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Rehospitalization in younger patients

2014-09-30
Older adults often are readmitted after hospitalization for heart failure, pneumonia, and acute myocardial infarction, a significant issue that has caused Medicare to target hospitals with high 30-day readmission rates for financial penalties. Older adults are also often admitted for reasons other than the original hospitalization. This vulnerability to readmission has been referred to as "post-hospital syndrome." However, whether younger patients also experience a similar pattern of readmission has not been well studied. In a large cohort study, Isuru Ranasinghe and ...

Diuretics in proton pump inhibitor-associated hypomagnesemia

2014-09-30
Proton pump inhibitor (PPI) therapy is associated with hospitalization for hypomagnesemia, particularly among patients also receiving diuretics, according to research published this week in PLOS Medicine. The study, conducted by David Juurlink of the University of Toronto and colleagues, suggests that physicians reconsider long-term PPI therapy for patients with a diagnosis of hypomagnesemia or concurrent use of diuretics. Roughly 145 million prescriptions for PPI are dispensed in the United States annually for acid-related disorders such as dyspepsia and gastroesophageal ...

At dusk and dawn: Scientists pinpoint biological clock's synchronicity

2014-09-30
Scientists have uncovered how pacemaker neurons are synchronized at dusk and dawn in order to maintain the proper functioning of their biological clocks. Their findings, which appear in the journal PLOS Biology, enhance our understanding of how sleep-wake cycles are regulated and offer promise for addressing related afflictions. "We've known for some time that the time-keeping of our biological clocks is a complex enterprise," says New York University's Justin Blau, a professor of biology and neural science and one of the study's co-authors. "But our results offer new ...

How dinosaur arms turned into bird wings

2014-09-30
Although we now appreciate that birds evolved from a branch of the dinosaur family tree, a crucial adaptation for flight has continued to puzzle evolutionary biologists. During the millions of years that elapsed, wrists went from straight to bent and hyperflexible, allowing birds to fold their wings neatly against their bodies when not flying. How this happened has been the subject of much debate, with substantial disagreement between developmental biologists, who study how the wings of modern birds develop in the growing embryo, and palaeontologists who study the bones ...

Study shows how chimpanzees share skills

Study shows how chimpanzees share skills
2014-09-30
Evidence of new behaviour being adopted and transmitted socially from one individual to another within a wild chimpanzee community is publishing on September 30 in the open access journal PLOS Biology. This is the first instance of social learning recorded in the wild. Scientists from University of St Andrews, University of Neuchâtel, Anglia Ruskin University, and Université du Quebec studied the spread of two novel tool-use behaviours among the Sonso chimpanzee community living in Uganda's Budongo Forest. Dr Catherine Hobaiter, Lecturer in Psychology at the University ...

Boys and girls who've had a traumatic brain injury differ in rates of harmful behavior

2014-09-30
TORONTO, Sept. 30, 2014 – Teenagers who said they had a traumatic brain injury in their lifetime, especially girls, also reported significantly higher rates of harmful behavior, according to new research. The study looked at 13 harmful health behaviours –such as contemplating suicide, smoking marijuana or binge drinking– among 9,288 Ontario students between Grades 7 and 12. "Both boys and girls were more likely to engage in a variety of harmful behaviours if they reported a history of TBI, but girls engaged in all 13 harmful behaviours we looked for, whereas boys were ...

Blades of grass inspire advance in organic solar cells

Blades of grass inspire advance in organic solar cells
2014-09-30
AMHERST, Mass. – Using a bio-mimicking analog of one of nature's most efficient light-harvesting structures, blades of grass, an international research team led by Alejandro Briseno of the University of Massachusetts Amherst has taken a major step in developing long-sought polymer architecture to boost power-conversion efficiency of light to electricity for use in electronic devices. Briseno, with colleagues and graduate students at UMass Amherst and others at Stanford University and Dresden University of Technology, Germany, report in the current issue of Nano Letters ...

Comprehensive Study of allergic deaths in US finds medications are main culprit

2014-09-30
September 30, 2014—(BRONX, NY)—Medications are the leading cause of allergy-related sudden deaths in the U.S., according to an analysis of death certificates from 1999 to 2010, conducted by researchers at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. The study, published online today in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, also found that the risk of fatal drug-induced allergic reactions was particularly high among older people and African-Americans and that such deaths increased significantly in the U.S. in recent ...

The cultural side of science communication

2014-09-30
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Do we think of nature as something that we enjoy when we visit a national park and something we need to "preserve?" Or do we think of ourselves as a part of nature? A bird's nest is a part of nature, but what about a house? The answers to these questions reflect different cultural orientations. They are also reflected in our actions, our speech and in cultural artifacts. A new Northwestern University study, in partnership with the University of Washington, the American Indian Center of Chicago and the Menominee tribe of Wisconsin, focuses on science ...

