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Diagnosis and Investigation News

Ebola Blood Test May Help Predict Survival Chances

Posted 1 day 20 hours ago by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Jan. 20, 2017 – A blood test may help determine a person's chance of surviving an Ebola infection, researchers say. "It is not just defining how much Ebola virus that is present in a patient that defines whether a patient will survive. How the patient fights the infection is also key," said John Connor, an associate professor of microbiology at Boston University School of Medicine. Figuring out common aspects of how the immune system responds in people who have survived the often-deadly infection might help researchers learn ways to keep an Ebola virus infection from being fatal, Connor said in a university news release. American and British scientists looked at blood samples from infected and surviving patients during the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The researchers identified a small number of genes whose "expression" accurately predicts survival of patients infected ... Read more

Related support groups: Viral Infection, Diagnosis and Investigation, Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever

Screen Time May Not Be So Bad for Teens After All

Posted 1 day 22 hours ago by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Jan. 20, 2017 – Teens who log hours of screen time every day – on video games, smartphones, computers, TV and the like – may not be doing themselves any harm, a new study suggests. A digital "sweet spot" of screen time might even benefit teens' well-being by allowing them to develop social connections and personal skills, according to the findings. "Moderate levels of daily screen time do not appear to be harmful," said lead researcher Andrew Przybylski. He is an experimental psychologist with the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford. "In fact, even excessive levels of screen time appear unlikely to have significant negative effect." However, several child health experts said they weren't ready to blindly embrace the new study's conclusions that too much screen time may not be too much of a good thing. The research included more than 120,000 teenagers in the ... Read more

Related support groups: Anxiety, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Anxiety and Stress, Social Anxiety Disorder, Mild Cognitive Impairment, Diagnosis and Investigation

Brain-Training May Help Ease Ringing in the Ears

Posted 2 days 16 hours ago by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Jan. 19, 2017 – An online program that "trains" the brain may help people cope with the constant ringing in the ears called tinnitus, a small study suggests. People with tinnitus can have poorer working memory, deficiencies in attention, and slower mental processing speeds and reaction times. However, an internet-based program to improve mental acuity appeared to help them deal with the bothersome ear noise, researchers said. "Fifty percent of the patients in the study reported improvements in memory, attention and ability to deal with tinnitus," said study co-author Dr. Jay Piccirillo. He's a professor of otolaryngology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Tinnitus is the perception of sound when no actual external noise is present, according to the American Tinnitus Association. While it's referred to as "ringing in the ears," tinnitus can cause many ... Read more

Related support groups: Tinnitus, Hearing Loss, Diagnosis and Investigation

Study Ties Inflammation, Gut Bacteria to Type 1 Diabetes

Posted 2 days 16 hours ago by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Jan. 19, 2017 – People with type 1 diabetes show changes in their digestive system that aren't seen in people who don't have the autoimmune disease, a new Italian study finds. Those changes include different gut bacteria and inflammation in the small intestine. The differences may play a role in the development of type 1 diabetes, the researchers said. "For years, we have looked for the cause of type 1 diabetes in the pancreas. Perhaps, we looked in the wrong place and there is the possibility that the intestines play a key role in the development of the disease," said study senior author Dr. Piemonti Lorenzo. He is deputy director of the San Raffaele Diabetes Research Institute in Milan. However, Lorenzo said it isn't possible to "draw definitive conclusions" about whether these intestinal changes can cause the autoimmune attack that leads to type 1 diabetes. In type 1 ... Read more

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MRIs Might Help Guide Preemies' Neurological Care

Posted 3 days ago by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 18, 2017 – MRI scans shortly after birth might help determine which premature babies have sustained a brain injury that will affect their development, a new study reports. It appears that doctors can predict which premature infants will suffer from future motor, thinking and language problems by using MRI scans to identify specific injuries to the white matter in their brain, said senior researcher Dr. Steven Miller. Miller is head of neurology at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada. Fluctuations in blood pressure that occur regularly in preemies might cause a lack of blood flow or oxygen to the brain, damaging the white matter, Miller explained. In addition, said Dr. Gregory Lodygensky, a clinical investigator at the University of Montreal, white matter injuries also occur due to inflammation and infection suffered by the very vulnerable infants. ... Read more

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Know the Risks, Warning Signs of Ovarian Cancer

