TUESDAY Nov. 12, 2013 — A small new study suggests that parts of your brain may differ depending on whether you’re a social butterfly or a lone wolf.
The research is preliminary, but it could lead the way to more insight into how humans — and other primates — interact with others. Read more
SUNDAY Nov. 10, 2013 — Teens can suffer from depression like everyone else, but a small new study hints that exercise might help ease the condition.
The British study included three boys and 10 girls with depression who were enrolled in trainer-led workouts three times a week for 12 weeks. The teens were also encouraged to exercise 30 minutes a day on the other days.
According to the researchers, the workouts were linked to significant boosts in mood, with depression severity cut by 63 percent. Eighty-three percent of the teens who completed the exercise program were no longer as depressed by the end of the study, which was slated for presentation Saturday at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego. Read more
WEDNESDAY Nov. 6, 2013 — There seems to be an easy way to improve a patient’s hospital stay: People are more satisfied with their care if they know who their doctor is and a couple of facts about that caregiver, a new study finds.
Between 82 percent and 90 percent of hospital patients are unable to name their treating physician, according to researchers from Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
The investigators tested how having increased knowledge about their doctors affected patients’ satisfaction with their care. Cards offering some details about their doctors were given to 100 patients in the orthopedic trauma division, while 112 patients did not receive these “biosketch” cards. Read more
MONDAY Nov. 4, 2013 — Combining Tylenol and even light consumption of alcohol can more than double someone’s risk of kidney disease, researchers say.
Taking the recommended dose of Tylenol, also known by its generic name acetaminophen, combined with a small to moderate amount of alcohol produces a 123 percent increased risk of kidney disease, according to a new preliminary study. Read more
THURSDAY Oct. 31, 2013 — Drug makers would have to promptly notify the federal government of potential drug shortages under a new rule proposed Thursday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The companies would be required to alert the FDA at least six months before a possible interruption in supply, or no later than five days after the interruption has occurred, the agency said.
Those who fail to warn the FDA about potential drug shortages would face public shaming in the form of a public noncompliance letter that would be posted on the agency’s website. Read more
TUESDAY Oct. 29, 2013 — Doctors might better predict a woman’s risk for breast cancer by tracking levels of key hormones, Harvard researchers report.
One expert said such a test could be useful.
“A large part of my practice involves counseling and educating women on their risk of developing breast cancer,” said Dr. Myra Barginear, a breast medical oncologist at North Shore-LIJ Cancer Institute in Lake Success, N.Y. “If the study’s findings are validated and confirmed, a simple blood test to evaluate hormone levels, as the Investigators did in the study, would be a very useful, additional tool to evaluate a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer.”
According to the researchers, monitoring hormone levels could be added to markers already routinely looked at by physicians, including the number of pregnancies a woman has had and when she began menstruation. Read more
MONDAY Oct. 28, 2013 — Black women may get less protection than whites from the vaccines recommended for preventing human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes cervical cancer, a new study suggests.
The currently available vaccines, Gardasil and Cervarix, don’t target the types of HPV infection found most often in black women, the study authors said.
Experts have long believed that most cervical cancers are caused by persistent infection with subtypes of the sexually transmitted virus known as HPV 16 and HPV 18. These are the strains targeted by Gardasil and Cervarix. (Gardasil also targets HPV 6 and HPV 11.) Read more
WEDNESDAY Oct. 23, 2013 — Drugs meant to reduce the risk of organ rejection may increase the risk of miscarriage and birth defects when taken by female kidney transplant patients, according to a new study.
The drugs — called mycophenolic acid products — reduce the risk of organ rejection by suppressing the immune system. The study included 163 female transplant patients who discontinued mycophenolic acid products prior to conception and 114 who conceived while taking the anti-rejection drugs.
Those who stopped taking mycophenolic acid products before they became pregnant had more live births (79 percent vs. 43 percent), fewer miscarriages (19 percent vs. 52 percent) and a lower rate of birth defects (6 percent vs. 14 percent) than those who were taking the drugs when they conceived. Read more
MONDAY Oct. 21, 2013 — Getting regular daily exercise of moderate to vigorous intensity may also boost students’ academic performance, according to a new U.K. study.
The more intense the exercise, the greater the impact on English, math and science test results, the study authors found. However, they couldn’t explain the precise causes behind the connection.
“A number of suggestions have been put forward for why there is a link — such as physical activity increasing time on task in the classroom, or having an impact on self-esteem,” said study researcher Josephine Booth, a lecturer at the University of Dundee, in Scotland. Read more
SUNDAY Oct. 20, 2013 — If you’ve ever wondered how the flu virus succeeds at infecting so many people, a new study of mice may offer some insight.
The flu actually targets cells of the immune system that are best able to disarm the virus, according to the study. These first responders, known as memory B cells, produce antibodies that can bind to the virus and neutralize it. These cells also reside in the lung where they can protect against re-exposure to the virus.
Researchers found, however, that the flu virus attacks these memory B cells first to disrupt antibody production, allowing it to replicate more efficiently and prevent the immune system from mounting a second defense. Read more