Tough jobs

Imaging tests found early signs of cardiovascular disease in two-thirds of a sample of otherwise healthy firefighters. The test subjects, average age 46, had all passed the standard assessments for heart disease risk factors. The study indicates a need for more sophisticated screening of firefighters, who have a disproportionate risk of heart disease. Learn more.

Astronauts on long deep-space missions will be outside the protective radiation shield of the Earth's magnetic field. Rats exposed to the sort of high-energy particles that will bombard space crews developed lapses in attention and delayed reaction times. Cognitive impairments in the astrorats appeared to be linked to protein changes in the brain. Learn more.

Elsewhere at Hopkins …

Ah, come on...

Talk about bad news: The antioxidant resveratrol, found in red wine and dark chocolate, does not reduce cardiovascular disease or cancer. Nor does it prolong life. Not-so-bad news: Wine and chocolate do reduce inflammation in some people. Cabernet Sauvignon, please. Learn more.

Brains, Brains, Brains

Biomedical engineers and neurosurgeons succeeded in using nanoparticles to deliver genes to brain cancer cells in mice. Researchers hope to develop a method of delivering genes that will selectively kill cancer cells left in the brain after surgery to remove tumors. Learn more.

People with the equivalent of a college education were found to be seven times more likely to recover from moderate to severe traumatic brain injury than people who had not finished high school. Researchers suggested that education may increase cognitive reserve, the brain's resilience to injury. Learn more.

Neuroscientists observed rats creating spatial memories as they ran around a circular track. The rats frequently paused to look around, and when they did, neurons called "place cells" fired. When the rats next passed the same spot on the track, the neurons fired again, indicating formation of a spatial memory in the hippocampus. Learn more.

Known Knowns, Known Unknowns

More people search for health-related information early in the week than later. Analysis of Google searches from 2005 to 2012 found 49 percent more searches on Monday or Tuesday than on Friday, 80 percent more than on Saturday. Researchers could not explain the pattern, which was consistent throughout each year of the study. Learn more.

Public health researchers surveyed a small sample of community gardeners and found that they lack information and expertise on determining possible contaminants in urban soil such as heavy metals, petroleum products, and asbestos. One suggested explanation was that gardeners assumed contamination issues had already been addressed. Learn more.

Cells in Tight Places

Blood collected during surgery and recycled back into the patient's body contains healthier corpuscles than blood transfused from a blood bank. Researchers found that damage to cells in banked blood rendered them less flexible, inhibiting their ability to squeeze through capillaries and deliver oxygen to tissue. Learn more.

Cancer cells use water and charged particles to propel themselves through narrow spaces in the body. Scientists found that the cells are able to take in water at their leading edges and pump it out of their trailing edges in a sort of jet propulsion. Learn more.