Link Between Chronic Depression and Accelerated Immune Cell Aging

Certain cases of major depression are associated with premature aging of immune cells, which may make people more susceptible to other serious illness, according to findings from a new UCSF-led study. The findings indicate that accelerated cell aging does not occur in all depressed individuals, but is dependent upon how long someone is depressed, particularly … Continue reading

One Step Closer to a Diagnostic Test for Schizophrenia

Scientists in Finland have revealed metabolic abnormalities that are associated with schizophrenia. This may be an important step towards development of a clinical test of the disease. Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe psychotic disorder that affects around 1% of the population. Currently, there is no clinical test for diagnosing schizophrenia, and therefore the condition … Continue reading

Common Dietary Fat and Intestinal Microbes Linked to Heart Disease

A new pathway has been discovered that links a common dietary lipid and intestinal microflora with an increased risk of heart disease, according to a Cleveland Clinic study published in the latest issue of Nature. The study shows that people who eat a diet containing a common nutrient found in animal products (such as eggs, … Continue reading

Free-Market Solutions for Overweight Americans

By MATT RIDLEY Leo Acadia Sometimes we find it easy to identify a problem and impossible to think of a solution. Obesity is a good example. Almost everybody agrees that it is a growing burden on health systems and that it requires urgent attention from policy makers. But almost everybody also agrees that no policy … Continue reading

The Trillions of Microbes That Call Us Home

and Help Keep Us Healthy The human body is a habitat for a huge range of harmless and beneficial microbes, which may be the key to fighting disease without antibiotics. by Michael Tennesen Image: Masterfile In the intensive care nursery at Duke University Medical Center, doctors and nurses attend to premature infants in rows of … Continue reading

Those Who Know Us Best

A faint whiff of bad breath tells a worried wife something is seriously wrong with her husband. by H. Lee Kagan Jerry was in fine form as he stood at center stage, his hand resting on the microphone stand, waiting for the laughter to subside. He had invited me to watch him perform stand-up at … Continue reading

Dangerous Blood Pressure Increases During Exercise Can Be Blocked, Researchers Find

UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have identified one reason people with hypertension experience an even greater increase in their blood pressure when they exercise, and they’ve learned how to prevent the rise. A study in a March issue of the Journal of Physiology reported that hypertensive people who exercise undergo decreased blood flow and oxygen … Continue reading

Older and Stronger

Progressive Resistance Training Can Build Muscle, Increase Strength as We Age It’s often thought that older adults must tolerate the strength and muscle loss that come with age. But analyses of current research by University of Michigan scientists reveal that not only can we fight the battle of strength and muscle loss as we age, … Continue reading

8 Easy Diet Boosters

These tricks will help to speed up the fat-loss process Find a new go-to snack Instead of ice cream or leftovers, try a whole grain, higher-fiber cereal with low-fat milk or baked chips with super-spicy salsa," says Kristin McGee, a NYC-based trainer, Pilates instructor, and creator of MTV Yoga. Drink more water Being dehydrated can … Continue reading

Drop 5 Pounds in April

Five simple tips to help you lose those love handles this month by Lindsay Brown Lose the love handles! Each month, we give you five ways to take off five pounds-all within the next 30 days. Stay Away From Easter Candy While they may be delicious, Easter treats such as jelly beans, chocolate bunnies, Cadbury … Continue reading

Malaria on the Rise

as East African Climate Heats Up. In East Africa, warming as a result of climate change is paving the way for the spread of malaria. By Paul R. Epstein and Dan Ferber MALARIA MOVES: The mosquitoes that carry malaria are expanding their range as a result of warming average temperatures in East Africa. Image: © … Continue reading

IAEA says Fukushima fallout warrants more evacuation

by Debora MacKenzie So far 70,000 people have been evacuated from a 20-kilometre-radius zone centred on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant – but that may only be the beginning. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says that radioactive contamination outside the evacuation zone has exceeded levels at which people should relocate. But the Japanese government … Continue reading

Noise kills, and blights lives in Europe

by Andy Coghlan Western Europeans suffer a heavy toll of death and disability through exposure to excessive noise, making it second only to air pollution as an environmental cause of ill health. That’s the conclusion of the world’s first comprehensive report on the health effects of noise, published this week by the World Health Organization … Continue reading

Masturbation calms restless leg syndrome

by Helen Thomson Too much of it will make you go blind – or so you might have been told. But for some, masturbation might have a real clinical benefit: it can ease restless leg syndrome (RLS). The insight could provide sweet relief for the 7 to 10 per cent of people in the US … Continue reading

How Dangerous Is the Plutonium Leaking from the Japanese Nuclear Reactor?

