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Fri, 02 Dec 2022
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Anthrax Blamed for Deaths of 8 Afghans

KABUL, Afghanistan - Eight Afghans who ate an infected camel as part of a religious celebration died of what health experts suspect is a rare case of naturally occurring anthrax, officials said Saturday.


Studies show yoga has multiple benefits

©REUTERS/Susana Vera
People take part in a free yoga class at the Parque del Oeste in Madrid September 27, 2007.

Yoga induces a feeling of well-being in healthy people, and can reverse the clinical and biochemical changes associated with metabolic syndrome, according to results of studies from Sweden and India. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure, obesity and high blood sugar.


High-fat, high-carb meals more harmful to obese

©REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
A hamburger is displayed in Hollywood, California October 3, 2007.

Eating a high-fat, high-carb fast food meal produces damaging cellular changes that are greater and longer-lasting in obese people than in normal-weight people, a new study shows.


Rare genetic marker in Choctaw blood

Researchers at the Oklahoma Blood Institute are collecting blood from American Indians to see if a rare genetic marker linked to the Choctaw tribe shows up.

In 1997, researchers in Oklahoma City discovered by accident an antibody, ENAV MNS42 or "Avis," on the walls of red blood cells donated by a Choctaw. Only two other donors, both of Choctaw descent, have been found to carry the antibody, the Tulsa World reported.

OBI Medical Director Dr. James Smith said the finding is significant because it helps the blood bank find blood for patients with the rare antibody.

All three of the Choctaws with the antigen lived in southeastern Oklahoma. The Choctaw Nation has fewer than 200,000 registered members.


Drug helps boost blood-platelets in Hep C

A report in the New England Journal of Medicine says the drug eltrombopag appears to significantly boost platelet counts in hepatitis C patients.

A low blood platelet count is a frequent complication associated with advanced disease, a problem compounded by the fact that standard antiviral treatment for the disease can further reduce platelet numbers to dangerously low levels, Dr. Samuel Sigal of Weill Cornell Medical College said Friday in a release.

Sigal said tests show eltrombopag increased platelet counts, allowing more patients to complete antiviral therapy.


Brain Turns to Positive Thoughts When Faced With Death

When thoughts of death intrude, the human mind isn't paralyzed with negativity or fear. Instead, the brain instinctively moves toward happier notions and images, a new study suggests.

The finding supports the notion that people are stronger, emotionally, when faced with their own or a loved one's death than they may have ever thought possible.

"It again speaks to how resilient humans are and how this tendency to cope with threats is some sort of indicator of mental health," said study co-author Nathan DeWall, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky.

DeWall and co-researcher Roy Baumeister, of Florida State University, published their findings in a recent issue of Psychological Science.


Your Baby is Watching (and Judging) You

Next time the baby shoots you a dirty look, it might not be gas. Instead, the baby might be really disgusted by your behavior.

Interpersonal interaction is a major survival feature of the human species and so it's not surprising that we come hard-wired with the mental power to track relationships. The big news is that we also start very early to track how others play out those rules, even when the interaction has nothing to do with us.

Babies have far more social smarts than we give them credit for. For instance, research on babies has shown for years that they recognize and prefer a human face. Put a Picasso face arrangement - with eyes where the nose should be - in their line of vision and babies look away in disgust. But present them with a real face or a picture of a real face, and they are captivated. Also, as early as 3 weeks of age, a baby can tell the difference between an object and a person, and they prefer the person.


Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Subliminal messages can influence us in surprising ways

Flag waving is a metaphor for stirring up the public towards adopting a more nationalistic, generally hard-line stance. Indeed, "rally 'round the flag" is a venerable expression of this phenomenon.

It comes as some surprise, then, that studies conducted by researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have shown that exposing people to a subliminal image of the national flag had just the opposite fact -- moderating their political attitudes.

Further, the researchers say that their studies indicate that, in general, subliminal messages -- that is, messages that are processed by our brains but never reach our consciousness - do indeed influence explicit attitudes and real-life political behavior, a significant extension to what we know about the effects of non-conscious processes.

The studies, led by cognitive scientist Dr. Ran Hassin of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Psychology Department, show that the subliminal presentation of a national symbol affects not only political attitudes, but also voting intentions and actual voting in general elections.

In an article in the U.S. journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team led by Hassin reported on a set of experiments that examined the effects of the subliminal presentation of the national flag. The experiments involved over 300 participants who were recruited on the Mount Scopus campus of the Hebrew University.


Public Policy Fails to Address the Effects of Media Violence on Children

Highly publicized events such as school shootings arouse public interest in the effects of media violence exposure on children, yet there is still considerable public debate about whether to take this issue seriously. A recent article in Social Issues and Policy Review summarizes the research on the effects of media violence and convincingly demonstrates the profound influence that media violence is having in our society.

The many studies that have been compiled on the effects of viewing media violence show that there are at least 14 scientifically documented effects on children's physiological and psychological well-being, both in the short and long term. Although many different types of studies have been conducted, they converge on the same conclusion: Violent media exposure increases the likelihood of aggressive behavior. Video games are of special concern because their effects may be particularly pronounced.


Terriers Join Fight Against a Killer Disease in Humans

A feisty breed of terrier could stop scientists from barking up the wrong tree as they research a deadly lung disease in humans.

The illness, called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), affects 128,000 Americans, is typically fatal within three years of diagnosis, and kills more than 40,000 people in the United States annually -- a death toll equivalent to that of breast cancer.

A fatal condition that looks remarkably like IPF also strikes the diminutive West Highland White terrier ("Westie"), however. And recently, medical scientists from the human and veterinarian worlds met for the first time to share information and pool resources against a mysterious killer.

"People may be a little startled at first to learn about this idea -- 'You're kidding me, you actually think there's promise in studying this dog to help my Dad with this disease?' And the answer is -- 'Yes'," said Mark Shreve, chief operating officer of the patient advocacy group Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis, based in San Jose, Calif.