Posted 3 days ago by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 18, 2017 – Women need to be aware their risk for ovarian cancer increases with age. Half of all cases affect women age 63 or older, according to specialists at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. However, the center reminds all women to be aware of other risk factors for the disease, as well as common ovarian cancer warning signs, such as: Belly bloating or swelling, Lower belly pain, Back pain, Trouble eating or feeling full quickly, Unexplained weight loss, Pain during sex, Menstrual changes, A change in bathroom habits, such as constipation, diarrhea, or having to urinate very badly or very often. "While these symptoms are common and may be caused by something other than ovarian cancer, I advise women to take them seriously," said Dr. Christina Chu, a Fox Chase gynecologic oncologist. "A woman knows what is normal for her own body. If her symptoms don't seem ... Read more

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Soft Robotic Sleeve Shows Promise for Failing Hearts

Posted 4 days ago by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 18, 2017 – Scientists are reporting some early success with a "soft robotic" device aimed at treating advanced heart failure. The hope, the researchers said, is to improve upon ventricular assist devices, or VADs, that are currently used for severe heart failure. The new device has been tested only on pig hearts – so there is a long way to go yet, the study authors said. It will likely be a few years before the device could be used in humans, according to researcher Ellen Roche. She is a biomedical engineer who led the study at Harvard University. But if the device pans out, it could be used in the same way that VADs are now, said Roche. She's currently with the National University of Ireland in Galway. VADs are implantable pumps that help the heart's lower chambers send blood to the body. The devices are sometimes used to manage advanced heart failure – a chronic ... Read more

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Even a Little Daily Activity May Boost Colon Cancer Survival: Study

Posted 5 days ago by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Jan. 17, 2017 – Just a half hour a day of moderate physical activity could be potent medicine for patients with advanced colon cancer, preliminary research suggests. Study authors who tracked more than 1,200 colon cancer patients found a 19 percent decline in risk for early death among those who got 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise daily. And, five or more hours of moderate – but non-vigorous – activity a week pushed that survival benefit to 25 percent, researchers said. Walking, cleaning or gardening counted as moderate exercise, the study authors said. Exercise benefits previously have been reported for early stage cancer patients. "But this study extends to patients who have advanced cancer and a much more grim prognosis," said Dr. Andrew Chan. He's an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston. "And even among that population, there seems ... Read more

Related support groups: Colonoscopy, Colorectal Cancer, Diagnosis and Investigation, Familial Adenomatous Polyposis

Airway Differences May Explain Why Asthma Can Be More Serious for Blacks

Posted 9 days ago by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Jan. 13, 2017 – Differences in airway inflammation may be one reason why black people with asthma are less responsive to treatment and more likely to die from the disease than white people, a new study suggests. Asthma is a chronic lung disease, and airway inflammation is a major component of asthma. The inflammation causes the airways to swell and become more sensitive, which eventually leads to symptoms such as wheezing and shortness of breath, according to the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. "Emerging evidence suggests that differences in airway inflammation can affect a patient's response to treatment, but whether the patterns of airway inflammation vary across race has, until now, been very unclear," said study corresponding author Dr. Sharmilee Nyenhuis. She's an allergy, asthma and immunology specialist at University of Illinois at Chicago. Blacks are two ... Read more

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Study Questions 'Fecal Transplant' Treatment for Gut Infection

Posted 9 days ago by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Jan. 13, 2017 – A single fecal transplant delivered by enema is apparently no more effective than oral antibiotics in treating recurring cases of a nasty stomach bug, a Canadian study contends. The study is the first head-to-head comparison between fecal transplant and the current standard of care of antibiotics in treating Clostridium difficile infection, the researchers said. "We thought it was important to have that comparison so we could know: How much better is it than what we're actually already doing?" said lead author Dr. Susy Hota. She's the medical director of infection prevention and control at University Health Network in Toronto. In this study, "it looks like they're working about the same," Hota said. "In half the patients, it didn't work, but in the other half, it did." Infection from C. difficile bacteria can be debilitating, triggering bouts of diarrhea and ... Read more

Related support groups: Colonoscopy, Clostridial Infection, Diagnosis and Investigation, Prevention of Clostridium Difficile Infection Recurrence

High Blood Pressure Often Undiagnosed, Untreated

Posted 11 days ago by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 11, 2017 – Half of people tested at mobile clinics were unaware they had a condition that's often referred to as a "silent killer" – high blood pressure, a new Canadian study reveals. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, puts extra strain on the heart and blood vessels. This increases the risk for heart attack and stroke, the researchers said. But the disorder rarely causes noticeable symptoms. The serious risks posed by untreated high blood pressure are often misunderstood. The public needs greater awareness about the condition, the study authors said. For the study, the researchers measured the blood pressure of almost 1,100 volunteers. The measurements were taken at mobile clinics that the researchers had set up at shopping malls, workplaces, hospitals and community centers in a large city. The study revealed that 50 percent of the participants were ... Read more

