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Health Bulletin


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  1. #21
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Living on hope: Cell therapy may help fight leukaemia

    A treatment that genetically alters a patient's own immune cells to fight cancer has, for the first time, produced remissions in adults with an acute leukaemia that is usually lethal, researchers are reporting. In one patient who was severely ill, all traces of leukaemia vanished in eight days. "We had hoped, but couldn't have predicted that the response would be so profound and rapid," said Dr Renier J Brentjens, the first author of a new study of the therapy and a specialist in leukemia at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.


    The treatment is experimental, has been used in only a small number of patients and did not work in all of them. But experts consider it a highly promising approach for a variety of malignancies, including other blood cancers and tumours in organs like the prostate gland. The new study, in five adults with acute leukaemia in whom chemotherapy had failed, was published on Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

    The treatment is similar to one that pulled a 7-year-old girl, Emma Whitehead, from death's door into remission nearly a year ago, and that has had astounding success in several adults with chronic leukaemia in whom chemotherapy had failed. The treatment regimen that saved Emma and those adults was developed at University of Pennsylvania. Related studies have been done at National Cancer Institute.

    But this cell-therapy approach had not been tried before in adults with the disease that Emma had, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. This type of blood cancer is worse in adults than in children, with a cure rate in adults of only about 40%, compared with 80% to 90% in children. The disease is not common. Each year in the US, it affects about 2,400 people older than 20, and 3,600 younger.

    Though there are fewer cases in adults, there are more deaths: about 1,170 adults die each year compared with 270 deaths in people under 20.

    In adults, this type of leukemia is a "devastating, galloping disease," said Dr Michel Sadelain , the senior author of the new study and director of the Center for Cell Engineering and the Gene Transfer and Gene Expression Laboratory at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan.

    Patients like the ones in the study usually have only a few months left, he said. But now, three of the five have been in remission for 5 to 24 months. Two others died: one was in remission but died from a blood clot, and the other relapsed. The survivors have had bonemarrow transplants. Their prognosis is good, but relapse is still possible.


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  2. #22
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Fruits, veggies make you more optimistic

    People who prefer to eat fruit and vegetables are likely to be more optimistic thanks to higher levels of plant compounds called carotenoids in their blood, says a new research.

    Previous studies have shown that high blood levels of antioxidants, of which carotenoids are one form, may be a marker of good health.

    A commonly-known carotenoid is beta-carotene, found in high levels in orange fruit and green, leafy vegetables.

    Antioxidants help keep other molecules in the body from producing free radicals, which can damage cells and contribute to disease.

    "Individuals with greater optimism tended to have greater levels of carotenoids such as beta-carotene," said Julia Boehm, of the Harvard School of Public Health, who led the study, the journal Psychosomatic Medicine reports.

    "This is the first study of its kind to report a relationship between optimism and healthier levels of carotenoid concentrations," she added.

    One theory is that antioxidants might have a de-stressing effect, according to the Daily Mail.

    The current study evaluated blood concentrations of nine different antioxidants, including carotenoids such as beta-carotene and vitamin E in nearly 1,000 American men and women aged between 25 to 74 and 74 years.

    Participants filled out a questionnaire about their life attitudes and provided blood samples to the researchers.

    People who ate two or fewer servings of fruits and vegetables a day were significantly less optimistic than people who ate three or more servings a day.

    They also measured the degree of optimism in the same group.

    Researchers found that people who were more optimistic had up to a 13 percent increase in carotenoid concentrations in their blood compared with people who were less optimistic.

    The researchers believe that higher levels of fruit and vegetable consumption among more optimistic people may at least partially explain the results.

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  3. #23
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Abused women may give birth to autists

    Women who underwent physical, emotional, or sexual abuse when they were children are more likely to have a kid, who is suffering with autism compare to others who faced no abuse.

    According to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), woman who experienced the most serious abuse were three-and-a-half times more likely to have a child with autism.

    The researchers examined data from more than 50,000 women enrolled in the Nurses' Health Study II and found that it was not just women exposed to the most serious levels of abuse who had higher risk of having a child with autism, but also a large number of women who experienced moderate abuse.

    While about 2 percent of women reported the most serious abuse, even women in the top 25 percent of abuse severity— that includes women who experienced moderate levels of abuse —were 60 percent more likely to have a child with autism compared with women who did not experience abuse.

    The authors said that these observations suggest that abuse in childhood is not only harmful to person who directly experiences it, but could also increase risk for serious disabilities in the next generation.

    The researchers also looked at nine pregnancy-related risk factors to see if they were linked to higher risk of having a child with autism in women, who were abused as children.

    These nine risk factors—including gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and smoking—have been earlier associated with an increased likelihood of having a child with autism.

    The study has been published in JAMA Psychiatry.


