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Showing posts from July, 2023

HEAVY ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION ASSOCIATED WITH BRAIN INFLAMMATION

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  HEAVY ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION ASSOCIATED WITH BRAIN INFLAMMATION For people with alcohol use disorder (AUD), there is a constant, vicious cycle between brain changes and behavior changes. AUD can alter signaling pathways in the brain; in turn, those changes can exacerbate drinking. Now, scientists at Scripps Research have uncovered new details about the immune system's role in this cycle. The journal  Brain, Behavior, and Immunity  reported that the immune signaling molecule interleukin 1β (IL-1β) is present at higher levels in the brains of mice with alcohol dependence. In addition, the IL-1β pathway takes on a different role in these animals, causing inflammation in critical areas of the brain known to be involved in decision-making. "These inflammatory changes to the brain could explain some of the risky decision-making and impulsivity we see in people with alcohol use disorder," says senior author Marisa Roberto, Ph.D., the Schimmel Family Chair of Molecular Medicine an

POTENTIAL LYME DISEASE TREATMENT

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  POTENTIAL LYME DISEASE TREATMENT Medication used to halt cancer may help fight tick-borne illness.         A medical therapy that inhibits the growth of cancer cells may one day be effective at treating Lyme disease, according to new research by a University of Massachusetts Amherst team at the New England Regional Center of Vector-borne Diseases (NEWVEC). "It's a long way from something you're going to pick up at CVS, but these early findings are very encouraging," says vector-borne disease expert Stephen Rich, professor of microbiology, executive director of NEWVEC and senior author of the study published in the journal  Pathogens . Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the U.S., spread by infected deer ticks. The potentially debilitating illness diagnosed in about 476,000 people yearly in the U.S. doesn't always respond to antibiotics. "There are people who have cases of Lyme disease that go on and on," Rich says. "So there

CHRONIC PAIN TREATMENT WITH SCRAMBLER THERAPY

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  CHRONIC PAIN TREATMENT WITH SCRAMBLER THERAPY A new review paper co-authored by two Johns Hopkins pain experts suggests that scrambler therapy, a noninvasive pain treatment, can yield significant relief for approximately 80%-90% of patients with chronic pain, and it may be more effective than another noninvasive therapy: transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). The write-up was published online July 13 in  The New England Journal of Medicine . Scrambler therapy, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2009, administers electrical stimulation through the skin via electrodes placed in areas of the body above and below where chronic pain is felt. The goal is to capture the nerve endings and replace signals from the area experiencing pain with calls coming from adjacent areas experiencing no pain, thereby "scrambling" the pain signals sent to the brain, explains the study's primary author, Thomas Smith, M.D., the Harry J. Duffey Family Professor of P

CLOINIDINE MAY HELP WITH PTSD.

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  CLOINIDINE MAY HELP WITH  PTSD. There is new evidence that a 50-year-old blood pressure drug could find a new purpose as a treatment to mitigate the often life-altering effects of increasingly prevalent PTSD, scientists say. Clonidine is commonly used as a high blood pressure medication and for ADHD. It's also already been studied in PTSD because clonidine works on adrenergic receptors in the brain, likely best known for their role in "fight or flight," a heightened state of response that helps keep us safe. These receptors are thought to be activated in PTSD and to have a role in consolidating a traumatic memory. Clonidine's sister drug, guanfacine, activates these receptors and has also been studied in PTSD. Conflicting results from the clinical trials have clonidine, which has shown promise in PTSD, put aside along with guanfacine, which has not. Scientists at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University say it's time for another look at clonidine. Th

GULF WAR ILLNESS MAY BE CAUSED BY MITOCHONDRIA DYSFUNCTION

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  GULF WAR ILLNESS MAY BE CAUSED BY MITOCHONDRIA DYSFUNCTION Gulf War Illness (GWI) is a chronic multisymptom health condition affecting one-third of all veterans who served in the 1991 Gulf War, most of whom remain afflicted more than 30 years later. Common symptoms include fatigue, headaches, muscle aches, joint pain, diarrhea, insomnia, and cognitive impairment . The condition is believed to have been triggered by veterans' exposure to environmental toxins. However, its exact mechanism in the body continues to be debated, making it difficult to diagnose and treat. The prevailing notion is that inflammation is the driving force of the symptoms, as inflammatory markers are modestly higher in affected veterans than in healthy controls. However, a rival hypothesis suggests mitochondria -- the energy-producing organelle found in most cells -- may be the trustworthy source of the symptoms. In a new study, researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine put bot

