What's the buzz

What's the buzz

Babies have a mean streak too!

Infants as young as nine months old prefer individuals who are nice to people like them and mean to others, scientists, including one of Indian-origin, have found.

The study found that babies want individuals who share their tastes to be treated well by others, but want those whose tastes differ from their own to be treated badly. And this innate mean streak grows stronger in the next five months of their life.

Researcher Kiley Hamlin, a professor at the University of British Columbia, conducted the study as a graduate student at Yale University with her adviser Karen Wynn and colleagues Neha Mahajan of Temple University and Zoe Liberman of the University of Chicago.

The study of 200 infants aged between 9 and 14 months introduced babies to two hand puppets that had expressed contrasting preferences (for example, one preferring green beans to graham crackers, the other preferring the crackers to the beans).

Common antibiotic may pose serious threat to heart

An antibiotic used to treat common infections may carry serious heart risks, scientists have warned. The drug, called azithromycin but sold under the brand names Zithromax and Zmax as Z-Pak capsules, is prescribed for infections of the ears, lungs, sinuses, skin, throat, and reproductive organs, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
But the antibiotic can interfere with the heart’s electrical activity, disturbing its rhythm with potentially fatal consequences, ABC News reported.

“Health care professionals should consider the risk of fatal heart rhythms with azithromycin when considering treatment options for patients who are already at risk for cardiovascular events,” the FDA said in a statement.

Elderly people and those with irregular heart rates, arrhythmias, and low blood levels of potassium or magnesium are at a particularly high risk for the deadly heart condition, the FDA said.

The warning comes 10 months after a study found a small increase in cardiovascular deaths among people treated with Zithromax compared to those given the antibiotics amoxicillin or ciprofloxacin or no treatment at all.

Bitter melon juice prevents pancreatic cancer in mice

Bitter melon juice stops pancreatic cancer cells from feeding on glucose and eventually starves them, a new study led by an Indian-origin researcher has found.

“Three years ago researchers showed the effect of bitter melon extract on breast cancer cells only in a Petri dish. This study goes much, much farther. We used the juice – people especially in Asian countries are already consuming it in quantity. We show that it affects the glucose metabolism pathway to restrict energy and kill pancreatic cancer cells,” says Rajesh Agarwal, PhD, co-program leader of Cancer Prevention and Control at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and professor at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Agarwal’s interest came from connecting the dots of existing research in a novel way.
Diabetes tends to presage pancreatic cancer and bitter melon has been shown to effect type-II diabetes, and has been used for centuries against diabetes in the folk medicines of China and India.

Following this line of thinking, Agarwal and colleagues wondered what would happen if they closed out the middle man of diabetes and directly explored the link between bitter melon and pancreatic cancer.

The result, Agarwal says, is, “Alteration in metabolic events in pancreatic cancer cells and an activation of the AMP-activated protein kinase, an enzyme that indicates low energy levels in the cells.”