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Health Bulletin


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  1. #1581
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    India leads in pre-term birth complication deaths: Lancet

    Over 3.6 lakh children under age five die from pre-term birth complications each year in India, says an alarming study published in the prestigious journal The Lancet, adding that the complications of pre-term birth now outrank all other causes as the world's number one killer of young children.

    Of the estimated 6.3 million deaths of children under age five in 2013, complications from pre-term births accounted for nearly 1.1 million deaths - over 3,000 children dying daily from pre-term birth complications, findings showed.

    "This marks a turning of the tide, a transition from infections to neonatal conditions, especially those related to premature births, and this will require entirely different medical and public health approaches," said Joy Lawn from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who is a member of the research team.

    "The success we have seen in the ongoing fight against infectious diseases demonstrates that we can also be successful if we invest in prevention and care for pre-term birth," Lawn added.

    Since 2000, the worldwide mortality rate of children under-five has declined dramatically from 76 to 46 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2013.

    According to Lancet study, the countries with the highest numbers of children under-five dying from pre-term birth complications each year are: India (361,600), Nigeria (98,300), Pakistan (75,000), Democratic Republic of the Congo (40,600), China (37,200), Bangladesh (26,100), Indonesia (25,800), Ethiopia (24,400), Angola (15,900) and Kenya (13,300).

    Some of the highest rates of pre-term deaths are in West Africa, particularly in the countries currently being decimated by Ebola, where the risk will now be even higher given the challenges faced in those countries, notably Sierra Leone and Liberia.

    To raise awareness about increasing deaths from complications from premature births, more than 200 countries, non-government organisations, UN agencies, medical and health organizations will participate in the Fourth World Prematurity Day Monday.

    “On World Prematurity Day, I urge all partners to recognise the vital importance of addressing prematurity as we strive to improve women's and children's health,” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.


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  2. #1582
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Dengue fever claims first life in Tamil Nadu

    The deadly disease on Monday has claimed the life of a five-year-old boy at Karaikudi in Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu.

    This is the first dengue case reported in the district, said officials.

    The boy was admitted to a private hospital with dengue symptoms, and died on early Monday morning.

    Further investigations are on, informed the hospital authorities.

    Dengue has already brought havoc to many states in the country and its rampant growth has created serious threat among the people.

    Though it is expected that the northern parts of India might soon get relief from the deadly clutches of Dengue with a dip in temperatures. But states like Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra etc has to take immediate steps to in order to curb the disease before it gets out of control.

    Sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik creates a sand sculpture on Dengue awareness with message Kill the Dengue mosquito at Puri beach of Odisha.



  3. #1583
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Dangers of snacking on fruits

    Snacking on unhealthy food in between meals may play havoc to your waistline. While fruits might be a better option for your physique, they may damage your teeth, reveals a survey.

    The warning about snacking on sugary fruit comes from a poll of 458 dentists, hygienists and dental professionals. Commissioned by Dentyl Active, the survey explored the foods and habits that are eroding Britain's dental health, reports femalefirst.co.uk.

    Four out of five warned that snacking contributes to decay, plaque build-up and enamel erosion, and a third said that apples can cause major damage to teeth and gums - alongside chocolate and biscuits.

    Experts also warned that fruit juice is a key cause of tooth and gum problems.


  4. #1584
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Scientists find new cause of age-related blindness

    Scientists have revealed that they have a found a new cause that is one of the major factors behind age-related blindness.

    According to the scientists, age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the major cause of blindness in the western world, affecting around 50 million people and sufferers are genetically predisposed to develop the condition.

    It was earlier revealed that most important risk associated genes is called complement factor H (CFH), which encodes a protein called factor H (FH) that is responsible for protecting our eyes from attack by part of our immune system, called the complement system. FH achieves this by sticking to tissues, and when it is present in sufficient quantities it prevents the complement system from causing any damage.

    Scientists from the Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences have now discovered that the protein factor H is not the main regulator of immunity in the back of the eye, instead it is a different protein that is made from the same CFH gene. This is called factor H-like protein 1 (FHL-1). The research has been published in the Journal of Immunology.

    Dr Simon Clark, a Medical Research Council Career Development Fellow, led the research said that FHL-1 is a smaller version of FH, in fact it is about a third of the size. However, it has all the necessary components to regulate the immune system and is still subject to the genetic alterations that affect AMD risk. Their research has shown that the FHL-1, because it is smaller than FH, can get into structures of the back of the eye which cannot be reached by the larger FH.

