Beginning in infancy, people who have autism spectrum disorder observe and interpret images and social cues differently than others do. Researchers now have new insight into just how this occurs, which eventually may help doctors diagnose, and more effectively treat, the various forms of the disorder.
For some people, waking up every day means the start of persistent pain that affects their mood, thinking and relationships. This experience is more difficult when the pain doesn’t seem to have a cause; at least not a visible one.
Scientists have warned for decades that the overuse of antibiotics leads to the development of drug-resistant bacteria, making it harder to fight infectious disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that drug resistant bacteria cause 23,000 deaths and two million illnesses each year.
"The idea that increased glucose uptake is a metabolic hallmark of cancer cells is deeply embedded in our thinking. It's the basis for how we diagnose cancer and manage its treatment in the clinic," says Gary Patti. Above: HeLa cells in culture.
The researchers believe depression, metabolic symptoms, and the risk of developing diabetes interact in a number of ways. In some cases, a vicious cycle may emerge with depression and metabolic risk factors aggravating one another.
Lynch syndrome is a common, inherited condition that affects thousands of Australians and greatly increases the risk of developing cancer. Yet 95% of those who have it don’t know about it.
Restless leg syndrome is a common affliction characterised by uncomfortable feelings in the legs accompanied by an irresistible urge to move the legs to relieve the sensations. People with restless leg syndrome often keep their legs moving by pacing or constantly moving their legs while sitting. The sensations commonly occur at
If you ask someone to name famous people (fictional or non-fictional) who are known for having autism or being “on the spectrum”, Rain Man is often the top favourite, possibly followed by Sherlock Holmes (especially in his recent incarnation by Benedict Cumberbatch). Sheldon in the Big Bang Theory is another.
More cities than previously assumed could soon be grappling with Zika virus if two species of mosquitos are found to be equally effective carriers of the disease. A new interactive map shows the relative risk for 100 cities worldwide, including many US locations.
"PET scanning is a great technology and very effective, but using it in this way doesn't seem to make any difference for these cancers that have a relatively poor prognosis," says Mark Healey
If you’ve eaten a fabulous meal recently, the experience was pleasant, comfortable and pain-free because your stomach and intestinal system worked seamlessly to move the food along and eventually absorb it.
Billy Connolly picked up a special recognition award at the recent National Television Awards for 50 years in the entertainment industry – but it was the effects of the comedian’s illness that shaped the headlines.
Researchers at CSIRO and University of Queensland have developed an app called Harlie that is designed to chat with humans. Unlike Siri and Google Now – which are designed to answer specific questions – Harlie is designed for small talk.
Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug in Australia, with one in three adults using it at some point in their life. It’s legal in some places around the world, and offered medicinally in others. But what does smoking pot do to your mental health?
One of the great and enduring mysteries of autism is what causes the brain to develop so differently. The behavioural differences of many individuals with autism are so apparent that it seems intuitive that the causes would also be obvious.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has become a byword for unbiased, evidence-based healthcare advice. Its recommendations strongly influence which treatments are made available on the NHS. We wouldn’t expect NICE to make recommendations that are unsupported by evidence or, worse, contain contradictory evidence.
In 2100, I will be 117 years old, and my younger sisters will be 112 and 107. According to the Cambridge academic, Peter Laslett, we can now live to such ages, but those of us who do will be experiencing the fourth age, “an era of final dependence, decrepitude and death”. Not quite the dream
Last night’s Four Corners focused on party drugs and the policies Australia is implementing to combat their use. Not only is what we’re doing not working, we’re falling behind the rest of the world and what evidence says is best to ensure we have fewer deaths from illicit drugs.
A common surgery to treat vaginal prolapse using an artificially grafted mesh has more problems than benefits, our Cohrane review has found. Women who underwent the operation had high rates of needing repeat surgery due to mesh exposure, bladder injury and urinary incontinence.
Multiple sclerosis affects millions of people worldwide. It’s a neurological disease characterised by inflammatory lesions in the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) that cause damage to the myelin sheath – the protective layer around the nerve cells. This causes neurological dysfunction, such as muscle paralysis or loss of sensation.
