The most accurate measures of European daily temperatures ever indicate that the length of heat waves on the continent has doubled and the frequency of extremely hot days has nearly tripled in the past century. The new data shows that many previous assessments of daily summer temperature change underestimated heat wave events in western Europe by approximately 30 percent.
Paul Della-Marta and a team of researchers at the University of Bern in Switzerland compiled evidence from 54 high-quality recording locations from Sweden to Croatia and report that heat waves last an average of 3 days now—with some lasting up to 4.5 days—compared to an average of around 1.5 days in 1880. The results are published 3 August in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, a publication of the American Geophysical Union. The researchers suggest that their conclusions contribute to growing evidence that western Europe’s climate has become more extreme and confirm a previously hypothesized increase in the variance of daily summer temperatures since the 19th century.
The study adds evidence that heat waves, such as the devastating 2003 event in western Europe, are a likely sign of global warming; one that perhaps began as early as the 1950s, when their study showed some of the highest trends in summer mean temperature and summer temperature variance.
“These results add more evidence to the belief among climate scientists that western Europe will experience some of the highest environmental and social impacts of climate change and continue to experience devastating hot summers like the summer of 2003 more frequently in the future,” Della-Marta said.
The authors note that temperature records were likely overestimated in the past, when thermometers were not kept in modern Stevenson screens, which are instrument shelters used to protect temperature sensors from outside influences that could alter its readings. The researchers corrected for this warm bias and other biases in the variability of daily summer temperatures and show that nearly 40 percent of the changes in the frequency of hot days are likely to be caused by increases in summer temperatures’ variability. This finding demonstrates that even a small change in the variance of daily summer temperatures can radically enhance the number of extremely hot days.
“These findings provide observational support to climate modeling studies showing that European summer temperatures are particularly sensitive to global warming,” Della-Marta said. “Due to complex reactions between the summer atmosphere and the land, the variability of summer temperatures is expected to [continue to] increase substantially by 2100.”
The research was supported by the European Environment and Sustainable Development Program, the Swiss National Science Foundation and the National Center for Excellence in Climate Research (NCCR Climate).
Contact: Jonathan Lifland
American Geophysical Union
-It helps to prevent diseases such as anaemia and bone demineralisation
-UGR researchers have carried out a comparative study on the properties of goat milk compared to those of cow milk. Rats with induced nutritional ferropenic anaemia have been used in the study
-Goat milk helps digestive and metabolic utilisation of minerals such as iron, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium
-Part of the results of this research have been published in the prestigious scientific journals International Dairy Journal and Journal Dairy Science
C@MPUS DIGITAL Research carried out at the Department of Physiology of the University of Granada has revealed that goat milk has more beneficial properties to health than cow milk. Among these properties it helps to prevent ferropenic anaemia (iron deficiency) and bone demineralisation (softening of the bones).
This project, conducted by Doctor Javier Díaz Castro and directed by professors Margarita Sánchez Campos, Mª Inmaculada López Aliaga and Mª José Muñoz Alférez, focuses on the comparison between the nutritional properties of goat milk and cow milk, both with normal calcium content and calcium enriched, against the bioavailability of iron, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. To carry out this study, the metabolic balance technique has been used both in rats with experimentally induced nutritional ferropenic anaemia and in a control group of rats.
In order to know how the nutritive utilisation of these minerals may affect their metabolic distribution and destination, the UGR researcher has determined the concentration of these minerals in the different organs involved in their homeostatic regulation and different haematological parameters in relation to the metabolism of the minerals.
Better results with goat milk
Results obtained in the study reveal that ferropenic anaemia and bone demineralisation caused by this pathology have a better recovery with goat milk. Due to the higher bioavailability of iron, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium, the restoration of altered haematological parameters and the better levels of parathyroid hormone (PTH), a hormone that regulates the calcium balance in the organism was found in the rats that consumed this food.
Javier Díaz Castro points out that the inclusion of goat milk with normal or double calcium content in the diet “favours digestive and metabolic utilisation of iron, calcium and phosphorus and their deposit in target organs – parts of the organism to which these minerals are preferably sent – involved in their homeostatic regulation”.
