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Health Bulletin


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  1. #31
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Found: What causes Down’s syndrome

    Extra chromosome inherited in Down's syndrome — chromosome 21— alters brain and body development, a study has found. Researchers at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham ) have new evidence that points to a protein called sorting nexin 27, or SNX27.

    SNX27 production is inhibited by a molecule encoded on chromosome 21.

    The study shows that SNX27 is reduced in human Down's syndrome brains. The extra copy of chromosome 21 means a person with Down's syndrome produces less SNX27 protein, which in turn disrupts brain function.

    What's more, the researchers showed that restoring SNX27 in Down's syndrome mice improves cognitive function and behaviour.

    "In the brain, SNX27 keeps certain receptors on the cell surface — receptors that are necessary for neurons to fire properly," Huaxi Xu, PhD, professor in Sanford-Burnham's Del E Webb Neuroscience, Aging and Stem Cell Research Center and senior author of the study, said. "So, in Down's syndrome, we believe lack of SNX27 is at least partly to blame for developmental and cognitive defects," Xu said. The study is published in the journal Nature Medicine.


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  2. #32
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Found: What causes Down’s syndrome

    Extra chromosome inherited in Down's syndrome — chromosome 21— alters brain and body development, a study has found. Researchers at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham ) have new evidence that points to a protein called sorting nexin 27, or SNX27.

    SNX27 production is inhibited by a molecule encoded on chromosome 21.

    The study shows that SNX27 is reduced in human Down's syndrome brains. The extra copy of chromosome 21 means a person with Down's syndrome produces less SNX27 protein, which in turn disrupts brain function.

    What's more, the researchers showed that restoring SNX27 in Down's syndrome mice improves cognitive function and behaviour.

    "In the brain, SNX27 keeps certain receptors on the cell surface — receptors that are necessary for neurons to fire properly," Huaxi Xu, PhD, professor in Sanford-Burnham's Del E Webb Neuroscience, Aging and Stem Cell Research Center and senior author of the study, said. "So, in Down's syndrome, we believe lack of SNX27 is at least partly to blame for developmental and cognitive defects," Xu said. The study is published in the journal Nature Medicine.


  3. #33
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    No lame excuse: You can be ‘allergic’ to exercise

    It sounds improbable but the world is waking up to a few people who are actually allergic to exercise. This could come as a suprise for all those who joke about not hitting the gym because "they are allergic to sweating it out" .

    A British woman—mother of four—can't hit the treadmill because she is among the few people across the globe who have been diagnosed with Exercise-Induced Angioedema (EIA). Thirty-three-year old Kasia Beaver can't workout because an increased heart rate from pumping weights or jogging could prove fatal. Kasia suffered her first attack of allergy when she was 20 and expecting her first child. Playing with kids or any activity caused problems to her. Doctors finally diagnosed her with EIA and said any form of physical exercise could lead to an anaphylactic shock that could even kill her.

    Kasia told the Daily Mail recently , "I was ice skating with my husband when I had a really bad attack. People don't believe me when I tell them I'm allergic to exercise. They think it's just an excuse to be lazy. But the truth is I used to go to the gym all the time. I was really sporty. I was a size 10. One day I went to the gym with my mum. I just did a normal workout and then my eyes started feeling tight. It took me years to realize that exercise was the trigger. Every time my heart rate goes up I have an attack."

    Kasia now takes a medicine called ketotifen, an antihistamine, which allows her to walk to the park for the first time in a decade without suffering an attack.

    Experts say EIA is a rare disorder in which anaphylaxis occurs after physical activity.

    The symptoms may include wheezing, nausea, abdominal cramping and diarrhea. If physical activity continues, patients may progress to more severe symptoms, including hypotension, and, ultimately , cardiovascular collapse.

    Vigorous forms of physical activity such as jogging, tennis, dancing , and bicycling are more commonly associated with exercise-induced anaphylaxis, although lower levels of exertion like walking are also capable of triggering attacks.

    In a long-term study, the physical activity most often associated with exercise-induced anaphylaxis was jogging. Prevention remains the best treatment for patients with exercise-induced anaphylaxis.

    Reducing physical activity to a lower level may diminish the frequency of attacks.

    Such patients should also avoid any form of exercise in extremely humid, hot, or cold weather and during the allergy season.


  4. #34
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    No lame excuse: You can be ‘allergic’ to exercise

    It sounds improbable but the world is waking up to a few people who are actually allergic to exercise. This could come as a suprise for all those who joke about not hitting the gym because "they are allergic to sweating it out" .

    A British woman—mother of four—can't hit the treadmill because she is among the few people across the globe who have been diagnosed with Exercise-Induced Angioedema (EIA). Thirty-three-year old Kasia Beaver can't workout because an increased heart rate from pumping weights or jogging could prove fatal. Kasia suffered her first attack of allergy when she was 20 and expecting her first child. Playing with kids or any activity caused problems to her. Doctors finally diagnosed her with EIA and said any form of physical exercise could lead to an anaphylactic shock that could even kill her.

