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Health Bulletin


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  1. #1891
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    In a first, French scientist create sperm in lab

    Sperm has been created in a laboratory for the first time, French researchers have claimed, raising hopes of treatment for infertile men.

    A company based in in Lyon said they had created human sperm in vitro, a feat which would be a world first.

    Isabelle Cuoc, the CEO of the Kallistem laboratory, said: "Kallistem is addressing a major issue whose impacts are felt worldwide: the treatment of male infertility.

    "Our team is the first in the world to have developed the technology required to obtain fully formed spermatozoa [sperm] in vitro with sufficient yield for IVF."

    Kallistem said it has taken male fertility tissue, known as spermatogonia, and turned it into mature sperm in test tubes. This complex process usually takes 72 days.

    This would benefit tens of thousands of infertile men who cannot develop their own sperm.

    But until the publication of a patent on 23 June for the process, called Artisem, the company is refusing to disseminate their results.

    The lack of scientific findings published in a peer-reviewed journal has led to experts from around the world calling for caution to be exercised while further work is conducted.

    Professor Allan Pacey, an expert in male fertility at the University of Sheffield, said he remained sceptical until the research has reviewed.

    "Claims like this can often cause heartache for infertile couples who see them as hope only to have their hopes dashed later when it doesn't translate into an available procedure," he told the Daily Mail.

    ""If it works, this method opens great prospects," Professor Nathalie Rives, director of the centre for assisted reproduction at the University Hospital of Rouen, told Le Figaro newspaper.

    The private male infertility company hopes to begin human clinical trials within two years and is crowdsourcing funds to make this a reality.

    Eventually the lab hopes to treat 50,000 men a year, in a market that is estimated to be worth 1.7bn a year.


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  2. #1892
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Sleeping with lights on can make you fat

    A new study has found that people who sleep with light on or while watching TV or using mobile phones are tends to put on weight.

    The researchers of Leiden University Medical Centre, Netherlands found out in a survey that artificial lights disrupts the body clocks and also the brown fat cells that burn calories so all lights and gadgets should be switched off at bedtime, the Mirror reported.

    The researchers mentioned that on an average people stay online for about 20 hours a week and for 16 to 24-year-olds this figure rises to more than 27 hours.

    Sander Kooijman, a researcher said that the increasing prevalence of obesity was associated with a disrupted sleep-wake pattern in humans and coincides with the availability of artificial light.

    The survey is published in National Academy of Sciences journal Proceedings.


  3. #1893
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    The world now has a billion smokers

    Almost five percent of the world`s adult population (240 million people) have an alcohol use disorder and more than 20 percent (one billion people) smoke tobacco, new research on global addictive disorders has found.

    The report estimates the number of people injecting drugs at around 15 million worldwide.

    "Bringing all this data together has been very challenging but having this global snapshot in one accessible resource should prove invaluable for policymakers and researchers," said the report`s lead author Linda Gowing, associate professor at University of Adelaide in South Australia.

    The "Global Statistics on Addictive Behaviours: 2014 Status Report" shows that there are huge regional differences in use of addictive drugs.

    The heaviest drinkers are in Eastern Europe where 13.6 litres of alcohol is consumed per head of population each year, followed by Northern Europe at 11.5 litres.

    Central, Southern and Western Asia have the lowest consumption at 2.1 litres. Eastern Europe also has the most smokers at 30 percent of adults, closely followed by Oceania at 29.5 percent, Western Europe at 28.5 percent, and Africa at 14 percent.

    North and Central America with the Caribbean have the highest rates of injecting drug use at 0.8 percent, which is more than twice the rate in Northern Europe at 0.3 percent.

    The findings also showed that that the harm to society from legal drugs is many times the harm from illicit drugs.

    For the study, online sources of global, regional and national information on prevalence and major harms relating to alcohol use, tobacco use, unsanctioned psychoactive drug use and gambling were identified through expert review and assessed.

    The findings were detailed in the journal Addiction.


  4. #1894
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Molecules that kill only cancer cells identified

    Researchers have identified new molecules that kill cancer cells while protecting healthy cells.

    The research also shines a light on what happens to cells at the moment they become cancerous.

    The most effective cancer drugs today may kill cancer cells but they also kill healthy cells, causing severe side effects for patients in the process.

    Qing-Bin Lu, professor from University of Waterloo, has initiated a novel method to discover a new class of non-platinum-based-halogenated molecules that kill cancer cells yet prevent healthy cells from being damaged.

