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Archive for 'Research'

Women’s immune system stronger than men

A Canadian study from McGill University has found that the female hormone Estrogen gives women more powerful immune system, boosts their ability to fight bacterian viruses, and blocks the inflammation process. As such, the lack of estrogen makes men more sick.

Avis Favaro from CTV discusses this in her Mednews Express report below along with other studies such as the new simple test to predict Alzheimer’s disease.

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Scientists develop first artifical hand that has feeling

A team of scientists from Italy and Sweden has developed what is believed to be the first artificial hand that has feeling. It has been attached to the arm of a 22-year-old man who lost his own hand through cancer.

Researchers say it works by connecting human nerve endings with tiny electronic sensors. Even though it took them 10 years to get to this stage, this is a major advancement in simulating a human arm since the brain controls it without any muscular contraction.

Check it out below in the video from BBC News:

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Research shows fast cars boost men’s testosterone levels

Testosterone is what drives men’s desire to own fast cars, according to a study published in the journal Organizational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes.

Researchers at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business in Montreal took 39 willing young men and let them take a cruise in a $150,000 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet. The men were then asked to drive a 16-year-old Toyota Camry. They drove each vehicle once on a busy street where they would be seen by women, and then again on a quiet road. After one hour, the men’s saliva was tested for testosterone. The researchers found that in the sedan, the men’s hormone levels remained low, but in the sports car, testosterone levels stayed high — with or without an audience.

Gad Saad, the study’s lead researcher, said the study is evidence of “sexual signaling,” similar to animals in the wild, where males try to prove to females they’re the best breeding stock.

Fore more information, watch the video below by CBC:

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Children who are spanked have lower IQs

Spanking can get kids to behave in a hurry, but new research suggests it can do more harm than good to their brains. The study, involving hundreds of U.S. children, showed the more a child was spanked, the lower his or her IQ compared with others.

The research was conducted by Murray Straus of the University of New Hampshire and his colleague Mallie Paschall of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation in Maryland, and was presented last Friday at the 14th International Conference on Violence, Abuse and Trauma, in San Diego, Calif.

They studied nationally representative samples of two age groups: 806 children ages 2 to 4, and 704 ages 5 to 9. The researchers tested the kids’ IQs initially and then four years later. Both groups of kids got smarter after four years. But the 2- to 4-year-olds who were spanked scored 5 points lower on the IQ test than those not spanked. For children ages 5 to 9, the spanked ones scored on average 2.8 points lower than their unspanked counterparts

More on this in the video below by NBC Today:

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Experimental drug shrinks skin cancer tumors

Scientists have discovered a drug which significantly shrinks skin cancer tumors, which let some doctors to call it “startling and unprecedented”. The drug works differently than conventional treatment; it directly blocks one of the genes involved in the spread of skin cancer. They claim that the treatment has the potential to extend the lifespan and quality of life of patients who would otherwise have little chance of survival.

More about this in the video below by BBC:

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Seasonal flu shot may increase the risk of H1N1

It’s the flu season and people usually prevent it through the flu shot, but now they should think twice. Four Canadian studies involving about 2,000 people found that those who have received the seasonal flu vaccine in the past seem to be more likely to get sick with the swine flu. Research has not been peer-reviewed or collaborated with other studies, but theoretically experts say the risk is there.

More on this in the video below by CBC:

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Your handwriting can reveal whether you’re lying or not

A new study showed handwriting can reveal whether a subject is lying or not. Researchers have discovered a way in analyzing hand writing characteristics with the help of a computer program.

The program looked at actions that are difficult to consciously control, such as duration the pen is on the paper versus the air, width and height of each writing stroke, and pressure implemented on the writing surface. They found that those actions could be different when the person is lying or not. Researchers say that handwriting tool has the potential to replace or work together with verbal based lie detection technologies such as the polygraph.

Research in this area is not something new. In fact Graphology is the study and analysis of handwriting especially in relation to human psychology. It is used to evaluate the subject’s personality, but has been controversial for more than a century.