Rating the planet's oceans

Rating the planets oceans
2014-09-30
The most comprehensive assessment conducted by the Ocean Health Index rates the Earth's oceans at 67 out of 100 in overall health. In addition, for the first time, the report assessed the Antarctic and the 15 ocean regions beyond national jurisdiction (high-seas areas) — all critical regions for maintaining a healthy climate, safeguarding biodiversity and providing sustainable food sources. In the third annual update of the index, a partnership led by scientists from UC Santa Barbara's National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) and Conservation International ...

New diagnostic approach for autism in Tanzania

New diagnostic approach for autism in Tanzania
2014-09-30
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Autism is no stranger to the children of Tanzania. What is rare in the East African nation is access to clinical services, including reliable diagnosis and evidence-based treatments. There is no autism diagnostic measure, for example, validated for use in Swahili, a major language of the region. In a small new study, however, researchers at Brown University and the University of Georgia (UGA) describe a culturally compatible diagnostic approach that they implemented at two sites in the country and found to be effective for making diagnoses. The ...

This week from AGU: Measuring Antarctic ice loss, Indian Ocean program, Oregon landslides

This week from AGU: Measuring Antarctic ice loss, Indian Ocean program, Oregon landslides
2014-09-30
This week from AGU: Measuring Antarctic ice loss, Indian Ocean program, Oregon landslides From AGU's blogs: Scientists use fiber-optic cables to measure ice loss in Antarctic Researchers installed moorings containing fiber-optic cables hundreds of meters down into the McMurdo Ice Shelf in West Antarctica to collect temperature information about the base of the ice shelf, where the thick platform of floating ice meets the ocean. The sensors were able to measure mere millimeters of ice loss at the interface, demonstrating that the new fiber-optic method could be ...

Depression increasing across the country

2014-09-30
SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Sept. 30, 2014)— A study by San Diego State University psychology professor Jean M. Twenge shows Americans are more depressed now than they have been in decades. Analyzing data from 6.9 million adolescents and adults from all over the country, Twenge found that Americans now report more psychosomatic symptoms of depression, such as trouble sleeping and trouble concentrating, than their counterparts in the 1980s. "Previous studies found that more people have been treated for depression in recent years, but that could be due to more awareness and less ...

Disease decoded: Gene mutation may lead to development of new cancer drugs

2014-09-30
ANN ARBOR—The discovery of a gene mutation that causes a rare premature aging disease could lead to the development of drugs that block the rapid, unstoppable cell division that makes cancer so deadly. Scientists at the University of Michigan and the U-M Health System recently discovered a protein mutation that causes the devastating disease dyskeratosis congenita, in which precious hematopoietic stem cells can't regenerate and make new blood. People with DC age prematurely and are prone to cancer and bone marrow failure. But the study findings reach far beyond the ...

New guidelines for treatment of hypothyroidism endorse current therapy

2014-09-30
WASHINGTON (Sept. 30, 2014) — Levothyroxine is considered the gold standard therapy for an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism), and a new review of therapies for the condition — including combining levothyroxine with another agent — has not altered that assessment, say a team of investigators. 1Their analysis, published as a set of guidelines in the journal Thyroid, finds insufficient consistent data exist to recommend a change in use of levothyroxine — whether generic, or sold under various trade names, such as Synthroid® — as the only drug needed to treat hypothyroidism. "Levothyroxine ...

A new dimension for integrated circuits: 3-D nanomagnetic logic

A new dimension for integrated circuits: 3-D nanomagnetic logic
2014-09-30
This news release is available in German. Electrical engineers at the Technische Universität München (TUM) have demonstrated a new kind of building block for digital integrated circuits. Their experiments show that future computer chips could be based on three-dimensional arrangements of nanometer-scale magnets instead of transistors. As the main enabling technology of the semiconductor industry – CMOS fabrication of silicon chips – approaches fundamental limits, the TUM researchers and collaborators at the University of Notre Dame are exploring "magnetic computing" ...

Medicaid and Uninsured patients obtain new patient appointments most easily at FQHCs

2014-09-30
PHILADELPHIA – Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) granted new patient appointments to Medicaid beneficiaries and uninsured patients at higher rates than other primary care practices (non-FQHCs), in addition to charging less for visits, according to results of a new 10-state University of Pennsylvania study published this month in Medical Care. Using data from a previous "secret shopper" study conducted in 2012 and 2013, the investigators found that FQHCs — community health clinics that receive federal funding to provide primary care access to underserved populations ...

