October 10, 2012

Health round-up: vitamins, magnets, baby aspirin, breast cancer, terrible teens, super tasters

How a vitamin a day helps boost memory

A daily multivitamin tablet may boost the memory and slow mental decline.  According to new studies, taking supplements has a beneficial effect on memory and may work by increasing efficiency of brain cells.  One study showed that after just four weeks there were measurable changes in electrical activity in the brain when carrying out memory tests, not seen in a comparison group taking a placebo pill.

Powerful magnets that cause cancer cells to 'self-destruct' could offer targeted treatment for tumors

Magnets that cause tumors to 'self-destruct' could be a revolutionary new weapon in the fight against cancer.  Scientists in South Korea have developed the method, which uses a magnetic field to trigger the cells to effectively kill themselves.  The researchers have demonstrated that the process works in bowel cancer cells and living laboratory fish. They now plan to test the technique on a range of cancers to see if it can destroy other tumors.

Smallpox virus may help treat deadly form of breast cancer

A relative of the small pox virus may be an effective weapon against one of the deadliest forms of breast cancer, researchers say. Laboratory tests showed that more than 90 per cent of triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) cells treated with the vaccinia virus were destroyed within four days.
In mice with the disease, one strain of the virus cleared away 60 per cent of tumors while the extent of those left was dramatically reduced.

The mystery of the terrible teens solved: Developing brains are simply struggling to deal with fear, claim scientists

Scientists say the 'terrible teens' may not be a child's fault after all.  A new study shows fear is hard to extinguish from the developing teenage brain, which researchers say may explain why anxiety and depression spike so obviously during adolescence.

The new study by Weill Cornell Medical College researchers shows that adolescents' reactions to threat remain high even when the danger is no longer present.  According to researchers, once a teenager's brain is triggered by a threat, the ability to suppress an emotional response to the threat is diminished - which may explain why they often seem permanently anxious and stressed.

That baby aspirin you take every day to help your heart could also slow down memory loss

Research published in the online journal BMJ Open found regular low-dose aspirin did slow cognitive decline.The five-year study at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, involved 681 women aged 70 to 92. The majority of women were at high risk of heart disease and stroke. Decline in brain power was found to be considerably less among those who took aspirin every day over the entire period.

If you find broccoli and brussel sprouts unbearably bitter, you may have a "super taster" gene that protects you against illness

Scientists have discovered a keen sense of taste boosts immunity - a breakthrough that could lead to nasal sprays to ward off illness. ..Bitter taste receptor gene TAS2R38 found to activate an immune response.

What's inside a doctor's bag, then and now

1. A pocket ultrasound machine which allows a great view of the heart, and adds volumes to what the stethoscope can discern.
2. The PanOptic ophthalmoscope, an instrument that looks a bit like a large revolver; it allows a beautiful view of the retina, and especially its blood vessels, far better than my conventional ophthalmoscope. One look in an eye and I have a sense of the status of the arteries in the kidney, the heart. The PanOptic can also be hooked up to an iPhone to take great pictures. 
3. An iPad
Posted by Jill Fallon at October 10, 2012 10:07 AM | Permalink