1st Feb 2015, 10:33 AM #1741
Re: Health Bulletin
Structure of anxiety disorder protein revealed
New research has revealed the crystal structure of a key protein, TSPO, which is associated with several forms of anxiety disorders.
By identifying the structure at the atomic level, scientists can now pinpoint where drugs may interact with the protein.
"Many other scientists have studied this protein, but what exactly it is doing has been very difficult to determine," said Shelagh Ferguson-Miller, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the Michigan State University in the US.
"Drugs and other compounds bind to TSPO, but without knowing the structure, their effects are hard to interpret. Now that we have obtained the structure, it could provide important clues regarding anxiety disorders and the basis for a new generation of anti-anxiety drugs," Miller added.
TSPO plays a key role in shuttling cholesterol into mitochondria, the cells' powerhouse where the cholesterol is converted to hormones.
These hormones are essential for our body functions.
Using X-ray technology, the team was able to solve the crystal structure of the protein - creating an image of TSPO at a molecular level.
This gave researchers a better understanding on how TSPO interacts with cholesterol and how this relationship affects the creation of steroid hormones.
"One reason that TSPO's function has been so hard to pin down is that many studies have been done in the complex and diverse environments of whole cells and tissues, where a clear-cut interpretation of the results is difficult," said Fei Li, a researcher and co-author from the Michigan State University.
"We were able to obtain a pure protein that was still functional, but isolated from these complications," Fei Li added.
The study appeared in the journal Science.
1st Feb 2015, 10:34 AM #1742
Re: Health Bulletin
HIV may stay hidden in 'quiet' immune cells
In what could lead to a cure for HIV, researchers have found that the human immunodeficiency virus may stay hidden for years in certain "quiet" immune cells.
Drugs for HIV have become adept at suppressing infection, but they still can not eliminate it because the medication in these pills does not touch the virus' hidden reserves, which lie dormant within infected white blood cells, the researchers said.
"It has recently been shown that infected white blood cells can proliferate over time, producing many clones, all containing HIV's genetic code. However, we found that these clones do not appear to harbour the latent reservoir of virus," said study author Lillian Cohn from Rockefeller University.
"Instead our analysis points to cells that have never divided as the source of the latent reservoir," Cohn said.
HIV belongs to a family of viruses that insert themselves directly into the host cell's genome where they can hide out quietly after the initial infection.
HIV mostly targets CD4 T lymphocytes, a type of T cell involved in initiating an immune response.
When HIV integrates itself into the genetic code of a CD4 T cell, it may produce an active infection.
"If a patient stops taking antiretrovirals, the infection rebounds. It is truly amazing that the virus can give rise to AIDS 20 years after the initial infection," Cohn said.
The reservoir of latent virus may be hiding out in a type of CD4 T cell: long-lived memory cells that help the immune system remember particular pathogens, the researchers pointed out.
The study appeared in the journal Cell.
1st Feb 2015, 10:13 PM #1743
Re: Health Bulletin
Particpants take part in a Cancer Awareness Walk in Saroornagar Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad.
2nd Feb 2015, 04:58 PM #1744
Re: Health Bulletin
Screaming word 'ow' actually helps you deal with pain
A new study has recently revealed that screaming the word "ow" can actually help people deal with the pain.
Scientists at the National University of Singapore noticed that being vocal helps people tolerate pain longer as it is thought to be a distraction, the Daily Express reported.
It was also mentioned that not just the word "ow" can help but also other words like "ouch" and the Italian version "ahia".
The researchers said all of those sounds are good for vocalizing pain because they are simple noises where the "mouth simply opens".
The study is published in Journal of Pain.
3rd Feb 2015, 01:50 PM #1745
Re: Health Bulletin
Cook in low flame to keep Alzheimer's away
Eating food cooked at high temperatures increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease, a fascinating research has found.
When food is cooked at high temperatures or aged for a long time such as in hard cheese, it increases the content of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), a group of compounds that are combinations of sugars and proteins and other large molecules.
AGEs increase the risk of various chronic diseases through several mechanisms including increased inflammation and oxidative stress.
They can also bind to the receptor for AGEs (RAGE). RAGE transports beta-amyloid proteins across the blood-brain barrier and contributes to the development of Alzheimer's disease, the researchers explained.
"We found that mice kept on a diet high in AGEs, similar to Western diet, had high levels of AGEs in their brains together with deposits of beta-amyloid proteins, a component of the plaques characteristic of Alzheimer's disease" said Jaime Uribarri and Weijing Cai of The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York.
For the study, the values for AGE for many types of food were taken from a study by researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.
They cooked 549 foods by different methods and measured the AGE content of the cooked food.
The researchers found that the higher the cooking temperature, the higher the AGE content.
The researchers found that meat made the highest contribution of AGEs, followed by vegetable oils, cheese and fish.
The study was published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.
3rd Feb 2015, 01:50 PM #1746
Re: Health Bulletin
Obesity could lead to cancer, finds study
Nearly everyone knows that obesity is a major cause of cardiovascular problems and diabetes. But what many do not know is that extra kilos can also lead to that emperor of maladies -cancer.