Not as dangerous as the other substances it’s releasing. BY JOSHUA E. KEATING On March 29, Japanese officials announced that toxic plutonium had been detected in the soil surrounding the earthquake- and tsunami-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The plutonium is thought to come from partially melted fuel rods in one of the plant’s reactors. Tokyo … Continue reading

New Drugs for Hepatitis C On the Horizon

With the promise of two new drugs to fortify the current treatment protocol, doctors see promise of a better-tailored cocktail, similar to HIV treatments, to beat back this common and often debilitating infection By Katherine Harmon  MORE MEDS: Two new drugs that are expected to be approved by the FDA this spring might improve outcomes … Continue reading

Fukushima’s radioactive plume reaches the UK

Paul Marks, senior technology correspondent For the first time since the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, a radiation plume from a crippled nuclear power station has been detected over the British isles. Although the radiation levels in the UK are way too low to cause any health concerns, the news will bring back alarming memories … Continue reading

Polio Eradication?

by Debora MacKenzie After years of frustration, polio is on the ropes. But we could still miss the historic opportunity to wipe it out for good IT IS the disease that’s always down, but never quite out. In 1998 the World Health Organization claimed it was going to eradicate by 2000. In 2000 it revised … Continue reading

What you need to know about allergies.

By Kiyomi Deards  Spring has sprung, the sun is shining, flowers are beginning to bloom, and pollen is in the air. Often thought of as a bright and cheerful season, for many people spring is a season where their heads feel like over-ripe melons, their eyes water, and the tissue industry is kept in business. … Continue reading

Persecution Complex

Is the Defining Modern Psychosis By Brandon Keim Over the course of the 20th century, fantasies of persecution became the defining modern delusion, suggest a pair of studies on long-term trends in psychosis. The first, published Mar. 18 in the International Journal of Social Psychiatry, was based on 102 patient records from a psychiatric hospital … Continue reading

What Is Grief Actually Like?

By Leeat Granek and Meghan O’Rourke What is grief actually like? This is what I began to wonder after my mother died, at Christmas of 2008, after living with colorectal cancer for two-and-a-half years. She was 55 and I was 32. Few of my friends had lost parents or close loved ones. In the first … Continue reading

Japan Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Crisis Facts and Figures

Mark Leon Goldberg The Japanese government just posted the latest facts and figures on the damage wrought by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Casualties: 10,035 confirmed deaths.  17,443 people are still missing. Property Damage: 18,776 totally destroyed properties.  108,397 partially destroyed. Infrastructure Damage: 2,035 damaged roads. 56 damaged bridges. 36 damaged bridges. International Assistance: … Continue reading

The Sleeping Cure

I’d seen four shrinks in my life, and they’d all dozed off mid-session. Was it them—or me? I went back to find out. By Stephen Metcalf Illustrations by Istvan Banyai After I was expelled from boarding school, kicked out one month shy of graduation for boozing and for a condition that might best be labeled … Continue reading

What Made This University Scientist Snap?

By Amy Wallace Did Amy Bishop’s slowly roiling psychosis go unnoticed in a culture of science and academia that celebrates eccentricities? 4 pm, February 12, 2010—University of Alabama in Huntsville Shelby Center for Science and Technology, Loading Dock. Amy Bishop stepped out of the science building and into the afternoon light. She was a solid … Continue reading

Half of Germany’s doctors prescribe placebos

PRESCRIPTIONS of placebos are booming in Germany and Switzerland, reveals a report released last week by the German Medical Association (GMA). For example, 53 per cent of the doctors from the Medical University of Hannover said they would prescribe placebos such as vitamin pills and homeopathic remedies. Half the doctors in a national Swiss survey … Continue reading

Antibiotics may make fighting flu harder

Drugs hit beneficial bacteria that keep immune system alert By Tina Hesman Saey Taking antibiotics when they aren’t necessary could make the flu or other viral infections worse, a new study suggests. Mice on antibiotics can’t fight the flu as well as mice that haven’t taken the drugs, say researchers from Yale. Antibiotics quash the … Continue reading

Don’t Stop Working!

