Health & Wellness
Mon, 14 Jun 2010 14:38 UTC
A study of 1,000 girls found that breast development now begins on average a year earlier than 20 years ago - around the age of nine years and ten months.
The research underlines a long-term trend that has seen the average age at which girls start puberty falling sharply. In the 19th century it was around 15 - six years later than now.
Scientists yesterday spoke of the serious implications for girls' physical and emotional health. There are fears that early puberty could put girls at higher risk of breast cancer and heart disease because of the increased exposure to estrogen.
Fri, 25 Jun 2010 00:00 UTC
Now Canadian researchers have published research in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) journal that explains why certain strains of probiotics are particularly soothing to indigestion related problems. It turns out the probiotic strain Lactobacillus reuteri, which occurs in the gut of many mammals and is found in human breast milk, immediately and directly affects nerves in the gut.
For their study, scientist Wolfgang Kunze of the McMaster Brain-Body Institute and Department of Psychiatry at St. Joseph's Healthcare in Ontario, Canada, and his research team took isolated pieces of small intestine removed from healthy and previously untreated mice. Then they added Lactobacillus reuteri to a warm salt solution which was sent flowing through the lumen, or hollow part, of the intestine. The pressure caused by natural contractions in the intestine sections was measured before, during and after adding the probiotic-containing solution. The scientists tested the electrical activity of single intestinal sensory nerve cells, as well.
Fri, 25 Jun 2010 06:30 UTC
Researchers found that British children were spending double the amount on sugary products, snacks and treats as those living in the United States.
Experts said the findings showed that the government's drive to cut the rate of obesity among children had failed.
Figures published on Thursday found British children spent an average £372 on sweets and chocolates every year, equivalent to about 850 Mars bars.
The research, from Datamonitor, an independent research company, found American children spent just £150 per year on similar treats.
Fri, 25 Jun 2010 00:00 UTC
The researchers tested three groups of people across the U.S. Southeast with a history of recurrent anaphylaxis without known cause for an immune reaction to alpha-gal, a kind of sugar found in mammal meat.
Although most allergic reactions are caused by proteins, scientists recently discovered that alpha-gal is responsible for anaphylactic reactions to cetuximab, a cancer drug. Further studies revealed that people who experience immune responses to alpha-gal also develop allergic symptoms within three to six hours of eating mammalian meat.
Scientists have uncovered new details about brain mechanisms associated with courage.
Israeli researchers used functional MRI to scan brain activity in volunteers as they decided whether to move either a toy bear or a live corn snake closer or farther away from them. Prior to the study, the participants had been classified as "fearful" or "fearless" based on a questionnaire about snake fears.
The scans showed that activity increased in an area of the brain called the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (sgACC) when participants chose to act courageously.
The findings appear in the June 24 issue of the journal Neuron.
People who sleep after processing and storing a memory carry out their intentions much better than people who try to execute their plan before getting to sleep. The researchers have shown that sleep enhances our ability to remember to do something in the future, a skill known as prospective memory.
Moreover, researchers studying the relationship between memory and sleep say that our ability to carry out our intentions is not so much a function of how firmly that intention has been embedded in our memories. Rather, the trigger that helps carry out our intentions is usually a place, situation or circumstance - some context encountered the next day - that sparks the recall of an intended action.
These are the key findings from a study published online this month in Psychological Science of the relationship between memory and sleep. Researchers Michael Scullin, doctoral candidate in psychology, and his adviser, Mark McDaniel, PhD, professor of psychology in Arts & Sciences, are focusing on "prospective memory" - things we intend to do - as opposed to "retrospective memory" - things that have happened in the past.
Medical News Today
Thu, 24 Jun 2010 08:00 UTC
Joshua Davis and Ann Senghas, professors of psychology from Barnard College at Columbia University in New York, and colleagues, wrote about their findings in a paper published online in the journal Emotions on 10 June.
Although it has been over a century since William James, an American pioneer of psychology proposed a theory of emotion that stated unless it can be expressed physically in the body it doesn't really exist, nowadays referred to as the facial feedback hypothesis (FFH), attempts to test it have been inconclusive.
Globe and Mail
Wed, 23 Jun 2010 14:49 UTC
First it was pesticide-covered vegetables. Then it was bisphenol A in baby bottles and phthalate-ridden rubber duckies. Now eco-conscious parents have a new villain to target: sunscreen.
Parents are circulating information from groups such as the Environmental Working Group, which last month released a report slamming most sunscreens because of potentially harmful chemicals such as retinyl palmitate and oxybenzone. They endorsed only 39 of 500 common sunscreens on the market.
In addition to seeking brands without flagged chemicals, Toronto mother Nadine Silverthorne has also downsized the dose she uses on her two children, applying it only on areas likely to burn, such as noses and stroller-exposed knees.
Comment: For more information about the possible link between sunscreen and cancer read the following articles:
Study: Many Sunscreens May Be Accelerating Cancer
More Bad News About Sunscreens: Nanoparticles
Senator asks FDA to Share Data on Possible Sunscreen Chemical-Cancer Link
Study will address sunscreen's possible link to Alzheimer's
There are effects from the oil spill that you can see, like oil washing ashore, and those that you can't, like when oil compounds break down and go airborne. What is unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico is truly a nightmare of epic proportions. And it's going to be a health disaster whose dimensions are growing exponentially behind curtains erected by the federal government. Few people are grasping the magnitude of the Gulf oil tragedy, not grasping the grave consequences for many millions of people and eventually the entire world. It is going to affect not only the livelihoods and employment of locals but will also contribute to the health failure of millions of people. It is so profoundly sad - like watching a loved one with a gunshot to the belly witnessing the blood coming out, but in this case it's the planet belching up black blood and poison gas in huge and very possibly unending quantities.
There's an old adage about not seeing the forest for the trees. It means getting wrapped up in the details of a circumstance and losing appreciation for the big picture. Sometimes we need to step back and look at things from a different perspective. Consider the extraordinary situation in the Gulf. Not that much news coming out of there, no mention of deadly threats but we do know who went to the yacht races last weekend. Life seems almost normal on the front page of the Times or in Yahoo or Google News. Things are stabilizing at the king of pop's mansion, and Obama is personally meeting with a young gay girl who was given a hard time with her prom.
While the situation in the Gulf is grim it will soon get a lot grimmer. There are certain chemicals mixed in with the oil that release toxic gases, finding a way to make it up into the air. Many different gases from hydrogen sulfate to benzene are being released into the air at around 4000 times what it considered safe to humans. As a result of this people are going to become gravely ill. People are going to be poisoned and unfortunately some are going to die. We have already seen breathing problems in the Gulf region and now reports are coming in as far away as Atlanta, Georgia.
Tue, 22 Jun 2010 10:08 UTC
Linda McCauley, dean of the Emory University's school of nursing in Atlanta, said, "It's kind of scary" that the cleanup workers are hired by "the people who are actually at fault" and not the local government, "where we know there can be transparency." She led a panel on health effects of the Gulf spill at a U.S. Institute of Medicine hearing today.
Eight panel members interviewed before the meeting said the U.S. government needs to fund years of monitoring of cleanup workers to adequately assess exposure risks to toxic chemicals as a result of the Gulf of Mexico spill. Several likened the lack of coordination in monitoring to the Sept. 11, 2001, World Trade Center attack when the government failed to foresee health fallout that left thousands with long-term illnesses.