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Claims about the decline of the West are 'exaggerated'

2015-04-28
A new paper by Oxford researchers argues that some countries in Western Europe, and the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand now have birth rates that are now relatively close to replacement, that the underlying trend in Europe is upwards, and that population ageing, although inevitable, is likely to be 'manageable'. The publication in the journal, Population Studies, by Professor David Coleman and Associate Professor Stuart Basten, provides a more optimistic demographic picture of the future in the West, in contrast to the commonly accepted narrative. Much has been ...

Family break-up linked to heightened risk of psychosomatic problems in teens

2015-04-28
Parental separation or divorce is linked to a heightened risk of psychosomatic problems among the children in the family, indicates research published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. But joint custody seems to be less problematic than sole custody, the findings suggest. Over the past 20 years, family break-up has become more common in developed countries, with an increasing tendency to award joint legal custody afterwards. In Sweden alone, joint custody has surged from 1-2% of children affected by divorce/separation during the 1980s to 40% ...

Maternal overweight and obesity increases risk of type 1 diabetes in children when neither parent has diabetes

2015-04-28
A study of more than 1.2 million children in Sweden has concluded that children of parents with any type of diabetes are more likely to develop type 1 diabetes (T1D), and that maternal overweight and obesity increases the risk of the child developing T1D when neither parent has diabetes. The results, published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes), clearly suggest that strategies to reduce overweight and obesity before and during pregnancy could reduce the incidence of T1D, which is currently increasing in children (and especially ...

New class of cholesterol drug proves safe and effective for patients with dyslipidemia

2015-04-28
1. New class of cholesterol drug proves safe and effective for patients with dyslipidemia Treatment with PCSK9 antibodies reduces mortality and produces profound reductions in LDL-cholesterol and lipoprotein in patients with dyslipidemia. The results of this systematic review and meta-analysis are being published in Annals of Internal Medicine. Having elevated LDL-cholesterol levels contributes substantially to the development of coronary artery disease and the risk of cardiovascular events. Current guidelines recommend that patients with elevated cholesterol be treated ...

Atrial fibrillation increases risk of only 1 type of heart attack

2015-04-27
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - April 27, 2015 - Refining the results of a 2013 study, researchers have found that atrial fibrillation, or irregular heartbeat, is associated with only one type of heart attack - the more common of the two types. The study, led by Elsayed Z. Soliman, M.D., director of the Epidemiological Cardiology Research Center at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, is published in the April 27 issue of the American Heart Association journal Circulation. Atrial fibrillation, or a-fib, is the most prevalent heart rhythm disorder, affecting as many as 6 million ...

Physical exercise helps women with breast cancer to better tolerate chemotherapy

2015-04-27
Women with breast cancer who follow a physical exercise program during their chemotherapy treatment experience less side effects like fatigue, reduced physical fitness, nausea and pain. It is also less often necessary to adjust the dosage of their chemotherapy. This is shown by a study supervised by prof. dr. Neil Aaronson of the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI). Chemotherapy can be very burdensome for patients. Because of the side effects, not all patients are able to complete their chemotherapy as originally planned, but require a dose adjustment. There are some ...

Effective sleep apnea treatment lowers diabetes risk

2015-04-27
Using a simple device for eight hours a night to treat sleep apnea can help people with prediabetes improve their blood sugar levels and may reduce the risk of progressing to diabetes, according to a new study published online in the April 21, 2015, issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. About 57 million Americans have prediabetes, a disorder marked by blood sugar levels that are elevated but not sufficiently high to be considered diabetic. Prediabetics are at increased risk for developing diabetes, which can damage the eyes, kidneys, ...

DCV, SOF, and RBV combination effective/tolerated in HCV with advanced cirrhosis, post-transplant recurrence

2015-04-27
April 25, 2015, Vienna , Austria: Phase 3 results presented today at The International Liver Congress™ 2015 show that a combination of daclatasvir (DCV), sofosbuvir (SOF) and ribavirin (RBV) for 12 weeks was effective and well tolerated amongst patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection with advanced cirrhosis and post-transplant recurrence. Sustained virologic response rates at 12 weeks (SVR12) were >90% in patients with Child-Pugh class A or B cirrhosis but lower in Child-Pugh class C. SVR12 was achieved by 94% of liver transplant recipients with HCV recurrence. ALLY-1 ...

