This week in science: March 12, 2014

 Vitamin D reduces risk of breast cancer

According to researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, breast cancer patients with high levels of vitamin D in their bloodstream were twice as likely to survive than cancer patients who did not. These findings were published in Anticancer Research. When present in sufficient levels, vitamin D prevents tumors from growing. Consulting your physician is highly recommended before increasing your vitamin intake.

http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140306163236.htm

Improved care through smart-eye phones

Exciting new research published in the Journal of Mobile Technology in Medicine from Stanford University Medical Center sheds a new path on providing ophthalmology care. The innovative technology uses smartphones to take very accurate images of the eye and immediately uploads them to patients’ electronic records. This would allow for health professionals to provide remote feedback between specialties and thus effectively diagnose and treat a patient. It also cuts down the cost of the standard equipment, which requires extensive training to use. Anyone in the health field could use this technology and increase the access individuals have to eye-care services, especially in rural areas.

http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140307111056.htm

Alzheimer’s predictable with blood testing

Researchers from Georgetown University Medical found a way to predict with 90 percent accuracy the precursor of developing Alzheimer’s disease in healthy individuals. Because Alzheimer’s currently affects 35.6 million individuals worldwide — a number that’s only expected to increase over the years — the researchers developed a blood test that can determine whether or not someone will develop mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s within three years. The test identifies 10 lipids in the blood that predict the onset of Alzheimer’s. It may be clinically available in the next two years.

http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140309150532.htm

Let there be light

Researchers from University of Liege, Belgium have discovered a new photoreceptor. Melanopsin is a part of an important mechanism that relays information to particular areas of our brain. Animal studies show that without this photoreceptor, the processes involved in the mechanism become disrupted and the biological clocks of animals become deregulated.

http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140310152023.htm