Health Research Articles

Alcohol Consumption And Cars: Unsafe At Any Level

Even “minimally buzzed” drinkers and drivers are more often to blame for fatal car crashes than the sober drivers they collide with, reports a University of California, San Diego study of accidents in the United States . 

UC San Diego sociologist David Phillips and colleagues examined 570,731 fatal collisions, from 1994 to 2011, using the official U.S. Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) database because it is nationally comprehensive and because it reports on blood alcohol content (BAC) in increments of 0.01 percent. They focused on “buzzed drivers,” with blood alcohol content  of 0.01 to 0.07 percent, and, within this group, the “minimally buzzed”, a blood alcohol content of 0.01 percent.

They found that drivers with  blood alcohol content of 0.01 percent – well below the U.S. lega

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One species, two outcomes: Team seeks source of body louse pathology

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — A new study seeks to determine how one parasitic species can give rise to two drastically different outcomes in its host: The human body louse (Pediculus humanus) can transmit dangerous bacterial infections to humans, while the human head louse (also Pediculus humanus) does not.

The human head louse, left, and body louse, right, are the same species, but differ in their ability to transmit disease to their host. Researchers now think they know why. | Photo courtesy Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A report of the new study appears in the journal Insect Molecular Biology.

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Unhealthy Cholesterol Levels Might Raise Alzheimer’s Risk

MONDAY, Dec. 30, 2013 Keeping “bad” cholesterol in check and increasing “good” cholesterol is not only good for your heart, but also your brain, new research suggests.

A study from the University of California, Davis, found that low levels of “bad” cholesterol and high levels of “good” cholesterol are linked to lower levels of so-called amyloid plaque in the brain.

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Glaxo compound slows Lou Gehrig’s disease in animal models

A team headed by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania has figured out a way to reduce the toxicity of Lou Gehrigs disease by slowing neuron dysfunction in animal models. The discovery could offer a new way to treat the disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.

Previous studies by the Penn team found that TDP-43, a gene linked with ALS, interacts with a gene called ataxin-2, which on its own is a gene whose mutations cause human degenerative disease.

Using fruit fly models of the disease, investigators found that genes controlling cellular structures known as stress granules, which act as holding pens for RNA and proteins when cells are under stress, also modify TDP-43 toxicity.

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A Wrong Molecular Turn For Amyloid Fibrils Leads Down The Road To Type 2 Diabetes

Determining how proteins misfold to create the tissue-damaging structures that lead to type 2 diabetes is complicated. These amyloid fibrils are also implicated in neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and in prion diseases like Creutzfeldt-Jacob and mad cow disease.   

An amyloid fibril is a large structure consisting of misfolded proteins. Such fibrils form plaques, or areas of tissue damage, that researchers can observe with microscopes. Fibrils are believed to arise when proteins deviate from their normal 3D structures and instead adopt misfolded states that tend to clump together. Like puzzle pieces, proteins are only useful when they have the correct shape. A

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‘Money Mentors’ program helping people cope with money management

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Years ago, when Jeannette Garinger Beck was a single parent raising four children, she knew the frustrations and stress of struggling to make ends meet. Although educational and professional achievement enabled Beck to put those days behind her, she’s sharing some of what she has learned about financial wellness by volunteering as a Money Mentor. Sponsored by University of Illinois Extension, the Money Mentors program matches trained volunteers with individuals or families who want assistance managing their finances. The program, which began this fall, has 22 mentors working with mentees in Champaign and Vermilion counties, according to Kathy Sweedler, a consumer economics educator in the Extension office in Champaign. M

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