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June 21, 2006, 11:29 PM CT

Why Are Uniforms Uniform?

Why Are Uniforms Uniform?
If someone, somewhere hadn't thought to make team uniforms the same color, we might be stuck watching NBA finals or World Cup soccer matches with only two players and a ref.

It is that color coding, Johns Hopkins University psychology experts have now demonstrated, that allows spectators, players and coaches at major sporting events to overcome humans' natural limit of tracking no more than three objects at a time.

"We've known for some time that human beings are limited to paying attention to no more than three objects at any one time," said Justin Halberda, assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences in the university's' Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.

"We report the rather surprising result that people can focus on more than three items at a time if those items share a common color," he said. "Our research suggests that the common color allows people to overcome the usual limit, because the 'color coding' enables them to perceive the separate individuals as a single set."

Thus: Miami Heat fans perceive their five white-jerseyed players as a unit in action against five blue-shirted Dallas Mavericks. England's football faithful can track their white-shirted field players against Sweden's yellow-garbed 10. (Since soccer goalies wear different colors than field players, though, fans of both clubs may have to think a moment before remembering which keeper goes with which team.).........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


June 21, 2006, 10:56 PM CT

Five Steps To Help Curb Child Obesity

Five Steps To Help Curb Child Obesity
Weight problems among children have now reached epidemic proportions. And it's no wonder. High-calorie fast foods and soft drinks are everywhere, and they are heavily promoted in a number of of the 40,000 television commercials that kids watch every year.

In Child Obesity: A Parent's Guide to a Fit, Trim, and Happy Child, nationally recognized expert on child obesity Dr. Goutham Rao uses the latest and best medical evidence available to show you how to help your child avoid or overcome this prevalent and dangerous health problem.

In the first part of his easy-to-read and informative book, Dr. Rao gives you the knowledge you need to understand the scope of the problem. He identifies the five principal culprits for obesity among children: soft drinks ("liquid candy"); fast food; television and video games; the inactivity of youngsters both at school and at play; and the changing patterns of family behavior, which have led to irregular meal times and the over-consumption of "convenience" foods.

In the second half of the book, Dr. Rao carefully explains a rational approach to helping your child achieve or maintain a healthy weight, including the science of changing people's behavior. You will also find several typical stories of overweight children, ranging from a heavy thirteen-month infant boy to a sixteen-year-old obese and self-conscious girl. With the help of their parents these children managed to achieve a healthy weight by following simple, practical advice without resorting to gimmicks or "miracle cures."........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink


June 21, 2006, 10:47 PM CT

Alzheimer's Disease: Searching For A Cure

Alzheimer's Disease: Searching For A Cure Healthy nerve cells in the brain (neurons) have support structures called microtubules, which guide nutrients and molecules from the cell's body down to the ends and back. A special kind of protein, tau, makes the microtubules stable. Tau is changed chemically in people with Alzheimer's disease. It begins to pair with other threads of tau and they become tangled up together. When this happens, the microtubules disintegrate, collapsing the neuron's transport system. This may result first in communication malfunctions between neurons and later in cell death.
It was 1997 when an alarm went off in Vivian Freed's head. She knew something was wrong with her 85-year old mother, who had always planned her trip to celebrate Thanksgiving with her children down to the last detail. But that year, she got the airline tickets for the wrong days. Freed also found out that her mother had been missing doctors' appointments and social engagements, so she flew from her home in Rockville, Md., to her mother's home in Florida to check on her.

"Everything that she had done perfectly before was a mess," says Freed. The bills weren't paid, and the medications that her mother had been giving to her ailing father weren't right. "We realized we needed to do something," says Freed, after a doctor diagnosed her mother with Alzheimer's disease.

Freed's sister, Annette Heller, later "adult-napped" her parents and moved them to Maryland under the pretense of just visiting." They didn't really notice that she was packing up more things than they would need for just a visit," says Freed.

Her parents were fiercely independent and would have objected to moving. "It would have been much nicer to give them closure, but it wasn't possible," Freed says.

Not long after Freed moved her parents into an assisted living facility in Maryland, her father passed away. "The day after he died, Mom remembered what happened, but never did again," she says. "Mom kept asking, 'Where's Daddy?'".........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink


June 21, 2006, 10:25 PM CT

Dancing Science

Dancing Science As Ferocious Beauty: Genome draws to a close, the dancers swirl, surrounded by deep blues, stark whites, and the sounds of the sea—symbolic of their species' origin.
Emily Jacobs-Palmer finds some of today's political and social attitudes toward science appalling. "I want to live in a world that respects scientists and values our work," says the molecular biology and biochemistry major, a senior at Wesleyan University. To create such a world, however, Jacobs-Palmer believes science must become more accessible-more comprehensible and interesting-to the general public.