What’s the secret to living longer and being healthier? Keep doing useful work. By Emily Yoffe William E. Bradford was such a bright, precocious little boy that by the time he was 7 years old he had been promoted to fifth grade. He went on to earn a degree from UCLA , join the U.S. … Continue reading

Drug-resistant bacteria

to humans from farms via food By Maryn McKenna, You have to love a scientific commentary that starts this in-your-face: “Show us the science that use of antibiotics in animal production is causing this antibiotic resistance,” Dave Warner of the National Pork Council told the Washington Post back in June 2010, responding to a … Continue reading

Naughty by Nature

What should we think of people whose addled brains are driving them to nymphomania? By Jesse Bering What if Hank Moody had Klüver-Bucy Syndrome?If you are a materialist holding the logical belief that the human brain, with all of its buzzing neural intricacies, its pulpy, electrified, arabesque chambers and labyrinthine coves, has been carved out … Continue reading

Vitamin B2 helps us see the light

Caitlin Stier, contributor (Image: UCI) Although vitamin A has been given sole credit for it for more than 100 years, researchers have discovered another important player in light perception: vitamin B2. A study in fruit flies led by Todd Holmes at the University of California, Irvine, has turned up a new neuronal pathway activated by … Continue reading

Perception of Our Physical State When Depressed or Anxious

Depression and anxiety have very different influences on how we perceive physical symptoms. Christie Nicholson reports Christie Nicholson Past studies have shown that something called "negative affect" (which is an overall smorgasbord of anger, sadness, fear, irritation, etc.) causes us to inflate the number of physical symptoms we feel. But recent research from the Journal … Continue reading

Faking illness online

Why would someone fake a serious illness online? Jenny Kleeman on the strange world of Münchausen by internet Jenny Kleeman Keyboard abuse: ‘It made me feel so good, spending time with people who cared for me, even if they didn’t know I was a fake.’ Photograph: Liz McBurney Anyone following her updates online could see … Continue reading

Lie Down With Dogs, Get Up With Fleas. And Plague

By Maryn McKenna Do you let your dog sleep on your bed? You do, don’t you? Once you read this story, you might want to rethink that. There were only two cases of bubonic plague in humans in the United States last year. They were two people, unidentified except for their ages  — 17 and … Continue reading

Chatting on your cell phone may boost brain metabolism

By John Timmer The concerns about the health impacts of cellphone use are likely to resurface today with the publication of a study in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study doesn’t uncover any health risks associated with cellphone use, but it does indicate that holding a phone to one’s head for … Continue reading

Male Fertility Is in the Bones

First Evidence That Skeleton Plays a Role in Reproduction Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have discovered that the skeleton acts as a regulator of fertility in male mice through a hormone released by bone, known as osteocalcin. The research, led by Gerard Karsenty, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the Department of Genetics and Development at … Continue reading

Fountain of Youth from the Tap: Lithium

A regular uptake of the trace element lithium can considerably promote longevity. This is the result of a new study by scientists of Friedrich Schiller University Jena. Dr. Kim Zarse from Jena University investigates how low-dose lithium exposure may affect mortality in nematodes. (Credit: Photo: Jan-Peter Kasper/University Jena) Professor Dr. Michael Ristow’s team along with … Continue reading

How Depression Dulls the World—Literally

The condition seems to affect how our senses work, and researchers may one day use this to make an objective diagnosis of depression. by Eliza Strickland iStockphoto A sad person who says that the world looks dull and gray and that flowers no longer smell so sweet may not just be speaking figuratively. Two recent … Continue reading

Presence of Parks Leads to More Physical Activity

An analysis of numerous studies finds the presence of parks is associated with more physical activity across age groups. Karen Hopkin reports Ahhh, the great outdoors. Great for your health, too. Because studies suggest that the more we visit local parks, the more fit we are. Researchers at Penn State crunched the numbers from a … Continue reading

