Wednesday, September 20, 2023
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Alzheimer’s research benefits a wide range of genetic studies

Photo of cat scans of a human brain
Researchers are zeroing in on understanding what goes awry in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Tek Image/Science Photo Library via Getty Images

Alzheimer’s disease is partly genetic − studying the genes that delay decline in some may lead to treatments for all

Steven DeKosky, University of Florida

Diseases that run in families usually have genetic causes. Some are genetic mutations that directly cause the disease if inherited. Others are risk genes that affect the body in a way that increases the chance someone will develop the disease. In Alzheimer’s disease, genetic mutations in any of three specific genes can cause the disease, and other risk genes either increase or decrease the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

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Warming climate threatens river animals and plants

Photo of a waterfall on a river
The Potomac River spills over Great Falls west of Washington, D.C.. Marli Miller/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

As climate change warms rivers, they are running out of breath – and so could the plants and animals they harbor

Li Li (李黎), Penn State

As climate change warms rivers, they are losing dissolved oxygen from their water. This process, which is called deoxygenation, was already known to be occurring in large bodies of water, like oceans and lakes. A study that colleagues and I just published in Nature Climate Change shows that it is happening in rivers as well.

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A prescription for nutrition

Photograph of fruits and vegetables in a heart-shaped serving bowl,
“Food is medicine” programs recognize the vital importance of fresh produce in a person’s overall health. fcafotodigital/E+ via Getty Images

Prescriptions for fruits and vegetables can improve the health of people with diabetes and other ailments, new study finds

Kurt Hager, UMass Chan Medical School and Fang Fang Zhang, Tufts University

The health of people with diabetes, hypertension and obesity improved when they could get free fruits and vegetables with a prescription from their doctors and other health professionals.

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Cannabis smoke is not harmless

Photo of a hand holding a burning marijuana cigarette.
Cannabis smoke shares many of the same toxins and carcinogens as tobacco smoke. Tunatura/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Many people think cannabis smoke is harmless − a physician explains how that belief can put people at risk

Beth Cohen, University of California, San Francisco

Though tobacco use is declining among adults in the U.S., cannabis use is increasing. Laws and policies regulating the use of tobacco and cannabis are also moving in different directions.

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How parents can help kids deal with back-to-school anxiety

Photograph of a small child walking towards a school bus
Predictable routines can help children feel calm and in control. Cavan Images/Cavan Collection via Getty Images

Elizabeth Englander, Bridgewater State University

As a child, I had a great deal of anxiety. If you’ve ever seen me speak in public, that might surprise you. But anxiety among children is extremely common and affects almost all children, to varying degrees.

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Long COVID-19 linked to overactive immune response

Artist rendering of hman lungs surrounded by viruses
The immune system usually stays dormant in the lungs in times of health. wildpixel/iStock via Getty Images

Long COVID-19 and other chronic respiratory conditions after viral infections may stem from an overactive immune response in the lungs

Harish Narasimhan, University of Virginia

Viruses that cause respiratory diseases like the flu and COVID-19 can lead to mild to severe symptoms within the first few weeks of infection. These symptoms typically resolve within a few more weeks, sometimes with the help of treatment if severe. However, some people go on to experience persistent symptoms that last several months to years. Why and how respiratory diseases can develop into chronic conditions like long COVID-19 are still unclear.

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Omega-3 fatty acids appear promising for maintaining lung health

Image of an uncooked portion of fresh salmon
Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

U.S. National Institutes of Health

Omega-3 fatty acids, which are abundant in fish and fish oil supplements, appear promising for maintaining lung health, according to new evidence from a large, multi-faceted study in healthy adults supported by the National Institutes of Health. The study provides the strongest evidence to date of this association and underscores the importance of including omega-3 fatty acids in the diet, especially given that many Americans do not meet current guidelines. Funded largely by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of NIH, the study results were published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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Corals are starting to bleach as global ocean temperatures hit record highs

Photo of bleached coral
Mass coral bleaching in 2014 left the Coral Reef Monitoring Program monitoring site at Cheeca Rocks off the Florida Keys a blanket of white. NOAA

Ian Enochs, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The water off South Florida is over 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Celsius) in mid-July, and scientists are already seeing signs of coral bleaching off Central and South America. Particularly concerning is how early in the summer we are seeing these high ocean temperatures. If the extreme heat persists, it could have dire consequences for coral reefs.

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Fiber is your body’s natural guide to weight management

Drawing of various fruit , vegetables and nuts
Whole foods like unprocessed fruits, vegetables and grains are typically high in fiber. Tanja Ivanova/Moment via Getty Images

…rather than cutting carbs out of your diet, eat them in their original fiber packaging instead

Christopher Damman, University of Washington

Fiber might just be the key to healthy weight management – and nature packages it in perfectly balanced ratios with carbs when you eat them as whole foods. Think unprocessed fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds. Research suggests that carbohydrates are meant to come packaged in nature-balanced ratios of total carbohydrates to fiber. In fact, certain types of fiber affect how completely your body absorbs carbohydrates and tells your cells how to process them once they are absorbed.

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Hurricanes push heat deeper into the ocean than scientists realized, boosting long-term ocean warming

Computer graphic of a hurricane
Satellite data illustrates the heat signature of Hurricane Maria above warm surface water in 2017. NASA

Noel Gutiérrez Brizuela, University of California, San Diego and Sally Warner, Brandeis University

When a hurricane hits land, the destruction can be visible for years or even decades. Less obvious, but also powerful, is the effect hurricanes have on the oceans.

In a new study, we show through real-time measurements that hurricanes don’t just churn water at the surface. They can also push heat deep into the ocean in ways that can lock it up for years and ultimately affect regions far from the storm.

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