Body

Survivors of early-stage lung cancer who take part in regular physical activity have a better quality of life, according to a study in the February issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, available online now. Patients who are more physically active report better mood, more vigor, and greater physical functioning, the study shows.

DAVIS, CA—Specialty crops, including fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and nursery crops, have become increasingly important compared to other categories of agriculture in the United States over the past 50 years. These crops have continued to grow in production value, but this growth has not been matched by growth in public agricultural research spending. In fact, spending on specialty crops research has remained constant during a time period when the value of production for these crops has increased significantly.

Infants born with a rare form of inherited diabetes might avoid irreversible damage to their pancreases if they are treated immediately with sulfonylurea drugs rather than insulin, according to a new report in the February 4th issue of Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press publication.

DALLAS – Feb. 3, 2009 – Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have uncovered crucial clues about a paradoxical disease in which patients with no body fat develop many of the health complications usually found in obese people.

The findings in mice, appearing online today in Cell Metabolism,have led to the initiation of a National Institutes of Health-funded clinical trial to determine whether eating an extremely low-fat diet could prevent many of the metabolic complications brought on by lipodystrophy.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A new therapy being developed at the University of Florida could, in time, produce another weapon for the fight against herpes.

The gene-targeting approach uses a specially designed RNA enzyme to inhibit strains of the herpes simplex virus. The enzyme disables a gene responsible for producing a protein involved in the maturation and release of viral particles in an infected cell. The technique appears to be effective in experiments with mice and rabbits, but further research is required before it can be attempted in people who are infected with herpes.

CHAPEL HILL – Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have shown that disruption of the circadian clock – the internal time-keeping mechanism that keeps the body running on a 24-hour cycle – can slow the progression of cancer.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Exposure to second-hand smoke and alcohol significantly raises the risk of liver disease, according to researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

The finding adds to mounting evidence that tobacco smoke and alcohol are worse for health as a combination, beyond the individual exposure risks, said Shannon Bailey, Ph.D., an associate professor in the UAB Department of Environmental Health Sciences and a co-lead author on the study.

The study is published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine.

Hypersensitivity to perfumes is the most common contact allergy in adults. Research at the University of Gothenburg has demonstrated that even natural aromatic oils, which many deem harmless compared to synthetic perfumes, may cause allergic reactions.

San Antonio … Researchers are closer to developing therapies to combat the deadly tularemia infection, according to a study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences' online Early Edition.

Montreal, February 3, 2009 – Zen meditation – a centuries-old practice that can provide mental, physical and emotional balance – may reduce pain according to Université de Montréal researchers. A new study in the January edition of Psychosomatic Medicine reports that Zen meditators have lower pain sensitivity both in and out of a meditative state compared to non-meditators.

Distrust toward medicine and research plays a significant role in African-Americans' lack of participation in clinical trials, according to a study by researchers at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

VIRGINIA KEY, Fla. -- In the journal Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science Professor Dr. Peter Glynn, and 2008 Pew Fellow for Marine Conservation and Assistant Professor Dr. Andrew Baker, assess more than 25 years of data on reef ecosystems recovery from climate change-related episodes of coral bleaching. Coral bleaching – in which corals expel their symbiotic algal partners and turn pale or white – is one of the most visible impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems.

New Haven, Conn. —Most animals, like humans, have separate sexes — they are born, live out their lives and reproduce as one sex or the other. However, some animals live as one sex in part of their lifetime and then switch to the other sex, a phenomenon called sequential hermaphroditism. What remains a puzzle, according to Yale scientists, is why the phenomenon is so rare, since their analysis shows the biological "costs" of changing sexes rarely outweigh the advantages.