Check out the interesting video below by Dr. Rhonda Low:

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Mediterranean diet can help people with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes

Mediterranean diet has been found to drastically reduce the risk of getting type 2 diabetes. In fact, a study published in May 2008 in the online edition of The British Medical Journal showed that people who adhered to Mediterranean diet had an 83% reduction in their risk of developing diabetes, while those who moderately followed the diet had their risk reduced by 59%. But now, a new research found that it can help those who are newly diagnosed as well.

The study split over 200 overweight people with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes into two diets. One with low fat and the other one with Mediterranean diet, and the findings were quite remarkable. After four years, only 44% of those who followed the Mediterranean diet needed medications, compared to 70% who followed a low fat diet.

More about this and the Mediterranean diet below with Monica Matys:

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Some people may be genetically programmed to need less sleep

The common belief nowadays is that eight hours of sleep at night is the optimal level for most people, but other knowledge literature such as the Vedas claim that it depends on the type of body, which could result in more or less than eight hours. But now, a new research suggests that some people may be genetically programmed to need less sleep, and as a result are able to get by only six hours of sleep.

More about this in the video below by Rhonda Low from CTV:

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Marijuana smoke could be more harmful than tobacco

While many people believe smoking marijuana is less harmful than smoking tobacco, a new Canadian study proves otherwise. In their tests, Health Canada researchers found that marijuana causes significantly more damage to cells than tobacco smoke. However, tobacco smoke caused damage to chromosomes while marijuana did not. Another research showed that marijuana may amplify the effect of tobacco smoke.

More about this in the video below by Rhonda Low from CTV:

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Positive thinking can help patients with whiplash injuries recover much faster

The idea of positive thinking might not be new to you, and they even did a documentary about it (The Secret), but it seems that it does work. Researchers in Alberta looked at a group of 6,000 adults traffic related whiplash injuries and found that those who had positive outlooks towards their recovery actually recovered three times faster than those who did not. They also found that 42% of those who had positive thinking returned faster to work.

You can watch the video below from CTV for more information:

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How does male contraceptive injection work?

Birth control has long been for women only, but soon there will be a new form of birth control for men other than condoms and vasectomy. A new research, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, could revolutionize contraception. It found that an injection for men appears to be just as effective at preventing pregnancy as the birth control pill.

The contraceptive is a form of testosterone that is injected into the buttocks once a month. It works by temporarily blocking sperm production. Chinese researchers injected 1,045 healthy Chinese men aged 20 to 45 years with a 500 mg of testosterone undecanoate in oil, once a month for 24 months. All of the study participants had had at least one child and all their female partners, aged 18 and 38 years, also had normal reproductive function. They found the contraceptive was almost 99 per cent effective, with a failure rate of only 1.1 per 100 men.

More about this in the video below with Dr. Rhonda Low from CTV:

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Resumes with English names more likely to get interviews in Canada

A new study published on May 20th by Metropolis B.C. has found that Canadians with English names have a greater chance of landing a job than those with Chinese, Indian or Pakistani names. In fact, after sending out thousands of resumés, the study found those with an English name like Jill Wilson and John Martin received 40 per cent more interview callbacks than the identical resumés with names like Sana Khan or Lei Li.

Philip Oreopoulos, an economics professor at the University of B.C, and his team of five research assistants composed 6,000 resumés to represent applicants with English or non-English names and sent them to 2,000 different job postings offered by Canadian employers in the Greater Toronto Area, between May and October last year. He found that resumés with foreign names could only improve their chances of getting a job if they had Canadian or British work experience. In fact, callbacks nearly doubled with the addition of just one previous job in Canada. Another interesting finding was that, Chinese resumes that had English first names increased the chances of getting a callback.

More about this in the video below by CTV:

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Acupuncture helps relieve back pain

A new and large study has found that acupuncture, and even simulated acupuncture using toothpicks, appears to relieve symptoms of chronic low back pain better than the standard treatment. The study was funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and was published in last week’s issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The study which was done on 683 adults aged 18 to 70 with chronic lower back pain, found that 60 per cent of participants who received any one of three types of acupuncture - customized, standard and simulated acupuncture - reported they had improved function after eight weeks of treatment. That compares to just 39 per cent of those who received standard care of their choice, which could include a doctor’s visit, chiropractic treatment or massage. A follow-up one year later showed 59 per cent to 65 per cent of those in the acupuncture groups were still experiencing improvement, compared with 50 per cent of those in the usual-care group.

