For some, money will not buy happiness: Neither life experiences nor material items make materialistic shoppers happier

Many shoppers, whether they buy material items or life experiences, are no happier following the purchase than they were before, according to a new study from San Francisco State University.Although previous research has shown experiences create greater happiness for buyers, the study suggests that certain material buyers — those who tend to purchase material goods — may be an exception to this rule. The study is detailed in an article to be published in the June edition of the Journal of Research in Personality.”Everyone has been told if you spend your money on life experiences, it will make you happier, but we found that isn’t always the case,” said Ryan Howell, an associate professor of psychology at SF State and co-author of the study. “Extremely material buyers, who represent about a third of the overall population, are sort of stuck. They’re not really happy with either purchase.”Researchers found that when material buyers purchase life experiences, they are no happier because the purchase is likely out of line with their personality and values. But if they spend on material items, they are not better off either, because others may criticize or look down upon their choices.”I’m a baseball fan. If you tell me, ‘Go spend money on a life experience,’ and I buy tickets to a baseball game, that would be authentic to who I am, and it will probably make me happy,” Howell said. “On the other hand, I’m not a big museum guy. If I bought tickets to an art museum, I would be spending money on a life experience that seems like it would be the right choice, but because it’s not true to my personality, I’m not going to be any happier as a result.”Although the link between experiential purchases and happiness had been well demonstrated, Howell said few studies have examined the types of people who experience no benefits. To do so, he and his colleagues surveyed shoppers to find out if there were any factors that limited the happiness boost from experiential purchases. The researchers found that those who tend to spend money on material items reported no happiness boost from experiential purchases because those purchases did not give them an increased sense of “identity expression” — the belief that they bought something that reflected their personality.”The results show it is not correct to say to everyone, ‘If you spend money on life experiences you’ll be happier,’ because you need to take into account the values of the buyer,” said Jia Wei Zhang, the lead author of the study and a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley who conducted the research with Howell while an undergraduate at SF State.Reasons someone may buy a life experience that doesn’t reflect his or her personality include a desire to fit in or spend time with others, according to Zhang. …

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‘Charismatic’ organisms still dominating genomics research

Decades after the genomics revolution, half of known eukaryote lineages still remain unstudied at the genomic level–with the field displaying a research bias against ‘less popular’, but potentially genetically rich, single-cell organisms.This lack of microbial representation leaves a world of untapped genetic potential undiscovered, according to an exhaustive survey conducted by UBC researchers of on-going genomics projects. The survey results are published in the May issue of Trends in Ecology and Evolution.”We’re still mostly analyzing the same well-known eukaryotic groups: animals, fungi and plants, in large part because their utility is more obvious, they are closer to us as humans, and frankly because we can see them with the naked eye,” says Javier del Campo, lead author on the paper and an expert on the microbial ecology of protists, complex single-celled organisms.”But from a biological diversity and a genomic point of view this anthropocentric approach is irrelevant, and potentially holds us back. We’re missing the opportunity to study most of the planet’s eukaryotic diversity, which means we’re missing the opportunity to study a host of alternative life strategies, novel metabolic pathways, new gene functions.”The authors call for a broader, objective and species relationship-based initiative to sequence microbial eukaryotic genomes so that the breadth of their diversity is covered.BackgroundThe researchers analyzed all the genome research projects in operation–or projected to launch–and found that 51% of known eukaryotic lineages are not yet represented or studied at a genomic level.Genomic database holdings are heavily biased against complex single cell organisms, particularly the Rhizaria, Amoebozoa and heterotrophic Stramenopiles lineages.The study also analyzed the five largest eukaryotic culture collections, and determined that up to 25% of the described eukaryotic lineages have no representatives in culture.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by University of British Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Coached extracurricular activities may help prevent pre-adolescent smoking, drinking

Dartmouth researchers have found that tweens (preadolescents aged 10-14) who participate in a coached team sport a few times a week or more are less likely to try smoking. Their findings on the relationship between extracurricular activity and health risk behaviors are reported in “The relative roles of types of extracurricular activity on smoking and drinking initiation among tweens,” which was recently published in Academic Pediatrics.”How children spend their time matters,” said lead author Anna M. Adachi-Mejia, PhD, a member of Norris Cotton Cancer Center’s Cancer Control Research Program. “In a nationally representative sample we found that tweens who participate in sports with a coach were less likely to try smoking. Parents and guardians may think that tweens need less adult supervision when they are not in school. However, our research suggests that certain coached extracurricular activities can help prevent tween smoking and drinking.”Researchers conducted a telephone survey of 6,522 US students between 10 and 14 years old in 2003 to determine if the influence of any kind of sport, versus sports where a coach is present, would be associated with risk of smoking and drinking. They developed a novel approach to examine the relation between extracurricular activities and adolescent smoking and drinking. Measures included participation in team sports with a coach, other sports without a coach, music, school clubs, and other clubs. A little over half of the students reported participating in team sports with a coach (55.5 percent) and without a coach (55.4 percent) a few times per week or more. Many had minimal to no participation in school clubs (74.2 percent); however, most reported being involved in other clubs (85.8 percent). …

