Health

Exercise may boost brain's natural antidepressant
December 3, 2007 10:41 AM - Amy Norton, Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Exercise seems to increase the production of naturally occurring brain chemical with antidepressant effects in mice, researchers reported Sunday.

The findings, published in the journal Nature Medicine, point to potential new ways to treat depression in people.

Studies have found that exercise can help ease depression symptoms, but the reasons for the benefit have not been clear. For the new study, scientists used a tool called a microarray to examine how exercise changed gene activity in the brains of mice.

Weigh Roche cancer drug toxicity, say FDA staff
December 3, 2007 10:10 AM - Kim Dixon, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The benefits of Roche Holding AG's cancer drug Avastin in breast cancer should be weighed against some toxic side effects including the potential for death, U.S. regulatory staffers said in documents released on Monday.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration staff review comes ahead of a Wednesday advisory panel on a bid by Roche and U.S. partner Genentech Inc to extend use of Avastin, already approved to treat lung and colon cancer, to patients with breast cancer.

The expert panel will give advice to the FDA on broadening use of the drug as a first-line treatment for patients with breast cancer whose disease has spread.

Natural compound in broccoli could treat devastating genetic skin disorder
December 3, 2007 09:03 AM - American Society for Cell Biology

Washington, D.C. -- The compound sulforaphane whose natural precursors are found at high levels in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables has been hailed for its chemopreventive powers against cancer. Now sulforaphane has demonstrated new skills in treating a genetic skin blistering disorder called epidermolysis bullosa simplex (EBS), Pierre Coulombe and colleagues at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore report at the American Society for Cell Biology 47th Annual Meeting.

"Naughty" nations in a coal lot of trouble in Bali
December 3, 2007 07:35 AM - Reuters

BALI, Indonesia (Reuters) - It's not easy being green. Particularly if you are big polluters Saudi Arabia, the United States and Canada. All three earned the first "Fossil of the Day Awards" at U.N.-led climate change talks in Bali on Monday, with each receiving a little sack of coal adorned with their national flags at a mock award ceremony filled with boos and laughter.

The awards, a daily feature of annual Kyoto Protocol gatherings, are presented by youth delegations from around the world to heap scorn on nations accused of having less-than-green views.

Fever can unlock autism's grip: study
December 3, 2007 01:06 AM - Michael Conlon, Reuters

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Fever can temporarily unlock autism's grip on children, a finding that could shed light on the roots of the condition and perhaps provide clues for treatment, researchers reported on Monday.

Study: Lead levels below U.S. limits may harm children's brain function
December 2, 2007 06:12 PM - Susan Lang, Cornell Newswire

Cornell, New York - Even very small amounts of lead in children's blood -- amounts well below the current federal standard -- are associated with reduced IQ scores, finds a new, six-year Cornell study.

The study examined the effect of lead exposure on cognitive function in children whose blood-lead levels (BLLs) were below the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) standard of 10 micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dl) -- about 100 parts per billion. The researchers compared children whose BLLs were between 0 and 5 mcg/dl with children in the 5-10 mcg/dl range.

No AIDS estimate available yet: CDC
December 2, 2007 05:38 PM - Reuters

The groups say the new numbers put the number of people newly infected each year with the virus at 55,000 instead of 40,000. The New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal all say they have sources confirming this estimate.

Purdue researchers obtain a snapshot clarifying how materials enter cells
December 2, 2007 05:34 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A group of Purdue University researchers has captured a key step in the metabolic process that allows materials, such as nutrients and drug treatments, to move in and out of cells.

A research team led by Jue Chen, an associate professor of biological sciences, obtained a snapshot of the tiny protein gate complex that opens and closes pathways through the protective cellular membrane. The gates, operated by small protein machines that push them open and closed, bring nutrients into the cell and flush out waste.

Citrus juice, vitamin C give staying power to green tea antioxidants
December 2, 2007 05:22 PM - Mario Ferruzzi, Purdue Newswire

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - To get more out of your next cup of tea, just add juice. A new Purdue University study found that citrus juices enable more of green tea's unique antioxidants to remain after simulated digestion, making the pairing even healthier than previously thought.

The study compared the effect of various beverage additives on catechins, naturally occurring antioxidants found in tea. Results suggest that complementing green tea with either citrus juices or vitamin C likely increases the amount of catechins available for the body to absorb.

Expanding tropics could spur storms: study
December 2, 2007 01:18 PM - Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Earth's tropical belt is expanding much faster than expected, and that could bring more storms to the temperate zone and drier weather to parts of the world that are already dry, climate scientists reported on Sunday.

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