The fact that the simulated acupuncture had the same effect as the real acupuncture raises questions about how acupuncture works to relieve pain, the authors note.

More about this in the video below with Dr. Rhonda Low from CTV:

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Ribavirin: the antiviral drug becomes promising cancer-fighter

A commonly used antiviral drug that’s already used to fight hepatitis C and HIV could also be used to treat 30% of cancer types, according to a new study conducted on patients in Canada.

Doctors in Montreal tested the antiviral drug Ribavirin on 11 patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), who had undergone several other treatments that had previously failed. Nine of the patients saw their conditions improve within a matter of months, with one achieving complete remission and two achieving partial remission, all with few side effects. The results are published online in the journal, Blood.

The researchers, led by Dr. Katherine Borden, at the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) of the Université de Montréal, say that ribavirin works by suppressing activity of the eIF4E gene, which becomes overactive in 30 per cent of cancer types and overproduces a protein that helps turn cells cancerous.

More about this in the video below by CTV:

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Breakthrough in how to treat insomnia

Persistent insomnia affects about 10% of adults, and the resulting fatigue can significantly impair how someone functions during the day. If left untreated, chronic insomnia may also increase the risk for major depression and hypertension. But now Quebec researchers have found that combining therapy and medication may help people with insomnia to sleep more soundly.

Charles Morin - a clinical psychologist at Laval University in Quebec City - and his colleagues reported that a psychological treatment called cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) helped people with insomnia in the long term. They published their study in Wednesday’s issue of JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study included 160 adults who were randomly assigned to receive CBT alone or CBT plus the drug zolpidem for six weeks, followed by six months of therapy. After six weeks, Morin said that what the results showed is that it’s best to discontinue the medication and keep people in therapy with CBT. The therapy teaches people not to worry obsessively about their insomnia, since going to bed worried tends to perpetuate sleeplessness. According to Dr. Rhonda Low, stress is the most common problem that is stopping Canadians from sleeping well so relaxation therapy and meditation are other types of CBT.

More about this in the video below by Dr. Rhonda Low from CTV:

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Second-hand smoke causes breast cancer in young women

Before now, most breast cancers were believed to be related to hormones, but now researchers are looking at tobacco as well. In an new analysis of hundreds of studies and thousands of patient histories, an international expert panel announced a week ago that smoking does increase the risk of breast cancer. The panel looked at second-hand smoke too and concluded that it’s a factor in breast cancer in younger pre-menopausal women, but not necessarily in older post-menopausal women.

CBC’s Nancy Wood has the details in the video below:

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The way you eat an Oreo could say something about who you are

There are countless ways to eat an Oero cookie, but guess what, the way you eat an Oreo could say something about who you are! Krafts Food conducted a survey in 2004 of around 2,000 Oreo eaters, and their findings were surprising. I have checked it myself, and it did apply to me.

Check if it applies to you too in the video below by The History Channel:

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New study shows benefits of Mediterranean diet for heart health

A new study supported by The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health concluded that eating a Mediterranean diet rich in vegetables and nuts helps protect the heart. The research, which was led by Dr. Sonia Anand of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, analyzed almost 200 studies, involving millions of people, which were published from 1950 till June 2007. The study was published last Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The Mediterranean diet involves high consumption of vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts that are not roasted or salted, cheese or yogurt, whole grains, fish, and monosaturated fats such as olive oil and avocados. The research also confirmed that trans-fatty acids are associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Starchy carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice and white potatoes that are high on the glycemic index were also linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

More information about this in the interview below by CBC with Dr. Sonia Anand:

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Scientists uncover how caffeine boosts athletes’ performance

In a study published in Friday’s online issue of the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, researchers from McMaster University Medical Centre found that caffeine tricks an athlete’s brain into delaying the perception of pain and fatigue. More importantly, it also tricks muscles into releasing more of the calcium needed to contract and relax.