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Neanderthals were not inferior to modern humans, study finds

If you think Neanderthals were stupid and primitive, it’s time to think again.The widely held notion that Neanderthals were dimwitted and that their inferior intelligence allowed them to be driven to extinction by the much brighter ancestors of modern humans is not supported by scientific evidence, according to a researcher at the University of Colorado Boulder.Neanderthals thrived in a large swath of Europe and Asia between about 350,000 and 40,000 years ago. They disappeared after our ancestors, a group referred to as “anatomically modern humans,” crossed into Europe from Africa.In the past, some researchers have tried to explain the demise of the Neanderthals by suggesting that the newcomers were superior to Neanderthals in key ways, including their ability to hunt, communicate, innovate and adapt to different environments.But in an extensive review of recent Neanderthal research, CU-Boulder researcher Paola Villa and co-author Wil Roebroeks, an archaeologist at Leiden University in the Netherlands, make the case that the available evidence does not support the opinion that Neanderthals were less advanced than anatomically modern humans. Their paper was published today in the journal PLOS ONE.”The evidence for cognitive inferiority is simply not there,” said Villa, a curator at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History. “What we are saying is that the conventional view of Neanderthals is not true.”Villa and Roebroeks scrutinized nearly a dozen common explanations for Neanderthal extinction that rely largely on the notion that the Neanderthals were inferior to anatomically modern humans. These include the hypotheses that Neanderthals did not use complex, symbolic communication; that they were less efficient hunters who had inferior weapons; and that they had a narrow diet that put them at a competitive disadvantage to anatomically modern humans, who ate a broad range of things.The researchers found that none of the hypotheses were supported by the available research. For example, evidence from multiple archaeological sites in Europe suggests that Neanderthals hunted as a group, using the landscape to aid them.Researchers have shown that Neanderthals likely herded hundreds of bison to their death by steering them into a sinkhole in southwestern France. At another site used by Neanderthals, this one in the Channel Islands, fossilized remains of 18 mammoths and five woolly rhinoceroses were discovered at the base of a deep ravine. These findings imply that Neanderthals could plan ahead, communicate as a group and make efficient use of their surroundings, the authors said.Other archaeological evidence unearthed at Neanderthal sites provides reason to believe that Neanderthals did in fact have a diverse diet. Microfossils found in Neanderthal teeth and food remains left behind at cooking sites indicate that they may have eaten wild peas, acorns, pistachios, grass seeds, wild olives, pine nuts and date palms depending on what was locally available.Additionally, researchers have found ochre, a kind of earth pigment, at sites inhabited by Neanderthals, which may have been used for body painting. Ornaments have also been collected at Neanderthal sites. …

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Light activity every day keeps disability at bay

Pushing a shopping cart or a vacuum doesn’t take a lot of effort, but enough of this sort of light physical activity every day can help people with or at risk of knee arthritis avoid developing disabilities as they age, according to a new Northwestern Medicine study.It is known that the more time people spend in moderate or vigorous activities, the less likely they are to develop disability, but this is the first study to show that spending more time in light activities can help prevent disability, too.”Our findings provide encouragement for adults who may not be candidates to increase physical activity intensity due to health limitations,” said Dorothy Dunlop, professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and lead author of the study. “Even among those who did almost no moderate activity, the more light activity they did, the less likely they were to develop disability.”Results of the study were published April 29 in the British Medical Journal.The scientists identified a group of almost 1,700 adults, ages 45 to 79, from the Osteoarthritis Initiative study who were free of disability but were at elevated risk for developing it because they had knee osteoarthritis or other risk factors for knee osteoarthritis, such as obesity.Knee osteoarthritis commonly leads to disability, preventing people from engaging in activities essential to independent living and quality of life, such as dressing, bathing, walking across a room or making telephone calls, managing money and grocery shopping. Two-thirds of obese adults are expected to develop knee osteoarthritis during their lifetime.To track the amount and intensity of physical activity these at-risk people engaged in every day, scientists had them wear an accelerometer during waking hours for about a week. The device is worn around the hip and measures the intensity of movement. The data collected reveals how much time is spent in vigorous, moderate or light activities.Two years after collecting the results from the accelerometer, participants were surveyed and asked about the development of disabilities. As expected, more time spent in moderate or vigorous activity was associated with lower reports of disabilities, but researchers were pleased to find that greater time spent in light intensity activities also was related to fewer disabilities, even after accounting for time spent in moderate activities.Those who spent more than four hours per day doing light physical activity had more than a 30 percent reduction in the risk for developing disability compared to those spending only three hours a day in light activity (the least average number of hours collected in the study).The findings controlled for time spent in moderate or vigorous physical activity and other predictors of disability, both demographic and health factors.”We were delighted to see that more time spent during the day, simply moving your body, even at a light intensity, may reduce disability,” Dunlop said. “Now people with health problems or physical limitations, who cannot increase the intensity of their activity, have a starting place in the effort to stay independent.”Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by Northwestern University. The original article was written by Erin White. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Brain, cognitive reserve protect long-term against cognitive decline, MS researchers find