A new study has uncovered a strong link between schizophrenia and the likelihood of attempting suicide. The risk is particularly high for women, people with substance abuse issues, and those who were abused when they were children.
Urinary incontinence is often seen as a degrading condition and women can feel too ashamed to seek help. Urinary incontinence is urine leakage from a loss of bladder control that mainly affects women
What’s the worst thing you could be burdened with this Valentine’s Day? Unrequited love? Unwanted affection? Unpaid invoice from the local florist? How about an itchy dose of pubic lice? Pubic lice, Phthirus pubis, or “crabs” as more commonly...
It’s that time of year when we raise a glass to celebrate Christmas, the beginning of holidays, the new year, or simply to join with our friends. Many of us will pay a price, even if it’s “just” in the form of a hangover.
Over the last few decades, medicine has witnessed a sea change in attitudes toward chronic pain, and particularly toward opioids. While these changes were intended to bring relief to many, they have also fed an epidemic of prescription opioid and heroin abuse.
From October 2015 to January 2016, there were almost 4,000 cases of babies born with microcephaly in Brazil. Before then, there were just 150 cases per year.
"The simple step of incorporating weight history clarifies the risks of obesity and shows that they are much higher than appreciated," says Andrew Stokes.
One in every ten babies in Melbourne develops a food allergy during their first year of life. New research has found children who are born with overly active immune cells are more likely to develop allergies to milk, eggs, peanuts, wheat and other common foods. This finding could lead to future treatments for babies to prevent childhood food allergies.
Everything happens for a reason, including health challenges of the mind and body. Although this may be difficult to accept, my view is that we make ourselves sick and miserable looking for love and attention outside ourselves.
Before i was informed that I was “profoundly dyslexic,” I just thought I was stupid and too weird to cultivate friends. In school, I would get an A for creativity over a D for atrocious grammar. I was having considerable difficulty reading anything, much less a map. I had trouble telling my right from my left, I could not comprehend most directions, I was lost much of the time.
As a knee surgeon who has helped thousands of patients with knee pain, I know there are treatments and options that can not only reduce the pain, but also postpone knee surgery — or avoid it entirely.
When older parents become frail or disabled, it can place a heavy burden on adult children. But the parent-child relationship appears to be a two-way street—with adult children having a profound effect on their parents’ psychological well-being.
At the time of Xmas parties many of us may be waking up with regrets, sore heads, fragile stomachs and some heartburn (acid reflux) which in a year can affect over 40% of us and one in five weekly.
Depression affects over 80,000 young people in the UK every year. It can have a devastating impact on their daily lives, social and academic functioning, and family. As one young person in our research project put it: “I felt like I was missing out on being a teenager”.
A series of coordinated attacks in Paris left 130 people dead. A week later, armed gunmen stormed a hotel in Mali, seizing hostages while also firing indiscriminately at guests, killing 27 people.
Until fairly lately, it was unusual to see the words “cancer” and “cured” used in the same sentence. Now, it’s much more common. Reports that toddler Layla Richards had been cured of what was thought to be an incurable form of leukaemia were followed with news that former US president Jimmy Carter was cured of brain cancer – a melanoma that had spread from his liver.
Most researchers agree that the key difference between human brains and those of other animals is the size and complexity of our cerebral cortex, the brain’s outer layer of neural tissue. We therefore tend to focus our attention on this area, believing that our unique mental life is due to this masterpiece of evolution.
As the days get shorter and the nights grow longer, sometimes it can seem like we barely get a chance to see the sun. For most people, this can be frustrating; and for others, the slide into winter can actually lead to a subset of depression called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.
European societies are living longer but as the older population increases, are these extra years healthy ones? Research we recently published in The Lancet suggests that the answer to this question crucially depends on what you mean by “healthy”.
Most of us will have experienced diarrhoea or Delhi Belly and spent an unpleasant 48 hours in bed or on the toilet, often while travelling. Studies show that if severe, these infections can sometimes change your gut microbes permanently.
