Tony Delroy’s NightLife February 5 2016

Energy from cellphone towers amplify pain in amputees, UT Dallas study finds

This is Dr. Mario Romero-Ortega at UT Dallas. CREDIT UT Dallas

This is Dr. Mario Romero-Ortega at UT Dallas.

For years, retired Maj. David Underwood has noticed that whenever he drove under power lines and around other electromagnetic fields, he would feel a buzz in what remained of his arm. When traveling by car through Texas’ open spaces, the buzz often became more powerful.

“When roaming on a cellphone in the car kicked in, the pain almost felt like having my arm blown off again,” said Underwood, an Iraq War veteran who was injured by an improvised explosive device (IED). His injuries have resulted in 35 surgeries and the amputation of his left arm. Shrapnel from the IED also tore part of his leg and left him with more than 100 smaller wounds. “I didn’t notice the power lines, cellphones on roam or other electromagnetic fields until I first felt them in my arm.”

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The Zika Virus – what do you need to know?

thezikavirusThe Zika virus is an arbovirus infection transmitted by several different species of Aedes mosquitoes, writes Atif Kukaswadia, PhD in PLOS.

In adults, the most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes) (CDC). Symptoms are usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week and it is uncommon for it to require hospitalization. However, this isn’t the case for newborns. The virus has been found to be highly neurotrophic, and has resulted in children being born with microcephaly, where they have smaller than normal brains. Within the span of a few months, there have been several thousand cases of children being born with microcephaly, and this is only the tip of the iceberg with the WHO predicting that three to four million people will be infected this year.

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Did Henry VIII suffer same brain injury as some NFL players?

Detail of portrait of Henry VIII by the workshop of Hans Holbein the Younger. (Google Art Project)

Detail of portrait of Henry VIII by the workshop of Hans Holbein the Younger. (Google Art Project)

Henry VIII may have suffered repeated traumatic brain injuries similar to those experienced by football players and others who receive repeated blows to the head, according to research by a Yale University expert in cognitive neurology.

Traumatic brain injury explains the memory problems, explosive anger, inability to control impulses, headaches, insomnia — and maybe even impotence — that afflicted Henry during the decade before his death in 1547, according to a paper published online the week of Feb. 1.

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Empty trucks increase accident risk

photodune-4525151-truck-xsHEAVY vehicle drivers with an empty load are two-and-a-half times more likely to crash than those carrying freight, writes 

This finding comes from a Curtin-Monash Accident Research Centre study which also found WA drivers who had recently unloaded their freight had a significantly increased risk of crashing.

Several factors are to blame for the traffic accidents, Curtin University Professor Lynn Meuleners says.

“Certain handling problems such as trailer sway due to an empty load may increase the risk of a rollover crash,” she says.

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Anonymous browsing hinders online dating signals

Online DatingEven online, women tend to send ‘weak signals’ rather than making ‘first move’, study finds.

Big data and the growing popularity of online dating sites may be reshaping a fundamental human activity: finding a mate, or at least a date. Yet a new study in Management Science finds that certain longstanding social norms persist, even online.

In a large-scale experiment conducted through a major North American online dating website, a team of management scholars from Canada, the U.S. and Taiwan examined the impact of a premium feature: anonymous browsing. Out of 100,000 randomly selected new users, 50,000 were given free access to the feature for a month, enabling them to view profiles of other users without leaving telltale digital traces.

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Neuroticism predicts anxiety and depression disorders

young student stressed holding booksStudy suggests a single intervention to reduce risk for both disorders.

A new Northwestern University and UCLA study has found for the first time that young people who are high on the personality trait of neuroticism are highly likely to develop both anxiety and depression disorders.

“Neuroticism was an especially strong predictor of the particularly pernicious state of developing both anxiety and depressive disorders,” said Richard Zinbarg, lead author of the study and professor of psychology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern.

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Seafood consumption may play a role in reducing risk for Alzheimer’s

Seafood cocktail in buffet cornerNew research published Feb. 2 in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that older adults with a major risk gene for Alzheimer’s disease known as APOE?4 who ate at least one seafood serving per week showed fewer signs of Alzheimer’s-related brain changes. In contrast, this association was not found in the brains of volunteers who ate fish weekly but did not carry the risk gene.

The researchers also examined the brains for levels of mercury, which can be found in seafood and is known to be harmful to the brain and nervous system. They found that seafood consumption was associated with increased mercury levels in the brains but not the amount of beta amyloid protein plaques and tau protein tangles, the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease.

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You can teach an old dog new tricks. But younger dogs learn faster

The dogs were trained to touch symbols on a screen using their nose. (Photo: Lisa Wallis/Vetmeduni Vienna)

The dogs were trained to touch symbols on a screen using their nose.
(Photo: Lisa Wallis/Vetmeduni Vienna)

The effect of aging on cognitive processes such as learning, memory and logical reasoning have so far been studied almost exclusively in people.

Using a series of touchscreen tests, Lisa Wallis and Friederike Range of the Messerli Research Institute at Vetmeduni Vienna have now studied these domains in pet dogs of varying ages. The study was conducted with 95 Border Collies ranging in age from five months to 13 years. The dogs regularly came to the Clever Dog Lab on the Vetmeduni Vienna campus accompanied by their owners to conduct the tests on a touch-sensitive monitor.

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Wage gap could explain why women are more likely to be anxious and depressed than men

photodune-4891398-pay-for-women-xsWomen may internalize wage gap as reflective of perceived inferior merit.

The odds of major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder were markedly greater among women who earned less than their male counterparts, with whom they were matched on education and years of experience, according to new research conducted at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Results of the study are online in the journal Social Science & Medicine.

The odds that an American woman was diagnosed with depression in the past year are nearly twice that of men. However, this disparity looks very different when accounting for the wage gap: Among women whose income was lower than their male counterparts, the odds of major depression were nearly 2.5 times higher than men; but among women whose income equaled or exceeded their male counterparts, their odds of depression were no different than men.

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