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Health Bytes from Web
A new blood test could help diagnose Alzheimer’s

According to the Alzheimer's Association, the condition will likely affect almost 14 million people in the United States by 2050. Despite this, there are few ways of accurately diagnosing Alzheimer's disease early on. These include MRI and CT scans, which help doctors rule out other conditions that might cause similar symptoms. Another way of diagnosing Alzheimer's is by collecting cerebrospinal fluid and looking for biomarkers of the disease. This is the most accurate test for this neurodegenerative condition, but it is costly and invasive. For all these reasons, researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, MA, have been developing a blood test for Alzheimer's that aims to be accurate, more cost-effective, and less unpleasant. In the study paper, which appears in the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia, the researchers explain that the test may be able to detect biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease before the appearance of obvious symptoms., Dec 8, 2018

DNA study shows stethoscopes loaded with bacteria, including staphylococcus

Stethoscopes carried by health care practitioners are loaded with diverse bacteria, including some that can cause healthcare-associated infections, according to a study published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America. The research also reviewed the effectiveness of cleaning methods, finding a standardized approach to be superior for removing bacteria compared with various approaches employed by health care practitioners., Dec 12, 2018

Massage helps relieve pain, improve mobility in patients with knee osteoarthritis

Patients with arthritis in their knees experienced significant improvement in pain and mobility after undergoing a weekly, whole-body massage for two months, according to a study led by researchers at Duke Health. The finding, appearing online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, suggests that massage could offer a safe and effective complement to the management of knee osteoarthritis, at least in the short term. Medications are available, but many patients experience adverse side effects, raising the need for alternatives. This study demonstrates that massage has potential to be one such option., Dec 14, 2018

Study identifies more than 6,000 antibiotic resistance genes found in gut bacteria

A study carried out in collaboration with the University of Birmingham has used an innovative approach to identify thousands of antibiotic resistance genes found in bacteria that inhabit the human gut. The human gut is home to trillions of microorganisms, mainly bacteria. Most of these are sensitive to antibiotics, but a significant number of bacteria in the human gut have mechanisms that make them resistant to antibiotics. However, we still lack a mechanistic understanding of the genes that confer resistance to antibiotics in gut bacteria., Dec 3, 2018

Researchers discover Ebola-fighting protein in human cells

Researchers have discovered a human protein that helps fight the Ebola virus and could one day lead to an effective therapy against the deadly disease, according to a new Northwestern Medicine study. The newly discovered ability of the human protein RBBP6 to interfere with Ebola virus replication suggests new ways to fight the infection. As viruses develop and evolve proteins to bypass the body's immune defenses, human cells in turn develop defense mechanisms against those viruses -- an evolutionary arms race that has been ongoing for millions of years. This particular defense mechanism has therapeutic potential, said co-lead author Judd Hultquist, assistant professor of medicine in the division of infectious disease at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine., Dec 13, 2018

These Plant Chemicals Could Help Your Heart's Health

Drinking a cup of tea or eating a handful of berries a day may help protect against heart disease, a new study suggests. The research, at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions annual meeting, found that daily consumption of small amounts of flavonoids — compounds found in berries, tea, chocolate, wine and many other fruits and plants — was associated with a lower risk of heart disease., November 11, 2018

New interactions between Ebola virus and human proteins discovered

Several new connections have been discovered between the proteins of the Ebola virus and human host cells, a finding that provides insight on ways to prevent the deadly Ebola virus from reproducing and could lead to novel ways to fight these lethal viral infections, according to a study led by Georgia State University, the University of California, San Francisco, and the Gladstone Institutes., December 13, 2018

Noncoding mutations contribute to autism risk

A whole-genome sequencing study of nearly 2,000 families has implicated mutations in 'promoter regions' of the genome -- regions that precede the start of a gene -- in autism. The study, which appears in the December 14 issue of Science, is the first genome-wide analysis to uncover a role for mutations in the noncoding portion of the genome in any human condition. Most sequencing studies of autism and other conditions have focused on the coding portion of the genome -- that is, the genes, which encode the recipe for each protein a cell can build. But more than 98 percent of the human genome consists of material other than genes. "We wouldn't have that DNA if it didn't do something," says Stephan Sanders of the University of California, San Francisco, one of the scientists who led the new study., December 13, 2018



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