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Health Bulletin


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  1. #1001
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Health risk from wireless network devices rising: Study

    Health risks from mobile wireless devices like phones and tablets are growing stronger, and require immediate action, says a new study. According to the BioInitiative Working Group, which released a mid-year update covering new science studies from 2012 to 2014, new studies intensify medical concerns about malignant brain tumours from cell phone use.

    "There is a consistent pattern of increased risk for glioma (a malignant brain tumour ) and acoustic neuroma with use of mobile and cordless phones," said Lennart Hardell from Orebro University , Sweden. "Epidemiological evidence shows that radio frequency should be classified as a known human carcinogen. The existing FCC/IEEE and ICNIRP public safety limits are not adequate to protect public health," Hardell said.

    The BioInitiative reports nervous system effects in 68% of studies on radio frequency radiation (144 of 211 studies) in 2014. This has increased from 63% in 2012 (93 of 150 studies). Studies of extremely-low frequency radiation are reported to cause nervous system effects in 90% of the 105 studies available in 2014.

    Genetic effects (damage to DNA) from radio frequency radiation is reported in 65% (74 of 114 studies); and 83% (49 of 59 studies) of extremely low frequency studies. Wireless devices like phones and tablets are big sources of unnecessary biological stress to the mind and body that can chip away at resilience over time. The report warns against wireless in schools. Schools should provide internet access without Wi-Fi.



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  2. #1002
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Potential hepatitis C cure found in Chinese herb

    In what could revolutionise treatment of patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV), scientists have isolated a new compound from Chinese herbal medicines that can inhibit HCV activity by approximately 90 per cent.

    The new compound, SBEL1, was extracted from a herb found in certain regions of Taiwan and Southern China.

    In Chinese medicine, it is used to treat sore throats and inflammations. The function of SBEL1 within the plant is unknown and its role and origins are currently being investigated.

    "Recent advances means that we can now virtually cure HCV without unpleasant side effects," said Markus Peck-Radosavljevic, associate professor of medicine at University of Vienna in Austria.

    In the past, less than 20 per cent of all HCV patients were treated because the available treatments were unsuitable due to poor efficacy and high toxicity, Peck-Radosavljevic said.

    For the research, scientists pre-treated human liver cells in vitro with SBEL1 prior to HCV infection and found that SBEL1 pre-treated cells contained 23 per cent less HCV protein than the control, suggesting that SBEL1 blocks virus entry.

    "SBEL1 has demonstrated significant inhibition of HCV at multiple stages of the viral lifecycle, which is an exciting discovery because it allows us to gain a deeper understanding of the virus and its interactions with other compounds," Peck-Radosavljevic noted.

    There are an estimated 150 million to 200 million people living with chronic HCV and more than 350,000 people die annually from HCV-related diseases.

    HCV is transmitted through blood contact between an infected individual and someone who is not infected.

    This can occur through needlestick injuries or sharing of equipment used to inject drugs.


  3. #1003
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Kids! Play outdoor to keep fatty liver disease at bay

    Parents, let the kids play in the sun if you want them to keep non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) at bay as a research has confirmed links between low vitamin D and Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

    NAFLD refers to fat build-up in liver cells in people who do not drink alcohol excessively.

    "The data support recent research that revealed an association between low vitamin D status and incidence of NAFLD," said Jean-Francois Dufour from the University of Bern in Switzerland.

    For the study, researchers analysed medical records of 120 paediatric patients with NAFLD in Britain.

    Patients were found to have low vitamin D blood levels throughout the entire year, not just in the winter months and the majority ofchildren were found to be deficient or insufficient in vitamin D status compared to national British and American health standards.

    The study also detected a variant of the NADSYN1 gene which was associated with NAFLD severity in patients.

    "Identifying a gene that impacts or alters the disease is a step in the right direction and could potentially lead to the development of new treatments or diagnostic techniques to address this growing issue," Dufour added.

    NAFLD is rapidly becoming the most common liver disease worldwide and is the most common persistent liver disorder in western countries.


  4. #1004
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Sperms carry stress from dads to kids: Study

    Men may not only pass traits to their offspring, but some stress too!

    Stress alters the expression of small Ribonucleic acids (RNAs) in male mice and leads to depressive behaviours in later generations, a new research suggests . The mice show depressive behaviours that persist in their progeny, researchers said.

    In the study, Isabelle Mansuy, a neuroscientist at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, and her colleagues periodically separated mother mice from their young ones and exposed the mothers to stressful situations.