    Normally, the laser spectroscopy is applied to study chemical reactions as they occur on a molecular level.

    The laser takes a series of rapid "snapshots" of molecules as they interact and change structure over time.

    Professor Lu has integrated the ultra-fast laser with molecular biology and cell biology.

    He has applied the tool to understand the molecular mechanisms that cause cancer at the very moment when the DNA becomes damaged.

    Professor Lu has also used it to investigate how radiation therapy and chemotherapy using chemical agents work in treating a variety of cancers.

    "We know DNA damage is the initial step. With the novel approach, we can go back to the very beginning to find out what causes DNA damage in the first place, then mutation and then cancer," the authors said.

    It is extremely rare to discover anti-cancer agents that can selectively kill cancer cells and protect healthy cells.

    Lu has now applied for patents on the new family of non-platinum-based-halogenated molecules and hopes to start clinical trials soon.

    The research was published in the journal EbioMedicine.


  5. #1895
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Have an iron grip? You may live longer

    A firm hand shake is often associated with a strong character. Researchers now say that it could also predict how long you will live.

    The study published by Lancet on Thursday found that an average man has the grip strength of 30.2 kg if he lives in a low-income country, 37.3 kg from a middle-income country and 38.1 kg from high-income countries.

    A woman from a low-income country has grip strength of 24.3 kg, while those from middle income and high income country have 27.9 kg and 26.6 kg respectively.

    It is the largest study of its kind involving around 140,000 adults aged between 35 to 70 years from 17 countries including India. It also found that a 5 kg decline in grip strength was associated with a 16% increased risk of death from any cause, a 17% greater risk of cardiovascular death, a 17% higher risk of non-cardiovascular mortality and increases in the risk of having a heart attack (7%) or a stroke (9%).

    Low grip strength was associated with the presence of hypertension, coronary artery disease, heart failure or stroke.

    Grip strength was assessed using a handgrip dynamometer.

    Earlier studies have shown that low levels of physical capability - in particular weak grip strength, slow chair rise speed and poor standing balance performance are accurate indicators of poorer chances of survival over the next 13 years.

    The study said, "Weak grip strength is linked with shorter survival and a greater risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Grip strength is a stronger predictor of death than systolic blood pressure and the authors suggest that it could be used as a quick, low-cost screening tool by doctors or other healthcare professionals to identify high-risk patients among people who develop major illnesses such as heart failure and stroke." Lead author Dr Darryl Leong from McMaster University in Canada said, "Grip strength could be an easy and inexpensive test to assess an individual's risk of death and cardiovascular disease."

    Professor Avan Aihie Sayer from the University of Southampton, UK, said, "Loss of grip strength might be a particularly good marker of underlying ageing processes."

    The countries involved in the study were India, Canada, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Malaysia, Poland, South Africa, Turkey, China, Colombia, Iran, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe.


  6. #1896
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    A two minute walk can undo harms of oversitting

    With evidence mounting that sitting for long stretches of time is unhealthy , many of us naturally wonder how best to respond. Should we stand up, or is merely standing insufficient? Must we also stroll or jog or do jumping jacks?

    A new study offers some helpful perspective, suggesting that even a few minutes per hour of moving instead of remaining in a chair might substantially reduce the harms of oversitting. As most of us have heard by now, long bouts of sitting can increase someone's risk for diabetes, heart disease, obesity, kidney problems and premature death. These risks remain elevated even if someone exercises but then spends most of the rest of his or her waking hours in a chair.

    In a representative and sobering study being published next month in Diabetologia, scientists found that every hour that overweight adults spent watching television, which is a handy way to measure sitting time at home, increased their risk of becoming diabetic by 3.4%. But despite such health concerns, simply advising people to abandon their chairs and stand all day is impractical. Many of us who have experimented with standing or treadmill desks have discovered that they can have their own deleterious impacts on typing accuracy, general productivity and our lower backs.

    But because this study is observational, said Dr Srinivasan Beddhu, a professor at the University of Utah, it doesn't prove that walking instead of sitting directly reduces death risk, only that the two are associated.


  7. #1897
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Our attention span shorter than goldfish's

    Humans have become so obsessed with portable devices and overwhelmed by content that we now have attention spans shorter than that of the previously jokingly juxtaposed goldfish.
    Microsoft surveyed 2,000 people and used electroencephalograms (EEGs) to monitor the brain activity of another 112 in the study, which sought to determine the impact that pocketsized devices and the increased availability of digital media and information have had on our daily lives. Among the good news in the 54-page report is that our ability to multi-task has drastically improved in the information age, but unfortunately attention spans have fallen.