To Accept What Cannot Be Helped

At 80, a woman with a fatal disease knows she doesn’t want to die in the hospital and discovers, with her family, what that really means By Ann Hulbert “Your hands are so wrinkly. Are you going to die?” my nephew asked my mother when he was about three. “Yes I am,” she answered, pausing … Continue reading

Superfocus Glasses Are OphthalMagic for Muggles

Superfocus Glasses · From $680 · Superfocus Reviewed by Roger Hibbert For the graying set that thinks these glasses are more Thomas Dolby than Harry Potter, reading anything is more difficult, because of presbyopia, the gradual inability of the eye to focus due to age. Even if you never wore glasses before, all of a … Continue reading

Debate Erupts after Vitamin D Supplements Prove Unnecessary

The recent finding that vitamin D supplements are largely unnecessary exposes a rift among nutrition researchers By Melinda Wenner Moyer  Image: Kang Kim Gallery Stock Physicians have recommended vitamin D supplements to their patients for a decade, with good reason: dozens of studies have shown a correlation between high intake of vitamin D—far higher than … Continue reading

Cannabis May Influence Onset of Psychosis

Research to be published this summer finds that the use of cannabis is associated with the early onset of psychosis. Christie Nicholson reports Pot is one of those drugs that appears to maintain a fairly good rep, despite its growing bad rep. Consider this research that will be published this June in the Archives of … Continue reading

Why Do the World’s Fattest People Live on Islands?

It’s not piña coladas. Evolution has been overwhelmed by Western lifestyles. BY JOSHUA E. KEATING Last week, a study published in the British medical journal The Lancet found that worldwide obesity rates have increased significantly over the past three decades. By far, the greatest increase was in the Pacific islands. In the world’s fattest country … Continue reading

Building Muscle Doesn’t Require Lifting Heavy Weights, Study Shows

Current gym dogma holds that to build muscle size you need to lift heavy weights. However, a new study conducted at McMaster University has shown that a similar degree of muscle building can be achieved by using lighter weights. The secret is to pump iron until you reach muscle fatigue. The findings are published in … Continue reading

Education All Around

A patient’s misconceptions, and a medical student’s naïveté, mask a critical diagnosis. by H. Lee Kagan The student emerged from the examination room, chart in hand, and planted himself next to me in the hallway where I was finishing up my notes on another patient. Anxious to share his discovery, he leaned over and whispered, … Continue reading

Amoebas in drinking water: a double threat

Analysis reveals widespread, hidden contamination by the sometimes lethal parasites Janet Raloff Amoebas — blob-shaped microbes linked to several deadly diseases — contaminate drinking-water systems around the world, according to a new analysis. The study finds that amoebas are appearing often enough in water supplies and even in treated tap water to be considered a … Continue reading

Premature Infants’ Lungs May Improve With Better Nutrition

Improving lung function in premature babies with a severe lung disease may be linked to their feeding regimen, according to a new University of Michigan study. Researchers studied 18 infants with a history of moderate to severe bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) and found that those with above-average weight gain between evaluations showed significantly improved lung volumes, … Continue reading

Fitness and Outrage

Sherwin B. Nuland   … But I also described newer and more abstruse matters, such as our present understanding of the brain’s plasticity, which allows it to change and even to improve not only its ability to function but also its actual microscopic structure, and to do so regardless of chronological age. Even more remarkable, … Continue reading

Eating Poorly Can Make You Blue: Trans-Fats Increase Risk of Depression, While Olive Oil Helps Avoid Risk

Researchers from the universities of Navarra and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria have demonstrated that the ingestion of trans-fats and saturated fats increase the risk of suffering depression, and that olive oil, on the other hand, protects against this mental illness. They have confirmed this after studying 12,059 SUN Project volunteers over the course of … Continue reading

Molecular Mechanism Links Stress With Predisposition for Depression

A new study provides insight into how stress impacts the brain and may help to explain why some individuals are predisposed to depression when they experience chronic stress. The research, published by Cell Press in the January 27 issue of the journal Neuron, reveals complex molecular mechanisms associated with chronic stress and may help to … Continue reading