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Health Bulletin


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  1. #331
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Getting pregnant between June and August is best: Study

    Women getting pregnant between June and August can expect heavier and healthier babies than babies conceived in other less warm months, a new study has found.

    According to Wired, the report by economists Janet Curre and Hannes Schwandt of Princeton University also discovered that May was the most unfavorable time to get pregnant, a daily reported.

    Children conceived in May were 13 percent more likely to be born premature that can cause many health problems, including weaker immune systems and slower cognitive development.

    Babies conceived from January through May had a gestation period a week shorter than average, but that increased again for June conceptions.
    The survey made use of official birth data of all births in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania for the years between 1994 and 2006.


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  2. #332
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Ditch cell phone to stay fit

    Glued to your cell phone? It may reduce your fitness and physical activity. High cell phone use is associated with poor fitness in college students, a new study has found.

    Researchers from Kent State University in US were interested in the relationship between smartphones and fitness levels because, unlike the television, phones are small and portable, therefore making it possible to use them while doing physical activity.

    They found that despite the phone's mobility, high use contributed to a sedentary lifestyle for some subjects. More than 300 college students from the Midwest were surveyed on their cell phone usage and activity level. Of those students, 49 had their fitness level and body composition tested.

    The researchers' results showed that students who spent large amounts of time on their cell phones - as much as 14 hours per day - were less fit than those who averaged a little more than 90 minutes of cell phone use daily.
    The study is believed to be the first to assess the relationship between cell phone use and fitness level among any population.

    Researchers Jacob Barkley and Andrew Lepp, faculty members in the College of Education, Health and Human Services at the University concluded that their findings suggest that cell phone use may be able to gauge a person's risk for a multitude of health issues related to an inactive lifestyle.

    The study was published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.

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  3. #333
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Cheap condoms could cause skin infections, diarrhoea

    For all the hard cash spent on media campaigns urging people to practise protected sexual intercourse, here is some unsettling news.

    Results of a research by students of the Yashwantrao Mohite College (YMC), Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University, Kothrud, has revealed that three out of 12 brands of condoms popular in the market contain traces of disease-causing pathogens.

    All three varieties are locally-produced and heavily purchased, priced at Rs 30 for a pack of 10, compared to high-end brands that are sold for Rs 100 or 110 for a pack of 10. One of the brands in the red, according to the study, is recognized by the government and is freely distributed by Population Services International, India (PSI).

    The research was conducted by four Microbiology students and one Botany student, under the guidance of Prof Bharat Ballal, assistant professor at YMC's microbiology department.

    Two years ago Ballal created the formula for immunity increasing ayurvedic formulations, Cytomini and Cytomaw, for HIV positive patients.

    "The results are shocking. The pathogen found in one brand showed similarities to Bacillus anthracis, which is an anthrax agent," said Harpreet Matey, one of the researchers. "The two other varieties had microorganisms similar to Bacillus endophyticus and Micrococcus luteus respectively. "Bacillus anthracis can cause cuteneous anthrax (severe skin infection), pulmonary anthrax (haemorrhagic pneumonia) and intestinal diseases like bloody diarrhoea," said Professor Ballal. Although Bacillus endophyticus and Micrococcus luteus are not proven pathogens, Ballal said, "They might be harmful if they come in contact during intercourse."

    For the study, researchers took 12 different samples across high-end, medium-end and low-end condom brands.They took the surface culture of the contraceptives, using sterile cotton swabs and plated them. After 25 hours, 10 samples (all of which were medium-end and low-end brands) showed signs of microbe colonisation.

    On performing cultural morphological and biochemical tests of the colonies, it was found that seven medium-end contraceptives had organisms which are found in the human body anyway and were thus considered non-pathogenic. However, the other three were found to have microorganisms that showed unusual characteristics, which could not be confirmed by biochemical tests.

    The samples were then sent to National Centre for Cell Sciences (NCCS), located in University of Pune for 16S ribosomal typing — a test to match the microorganisms with the ones existing in the database. The sequences were then scrutinised and submitted to the National Centre for Biotechnology Information(NCBI) to include in their database.

    "The infected samples were sourced from Budhwar Peth's red light area," said Ankush Jee Bhat, another researcher. "One of the brands is recognised by the government and the one that was found to have Bacillus anthracis is popular amongst homosexuals," said Tejaswi Sevekari, director of Saheli, an NGO that works for sex workers.

