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News

  • Brain chemical could be key to happiness

    Mar 25 2013...
    The neurochemical changes underlying human emotions and social behavior are largely unknown. However, scientists at UCLA have measured the release of a specific peptide, a neurotransmitter called hypocretin, that greatly increased when subjects were happy but decreased when they were sad.

    The finding suggests that boosting hypocretin could elevate both mood and alertness in humans, thus laying the foundation for possible future treatments of psychiatric disorders like depression by targeting measureable abnormalities in brain chemistry. READ MORE>>
  • Acting out dreams linked to developing dementia

    Mar 22 2013...
    The strongest predictor of whether a man is developing dementia with Lewy bodies — the second most common form of dementia in the elderly — is whether he acts out his dreams while sleeping, Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered. Patients are five times more likely to have dementia with Lewy bodies if they experience a condition known as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder, a parasomnia, than if they have one of the risk factors now used to make a diagnosis, such as fluctuating cognition or hallucinations, the study found.

    "While it is, of course, true that not everyone who has this sleep disorder develops dementia with Lewy bodies, as many as 75 to 80 percent of men with dementia with Lewy bodies in our Mayo database did experience REM sleep behavior disorder. So it is a very powerful marker for the disease," says lead investigator Melissa Murray, PhD, a neuroscientist at Mayo Clinic in Florida. READ MORE>>
  • Study finds sleep consolidates memories for competing tasks

    Mar 20 2013...
    Sleep plays an important role in the brain’s ability to consolidate learning when two new potentially competing tasks are learned in the same day, new research at the University of Chicago finds.

    Other studies have shown that sleep consolidates learning for a new task. The new study, which measured starlings’ ability to recognize new songs, shows that learning a second task can undermine the performance of a previously learned task. But this study is the first to show that a good night’s sleep helps the brain retain both new memories. READ MORE>>
  • Childhood leukemia/lymphoma survivors have high prevalence of chronic fatigue

    Mar 19 2013...
    A new study finds that survivors of childhood leukemia and lymphoma are at a greater risk of chronic fatigue, a persistent lack of energy that doesn’t improve with rest, as adults.

    The study, published in the March issue of the Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology, included a total of 143 male and 147 female childhood leukemia/lymphoma survivors and was comprised of a questionnaire, clinical examination and blood samples. READ MORE>>
  • Women who work nightshift may have increased risk of ovarian cancer

    Mar 18 2013...
    A new study has found a link between working the night shift and ovarian cancer.

    The study, published in the March issue of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, included 1,101 women with the most common form of advanced ovarian cancer, 389 women with borderline ovarian cancer and 1,832 women that were part of a healthy comparison group. READ MORE>>
  • Sleepwalkers sometimes remember their actions

    Mar 15 2013...
    Three myths about sleepwalking – sleepwalkers have no memory of their actions, sleepwalkers' behavior is without motivation, and sleepwalking has no daytime impact – are dispelled in a recent study led by Antonio Zadra of the University of Montreal and its affiliated Sacré-Coeur Hospital. The study was published in the March issue of The Lancet Neurology. Dr. Zadra answers some questions to try to clear up some of the confusion about sleepwalking. READ MORE>>
  • Sleep disturbance common among gynecological cancer survivors

    Mar 14 2013...
    A new survey has found that more than half of gynecologic cancer survivors may have trouble sleeping.

    "Physicians need to address the presence of sleep disturbance (SD) among their survivors," and modifiable risk factors, e.g., hot flashes, urinary urgency, and bowel complaints, should be addressed, Dr. Shannon Westin from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston told Reuters Health by email. READ MORE>>
  • Sleep discovery could lead to therapies that may improve memory

    Mar 13 2013...
    A team of sleep researchers led by University of California, Riverside psychologist Sara C. Mednick has confirmed the mechanism that enables the brain to consolidate memory and found that a commonly prescribed sleep aid enhances the process. Those discoveries could lead to new sleep therapies that will improve memory for aging adults and those with dementia, Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia.

    “We found that a very common sleep drug can be used to increase verbal memory,” said Mednick. “This is the first study to show you can manipulate sleep to improve memory. It suggests sleep drugs could be a powerful tool to tailor sleep to particular memory disorders.” READ MORE>>
  • Sleep loss precedes symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease

    Mar 12 2013...
    A new study out of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis finds that sleep is disrupted in people who likely have early Alzheimer's disease but do not yet have the memory loss or other cognitive problems characteristic of full-blown disease.

    "This link may provide us with an easily detectable sign of Alzheimer's pathology," says senior author David M. Holtzman, MD, the Andrew B. and Gretchen P. Jones Professor and head of Washington University's Department of Neurology. "As we start to treat people who have markers of early Alzheimer's, changes in sleep in response to treatments may serve as an indicator of whether the new treatments are succeeding." READ MORE>>
  • Why accidents increase after spring forward to daylight savings

    Mar 11 2013...
    Was traffic noticeably slower on your morning commute? If so, blame daylight saving time. The “spring forward” is believed to cause a temporary spike in traffic incidents. A 1998 Canadian study found that auto accidents may increase as much as 17 percent immediately following the time change.

    The authors of the Canadian study argue drowsy driving – rather than the other two factors – is why the frequency of accidents escalates after the time change. The study found the only significant increase in accidents occurred during the afternoon commute. That finding appears to rule out an early sunrise or forgetfulness as the reason for an increase in accidents. READ MORE>>