    He said that this research suggests that it is FHL-1 rather than FH which protects the back of the eye from immune attack and that insufficient FHL-1 in the back of the eye may result in inflammation that eventually results in vision loss from AMD. FHL-1, although very similar to FH in many ways, does have a totally unique 'tail' structure at its end. This tail seems to mediate how FHL-1 binds tissue. As such, this work has identified a new target for therapeutics aimed at readdressing immune imbalance in the eye, thereby preventing or slowing down AMD.


  5. #1585
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Young women smokers at chronic period pain risk

    Women who take up smoking during their teenage years run a significantly heightened risk of developing chronic severe period pain, finds new research.

    Starting smoking by age of 13 may have the greatest impact, the findings showed.“Smoking and early initiation of smoking are associated with increased risk of chronic dysmenorrhoea (painful periods),” said one of the study authors Hong Ju from University of Queensland in Australia.

    Cigarette smoking is known to constrict arterial blood flow, which could potentially cause pain.

    “Alternatively, it might have a direct effect on the hormones involved in menstruation, which may be particularly important before the onset of puberty and regular monthly periods,” the study authors noted.

    The researchers studied a large population sample of 9,000 women, all of whom were taking part in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health, from 1996 onwards.

    In 2000, when the women were aged between 22 and 27, over half (59 percent) were non-smokers and around one in four (26 percent) were current smokers.

    One in four women said they regularly experienced period pain every month. The prevalence of period pain was slightly higher in current smokers than in non-smokers.

    Some 14 percent of the women were categorised as the 'chronic' group, defined as a high prevalence of period pain of between 70 percent and 80 percent throughout the monitoring period.

    Compared with women who had never smoked, current smokers who had started smoking by the age of 13 were 60 percent more likely to fall into the chronic group.

    The study appeared online in the journal Tobacco Control.


  6. #1586
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Fatigue, irritability, demoralization may increase heart disease risk

    A new research has examined that fatigue, increased irritability, and feeling demoralized, may increase a healthy man or woman's risk of first-time cardiovascular disease by 36 percent.

    The study led by researchers at Mount Sinai St. Luke's and Mount Sinai Roosevelt hospitals found that vital exhaustion was associated with a dramatic increase in risk for first-time cardiovascular disease when compared to people not experiencing these three psychological factors.

    Lead author Randy Cohen, MD, Medical Director of the University Medical Practice Associates at Mount Sinai St. Luke's and Mount Sinai Roosevelt, said that their study showed vital exhaustion was an important risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease in otherwise healthy people and loss of vitality thus added to a growing number of psychosocial risk factors that had now been linked to the development of cardiovascular disease, including anxiety, depression, and social isolation.

    Study researchers investigated the relationship between vital exhaustion and first-time heart disease in 11 prospective studies that involved 60,610 people without heart disease. The studies had an average follow-up of 6.5 years.

    Study co-author Alan Rozanski, MD, Chief of the Division of Cardiology at Mount Sinai St. Luke's and Mount Sinai Roosevelt, said that the identification of vital exhaustion as a coronary artery disease (CAD) risk factor appears timely and as society becomes increasingly fast paced, there was an increasing tendency for people to overwork while cutting back on sleep, exercise, and the rest and relaxation we all need to renew ourselves and prevent the factors that cause vital exhaustion.


  7. #1587
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Common antibacterial in soap may harm liver

    Long-term exposure to triclosan, found in soaps, shampoos, toothpastes and many other household items, may cause liver fibrosis and cancer, an alarming study suggests.

    "Triclosan's increasing detection in environmental samples and its increasingly broad use in consumer products may overcome its moderate benefit and present a very real risk of liver toxicity for people, as it does in mice," said Robert Tukey, professor at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.

    The risk is particularly high when triclosan is combined with other compounds with similar action, Tukey noted.

    The researchers found that triclosan disrupted liver integrity and compromised liver function in mouse models.

    Mice exposed to triclosan for six months (roughly equivalent to 18 human years) were more susceptible to chemical-induced liver tumours. Their tumours were also larger and more frequent than in mice not exposed to triclosan.

    The study suggests triclosan may do its damage by interfering with the constitutive androstane receptor, a protein responsible for detoxifying (clearing away) foreign chemicals in the body.

    To compensate for this stress, liver cells proliferate and turn fibrotic over time. Repeated triclosan exposure and continued liver fibrosis eventually promote tumour formation.

    Triclosan is perhaps the most ubiquitous consumer antibacterial. Studies have found traces in 97 percent of breast milk samples from lactating women and in the urine of nearly 75 percent of people tested.

    The study appeared in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


  8. #1588
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Exposure to antibiotics' during pregnancy heightens obesity risk in kids

    In a new study, scientists have revealed that children who were exposed to antibiotics while in the womb, face greater of become obese.

