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Artist’s work evolves despite dementia

The case of a talented artist whose paintings evolved as her dementia progressed suggests that language skills are not necessary, and may even inhibit, some types of creativity. The case is reported in the May 27 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Green tea boosts antimicrobial properties of toothpaste

Studies conducted at Pace University have indicated that green tea extracts (GTE) and polyphenol (PP) have an adverse effect on bacteria that cause strep throat, dental caries, and other infections. Additionally, the research suggests that the oral agents such as toothpaste and mouthwash are more effective in fighting pathogenic microbial agents, such as viruses, with the addition of GTE and PP. Researchers present their findings today at the 103rd General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

Public Doesn’t Know Symptoms of Mini-Stroke

Public education is needed about the symptoms and risks of mini-stroke, also called transient ischemic attack or TIA, according to the first large study on the topic, which is published in the May 13 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study found that only 9 percent of people could give the definition of a TIA or identify a symptom of TIA. TIA symptoms are the same as those for a regular stroke, but TIA symptoms resolve themselves within 24 hours.

Sesame oil helps reduce dose of blood pressure-lowering medicine

Cooking with sesame oil in place of other edible oils appears to help reduce high blood pressure and lower the amount of medication needed to control hypertension, researchers reported today at the XVth Scientific Meeting of the Inter-American Society of Hypertension. The meeting is co-sponsored by the American Heart Association's Council for High Blood Pressure Research.

Genetic Abnormalities Found in Some ALS Patients

Researchers have discovered abnormalities in the chromosomes of several patients with sporadic, or non-hereditary, ALS, according to a study published in the April 22 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology. ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive disease of the nervous system also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Whiplash Pain is Common, Usually Mild, and Long-Lasting

The first observational study of whiplash injury to use a control group has shown that the intensity of whiplash pain is low, but its frequency is high, and compared to similar types of pain from ankle injury, it lasts longer and produces more disability. The study appears in the March 11 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Making a safer anthrax vaccine using spinach

Researchers have developed a strategy for making a safer anthrax vaccine: enlisting the help of spinach plants to manufacture a key component. They report their findings today at the American Society for Microbiology's Biodefense Research Meeting. "Protective antigen (PA) of Bacillus anthracis is one of the three components of the anthrax toxin," says Alexander Karasev, a lead researcher on the study. "Purified PA is currently used as a vaccine against anthrax. However, the licensed vaccine derived from apathogenic B. anthracis has side effects and a more efficacious and safer vaccine is needed."

People with major depression may have higher suicide risk

People suffering from major depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are more likely to attempt suicide, and women with both disorders are more likely to have attempted suicide than men with both disorders, according to a new report in the March 2003 American Journal of Psychiatry, the monthly scientific journal of the American Psychiatric Association.

Psychiatric Disorders Common Among Detained Youth

Among teens in juvenile detention, nearly two thirds of boys and nearly three quarters of girls have at least one psychiatric disorder, a federally funded study has found. These rates dwarf the estimated 15 percent of youth in the general population thought to have psychiatric illness, placing detained teens on a par with those at highest risk, such as maltreated and runaway youth.

Increasing biodiversity is not always best

Biodiversity worldwide may be decreasing, but at smaller scales it is increasing or at least changing in composition, suggesting the need for a dramatic shift in the current focus of ecological research. These changes may undermine the functioning of local ecosystems, according to an article in December's American Naturalist. The authors studied data collected on oceanic island land birds and plants. Records from islands are useful because they present discrete areas where additions and subtractions of species can be accurately determined. The article, "Species Invasions Exceed extinctions on Islands Worldwide: A Comparative Study of Plants and Birds," documents the fact that "land birds have experienced massive extinctions on oceanic islands, with many islands losing more than half of their native species," said Gaines. "On these same islands, however, many exotic bird species have become established, such that the total number of land bird species has remained relatively unchanged."

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