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Sun, 23 Oct 2016
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Health & Wellness


Spine, Brain Work Together in Placebo

An area of the spine called the dorsal horn works with the brain to activate the so-called placebo effect, German scientists said.

"We've shown that psychological factors can influence pain at the earliest stage of the central nervous system, in a similar way to drugs like morphine," said researcher Falk Eippert, of the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf.

The placebo effect involves people benefiting from remedies that contain no active pain-relief ingredients. When patients expect a remedy to be effective, the brain releases natural endorphins, which tell the spinal cord to suppress incoming pain signals, Eippert told The Times of London.


Scientists Demonstrate Link between Genetic Defect and Brain Changes in Schizophrenia

For decades, scientists have thought the faulty neural wiring that predisposes individuals to behavioral disorders like autism and psychiatric diseases like schizophrenia must occur during development. Even so, no one has ever shown that a risk gene for the disease actually disrupts brain development.

Now, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine have found that the 22q11 gene deletion a mutation that confers the highest known genetic risk for schizophrenia is associated with changes in the development of the brain that ultimately affect how its circuit elements are assembled.

In studies conducted in mice, the researchers discovered that the genetic lesion alters the number of a critical subset of neurons that end up in the brain's cerebral cortex the region critical to reasoning and memory. The defect also causes another type of nerve cell called GABAergic neurons to be misplaced within the brain's cortical layers, resulting in a subtle miswiring of the organ.


Why Flu Vaccines Do Not Work

There are some interesting parallels between what we ingest and the consistent transformation of the flu virus. With the latest dietary guidelines calling for three servings of low fat or non fat dairy a day, the average family with two kids now consumes more than 85 gallons of milk a year. What the government does not tell you, nor enforces the removal of, is that most milk is filled with carcinogens and antibodies.

Cows ingest dioxins, an industrial by-product and a known carcinogen, when they eat contaminated grass. Milk that is conventionally produced often comes from cows that are raised under disturbing farm conditions in that they may graze on pastures that have been treated with pesticides, herbicides and sewage sludge. When the cattle are not let outside, they feed on dried grass and hay, which may be genetically modified, and fish meal, which may contain PCB's and mercury. Cows in conventional farms are often given antibiotics, even when they are healthy, to prevent them from getting sick.

In some factory farms, thousands of cows are crammed inside barns to allow easy access for milking. Their milk production can be forced beyond normal capacity through Monsanto's synthetic growth hormone called rbST. Studies show that these cows are more susceptible to diseases because their natural life cycle is being distorted.


Natural Substance in Melons Relieves Stress and Fatigue

Is there food that you correlate with stress? A fast food, high calorie meal grabbed at a drive-in restaurant might fill the bill. But the color, smell, juicy sweetness and cool texture of a delicious melon -- whether a cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew or another kind -- conjures up a relaxing scenario. Now scientists have found that a natural substance derived from melons may actually be an antidote to stress.

When most of us say we are experiencing too much stress, we mean we are overloaded with work, personal problems, and life in general. Of course, a certain amount of stress can be stimulating and even exciting. But when we have stressors without a break, a host of symptoms from irritability and an inability to concentrate to a fast heartbeat, headaches and a reduced resistance to infections can develop. So it's not hard to suspect a causal connection between feeling stressed out and showing physical symptoms.

In fact, recent studies have demonstrated a correlation between perceived stress and what scientists call oxidative stress -- a steady state level of oxidative damage in a cell, tissue, or organ caused by the reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS, such as free radicals and peroxides, represent a class of molecules derived from the metabolism of oxygen that has been linked to several diseases, including metastatic breast cancer.


New flu can kill fast, researchers agree

The new H1N1 flu is "strikingly different" from seasonal influenza, killing much younger people than ordinary flu and often killing them very fast, World Health Organization officials said on Friday.

A review of studies done during the seven months the virus has been circulating shows it is usually mild, but can cause unusual and severe symptoms in an unlucky few, according to a WHO-sponsored meeting in Washington this week.