Combining ecology and human needs, researchers assess sustainability of Baja fisheries

Combining ecology and human needs, researchers assess sustainability of Baja fisheries
2015-04-27
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] -- In 2009, the year she won the Nobel Prize for economics, Elinor Ostrom proposed a framework to integrate both the institutional and ecological dimensions of a pervasive global challenge: achieving sustainability. Now researchers have put Ostrom's social-ecological systems theory into practice in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur. The result is a map of regional strengths and weaknesses that can help guide fishers, conservationists, and other decision makers as they consider steps to preserve the peninsula's vital coastal marine ...

Unexplained gap in global emissions of potent greenhouse gases resolved

2015-04-27
Reported emissions of a group of potent greenhouse gases from developed countries are shown to be largely accurate, but for the wrong reasons, according to new findings from an international team, led by researchers at the University of Bristol,UK. Until now, there has been little verification of the reported emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), gases that are used in refrigerators and air conditioners, resulting in an unexplained gap between the amount reported, and the rise in concentrations seen in the atmosphere. This new study shows that this gap can be almost ...

Ocean bacteria get 'pumped up'

Ocean bacteria get pumped up
2015-04-27
The ocean has been sucking up heat-trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) building up in our atmosphere--with a little help from tiny plankton. Like plants on land, these plankton convert CO2 into organic carbon via photosynthesis. But unlike land plants that are held fast to terra firma, plankton can sink into the deep ocean, carrying carbon with them. Along the way they decompose when bacteria convert their remains back into CO2. It's called the "biological pump," and if it operated 100 percent efficiently, nearly every atom of carbon drawn into the ocean would be converted ...

Lower back pain may have ties to our last common ancestor with chimpanzees

2015-04-27
A Simon Fraser University researcher has uncovered what may be the first quantified evidence demonstrating a relationship between upright locomotion and spinal health. Scientists have long pondered whether there is a link between walking upright and back problems, since people have more back pain than other primates such as chimpanzees, with whom we share 98 per cent of our DNA. Kimberly Plomp, a post-doctoral fellow and biological anthropologist, spent the past seven years studying ancient bones for the telltale signs of disease and injury that give archaeologists ...

Rare dune plants thrive on disturbance

Rare dune plants thrive on disturbance
2015-04-27
Beginning in the 1880s, coastal dunes in the United States were planted with European beachgrass (Ammophila arenaria) in an attempt to hold the sand in place and prevent it from migrating. The grass did the job it was brought in to do. As it trapped sand in its deep roots, the dunes at the beachfront grew higher and steeper and less sand moved inland. But, like many attempts to control nature, this one had unintended consequences. Although dunes may look barren, they are actually reservoirs of biodiversity. "If you're a plant lover, the sand dunes are just spectacular," ...

Time to move Lyme Disease Awareness Month to April?

Time to move Lyme Disease Awareness Month to April?
2015-04-27
(Millbrook, NY) The month of May brings many things, among them Mother's Day, tulips, and Lyme Disease Awareness campaigns. But according to Dr. Richard S. Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, NY, if we want to get a leg up on tick-borne illness we need to become vigilant earlier in the season. In New York State, the blacklegged ticks that carry Lyme disease and other pathogens are already active in late April. Ostfeld explains: "For more than two decades, we've been monitoring tick activity in the Hudson Valley region ...

Tracking an invasive bird

Tracking an invasive bird
2015-04-27
KNOXVILLE--The monk parakeets that have invaded Europe and North America over the last 40-50 years fortifying their massive communal nests atop utility poles in many urban areas appear to have originated from the same small area in South America, according to a new study. Considered one of the best speaking parrots, thousands of these bright green birds have been imported for the pet trade, and feral populations began appearing in the United States in the 1960s and in Europe in the 1980s. And yet, these two independent invasions--in the United States and in Europe--appear ...

UC Davis makes breakthrough in understanding Canavan disease

2015-04-27
(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- UC Davis investigators have settled a long-standing controversy surrounding the molecular basis of an inherited disorder that historically affected Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe but now also arises in other populations of Semitic descent, particularly families from Saudi Arabia. Through a series of elegant experiments, the researchers uncovered the biochemical underpinnings of Canavan disease, a type of leukodystrophy that is an incurable and progressively fatal neurological condition. The UC Davis team identified an abnormally high buildup ...