Obesity is now pandemic and researchers have noted a statistically increased risk of developing cancers, especially that of the breast, endometrium, colon and rectum, among overweight people. Several studies including one by National Cancer Institute, USA, indicate that there is a direct link between obesity and cancer. Doctors who conducted these studies say unless obese individuals make appropriate dietary changes, obesity could soon overtake tobacco as the top cause of cancer.
The Overseas Development Institute, an independent think tank, found that Indians constitute a huge chunk of the one in three adults who are obese, a total of up to 1.46 billion across the world. Simultaneously ,a 16-year-long study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which followed 90,000 American adults, revealed that the heaviest participants were more likely to develop and die from cancer than participants with healthy weight.
"Though there are no Indian studies on the subject, research done abroad is relevant to us as well as we are increasingly aping the West in terms of diet. The number of obese people in India has increased exponentially ," Rigid Lifeline Hospitals surgical gastroenterologist Dr J S Rajkumar said.
The surgeon recently submitted a paper to the Journal of Obesity and Metabolic Research exposing the link between cancer and obesity . He said though the answer to how obesity causes cancer may be different for each type of cancer, the overall explanation is that obesity triggers changes in bodily functions, which can lead to harmful cell growth and cell division.
Explaining the link, senior diabetologist Dr A Ramakrishnan said the link between obesity and cancer is insulin resistance."Both obesity and cancer result from body losing its ability to burn fat as fuel. Obesity is linked to excess levels of insulin circulating in blood and this can stimulate harmful cell proliferation. It also increases oxidative stress levels in overweight people, increasing risk of cancer," he said.
Stressing on the link between obesity and breast, colon and endometrial cancer, oncologist Dr Deb Narayan Dutta of Apollo Hospitals said excess fat cells, when partially metabolised, become carcinogenic.
"In women, obesity exposes them to higher estrogen levels because estrogen is produced in fat tissue. Obese women therefore have more estrogen, which can lead to insulin resistance and the development of more fat tissue, which produces even more estrogen, making it a vicious cycle that raises the risk of estrogen-sensitive cancers," he said.
Dr Rajkumar said overweight people can significantly reduce the risk of developing cancer through behavioural, pharmaceutical and surgical strategies.
4th Feb 2015, 02:25 PM #1747
Re: Health Bulletin
Female sterilization up 36%, males’ dips 24%
Despite the botched Chhattisgarh sterilization the number of women who underwent sterilization surgery increased by 36% even as male sterilizations dropped to below 25% last year.
According to health ministry data accessed through RTI the number of female sterilizations has increased from 30.22 lakh in 2012-2013 to 41.28 lakh in 2013-2014. Male sterilizations—which were already low—dropped further from 1.20 lakh to 91,652 in the same period.
A botched health camp in Chhattisgarh where sterilization were conducted under dubious circumstances left 11 women dead and 40 in shock and trauma. Investigations later revealed that scant attention had been paid to procedures including medicines and hygienic conditions. The incident took place in November 2014.
The data--given in response to queries raised by UP resident Kush Kalra--shows the number of sterilizations done on men is a fraction of surgeries conducted on women. For instance Maharashtra that has the highest number of female sterilizations (5.32 lakh) had barely 17,235 male sterilizations in 2013-2014.
The state is followed by Bihar with 5.11 lakh female sterilizations but only 3,294 male sterilizations. Madhya Pradesh has conducted 3.54 lakh sterilizations on women as compared to 6,396 sterilizations on men in the same period. Tamil Nadu conducted 3.21 lakh surgeries on women as compared to 1,384 men while Andhra Pradesh recorded 3.09 lakh surgeries on women as compared to 9,058 men.
Health experts say the burden of the government sponsored sterilization campaign remains on the women. These health camps have questionable quality of care.
A report by Population Foundation of India and others found that 85% of the government budget for family planning in Chhattisgarh was spent on incentives and compensation for women while only 1.3% was spent on equipment, transport, awareness campaign and staff expenses and 1.5% in spacing methods like oral pills and condoms. Women were reported to be paid as little as Rs 600 on average for the operation as compensation for wages.
4th Feb 2015, 02:42 PM #1748
Re: Health Bulletin
Having troubled sleep? Blame it on your gadgets
Excessive use of smartphones and computers throughout the day can worsen quality of sleep in teenagers, a study has found.
Researchers surveyed almost 10,000 teenagers aged 16-19 in Norway and concluded that recommendations on use of gadgets should be updated, and extended to tablets and smartphones.
Total screen-use time of over four hours was linked to a 49% higher chance of the teens taking longer than 60 minutes to fall asleep. A total of more than 2 hours of screen time after school was linked to both longer sleep onset latency and shorter sleep duration.
On an average, teenagers need 8-9 hours of sleep each day . But those who spent more than 2 hours emailing or chatting were more than 3 times as likely to sleep for less than 5 hours.
While those who spent more than 4 hours in front of any screen were more than 3.5 times as likely to sleep for less than 5 hours.
