Health & WellnessS


Blame your genes for hunger pangs

A genetic abnormality that makes people hungry between meals is behind the problem of obesity among almost 50,000 Britons, say scientists at the University of Cambridge.

The gene mutation prevents approximately one in every 1,000 individuals from identifying the presence of the hormone that normally tells the brain when they have eaten enough.

Scientists say that up to one per cent of obese people find it virtually impossible to diet due to the abnormality in the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that plays a central role in hunger.

Red Flag

Study: The color red impacts achievement

U.S. and German scientists have discovered the color red can affect how people function, keeping them from performing at their best on tests.

University of Rochester and University of Munich researchers looking at the effect of red on intellectual performance found if test takers are aware of even a hint of red, their performance will be affected to a significant degree.

University of Rochester psychology Professor Andrew Elliot, lead author of the research, said investigators found when people see even a flash of red before being tested, they associate the color with mistakes and failures. In turn, they do poorly on the test.

Life Preserver

Sleep deprivation affects moral judgment

Research has shown that bad sleep can adversely affect a person's physical health and emotional well-being. However, the amount of sleep one gets can also influence his or her decision-making. A study published in the March 1st issue of the journal SLEEP finds that sleep deprivation impairs the ability to integrate emotion and cognition to guide moral judgments.

The study, conducted by William D.S. Killgore, PhD, and colleagues at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, was focused on 26 healthy adults, who made judgments about the "appropriateness" of various courses of action in response to three types of moral dilemmas on two separate occasions: at rested baseline and again following 53 hours of continuous wakefulness.

Compared to baseline, sleep deprivation resulted in significantly longer response latencies (suggesting greater difficulty deciding upon a course of action) for moral personal dilemmas.


Severe PTSD Damages Children's Brains, Study Shows

Severe stress can damage a child's brain, say researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. The researchers found that children with post-traumatic stress disorder and high levels of the stress hormone cortisol were likely to experience a decrease in the size of the hippocampus - a brain structure important in memory processing and emotion.

Although similar effects have been seen in animal studies, this is the first time the findings have been replicated in children. The researchers focused on kids in extreme situations to better understand how stress affects brain development.

"We're not talking about the stress of doing your homework or fighting with your dad," said Packard Children's child psychiatrist Victor Carrion, MD. "We're talking about traumatic stress. These kids feel like they're stuck in the middle of a street with a truck barreling down at them."


Bird flu breakthrough could halt pandemic says expert

Hong Kong - Researchers in the United States believe they have found an easily-produced vaccine for the killer H5N1 bird flu that could halt a feared pandemic, a media report said Monday.

Dr David Ho of the Aaron Diamond Aids Research Centre in New York says the vaccine would be "easy to produce, fast to produce and as broadly protective as possible", according to Hong Kong's South China Morning Post newspaper.


Programmed For Obesity: Early Exposure To Common Chemicals Can Permanently Alter Metabolic System

Obesity is generally discussed in terms of caloric intake (how much a person eats) and energy output (how much a person exercises). However, according to a University of Missouri-Columbia scientist, environmental chemicals found in everyday plastics and pesticides also may influence obesity. Frederick vom Saal, professor of biological sciences in MU's College of Arts and Science, has found that when fetuses are exposed to these chemicals, the way their genes function may be altered to make them more prone to obesity and disease.


How common viruses can turn cells cancerous

Common viruses may play a bigger role in cancer than anyone thought.

It is well known that certain viruses can trigger specific cancers. Human papillomavirus, for example, causes around 93 per cent of cancers of the cervix. Now Dominik Duelli and Yuri Lazebnik at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York and colleagues have found evidence for how they might do it.

During tumour development, the chromosomes of affected cells often become wildly rearranged, but no one knew why. Duelli and Lazebnik suspected that cell fusion - when two or more cells unite by merging membranes - might be to blame. Several common viruses can initiate this process.

Evil Rays

A drug to fend off radiation

Emergency workers attending the scene of a "dirty" bomb or nuclear blast could soon have a drug to help protect them.

People exposed to radioactive material often die weeks later of acute radiation syndrome, as blood cells vital to clotting and fighting infection die off, and bone marrow cells killed by radiation cannot replace them. There is currently no preventive treatment.

Hollis-Eden Pharmaceuticals of San Diego, California, now reports that 5-androstenediol (AED), an adrenal gland hormone that stimulates marrow-cell growth, cuts the death rate among monkeys exposed to 6 grays of radiation - usually enough to kill 32 per cent of them - to 12 per cent, mainly by boosting blood platelets (International Immunopharmacology, vol 7, p 500).


Busy Intersections Invite People To Walk More

People are more likely to go for a walk in areas with four-way intersections and a large number of shops and businesses as possible destinations, a large new study finds.

The study examined pedestrian trips in 10 major U.S. cities to determine to what extent urban design guidelines increase walking.

Only two of four smart growth criteria investigated held up as reasons for walking the presence of four-way intersections and a diverse business environment.

The other two housing density and the length of a city block did not appear to have any impact on the probability of walking, the study found.

Evil Rays

DU in Hawai'i

While weapons made with depleted uranium can penetrate any substance known to man, the issues surrounding the use of this radioactive, heavy metal are having a much harder time sinking in.

Here in Hawai'i, Linda Faye Kroll is a retired nurse who has dedicated her life to educating the public about the dangers of military toxics. When Representative Josh Green introduced H.B. 1452 this legislative session, he created a forum for Kroll and others to voice their concerns.

Comment: Our planet is small. DU is very likely everywhere at this point - those who run the most powerful military on the planet do so with tons of poison that will affect life on this planet for hundreds and thousands of years to come. When a pathocracy is the sole superpower on a planet, there is nowhere to go but down.