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Medical News Today


Do antidepressants work better than placebo?

Scientists have been debating the efficacy of antidepressants for decades. The latest paper to throw its hat into the ring concludes that there is little evidence to show that they perform better than placebos.A re-analysis of a meta-analysis says that antidepressants lack evidence. In 2017, around 17.3 million adults in the United States experienced an episode of major depression. Alongside talking therapies such as psychotherapy, many people with depression take antidepressants. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a 2011–2014 survey found that 12.7% of U.S. individuals aged 12 or above had taken antidepressant medication in the...

ALS: 'Unique' cells could open up new avenues for therapy

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that leads to the death of nerve cells that control movement, leaving people unable to move and, eventually, to breathe. ALS is fatal and, so far, incurable. Can new findings bring hope for novel therapies? New research finds previously unknown subtypes of motor neurons in people with ALS. ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, affects approximately 30,000 people in the United States alone. Still, its causes remain largely unknown. There is currently no cure, and few treatments to improve the quality of life or prolong life expectancy are available....

How diet quality affects the colon's microbiome

New research has examined the effect of dietary quality on the composition of the colon's microbiota. The study suggests that following a high quality diet may increase the number of beneficial bacteria, whereas following a low quality diet may raise that of harmful bacteria.The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that half of our plates consist of fruits and vegetables. An increasing number of studies are pointing out the links between diet and health. For instance, some researchers have warned that ultra processed foods may raise the risk of cancer. Meanwhile, some foods — such as whole grains or broccoli —...

Could artificial intelligence be the future of cancer diagnosis?

In a recent study, researchers trained an algorithm to differentiate between malignant and benign lesions in scans of breast tissue.A new study asks whether artificial intelligence could streamline cancer diagnosis. With cancer, the key to successful treatment is catching it early. As it stands, doctors have access to high quality imaging, and skilled radiologists can spot the telltale signs of abnormal growth. Once identified, the next step is for doctors to ascertain whether the growth is benign or malignant. The most reliable method is to take a biopsy, which is an invasive procedure. Even then, errors can occur. Some people...

Are crickets and other creepy crawlies the new superfood?

In many cultures around the world, insects and arachnids form a normal part of a person's diet. In the United States and Europe, however, we tend to regard such "delicacies" with mistrust. Can scientific evidence suggesting that insects are more healthful and nutritious than other foods change our minds? Would you care for a fried cricket? New research suggests that they pack a mean antioxidant punch. Edible insects have the highest market value in Asia-Pacific regions, according to recent reports. However, the same reports indicate that their value is on the rise in the United States. Most people in Western...

New psychosis treatment targets genetic mutation instead of symptoms

A novel treatment that targets a specific genetic mutation could help alleviate the symptoms of psychosis, a new study finds. Targeting one genetic mutation helped scientists devise an innovative treatment for psychosis. Deborah L. Levy, Ph.D. — from the McLean Hospital in Belmont, MA — led the new study, the findings of which now appear in the journal Biological Psychiatry. It revealed that people who had four copies of a certain gene, instead of the regular two, benefited from the treatment. The mutation, called a copy number variant (CNV), affects the glycine decarboxylase gene. One hypothesis is that the doubling...

New drug relieves acute migraine in clinical trial

People who experience acute migraine may soon find relief in a new treatment. The results of a clinical trial of a novel drug revealed that it can eliminate head pain and reduce other symptoms of migraine. New research uncovers the benefits of a novel drug for treating acute migraine. Many people with acute migraine rely on triptans, a class of drugs that have been in use since the 1990s. However, triptans do not help everyone, and some people cannot take them because of their adverse side effects. Triptans work by activating serotonin receptors, an effect that lowers inflammation and tightens...

Common blood pressure drug may harm gut health

A team of researchers analyzed the potential side effects of a common blood pressure drug and found that it may increase the risk of a potentially severe bowel condition. Some hypertension drugs may raise the risk of certain gastrointestinal conditions, new research suggests. High blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, chronic heart failure, and kidney disease. According to some estimates, in 2015, more than 1 billion people were living with high blood pressure worldwide. Using national, subnational, or community population-based studies to analyze the worldwide trends in blood pressure from 1975 to 2015, researchers found that the...

Why do women have less sex as they age?

As women get older, they tend to have less sex. They may also find it less enjoyable than before. So far, studies have explained these tendencies by pointing the finger at physiological changes during and after menopause. What are the other factors?What prevents a woman from having sex or enjoying sex later in life? Research has repeatedly found that women report having less sex and deriving less pleasure from it as they reach menopause and beyond. One 2015 study in the journal Endocrinology & Metabolism Clinics of North America concluded that "[s]exual dysfunction increases with age and is highly prevalent...

Researchers devise a more 'child-friendly' test for autism

The current methods of diagnosing autism in children use questionnaires and psychologist evaluations. However, these methods can be stressful for those at a young age. New research now suggests an easy, more stress-free test that simply tracks the gaze. Researchers have devised a new, less stressful method of diagnosing autism based on 'how a child looks at everything.' "The current approaches to determining if someone has autism are not really child-friendly," notes Mehrshad Sadria, who is currently pursuing a master's degree at the University of Waterloo in Canada. Sadria and colleagues have been busy looking for an alternative means of...

Through my eyes: Weight loss surgery

I grew up in a dysfunctional and abusive family where food was my escape.Even the shortest walk left me breathless, sweaty, and fatigued. Genetics was not on my side, as both my mother and father struggled with obesity and diabetes. Mum used food as a means of emotional comfort, and food was the main way we related as a family. It was the answer to everything in life. These conditions were a "perfect storm." I had an insatiable hunger for food. I was bigger than all the other kids at school, and by the time I was 12, I weighed...

Alzheimer's: Cell mechanism removes defective protein

The buildup of defective tau proteins is a prominent feature of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. The faulty proteins form tangles that disrupt brain function and kill nerve cells, or neurons.Experiments in human cell cultures reveal a mechanism through which scientists can regulate defective tau protein levels. Now, scientists have identified a molecule that plays a vital role in helping to prevent the buildup of toxic tau protein in the brain. The molecule, which has the name vacuolar protein sorting 35 (VPS35), identifies and removes faulty tau proteins from neurons. Using human cells, researchers from Lewis Katz School of Medicine...