  4. #24
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Abused women may give birth to autists

    Women who underwent physical, emotional, or sexual abuse when they were children are more likely to have a kid, who is suffering with autism compare to others who faced no abuse.

    According to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), woman who experienced the most serious abuse were three-and-a-half times more likely to have a child with autism.

    The researchers examined data from more than 50,000 women enrolled in the Nurses' Health Study II and found that it was not just women exposed to the most serious levels of abuse who had higher risk of having a child with autism, but also a large number of women who experienced moderate abuse.

    While about 2 percent of women reported the most serious abuse, even women in the top 25 percent of abuse severity— that includes women who experienced moderate levels of abuse —were 60 percent more likely to have a child with autism compared with women who did not experience abuse.

    The authors said that these observations suggest that abuse in childhood is not only harmful to person who directly experiences it, but could also increase risk for serious disabilities in the next generation.

    The researchers also looked at nine pregnancy-related risk factors to see if they were linked to higher risk of having a child with autism in women, who were abused as children.

    These nine risk factors—including gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and smoking—have been earlier associated with an increased likelihood of having a child with autism.

    The study has been published in JAMA Psychiatry.

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  5. #25
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Black pepper: King of spices, enemy of ailments

    My curiosity about this spice was triggered, when I took a mixture of black pepper and black cardamom and it worked as an instant remedy for diarrhoea.

    Black pepper has been used as a folk medicine in a variety of cultures. The chemical, piperine is an active component in both black and white pepper and has numerous physiological and drug-like actions.

    Now, several scientific studies provide evidence that piperine enhances digestive tract function, has antibiotic properties and anti-inflammatory effects, anti-oxidant properties, anti-cancer effects and may even help in weight loss.

    Interestingly, it has been found to have anti-larvicide effect against the dengue causing mosquito. The East Africans' belief that body odour produced after ingesting pepper, repels mosquitoes may be well worth it for health authorities to consider using black pepper as a herbal remedy to arrest the dengue epidemic!

    Also called the king of spices, "pepper" is one of the oldest and most popular spices in the world. Discovered 4000 years ago, it is indigenous to the Malabar Coast in India. It was the search for pepper that drew early Western sailors eastwards. It became so important that it was used as desirable currency-dowries, taxes and rents were paid in pepper corns and the word "pepper corn rent" was coined. The name pepper comes from the Sanskrit word 'pippali' meaning berry.

    Like many spices that act as digestive stimulants, black pepper has been used to treat sluggish digestion, flatulence, bloating, lack of appetite and cramps. Several studies show that piperine favourably stimulates digestive enzymes of pancreas, improves digestive capacity. It has also been found to be useful in nausea.

    Strong anti-oxidant activity has been found in black pepper extracts. This may render far reaching health benefits including cancer prevention, anti-inflammatory effects and immuno-modulatory activity.
    A recent study in 2010 conducted to determine effects of piperine on malignant breast cancer cells found that it inhibited breast stem-cell renewal without causing toxicity to normal cells, hence concluding that piperine could be a potential cancer preventive agent. Another study in 2010 concluded that black-pepper extract enhanced activity of natural killer cells, showing powerful anti-cancer and anti-tumour effects.

    An animal study in 2010 showed that visceral fat reduced significantly in the group which was fed black pepper and its extracts piperine.
    Hoever, piperine can modify the effects of numerous other medicines. Therefore, it is important to seek advice from a qualified professional before using it in therapeutic doses.

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  6. #26
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Why energy drinks are fatal found

    Consuming energy drinks may increase blood pressure and disturb your heart's natural rhythm, new research led by an Indian-origin scientist has warned. US researchers analysed data from seven previously published observational and interventional studies to determine how consuming energy drinks might impact heart health. In the first part of the pooled analysis, researchers examined the QT interval of 93 people who had just consumed one to three cans of energy drinks.

    The QT interval is a segment of the heart's rhythm on an electrocardiogram; when prolonged, it can cause irregular heartbeats or sudden cardiac death. They found that QT interval was 10 milliseconds longer for those who had energy drinks. "Doctors are concerned if patients experience an additional 30 milliseconds in their QT interval from baseline," said Sachin A Shah, lead author from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California.

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  7. #27
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Bananas a miracle cure for migraine

    A mother of two from West Sussex, who suffered from migraines that left her bed ridden for days at a time for almost 20 years, discovered that munching on a banana every couple of hours was a miracle cure.


    Lisa Poyner, 38, from Worthing, told the Daily Express that she doesn't like bananas very much, but eating every couple of hours is the only thing that helps her lead a normal life.

    She said that she had been prescribed all kinds of medication before, but nothing ever worked as well eating bananas every couple of hours.

