Body

40,000 years ago, the Cro-Magnoid people – the first people who had a skeleton that looked anatomically modern – entered Europe, coming from Africa. In the July 16 issue of the open-access journal PLoS ONE, a group of geneticists, coordinated by Guido Barbujani and David Caramelli of the Universities of Ferrara and Florence, shows that a Cro-Magnoid individual who lived in Southern Italy 28,000 years ago was a modern European, genetically as well as anatomically.

Hanover, NH-- Distinct genetic profiles can discern different groups of patients with scleroderma, a vexing autoimmune disease in which the body turns against itself, Dartmouth Medical School researchers report. Their discovery of distinguishing molecular subtypes within the disease offers new insight into the complexity of a poorly understood and hard to treat illness and opens a window for better diagnosis and targeted therapies.

Washington, DC – Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have discovered that vitamin A, when applied to breast cancer cells, turns on genes that can push stem cells embedded in a tumor to morph into endothelial cells. These cells can then build blood vessels to link up to the body's blood supply, promoting further tumor growth.

It is a staple of women's health advice and visits to the OB/GYN: the monthly breast self-exam to check for lumps or other changes that might signal breast cancer. However, a review of recent studies says there is no evidence that self-exams actually reduce breast cancer deaths.

Instead, the practice may be doing more harm than good, since it led to almost twice as many biopsies that turned up no cancer in women who performed the self-exams, compared to women who did not do the exams.

Two types of oxygen therapy could offer some relief to adults who suffer from disabling migraine and cluster headaches, according to a new research review from Australia.

Migraine headaches are severely painful and usually occur with other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and painful sensitivity to light. Cluster headaches cause sharp, burning pain on one side of the head.

Custom-made insoles known as foot orthoses can reduce foot pain caused by arthritis, overly prominent big toe joints and highly arched feet, a new systematic review shows.

A team of Cochrane Researchers found that custom orthoses were safe interventions for foot pain in a number of different conditions. However, more research is required to develop an in depth understanding of their effectiveness.

People recover faster after surgery for ankle fracture if they are given a cast or splint that can be removed to let them exercise the ankle, than if their foot is placed in an immobilising plaster cast. If the fracture is stable, then encouraging them to walk soon after surgery is also beneficial. However, increased activity does increase the chance of experiencing problems with the surgical wound. These conclusions are published in a systematic review included in the latest update of The Cochrane Library.

Zinc supplementation benefits children suffering from diarrhoea in developing countries, but only in infants over six months old, Cochrane Researchers have found. Their study supports World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for the treatment of diarrhoea with zinc, although not in the very young.

"Zinc is clearly of benefit to children with diarrhoea," says lead researcher Marzia Lazzerini, who works at the Unit of Research on Health Services and International Health in Trieste, Italy.

Using community-based health advocates, delivering information within same-gender groups or adapting dietary and lifestyle advice to fit a particular community's likely diet can help people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar levels, certainly for up to six months, following health education. This conclusion was reached by a team of Cochrane Researchers after they considered the data in 11 trials that involved 1,603 people.

In 2000 the World Health Organization (WHO) stopped recommending metrifonate for treating urinary schistosomiasis because the drug did not appear to be as effective as the treatment of choice, praziquantel. Now a systematic review published in the latest edition of The Cochrane Library indicates that both metrifonate and praziquantel are effective at treating the infection. The team of researchers who carried out this study suggest that metrifonate may be a valid addition to the current one-drug strategy against urinary schistosomiasis.