Multiple sclerosis researchers have found that brain reserve and cognitive reserve confer a long-term protective effect against cognitive decline.James Sumowski, PhD, lead author of the article, and John DeLuca, PhD, are at Kessler Foundation. Co-authors are from the Manhattan Memory Center, New York, NY, the San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy, and the University of Belgrade, Serbia. Neurology is the official journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Dr. Sumowski presented these findings at the AAN 2014 conference in Philadelphia.”Our research aims to answer these questions,” explained Dr. DeLuca. “Why do some people with MS experience disabling symptoms of cognitive decline, while others maintain their cognitive abilities despite neuroimaging evidence of significant disease progression? Can the theories of brain reserve and cognitive reserve explain this dichotomy? Can we identify predictors of cognitive decline?”In this study, memory, cognitive efficiency, vocabulary (a measure of intellectual enrichment/cognitive reserve), brain volume (a measure of brain reserve), and disease progression on MRI, were evaluated in 40 patients with MS at baseline and at 4.5-year followup. After controlling for disease progression, scientists looked at the impact of brain volume and intellectual enrichment on cognitive decline.Results supported the protective effects of brain reserve and cognitive reserve,” noted Dr. …

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Engineers grow functional human cartilage in lab

Researchers at Columbia Engineering announced today that they have successfully grown fully functional human cartilage in vitro from human stem cells derived from bone marrow tissue. Their study, which demonstrates new ways to better mimic the enormous complexity of tissue development, regeneration, and disease, is published in the April 28 Early Online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).”We’ve been able — for the first time — to generate fully functional human cartilage from mesenchymal stem cells by mimicking in vitro the developmental process of mesenchymal condensation,” says Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, who led the study and is the Mikati Foundation Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Columbia Engineering and professor of medical sciences. “This could have clinical impact, as this cartilage can be used to repair a cartilage defect, or in combination with bone in a composite graft grown in lab for more complex tissue reconstruction.”For more than 20 years, researchers have unofficially called cartilage the “official tissue of tissue engineering,” Vunjak-Novakovic observes. Many groups studied cartilage as an apparently simple tissue: one single cell type, no blood vessels or nerves, a tissue built for bearing loads while protecting bone ends in the joints. While there has been great success in engineering pieces of cartilage using young animal cells, no one has, until now, been able to reproduce these results using adult human stem cells from bone marrow or fat, the most practical stem cell source. Vunjak-Novakovic’s team succeeded in growing cartilage with physiologic architecture and strength by radically changing the tissue-engineering approach.The general approach to cartilage tissue engineering has been to place cells into a hydrogel and culture them in the presence of nutrients and growth factors and sometimes also mechanical loading. But using this technique with adult human stem cells has invariably produced mechanically weak cartilage. So Vunjak-Novakovic and her team, who have had a longstanding interest in skeletal tissue engineering, wondered if a method resembling the normal development of the skeleton could lead to a higher quality of cartilage.Sarindr Bhumiratana, postdoctoral fellow in Vunjak-Novakovic’s Laboratory for Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering, came up with a new approach: inducing the mesenchymal stem cells to undergo a condensation stage as they do in the body before starting to make cartilage. He discovered that this simple but major departure from how things were usually? being done resulted in a quality of human cartilage not seen before.Gerard Ateshian, Andrew Walz Professor of Mechanical Engineering, professor of biomedical engineering, and chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and his PhD student, Sevan Oungoulian, helped perform measurements showing that the lubricative property and compressive strength — the two important functional properties — of the tissue-engineered cartilage approached those of native cartilage. …

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MRI-guided biopsy for brain cancer improves diagnosis

