October 9, 2012 News

News in Brief: October 9, 2012

Speech Patterns a Depression Marker?

Longer pauses and slower speaking rates could indicate a more severe level of depression. In a randomized controlled trial of 105 patients, researchers found that improvement in patients diagnosed and undergoing treatment for depression can be monitored over the phone by listening for changes in their speech. Those who exhibited faster speech patterns with shorter pauses were responding well to treatment; those with slower speech patterns and longer pauses were still depressed.

Blood Test for Alzheimer's

Researchers may be one step closer to developing a blood test for Alzheimer's disease with the discovery of a group of blood markers verified in three independent patient groups. Studies measured the levels of 190 blood proteins in 600 participants: healthy volunteers and those diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Researchers found that four markers were associated with MCI or Alzheimer's—apolipoprotein E, B-type natriuretic peptide, C-reactive protein, and pancreatic polypeptide.

Carcinogen Identified in Smokeless Tobacco

Researchers have found a link between a substance in smokeless tobacco and an increased risk of cancer of the mouth, esophagus, and pancreas. They gave laboratory rats a low dose of NNN, a suspected carcinogen in smokeless tobacco, for 17 months in doses equivalent to a person consuming half a tin of smokeless tobacco every day for 30 years. Once substance, (S)-NNN, induced large numbers of oral and esophageal tumors in the rats. The research was reported at the American Chemical Society's national meeting and exposition in August.


  

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