Social jetlag link to obesity
SOCIAL jetlag — the discrepancy that often arises between circadian and social clocks resulting in chronic sleep loss — is associated with increased body mass index (BMI), according to a study published in Current Biology. The authors said the circadian clock regulates energy homeostasis and its disruption — as with social jetlag — may contribute to weight-related pathologies. They suggested this might have implications for daylight saving time and on work or school times, and that improving the correspondence between biological and social clocks may contribute to the management of obesity. The research was reported by the Herald Sun.

Midlife depression increases dementia risk
DEPRESSIVE symptoms in midlife or late life are associated with an increased risk of developing dementia, according to a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. The authors said depression that begins in late life may be part of the Alzheimer disease prodrome, while recurrent depression may be aetiologically associated with an increased risk of vascular dementia. The research was reported by the Huffington Post.

Infection causes 16% of cancers
ABOUT two million cancer cases worldwide are caused by infectious agents, according to research published in Lancet Oncology. Researchers, using data on infectious agents classified as carcinogenic to humans by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, found that of the 12.7 million new cancer cases that occurred in 2008, the population attributable fraction for infectious agents was 16.1%. This fraction was higher in less developed than in more developed countries, and varied from 3.3% in Australia and New Zealand to 32.7% in sub-Saharan Africa. Helicobacter pylori, hepatitis B and C viruses, and human papillomaviruses were responsible for 1.9 million cases, mainly gastric, liver, and cervix uteri cancers. The findings were reported by BBC News.

New pre-eclampsia finding
FETAL thymus growth is reduced before the clinical onset of pre-eclampsia and precedes any described fetal anomalies or maternal immunological changes associated with pre-eclampsia, according to a study published in the Journal of Reproductive Immunology. The researchers said their study indicated that the fetal adaptive immune system is either passively affected by maternal processes preceding clinical pre-eclampsia or is actively involved in initiating pre-eclampsia in later pregnancy. This research was reported by the Sydney Morning Herald.

Psychopathic brain differences
REDUCED grey matter in parts of the brain implicated in empathic processing, moral reasoning, and processing of prosocial emotions may contribute to profound abnormalities of social behaviour in psychopathy, according to a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. The researchers studied offenders with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) plus psychopathy using magnetic resonance imaging, and found they displayed significantly reduced grey matter volumes bilaterally in the anterior rostral prefrontal cortex and temporal poles relative to offenders with ASPD only and nonoffenders. Offenders with ASPD only exhibited grey matter volumes similar to the nonoffenders. The research was reported by the Sydney Morning Herald.

Facebook recruits organ donors
FACEBOOK has joined a campaign to improve organ donation rates, with a new networking tool that allows users to register as organ and tissue donors and share their status with online friends, ABC News reports. In the US, 24 000 Facebook users have reportedly signed up and last week, the same tool was launched in Australia.

Posted 14 May 2012

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