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Tue, 18 Jan 2022
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Syringe

Jabbed by fear: Thousands exposed to Hep A in Calgary, Canada

Thousands of Calgarians are at risk of contracting hepatitis A after a food-handler at a southeast McDonald's tested positive for the disease.

Comment: As the website Vaccination Information and Choice Network says, "Make an informed choice."


Bulb

Recognizing someone's name but forgetting how you met them is all in your head

New research from The University of Western Ontario suggests the sometimes eerie feeling experience when recognizing someone, yet failing to remember how or why, reveals important insight into how memory is wired in the human brain.

In research published recently in one of the world's most-cited multidisciplinary scientific publications, "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA," Western psychology graduate student Ben Bowles and psychology professor Stefan Köhler have found that this feeling of familiarity during recognition relies on a distinct brain mechanism and does not simply reflect a weak form of memory.

Magic Wand

Study reveals how the brain generates the human tendency for optimism

A neural network that may generate the human tendency to be optimistic has been identified by researchers at New York University. As humans, we expect to live longer and be more successful than average, and we underestimate our likelihood of getting a divorce or having cancer. The results, reported in the most recent issue of Nature, link the optimism bias to the same brain regions that show irregularities in depression.

The study was conducted by a team of researchers from the laboratory of NYU Professor Elizabeth Phelps. The lead author is Tali Sharot, now a post-doctoral fellow at University College London.

Clock

Daylight savings time disrupts humans' natural circadian rhythm

When people living in many parts of the world move their clocks forward one hour in the spring in observance of daylight saving time (DST), their bodies' internal, daily rhythms don't adjust with them, reports a new study appearing online on October 25th in Current Biology, a publication of Cell Press. The finding suggests that this regular time change - practiced by a quarter of the human population - represents a significant seasonal disruption, raising the possibility that DST may have unintended effects on other aspects of human physiology, according to the researchers.

"When we implement small changes into a biological system which by themselves seem trivial, their effects, when viewed in a broader context, may have a much larger impact than we had thought," said Till Roenneberg of Ludwig-Maximilian-University in Munich, Germany. "It is much too early to say whether DST has a serious long-term impact on health, but our results indicate that we should consider this seriously and do a lot more research on the phenomenon."

Ambulance

Deaths from superbug soaring

Deaths caused by the hospital superbug Clostridium difficile have soared by more than 60 per cent in Scotland in a single year, according to shocking new figures.

The bug, whose spread has been linked to poor cleanliness in hospital wards, was the main cause of death of 164 people last year - up from 100 in 2005. C difficile was also a contributing factor in the deaths of a further 253 people, statistics from the General Register Office for Scotland revealed.

Ambulance

New lethal superbug found in Scottish hospitals

A VIRTUALLY untreatable new superbug has been found in Scotland for the first time after causing death and panic in hospitals in the US and England.

Eleven patients have tested positive for the presence of multi-antibiotic-resistant Acinetobacter, which - unlike MRSA - can only be treated with one medicine.

Health chiefs believe the new superbug is now present throughout Scotland and it is only a matter of time before it mutates into a particularly deadly form which does not respond to any known antibiotic.

Red Flag

Mystery virus puzzles health officials; kills more than 300 people, most of them children

HEALTH DEPARTMENT officials are a puzzled lot these days as identification of the mysterious virus, which has killed over 300 people and infected around 1,800 people mostly children, remains a distant dream. The virus continues to be on the prowl in eastern and western Uttar Pradesh even eight months after it started infecting people.

Health

Possible Physical Origin Of Alzheimer's Disease

For some time, scientists have blamed Alzheimer's disease on a small molecule called amyloid beta protein (A beta) that leaves large gummy deposits in the brain. Recent studies suggest that these A beta proteins stick together to form floating toxic clumps that kill brain cells. Now, UCLA scientists have identified a tiny loop in A beta as the likely culprit behind the adhesion process.

©University of California
Amyloid Protein Loop. Broken red lines indicate a loop in the amyloid B-protein that enables it to attach to other proteins and form clumps that kill brain cells.

Attention

Scientists discover how gold eases pain of arthritis

Scientists at Duke University Medical Center may have solved the mystery surrounding the healing properties of gold - a discovery they say may renew interest in gold salts as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.

Comment: HMGB1 is an interesting little molecule that likes to get involved in all sorts of DNA-related processes.

National Center for Biotechnology Information has more information here but allow us to cite a few examples:
- DNA repair
- anti-apoptosis (which means preventing pre-programmed cell death)
- establishment and maintenance of the basic structure of chromosomes
- receptor signal transduction

Do we really want to inhibit such a helpful molecule?


Info

Social stress + darkness = increased anxiety

Just in time for Halloween, researchers are releasing new data that show darkness increases the impact of social stress, in an article scheduled for publication in the November 15th issue of Biological Psychiatry. As children and adults alike gear up for the anticipation and excitement of this "spooky" holiday, this study lends a further understanding to our inherent fear of the dark.

Grillon and colleagues at the National Institute of Mental Health sought to examine whether stress increases unconditioned fear in humans. To do this, they measured the startle reflex of healthy volunteers in either light or dark conditions, and after either a socially stressful situation of public speaking, or after a period of relaxation. The startle response is a sensitive tool for measuring anxiety levels, and in this study, was measured when volunteers were presented with white noise stimuli via headphones. The authors found that the startle response was boosted when the volunteers were in complete darkness, and this effect was more pronounced after the stressor.