    These separations occurred every day but at erratic times, so that the mothers could not comfort their pups (termed the F1 generation ) with extra cuddling before separation.

    When raised this way, male offspring showed depressive behaviours, the study found. The F1 males' offspring, the F2 generation , showed similar depressive behaviours and metabolism disorders.


  5. #1005
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Women more prone to Alzheimer's

    Women born with a special gene are at greater risk of developing Alzheimer's disease than men with the same disease, a study reveals.

    While women with ApoE4 gene were 81 per cent more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease when compared to women who did not have the gene, in men, the gene increases the risk only by 27 per cent compared with men without the gene, the study said.

    "Figuring out the reason for this sex difference may help researchers better understand what causes Alzheimer's disease," said researcher Andre Altmann from Stanford University School of Medicine.

    For the study, the researchers examined information from more than 5,000 healthy older adults in the US who did not have Alzheimer's or other types of cognitive problems, and about 2,200 people with mild cognitive impairment.

    The researchers noted that about 950 healthy older adults progressed to developing Alzheimer's disease or mild cognitive impairment.

    The study, that appeared in the journal Annals of Neurology, indicates that doctors may need to change the way they interpret the finding of an ApoE4 gene in people, depending the patient's sex.


  6. #1006
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Why rice is good for your health

    Researchers have shown that consumers can improve their diets simply by enjoying white or brown rice as part of their daily meals.

    In a study, lead author Theresa Nicklas, DrPH, of Baylor College of Medicine, analyzed the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey datasets from 2005-2010 and evaluated the association of rice consumption with overall diet quality and key nutrient intakes in a nationally representative sample of 14,386 U.S. adults.

    Nicklas said their results show that adults who eat rice had diets more consistent with what is recommended in the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, and they showed higher amounts of potassium, magnesium, iron, folate and fiber while eating less saturated fat and added sugars. She said that eating rice is also associated with eating more servings of fruit, vegetables, meat and beans.

    In addition to the positive results in cross-sectional studies linking rice consumption with healthier diets, a human clinical trial found that having white or brown rice at a meal increased satiety and feelings of fullness more than a calorically equivalent glucose solution control. Considering the cross-sectional and clinical findings, both enriched white rice and whole grain brown rice should be recommended as part of a healthy diet.

    The study has been published online in the journal Food and Nutrition Sciences.


  7. #1007
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Genetic therapy may repair spinal chord: Study

    Damage to the central nervous system, the brain and spinal cord, is currently irreparable. But this may change soon as researchers have now discovered that genetic and chemical treatment could help regenerate damaged nerves.

    Future therapies could help repair nerve damage after people suffer spinal cord injury or brain trauma, said the study.

    "Due to the complexity of the structure of the central nervous system, regrowth leads most often to incorrect rewiring, such as pain," said Simone Di Giovanni, a neuroscientist and neurologist from Imperial College London.

    "The peripheral nervous system is much more simple and has effective, although partial, regeneration," noted the researchers.

    Most spinal cord injuries are caused by damage to axons, the long extensions of neurons that send messages around inside the nervous system, the study pointed out.

    The researchers found that when nerves are damaged in the peripheral nervous system, they emit signals to switch on a program to initiate nerve growth.

    This program is "epigenetic", meaning that it can activate or deactivate genes without altering DNA.

    They also identified a protein, called P300/CBP— associated factor (PCAF), as being central to initiating nerve regrowth.

    The researchers found that when this protein was injected into mice that had damage to their central nervous system, it significantly increased the number of nerve fibers that grew back.

    "This work opens an exciting new field of investigation, placing epigenetic regulation as a new, very promising tool to promote regeneration and recovery after spinal injury," Di Giovanni told Live Science.

    The study appeared in the journal Nature Communications.


  8. #1008
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Transplant surgeon, organ recipient, now a campaigner

    The surgeon who stood by the operation table to do the first liver transplant surgery in Tamil Nadu in 1996 went under the knife in April last year to get his diseased liver replaced.

    Three months after the surgery, Dr Shanmugam was back in his clinic for consultations and surgeries with a new vigour and plan.

    On Friday, he will relaunch an NGO, Chennai Liver Foundation, that will conduct free screening for liver diseases like hepatitis, organise awareness campaigns about liver diseases and conduct public meetings to spread the message on the evils of alcoholism. "I launched the NGO nearly two decades ago as a liver surgeon. But that was on a smaller scale. Now, I am launching it again both as a surgeon and a patient," he said.

