fall asleep faster, boost performance at work and quell seasonal depression.

The findings, published in journal of Current Biology, indicate that after filling the day with natural light and the night with true darkness for a weekend increases a hormone - melatonin - which promotes sleep and physiologically prepares the body for nighttime nearly two hours earlier.

"These studies suggest that our internal clock responds strongly and quite rapidly to the natural light-dark cycle," said lead author Kenneth Wright from University Of Colorado at Boulder in the U.S.

"Living in our modern environments can significantly delay our circadian timing and late circadian timing is associated with many health consequences. But as little as a weekend camping trip can reset it," Wright added.

The team conducted two new studies.

In the first, they recruited 14 volunteers: nine went camping in the Colorado mountains for a summer weekend; five stayed home.

When the campers returned after just two days and had their saliva tested, their melatonin rise had shifted 1.4 hours earlier.

"Weekend exposure to natural light was sufficient to achieve 69 percent of the shift in circadian timing. We previously reported after a week's exposure to natural light," Wright stated.

For the second study, five volunteers went camping for one week near the time of the winter solstice and returned to the lab to have their melatonin tested hourly for 24 hours. The results indicated that they had been exposed to a whopping 13 times as much light by day as in their typical weekday environment during winter. While camping, they went to bed earlier and slept longer.

Upon return, their melatonin levels began to rise 2.6 hours earlier.

When light hits photoreceptors in the eye, it alters the master clock, which then signals a cascade of events that impact rhythms in our body, influencing not only when we sleep and rise, but also the timing of hormone releases that impact appetite, metabolism and more. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Keep an eye on your kid's company, they might inherit personality traits

Sat, 02/04/2017 - 06:37

Texas [United States], Feb 4. : Does your kid pick up habits and traits of fellow classmates quickly?

When preschoolers spend time around one another, they tend to take on each others' personalities, indicates a new study by Michigan State University psychology researchers.

The study, published online in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, suggests personality is shaped by environment and not just genes.

"Our finding, that personality traits are 'contagious' among children, flies in the face of common assumptions that personality is ingrained and can't be changed," said Jennifer Watling Neal, associate professor of psychology and co-investigator on the study. "This is important because some personality traits can help children succeed in life, while others can hold them back."

The researchers studied two preschool classes for an entire school year, analyzing personality traits and social networks for one class of 3-year-olds and one class of 4-year-olds.

Children whose play partners were extroverted or hard-working became similar to these peers over time. Children whose play partners were overanxious and easily frustrated, however, did not take on these particular traits. The study is the first to examine these personality traits in young children over time.

Emily Durbin, study co-investigator and associate professor of psychology, said kids are having a bigger effect on each other than people may realize.

"Parents spend a lot of their time trying to teach their child to be patient, to be a good listener, not to be impulsive," Durbin said. "But this wasn't their parents or their teachers affecting them - it was their friends. It turns out that 3- and 4-year-olds are being change agents."(ANI)

Region: United StatesGeneral: Health

Emoticons help teachers gauge happiness level in children

Sat, 02/04/2017 - 06:21

England [United Kingdom], Feb 4. : How cool would it be if your child's teacher could gauge his/her happiness through some 'device'?

A simple new questionnaire based on emoticon-style facial expressions could help teachers and others who work with children as young as four to engage them on their happiness and wellbeing levels in the classroom.

The 'How I Feel About My School' questionnaire, designed by experts at the University of Exeter Medical School, is available to download for free. It uses emoticon-style faces with options of happy, ok or sad. It asks children to rate how they feel in seven situations including on the way to school, in the classroom and in the playground. It is designed to help teachers and others to communicate with very young children on complex emotions.

The project was supported by the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Applied Health Research and Care South West Peninsula ( NIHR PenCLAHRC).

Professor Tamsin Ford, Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Exeter Medical School, led the design, involving children to give feedback on which style of questionnaire they could relate to best. She said: "When we're carrying out research in schools, it can be really hard to meaningfully assess how very young children are feeling. We couldn't find anything that could provide what we needed, so we decided to create something."

