Breastfeeding may expose infants to toxic chemicals

A widely used class of industrial chemicals linked with cancer and interference with immune function--perfluorinated alkylate substances, or PFASs--appears to build up in infants by 20%-30% for each month they're breastfed, according to a new study co-authored by experts from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. It is the first study to show the extent to which PFASs are transferred to babies through breast milk, and to quantify their levels over time.

Nonagenarian athlete: Researchers study Olga Kotelko's brain

In the summer of 2012, Olga Kotelko, a 93-year-old Canadian track-and-field athlete with more than 30 world records in her age group, visited the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois and submitted to an in-depth analysis of her brain. The resulting study, reported in the journal Neurocase, offers a surprising first glimpse of the potential effects of exercise on the brains and cognitive abilities of the "oldest old."

Modern parenting may hinder brain development, research suggests

Social practices and cultural beliefs of modern life are preventing healthy brain and emotional development in children, according to an interdisciplinary body of research presented recently at a symposium at the University of Notre Dame. "Life outcomes for American youth are worsening, especially in comparison to 50 years ago," says Darcia Narvaez, Notre Dame professor of psychology who specializes in moral development in children and how early life experiences can influence brain development.

Obesity breakthrough: Metabolic master switch prompts fat cells to store or burn fat

Obesity is one of the biggest public health challenges of the 21st century. Affecting more than 500 million people worldwide, obesity costs at least $200 billion each year in the United States alone, and contributes to potentially fatal disorders such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.

'Brainy' mice raise hope of better treatments for cognitive disorders

It sheds light on the molecular underpinnings of learning and memory and could form the basis for research into new treatments for age-related cognitive decline, cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia, and other conditions. The researchers altered a gene in mice to inhibit the activity of an enzyme called phosphodiesterase-4B (PDE4B), which is present in many organs of the vertebrate body, including the brain. In behavioural tests, the PDE4B-inhibited mice showed enhanced cognitive abilities.

Chestnut leaves yield extract that disarms deadly staph bacteria

Leaves of the European chestnut tree contain ingredients with the power to disarm dangerous staph bacteria without boosting its drug resistance, scientists have found. PLOS ONE is publishing the study of a chestnut leaf extract, rich in ursene and oleanene derivatives, that blocks Staphlococcus aureus virulence and pathogenesis without detectable resistance. The use of chestnut leaves in traditional folk remedies inspired the research, led by Cassandra Quave, an ethnobotanist at Emory University.

Unruly Teenagers Deserve Organ Transplants Too

I am Art Caplan from the Division of Medical Ethics at the New York University (NYU) Langone Medical Center. Anthony Stokes was 14 years old when he wound up in an Atlanta area hospital in need of a heart transplant. His heart had been attacked by a virus and the virus was eating away at the heart muscle. Anthony was going to die if he didn't receive a heart transplant.

Omega-3 Treatment Shows Long-term Psychosis Prevention

Adolescents and young adults considered to be at high risk for psychosis show significant reductions in progression to psychotic disorder 7 years after a brief, 12-week intervention of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) compared with a group receiving placebo, a new study shows.

Low-fat diets better than low-carb diets for weight loss, NIH study finds

In a recent study, restricting dietary fat led to body fat loss at a rate 68 percent higher than cutting the same number of carbohydrate calories when adults with obesity ate strictly controlled diets. Carb restriction lowered production of the fat-regulating hormone insulin and increased fat burning as expected, whereas fat restriction had no observed changes in insulin production or fat burning. The research was conducted at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health.

Sleeping in lateral position may effectively remove brain waste, say Stony Brook researchers

Sleeping in the lateral, or side position, as compared to sleeping on one's back or stomach, may more effectively remove brain waste and prove to be an important practice to help reduce the chances of developing Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other neurological diseases, according to researchers at Stony Brook University.

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