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Fosomax-type drugs linked to jaw necrosis

Study is among first to link short term drug use for osteoporosis to bone death.

Researchers at the University Of Southern California, School Of Dentistry release results of clinical data that links oral bisphosphonates to increased jaw necrosis. The study is among the first to acknowledge that even short-term use of common oral osteoporosis drugs may leave the jaw vulnerable to devastating necrosis, according to the report appearing in the January 1 Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA).
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Bright Lights, Not-So-Big Pupils

A team of Johns Hopkins neuroscientists has worked out how some newly discovered light sensors in the eye detect light and communicate with the brain.

These light sensors are a small number of nerve cells in the retina that contain melanopsin molecules. Unlike conventional light-sensing cells in the retina - rods and cones - melanopsin-containing cells are not used for seeing images; instead, they monitor light levels to adjust the body's clock and control constriction of the pupils in the eye, among other functions.

"These melanopsin-containing cells are the only other known photoreceptor besides rods and cones in mammals, and the question is, 'How do they work?'" says Michael Do, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in neuroscience at Hopkins. "We want to understand some fundamental information, like their sensitivity to light and their communication to the brain."
Green Light

Why We Take Risks - It's the Dopamine

dopamine
© Ken Fisher / Stone / Getty
Risk-taking, by definition, defies logic. Reason can't explain why people do unpredictable things - like betting on blackjack or jumping out of planes - for little or, sometimes, no reward at all. There's the thrill, of course, but those brief moments of ecstasy aren't enough to keep most risk takers coming back for more - which they do, again and again, like addicts.

A new study by researchers at Vanderbilt University in Nashville and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City suggests a biological explanation for why certain people tend to live life on the edge - it involves the neurotransmitter dopamine, the brain's feel-good chemical.
Health

Women Double Fruit, Veggie Intake With Switch To Mediterranean Diet Plan

In a new study led by the University of Michigan Health System, women more than doubled their fruit and vegetable intakes and dramatically increased their consumption of "good" fats when they were counseled by registered dietitians and provided with a list of guidelines on the amount of certain foods they should eat each day.

The six-month study of 69 women divided the participants into two groups. In one group, registered dietitians used an "exchange list" of foods that are common in a Mediterranean diet to make a plan for each participant. The new plan maintained the caloric and total fat intakes that the participants consumed at the beginning of the study.

The list included suggested servings, or exchanges, of several categories of foods - such as dark green vegetables, such as spinach, or high-monounsaturated fats, such olive oil. The dietitians also provided counseling on the telephone to help the participants to make the dietary changes, as well as in-person sessions at the start of the study and three months later.

Women in the comparison group continued their usual diet and did not receive any dietary counseling, though they were offered one free dietary counseling session after they completed their part in the study. If their intake of any vitamin or mineral was less than two-thirds of the recommended levels, they were given a list of foods that are rich in that nutrient. They also were given the National Cancer Institute's "Action Guide to Healthy Eating."
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Blood Sugar Linked To Normal Cognitive Aging

Cerebral blood volume (CBV) maps
© Columbia University Medical Center
Cerebral blood volume (CBV) maps are shown for a subject with diabetes. Maps are color-coded with warmer colors indicating greater CBV or activity.
Maintaining blood sugar levels, even in the absence of disease, may be an important strategy for preserving cognitive health, suggests a study published by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC).

Senior moments, also dubbed by New York Times Op-Ed columnist David Brooks as being "hippocampically challenged," are a normal part of aging. Such lapses in memory, according to this new research, could be blamed, at least in part, on rising blood glucose levels as we age. The findings suggest that exercising to improve blood sugar levels could be a way for some people to stave off the normal cognitive decline that comes with age.

"This is news even for people without diabetes since blood glucose levels tend to rise as we grow older. Whether through physical exercise, diet or drugs, our research suggests that improving glucose metabolism could help some of us avert the cognitive slide that occurs in many of us as we age," reported lead investigator Scott A. Small, M.D., associate professor of neurology in the Sergievsky Center and in the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain at Columbia University Medical Center.
Health

Family Rejection Of Lesbian, Gay And Bisexual Children Linked To Poor Health In Childhood

For the first time, researchers have established a clear link between family rejection of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) adolescents and negative health outcomes in early adulthood.

A new paper, authored by Caitlin Ryan, PhD, Director of the Family Acceptance Project and her team at the César E. Chávez Institute at San Francisco State University, shows that negative parental behaviors toward LGB children dramatically compromises their health. The discovery has far reaching implications for changing how families relate to their LGB children and how a wide range of providers serve LGB youth across systems of care.

"For the first time, research has established a predictive link between specific, negative family reactions to their child's sexual orientation and serious health problems for these adolescents in young adulthood such as depression, illegal drug use, risk for HIV infection, and suicide attempts," said Ryan, who is the lead author of the paper. "The new body of research we are generating will help develop resources, tools and interventions to strengthen families, prevent homelessness, reduce the proportion of youth in foster care and significantly improve the lives of LGBT young people and their families."
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Scientists Pull Protein's Tail To Curtail Cancer

When researchers look inside human cancer cells for the whereabouts of an important tumor-suppressor, they often catch the protein playing hooky, lolling around in cellular broth instead of muscling its way out to the cells' membranes and foiling cancer growth.

This phenomenon of delinquency puzzled scientists for a long time - until a cell biologist in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine felt compelled to genetically grab the protein by the tail and then watched as it got back to work at tamping down disease.

"It was curious that when we removed its tail, the protein suddenly was unhindered and moved out to the membrane and became active," says Meghdad Rahdar, a graduate student in pharmacology.

The discovery, published Dec. 15 online at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, represents a potential new approach to cancer therapy, according to Peter Devreotes, Ph.D., professor and director of cell biology at Johns Hopkins.

"A long-term goal is to find a drug that does the equivalent of our bit of genetic engineering," he says.
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Celebrities are Smarter than "Skeptical Scientists" When it Comes to Health Literacy

The science "skeptics" are at it again, attacking the credibility of celebrities who they say demonstrate astonishing levels of scientific illiteracy. Barack Obama, Oprah, Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Kate Moss and Julianne Moore have all been labeled scientifically illiterate by the UK non-profit Sense About Science, which you'll learn more on below.
Health

Researchers unlock secrets of 1918 flu pandemic

Researchers have found out what made the 1918 flu pandemic so deadly -- a group of three genes that lets the virus invade the lungs and cause pneumonia.

They mixed samples of the 1918 influenza strain with modern seasonal flu viruses to find the three genes and said their study might help in the development of new flu drugs.

The discovery, published in Tuesday's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could also point to mutations that might turn ordinary flu into a dangerous pandemic strain.

Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin and colleagues at the Universities of Kobe and Tokyo in Japan used ferrets, which develop flu in ways very similar to humans.

Comment: Read the section on the pandemic threat in October's Connecting the Dots: Towards the New World Order with the Men who Count the Votes

Family

Giving can change your mind

Why would any rational American give to a charity this year? The economy is staggering. We lost half a million jobs in November alone. Home foreclosures are at record highs.

And while Washington may be wrapping up great piles of economic stimulus and rescue packaging for the holidays (with endless sheets of our best green paper), the rest of us are winding up a little ... short. Grumpy, even.

Meanwhile, charities and social services groups are facing enormous budget shortfalls just as demand for their services is accelerating.

But here's a surprising paradox. Even in the midst of a financial crisis - just when it seems that everybody should be out for themselves - the single most self-indulgent thing you can do is give.

A bit of time. A little money. Something, anything to a cause you care about.

Here's why.
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