The questionnaire is now the subject of a paper in Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry. It finds that parents and teachers consistently score children's happiness levels slightly higher than children score their own. The team consulted children to find a format that they could relate to and engage with. Once completed, the questionnaire has an easy scoring system, out of 14. An average score is around 11 or 12, with children who are encountering particular difficulties at school scoring lower. Those experiencing suspension or expulsion from school, for example, typically scored around eight or lower. (ANI)

Region: United KingdomGeneral: Health

Anti-cancer agent could promote regeneration of heart tissue: Study

Sat, 02/04/2017 - 04:30

Dallas [United States], Feb 4. : In a latest development, researchers have found out that Cancer drug could promote regeneration of heart tissue.

An anticancer agent in development promotes regeneration of damaged heart muscle 0- an unexpected research finding that may help prevent congestive heart failure in the future.

The study findings were published online this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Many parts of the body, such as blood cells and the lining of the gut, continuously renew throughout life. Others, such as the heart, do not. Because of the heart's inability to repair itself, damage caused by a heart attack causes permanent scarring that frequently results in serious weakening of the heart, known as heart failure.

For years, Dr. Lawrence Lum, Associate Professor of Cell Biology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, has worked to develop a cancer drug targeting Wnt signaling molecules. These molecules are crucial for tissue regeneration, but also frequently contribute to cancer. Essential to the production of Wnt proteins in humans is the porcupine (Porcn) enzyme, so-named because fruit fly embryos lacking this gene resemble a porcupine. In testing the porcupine inhibitor researchers developed, they noted a curiosity.

"We saw many predictable adverse effects -0 in bone and hair, for example 0- but one surprise was that the number of dividing cardiomyocytes (heart muscle cells) was slightly increased," said Dr. Lum, senior author of the paper, and a member of UTSW's Hamon Center for Regenerative Science and Medicine. "In addition to the intense interest in porcupine inhibitors as anticancer agents, this research shows that such agents could be useful in regenerative medicine."

Based on their initial results, the researchers induced heart attacks in mice and then treated them with a porcupine inhibitor. Their hearts' ability to pump blood improved by nearly twofold compared to untreated animals. (ANI)

Region: United StatesGeneral: Health

Scientists find way of boosting immune system's memory to fight cancer

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 04:39

New Delhi,[India] Feb 3. : Scientists from the University of Southampton in a latest study have discovered an important way in which the immune system can learn to recognise and fight cancers.

The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, shows that 'Akt' is critical for survival of T cells when they turn into memory cells and for how these can then react to future threats.

The team, led by Professor Aymen Al-Shamkhani, a Professor of Immunology at the University of Southampton, and funded by Cancer Research UK, has shown that a protein called Akt, is vital for the way the body remembers a cancer it has eradicated.

The body's immune system includes cytotoxic T cells, which actively seek out and destroy infections or cancers. When they have dealt with the danger, the majority of T cells die, but the remaining ones turn into memory cells, which can recognise the threat if it comes back. However, how this actually works has previously not been clear.

The Southampton team has found that a protein called Akt has a big effect on the number and type of memory T cells that a danger signal can generate.

Professor Al-Shamkhani says that: "If we can harness Akt to boost the memory cells in numbers and ability we could offer more protection against cancer."

He added: "Immunotherapy has shown great promise as a new type of treatment for cancer, but we need to find ways to improve the body's immune memory for cancer cells. If we can get the body's immune system to recognise cancers faster and better, that will be a big help in finding more effective treatments."

Dr Justine Alford, senior science information officer at Cancer Research UK, says: "By revealing more about how the immune system learns to recognise and attack cancers, this laboratory study may have identified a way to make immunotherapy more effective and longer-lasting. The next step will be to see if this approach works, and is safe for patients."

Over the past 40 years the University of Southampton has made a number of advances in cancer immunology and immunotherapy research, with a reputation for its 'bench to bedside' results. This year, the University will open The Centre for Cancer Immunology. It is the first of its kind in the UK and will bring world leading cancer scientists under one roof and enable interdisciplinary teams to expand clinical trials and develop lifesaving drugs. (ANI)

Region: United StatesGeneral: Health

Brain scan of your newborn can reveal early signs of anxiety

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 04:54

Washington D.C.,[United States] Feb 2. : In a development that can be seen as a 'glass half full or empty' situation, it is possible to predict if your newborn will have depression and other anxiety related issues in the future.