    When questioned, a PSI official said all freely distributed condoms were safe to use. "All condoms are tested in World Health Organisation labs. Only after the tests, does the government send them to us in sealed packets, which are then distributed," he said.


  4. #334
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Obese kids also have anaemia

    Iron deficiency is not found only in the malnourished. Children having adequate dietary intake may also suffer from this serious health problem, according to a study conducted on children living in Delhi by AIIMS.

    The study titled 'prevalence of anemia amongst overweight (ow) and obese (ob) children in NCT of Delhi' found that 31% of overweight children in the age group of 5-11 years suffered from mild anemia. In the same group, 25.8% of obese children were suffering from iron deficiency. Moderate anemia was seen in 7.4% (ow) and 3.4% (ob) of the children respectively.

    In children between the age of 12 and 18 years, the study found the incidence of mild anemia was- 26.2% in overweight and 19.2% in obese children. While 6.3% overweight and 2.5% obese children in the same age group suffered from moderate anemia. "One particular child, we found, was suffering from severe anemia," said Dr Umesh Kapil, lead author of the study and professor, gastroenterology and human nutrition, AIIMS. Iron deficiency in overweight children could be due to high intake of junk food and lack of physical activity, he said. "Physical inactivity leads to decreased myoglobin - a protein that helps in iron and oxygen binding. So, the iron is not released into the blood sufficiently leading to deficiency," said Sharma.

    Deficiency of iron, say doctors, is a known cause of anemia in children which leads to reduction of haemoglobin in blood. The symptoms of iron deficiency anemia include tiredness and lethargy, shortness of breath, changes in appearance such as a pale complexion and dry nails and susceptibility to illness and infection as lack of iron in the body affects the immune system. Severe iron deficiency may increase the risk of developing complications affecting the heart or lungs, say experts.

    "Obesity and iron-deficiency anemia represent opposite ends of the spectrum of over-nutrition and under-nutrition but they are linked. People are generally unaware of this. Such studies will help in spreading awareness on the issue and influence government policies to focus on cross-section of children suffering from this health problem," said Swati Bhardwaj, vice-head of the Centre for Nutrition and Metabolic Research.


  5. #335
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Your eyes offer a peek into your brain's health

    The small vessels behind your eyes could reveal how healthy your brain is, a new study has revealed.

    Scientists have found that people with wider veins scored worse on IQ tests in middle age, Fox News reported.

    The study's lead author, Idan Shalev, said that factors like smoking, diabetes, or socioeconomic status couldn't be alone blame for the poor scores.

    Shalev said that because eye vessels are developed from the same cells that brain vessels are developed from, they may reflect its condition.

    The study has found that the health of your eyes could indicate brain health at a much earlier age.

    Shalev said that even if you're blessed with 20/20 vision, retinal imaging- a fancy term for the photo eye docs take of your eyes- does far more than test vision and It could be the easiest way yet to check in on your brain.


  6. #336
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Antiviral enzyme behind several forms of cancer identified

    Scientists have discovered that a human antiviral enzyme causes DNA mutations that lead to several forms of cancer.


    The discovery by researchers at the University of Minnesota in US follows the team's earlier finding that the enzyme, called APOBEC3B, is responsible for more than half of breast cancer cases.

    "We are very excited about this discovery because it indicates that a single enzyme is one of the largest known contributors to cancer mutation, possibly even eclipsing sources such as UV rays from the sun and chemicals from smoking," said lead researcher Reuben Harris, a professor of biochemistry, molecular biology and biophysics based in the College of Biological Sciences.

    For the current study, Harris, along with colleagues Michael Burns and Alpay Temiz, analysed tumour samples from 19 different types of cancer for the presence of APOBEC3B and 10 related proteins.

    Results showed that APOBEC3B alone was significantly elevated in six types (bladder, cervix, two forms of lung cancer, head & neck, and breast). Levels of the enzyme, which is present in low levels in most healthy tissues, were elevated in several other types of cancer as well.

    A second key finding was that the mutational signature of APOBEC3B is a close match to the actual mutation pattern in these cancers.

    "Much like we each have unique written signatures, these enzymes each leave a unique mark," Harris said.

    Findings from both studies are counterintuitive because the enzyme, which is produced by the immune system, is supposed to protect cells from HIV and other viruses, not harm our own genomic DNA.

    While it's well known that sunlight and chemical carcinogens can mutate DNA, and that mutations are essential for cancer to develop, Harris is the first to discover that this human enzyme is a major cause mutation in cancer.