Neurosurgeons at UC San Diego Heath System have, for the first time, combined real-time magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology with novel non-invasive cellular mapping techniques to develop a new biopsy approach that increases the accuracy of diagnosis for patients with brain cancer.”There are many different types of brain cancer. Making an accurate diagnosis is paramount because the diagnosis dictates the subsequent course of treatment,” said Clark C. Chen, MD, PhD, vice-chairman of research, division of neurosurgery, UC San Diego School of Medicine. “For instance, the treatment of glioblastoma is fundamentally different than the treatment for oligodendroglioma, another type of brain tumor.”Chen said that as many as one third of brain tumor biopsies performed in the traditional manner can result in misdiagnosis. He cited two challenges with conventional biopsy.”First, because distinct areas of brain tumors exhibit different cell densities and higher cell densities are generally associated with higher tumor grade, biopsies taken from one region may yield a different diagnosis than if another area is biopsied,” said Chen. “Second, because tumors are hidden within the brain, surgeons must use mathematical algorithms to target where the biopsy should occur. As with all calculations, the process is subject to errors that the surgeon cannot easily correct in real time once the biopsy has begun.”Chen’s team applied an MRI technique called Restriction Spectrum Imaging (RSI) to visualize the parts of the brain tumor that contain different cell densities.”RSI allows us to identify the regions of the cell that are most representative of the entire tumor,” said Chen. “By targeting biopsies to these areas, we minimize the number of biopsies needed but still achieve a sampling that best characterizes the entire tumor.”To ensure a targeted biopsy, Chen performs the procedure in the MRI suite while the patient is under general anesthesia. Because conventional biopsy equipment cannot be used in the MRI, Chen uses a special MRI-compatible system called ClearPoint. This system utilizes an integrated set of hardware, software, and surgical equipment to allow the surgeon to target and visualize the path of the biopsy as well as the actual biopsy site, intraoperatively.”Surgeons have been performing brain biopsies in a near blind manner for the past fifty years. …

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Increased prevalence of GI symptoms among children with autism, study confirms

A new study conducted by researchers at Marcus Autism Center, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University School of Medicine indicates that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are more than four times more likely to experience general gastrointestinal (GI) complaints compared with peers, are more than three times as prone to experience constipation and diarrhea than peers, and complain twice as much about abdominal pain compared to peers.The results are reported in the April 28, 2014, online early edition of the journal Pediatrics.While parents frequently express concern regarding GI symptoms among children with ASD in pediatric settings, this study is the first meta-analysis of all published, peer-reviewed research relating to this topic.”Our findings corroborate a history of anecdotal reports and case studies suggesting increased risk of GI concerns in autism,” says co-author William Sharp, PhD, director of the Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program at Marcus Autism Center and assistant professor of pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine. “This analysis reinforces the need for greater clinical and research scrutiny in this area to guide best standards of care and to address important questions regarding the detection and treatment of GI symptoms among children with autism.”The process of detecting and studying possible GI concerns in children with ASD is complicated by the unique combination of behavioral, neurological and medical issues associated with the condition. Most notably, limitations in verbal communication in patients with ASD make it difficult for them to communicate information about GI symptoms, making it more challenging for physicians to detect possible underlying GI issues. In such cases, parents and medical professionals must rely on non-verbal signs that fall outside of the routine GI diagnostic evaluation.”In many cases, the only indication of a possible GI problem in autism may be the emergence or escalation of problem behaviors, such as self-injury, aggression, or irritability, that cannot be otherwise explained,” says co-author Barbara McElhanon, MD, pediatric gastroenterologist at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and assistant professor of pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine. “Relying on these atypical signs to detect possible GI concerns can be difficult for practitioners because repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior occur so frequently in ASD and no guidelines exist to help parents and clinicians navigate the diagnostic process.”For this reason, McElhanon and her colleagues emphasize the need to develop a standardized screening instrument as well as clinical guidelines for conducting GI examinations among children with ASD, particularly non-verbal children. More detailed, standardized screening procedures would enhance detection, while also increasing awareness in the ASD community regarding what to look for among children suspected of possible GI disorders.”The important point from this research is that children with autism — who have difficulties in communicating their symptoms — need special attention from physicians to determine whether or not a child is experiencing GI distress” says Sharp. “Unfortunately for parents, the unfounded assertion that vaccinations somehow caused an inflammatory GI disease which then caused autism has significantly hindered progress in this field for years. Many studies have now shown no evidence of an association with vaccines, and vaccines are important for child health. That controversy diverted attention from the GI needs of children with ASD, and we hope that our work helps spur renewed investment for addressing these needs.”In addition to more standardized assessment, the authors recommend studying GI symptoms in ASD with consideration to the high rates of feeding problems and related dietary issues, such as food selectivity, in this population. “If food intake becomes highly restricted, a child is likely to experience issues like GI distress and constipation or diarrhea; but for children with autism, they often can’t communicate those issues in the same way,” says McElhanon. …

