Mental Health

Urine tests could predict reaction to meds

Researchers in London say they may be able to predict a patient’s response to medication, simply by checking his or her urine. If it works, the technique would be a great boon for personalized medicine — not just helping to prevent adverse reactions, but also ensuring that patients get the most effective drug for their bodies, with …

Researchers find a new Alzheimer’s gene

Scientists from University of California, Irvine, have found a new genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. In a study of 381 people, those with Alzheimer’s were nearly twice as likely as people without the disease to have a certain form of a gene,TOMM40 (which stands for “translocase of outer mitochondrial membrane 40”). Although …

Simple ingredients

You may have heard the advice that says, if you’re going to buy a snack food, buy the one with the fewest ingredients. It won’t cut out the calories, but at least you’ll lose most of the additives, preservatives and unsatisfying artificial flavors. And on the whole less-processed foods (those with fewer ingredients) also contain more …

The science of itching

Scientists have found a way to manipulate the neurons in mice that respond to itch — and, in the process, have settled a longstanding debate: Is itchiness just a form of pain, or a separate, unique sensation?

It turns out the brain treats itch and pain completely differently, even though they can both be excruciating.

The sunburn forecast

Wondering which days are safest to be out in the sun? If you live in the U.S., you can check out the SunWise ultraviolet forecast, based on predictions from the National Weather Center. Looks like this weekend will be a scorcher!

Plug in a zip code or a city and a state, and the UV forecast will tell you how intense the sun’s rays …

The Roots of Individuality

Why do different people’s minds work so differently? Human brain cells don’t follow a set DNA script. Instead, they contain a surprising number of mobile elements — or “jumping genes” — that let them reorganize their genetic code.

One More Reason to Cut Cholesterol …

Researchers from Kaiser Permanente find that elevated cholesterol levels — even levels just a little bit elevated, in fact — are predictive of dementia in old age.

A four-decade study of 9,844 men and women in northern California found a strong association between cholesterol when people were in their 40s and Alzheimer’s disease …

Can Cheap Sunglasses Be Bad for Your Eyes?

As people eagerly head out into the sun to soak up the last weeks of summer, inevitably some will end up picking up a cheap pair of sunglasses — because you left your good ones at home, or in the back of an airplane seat or in a cab, or just because those ones the street vendor is hawking are so cute. Yet, according to …

Antidepressant Use Soars

In 2005, 10% of Americans aged six or older — some 27 million people — received at least one prescription for antidepressants. That’s up from just under 6% in 1996.

What Causes Stress?

Here’s a chance to help scientists uncover the roots of stress. The Big Stress Experiment aims to be the largest-ever scientific investigation on the topic — and it’s recruiting help from the public. You take an online quiz about your feelings and your life experience. Then academic researchers take your data (anonymously) to determine …

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