    He believes that APOBEC3B is a biological "double-edged sword" that protects some cells from viruses such as HIV and produces mutations that give rise to cancer in others.

    Harris hopes to find a way to block APOBEC3B from mutating DNA, just as sunscreen blocks mutations that lead to melanoma. It's also possible that a simple test for APOBEC3B could be used to detect cancer earlier.

    The study was published in the journal Nature Genetics.

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  7. #337
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Walnuts help protect against prostate cancer

    A new study has found that eating a modest amount of walnuts can protect against prostate cancer.

    Researchers at the School of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio injected immune-deficient mice with human prostate cancer cells.

    Within three to four weeks, tumors typically start to grow in a large number of these mice.

    The study asked whether a walnut-enriched diet versus a non-walnut diet would be associated with reduced cancer formation. A previous study found this to be true for breast cancer.

    Three of 16 mice (18 percent) eating the walnut-enriched diet developed prostate tumors, compared with 14 of 32 mice (44 percent) on the non-walnut control diet.

    Also of note, the final average tumor size in the walnut-fed animals was roughly one-fourth the average size of the prostate tumors that developed in the mice eating the control diet.

    "We found the results to be stunning because there were so few tumors in animals consuming the walnuts and these tumors grew much more slowly than in the other animals," study senior author Russel Reiter, Ph.D., professor of cellular and structural biology at the Health Science Center, said.

    "We were absolutely surprised by how highly effective the walnut diet was in terms of inhibition of human prostate cancer," he added.

    The study is published in the journal Cancer Investigation.


  8. #338
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Psychiatrists say that insufficient rest can also cause to a series of psychosomatic issues, doctor Dr Harish Shetty said, "Lack of rest can cause to depression, anger and unhappiness." But chronic insufficient rest can cause to much worse issues....


  9. #339
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Fish oil compound could help relieve chronic pain

    A new study revealed that a derivative of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), a main ingredient of over-the-counter fish oil supplements, can soothe and prevent neuropathic pain caused by injuries to the sensory system.

    The research, by Duke University, focused on a compound called neuroprotectin D1=protectin D1 (NPD1=PD1), a bioactive lipid produced by cells in response to external stimuli.

    NPD1=PD1 is present in human white blood cells, and was first identified based on its ability to resolve abdominal and brain inflammation.

    "These compounds are derived from omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, but are 1,000 times more potent than their precursors in reducing inflammation," Ru-Rong Ji, professor of anesthesiology and neurobiology at Duke University Medical Center and principal investigator of the study, said.
    The team used laboratory mouse models of nerve injuries to simulate pain symptoms commonly associated with post-surgical nerve trauma.

    They treated these animals with chemically-synthesized NPD1=PD1, either through local administration or injection, to investigate whether the lipid compound could relieve these symptoms.

    Their findings revealed that NPD1=PD1 not only alleviated the pain, but also reduced nerve swelling following the injuries.

    Its analgesic effect stems from the compound's ability to inhibit the production of cytokines and chemokines, which are small signaling molecules that attract inflammatory macrophages to the nerve cells.

    By preventing cytokine and chemokine production, the compound protected nerve cells from further damage. NPD1=PD1 also reduced neuron firing so the injured animals felt less pain.

    Ji believes that the new discovery has clinical potential.

    "Chronic pain resulting from major medical procedures such as amputation, chest and breast surgery is a serious problem," he said.

    Current treatment options for neuropathic pain include gabapentin and various opioids, which may lead to addiction and destruction of the sensory nerves.

    On the other hand, NPD1=PD1 can relieve neuropathic pain at very low doses and, more importantly, mice receiving the treatment did not show signs of physical depend


  10. #340
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Memory loss peaks at 4 stages

    Australian scientists have discovered four peak stages of memory loss 20 years before the onset of Alzheimer's disease.

    This data from the national Australian Imaging, Biomarker and Lifestyle Flagship study, has for the first time shown how long it takes for the development of Alzheimer's disease, the Courier Mail reported.

    Florey Institute and their national consortium's researchers discovered that the plaque build-up in Alzheimer's sufferers' brain could be seen up to 20 years before memory loss symptoms appear.

    However, it took about 10 years for these beta-amyloid plaque proteins to attain abnormal levels in the brain.

    The researchers found that there was also a gradual death of the hippocampus about five years before the onset of the disease, with distinct memory losses occurring in 17 years, four and three years before a full-blown dementia strikes.

    The research involved analysing brain scans and cognitive function tests of 206 participants in the Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle Flagship Study of Ageing.


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