"Participants who have managed such cases agreed that the clinical picture in severe cases is strikingly different from the disease pattern seen during epidemics of seasonal influenza," WHO's Dr. Nikki Shindo told the meeting.


US: Mom Won't Be Forced to Have C-Section

© Szabo Family
Jeff Szabo was there when Joy gave birth to (from left) Gabriel, Michael and Daniel, but will probably miss No. 4.
Jeff Szabo was by his wife's side when she gave birth to their son Gabriel seven years ago, and he was right there holding Joy's hand when their younger sons Michael and Daniel were born, too.

Joy is now eight months pregnant, but when this baby is born, her husband will most likely be more than 300 miles away.

The reason: Their local hospital in Page, Arizona, won't deliver the Szabos' baby vaginally as the Szabos wish, so a week or so before her November 21 due date, Joy will drive 350 miles to be near a hospital in Phoenix that will.

Their local hospital says they'll only deliver the Szabos' baby, another boy, via Caesarean section. Joy had her second son, Michael, by C-section. Page Hospital says it won't do a vaginal birth after a woman has had a C-section -- known as a VBAC -- because it has a higher than usual risk for complications.


Study Sheds New Light On The Nature Of Broca's Area In The Brain

A study by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine reports a significant breakthrough in explaining gaps in scientists' understanding of human brain function. The study - which provides a picture of language processing in the brain with unprecedented clarity - is published in the October 16 issue of the journal Science.

"Two central mysteries of human brain function are addressed in this study: one, the way in which higher cognitive processes such as language are implemented in the brain and, two, the nature of what is perhaps the best-known region of the cerebral cortex, called Broca's area," said first author Ned T. Sahin, PhD, post-doctoral fellow in the UCSD Department of Radiology and Harvard University Department of Psychology.

The study demonstrates that a small piece of the brain can compute three different things at different times - within a quarter of a second - and shows that Broca's area doesn't just do one thing when processing language. The discoveries came through the researchers' use of a rare procedure in which electrodes were placed in the brains of patients. The technique allowed surgeons to know which small region of the brain to remove to alleviate their seizures, while sparing the healthy regions necessary for language. Recordings for research purposes were then made while the patients were awake and responsive. The procedure, called Intra-Cranial Electrophysiology (ICE), allowed the researchers to resolve brain activity related to language with spatial accuracy down to the millimeter and temporal accuracy down to the millisecond.


Low vitamin D raises blood pressure in women: study

Younger white women with vitamin D deficiencies are about three times more likely to have high blood pressure in middle age than those with normal vitamin levels, according to a study released on Thursday.

The study, presented at a meeting of the American Heart Association in Chicago, adds younger women to a growing list of people including men who may develop high blood pressure at least in part because of low vitamin D.

Arrow Up

Body Image Lessons From a Fired-for-Being-Too-Fat Model

Filippa Hamilton wants the world to know that she, a perfect size 4, was fired from Ralph Lauren for being too fat. I'm happy to help the 5-foot-10, 120-pound supermodel spread the word because I think her message is a good one. I heard her on a radio show last night saying she refused to shed pounds for the modeling gig because she knew she was at a healthful weight and didn't want to go lower. (Her body mass index of 17.6 means she's actually already underweight.) In an interview earlier in the day, Hamilton told the Today show's Ann Curry that she decided to go public about her April firing after recently seeing a photo-shopped image of her in a Ralph Lauren ad looking anorexic.
"It's not a good example when you see this picture; every young woman is going to look at it and think that it is normal to look like that. It's not," she told Curry. "I saw my face on this super-extremely skinny girl, which is not me. It makes me sad. It makes me think that Ralph Lauren wants to have this kind of image. It's an American brand...and it's not healthy, and it's not right."

Heart - Black

Physician: Recent Ralph Lauren Advertisement Sends Unrealistic and Possibly Deadly Message to Women of All Ages

Recent Ralph Lauren Advertisement Sends Unrealistic and Possibly Deadly Message to Women of All Ages, Says Medical Director at Timberline Knolls. 'Stop the abuse and violence towards women,' says Kimberly Dennis, M.D., Medical Director at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center.