    Kasia told the Daily Mail recently , "I was ice skating with my husband when I had a really bad attack. People don't believe me when I tell them I'm allergic to exercise. They think it's just an excuse to be lazy. But the truth is I used to go to the gym all the time. I was really sporty. I was a size 10. One day I went to the gym with my mum. I just did a normal workout and then my eyes started feeling tight. It took me years to realize that exercise was the trigger. Every time my heart rate goes up I have an attack."

    Kasia now takes a medicine called ketotifen, an antihistamine, which allows her to walk to the park for the first time in a decade without suffering an attack.

    Experts say EIA is a rare disorder in which anaphylaxis occurs after physical activity.

    The symptoms may include wheezing, nausea, abdominal cramping and diarrhea. If physical activity continues, patients may progress to more severe symptoms, including hypotension, and, ultimately , cardiovascular collapse.

    Vigorous forms of physical activity such as jogging, tennis, dancing , and bicycling are more commonly associated with exercise-induced anaphylaxis, although lower levels of exertion like walking are also capable of triggering attacks.

    In a long-term study, the physical activity most often associated with exercise-induced anaphylaxis was jogging. Prevention remains the best treatment for patients with exercise-induced anaphylaxis.

    Reducing physical activity to a lower level may diminish the frequency of attacks.

    Such patients should also avoid any form of exercise in extremely humid, hot, or cold weather and during the allergy season.


  5. #35
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Superbug spreads to communities: Study

    Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a superbug generally associated with hospitalized patients, has spread to communities as well. This was shown in a recent study by a network of microbiology laboratories at the country's s premier medical colleges and hospitals.


    The study, which analyses how patients' response to antibiotics at select hospitals in 2008 and 2009, found the overall prevalence of MRSA to be 41%, which is very high. Among outpatients, ward inpatients and those in the ICU, the isolation rates of the drug-resistant bacteria were 28%, 42% and 43% respectively in 2008, and 27%, 49% and 47% in 2009. MRSA causes dangerous infections of the skin, soft tissue, bones, the bloodstream and lungs.

    "We used cefoxitin (10 microgram) and oxacillin (1 microgram) for methicillin resistance. The other antibiotics that were tested included penicillin (10 units), gentamicin (10 microgram) and ciprofloxacin (5 microgram). They did not work. Only vancomycin (30 microgram) and linezolid (30 microgram) were effective," said Dr Raman Sardana, microbiologist at Apollo Hospital in Delhi, who participated in the study supported by WHO. Other participants in the investigations to assess antibiotic-resistance were AIIMS and Chacha Nehru Bal Chikitsalaya in Delhi; Hinduja national hospital and MRC in Mumbai; PGIMER Chandigarh; and CMC Vellore.

    "The emergence of Staphylococcus aureus, a drug-resistant bacteria, in outpatients is worrying. It necessitates widespread use of high-end antibiotics, which are limited," said a senior doctor. He added that MRSA causes infections mostly in the armpits, genital area and nasal mucous membranes. It is transmitted through the skin, towels, clothing or direct body contact. All it needs is a small abrasion to enter the patient's bloodstream.

    Methicillin resistance was first reported in England in 1961, and surfaced in the US a few years later. "Its prevalence in developing nations like ours, with a high burden of infectious diseases and low healthcare spending, is a concern," said Dr Sanjeev Bagai, a paediatric nephrologist.

    "Judicious use of antibiotics and antifungal is imperative," said Dr Chand Wattal, head of the microbiology department at Sir Ganga Ram.


  6. #36
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Scientists claim to discover genes influencing cancers

    A group of scientists in Australia claimed to have discovered the genes which can increase a person's risk of developing several cancers.

    Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) has been working with an international study led by Cambridge University in England for the research project that examined the DNA make-up of more than 200,000 people, an ABC report said.

    "Every single one of these new genes we've discovered – in total across all the cancers there's more than 150 of them – any one of those genes might lead us into completely new kinds of treatments for these cancers," QIMR spokeswoman Georgia Chenevix-Trench was quoted as saying.

    "It'll take a lot more work of this type to actually understand how these genes operate and then how we might be able to interfere with them in some way," she said.

    Chenevix-Trench, however, pointed out that translation of the research outcome into treatment may take a long time.

    "The first thing you need to do to devise new treatments is to understand the mechanism underlying these diseases and this is really providing some very new insights into some of the genes that might be responsible," she said.


  7. #37
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Tea, coffee can activate cancer gene

    Consumption of black and green teas, coffee and liquid smoke flavouring can activate the highest levels of a gene associated with cancer, scientists, including Indian-origin researchers, have warned.

    Scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center tested the potentially harmful effect of foods and flavourings on the DNA of cells. They found that liquid smoke flavouring, black and green teas and coffee activated cancer-linked gene called p53.
    Liquid smoke, produced from the distilled condensation of natural smoke, is often used to add smoky flavor to sausages, other meats and vegan meat substitutes.

    The p53 gene becomes activated when DNA is damaged. Its gene product makes repair proteins that mend DNA. The higher the level of DNA damage, the more p53 becomes activated.