    The research by Columbia University found that kids of mothers who took antibiotics in the second or third trimester of pregnancy, had a higher risk of childhood obesity at age 7, and for mothers who delivered their babies by a Caesarean section, whether elective or non-elective, there was a higher risk for obesity in their offspring.

    Researchers are beginning to understand that the bacteria that normally inhabit our colon have important roles in maintaining our health and imbalances in these bacterial populations could cause a variety of illnesses. Disturbances in the normal, transmission of bacteria from the mother to the child have been thought to place the child at risk for several health conditions, including obesity.

    The study is based on data of healthy, non-smoking, pregnant women who were recruited for the Northern Manhattan Mothers and Children Study from prenatal clinics at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Harlem Hospital Center between 1998 and 2006. Of 727 mothers enrolled in the study, 436 mothers and their children were followed until 7 years of age. Of these 436 children, 16 percent had mothers who used antibiotics in the second or trimester.

    The children exposed to antibiotics in this timeframe had an 84-percent higher risk of obesity, compared with children who were not exposed.

    Noel Mueller said that their findings were novel, and thus warranted replication in other prospective cohort studies. The findings should not discourage antibiotic use when they were medically needed, but it was important to recognize that antibiotics were currently overprescribed.

    Similar to antibiotic use during pregnancy, Caesarean section birth has been thought to reduce the normal transmission of bacteria from the mother to the child and to disturb the balance of bacteria in the child.

    Dr. Andrew Rundle added that further research was needed on how mode of delivery, antibiotic use during pregnancy and other factors influence the establishment of the ecosystem of bacteria that inhabit each person.

    The findings are published online in the International Journal of Obesity.


  9. #1589
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Too much 'junk food' can lead to memory loss

    If you can't resist a burger, you are in trouble as a new study has shown that too much of junk food can destroy your memory, specially of young to middle-aged men.

    The research by University of California, San Diego, which is the first to produce clear results on memory impairment, studied around 1,000 healthy men, those who consumed the most trans fats, found in foods like high-fat cakes, pastries, chips and fast foods, showed notably worse performance on a word memory test. The strength of the association remained even after taking into consideration things like age, education, ethnicity and depression.

    Lead author Dr Beatrice Golomb studied adults who had not been diagnosed with heart disease, including men aged 20 or older and postmenopausal women. Participants completed a dietary questionnaire, from which the researchers estimated participants' trans fat consumption. To assess memory, researchers presented participants with a series of 104 cards showing words. Participants had to state whether each word was new or a word duplicated from a prior card.

    Golomb said that foods have different effects on oxidative stress and cell energy, and they looked at whether trans fats, which have been prooxidant and linked adversely to cell energy, might show the opposite effect. And they did.

    Oxidative stress has been associated with the development of diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

    Industrial trans fats are artificially produced to turn liquid oils into solids at room temperature and extend food shelf life. They can be found in margarines, fast foods, baked goods, snack foods, frozen pizza, coffee creamers and some refrigerated doughs. The Food and Drug Administration is taking further steps to reduce the amount of artificial trans fats in the U.S. food supply.

    The study is presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2014.


  10. #1590
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Regular BP medication doesn't heighten breast cancer risk in women

    A new study has discovered that women who consume general blood pressure medication don't face increased of developing breast cancer.

    The researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Murray, Utah, analyzed the records of more than 3,700 women who had no history of breast cancer, and who had long-term use of calcium channel blocker medications to control their blood pressure.

    Researchers found only a minimal increase in risk in one study and a 50 percent reduced risk in a second, leading them to recommend the continued use of these important medications to help prevent heart attack and stroke.

    Calcium channel blockers are commonly used to help prevent calcium from entering cells of the heart and blood vessel walls, resulting in lower blood pressure. Jeffery L. Anderson, MD, who led the study, said that they didn't find any robust data that calcium channel blocker medications increase a person's risk of breast cancer.

    The study carefully examined data collected from more than 3,700 women ages 50 to 70 with no history of breast cancer in two Intermountain Healthcare databases. For each group, researchers had compared women who were prescribed calcium channel blocker medications to similar women who weren't prescribed the medications.

    In their review of a general population medical records database, it was found that the odds of breast cancer to be 1.6 times higher by using calcium channel blockers, which was significant, but much smaller than reported by the Seattle group.

    But, in contrast, in the data collected from patients treated in the Intermountain Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, a reverse relationship was found, a 50 percent reduction in risk of developing breast cancer for women who took the calcium channel blockers.

    The contrasting results found in these two independent analyses led researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute to conclude that it is likely not the medication that caused the changes in breast cancer risk but other factors.

    The findings will be presented at the 2014 American Heart Association Scientific in Chicago.


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