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Psychologists discover babies recognize real-life objects from pictures as early as nine months

Babies begin to learn about the connection between pictures and real objects by the time they are nine-months-old, according to a new study by scientists at Royal Holloway, University of London, and the University of South Carolina.The research, published today in Child Development, found that babies can learn about a toy from a photograph of it well before their first birthday.”The study should interest any parent or caregiver who has ever read a picture book with an infant,” said Dr Jeanne Shinskey, from the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway. “For parents and educators, these findings suggest that, well before their first birthdays and their first words, babies are capable of learning about the real world indirectly from picture books, at least those that have very realistic images like photographs.”Researchers familiarized 30 eight and nine-month-olds with a life-sized photo of a toy for about a minute. The babies were then placed before the toy in the picture and a different toy and researchers watched to see which one the babies reached for first.In one condition, the researchers tested infants’ simple object recognition for the target toy by keeping both objects visible, drawing infants’ attention to the toys and then placing the toys inside clear containers. In another condition, they tested infants’ ability to create a continued mental idea of the target toy by hiding both toys from view, drawing infants’ attention to the toys and then placing the toys inside opaque containers.When the toys were visible in clear containers, babies reached for the one that had not been in the picture, suggesting that they recognized the pictured toy and found it less interesting than the new toy because its novelty had worn off. But when the toys were hidden in opaque containers, babies showed the opposite preference — they reached more often for the one that had been in the photo, suggesting that they had formed a continued mental idea of it.Dr Shinskey said: “These findings show that one brief exposure to a picture of a toy affects infants’ actions with the real toy by the time they reach nine-months-old. It also demonstrates that experience with a picture of something can strengthen babies’ ideas of an object so they can maintain it after the object disappears — so out of sight is not out of mind.”The study, which was carried out at the Baby Lab at Royal Holloway’s campus, in Egham, Surrey, was published online today in Child Development, the journal of the Society for Research in Child Development.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by University of Royal Holloway London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Wetlands likely to blame for atmospheric methane increases: Study

A surprising recent rise in atmospheric methane likely stems from wetland emissions, suggesting that much more of the potent greenhouse gas will be pumped into the atmosphere as northern wetlands continue to thaw and tropical ones to warm, according to a new international study led by a University of Guelph researcher.The study supports calls for improved monitoring of wetlands and human changes to those ecosystems — a timely topic as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change prepares to examine land use impacts on greenhouse gas emissions, says Prof. Merritt Turetsky, Department of Integrative Biology.Turetsky is the lead author of a paper published today in Global Change Biology based on one of the largest-ever analyses of global methane emissions. The team looked at almost 20,000 field data measurements collected from 70 sites across arctic, temperate and tropical regions.Agnieszka Kotowska, a former master’s student, and David Olefeldt, a post-doc at Guelph, also were among 19 study co-authors from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Finland, Germany and Sweden.One of the strongest greenhouse gases, methane comes from agriculture and fossil fuel use, as well as natural sources such as microbes in saturated wetland soils.The amount of atmospheric methane has remained relatively stable for about a decade, but concentrations began to rise again in 2007. Scientists believe this increase stems partly from more methane being released from thawing northern wetlands.Scientists have assumed that wetland methane release is largest in the tropics, said Turetsky.”But our analyses show that northern fens, such as those created when permafrost thaws, can have emissions comparable to warm sites in the tropics, despite their cold temperatures. That’s very important when it comes to scaling methane release at a global scale.”The study calls for better methods of detecting different types of wetlands and methane release rates between flooded and drained areas.Fens are the most common type of wetland in Canada, but we lack basic scientific approaches for mapping fens using remote sensing products, she said.”Not only are fens one of the strongest sources of wetland greenhouse gases, but we also know that Canadian forests and tundra underlain by permafrost are thawing and creating these kinds of high methane-producing ecosystems.”Most methane studies focus on measurements at a single site, said co-author Narasinha Shurpali, University of Eastern Finland. “Our synthesis of data from a large number of observation points across the globe is unique and serves an important need.”The team showed that small temperature changes can release much more methane from wetland soils to the atmosphere. But whether climate change will ramp up methane emissions will depend on soil moisture, said Turetsky.Under warmer and wetter conditions, much more of the gas will be emitted. If wetland soils dry out from evaporation or human drainage, emissions will fall — but not without other problems.In earlier studies, Turetsky found drying peatlands can spark more wildfires.Another study co-author, Kim Wickland, United States Geological Survey, said, “This study provides important data for better accounting of how methane emissions change after wetland drainage and flooding.”Methane emissions vary between natural and disturbed or managed wetlands, says Wickland, who has helped the IPCC improve methods for calculating greenhouse gas emissions from managed wetlands.Turetsky holds a Canada Research Chair in Integrative Ecology. She and her students examine how ecosystems regulate climate in field sites in Canada and Alaska.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by University of Guelph. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Consuming high-protein breakfasts helps women maintain glucose control, study finds