    An estimated two lakh people die of liver failure in India every year, yet many don't know about their illness until they reach a condition called end-stage liver disease. The foundation, he said, would create awareness about liver disease, treatment and transplants. "There are a lot of misconceptions about liver disease among doctors and patients. For instance, drugs and alcohol are risk factors, but there are other risk factors such as fatty liver disease caused by poor eating habits," he said.

    Dr Shammugam developed the disease many years ago. In 2012, his liver function reduced and transplant became unavoidable. He was waitlisted for a liver in the state cadaver transplant registry. "I knew the wait was long as organs are hard to come by," he said.

    While Dr Shanmugam was fortunate to have access to good treatment, he knows not all Indians are as lucky. In the past one month, the foundation has screened 600 people of whom 20 tested positive for hepatitis B and one tested positive for hepatitis C. "The scope for prevention is huge in India," he said. The foundation will maintain a corpus fund to make early diagnosis and ensure treatment is accessible. Dr Shanmugam's liver surgeon, Dr Mohamed Rela of Global Hospital, will be the chief patron of the programme.

    Dr Shanmugam's students, including his son Dr Vivek Shanmugham, are rallying behind him for the foundation.

    "We have made tremendous progress in transplants but there is a wide gap between the need and the availability of organs. CLF will engage people from across India to help support organ donation through meetings, fundraiser dinners and social media," he said.


  9. #1009
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    New drug to combat measles developed

    Scientists have developed a novel antiviral drug that may protect people infected with the measles from getting sick and also prevent them from spreading the virus to others.

    Scientists from the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University, the Emory Institute for Drug Development and the Paul-Ehrlich Institute in Germany developed the drug and tested it in animals infected with a virus closely related to one that causes the measles.

    Virus levels were significantly reduced when infected animals received the drug by mouth. The drug also prevented the animals from dying of the disease, researchers said.

    This drug, one that can be produced cost-effectively, stockpiled and administered by mouth, could boost eradication efforts by rapidly suppressing the spread of the virus during local outbreaks, they said.

    Despite major progress in controlling the measles worldwide, annual measles deaths have remained constant at around 150,000 since 2007, and there has been a resurgence of the virus in European countries where it had been considered controlled.

    The reasons for this are the highly infectious nature of the virus and insufficient vaccine coverage, which in the developed world is mostly due to parents opting not to vaccinate their children.

    Dr Richard Plemper, from the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University, and colleagues developed the drug, termed ERDRP-0519, which blocks the replication of the pathogen.

    In collaboration with Dr Veronika von Messling from the Paul-Ehrlich-Institute, the researchers tested the drug by turning to a virus very closely related to measles virus, the canine distemper virus, which causes a highly lethal infection in ferrets.

    All of the animals treated with ERDRP-0519 survived infection with the distemper virus, remained disease free and developed robust immunity against the virus.

    Plemper said the drug could be used to treat friends, family and other social contacts of a person infected with measles virus, who have not developed symptoms yet but are at risk of having caught the disease.

    The researchers emphasize the drug is not intended as a substitute for vaccination, but as an additional weapon in a concerted effort to eliminate the measles.

    While the drug is very encouraging thus far, additional research is needed before it could be considered for use in humans, researchers said.

    The study was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.


  10. #1010
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Stroke recovery chances step up with exercise, expert advises

    Regular exercise can speed recovery for stroke survivors and may reduce their risk of having another stroke, according to a leading academic.

    The advice from an expert in stroke medicine contrasts with commonly held fears that exercise may trigger a further stroke.

    Professor Gillian Mead has been researching the benefits of exercise on stroke recovery for more than 10 years. She will be speaking about her research at a public event this week as part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival.

    People who have been physically active before their stroke are more likely to make a good recovery but less is known about how exercise can affect recovery after a stroke.

    Her findings reveal that a structured physical training plan — including aerobic, strength and balance training — can help stroke survivors to become more mobile, improve their balance and reduce their disability.

    Mead is currently investigating whether breaking up long periods of sitting or lying — so-called 'sedentary' behaviour — with short periods of movement might help to bring down the risk of having another stroke.

    One in six people in Scotland will have a stroke in their lifetime and survivors can be left with varying degrees of disability. More than half of all people who survive a stroke require support to live independently.

    Doctors in Edinburgh are now working with professional fitness trainers to integrate specialized exercise programs into mainstream care for stroke patients.

    Mead said: "We're working with fitness experts to determine the best 'exercise prescription' for stroke survivors. It's also important that we understand more about the factors that put patients off from taking part in exercise programs, and how we can motivate them to take advantage of the benefits."


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