UCI study uncovers important process for immune system development

2014-09-30
Irvine, Calif., Sept. 30, 2014 — Research by UC Irvine immunologists reveals new information about how our immune system functions, shedding light on a vital process that determines how the body's ability to fight infection develops. In the online version of Nature Immunology, neurology professor Dr. Michael Demetriou, postdoctoral scholar Raymond Zhou and other Institute for Immunology colleagues describe a critical mechanism underlying how T cells are created, selected and released into the bloodstream. A T cell is a type of blood cell called a lymphocyte that protects ...

Expect 6,000 more Australian deaths if pollution rises to 'safe' threshold

2014-09-30
The National Environment Protection Measures (NEPM) has set maximum daily limits, or 'standards', for six key outdoor pollutants, which QUT's Associate Professor Adrian Barnett says many authorities wrongly assume to be 'safe' thresholds for health. To test that assumption, Professor Barnett calculated what the health effects would be if the current average levels of five of those pollutants across Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane were to rise to just below the NEPM 'safe' standards. "I've found that increasing pollution levels to just below the NEPM standards would cause ...

How to predict who will suffer the most from stress

2014-09-30
Montreal, September 30, 2014 — More than 23 per cent of Canadians report being stressed or very stressed on most days. While chronic stress increases the risk of poor mental and physical health, not everyone is affected the same way. Some cope well, but for others — especially those most likely to sweat the small stuff — chronic stress can be harmful. Thankfully, new research from Concordia University has found a way to identify those most susceptible to stress. That's a huge help for healthcare professionals working to stop stress before it gets out of control. The ...

Antioxidant found in grapes uncorks new targets for acne treatment

Antioxidant found in grapes uncorks new targets for acne treatment
2014-09-30
Got grapes? UCLA researchers have demonstrated how resveratrol, an antioxidant derived from grapes and found in wine, works to inhibit growth of the bacteria that causes acne. The team also found that combining resveratrol with a common acne medication, benzoyl peroxide, may enhance the drug's ability to kill the bacteria and could translate into new treatments. Published in the current online edition of the journal Dermatology and Therapy, the early lab findings demonstrated that resveratrol and benzoyl peroxide attack the acne bacteria, called Propionibacterium acnes, ...

New hypothyroidism treatment guidelines from American Thyroid Association

New hypothyroidism treatment guidelines from American Thyroid Association
2014-09-30
New Rochelle, NY, September 30, 2014—Levothyroxine (L-T4), long the standard of care for treating hypothyroidism, is effective in most patients, but some individuals do not regain optimal health on L-T4 monotherapy. New knowledge about thyroid physiology may help to explain these differences. An expert task force of the American Thyroid Association on thyroid hormone replacement reviewed the latest studies on L-T4 therapy and on alternative treatments to determine whether a change to the current standard of care is appropriate, and they present their recommendations in ...

High-speed drug screen

2014-09-30
CAMBRIDGE, MA -- MIT engineers have devised a way to rapidly test hundreds of different drug-delivery vehicles in living animals, making it easier to discover promising new ways to deliver a class of drugs called biologics, which includes antibodies, peptides, RNA, and DNA, to human patients. In a study appearing in the journal Integrative Biology, the researchers used this technology to identify materials that can efficiently deliver RNA to zebrafish and also to rodents. This type of high-speed screen could help overcome one of the major bottlenecks in developing disease ...

US military making progress reducing stigma tied to seeking help for mental illness

2014-09-30
The U.S. Department of Defense has made progress in reducing the stigma associated with seeking help for mental illnesses such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, but more improvement is still needed, according to a new RAND Corporation study. Despite efforts of both the Defense Department and the Veterans Health Administration to enhance mental health services, many service members still do not seek needed care for mental health problems. Defense officials have made a concerted effort to promote treatment as a way to reduce stigma, according to the study. ...

Laser-guided sea monkeys show how zooplankton migrations may affect global ocean currents

Laser-guided sea monkeys show how zooplankton migrations may affect global ocean currents
2014-09-30
WASHINGTON, D.C., September 30, 2014--Sea monkeys have captured the popular attention of both children and aquarium hobbyists because of their easily observable life cycle -- sold as dehydrated eggs, these tiny brine shrimp readily hatch, develop and mate given little more than a tank of salt water. Physicists, though, are interested in a shorter-term pattern: Like other zooplankton, brine shrimp vertically migrate in large groups in response to changing light conditions, coming closer to the surface at night and retreating deeper during the day. Two researchers at ...
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