In healthy individuals, the amount of glucose, or sugar, in the blood increases after eating. When glucose increases, levels of insulin increase to carry the glucose to the rest of the body. Previous research has shown that extreme increases in glucose and insulin in the blood can lead to poor glucose control and increase an individual’s risk of developing diabetes over time. Now, a University of Missouri researcher has found that when women consumed high-protein breakfasts, they maintained better glucose and insulin control than they did with lower-protein or no-protein meals.”For women, eating more protein in the morning can beneficially affect their glucose and insulin levels,” said Heather Leidy, an assistant professor of nutrition and exercise physiology. “If you eat healthy now and consume foods that help you control your glucose levels, you may be protecting yourself from developing diabetes in the future.”Kevin Maki, of Biofortis Clinical Research, completed the study in collaboration with Leidy. They studied women aged 18-55 years old who consumed one of three different meals or only water on four consecutive days. The tested meals were less than 300 calories per serving and had similar fat and fiber contents. However, the meals varied in amount of protein: a pancake meal with three grams of protein; a sausage and egg breakfast skillet with 30 grams of protein; or a sausage and egg breakfast skillet with 39 grams protein. Researchers monitored the amount of glucose and insulin in the participants’ blood for four hours after they ate breakfast.”Both protein-rich breakfasts led to lower spikes in glucose and insulin after meals compared to the low-protein, high-carb breakfast,” Maki said. “Additionally, the higher-protein breakfast containing 39 grams of protein led to lower post-meal spikes compared to the high-protein breakfast with 30 grams of protein.”These findings suggest that, for healthy women, the consumption of protein-rich breakfasts leads to better glucose control throughout the morning than the consumption of low-protein options, Leidy said.”Since most American women consume only about 10-15 grams of protein during breakfast, the 30-39 grams might seem like a challenging dietary change,” Leidy said. …

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Breath Analysis Offers Non-invasive Method to Detect Early Lung Cancer

Researchers at the University of Louisville School of Medicine are using breath analysis to detect the presence of lung cancer. Preliminary data indicate that this promising noninvasive tool offers the sensitivity of PET scanning, and has almost twice the specificity of PET for distinguishing patients with benign lung disease from those with early stage cancer. Michael Bousamra II, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, is presenting the results of the study at the AATS 2014 Conference on April 29, 2014.A reliable, noninvasive diagnostic method imposes less physical and financial burden on patients who actually have no significant disease, while rapid and accurate diagnosis expedites treatment for patients who truly have lung cancer.The team believes that while the breath test would not replace CT as a primary screening tool, it would be particularly helpful in conjunction with a positive CT scan result. “This breath analysis method presents the potential for a cheaper and more reliable diagnostic option for patients found to have bulky disease on a CT scan. If the breath analysis is negative, the patient may, in some instances, be followed with repeated exams without necessitating a biopsy. But a positive breath analysis would indicate that the patient may proceed to definitive biopsy, thus expediting treatment,” says Dr. Bousamra.Investigators used specially coated silicon microchips to collect breath samples from 88 healthy controls, 107 patients with lung cancer, 40 individuals with benign pulmonary disease, and 7 with metastatic lung cancer.Previous work had pinpointed four specific substances, known as carbonyl compounds, in breath samples as “elevated cancer markers” (ECMs) that distinguish patients with lung cancer from those with benign disease. The carbonyl compounds found in the breath are thought to reflect chemical reactions occurring in malignant lung tumors. In this study, the authors compared the findings from the breath analyses to the results from PET scans.The investigators found that the sensitivity and specificity of breath analysis depended upon how many of the ECMs were elevated. For example, having 3 or 4 ECMs was diagnostic of lung cancer in 95% of those with this result. …

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When harm done can never be balanced: Vicarious revenge and the death of Osama bin Laden