About one third of people with depression have high levels of inflammation markers in their blood. New research indicates that persistent inflammation affects the brain in ways that are connected with stubborn symptoms of depression, such as anhedonia, the inability to experience pleasure.
Many people are not aware that while reducing your sugar intake does reduce your risk of dental decay, the chemical mix of acids in some foods and drinks can cause the equally damaging condition of dental erosion.
Heart disease is the single leading cause of death in the United States, with nearly one in four Americans dying from heart-related chronic illnesses each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There is clearly a Mind-Body Connection and when you start to feel something coming on always visualize yourself as being healthy, strong, and confident. Imagine yourself feeling good when you suddenly realize that you are being challenged. I always carry an “Emergency Kit” when I travel and...
XLR-11, PB-22, AB-FUBINACA, MAB-CHMINACA, 5F-AMB. These are the cryptic and sometimes unpronounceable names of the most dangerous drugs you’ve never heard of. They are responsible for kidney injury, psychosis, seizures, coma and death.
Bipolar disorder is a diagnosis given to people who experience periods of intense low mood but also periods of elation and increased energy which can lead to impaired judgement and risky behaviour. The Royal College of Psychiatrists estimates that around 1% of the adult population experience bipolar symptoms at some point in their life.
Cancers have many strategies for avoiding attacks from the immune system. And now scientists have identified a new one.
"Yoga may be especially well-suited to people with arthritis," says Susan J. Bartlett. "It combines physical activity with potent stress management and relaxation techniques, and focuses on respecting limitations that can change from day to day."
In this excerpt, Ewald Kliegel provides reflexology techniques for one of the most common human ailments – the headache. The head is prone to different problems – from throbbing temples with the sensation of being trapped in a vice, while a jackhammer is busy at work in the background, to having a brain that feels as though it is made of cotton wool.
One in six Australians will have a stroke in their lifetime. That’s about 51,000 strokes per year, or one every ten minutes. Worldwide, stroke is the second most common cause of premature death, after heart disease, and is the leading cause of disability among adults.
A major new initiative called Choosing Wisely has been launched by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. This initiative aims to address a culture of over-medicalisation in health, where treatments are prescribed – not always with much clinical value – when other, better solutions may exist.
Autism is commonly, if mistakenly, associated more with logical thinking than creative expression. But new research suggests we might need to rethink our views on creativity and autism.
Conditions affecting the gastrointestinal tract are common in modern humans and many are on the rise. The gastrointestinal tract extends from the mouth to the anus, via the stomach and the bowels, which include the small intestine and the large intestine (colon).
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a severe anxiety disorder that causes overwhelming recollections of traumatic events. These can be triggered by sights, sounds or smells that serve as reminders of the incident. Sufferers also report severe nightmares, emotional numbness and withdrawal from social interactions.
Looking around at a 20th high school reunion, you might notice something puzzling about your classmates. Although they were all born within months of each other, these 38-year-olds appear to be aging at different rates.
Anyone who battles addiction knows that it's so much more than a bad habit or a moral shortcoming. Addiction is a compulsion so beyond our control, that we may as well be a feather fighting against a gale-force wind. Until...one day the wind subsides.
Most people feel down, tired and inactive when they’re injured or ill. This “sickness behaviour” is caused by the activation of the body’s immune response. It’s the brain’s way of conserving energy so the body can heal.
We have known for some time the people suffering from schizophrenia and other psychoses smoke more than the general population. The explanation that is usually offered is the so-called “self-medication hypothesis”
This is more than the number of hospitalizations for heart attack and stroke combined. Most Americans have never heard of it, but according to new federal data, sepsis is the most expensive cause of hospitalization in the US
A new study finds quantifiable evidence that walking in nature could lead to a lower risk of depression. “These results suggest that accessible natural areas may be vital for mental health in our rapidly urbanizing world,” says coauthor Gretchen Daily, professor in environmental science and a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.
Cancer cells are survival artists with a strong criminal streak. They surround themselves with a protective shield of extra-cellular material and then secure supply lines by attracting new blood vessels.