According to this researcher, all these conclusions reveal that regular consumption of goat milk – a natural food with highly beneficial nutritional characteristics – “has positive effects on mineral metabolism, recovery from ferropenic anaemia and bone mineralisation in rats. In addition, and unlike observations in cow milk, its calcium enrichment does not interfere in the bioavailability of the minerals studied”.
Although there is no doubt that these findings may be a base for further in depth study of the multiple health benefits of goat milk, the UGR researcher warns that “studies in humans are still required in order to confirm the findings obtained in rats and to promote goat milk consumption both in the general population and in the population affected by nutritional ferropenic anaemia and pathologies related to bone demineralisation”. Part of the results of this research has been published in the prestigious scientific journals International Dairy Journal and Journal Dairy Science.
Reference: Dr Javier Díaz Castro. Department of Physiology of the University of Granada.
Tel.: +34 958248319. Mobile: +34 654574434. Email: email@example.com
Review covers 136 countries in US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Japan and Spain
Leukaemia rates in children and young people are elevated near nuclear facilities, but no clear explanation exists to explain the rise, according to a research review published in the July issue of European Journal of Cancer Care.
Researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina carried out a sophisticated meta-analysis of 17 research papers covering 136 nuclear sites in the UK, Canada, France, the USA, Germany, Japan and Spain.
They found that death rates for children up to the age of nine were elevated by between five and 24 per cent, depending on their proximity to nuclear facilities, and by two to 18 per cent in children and young people up to the age of 25.
Incidence rates were increased by 14 to 21 per cent in zero to nine year olds and seven to ten percent in zero to 25 year-olds.
“Childhood leukaemia is a rare disease and nuclear sites are commonly found in rural areas, which means that sample sizes tend to be small” says lead author Dr Peter J Baker.
“The advantage of carrying out a meta-analysis is that it enables us to draw together a number of studies that have employed common methods and draw wider conclusions.”
Eight separate analyses were performed – including unadjusted, random and fixed effect models – and the figures they produced showed considerable consistency.
But the authors point out that dose-response studies they looked at – which describe how an organism is affected by different levels of exposure – did not show excess rates near nuclear facilities.
“Several difficulties arise when conducting dose-response studies in an epidemiological setting as they rely on a wide range of factors that are often hard to quantify” explains Dr Baker. “It is also possible that there are environmental issues involved that we don’t yet understand.
“If the amount of exposure were too low to cause the excess risk, we would expect leukaemia rates to remain consistent before and after the start-up of a nuclear facility. However, our meta-analysis, consistently showed elevated illness and death rates for children and young people living near nuclear facilities.”
The research review looked at studies carried out between 1984 and 1999, focusing on research that provided statistics for individual sites on children and young people aged from zero to 25.
Four studies covered the UK, with a further three covering just Scotland. Three covered France, two looked at Canada and there was one study each from the USA, Japan, Spain, the former East Germany and the former West Germany.
“Although our meta-analysis found consistently elevated rates of leukaemia near nuclear facilities, it is important to note that there are still many questions to be answered, not least about why these rates increase” concludes Dr Baker.
“Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain the excess of childhood leukaemia in the vicinity of nuclear facilities, including environmental exposure and parental exposure. Professor Kinlen from Oxford University has also put forward a hypothesis that viral transmission, caused by mixing populations in a new rural location, could be responsible.
“It is clear that further research is needed into this important subject.”
Notes to editors
Meta-analysis of standardized incidence and mortality rates of childhood leukaemia in proximity to nuclear facilities. Baker PJ and Hoel D. European Journal of Cancer Care. 16, pages 355-363. July 2007.
The European Journal of Cancer Care provides a medium for communicating multi-professional cancer care across Europe and internationally. The Journal publishes peer-reviewed papers, reviews, reports, features and news, and provides a means of recording lively debate and an exchange of ideas. It is published six times a year by Blackwell Publishing.