Friday will mark the third anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s assassination, a day when U.S. President Barack Obama famously stated “Justice has been done.” But has it? A new study from a team of social psychology researchers led by Mario Gollwitzer of Philipps University of Marburg, has questioned whether this instance of vicarious revenge led to feelings of satisfaction and reestablished justice within the American public, including whether bin Laden’s assassination ignited craving for more revenge.Justice achievedVicarious revenge, where the need for justice is felt not by the victims, but by people in the same group, has been shown to feel similar to personal revenge. Gollwitzer and his team developed two studies designed to test the notion “that Americans’ vengeful desires in the aftermath of 9/11 predicted a sense of justice achieved after bin Laden’s death…”The data suggest that those Americans who believed that bin Laden’s assassination sent a message to the perpetrators (“Don’t mess with us”) were also the ones who thought that his death balanced the scales of justice.The second important finding from the study is that bin Laden’s death did not fully quench Americans’ desire for revenge. Respondents who showed a stronger sense of “justice achieved” also showed a stronger desire to take further revenge against those who were responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks.Although justice might be achieved, the avengers might not feel psychological closure. Reestablishing justice, successfully asserting one’s message, does not necessarily close the chapter in the case of revenge.The “how” mattersThe third important finding presented shows that Americans were more satisfied with fact that bin Laden was killed intentionally than the possibility of bin Laden being killed accidentally (e.g., in an airplane crash). Compared to self-reported responses from Pakistanis or Germans, Americans felt much more satisfaction towards the death of bin Laden as it actually happened than towards any other circumstance of his death.Gollwitzer and his team believe that this difference in “intent” reflects the fact that Americans were the victims of 9/11, whereas Germans, for example, merely observed these events, but were not directly involved in them.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by Society for Personality and Social Psychology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Snobby staff can boost luxury retail sales

When it comes to luxury brands, the ruder the sales staff the better the sales, according to new research from the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business.The forthcoming Journal of Consumer Research study reveals that consumers who get the brush-off at a high-end retailer can become more willing to purchase and wear pricey togs.”It appears that snobbiness might actually be a qualification worth considering for luxury brands like Louis Vuitton or Gucci,” says Sauder Marketing Professor Darren Dahl. “Our research indicates they can end up having a similar effect to an ‘in-group’ in high school that others aspire to join.”For the study, participants imagined or had interactions with sales representatives — rude or not. They then rated their feelings about associated brands and their desire to own them. Participants who expressed an aspiration to be associated with high-end brands also reported an increased desire to own the luxury products after being treated poorly.The effect only held true if the salesperson appeared to be an authentic representative of the brand. If they did not fit the part, the consumer was turned off. Further, researchers found that sales staff rudeness did not improve impressions of mass-market brands.”Our study shows you’ve got to be the right kind of snob in the right kind of store for the effect to work,” says Dahl.The researchers also found that improved impressions gained by rude treatment faded over time. Customers who expressed increased desire to purchase the products reported significantly diminished desire two weeks later.Based on the study’s findings, Dahl suggests that, if consumers are being treated rudely, it’s best to leave the situation and return later, or avoid the interactions altogether by shopping online.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by University of British Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Risk-assessment approach recommended for biomarker-driven cancer clinical trials

In an article published in The Lancet Oncology, an NCI (US National Cancer Institute), NCRI (UK National Cancer Research Institute), and EORTC (European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer) working group outline a practical risk-management approach for effective integration of biomarkers into cancer clinical trials. Their work provides the international community with a set of common principles by which biomarkers can be integrated into clinical trials, exchange of data can be facilitated, quality promoted, and research accelerated while simultaneously respecting local approaches and legislation.Their risk-assessment approach for designing and conducting cancer clinical trials include risks to patient safety, operational risks, and biomarker development risks, and for each risk they evaluate possible consequences, provide solutions along with examples of these as well as references to helpful resources. Concerning protocol design, the working group recommends items that a protocol should include as well as items that should be assessed during protocol development. For the conduct of the trial, they make recommendations for the close monitoring of variability in test results, and they also make recommendations for particular aspects following completion of the trial.Dr. Jacqueline Hall, who coordinated this NCI, NCRI, and EORTC working group says, “We readily acknowledge that in today’s clinical trial landscape, many stakeholders play a role in clinical trials. These include regulators, public authorities, and patients, amongst others. By opening this discussion to others, we hope to find solutions to the varied challenges facing molecularly driven clinical research.”Support for this research came from the EORTC Charitable Trust and the UK Department of Health’s National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centres funding scheme.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer. The original article was written by John Bean. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Toll of trampoline fractures on children is high

