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Wed, 21 Oct 2020
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Health

The virtues of Vitamin D: It's time we saw the light

It may not be the first supplement to be called a "wonder vitamin", but it is one of the few to have lived up to the name. Last week, the biggest review of the role of vitamin D in health found that people who took supplements of the vitamin for six years reduced their risk of dying from all causes.

Bulb

Shocks as learning reinforcement: How the brain handles surprise, good and bad

Whether it's a mugger or a friend who jumps out of the bushes, you're still surprised. But your response - to flee or to hug - must be very different. Now, researchers have begun to distinguish the circuitry in the brain's emotion center that processes surprise from the circuitry that processes the aversive or reward "valence" of a stimulus.

C. Daniel Salzman and colleagues published their findings in the September 20, 2007 issue of the journal Neuron, published by Cell Press.

Magic Wand

New understanding of basic units of memory

A molecular "recycling plant" permits nerve cells in the brain to carry out two seemingly contradictory functions - changeable enough to record new experiences, yet permanent enough to maintain these memories over time.

The discovery of this molecular recycling plant, detailed in a study appearing early online Sept. 19 in the journal Neuron, provides new insights into how the basic units of learning and memory function. Individual memories are "burned onto" hundreds of receptors that are constantly in motion around nerve synapses - gaps between individual nerve cells crucial for signals to travel throughout the brain.

Health

Common abdominal pain may be due to a potentially treatable newly recognized inflammatory reaction

As many as one in four people in westernized countries experience pain or discomfort in their upper abdomen, and physicians have almost nothing to offer except anti-acid medicines, which usually don't work. Now, in a small but novel study, researchers have found evidence that an abnormal amount of inflammatory cells populates the upper intestine of affected individuals, which suggests a fresh way of understanding the common complaint.

The study, published in the September issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology and conducted by researchers in the U.S., Sweden, England, and Australia, may also point to innovative methods to treat the condition and eliminate discomfort.

Bizarro Earth

Hell on earth: The 10 most polluted places on the planet

Lethal Pollution from old mines, radioactivity and chemicals threaten the lives of millions of people.

©CNN

Magnify

Marijuana Ingredient May Prevent Mad Cow Disease

According to basic research of scientists of the National Centre for Scientific Research in Valbonne, France, cannabidiol (CBD) may prevent the development of prion diseases, the most known being BSE (bovine spongiforme enzephalopathy), which is often called mad cow disease. It is believed that the BSE may be transmitted to human beings. In humans, it is known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Attention

Elderly at Highest Risk for Suicide

Not long after 72-year-old Anne Beale Golsan had retired on disability from her job as a librarian, she put a stack of paid bills out for the mail, hung up a freshly pressed outfit and taped a note to the front of the house. "Don't come in by yourself. Get somebody to come with you. Sorry, Love Beale."

Her niece arrived at the house they shared in Baton Rouge, La., to find police already there. Golsan had killed herself with a gunshot to the head.

©Unknown
Graphic shows elderly suicide rates by state for 1999-2004

Magnify

Blame your genes if your anti-smoking drug won't work: study

If you're a smoker trying to quit, your genes may determine how effectively a common smoking cessation drug will work, a new study suggests.

Attention

Effectiveness of drugs 'overstated because of biased testing'

Pharmaceutical companies are overstating the effectiveness of their drugs, and may be placing patients at greater risk, because animal laboratory studies they fund are biased, it was claimed yesterday.

A survey of nearly 300 animal-test studies involving six different experimental drugs suggested that such flawed methodology is rampant in the drug-testing industry.

Health

Canada records worst year for West Nile

New numbers show Canada is experiencing its worst year for West Nile virus, and as strange as it sounds, one reason could be the lack of a certain type of mosquito.

So far this summer, 1,790 people are known to have become infected with West Nile, compared with the previous record of 1,481 cases in 2003.

©CBC
A wet spring and hot summer in the Prairies provided the perfect breeding ground for the type of mosquitoes that transmit West Nile virus to humans.