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For best results, ask a few thought-provoking questions

The next time a telemarketer opens with a friendly question, you might stop and wonder why. A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research shows that it is surprisingly effective when salespeople or fundraisers ask how your day has been or which football team you support before broaching the subject of a purchase or donation.

Gene subnetworks predict cancer spread

The metastasis or spread of breast cancer to other tissues in the body can be predicted more accurately by examining subnetworks of gene expression patterns in a patient's tumor than by conventional gene expression microarrays.

Goose eggs may help polar bears weather climate change

Polar bears -- especially the marginal individuals like some sub-adult males -- could adapt to changes in ice and the ability to hunt seals by eating snow goose eggs. According to new calculations, bear movement should coordinate more and more with nesting as the Arctic warms, especially near Hudson Bay.

GUMC researchers find gene function 'lost' in melanoma and glioblastoma

Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have found a gene they say is inactivated in two aggressive cancers -- malignant melanoma, a form of skin cancer, and glioblastoma multiforme, a lethal brain tumor. They add that because this gene, known as PTPRD, has recently been found to be inactivated in several other cancers as well, their discovery suggests that PTPRD may play a tumor...

High blood pressure may make it difficult for the elderly to think clearly

Adding another reason for people to watch their blood pressure, a new study from North Carolina State University shows that increased blood pressure in older adults is directly related to decreased cognitive functioning, particularly among seniors with already high blood pressure. This means that stressful situations may make it more difficult for some seniors to think clearly.

Higher levels of obesity-related hormone found in patients with psoriasis

Patients with the skin disease psoriasis appear more likely to have higher levels of leptin (a hormone produced by fat cells that may contribute to obesity and other metabolic abnormalities) than persons without psoriasis, according to a report in the December issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Home-based pulmonary rehabilitation: More freedom for COPD patients

The latest study by Dr. Francois Maltais of the Laval Hospital in Quebec and Dr. Jean Bourbeau, of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) proves the effectiveness of home-based pulmonary rehabilitation and provides new insight into improving care services. The study will be published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine on Dec. 16.

Hopkins-led team solves failed vaccine mystery

Research led by Johns Hopkins Children's Center scientists has figured out why a respiratory syncytial virus vaccine used in 1966 to inoculate children against the infection instead caused severe respiratory disease and effectively stopped efforts to make a better one. The findings, published online on Dec. 14 in Nature Medicine, could restart work on effective killed-virus vaccines not only for...

Interruptions in Medicaid coverage linked to increased hospitalization

Interruptions in Medicaid coverage are associated with a higher rate of hospitalization for conditions that can often be treated in an ambulatory care setting, including asthma, diabetes and hypertension, according to a new study in today's issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. The analysis, which examines interrupted Medicaid coverage and hospitalization rates, finds that increased risk for...

JCI online early table of contents: Dec. 15, 2008

This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, Dec. 15, 2008, in the JCI, including: "New genetic cause of Boy in the bubble syndrome;" "New insight into birth defect characterized by digit duplication and fusion;" "Your genetic make-up influences the levels of fats in your blood;" "Don't scratch that itch:...

Lumbar Fusion Has Long-term Benefits

Lumbar fusion is becoming an increasingly common treatment for low-back pain, but its long-term effects are relatively unknown. New research now suggests that the long-term effects are superior to those of physiotherapy.

Moving in for the winter toxic brown recluse spiders pose danger

As the cold weather creeps in, so do brown recluse spiders. True to their name, the brown recluse is a shy, reclusive spider looking for a warm home. Drawn to clutter, closets and complex storage environments, the spiders actually want to stay away from humans. But, if care is not taken, people could find themselves sharing their home with one of 'the big three,' according to a University of...

Multiple axons and actions with PSD-95

Nitric oxide gets neurons together. And it seems to do it backward. Work by Nikonenko et al. suggests that a protein called PSD-95 prompts nitric oxide release from postsynaptic dendritic spines, prompting nearby presynaptic axons to lock on, and develop new synapses.