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Grand Roundup: Top 10 posts for 2011

As the clock counts down to the New Year, we would like to recap the top ten posts on Scope in 2011. These are the stories you read most this year:

A beautiful blood clot: A colorized scanning electron micrograph of a blood clot. The image comes from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where findings showed how fibrin behaves in blood clots.

Can yoga help women suffering from fibromyalgia?: A study published in the Journal of Pain Research shows that practicing yoga boosts levels of the stress hormone cortisol and could help ease some symptoms of fibromyalgia such as pain, fatigue, muscle stiffness and depression.

Disease-fighting psychology: Scientists have begun to define some disease-wary actions as examples of what could be called a psychological immune system. A recent Current Directions in Psychological Science paper by psychologist Mark Schaller, PhD, of the University of British Columbia, provides a brief introduction to the fairly new concept.

Pumpkin Jobs: Stanford med student’s carving tricks – a real treat!: Third-year medical student Raymond Tsai’s latest Halloween masterpiece is a jack-o-lantern that pays homage to the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

Discussing sleep and work performance among health-care professionals: Associate professor Steven Howard, MD, is well known for his research on fatigue and sleep deprivation, especially as it relates to health-care professionals. In this Q&A, Howard discusses how fatigue negatively affects performance, the role cultural beliefs or societal pressures play in increasing the prevalence of sleep deprivation in our country and how organizations and professional societies can promote sleep as a priority among health-care professionals.

A conversation about the merits of stretchingMichael Fredericson, MD, head team physician with the Stanford Sports Medicine Program, discusses the role of flexibility in injury prevention and fitness performance and what the scientific evidence indicates about the effectiveness of stretching.

Research shows remote weight loss interventions equally effective as face-to-face coaching programs: Remote weight loss interventions, such as online or phone counseling by health coaches, are as equally effective as programs requiring face-to-face contact, according to findings presented at the American Heart Association’s annual meeting.

The placenta sacrifices itself to keep baby healthy in case of starvation, research shows: A study (subscription required) involving mice suggests the placenta is intrinsically linked to the fetal hypothalamus and capable of changing its form in order to fit the growing baby’s needs

The future of probiotics: Each of us, if healthy, is carrying around a vast internal ecosystem of microbes in our gut. As Stanford microbiologist Justin Sonnenburg, PhD, and colleagues point out in an article recently published in Science Translational Medicine these bugs work together as a community, and they’re largely working for us: helping us digest our food, fending off invading pathogens, secreting critical nutrients such as vitamins, even performing tasks critical to the development of our own tissues.

Is barefoot running better for the body?: Stanford orthopaedic surgeon Michael Fredericson, MD, discusses shoeless running, things to keep in mind if you’re thinking about doing it, and the importance of foot gear, or lack thereof, in injury prevention.

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