Most women don't know female-specific stroke signs

Most women dont know female-specific stroke signs
2015-04-27
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A national survey released today by The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center shows that most women don't know the risks or symptoms females face when it comes to having a stroke. The survey of 1,000 women released in time for Stroke Awareness Month in May found that only 11 percent of women could correctly identify pregnancy, lupus, migraine headaches and oral contraception or hormone replacement therapy as female-specific stroke risks. The survey also found that only 10 percent were aware that hiccups combined with atypical chest pain are among ...

Strange supernova is 'missing link' in gamma-ray burst connection

2015-04-27
Astronomers using the National Science Foundation's Very Large Array (VLA) have found a long-sought "missing link" between supernova explosions that generate gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) and those that don't. The scientists found that a stellar explosion seen in 2012 has many characteristics expected of one that generates a powerful burst of gamma rays, yet no such burst occurred. "This is a striking result that provides a key insight about the mechanism underlying these explosions," said Sayan Chakraborti, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). "This object ...

Antibiotic commonly prescribed for bladder infections less effective than others

2015-04-27
Older women with urinary tract infections who are taking the commonly prescribed antibiotic nitrofurantoin are more likely to experience treatment failure, resulting in a second antibiotic prescription or a hospital visit, than if they received another antibiotic, according to research in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). More than 25% of older adults have low kidney function, and bladder infections are common. Nitrofurantoin is one of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics for bladder and other urinary tract infections, with an estimated 25 million prescriptions ...

Your adolescent brain on alcohol: Changes last into adulthood

2015-04-27
DURHAM, N.C. - Repeated alcohol exposure during adolescence results in long-lasting changes in the region of the brain that controls learning and memory, according to a research team at Duke Medicine that used a rodent model as a surrogate for humans. The study, published April 27 in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, provides new insights at the cellular level for how alcohol exposure during adolescence, before the brain is fully developed, can result in cellular and synaptic abnormalities that have enduring, detrimental effects on behavior. "In ...

Heroin use spikes among whites who abuse prescription painkillers

2015-04-27
April 27, 2015--Researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health looked at the frequency of nonmedical prescription opioid use and the risk of heroin-related behaviors and found that past-year heroin use rose among individuals taking opioids like oxycontin and these increases varied by race and ethnicity. The most significant rise in heroin use was among Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites, where the rate of heroin use for the latter group increased by 75 percent in 2008-2011 compared to earlier years. Findings are online in the journal Drug and Alcohol ...

New UW app can detect sleep apnea events via smartphone

New UW app can detect sleep apnea events via smartphone
2015-04-27
Determining whether your snoring is merely annoying, or crosses the threshold into a life-threatening problem, isn't convenient or cheap. The gold standard for diagnosing sleep apnea -- a disease which affects roughly 1 in 13 Americans -- requires an overnight hospital stay and costs thousands of dollars. The patient sleeps in a strange bed, gets hooked up to a tangle of wires, and undergoes an intensive polysomnography test to count how many times a night he or she struggles to breathe. By contrast, a new app developed at the University of Washington uses a smartphone ...

Brain balances perception and action when caught in an illusion

2015-04-27
EUGENE, Ore. -- (April 27, 2015) -- Two wrongs can make a right, at least in the world of visual perception and motor functioning, according to two University of Oregon brain scientists. In a two-experiment study, published last month in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, UO neuroscientists Paul Dassonville and Scott A. Reed used eye-tracker technology in a dark laboratory to test a developing theory about how the brain determines the locations of nearby objects. In a test of perception, 20 students were asked to report whether a line was tilted left or right ...

How to short circuit hunger

2015-04-27
BOSTON - Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight knows that it's no fun to feel hungry. In fact, the drive to tame gnawing hunger pangs can sabotage even the best-intentioned dieter. But how exactly is it that fasting creates these uncomfortable feelings - and consuming food takes them away? Working to unravel the complex wiring system that underlies this intense physiological state, investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health ...

Bizarre 'platypus' dinosaur discovered

2015-04-27
Although closely related to the notorious carnivore Tyrannosaurus rex, a new lineage of dinosaur discovered in Chile is proving to be an evolutionary jigsaw puzzle, as it preferred to graze upon plants. Palaeontologists are referring to Chilesaurus diegosuarezi as a 'platypus' dinosaur because of its extremely bizarre combination of characters that include a proportionally small skull and feet more akin to primitive long-neck dinosaurs. Chilesaurus diegosuarezi is nested within the theropod group of dinosaurs, the dinosaurian group that gathers the famous meat eaters ...
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