Special niches made of capillaries protect and stimulate cancer stem cells in the brain
Brain tumors appear to arise from cancer stem cells (CSCs) that live within microscopic protective "niches" formed by blood vessels in the brain; and disrupting these niches is a promising strategy for eliminating the tumors and preventing them from re-growing, according to results of a study by investigators at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. CSCs are cells that continually multiply, acting as the source of tumors.
Parasite infection may benefit MS patients
A steady rise in autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) has been noted in recent decades, and environmental factors could be the cause of this increase. One theory, similar to the "hygiene hypothesis" in which an excessively germ-free environment may contribute to an increase in allergies, holds that a decline in infectious diseases may play a role in increasing autoimmune disease incidence. The first study examining the relationship between parasite infections and MS in humans suggests that such infections may affect the immune response in a way that alters the course of MS. more
Long-term narcotics use for back pain may be ineffective and lead to abuse
Narcotic drugs (opioids) are commonly prescribed for short-term relief of chronic back pain, but their effectiveness long-term has been questioned in a review article by researchers at Yale School of Medicine, who also found that behaviors consistent with opioid abuse was reported in 24 percent of cases. more
Health providers could save billions without compromising healthcare says drug study
Switching patients to more cost-effective drugs for cholesterol and blood pressure problems could save the UK's National Health Service a billion pounds over the next five years without compromising clinical care, according to a study in the January issue of IJCP, the International Journal of Clinical Practice. more
Researchers find a common genetic risk factor for Parkinson's disease in Asians
Researchers at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla. and the National Taiwan University Hospital in Taipei, Taiwan have discovered what to date appears to be the most common genetic risk factor for Parkinson's disease worldwide. They believe the majority of people carrying this genetic mutation descend from a common ancestor about 4800 years ago. Their study was published Jan. 9 in the online edition of Parkinsonism and Related Disorders.
Mental exercise may aid aging minds
Brief sessions of mental exercise can have lasting benefits for older adults, even five years later. A recent study of healthy seniors found that up to 10 one-hour sessions of mental training can delay an age-related drop in thinking skills and possibly protect the ability to perform everyday tasks, such as shopping, driving, making meals and managing money. more
The aging mind: Learning to adjust to natural changes
As our brains age, we’re less likely to think as quickly as we used to or remember things as well. But the knowledge we gain from life experience can sometimes compensate for other changes in our brains as we age. Older professionals, for example, are often better at their jobs than younger ones. Research is now revealing how the brain changes and adapts as we age. These insights are shedding light on real-life challenges, like how to remember things and how to avoid scams. more
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