Use of a computer, smartphone, or Mp3 player in the hour before bedtime was associated with taking longer to fall asleep. The effect was more pronounced in multitaskers. Teens who used 4 or more devices were 26% more likely to take 60 or more minutes to fall asleep than those who used one.
Teens who used 2-3 devices were 50% more likely to sleep for less than 5 hours than those who used just one; those who used 4 or more devices were 75% more likely to do so. Screen use may simply replace sleep time or interfere with sleep by stimulating the nervous system, said the res
5th Feb 2015, 04:44 PM #1749
Re: Health Bulletin
Excessive booze can affect your hips: Experts
Excessive alcohol consumption is known to cause major health issues. But do you know that your love of grog can damage your hip bones? Orthopedicians in the city say they are seeing heavy drinkers with avascular necrosis (AVN), a disease that kills the bone tissue in the hip joint due to interruption in blood supply. This eventually damages the bone and the joint.
"The hip joint is a ball and socket joint. Too much of alcohol can affect blood supply. And without blood, the bone tissues die. The patient can develop symptoms such as pain in front of the thigh, knee, lateral part of the hip or groin," says Dr Deen Muhammad Ismail, head and director, institute of orthopaedics and traumatology, Madras Medical College.
He diagnoses at least 10 regular drinkers with AVN a month. Almost all of them undergo hip replacement at Government General Hospital. "Most patients with AVN that we have treated are men in their thirties or forties; they have all been drinking heavily for more than a decade," he adds. Dr Praveen Kumar, consultant orthopaedic surgeon, Apollo Hospitals said about 40% of AVN patients he has treated were heavy drinkers. "Too much alcohol consumption is linked with AVN. If you are a smoker or into steroids for asthma or other treatment, your cumulative risk of getting the disease is more," the surgeon says. If the person is obese or has diabetes, the risk is higher.
However, not all patients diagnosed with AVN have to undergo a hip replacement surgery. Dr Kesavan, a specialist in hip and pelvis at Global Hospital says that only 30% of patients diagnosed with the problem opt for hip replacements. Those who come at stage I or II of the disease are treated with either medicines or a minor procedure like bone marrow injection.
Various studies done across the world show links between AVN and excess alcohol consumption. A study published in PubMed maintained by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, USA found that excess drinking and smoking were found to be significant in a group of 23 patients with AVN, who were studied. But neither obesity nor hypertension was significant in this group.
But a clear explanation on how consumption of alcohol and tobacco leads to the condition is still elusive. "Studies have shown clear links between alcohol intake and AVN, but nobody knows how and why it leads to the disease," Dr Praveen Kumar adds.
5th Feb 2015, 04:49 PM #1750
Re: Health Bulletin
E-cigarettes found to be harmful for immune system
E-cigarettes have for the first time been found to harm the immune system in the lungs exactly the same way as traditional nicotine cigarettes.
Scientists have confirmed that e-cigarette vapors to contain the same potentially dangerous chemicals.
Research has also confirmed that e-cigarette vapours contain free radical chemicals previously thought only to be found in tobacco cigarettes and air pollutants.
Free radicals are highly reactive agents that can damage DNA or other molecules within cells, resulting in cell death. Cigarette smoke contains 1014 free radicals per puff.
Though e-cigarette vapour contains far fewer free radicals than cigarette smoke - one percent as much - their presence in e-cigarettes still suggests potential health risks, the researchers say.
For their study, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers divided the mice into two groups: one was exposed to e-cigarette vapour in an inhalation chamber in amounts that approximated actual human e-cigarette inhalation for two weeks, while the other group was just exposed to air.
The researchers then divided each group into three subgroups.
One received nasal drops containing Streptococcus pneumonia, a bacteria responsible for pneumonia and sinusitis, among other illnesses, in humans.
A second received nasal drops of the virus Influenza A, and the third subgroup did not receive either virus or bacteria.
The mice exposed to e-cigarette vapour were significantly more likely to develop compromised immune responses to both the virus and the bacteria, which in some cases killed the mice, the researchers found.
Experts say both cigarettes and e-cigarettes are sources of nicotine. E-cigarettes contain less nicotine than cigarettes, but actual nicotine intake by e-cigarette users can approximate that of cigarette smokers.
"Our findings suggest that e-cigarettes are not neutral in terms of the effects on the lungs," notes senior author Shyam Biswal, a professor in the department of environmental health sciences at the Bloomberg School.
"We have observed that they increase the susceptibility to respiratory infections in the mouse models. This warrants further study in susceptible individuals, such as COPD patients who have switched from cigarettes to e-cigarettes or to new users of e-cigarettes who may have never used cigarettes".
"E-cigarette vapour alone produced mild effects on the lungs, including inflammation and protein damage," says Thomas Sussan, lead author at the Bloomberg School. "However, when this exposure was followed by a bacterial or viral infection, the harmful effects of e-cigarette exposure became even more pronounced. The e-cigarette exposure inhibited the ability of mice to clear the bacteria from their lungs, and the viral infection led to increased weight loss and death indicative of an impaired immune response".