Breastfeeding reduces hypertension risk

A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension indicates that women who breastfeed more children, and for longer periods of time, are less likely to suffer from hypertension after they reach menopause. This is less true of obese women, however. Elevated blood pressure is the greatest single risk factor for disease and mortality. Evidence from epidemiologic data has also shown the beneficial effects of breastfeeding on the health of infants and their mothers. It has been well documented that long-term breastfeeding is associated with reduced children’s allergies, celiac disease, obesity, and diabetes mellitus. However, the effects of breastfeeding on maternal health have been little studied compared with the effects on the children. Several studies consistently found that absent breastfeeding or premature discontinuation was associated with increased risks of diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, metabolic syndrome, coronary heart disease, and cardiovascular diseases. However few […]

Protecting cassava from disease? There’s an app for that

Cassava is one of the developing world’s most important crops. Its starchy roots and leaves are a staple food for more than 500 million people in Africa each day. And Africa produces half of the world’s total cassava output; the continent’s main growers are the Congo, Côte d’lvoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda. It’s also climate resilient, as it is predicted to improve yield in higher temperatures. Its role as a staple food will become ever more important, then, as climate change continues to take hold. But cassava, like many other crops, is vulnerable to viruses and other plant diseases. These diseases can affect cassava yields, cost farmers money, and threaten food security in sub-Saharan Africa. Two diseases, cassava mosaic disease and cassava brown streak disease, have become the largest constraints to cassava production and food security in sub-Saharan Africa resulting in losses of […]

Study finds bacteria in milk linked to rheumatoid arthritis

A strain of common bacteria in milk and beef may be a trigger for developing rheumatoid arthritis in people who are genetically at risk, according to a new study from the University of Central Florida. A team of UCF College of Medicine researchers has discovered a link between rheumatoid arthritis and Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis, known as MAP, a bacteria found in cows. The bacteria can be spread to humans through the consumption of infected milk, beef and produce fertilized by cow manure. The UCF researchers are the first to report this connection between MAP and rheumatoid arthritis in a study published in the Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology journal this week. The study, funded in part by a $500,000 grant from the Florida Legislative, was a collaboration between Saleh Naser, UCF infectious disease specialist, Dr. Shazia Bég, rheumatologist at UCF’s […]

Arts and humanities in medical school promote empathy and inoculate against burnout

Medical students who spend more time engaging in the arts may also be bolstering the qualities that improve their bedside manner with patients, according to new research from Tulane and Thomas Jefferson universities. The study, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, finds that students who devoted more time to the humanities in medical school had significantly higher levels of positive physician attributes like empathy, tolerance of ambiguity, wisdom and emotional intelligence while at the same time reporting lower levels of adverse traits like burnout. “The humanities in medical school curricula have often been pushed to the side, but our data suggests that exposure to the arts are linked to important personal qualities for future physicians,” said senior author Marc Kahn, MD, MBA, MACP, the Peterman-Prosser Professor and Senior Associate Dean in the Tulane University School of Medicine. “This is the first study to show […]

Positive attitude toward math predicts math achievement in kids, Stanford study finds

For the first time, scientists have identified the brain pathway that links a positive attitude toward math to achievement in the subject. In a study of elementary school students, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine found that having a positive attitude about math was connected to better function of the hippocampus, an important memory center in the brain, during performance of arithmetic problems. The findings will be published online Jan. 24 in Psychological Science. Educators have long observed higher math scores in children who show more interest in math and perceive themselves as being better at it. But it has not been clear if this attitude simply reflects other capacities, such as higher intelligence. The new study found that, even once IQ and other confounding factors were accounted for, a positive attitude toward math still predicted which students had […]

Mosquitoes remember human smells, but also attempts to kill them

Your grandmother’s insistence that you receive more bug bites because you’re ‘sweeter’ may not be that far-fetched after all, according to pioneering research from Virginia Tech scientists which shows that mosquitoes remember human smells. The study, published Jan. 25 in the journal Current Biology, shows that mosquitoes can rapidly learn and remember the smells of hosts and that dopamine is a key mediator of this process. Mosquitoes remember human smells and incorporate this information with other stimuli to develop preferences for a particular vertebrate host species, and, within that population, certain individuals. However, the study also proved that even if an individual is deemed delicious-smelling, a mosquito’s preference can shift if that person’s smell is associated with an unpleasant sensation. Hosts who swat at mosquitoes or perform other defensive behaviors may be abandoned, no matter how sweet. Clément Vinauger, an assistant […]

Phone Addiction In Teens Is A Cause Of Unhappiness

Happiness is not a warm phone, according to a new study exploring the link between adolescent life satisfaction and screen time. Teens who have a phone addiction with eyes that are habitually glued to their smartphones are markedly unhappier, said study lead author and San Diego State University and professor of psychology Jean M. Twenge. To investigate this link, Twenge, along with colleagues Gabrielle Martin at SDSU and W. Keith Campbell at the University of Georgia, crunched data from the Monitoring the Future (MtF) longitudinal study, a nationally representative survey of more than a million U.S. 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-graders. The survey asked students questions about how often they spent time on their phones, tablets and computers, to assess phone addiciton, as well as questions about their in-the-flesh social interactions and their overall happiness. On average, they found that teens […]