    Poyner said that bananas are handy as they're healthy, and good sustenance, so if she feels an attack is about to strike, she just grabs one straight away.

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  8. #28
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Nausea drug can kill brain tumours

    Scientists have discovered that the growth of brain tumours can be halted by a drug currently used to help patients recover from chemotherapy-induced nausea.

    New research from the University of Adelaide looked at the relationship between brain tumours and a peptide associated with inflammation in the brain, called "substance P". Substance P is commonly released throughout the body by the nervous system, and contributes to tissue swelling following injury. In the brain, levels of substance P greatly increase after traumatic brain injury and stroke.

    "Researchers have known for some time that levels of substance P are also greatly increased in different tumour types around the body," said Dr Elizabeth Harford-Wright, a postdoctoral fellow in the University's Adelaide Centre for Neuroscience Research.

    "We wanted to know if these elevated levels of the peptide were also present in brain tumour cells, and if so, whether or not they were affecting tumour growth. Importantly, we wanted to see if we could stop tumour growth by blocking substance P," she said.

    Harford-Wright found that levels of substance P were greatly increased in brain tumour tissue. Knowing that substance P binds to a receptor called NK1, she used an antagonist drug called Emend to stop substance P binding to the receptor. Emend is already used in cancer clinics to help patients with chemotherapy-induced nausea.

    "We were successful in blocking substance P from binding to the NK1 receptor, which resulted in a reduction in brain tumour growth - and it also caused cell death in the tumour cells," she said.

    "So preventing the actions of substance P from carrying out its role in brain tumours actually halted the growth ofbrain cancer. "This is a very exciting result, and it offers further opportunities to study possible brain tumour treatments over the coming years," she added.

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  9. #29
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Coffee may protect against liver damage in alcohol drinkers

    Heavy coffee consumption may protect against liver damage in men who drink alcohol, a new study has claimed.

    Researchers asked nearly 19,000 Finnish men and women between ages 25 and 74 about their coffee and alcohol consumption.

    "Our findings suggest a possible protective effect for coffee intake in alcohol consumers," said study researcher Dr Onni Niemela, of Seinajoki Central Hospital and the University of Tampere in Finland.

    Researchers measured participants' blood levels of the liver enzyme gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT), MyHealthNewsDaily reported.

    Drinking alcohol raises levels of GGT in the blood. Over time, drinking can also lead to alcoholic liver disease. People with liver disease show higher levels of GGT in their blood.

    Men in the study who consumed more than 24 alcoholic drinks per week, or about 3.5 drinks daily, had the highest levels of the liver enzyme - about three times higher than men who did not drink alcohol.

    But among the men who were heavy drinkers, those who also consumed five or more cups of coffee daily showed a 50 per cent reduction in GGT compared with men who drank no coffee.

    The researchers found no significant association between coffee consumption and GGT levels in female drinkers.

    In addition to drinking alcohol, smoking, older age and being overweight can also raise GGT levels.

    While there were no differences in these variables among heavy drinkers, moderate drinkers, former drinkers and nondrinkers in the study, the researchers cannot determine for sure whether some interaction between alcohol and one of these factors affected the results.

    The researchers found that the way that coffee was prepared ¿ whether it was filtered, boiled or served as espresso, for example - did not seem to make a difference in the findings.

    Previous studies have suggested that drinking coffee may decrease GGT levels, and that caffeine may play a role in this.

    It remains unclear whether elevated levels of the liver enzyme correlate with symptoms of liver disease.

    The study was published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism.

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  10. #30
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Song stuck in your head? Try solving puzzles

    Solving tricky anagrams can help you get rid of earworms — a piece of music that keeps repeating in your mind so that you hear it, even when it is not being played — scientists claim.

    Solving some anagrams can force the intrusive music out of your working memory, allowing it to be replaced with other more amenable thoughts, scientists said. However, trying anything too difficult seemed to have little effect, the Telegraph reported.

    "The key is to find something that will give the right level of challenge. If you are cognitively engaged, it limits the ability of intrusive songs to enter your head," said Dr Ira Hyman, a music psychologist at Western Washington University who conducted the research.

    "Something we can do automatically like driving or walking means you are not using all of your cognitive resource, so there is plenty of space left for that internal jukebox to start playing," Hyman said.

    "Likewise, if you are trying something too hard, then your brain will not be engaged successfully, so that the music can come back. You need to find that bit in the middle where there is not much space left in the brain. That will be different for each of us," she said.

    Hyman and her colleagues conducted a series of tests on volunteers by playing them popular songs in an attempt to find out how tunes can become stuck in long-term memory.

    The researchers tested whether solving puzzles such as anagrams would help to reduce the recurrence of earworms. Anagrams were found to be successful in tackling ear -worms and the team also discovered that solving those with five letters gave the best results.


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