It never occurred to her that one path to that goal might be through dance. Then she met Liz Lerman, winner of a MacArthur Foundation "genius" award and founder of the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange. Lerman was spending the year as an artist-in-residence at Wesleyan, while she choreographed Ferocious Beauty: Genome, a dance about the human genome.

One of Lerman's artist-in-residency projects was an HHMI-supported symposium on science and dance, in which Jacobs-Palmer participated. "Before that, the last way I would have thought to present science to the public was through dance," Jacobs-Palmer remarks.

Wesleyan, a small, private university in Middletown, Connecticut, led in commissioning the genome dance project after Pam Tatge, director of the university's Center for the Arts, saw Lerman's troupe perform. Lerman, known for her choreography of political and social issues and her intergenerational troupe of dancers, mentioned her desire to do a dance based on the human genome. So Tatge introduced her to Laura Grabel, a professor of biology who was then dean of natural sciences and mathematics at Wesleyan. Grabel danced professionally herself while she was in graduate school and as a postdoctoral fellow, and she was intrigued by the idea of using dance to communicate science to the public.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


June 21, 2006, 10:20 PM CT

Changes in Experience Cause Brain Rewiring

Changes in Experience Cause Brain Rewiring
Howard Hughes Medical Institute scientists have discovered that neurons in the brains of mice sprout robust new connections when the animals are adjusting to new experiences. The new connections alter the circuitry of the brain by changing communication between neurons.

The scientists said their findings aid understanding of how procedural learning induces long-term rewiring of the brain. This type of learning is used in mastering skills such as riding a bicycle or typing on a computer.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator Karel Svoboda and colleagues reported their findings in the June 22, 2006, issue of the journal Nature. Other co-authors of the paper included Anthony Holtmaat and Linda Wilbrecht in Svoboda's laboratory at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory; and Graham Knott and Egbert Welker at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland.

Svoboda is one of a handful of scientists in the world who are pioneering the development of new tools and techniques that permit researchers to observe the brain as it rewires over a period of weeks or months. This summer Svoboda will move to HHMI's Janelia Farm Research Campus where he will pursue neurobiology studies and projects in optics and microscopy.

In the studies reported in Nature, the scientists used mice that were genetically altered to produce a green fluorescent protein in specific neurons in the neocortex, which is a region of the brain that is known to adapt to new experiences. The scientists followed the growth of dendritic spines in the region of the neocortex that processes tactile information from the animals' whiskers. Sensory information from the whiskers is vitally important for mice as they navigate their environment. Consequently, a significant portion of the mouse's brain is devoted to processing input from whiskers.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


June 21, 2006, 10:18 PM CT

Dasatinib Offers New Options For Leukemia Patients

Dasatinib Offers New Options For Leukemia Patients
Dasatinib, an experimental drug under development by Bristol-Myers Squibb, reverses the signs and symptoms of patients whose chronic myeloid leukemia has failed to respond to Gleevec, which is considered the standard of therapy for the disorder.

As per a research findings reported in the June 15, 2006, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles, and his colleagues at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Bristol-Myers Squibb in Princeton, NJ, report data from phase I human clinical trials of the compound, dasatinib (BMS-354825). Phase I clinical trials evaluate drug safety and toxicity at different dose levels in a small number of volunteers.

The studies published in NEJM indicate that dasatinib can be used to overcome Gleevec resistance in patients who have chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Patients enrolled in the study had experienced a worsening of the disease or intolerance when treated with Gleevec.

Study leader, HHMI investigator Charles L. Sawyers, and his colleagues at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, report that dasatinib successfully circumvented Gleevec (imatinib) resistance in 68 of 84 patients treated with the drug during phase I clinical trials at UCLA and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Resistance to Gleevec develops when patients acquire mutations in an enzyme that is targeted by Gleevec.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


June 21, 2006, 10:14 PM CT

First Herpes Vaccine Under Study

First Herpes Vaccine Under Study
The first vaccine for genital herpes, a contagious infection affecting nearly one in five Americans, is under study in women.

The Medical College of Georgia is among study sites in 28 states studying the vaccine in approximately 7,500 women age 18 to 30 who have not been exposed to herpes simplex type 2, the cause of the genital infection, or herpes simplex type 1, which causes common fever blisters.

"It's very debilitating, not only physically, but emotionally," says Dr. Daron G. Ferris, family medicine physician, director of the MCG Gynecologic Cancer Prevention Center and a principal investigator. "We hope this vaccine can help women avoid this lifelong infection".

