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Sun, 28 May 2023
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Health & Wellness


Mother-daughter conflict, low serotonin level may be deadly combination

A combination of negative mother-daughter relationships and low blood levels of serotonin, an important brain chemical for mood stability, may be lethal for adolescent girls, leaving them vulnerable to engage in self-harming behaviors such as cutting themselves.

New University of Washington research indicates that these two factors in combination account for 64 percent of the difference among adolescents, primarily girls, who engage in self-harming behaviors and those who do not.

"Girls who engage in self harm are at high risk for attempting suicide, and some of them are dying," said Theodore Beauchaine, a UW associate professor of psychology and co-author of a new study. "There is no better predictor of suicide than previous suicide attempts."

The paper, co-authored by Sheila Crowell, one of his doctoral students, appears in the current issue of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

Magic Wand

'Long-life' genes found in 100-year-old humans

It's not quite the elixir of life, but researchers have at last identified gene variants that make people live longer. Men may miss out, as all carriers identified so far are women. They are also slightly shorter than average.

"We are moving closer to understanding why some people live longer," says Nir Barzilai of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, New York, US, head of the team that identified the two gene mutations in centenarians of Ashkenazi Jewish descent.

Both mutations affect the receptor for insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1), a driver of bodily growth and maturity, especially during puberty. By making the receptor slightly faulty, the mutations may disrupt IGF1 binding and decelerate the process of maturation and ageing.


Dental patients urged to ask about foreign lab use

In the wake of a Midwestern woman being sickened by lead-tainted dental work that was outsourced to China, consumers are being asked to inquire about the origins of their crowns, veneers, bridges and dentures.

Millions of dental prostheses are being prescribed by dentists in the United States but are made in labs in China, India, the Philippines, Mexico, Eastern Europe, Costa Rica and elsewhere. Many experts are concerned about the outsourcing because raw materials used abroad may not meet U.S. standards.


Oregon holds health insurance lottery

Portland, Oregon -- Oregon is conducting a one-of-a-kind lottery, and the prize is health insurance.

Shirley Krueger
©AP / Greg Wahl-Stephens
Shirley Krueger, who suffers from diabetes, sits in her apartment in Salem, Oregon, Feb. 27, 2008. Krueger, who works part time, signed up on the first day in a one-of-a-kind state lottery for the chance of health insurance coverage.

Comment: In 1948, essentially bankrupt after the Second World War, Britain instituted the National Health Service. Many nations around the world followed suit. However, the US, apparently, doesn't have the resources to provide basic health care for its citizens. What's the real reason for this?


Genes hold the key to how happy we are, scientists say

Happiness in life is as much down to having the right genetic mix as it is to personal circumstances according to a recent study.

Psychologists at the University of Edinburgh working with researchers at Queensland Institute for Medical Research in Australia found that happiness is partly determined by personality traits and that both personality and happiness are largely hereditary.


Three-year study at seven major universities finds strong links between arts education and cognitive development

Learning, Arts, and the Brain, a study three years in the making, is the result of research by cognitive neuroscientists from seven leading universities across the United States. In the Dana Consortium study, released today at a news conference at the Dana Foundation's Washington, DC headquarters, researchers grappled with a fundamental question: Are smart people drawn to the arts or does arts training make people smarter?


Perception coloured by language

Babies and adults use opposite sides of their brains to process colours. And the switch is due to the influence of language, a study suggests.

It is well known that in adults, perception of colour is processed predominantly by the left hemisphere, which is also where most people process language. Studies have shown that the language one speaks can have an impact on the colour one sees.


McDonald's Goes Feng Shui, But Fast Food Is Still Gross

While its décor has been overhauled to inspire good health, McDonald's menu is still larded with the same old artery-clogging animal products.

Red Flag

Independence of CDC Scientists in Question

Insiders Say Health Agency Head Gerberding Drives Away Top Talent, Embitters Employees

Over the past four years, the office at the Centers for Disease Control that is responsible for vaccine safety has undergone numerous leadership changes, internal conflicts and a flight of senior scientists.


Singing starlings and why thousands of babies who should have been boys are being born as girls

Next time you hear a starling sing, stop and listen hard. It may well be warning of a peril that endangers the whole world of nature - and the very future of the human race itself.

For scientists have found that gender-bender chemicals - increasingly contaminating the environment, our food, our water and our bodies - are having a bizarre effect on common birds, causing the males to give voice to longer and more complex songs.

This is only the latest in a long series of increasingly urgent alarms being sounded by wildlife against an insidious but devastating danger that threatens our children.