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Blood Levels of Meat-Linked Chemical Tied to Odds of Heart Trouble

Posted 11 days ago by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 11, 2017 – A molecule produced in the digestion of red meat, eggs and dairy products is linked to an increased risk of a fatal heart attack or stroke, researchers say. Patients with high blood levels of trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) were six times more likely within the next month to die, suffer a heart attack or stroke, or require surgery to reopen a blocked artery, according to the study. TMAO also predicted long-term health risks, researchers said. People with the highest blood levels of TMAO were nearly twice as likely to die within seven years. "A high TMAO level predicted who went on to experience a major cardiovascular event," said lead researcher Dr. Stanley Hazen, chair of cellular and molecular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic's Lerner Research Institute. TMAO is produced by gut bacteria during digestion of animal-based food, and accumulates in blood plasma, ... Read more

Related support groups: Obesity, Ischemic Stroke, Heart Attack, Transient Ischemic Attack, Myocardial Infarction, Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, Cardiovascular Risk Reduction, Diagnosis and Investigation, Myocardial Infarction - Prophylaxis

Common Virus May Have Ties to Type 1 Diabetes

Posted 12 days ago by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Jan. 10, 2017 – From Finland comes more evidence that a common group of viral infections may play a role in the development of at least some cases of type 1 diabetes. The viruses are known as enteroviruses. These viruses cause a number of infections – from the common cold to conditions as serious as polio, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study found that children who had signs indicating they might be developing type 1 diabetes had significantly more enterovirus infections occurring at least a year earlier. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. That means the body's immune system mistakenly destroys healthy insulin-producing cells called islet cells. The cells that attack the body's healthy cells are called autoantibodies, and there are specific autoantibodies for type 1 diabetes, called islet autoantibodies. These autoantibodies ... Read more

Related support groups: Diabetes, Type 1, Diabetes Mellitus, Viral Infection, Diagnosis and Investigation, Poliovirus Vaccine, Inactivated, Kinrix, Pediarix, Vaccination and Prophlaxis, Poliomyelitis Prophylaxis, Diphtheria Toxoid/Pertussis, Acellular/Poliovirus Vaccine, Inactivated/Tetanus Toxoid, Enterovirus D68 Infection, Ipol, Diphtheria Toxoid/Haemophilus B Conjugate (Prp-T) Vaccine/Pertussis, Acellular/Poliovirus Vaccine, Inactivated/Tetanus Toxoid, Quadracel, Pentacel, Diphtheria Toxoid/hepatitis B Pediatric Vaccine/pertussis, Acellular/poliovirus Vaccine, Inactivated/tetanus Toxoid

Scans Hint at Running's Brain Benefits, Even When Young

Posted 13 days ago by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Jan. 9, 2017 – Young cross-country runners seem to have better connections between regions of their brains than their peers who aren't athletic, a small study suggests. "One of the key questions that these results raise is whether what we're seeing in young adults – in terms of the connectivity differences – imparts some benefit later in life," said study co-designer Gene Alexander. He is a psychology professor at the University of Arizona in Tucson. "The areas of the brain where we saw more connectivity in runners are also the areas that are impacted as we age, so it really raises the question of whether being active as a young adult could be potentially beneficial and perhaps afford some resilience against the effects of aging and disease," Alexander said in a university news release. However, it's not clear whether exercise is the direct cause of the improved connectivity. ... Read more

Related support groups: Diagnosis and Investigation, Head Imaging

Do Genes Steer You to a Partner With Similar Schooling?

Posted 13 days ago by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Jan. 9, 2017 – Were you drawn to your spouse's eyes? Or perhaps it was a great sense of humor you thought drew you in? British researchers say the true reason may be much more pragmatic – your romantic fire may have been lit by your partner's college degree. That's because your genes could drive you to a relationship with someone who has a similar level of education, a new study suggests. The research included about 1,600 people in the United Kingdom. They were all married or living together. The researchers found that people with genes for high educational achievement tended to link up and have children with people with similar DNA. Researchers already knew that people typically choose mates with similar traits – a phenomenon dubbed "assortative mating." But, this is one of the first studies to suggest that genes play a role in selecting a partner with similar education ... Read more

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