Trampoline accidents sent an estimated 288,876 people, most of them children, to hospital emergency departments with broken bones from 2002 to 2011, at a cost of more than $400 million, according to an analysis by researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine.Including all injuries, not just fractures, hospital emergency rooms received more than 1 million visits from people injured in trampoline accidents during those 10 years, boosting the emergency room bills to just over $1 billion, according to the study.The research, published online in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopeadics, is the first to analyze trampoline fracture patterns in a large population drawn from a national database, said the study’s lead author, Randall T. Loder, M.D., chair of the IU School of Medicine Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and a surgeon at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health.”There have not been any large-scale studies of these injuries,” Dr. Loder said. “We wanted to document the patterns of injury. This gives us an idea of the magnitude of the problem across the country.”Dr. Loder and his colleagues retrieved data for all trampoline-related injuries for the decade beginning 2002 from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, which collects data from a sample of 100 hospitals across the country. Using statistical techniques, they estimated there were just over 1 million emergency department visits, with 288,876 of them involving fractures.About 60 percent of the fractures were upper-extremity injuries, notably fingers, hands, forearms and elbows. Lower-extremity fractures most commonly were breaks in the lower leg — the tibia and fibula — and ankles. Just over 4 percent involved fractures to the axial skeleton, including the spine, head, and ribs and sternum. An estimated 2,807 spinal fractures were reported during the period studied.”Fortunately, there were fewer spine injuries than might have been expected, but those can be catastrophic,” said Meagan Sabatino, clinical research coordinator for pediatric orthopedic surgery and a study co-author.While the average age for most of the injuries was about 9 years old, the average age for axial skeleton injuries was substantially higher at 16.6 years old.”They’re probably jumping higher, with more force,” Dr. …

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Genetic mutations involved in human blood diseases identified

A study published today in Nature Genetics has revealed mutations that could have a major impact on the future diagnosis and treatment of many human diseases. Through an international collaboration, researchers at the Montreal Heart Institute (MHI) were able to identify a dozen mutations in the human genome that are involved in significant changes in complete blood counts and that explain the onset of sometimes severe biological disorders.The number of red and white blood cells and platelets in the blood is an important clinical marker, as it helps doctors detect many hematological diseases and other diseases. Doctors can also monitor this marker to determine the effectiveness of therapy for certain pathologies.”Complete blood counts are a complex human trait, as the number of cells in the blood is controlled by our environment and the combined expression of many genes in our DNA,” explained Dr. Guillaume Lettre, a study co-author, an MHI researcher, and an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Medicine at Universit de Montral.In collaboration with their colleagues at the University of Washington in Seattle and the University of Greifswald in Germany, these MHI researchers analyzed the DNA of 6,796 people who donated specimens to the MHI Biobank by looking specifically at segments of DNA directly involved in protein function in the body. They specifically identified a significant mutation in the gene that encodes erythropoietin, a hormone that controls the production of red blood cells. “Subjects who carry this mutation in their DNA have reduced hemoglobin levels and a 70% greater chance of developing anemia,” explained Dr. Lettre. The scientists also identified a mutation in the JAK2 gene, which is responsible for a 50% increase in platelet counts and, in certain cases, for the onset of bone marrow diseases that can lead to leukemia. Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif, Director of the MHI Research Centre, Full Professor at the Faculty of Medicine at Universit de Montral, and a study co-author, added that “after reviewing pre-existing clinical data from the MHI Biobank, we observed that these donors also had a higher risk of having a stroke during their lifetime.”Dr. …

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‘Gaydar’: Are women better at spotting one of their own?

Previous research has proven the ‘gaydar’ to be a real phenomenon. Reliable predictions of sexual orientation have been made simply by hearing a voice or seeing a face. This article in Cognition & Emotion asks who has better gaydar? Lesbian women or straight? The expectation was that lesbians due to their experience of choosing partners would be more tuned in to others orientation. The authors conducted a study which revealed some thought-provoking insights into who has greater interpersonal sensitivity.The study entailed a mixture of lesbian and straight women watching video clips of a target group of women discussing family relationships and future life. The watchers were asked to rate multiple aspects of the target group; what were they thinking? What emotions they experienced? What type of personality did they have and overall were they gay or straight on a continuous scale of homosexuality? This ground-breaking research stands out from previous studies which have primarily considered sexuality of men. …

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Estimating baby’s size gets more precise

New Michigan State University research aims to help doctors estimate the size of newborns with a new set of birth weight measurements based on birth records from across the country.”More than 7 million records were reviewed,” said Nicole Talge, an assistant professor in MSU’s Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, who co-led the study which is now available in the journal Pediatrics.”Our research looked at live births in the United States during 2009-2010 and using a newly developed method, corrected unlikely gestational ages during that time. This led to changes in the birth weight thresholds, especially for preterm and post-term babies.”Talge added that these thresholds are important because they can be used to classify a baby as small or large for gestational age.As a result, her findings have helped introduce an updated and potentially more precise way to evaluate a baby’s birth size.During its research, the team’s method compared the last menstrual period of the mother and the estimated gestational age of the fetus against the actual birth weight of the baby when born to identify birth records that had the likely errors.Since birth size is often used as one indicator of a baby’s health, these new thresholds may be useful for clinicians in making health care decisions. Researchers also may benefit from more precise estimates of birth size when investigating health outcomes at birth and later on in life.”It’s important to remember that birth size is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to evaluating a baby’s health,” said Talge.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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