More anxiety fodder: Sleep trouble can indicate bigger problems

People who have difficulty sleeping at night or staying awake during the day may suffer from more than just a sleep disorder. According to a new study, the majority of patients with obstructive sleep apnea and/or nonrestorative sleep have a high degree of attention deficit, as well as neuromuscular and psychiatric conditions. ”Although sleep apnea is clearly linked to attention deficit in adults, treating the sleep disorder may not always improve a patient’s daytime attention and cognition.”

Swallowing multiple magnets poses danger to children

Children who swallow more than one magnet need immediate medical care. If the magnets are allowed to pass beyond the stomach, they can attract each other through opposing intestinal walls, which can lead to obstruction, necrosis (cell or tissue death) and perforation of the intestines. ”Any time more than one magnet passes beyond the stomach of a child, urgent surgical consideration is required.”

Tests begin of flu vaccine grown in insect cell lines

Scientists are launching a research study to check the effectiveness of a new type of flu vaccine that is made differently than the conventional vaccine, which is grown in eggs. The experimental vaccine instead relies on a cell line drawn from insects known as silk moths, which are better known for their role as pests attacking crops such as corn, cotton, barley and alfalfa.

Cars, not crops, should be chief targets in reducing greenhouse gases

Retiring croplands and switching to no-till agriculture can contribute in a modest way to reducing the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but doubling fuel efficiencies of cars and light trucks would achieve much greater results, according to two Duke University ecologists. In an analysis, researchers examined how far ”carbon sequestration” versus increased fuel efficiency would go toward a goal of reducing net U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by 10 percent. Carbon sequestration steps include adopting no-till agriculture to retain crop wastes in the soil rather than letting them decay after plowing, and retiring croplands by paying farmers to revert them to grassland or forests.

LIDAR technology helps track changes in Mount St. Helens

U.S. Geological Survey and NASA scientists studying Mount St. Helens are using high-tech Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology to analyze changes in the surface elevation of the crater, which began deforming in late September 2004. With data derived from airborne LIDAR, scientists can accurately map, often in exquisite detail, the dimensions of the uplift and create better models to forecast volcanic hazards. LIDAR shows, in the two weeks before Oct. 4, the new uplift grew to the height of a 35-story building (110 meters or 360 feet) and the area of 29 football fields (130,000 square meters).

Mothers have brains primed for care

In new studies, scientists find that the maternal instinct is as much biological as it is social and that early socialization through maternal bonding is critical to offsprings’ later adjustment. Among new findings: Motherhood helps learning and memory, which in turn helps mothers better care for their offspring; mothers respond better to cries of their own infants than do fathers; the earlier the stress caused by maternal separation, the greater the offspring’s later social difficulties; nurturing through touch can lessen some of the negative effects of early stress.

Testosterone deprivation makes men forget

Researchers studying how testosterone deprivation affects verbal memory found that men undergoing the prostate cancer therapy forget things faster than their healthy counterparts. Scientists in a study presented Sunday to the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego found that word retention drops sharply after only two minutes among men undergoing testosterone deprivation therapy. However, initial learning of the words, or encoding, was the same for testosterone-deprived and healthy men, according to the study titled ”Androgen ablation impairs hippocampal-dependent verbal memory processes.”

First Close Encounter of Saturn’s Hazy Moon Titan

Long hidden behind a thick veil of haze, Titan, the only known moon with an atmosphere, is ready for its close-up on Oct. 26, 2004. This visit by the Cassini spacecraft may settle intense speculation about whether this moon of Saturn harbors oceans of liquid methane and ethane beneath its coat of clouds. Cassini will fly by Titan at a distance of 1,200 kilometers (745 miles), with closest approach at 9:44 a.m. Pacific Time. This flyby will be nearly 300 times closer than the first Cassini flyby of Titan, on July 3.

Stimulating nerve cells with laser precision

Biomedical engineers and physicians have brought the day when artificial limbs will be controlled directly by the brain considerably closer by discovering a method that uses laser light, rather than electricity, to stimulate and control nerve cells. The researchers have discovered that low-intensity infrared laser light can spark specific nerves to life, exciting a leg or even individual toes without actually touching the nerve cells.

Tea could improve memory, study shows

Results of laboratory tests by a team from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne found that green and black tea inhibit the activity of certain enzymes in the brain which are associated with memory. The findings, which are published in the academic journal, Phytotherapy Research, may lead to the development of a new treatment for a form of dementia which affects an estimated ten million people worldwide, Alzheimer’s Disease.

Psychologist finds instance where ‘two wrongs do make a right’

A trusted mental map of your surroundings turns out to be slightly misaligned, skewing your orientation. Your ability to control the direction in which you move is similarly compromised, although in a manner opposite the map’s offset. Taken together, the errors cancel one another, and you end up exactly where you want to be. Contrary to the proverb, two wrongs do make a right.

Mixed signals to blame for restless legs syndrome

Iron-deficient cells in the brain are mixing up central nervous system signals to the legs and arms causing the irresistible urges to move and creepy-crawly sensations that characterize restless legs syndrome, a new study reports. ”Our previous studies established a physical cause for RLS showing certain cells in the brain were iron deficient… We have now found a sequence of events that may connect that cellular iron deficiency to the uncontrollable movements of the disorder.”