Prior research, published in 2002 in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed the vaccine works best in women who had not been exposed to either herpes strain and that it was not effective in men.

Antiviral agents on the market suppress outbreaks of the virus but don't stop disease transmission, Dr. Ferris says. "There is no cure for herpes. People do shed herpes asymptomatically so, even if they do not have an outbreak, they can share herpes, for example, in vaginal secretions or urine".

While the infection can be a lifelong, life-changing problem for adults, it can be deadly for babies, he says. Babies are delivered by Caesarean section if the mother is known to have an active type 2 herpes infection.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


June 21, 2006, 10:11 PM CT

Herbal Therapies For Cancer

Herbal Therapies For Cancer
Whether herbal supplements can help cancer patients avoid common problems such as fatigue and sleeplessness is under study at the Medical College of Georgia.

Ginseng, a perennial found in North America and eastern Asia touted as a safe way to improve the body's stress resistance, is being tested for its potential in battling common fatigue.

Valerian, a flowering perennial from Eurasia widely used as a sedative, is being studied for its potential in helping cancer patients sleep.

"These are some of our quality of life trials to help cancer patients with side effects of their disease and therapy," says Dr. Daron G. Ferris, director of the MCG Gynecologic Cancer Prevention Center and a principal investigator. "Almost every cancer patient has fatigue, for some reason. Both cancer and its therapy can have an effect on blood count and patients may become anemic. Others battle depression, which can also make them feel tired".

Thirty to 50 percent of cancer patients also have trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep, a common side effect of chemotherapy, says Darlene Gibson, research nurse.

While anecdotal evidence abounds about the effectiveness of these herbal therapies, scientific studies in animals or humans, especially those with cancer, are sparse, Dr. Ferris says. "A number of cancer patients look for 'natural,' non-traditional therapys. We are delighted to offer alternatives that a number of patients desire in a way that ensures the quality of the supplement and does not interfere with the patient's cancer therapy".........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


June 21, 2006, 10:08 PM CT

Comparison Of Nicotine Lozenges And Patches

Comparison Of Nicotine Lozenges And Patches
A smoking-cessation study comparing the effectiveness of nicotine patches and lozenges is under way at the Medical College of Georgia.

Participants, who must be at least age 18 and smoke at least 10 cigarettes per day, will receive a 12-week supply of either replacement treatment as well as five counseling sessions.

Nicotine patches and lozenges are designed to reduce withdrawal symptoms but their effectiveness has not been compared, says Darlene Gibson, research nurse. "There are some people in whom lozenges are thought to work better because they need that immediate gratification, rather than just the constant release of patches," she says.

"The harmful effects from smoking tobacco products are well-known," says Dr. Daron G. Ferris, director of the MCG Gynecologic Cancer Prevention Center and a principal investigator. "However, kicking the habit can be challenging for a number of smokers. Nicotine replacement helps ease withdrawal symptoms when stopping cigarettes".

Participants will receive a smoking-reduction regimen with a targeted stop date after which they'll be randomized to get either patches or lozenges. They'll be followed for 27 weeks. Five free counseling sessions will help participants look at their lifestyle, why they smoke and ways to break the habit.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


June 21, 2006, 9:59 PM CT

Parents Are Key To Babies Healthy Smiles

Parents Are Key To Babies Healthy Smiles
Parents are the key to good oral health for their children - even before the first baby teeth develop, Medical College of Georgia dentists say.

Dr. Steven Adair, an MCG pediatric dentist, says mothers should start ensuring their child's megawatt smile keeping their own mouths and teeth in good shape before and during pregnancy.

"The bacteria that cause cavities are generally passed from mother to child shortly after the child is born," says Dr. Adair. "If the mother takes care of her teeth by getting cavities filled and brushing on a regular basis, she can reduce the bacterial counts in her mouth and that may result in fewer bacteria being passed on to her baby".

Some research suggests that gum disease in the mother may even be a risk factor for premature and low birth-weight babies, he says.

Even though they don't have teeth, oral hygiene for infants should begin with their first meal.

"I advise parents to start oral cleanings after feedings in infancy with something like a soft washcloth or gauze wrapped around their finger to wipe the milk or formula out of the baby's mouth," Dr. Adair says. "It gets the baby used to the feeling of having his or her mouth cleaned after eating".

Children should never be put to bed with a bottle, unless it's filled with water.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source



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Did you know?
Studies in monkeys and women suggest that unlike traditional estrogen therapy, a diet high in the natural plant estrogens found in soy does not increase the risk of uterine cancer in postmenopausal women, according to Mark Cline, D.V.M., Ph.D., an associate professor of comparative medicine at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

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