Blackwell Publishing is the world’s leading society publisher, partnering with 665 medical, academic, and professional societies. Blackwell publishes over 800 journals and has over 6,000 books in print. The company employs over 1,000 staff members in offices in the US, UK, Australia, China, Singapore, Denmark, Germany and Japan and officially merged with John Wiley & Sons, Inc’s Scientific, Technical and Medical business in February 2007. Blackwell’s mission as an expert publisher is to create long-term partnerships with our clients that enhance learning, disseminate research, and improve the quality of professional practice. For more information on Blackwell Publishing, please visit http://www.blackwellpublishing.com or http://www.blackwell-synergy.com
Contact: Annette Whibley
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Disturbed sleep associated with decline in cognition over time; no link with total hours of sleep per night
Women who experienced cognitive decline over a 13 to 15 year period after age 65 were more likely to sleep poorly than women whose cognition did not decline, according to a study led by researchers at the San Francisco VA Medical Center (SFVAMC).
The women’s cognitive decline was associated with interrupted or fitful sleep. Total sleep time per night made no difference, says lead author Kristine Yaffe, MD, chief of geriatric psychiatry at SFVAMC and professor of psychiatry, neurology, epidemiology, and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).
“This indicates that it’s not how long you sleep, but how well you sleep,” she says.
The study appears in the July 17, 2007 issue of Neurology.
Yaffe speculates that there are three possible explanations for the association between cognitive decline and disturbed sleep. She says the first and most likely reason is that whatever neurodegenerative condition is starting to cause cognitive decline, such as Alzheimer’s disease, is also affecting areas of the brain that govern sleep.
“Sleep is very complex,” notes Yaffe. “It involves a coordinated series of neurologic functions that we don’t entirely understand. It’s not unlikely that early neurodegenerative disease could start having an effect on sleep centers as well.”
Another possibility is that someone who is becoming cognitively impaired is sleeping poorly “because they’re aware of their condition and they’re worried about it.”
Finally, Yaffe says that other factors entirely, such as brain inflammation or genetic changes, might cause both cognitive decline and sleep disturbance at the same time.
The researchers studied 2,474 women who were part of a larger ongoing prospective study of risk factors for osteoporosis that began in 1986. The mean age of the women was 68.9 years at the beginning of the study. Their cognitive health was measured at regular intervals over the course of the study using two standard cognitive tests: the Mini-Mental State Examination and the Trail Making Test, Part B, known as Trails B.
After 13 to 15 years in the study, the women were fitted with an actigraph, a small device worn on the wrist that measures movement and is known from previous studies to be highly accurate in differentiating sleep from wakefulness. The women wore the device for at least three consecutive 24-hour periods.
Women who performed progressively worse on both cognitive tests over time were significantly more likely to have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep than women whose performance did not decline. Women who performed progressively worse on the Trails B test also napped significantly more during the day.
The association between cognitive decline and poor sleep remained even after the researchers adjusted for a host of other demographic factors such as age, education, depression, exercise, and health status.
“It’s been known for some time that people with cognitive problems often have sleep problems, but those studies have mostly been done on severely demented people in nursing homes,” observes Yaffe. “Ours was the first study to look at the relationship between sleep and cognition in healthy women dwelling in the community who did not have dementia to begin with.”
Yaffe offers several cautions concerning the results of the study. First, men and African-American women were excluded from the original osteoporosis study because both of those groups have low incidence of osteoporotic fractures. Additionally, sleep patterns were measured only once, “so it’s more of a snapshot.”
However, Yaffe says that the research group has received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue tracking sleep patterns and cognitive health over time in the same study cohort. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to tell if cognitive changes lead to sleep disturbances, or if the reverse is true, or if they have a common independent cause.”
Co-authors of the paper were Terri Blackwell, MA, of the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute (CPMCRI); Deborah E. Barnes, PhD, of SFVAMC and UCSF; Sonia Ancoli-Israel, PhD, of the University of California, San Diego and the VA San Diego Healthcare System; and Katie Stone, PhD, of CPMCRI, for the Study of Osteopororic Fractures Group.
The study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Aging.
SFVAMC has the largest medical research program in the national VA system, with more than 200 research scientists, all of whom are faculty members at UCSF.
