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Patients with carpal tunnel syndrome are more than twice as likely to have migraine headaches, reports a study in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery--Global Open. The association also runs in the other direction, with migraine patients having higher odds of carpal tunnel syndrome.

The researchers analyzed data from nearly 26,000 Americans responding to a national health survey. Among other questions, participants were asked whether they had had carpal tunnel syndrome during the past year or "severe headache or migraine" during the past three months. Patients with carpal tunnel syndrome have symptoms such as hand numbness and weakness, resulting from pressure on the median nerve in the wrist.


Verbal abuse, aggressive behavior, criminal damage to objects are expected in certain professions but hardly anyone includes doctors, although they are exposed to such incidents - and not just in dictatorships or the developing world. 

Florian Vorderwülbecke and colleagues writing in Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2015; 112: 159-65) investigate how often acts of violence and aggression against primary care physicians are committed in Germany. They surveyed 1500 doctors, asking which assaults they had been exposed to, and where these took place, among other questions. 


A 3-dimensional model of human respiratory tissue has been shown to be effective for measuring the impact of chemicals, like those found in cigarette smoke or other aerosols, on the lung. 

More effective lab-based tests are required to reduce the need for animal testing in assessing the toxicological effects of inhaled chemicals and safety of medicines. Traditional lab-based tests use cell lines that do not reflect normal lung structure and physiology, and in some cases have reduced, or loss of, key metabolic processes. 


Nasal drops of harmless bacteria can inhibit a related bug that sometimes causes meningococcal disease, according to new findings published online in Clinical Infectious Diseases. The study--conducted among college students, a group at higher risk for this often serious illness--suggests a new approach that could help suppress outbreaks of the disease, if supported by future research.

Meningococcal disease is caused by Neisseria meningitidis, which can infect the lining of the brain and the spinal cord, causing meningitis. Strains of the bacteria can also cause serious bloodstream infections. But N. meningitidis can also live silently in a person's nose and throat, without illness. These "colonized" carriers can spread the pathogen to others through close contact.


A team of researchers has identified a new genetic cause of the disease by focusing on a rare genetic variant which offers important insights into the root causes of autism, they believe. And, they suggest, their unconventional method can be used to identify other genetic causes of autism and other complex genetic conditions.


A study published today describes a newly-discovered, heritable genetic cause of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), namely mutation of the gene ETV6. Much like mutation of the gene BRCA marks people at risk to develop breast and ovarian cancers, identification of mutations in the gene ETV6 may allow doctors to predict the development of ALL, allowing increased monitoring and in the future, perhaps strategies to prevent the disease. There are just over 30,000 cases of ALL diagnosed in the United States each year, with the majority of those cases being in children ages 2-5.