Welcome to Sott.net
Thu, 22 Oct 2020
The World for People who Think

Health & Wellness
Map

Bulb

Bird Song Study Gives Clues to Human Stuttering

Researchers at the Methodist Neurological Institute (NI) in Houston and Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City used functional MRI to determine that songbirds have a pronounced right-brain response to the sound of songs, establishing a foundational study for future research on songbird models of speech disorders such as stuttering, as reported today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A.

This is the first functional MRI study to determine how vocal sounds are represented within the brain of an awake zebra finch, a well-studied animal model of vocal learning. Because of many similarities between birdsong and human speech, this research could lead to a better understanding of the cause of stuttering and other speech problems.

By using specifically-tailored high-resolution fMRI in awake, mildly sedated zebra finches, scientists were able to look at the activity in the entire avian brain during song stimulation.

"While we found that both sides of the brain were activated by sounds in the songbirds, our research showed that the right side of their brains discriminated sounds better," said Santosh A. Helekar, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the paper. Helekar is associate research professor of neuroscience at the Methodist NI and Weill Cornell. "If we can link what we find in birds to what we already know about human brains, then we could better understand the causes of speech disorders and, in the long-run, be able to provide treatments to patients."

Health

Alzheimer's cases around the world to quadruple by 2050

A "global epidemic" of Alzheimer's disease could take hold by 2050 with the number affected set to quadruple, experts predicted yesterday.

The number of people living with the condition, which is estimated at 26 million worldwide, will grow to more than 106 million by 2050, with about half of them needing high-level care, the researchers said. The Alzheimer's Society said that about 1.7 million people will be living with the condition in the UK by 2050.

There are currently 700,000 people with dementia in the UK and 60,000 people die from it every year.

Health

21 people exposed to rabies in B.C. community

Twenty-one people in Maple Ridge are being vaccinated for rabies after a cat in the Lower Mainland city was diagnosed with the disease.

It's the first confirmed case of rabies in a domestic animal in B.C. since 1969, say health officials, who suspect the cat was bitten by a bat.

Health

Agent Orange exposure tied to ills in Vietnam vets

Vietnam veterans who sprayed the herbicides like Agent Orange decades ago in Vietnam are at an increased risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and chronic breathing problems, a new study shows.

Agent Orange, a weed killer containing dioxin, was widely used during the Vietnam War, Dr. Han K. Kang of the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, DC and colleagues note in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. Overall, two thirds of the herbicides used during the conflict contained dioxin.

Attention

Two new cases of human H5N1 infection registered in Vietnam

Health authorities in Vietnam said Tuesday two new cases of the lethal H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus have been registered in the country.

The head of Vietnam's Health Ministry's disease prevention department, Nguyen Huy Nga, told journalists two women in the country's north had contracted the virus, which makes the total number of cases registered in Vietnam this year four.

Reports in May said poultry, mainly unvaccinated ducks that died before reaching three months, had also been found to be infected with the H5N1 strain in five provinces.

Authorities in Vietnam say more than 100 million birds have so far been vaccinated, but fears of the disease spreading around the country still remains.

Light Saber

Vaccine-autism battle shifts to federal court

For more than a decade, families across the country have been warring with the medical establishment over their claims that routine childhood vaccines are responsible for the nation's apparent epidemic of autism. In an extraordinary proceeding that begins today, the battle will move from the ivory tower to the courts.

Nearly 5,000 families will seek to convince a special "vaccine court" in Washington that the vaccines can cause healthy and outgoing children to withdraw into uncommunicative, autistic shells - even though a large body of evidence and expert opinion has found no link.

Ambulance

TB death: Colorado woman could have had disease more than four months

A college student who died of tuberculosis Friday at Memorial Hospital could have had the contagious form of the disease for up to four months, but health authorities say the public health risk is low.

Attention

Egyptian bird flu death toll reaches 15

The growing bird flu outbreak in Egypt reached new heights this weekend when the death of a 10-year-old girl increased the nation's death toll to 15.

Alalam Satellite TV reported Sunday that health officials have confirmed the recent death from the H5N1 virus, which represented the end of a two-month lull in such fatalities.

Question

Do fingernails reveal any information about a person's health?

To the extent that nails provide clues to health, these clues are usually too little, too late.

Years ago, when sophisticated diagnostic tests were not available, doctors sometimes looked to the appearance of nails for clues to a patient's health, said Dr. Howard Baden , a dermatologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. "And the nails do change with some diseases. But by the time the nails are involved, the patient is pretty sick," he said.

Although not good for diagnostic purposes, fluctuations in health can show up as changes in nails. Many people, for instance, have longitudinal lines on the nails. But these occur with normal aging and "don't mean anything is wrong systemically," said Dr. Rebecca Kazin , associate professor of dermatology at Johns Hopkins University.

Question

Proposed Model: Competition, loss of selfishness mark shift to supersociety

How social or altruistic behavior evolved has been a central and hotly debated question, particularly by those researchers engaged in the study of social insect societies - ants, bees and wasps. In these groups, this question of what drives altruism also becomes critical to further understanding of how ancestral or primitive social organizations (with hierarchies and dominance fights, and poorly developed division of labor) evolve to become the more highly sophisticated networks found in some eusocial insect collectives termed "superorganisms."

In a paper published online May 21 before print by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a pair of researchers from Cornell University and Arizona State University propose a model, based on tug-of-war theory, that may explain the selection pressures that mark the evolutionary transition from primitive society to superorganism and which may bring some order to the conflicted thinking about the roles of individual, kin, and group selection that underlie the formation of such advanced eusocial groups.