“The caffeine is allowing a little bit more calcium to be released into that muscle,” said Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky. “It would make that muscle contraction a little bit stronger, so you can actually either run at the same pace with less input, or run at a faster pace for the same input.” Research from the University of Guelph showed caffeine in high concentrations can actually have the opposite effect, which is one of the reasons it is no longer banned at the Olympics.

Ron Charles from CBC talks about it in the video below:

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Exercise program may help migraine sufferers

While physical exercise has been shown to trigger migraine headaches among sufferers, a new study published in Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain describes an exercise program that is well tolerated by patients. The findings show that the program decreased the frequency of headaches and improved quality of life.

The study used a sample of migraine sufferers who were examined before, during and after an aerobic exercise intervention. The program was based on indoor cycling (for continuous aerobic exercise) and was designed to improve maximal oxygen uptake without worsening the patients’ migraines.

After the treatment period, patients’ maximum oxygen uptake increased significantly. There was no worsening of migraine status at any time during the study period and, during the last month of treatment, there was a significant decrease in the number of migraine attacks, the number of days with migraine per month, headache intensity and amount of headache medication used.

An abstract of the publication can be found at the Wiley InterScience website. More about this in the video below by Dr. Rhonda Low from CTV:

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Lots of red meat increases the risk of premature death

Last week, the largest study of its kind published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that those who ate large amounts of red meat and processed meats faced a greater risk of death from heart disease and cancer. In contrast, a higher intake of white meat was associated with a slightly reduced risk of death over the same period.

The researchers from the US National Cancer Institute, led by Dr. Rashmi Sinha, evaluated more than 500,000 men and women over a 10 year period. For the study, red meat included beef, pork, bacon, ham, hamburger, hot dogs, liver, pork sausage, steak, and meats in foods such as pizza, stews, and lasagna. White meat included turkey, fish, chicken, chicken mixtures, and other meats. Processed meat was either white or red meat that was cured, dried, or smoked, Sinha said, such as bacon, chicken sausage, lunch meats, and cold cuts.

More about this in the video below by Dr. Rhonda Low from CTV:

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Zapping spinal cord may alleviate Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disease of the brain (central nervous system) that often impairs motor skills, speech, and other possible functions. There’s no cure for it yet, but scientists at the Duke University Medical Center are nearing a huge breakthrough in treatment, and it involves zapping the spinal cord.

The scientists believe electricity can restore the spinal cord disruption that causes Parkinson’s. In their research published in the journal Science, they attached tiny wires to the spinal cords of mice and rats whose brains produced so little dopamine that they had the slow, stiff motions of advanced Parkinson’s disease. When the electricity was turned on, the animals became 26 times more active and movement visibly improved in seconds

CTV health specialist Dr. Rhonda Low explains this breakthrough below:

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Nanotechnology may offer alternative to radiation for cancer patients

Nanotechnology is the study of the control of matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Generally nanotechnology deals with structures of the size 100 nanometers or smaller, and involves developing materials or devices within that size.

Nanotechnology is extremely diverse and spans many subfields such as nanomaterials, nanomedicine, molecular self-assembly and nanotechnology, nanoelectronics, and many others. It is already applied in hundreds of consumer products to enhance colour and durability of paints or make socks less smelly etc…

Researchers are now focusing on nanotechnology to develop new cancer treatments that could one day replace radiation and chemotherapy. Scientists can use nano particles, created in the laboratory and delivered deep into the body, that would recognize, target, and kill tumor cells.

More about this in the video below from CBC:

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Rising temperatures increase the risk of migraine

A recent study published in the journal of Neurology showed that rising temperatures increase the risks of migraines. The study, led by researchers from Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Harvard School of Public Health, spanned over seven years and looked at 7,054 people suffering from migraines and headaches so bad they had to visit an emergency clinic. Those visits were matched with weather and air pollution information.

The study showed that every 5°C increase in temperature led to a 7.5% increase in headaches. It also found that changes in barometric pressure had much less of an effect, and that there was no evidence that pollution played a role. The researchers don’t know what it is about the rising temperatures that trigger severe headaches.

Dr. Marla Shapiro explains the study more in the interview below:

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