Sunlight on diabetes
AUSTRALIAN researchers have found that vitamin D deficiency is putting Australians at risk of developing diabetes, The Age reports. The study, published in Diabetes Care, revealed that people with higher levels of serum vitamin D were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those with lower levels. The research, which tested the blood of 5200 people, found every 25 nmol/L increase in vitamin D levels equated to a 24% reduced risk of diabetes.

No rewards with schizophrenia
THE part of the brain that recognises and learns from reward is relatively inactive in people with schizophrenia, ABC News reports. A study, published in Molecular Psychiatry, suggests new drug therapies targeting this reward centre could improve the daily lives of people with schizophrenia. Participants were trained to play a card game with expected and unexpected rewards. Those with schizophrenia were unable to tell the difference between expected and unexpected rewards, while healthy adults had no problem dealing with the increased unpredictability.

Cognitive drug finding
SCIENTISTS say a drug approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat high blood pressure may have an equally important effect on brain function, according to new research in monkeys, Time reports. In the trial, published in Nature, older monkeys showed improved brain function after taking guanfacine. It is now being tested in a clinical trial to see if it improves cognition in the elderly.

Doctors should select drugs
MORE than 90% of voters in marginal seats believe doctors, not the federal government, should decide which medicines are available on the PBS, The Australian reports. The marginal seat poll conducted for the medicines industry challenges the government’s argument that cabinet had a right to delay funding for various medicines. Until February, cabinet had a role only in approving subsidies for drugs costing more than $10 million a year but the Gillard government says cabinet will now review every drug recommended by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.

Sizing up personality
AN American study of 1988 people suggests personality type may be associated with weight changes, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. The longitudinal study, published by the American Psychological Association, found participants who rated highly on impulsivity measures weighed, on average, 10 kg more than those who were the least impulsive. Low agreeableness was also linked to a higher than average increase in BMI — especially among those who were cynical, competitive or aggressive. Conscientiousness was linked with steady weight and a leaner physique, while extroversion tended to predict a higher BMI.

Posted 1 August 2011

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