UCSF is a leading university that advances health worldwide by conducting advanced biomedical research, educating graduate students in the life sciences and health professions, and providing complex patient care.
Contact: Steve Tokar
University of California – San Francisco
Scientists have only recently begun to speculate that what’s referred to as “junk” DNA – the 96 percent of the human genome that doesn’t encode for proteins and previously seemed to have no useful purpose – is present in the genome for an important reason. But it wasn’t clear what the reason was. Now, researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine have discovered one important function of so-called junk DNA.
Genes, which make up about four percent of the genome, encode for proteins, “the building blocks of life.” An international collaboration of scientists led by Michael G. Rosenfeld, M.D., Howard Hughes Medical Investigator and UCSD professor of medicine, found that some of the remaining 96 percent of genomic material might be important in the formation of boundaries that help properly organize these building blocks. Their work will be published in the July 13 issue of the journal Science.
“Some of the ‘junk’ DNA might be considered ‘punctuation marks’ – commas and periods that help make sense of the coding portion of the genome,” said first author Victoria Lunyak, Ph.D., assistant research scientist at UCSD.
In mice, as in humans, only about 4 percent of the genome encodes for protein function; the remainder, or “junk” DNA, represents repetitive and non-coding sequences. The research team studied a repeated genomic sequence called SINE B2, which is located on the growth hormone gene locus, the gene related to the aging process and longevity. The scientists were surprised to find that SINE B2 sequence is critical to formation of the functional domain boundaries for this locus.
Functional domains are stretches of DNA within the genome that contain all the regulatory signals and other information necessary to activate or repress a particular gene. Each domain is an entity unto itself that is defined, or bracketed, by a boundary, much as words in a sentence are bracketed by punctuation marks. The researchers’ data suggest that repeated genomic sequences might be a widely used strategy used in mammals to organize functional domains.
“Without boundary elements, the coding portion of the genome is like a long, run-on sequence of words without punctuation,” said Rosenfeld.
Decoding the information written in “junk” DNA could open new areas of medical research, particularly in the area of gene therapy. Scientists may find that transferring encoding genes into a patient, without also transferring the surrounding genomic sequences which give structure or meaning to these genes, would render gene therapy ineffective.
Contributors to the paper include Lluis Montoliu, Rosa Roy and Angel Garcia-Díaz of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Centro Nacional de Biotecnología in Madrid, Spain; Christopher K. Glass, M.D., Ph.D., UCSD Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine; Esperanza Núñez, Gratien G. Prefontaine, Bong-Gun Ju, Kenneth A. Ohgi, Kasey Hutt, Xiaoyan Zhu and Yun Yung, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Molecular Medicine, UCSD School of Medicine; and Thorsten Cramer, Division of Endocrinology, UCSD Department of Medicine.
The research was funded in part by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the National Institutes of Health.
Contact: Debra Kain
University of California – San Diego
- 25-hydroxyvitamin D
- Acetaminophen and Caffeine
- Acinetobacter calcoaceticus-baumannii complex
- acute lymphoblastic leukemia
- American Academy of Neurology
- American Association for Cancer Research
- American Chemical Society
- American College of Cardiology
- American Heart Association
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
- American Journal of Public Health
- American Legacy Foundation
- Ancestral Heritage
- Archives of Neurology
- Arthritis & Rheumatism
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Autoimmune Diseases
- B. Rappaport Faculty of Medicine at Technion in Haifa
- Biological Sciences
- Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
- Bone Demineralisation
- Bone Diseases
- British Medical Journal
- Brooke Army Medical Center
- Buck Institute
- Calabria Regional Health Department
- Canadian Institutes of Health Research
- Cancer Biology
- Cancer Biology and Therapy
- Cancer Information In Spanish
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Catalan Institute of Oncology in Spain
- Childhood Lukemia
- Childhood Nutrition
- Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
- Children’s Cancer Institute Australia
- Children’s Hospital
- Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
- Childrens Hospital Los Angeles
- Chromosome 17
- Chromosome 8
- Chronic Multisymptom Illnesses
- Chronic Stress
- Chronic Stress and Obesity
- CHS National Cancer Control Center and Technion
- CHS National Israeli Cancer Control Center
- Clinical Applications
- Clinical Trials
- College of Medicine in Houston
- Complex Chronic Conditions
- Cornell University
- Cytochrome b5
- Cytochrome P450
- Drug Abuse
- Duke University Medical Center
- Electronic Health Records
- Emergency Preparedness
- Emergency Room
- Emory Genetics Laboratory
- Emory University
- End Of Life Care
- European Cancer Conference
- European Journal of Cancer Care
- European League Against Rheumatism
- European Science Foundation
- FDA Warnings
- Fibromyalgia News
- FMS Global News
- Folic Acid
- Fort Sam Houston
- Fox Chase Cancer Center
- Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
- Garvan Institute of Medical Research
- General Psychiatry
- Genetic Link
- Genetic Marker C allele of rs10505477
- Global Health Vision
- Global News
- Health Canada
- Health Information Technology
- Heart Disease
- Hebrew University of Jerusalem
- Hemorrhagic Stroke
- Historical Medicine
- Hospital Epidemiology
- Hospital Trauma
- Howard Hughes Medical Institute
- Human Genome
- Huntington's disease
- Imperial College London
- Interactive Autism Network
- Inuit children
- Irving Weinstein Foundation
- JAMA/Archives journals
- Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science
- Johns Hopkins University
- Joint Health Research Program
- journal BBA Biomembranes
- journal Cell
- journal Nature Genetics
- Journal of Clinical Investigation
- Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
- Journal of the American College of Surgeons
- Journal of Theoretical Biology
- Juvenile Diabetes
- Karolinska Institute in Stockholm
- Kennedy Krieger Institute
- Kyowakai Hospital
- Lamezia Terme
- London UK Feed
- Lung Cancer
- Massachusetts General Hospital
- Mayo Clinic
- McMaster University
- Medical History
- Medical Insurance
- Medical Journals
- Mitochondrial Diseases
- Molecular Biology
- Molecular Epidemiology
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Music Video Of The Day
- Music Video Pick Of The Day
- National Cancer Institute
- National Institute on Aging
- National Institutes of Health
- Nature Genetics
- Neurodegenerative Diseases
- Neuropeptide Y
- New England Journal of Medicine
- New York University
- News Australia
- News Canada
- News France
- News Germany
- News Israel
- News Italy
- News Jerusalem
- News Switzerland
- News UK
- News US
- News USA
- non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
- Northwestern University
- Nova Scotia
- Nutritional Anthropology
- Oak Ridge National Laboratory
- Occupational Health
- omega-3 fatty acids
- Orthopaedic Research Society
- Ottawa City Feed
- Oxford University
- Pain Management
- Palliative Care
- Parkinson Society of Canada
- Pediatric Palliative Care
- Peutz-Jeghers syndrome
- Pharmacology and Neuroscience
- Pick's Disease
- Pre/Post Natal Care
- Preventive Medicine
- Prince Edward Island
- Protein Growth Factor
- Public Health
- Research Australia
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- RSS Feed
- Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center
- Seattle Washington
- Spina Bifida
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- St. Elmos Fire
- St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
- Statin Drugs
- Stem Cells
- Sydney Children’s Hospital
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
- Temple University
- The American Academy of Neurology
- the Israel Institute of Technology
- Toronto City Feed
- trauma-associated and hospital-acquired infection
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Université Laval
- University College London
- University Hospital in Geneva
- University New South Wales
- University of Bern
- University of Calgary
- University of California
- University of Chicago
- University of Chicago Press Journals
- University of Florida
- University of Granada
- University of Manchester
- University of Michigan
- University of Missouri
- University of North Carolina
- University of North Texas
- University of Nottingham
- University of Oregon
- University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
- University of Pittsburgh
- University of Rochester
- University of Toronto
- US Army soldiers in Iraq
- US Military Hospitals
- UT Southwestern Medical Center
- Vitamin D
- W. Garfield Weston Fellows
- Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
- Washington DC
- Washington DC City Feed
- Washington University
- Weather Anomolies
- Weill Medical College
- Wellcome Trust
- World Health Organisation
- World News
- Yale University