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Medical News Today


Why do female bonobos have more sex with each other than with males?

Bonobos have some unique social habits that make them highly fascinating to zoologists. One of these habits is the females' favorite pastime: sex with each other. Why is same-sex sexual behavior so important to these females? What makes female bonobos so eager to have sexual interactions with each other? Some people refer to bonobos as "the hippie apes." Bonobos are a now endangered species of chimpanzee. They live in the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The nickname of "hippie ape" refers to the remarkable social practices of these primates, which display tight cooperation. This includes sharing food, the...

1 extra kilo of deep belly fat can increase diabetes risk in women

Researchers already know that excess body fat can increase the risk of diabetes, but a new study shows that one form of fat, in particular — the "invisible" one that accumulates around organs and intestines — can heighten this risk more than seven times, at least in women. The fat that accumulates around the organs is a hidden risk factor for diabetes, especially in women. Though excess body fat is a known risk for many metabolic conditions, including type 2 diabetes, recent research has been gathering evidence to show that the amount of body fat is not the only factor...

External stimuli may affect how well antidepressants work

Antidepressants are more effective for some people than they are for others, but what factors influence how well they work? Research in mice suggests that exposure to external stimuli may play a key role. Do stressful vs. relaxing stimuli in our environment have a real impact on how well antidepressants work? "Antidepressants" is the term by which people usually refer to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a class of drugs that doctors usually prescribe to treat conditions such as major depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Yet, these drugs do not work for everyone, and they do not necessarily work as well...

How do antidepressants affect gut bacteria?

Newly published research in rodents and ongoing research in humans examines the effects of psychiatric drugs, including antidepressants, on the composition of gut bacteria. Scientists are slowly discovering the effects that antidepressants have on various bacterial strains that usually live in the gut. More and more studies are supporting the role of the gut microbiota in psychiatric conditions. Anxiety and depression are only some of the mental health conditions that researchers have linked to changes in the composition of the gut microbiota. For example, a recent study that Medical News Today has reported on listed a range of bacteria that...

IBS: Cognitive behavioral therapy more effective than standard care

Whether web or telephone based, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may be more effective than standard treatments for IBS — and the benefits last in the long term. Web based CBT relieves IBS symptoms and provides lasting benefits. This is the main takeaway of a new study, which now appears in The Lancet Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Prof. Hazel Everitt, from the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, is the lead and corresponding author of the paper. Previous research that Prof. Everitt spearheaded showed that CBT combined with standard care can alleviate the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). At the...

OCD: Deep magnetic stimulation may help where other therapies fail

Millions of people around the world have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a condition that often has a significant impact on well-being and quality of life. New research from Israel outlines a new therapy option that could help people with OCD that does not respond to other treatments. Can magnetic stimulation work where other treatment options do not? According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, as many as 2.2 million adults in the United States live with OCD. OCD is characterized by compulsive, unwanted thoughts and behaviors that can often impact a person's daily activities. According to a study from...

Inflammation in late teens linked to mortality risk decades later

Using data from more than 100,000 males and spanning more than 3 decades, a new study investigates the long term effect of inflammation in early adulthood. Could inflammation in early adulthood influence disease risk more than 30 years on? Inflammation is part of the body's natural response to harmful stimuli, such as irritants, damaged cells, and pathogens. The body uses this process to eliminate the threat, clear out damaged cells, and repair tissues. Although inflammation is a force for good, if it continues for extended periods, which doctors refer to as chronic inflammation, it can lead to health issues. Over...

Scientists identify a trigger for type 1 diabetes in mice

A discovery in mice suggests a new opportunity for reducing the incidence of type 1 diabetes. New research zooms in on a complex cellular mechanism that may explain what triggers type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is on the rise. Scientists are not exactly sure why this is, but the increase in new cases makes the race to understand this life-threatening condition more urgent than ever. A new study appearing in the journal Science Immunology suggests that a phantom switch causes the body's immune system to start destroying its insulin, resulting in the onset of diabetes. If this discovery in...

How can mouthwash interfere with the benefits of exercise?

Surprising new research shows that antibacterial mouthwash can limit the cardiovascular benefits of exercise. The effect of mouthwash on mouth bacteria interferes with a complex molecular mechanism that usually sustains the blood pressure-lowering effects of exercise. Antibacterial mouthwash may help oral health, but new research shows that it interferes with the cardiovascular benefits of exercise. The bacteria in our mouths play a key role in our health. An analysis of oral microbes from tens of thousands of people, for example, found an association between bacteria that can cause gum disease and a higher risk of esophageal cancer. Other studies have...

Using a smartphone to detect a highly contagious virus

A new device uses a smartphone and a paper microfluidic chip to detect extremely low levels of norovirus. Just 10 norovirus particles (depicted here) are enough to cause infection. Norovirus is a very contagious virus responsible for around 19–21 million yearly cases of acute gastroenteritis in the United States. In fact, norovirus is "the leading cause of foodborne illness" in the U.S. Norovirus is also responsible for up to 1.9 million hospital visits and another 400,000 visits to the emergency department. This costs the U.S. around $2 billion in healthcare expenses and loss of job productivity. The virus can be...

Wolves more socially cooperative than dogs, study finds

A new study compares pack dogs with wolves and finds that the latter exhibit more prosocial, cooperative behavior toward their fellow pack members. Wolves may be more inclined than pack dogs to help their pack members. Prosocial, altruistic behavior is not unique to humans. When they have the choice, some primates opt for outcomes that benefit both themselves and a partner. In addition, recent studies have shown that pet dogs not only exhibit cooperative behavior but also prefer to reward familiar dogs than dogs they have never met. Framing the prosociality of dogs in the "nature vs. nurture" debate, some...

Breast cancer: Hormone therapy may only put some cells to 'sleep'

Why does breast cancer sometimes recur after treatment? A new study suggests that in part, the answer may lie in the effect of adjuvant hormone therapy on some cancer cells. Scientists delve deeper into the effects of hormone therapy on cancer cells, hoping to find out more about what drives recurrence. "For a long time scientists have debated whether hormone therapies — which are a very effective treatment and save millions of lives — work by killing breast cancer cells, or whether the drugs flip them into a dormant 'sleeper' state," says Luca Magnani, who is a principal research fellow...