    In 2000 the average attention span was 12 seconds, but this has now fallen to just eight. The goldfish is believed to be able to maintain a solid nine. Those living more digital lifestyles struggled to focus when prolonged attention was needed.


  8. #1898
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Doctors can now inject drugs directly into brain


    Doctors can now inject drugs straight into people's brains, after making a major discovery in breaking through the barrier that keeps the nervous and circulatory systems apart.

    The blood-brain barrier (BBB) keeps us safe by ensuring that chemicals and microbes can't get through to our clean brain and cause it problems. But it filters out good and intentional molecules too, and has proven a stumbling block for doctors' aim to get drugs straight to where they are needed.

    But new study claims to have found a way, developing special molecules that can trick the BBB by exploiting the mechanism that let nutrients into the brain.


  9. #1899
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Birth month influences personality traits: Study

    You are more likely to become a celebrity if you were born between late December and March, a new study suggests.

    People's personalities tend to vary somewhat depending on the season in which they are born, and astrological signs may have developed as a useful system for remembering these patterns, according to researchers.

    Such seasonal effects may not be clear in individuals, but can be discerned through averaging personality traits across large cohorts born at the same time of year.

    Psychologists have known that certain personality traits tend to be associated with certain birth months.

    For example, people born in January and February tend to be more creative, and have a higher chance of being diagnosed with schizophrenia, than people born at any other time of year.

    And people born in odd-numbered months tend to be more extroverted than those born in even-numbered months.

    Traditional Western astrology uses elements (water, earth, air and fire), sign duality (bright/dark) and sign qualities (cardinal, mutable and fixed) to describe and categorise these effects.

    It considers late December through early March as a "wet" time of year, and connects wetness with creativity, for example.

    "Fixed" signs are said to be more stubborn and persistent than others, researchers said.

    Hamilton looked at a data set of 300 celebrities from the fields of politics, science, public service, literature, the arts and sports.

    He found that celebrities' birth dates tended to cluster at certain times of the year. 'Wet' signs were associated with more celebrities, as were signs classified as 'bright' and 'fixed'.

    "Psychologists want to dismiss these astrological correlations, but there are seasonality effects that we have yet to explain," said researcher Mark Hamilton, a social scientist in the Communication Department at the University of Connecticut (UConn).

    Hamilton is not arguing that heavenly bodies are the true source of these effects; rather, astrological aspects are just useful tools, or heuristics, that help people remember the timing and patterns of nature.

    Hamilton is currently working with other researchers on an analysis of 85,000 celebrities dating from 3,000 BC to the present era.

    He said that the seasonality effect on celebrity appears to hold true even in this large data set stretching across millennia and cultures.

    The study was published in the journal Comprehensive Psychology.


  10. #1900
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    New technique helps slim diabetics keep sugar levels in check

    Obese diabetics have a lot of surgical options that help them lose weight and have a better control over diabetes, but slim diabetics are condemned to regular insulin shots and medication. Now, a simple nip and tuck in the intestine can help slim diabetics live normal lives.

    Doctors at Rigid Lifeline Hospital performed a Sleeve Gastrectomy and Illeal Transposition (SGIT) procedure on a diabetic weighing just 70kg.

    In the SGIT procedure, a Brazil-based method, doctors shorten the intestine so that it is closer to the stomach. "When a 6 foot section of the intestine is removed, food reaches the lower portion faster. This way, the intestine gets tricked into thinking that the patient has diarrhoea and releases a hormone called GLP-1 which acts as a brake and secretes insulin to regularize sugar levels," said Dr J S Raj Kumar who performed the surgery.

    In the 36-year-old patient who had been battling diabetes for more than four years, doctors made three cuts in the intestine and joined it in three sections again. "We also ensure that ghrelin, the hormone that triggers hunger, is decreased. The significant factor that should be kept in mind while doing the surgery is to ensure there are no leaks after re-attaching the intestines," he said.

    Merely three weeks after the surgery, the diabetes levels were dramatically regularized, said diabetologist Dr Dinakar. "His sugar levels had hit 400 before the surgery and he was forced to take 30 units of insulin every day. Now after the surgery, all he needs is three units." Dr Dinakar said effects of the surgery would be felt only after six months and 50% of patients had a chance of having complete diabetes remission post surgery.


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