In a latest study published at the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry journal, it has been predicted that early predictors of anxiety and depression may be evident in the brain even at birth.

Analyzing brain scans of newborns, the researchers found that the strength and pattern of connections between the amygdala and certain brain regions predicted the likelihood of the babies developing greater internalizing symptoms like sadness, excessive shyness, nervousness, or separation anxiety by age two. Such symptoms have been linked to clinical depression and anxiety disorders in older children and adults.

Assistant professor of child psychiatry said, "The fact that we could see these connectivity patterns in the brain at birth helps answer a critical question about whether they could be responsible for early symptoms linked to depression and anxiety or whether these symptoms themselves lead to changes in the brain".

She added, "We have found that already at birth, brain connections may be responsible for the development of problems later in life."

The researchers looked for differences in the connectivity patterns across various regions of the brain hoping to find evidence to explain why premature babies face a greater risk of developing psychiatric problems - including depression and anxiety - later in life. In particular, the team focused on how a structure involved in the processing of emotions, called the amygdala, connects with other brain regions.

First, they found that healthy, full-term babies had patterns of connectivity between the amygdala and other regions of the brain that were similar to the patterns previous studies had seen in adults. Although there were similar patterns of connectivity in premature infants, the strength of their connections between the amygdala and other brain regions was decreased.

Most interestingly, they noted that connection patterns between the amygdala and other structures - like the insula, which is involved in consciousness and emotion, and the medial prefrontal cortex, which plays roles in planning and decision making - increased the risk of early symptoms related to depression and anxiety.

When the babies turned two years old, a subset received follow-up assessments to look for early symptoms of anxiety and depression. The researchers evaluated 27 of the children who were born prematurely and 17 born at term.

The researchers also want to evaluate all the children from the study again when they are 9-10 years old to learn whether brain connections continue to influence the risk for depression and anxiety disorders. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

'Cheekful' of dextrose gel can forge stronger bond between mother and baby

Wed, 02/01/2017 - 04:41

Washington D.C.,[United States] Feb. 01 : In a latest development, a study has found out that just like a 'spoonful of sugar' a non-invasive treatment of 'dextrose gel' to a newborn will keep the baby close to its mother and away from diseases.

Researchers at the University at Buffalo, stated that a dose of dextrose gel administered into a baby's cheek, along with regular feedings can raise babies' blood sugar, allowing them to stay with their mothers, which promotes breastfeeding.

Because this method can eliminate the need for intravenous fluids, which has to be done in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit, it also saves health care costs.

Newborns with hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, are becoming more common worldwide, as a result of the growing number of mothers who are overweight, obese or diabetic.

Breastfed newborns may be treated with supplementary formula feedings or, if that fails, with intravenous fluids, which requires mother and baby to be separated for hours or days at a time.

Both processes interfere with mother-baby bonding and reduce the chances that exclusive breastfeeding will be established upon discharge from the hospital.

Pediatrician Satyan Lakshminrusimha said that, "Breaks my heart to see mother and baby separated right after birth".

She further said, "Birthing is stressful enough, it's further upsetting to a young mother, especially a first-time mother, if she is not able to breastfeed her baby because of low glucose so that the baby needs IV therapy."

The findings are not only improving outcomes for hypoglycemic newborns, they are also leading to new ways to prevent hypoglycemia.(ANI)

Region: United StatesGeneral: Health

Less protein-intake during pregnancy will help your kid have stronger bones

Tue, 01/31/2017 - 04:18

Washington D.C., Jan.31 : Suffering from the woes of having frail bones? Unfortunately there are chances that your kid may inherit the 'brittle bone disease' from you, but thanks to science, you can protect your child by consuming less protein while you are pregnant.

Researchers at the University of Missouri School of Medicine have shown that limiting a specific maternal protein in pregnant mice with osteogenesis imperfecta resulted in offspring with stronger, denser bones.

Osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as brittle bone disease, is a genetic disorder that causes bones to break easily. Severe cases of the disease can result in hundreds of fractures during a person's lifetime or even death. The finding might one day provide a new therapeutic approach to treating brittle bone disease.

Ph.D., associate professor of biochemistry and child health at the MU School of Medicine, Charlotte Phillips, "Osteogenesis imperfecta is caused by the body's inability to make strong bones because of mutations affecting the production of the protein known as collagen".

She added, "No cure exists; however, we know from previous research that the prenatal environment can have a lasting effect on cardiovascular and metabolic health into adulthood. We studied whether bone health of mice could be improved by optimizing the environment within the womb."

She stated, "Myostatin is a protein that limits muscle growth. However, exercise causes myostatin levels to decrease - which is good because it allows muscle tissue to develop. Increased muscle tissue results in stronger bones".

Using mice with brittle bone disease, the MU researchers were able to identify the female as responsible for offspring bone health. The team also confirmed that female mice deficient in myostatin had offspring with stronger bones.

"Humans achieve 90 percent of their peak bone mass by age 19," Phillips said. "To approximate this timeframe with mice, we re-evaluated their bone strength and density four months after birth. In each case, the mice with stronger, denser adult bones were those whose fetal development involved females deficient in the protein myostatin.

This finding shows that the environment within the womb affects bone development not only at birth, but into adulthood."

The researchers believe that the work represents a paradigm shift in understanding and possibly treating osteogenesis imperfecta. The researchers also feel that their findings may prove beneficial to reducing the risk of other bone diseases such as osteoporosis later in life for many others. However, more research is needed. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Now, a hormone in brain that can trigger fat burning: Study

Sun, 01/29/2017 - 05:46

Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 29 : Scientists, have identified a brain hormone that can trigger fat burning in the gut.

Researchers from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in the US found a brain hormone that specifically and selectively stimulates fat metabolism, without any effect on food intake.

The findings, published in the journal Nature Communications, in animal models could have implications for future pharmaceutical development.

"This was basic science that unlocked an interesting mystery," said senior author Supriya Srinivasan, an Indian origin researcher and a member of the TSRI.

The researchers experimented with roundworms called C. elegans, which are often used as model organisms in biology.

These worms have simpler metabolic systems than humans, but their brains produce many of the same signaling molecules, leading many researchers to believe that findings in C. elegans may be relevant for humans.

They deleted genes in C. elegans to see if they could interrupt the path between brain serotonin and fat burning.

This process of elimination led them to a gene that codes for a neuropeptide hormone named FLP-7 (pronounced "flip 7").

They found that the mammalian version of FLP-7 (called Tachykinin) had been identified 80 years ago as a peptide that triggered muscle contractions when dribbled on pig intestines.

The next step in the new study was to determine how FLP-7 was directly linked to serotonin levels in the brain.

The study revealed that FLP-7 was, indeed, secreted from neurons in the brain in response to elevated serotonin levels. FLP-7 then travels through the circulatory system to start the fat burning process in the gut.

The newly discovered fat-burning pathway works like this - a neural circuit in the brain produces serotonin in response to sensory cues, such as food availability. This signals another set of neurons to begin producing FLP-7 and then activates a receptor in intestinal cells and the intestines begin turning fat into energy. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Dogs prefer to share their food with friends

Sun, 01/29/2017 - 04:48

Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 29 : Sharing is caring! A new study reveals that like humans, rats, and chimpanzees, dogs also share their food with thier kind, but prefer their friends more.

The findings revealed that dogs continued to prefer familiar partners. However, the increased complexity of the task influenced the readiness with which the dogs delivered a food reward to another animal.

"This time we not only tested a different experimental set-up but also the level of difficulty," said Rachel Dale from Messerli Research Institute at Vetmeduni Vienna.

"The dogs were first trained to touch a token in exchange for a food reward for themselves. They were then trained to recognise two more tokens: one that resulted in a reward being delivered to a partner dog and another which did not," Dale added.

Three experiments were conducted to test whether the dogs exhibited prosocial behavior and whether they had to recognise special objects in the form of tokens in order to deliver a food reward to the other dog.

