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OKLAHOMA CITY - In the field of addiction research, one question looms large: Why do some people face a higher risk than others for alcoholism and drug abuse?
A researcher at the OU College of Medicine, William R. Lovallo, Ph.D., recently published one of the field's few studies focused on how a person's genes contribute to addiction. Lovallo's research showed that a tiny genetic mutation can put people at higher risk for alcohol or drug addiction. His research was published in the world's leading journal on alcoholism, Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

In the battle of the sexes, males appear to have the innovative edge--from a genetic standpoint, at least. Scientists are finding that the testes are more than mere factories for sperm; these organs also serve as hotspots for the emergence of new genes, the raw material for the evolution of species.

A new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis supports evidence that children with mild asthma can effectively manage the condition by using their two inhalers -- one a steroid and the other a bronchodilator -- when symptoms occur. This is in contrast to the traditional method of using the steroid daily, regardless of symptoms, and the bronchodilator when symptoms occur. The as-needed use of both inhalers is just as effective for mild asthma as the traditional protocol, according to the investigators.

When a child suffers a head trauma, medical professionals are in high gear to prevent further damage to a developing brain. Measuring and regulating the child's level of carbon dioxide is critical to ensuring the brain is getting enough blood oxygen to prevent a secondary brain injury. High carbon dioxide can increase intracranial pressure, while a low level is associated with poor brain circulation.

JUPITER, Fla.--Aug. 16, 2019--A team at Scripps Research in Florida has discovered a biological system that manages cells' response to opioid drug exposure. The unexpected discovery offers new ideas for improving the safety of the one of the most effective, and most abused, group of pain medications.

University of Queensland scientists have identified a way to help dermatologists determine a patient's risk of developing melanoma.

UQ Diamantina Institute researcher Associate Professor Rick Sturm said the team uncovered the specific gene variations affecting the number and types of moles on the body and their role in causing skin cancer.

"The goal was to investigate the genetic underpinnings of different mole classes or 'naevi types' and understand how these affect melanoma risk," Dr Sturm said.

Bottom Line: Parents and teens find it difficult to talk about sex and alcohol, and this study finds that doctors can help. This randomized clinical trial evaluated whether interventions targeted at parents in primary care pediatric settings might improve communications between parents and their teens about sexual health and alcohol use. The interventions were selected because in previous research outside of clinic settings they have been shown to encourage teens to wait until they're older to have sex, use protection if they do have sex, and reduce alcohol use.

Bottom Line: This observational study analyzed survey data from 1,652 active-duty military personnel to examine associations between firearm ownership and storage practices with suicidal thoughts and behaviors. More than one-third (35.7%) of military personnel reported having a firearm in or around their homes, with 32.2% indicating their firearms were safely stored unloaded and locked up.

What The Study Did: In a study of 27,000 nursing home residents in Canada with advanced dementia who died, researchers describe differences between men and women in receiving burdensome interventions in the last 30 days of life (including invasive procedures and physical restraints) and antibiotic therapy.

Authors: Paula A. Rochon, M.D., M.P.H., of the Women's College Hospital in Toronto, is the corresponding author.

(doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.9557)

What The Study Did: This study evaluated whether implementing two antimicrobial stewardship interventions (pharmacist approval to continue antibiotic use after the first dose and pharmacist engagement with the prescriber about antibiotic appropriateness after 72 hours of treatment) were feasible in community hospitals.

Authors: Deverick J. Anderson, M.D., M.P.H., of the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina, is the corresponding author.

(doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.9369)

PHILADELPHIA - Violence toward first responders is widespread and can face a felony charge in Pennsylvania, yet new research shows that victims often feel they do not receive legal justice. Now a study of victim cases and interviews with district attorneys in Philadelphia offers three solutions to help educate first responders and legal professionals to participate constructively in the legal system intended to prevent incidents from occurring and deliver justice.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN- August 16, 2019 - Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the United States experience mental illness in a given year. Severe mental illnesses cause the brain to have trouble dealing with cognitively effortful states, like focusing attention over long periods of time, discriminating between two things that are difficult to tell apart, and responding quickly to information that is coming in fast.

New Rochelle, NY, August 15, 2019--New evidence continues to drive the evolution of guideline recommendations for the medical management of patients with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). A comprehensive look at how the four editions of the Brain Trauma Foundation guidelines for managing severe TBI have become a global standard for treating patients and key challenges and goals for the future are featured in an article published in Journal of Neurotrauma, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.

Have you ever wondered how marine animals smell the world, and how the olfactory system evolved from aquatic to terrestrial animals? There are two different classes of odorant receptor (OR) genes that can be expressed in olfactory sensory neurons: "class I" first identified in fish and frogs and then found to be common to all vertebrates, and "class II", which is specific to terrestrial animals. How does the olfactory sensory neuron know which class of OR to express?

Hamilton, ON (August 15, 2019) - Canadian researchers have discovered that covert - or 'silent' - strokes are common in seniors after they have elective, non-cardiac surgery and double their risk of cognitive decline one year later.