Genetics play a bigger role than environmental causes for autism

26 July 2014
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Genetics plays more of a role in the development of autism than environmental causes, according to new research published Sunday in Nature Genetics. The study found that 52% of autism risk comes from common genes, while only 2.6% are attributed to spontaneous mutations caused by, among other things, environmental factors. “These genetic variations are common enough that most people are likely to have some,” said Joseph Buxbaum, a researcher at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and one of the lead authors on the study. “Each one has a tiny effect on autism risk, and many hundreds or thousands...

Native American activists seek to eliminate ‘redface’

26 July 2014
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A Kansas City Chief fan dons face point and a Native American headdress(Photo: Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports) It was one of those picture-worth-a-thousand-words moments. Robert Roche was at the Cleveland Indians’ home opener in April when he confronted a non-Native man in fake feathers, his face painted in grotesque homage to the team’s Chief Wahoo logo. A photo of the real Indian engaging the pretend Indian immediately went viral online. Jacqueline Keeler wants more of that. Native American activists campaign against Indian team names in sports on multiple fronts — legal, moral and...

Mild traumatic brain injury may cause cognitive problems, lasting brain damage

18 July 2014
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In these DTI scans, the bottom row shows views of a head with the top sliced away to reveal the brain. The top row shows the corresponding top views of the brain. The green lines represent the white matter— the brain’s “wiring.” The blue areas are the damaged parts of the white matter that seem to be responsible for cognitive problems experienced by study patients with mild traumatic brain injury. (Professor Blamire/Newcastle University, UK) While much is known about the effects of severe traumatic brain injuries (TBI), less attention has been paid to mild and moderate brain injuries. In...

Humans ‘bad at detecting lies’

18 July 2014
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Humans are very bad at detecting lies, with most people being deceived the majority of the time, forensic psychologist Kerry Daynes has said. Her comments come as an experiment at Latitude festival this weekend hopes to uncover the science behind lying by asking people either to be dishonest or conceal a difficult truth. Sophie Scott, a lecturer in cognitive neuroscience at University College London, said the idea that people avert their gaze while lying is a misconception. Most people make extra eye contact while lying, she explained, as they want to know if they are being believed. First broadcast...

Friends have more DNA in common than strangers

16 July 2014
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MJTH | Shutterstock.com People may unsuspectingly choose friends who have some DNA sequences in common with them, a new analysis finds. Researchers compared gene variations between nearly 2,000 people who were not biologically related, and found that friends had more gene variations in common than strangers. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT The study lends a possible scientific backing for the well-worn clichs, “We’re just like family,” or “Friends are the family you choose,” the researchers said. “Humans are unique in that we create long-term connections with people...

Stress eating linked to 11-pound weight gain a year

16 July 2014
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During the study, researchers measured participants’ resting metabolic rate. Image courtesy of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Stress eating tends to be associated with reaching for high-fat comfort foods that everybody knows are unhealthy. But it’s not just the calories consumed during stress eating that negatively impact one’s weight— stress itself could be throwing off metabolism, too. In new study from The Ohio State University (OSU), researchers found that women who experienced stress in the previous 24 hours burned 104 fewer calories than non-stressed women in...

Playing games boosts your brain volume

16 July 2014
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(CNN) — Playing games may boost your brain volume, according to new research presented this week at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. Middle-aged people who were avid game-players (think crosswords, checkers, cards) tended to have bigger brains than people who did not play games, according to a recent study that looked at brain scans. “It’s like looking at someone’s muscle mass,” said Dr. Laurel Coleman of the Maine Medical Center Geriatric Assessment Center. “It’s bad when it’s smaller, good when it’s...

Extreme obesity shortens your life more than smoking

12 July 2014
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(CNN) — Here’s a roundup of five medical studies published this week that might give you new insights into your health, mind and body. Remember, correlation is not causation — so if a study finds a connection between two things, it doesn’t mean that one causes the other. Extreme obesity shortens your life more than smoking Journal: PLOS Medicine It’s not going to come as a surprise that obesity shortens your life by contributing to heart disease, strokes, diabetes and other diseases. But how many years are lost? Researchers from the National Cancer Institute compared...

Evidence of HIV found in a child said to be cured

12 July 2014
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