In the first test, either a familiar dog or a stranger sat in the receiver enclosure. The dogs could see each other during the experiment.

In the second test, the receiver enclosure remained empty but the other dog was present in the testing room.

In a third test, the test dogs were alone in the entire set-up.

At the end of each test series, the donor animals would reward themselves by being allowed to touch the token that delivered the food reward to them.

The study confirmed that dogs continue to exhibit prosocial behaviour despite the more complex task.

The dogs clearly showed a preference for sharing the food reward with a familiar dog. Unfamiliar dogs were rewarded nearly three times less than the familiar ones.

The results also revealed that when a second dog was present in the testing room, the donor dogs were more motivated to give a food as a reward.

When the test dogs were alone in the room, the number of food deliveries went down.

Given a more complex task, the presence of a partner appears to play a greater role. In this case, too, the donor dogs preferred familiar partners. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Putting billboards of healthy foods can break unhealthy eating habits

Sat, 01/28/2017 - 04:03

Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 28 : People are easily pulled into binge culture's quick-fix obsession with junk-food, but a new study says simply putting up signs that point out healthy food options in a food court can be an effective way to counteract unhealthy eating habits.

The findings, published in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, indicated that using simple interventions, such as reminders of how unhealthy certain foods are or interrupting the automatic processing of junk-food cues.

Equally, simply putting up signs that point out healthy food options in a food court can be an effective way of bringing us into a volitional state of mind.

Laura Corbit along with team of researchers from the University of Sydney were curious to find out how food cues, such as billboards and commercials, affect our decisions about where, what and how much to eat.

In order to figure out useful strategies against obesity and metabolic disease, they used lab rats to conduct a series of experiments replete with oreos, pringles, jelly snakes and chow.

They showed that environments where tasty high-fat and high-sugar treats were routinely consumed induced habitual control: animals lost the ability to make volitional nutritional choices based on the current value of food.

Animals were initially given repeated exposures to junk-food or bland chow environments.

After being food-deprived, they were trained to press levers that provided either sugar water or pellets.

The first experiment showed that a junk-food environment caused rats to exhibit a more habitual mode of behaviour than a bland chow environment.

In a second experiment, the rats were placed in junk-food or bland chow contexts, creating specific environmental cues associated with specific food types.

They found that the cue played in the bland chow context improved sensitivity to the devaluation of food, when rats were subsequently placed in the junk food context after having been fed.

A sound cue paired with bland food is all it took to take rats out of a habitual mode of behaviour and back into a volitional mind frame.

If the frequently habitual nature seen in rats is translated to people, this study offers encouraging insight.

As a corrective to obesity and metabolic disease, humans can come up with their own preventive cues, which may jolt them out of habit and into health. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Patients on dialysis reluctant to treat depression

Fri, 01/27/2017 - 05:38

Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 27 : A new study finds that due to increased hospitalisations, many kidney failure patients are reluctant to receive treatment to fight their depression.

The study, published in the journal of the American Society of Nephrology, also found that when patients were willing to accept treatment for depression, nephrologists avoided prescribing it.

To investigate the acceptance of anti-depressant treatment by patients on chronic hemodialysis and their doctors, a team led by Steven Weisbord from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, asked 101 hemodialysis patients in a clinical trial to complete a monthly questionnaire about depressive symptoms.

The patients were followed for at least one year and the findings indicated that 39 met criteria for depression based on their answers in the questionnaire.

The primary reason patients refused the recommendations was because they felt their depression was attributable to an acute event, chronic illness, or dialysis.

"Our study demonstrated that many patients on chronic hemodialysis have depressive symptoms but do not wish to receive aggressive treatment to alleviate these symptoms. We also noted that when patients are willing to accept treatment, renal providers commonly do not prescribe treatment," said Dr. Weisbord said.

"Depression in people receiving dialysis treatment is associated with lower quality of life, increased hospitalisations and in all likelihood, shortened survival," the authors wrote.

"The importance of the inner experience may get lost... in a setting of intensive medical intervention, intercurrent comorbidities and high rates of unwelcome events," they concluded. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

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