OBESITY ASSOCIATED WITH ULTRA-PROCESSED FOODS AND ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS

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  OBESITY ASSOCIATED WITH ULTRA-PROCESSED FOODS AND ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS If validated, a new hypothesis could impact obesity-related diseases. Worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975, according to the World Health Organization. Numerous causes of obesity have been hypothesized, including increased dietary fat, carbohydrate or ultra-processed food (UPF) consumption, inactivity, hyperlipidemia, and hyperinsulinemia. Based on these hypotheses, solutions have been sought that involved decreasing the consumption of suspected agents. Well-controlled studies have shown that increased consumption of UPF is associated with increased food consumption and weight gain while reducing UPF consumption in the same subjects was associated with weight loss. However, these studies do not identify a specific cause of obesity since the diets include multiple variables. In a new perspective, Barbara E. Corkey, Ph.D., professor emeritus of medicine and biochemistry at Boston University Chobanian &

THE LOWEST POLLEN COUNT OCCURS BETWEEN 4 a.m. AND NOON

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  THE LOWEST POLLEN COUNT OCCURS BETWEEN 4 a.m. AND NOON Study shows peak pollen counts happen from 2:00 -- 9:00 p.m. If you are allergic to pollen, you've probably wondered if certain times of day are better than others for going outside during pollen season. A new study presented at this year's American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting in Louisville, KY, suggests that early morning hours are better than afternoon dodging pollen. "People who have pollen allergies can generally benefit from knowing at what times of day pollen counts are highest," says allergist Stanley Fineman, MD, ACAAI member and lead author of the study. "We monitored hourly pollen levels in three areas of Atlanta for a week using an automated real-time pollen imaging sensor. We found that lower pollen levels occurred between 4:00 a.m. and Noon. Higher levels of pollen occurred between 2:00 -- 9:00 p.m." Dr. Fineman said, "I see patients ev

CHILDHOOD MEMORIES OF ABUSE IMPACT ON MENTAL HEALTH

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  CHILDHOOD MEMORIES OF ABUSE IMPACT ON MENTAL HEALTH New research from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King's College London and City University New York, published in  JAMA Psychiatry , has found that the way childhood abuse and/or neglect is remembered and processed has a more significant impact on later mental health than the experience itself. The authors suggest that, even without documented evidence, clinicians can use patients' self-reported experiences of abuse and neglect to identify those at risk of developing mental health difficulties and provide early interventions. Researchers conducted a large longitudinal study following 1,196 participants aged 40 years to investigate how experiences of childhood abuse and/or neglect (maltreatment) impact the development of emotional disorders in adulthood. The study found that young adults who retrospectively self-reported childhood maltreatment experiences before age 12 had a more signifi

FOODS NEEDED FOR OPTIMAL CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH

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    FOODS NEEDED FOR OPTIMAL CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH Diet score derived from ongoing, large-scale global Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiological (PURE) study A study led by McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences researchers at the Population Research Health Institute (PHRI) has found that not eating enough of six essential foods in combination is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in adults. Consuming fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, fish, and whole-fat dairy products is vital to lowering the risk of CVD, including heart attacks and strokes. The study also found that a healthy diet can be achieved in various ways, including moderate amounts of whole grains or unprocessed meats. Previous and similar research has focused on Western countries and diets that combined harmful, ultra-processed foods with nutrient-dense foods. This research was global in scope and focused on foods commonly considered healthy. The World Health Organization estimates nea

SUN PROTECTIVE CLOTHING COLOR

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  SUN PROTECTIVE CLOTHING COLOR Economy-minded consumers who want protection from the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays — but rather not pay premium prices for sun-protective clothing — should think blue and red rather than yellow. Scientists in Spain report that the same cotton fabric dyed deep blue or red provides more excellent UV protection than shades of yellow. Their study could lead to materials with better sun protection. Ascensión Riva and colleagues explain that the fabric's color is one of the most critical factors in determining how well clothing protects against UV radiation. Gaps exist in scientific knowledge about how paint interacts with other factors to influence a fabric's ability to block ultraviolet protection factor (UPF). The scientists describe the use of computer models that relate the UV protection achieved with three fabric dyes to their effects in changing the UPF of fabrics and other factors. In doing so, they dyed cotton fabrics in a wide rang

SUNSCREENS NOT APPLIED PROPERLY FOR FULL PROTECTION

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  SUNSCREENS NOT APPLIED PROPERLY FOR FULL PROTECTION Use higher SPF sunscreen to block cancer-causing rays, scientists say :         King's College London researchers have assessed how much sun protection people receive based on typical use. It is well known that people need to receive sunscreen's total ultraviolet radiation blocking benefit because they are applying it more thinly than manufacturers recommend. The findings are published in the journal  Acta Dermato-Venereology . In the first experiment, King's team assessed the DNA damage in the skin after lowering sunscreen application thickness below 2mg/cm2 -- the amount manufacturers use to achieve their SPF rating. Results showed that sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 50, applied in a typical way, would provide 40% of the expected protection. The findings have prompted the King's team to suggest consumers use a much higher SPF sunscreen than they think necessary to protect them from sun damage. As p