The effects of postnatal depression on children’s emotional development can be profound. These children have more mental health and behavioural problems as they grow up. And in low-income countries, the effects of maternal depression extend to higher rates of childhood stunting and physical illness.
“When we think about quality of life for older adults, and improving quality of life, it seems like targeting the individual is only part of the story, and our findings suggests that for older adults, a larger part of individual well-being is defined by our partner’s health and cognitive functioning as well,” says David Sbarra, associate professor of psychology at the University of Arizona.
A dollop of peanut butter and a ruler might be a way to confirm a diagnosis of early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. Jennifer Stamps, a graduate student in the McKnight Brain Institute Center for Smell and Taste and the University of Florida, came up with the idea of using peanut butter to test for smell sensitivity when she was working with Kenneth Heilman, a professor of neurology at the University of Florida.
Every 67 seconds someone in the United States is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and new estimates suggest that it may be the third leading cause of death of older people. Alzheimer’s disease is associated with losses in memory in older people that become severe enough over time to interfere with normal daily functions.
For most of the common cancers, a major cause has been identified: smoking causes 90% of lung cancer worldwide, hepatitis viruses cause most liver cancer, H pylori bacteria causes stomach cancer, Human papillomavirus causes almost all cases of cervical cancer, colon cancer is largely explained by physical activity, diet and family history.
Scientists knew that oleocanthal killed some cancer cells, but weren’t really sure how. They thought the compound might be targeting a key protein in cancer cells that triggers a programmed cell death, known as apoptosis, and decided to test their hypothesis.
The way we talk about illness matters. This is perhaps no more evident than in the many passionate critiques of the metaphor of the “fight” against cancer, which many of us will eventually “lose”. In the 1970s, Susan Sontag famously exposed the negative implications for patients of this “military rhetoric about cancer”.
“Our goal is to prevent or reduce obesity and in this paper we’ve shown how to do this in principle,” says Phipps. “We believe that weight gain is not necessarily just a result of eating more and exercising less. Our focus is on the intricate network involved in fat cell development.”
Our body loves us, but it needs to know we love our lives in order for it to do all it can to help us survive. The change in body energy activated by the love alters our internal chemistry and makes a difference. When you are willing to do the work, and live in your heart, magic can happen.
Common over-the-counter painkillers, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, can decrease risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma, according to a study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. Squamous cell carcinoma is one of the most common types of skin cancer. The results mean these drugs may have potential as skin cancer preventative agents, especially for high-risk people.
Might the economic burden and individual suffering associated with Alzheimer’s disease be reduced by the simple and inexpensive expedient of prescribing B-vitamins to those with high levels of homocysteine?
Scientists say a new biomarker that predicts the risk of developing dementia can be detected with a simple blood test—a test they hope will be applicable in clinical practice.
Women whose mothers smoked while pregnant are two to three times as likely to be diabetic as adults. Fathers who smoked while their daughter was in utero also contribute to an increased diabetes risk, but more research is needed to establish the true effect.
What causes cancer? This deceptively simple question has a devilishly complex answer. So when US researchers proposed a relatively simple mathematical formula to explain a long-standing conundrum in cancer earlier this year, it was bound to get a lot of attention.
Marijuana appears to ease symptoms of depression caused by chronic stress, new research with animals suggests. The study focused on endocannabinoids, which are brain chemicals similar to substances found in marijuana.
We all have a poor night’s sleep from time to time: those nights when you lie awake for hours trying desperately to go to sleep but can’t stop worrying about tomorrow. Or when you repeatedly wake up throughout the night, or can’t get back to sleep in the early hours of the morning.
The human brain is the most extraordinary and complex object in the known universe. So it’s a little surprising that only recently has the concept of brain health begun to emerge. After all, if the body is a “temple”, then surely the brain must be the “high altar” as it generates all our thoughts, feelings and movements.
Income, race, and ethnic origin have far more impact on a child’s risk for asthma than whether or not they live in an urban neighborhood, research shows.
How quickly your body breaks down nicotine may determine if a pill or a patch will be the most effective way to quit smoking. “In this new trial, we’ve shown that it is possible to optimize quit rates for smokers, while minimizing side effects, by selecting treatment based on whether people break down nicotine slowly or normally
Drug use is common, drug addiction is rare. About one adult in three will use an illegal drug in their lifetime and just under 3m people will do so this year in England and Wales alone. Most will suffer no long-term harm.
We’ve all experienced the abdominal cramps and the urge to get to a toilet – quickly! When the stomach and intestinal tract become inflamed, our bodies respond with the sudden onset of diarrhoea, associated nausea and vomiting, abdominal cramping and pain.
Scorpion venom has been gaining interest as a source of new drugs. It contains a mixture of biological chemicals called peptides, some of which are known to trigger cell death by forming pores in biological membranes. Cell death can be useful if we are able to target, say, tumour cells to auto-destruct.
Each cell has its own biological clock that controls its individual rate of repair, replication, and death. Cancer cells are part of your body. At one time, they functioned perfectly well. For mostly unknown causes, a cell of any tissue type may...
Experts have been studying the eye from many different angles for over a couple of centuries, yet the researchers seem no closer to understanding how vision really works than when the quest first started. At least nineteen theories have been postulated about the cause of myopia. Opinions also vary widely on how to treat myopia...
Researchers gained new insight into how an immune cell involved in several autoimmune disorders is regulated. Among their discoveries was a potential link with salt consumption....
Sometimes Joyce and I laugh about the possibility of our future grown-up grandchildren being paid by our children to accompany me on a river trip... Then one of my grandchildren will approach me and enthusiastically ask, “Grandpa, can I please go with you on your next river trip?”
Individuals who we would expect to be exposed to more infections as a result of their socially orientated nature (i.e., extraverts) appear to have immune systems that we would expect can deal effectively with infection. While individuals who may be less exposed to infections because of their cautious...
Feelings are very much like the indicator lights on the dashboard of your car — if you are out of gas, the low-fuel light will turn on. If you are focusing on something unwanted, a negative feeling will show up. Your emotional state indicates what you are giving attention to, even if you are not aware of it.
In the run-up to Christmas we find our to-do lists bloated with added chores: present shopping, card writing, preparing to travel or receive guests. We are bombarded with adverts telling us what to buy and where. We tackle the shopping crowds searching for the perfect gift
It’s that time of the year again. You probably think I mean Christmas, but as a virologist the sight of glitter, fairy lights and moulting pine trees immediately makes me think of the flu season. And if there’s one thing that can ruin your family’s Christmas, it’s the arrival of that particular unwanted guest.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD), the catch-all term for diseases affecting the heart and blood vessels – including heart attack and stroke – is the leading global killer. And bad heart health can lead to health impairments from loss of body function to mental disturbances that can greatly affect our quality of life.
Americans who live in the suburbs seem to be happier than those who live in rural areas and inner cities—unless they have a long commute to work. A recent study also shows that residents in the most unhappy communities say they spent 8.3 days a month in a negative mood.
Dementia and memory loss are some of the most devastating hallmarks of ageing, for the elderly, their families, and the healthcare system. This is why researchers want to find ways to rejuvenate the brain and therefore maintain the young mind and cognition in old age.
Modern life can feel defined by low-level anxiety swirling through society. Continual reports about terrorism and war. A struggle to stay on top of family finances and hold onto jobs. At the heart of issues like these lies uncertainty – the unknown likelihood of how ongoing crises will evolve over time.
For years, conventional wisdom held that growing older tends to be bad news for brains. Past behavioral data largely pointed to loss in cognitive – that is, thinking – abilities with age, including poorer memory and greater distractibility. Physical measures of brain structure also showed...
Placebos are sham treatments that work even though they lack an active ingredient. Pills made of sugar or corn starch have improved Parkinson’s disease, anxiety and pain. Now research suggests placebos may be as good as real drugs for treating depression...
How old would you be if you didn't know your age? It’s an interesting thought isn’t it? Why not test it for yourself. How would you feel if you didn’t know your age? Would you be 20, 17, 95 or 5?