    "We don't know much about the foods we eat and how they affect cells in our bodies," said Scott Kern, the Kovler Professor of Oncology and Pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
    "But it's clear that plants contain many compounds that are meant to deter humans and animals from eating them, like cellulose in stems and bitter-tasting tannins in leaves and beans we use to make teas and coffees, and their impact needs to be assessed," Kern said.
    Kern cautioned that the study does not suggest people should stop using tea, coffee or flavourings, but do emphasise the need for further research.

    The team, including Samuel Gilbert, Kalpesh Patel, Soma Ghosh and Anil Bhunia from Johns Hopkins, mixed dilutions of the food products and flavourings with human cells and grew them in laboratory dishes for 18 hours.

    Measuring and comparing p53 activity with baseline levels, the scientists found that liquid smoke flavouring, black and green teas and coffee showed up to nearly 30-fold increases in p53 activity, which was on par with their tests of p53 activity caused by a chemotherapy drug called etoposide.

    Researcher Zulfiquer Hossain tracked down the chemicals responsible for the p53 activity. The strongest p53 activity was found in two chemicals: pyrogallol and gallic acid.

    Pyrogallol, commonly found in smoked foods, is also found in cigarette smoke, hair dye, tea, coffee, bread crust, roasted malt and cocoa powder, according to Kern. Gallic acid, a variant of pyrogallol, is found in teas and coffees.
    Kern said that more studies are needed to examine the type of DNA damage caused by pyrogallol and gallic acid, but there could be ways to remove the two chemicals from foods and flavourings.

    "We found that Scotch whiskey, which has a smoky flavor and could be a substitute for liquid smoke, had minimal effect on p53 activity in our tests," said Kern.

    Other flavourings like fish and oyster sauces, tabasco and soy sauces, and black bean sauces showed minimal p53 effects in Kern's tests, as did soybean paste, kim chee, wasabi powder, hickory smoke powders and smoked paprika. The study was published in journal Food and Chemical Toxicology.


  8. #38
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Saliva test can predict aggression risk in boys

    A simple saliva test could be an effective tool in predicting violent behaviour in boys, a new study suggests. The study, led by Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center suggests a link between salivary concentrations of certain hormones and aggression.
    Researchers, led by psychiatrist Drew Barzman collected saliva samples from 17 boys aged 7-9 years admitted to the hospital for psychiatric care to identify which children were most likely to show aggression and violence.

    The samples were tested for levels of three hormones: testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone and cortisol. The severity and frequency of aggression correlated with the levels of these hormones. Barzman's team focused on rapid, real-time assessment of violence among child and adolescent inpatients.

    But he believes a fast and accurate saliva test could eventually have other applications. "We believe salivary hormone testing has the potential to help doctors monitor which treatments are working best for their patients," he said.


  9. #39
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Smoking a sign of psychiatric illness

    Smoking may be a sign of psychiatric illness, according to a new UK report, which found a third of smokers to have mental disorders.

    According to the report, almost one in three cigarettes consumed in UK today is smoked by someone with a mental disorder. When people with drug and alcohol problems are included, the proportion is even higher, the report published by the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Psychiatrists found.

    The reason being that smoking rates have more than halved over the past 50 years, but the decline has not happened equally in all parts of society,'The Independent' reported.

    "Smoking is increasingly becoming the domain of the most disadvantaged: the poor, homeless, imprisoned and those with mental disorder. This is a damning indictment of UK public health policy and clinical service provision," the report said.

    The report further warned that of the ten million smokers in UK, up to three million have a mental disorder, up to two million have been prescribed a psychoactive drug in the past year and approaching one million have longstanding (mental) disease.

    While smoking rates among the general public have fallen dramatically, from 56% in men and 42%in women in the early 1960s to 21% in both sexes today, they have hardly changed among people with mental disorders and remain at over 40%.

    Persuading people with mental disorders to give up smoking was a major challenge. But so was identifying smokers who might need psychiatric treatment, Stephen Spiro, deputy chair of the British Lung Foundation, said. "Routinely considering whether someone presenting with a lung disease, or indeed any patient who smokes, might benefit from referral to mental health services, could make the key difference for many individuals," professor Spiro said.

    Smoking increases with the severity of mental disorder, and amongst those with a psychotic illness almost all smoke. Nicotine appears to provide some relief from symptoms of anxiety, depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder which may explain why people with these conditions become smokers.


  10. #40
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Decoded: Why we like violent films

    People are more likely to watch movies with gory scenes of violence if they felt there was meaning in confronting violent aspects of real life, according to a study.


    Researchers at the University of Augsburg, Germany and the University of Wisconsin-Madison studied why movie audiences are attracted to bloodshed, gore and violence.

    Their study examined whether these serious, contemplative, and truth-seeking motivations for exposure to violent portrayals are more than just an intellectual pleasure.

    They invited a large binational sample from Germany and the US (total of 482 participants), ranging in age from 18-82, and with varying levels of education.

    Participants viewed film trailers featuring different levels of gore and meaningfulness, and rated their likelihood of watching the movie. They also indicated perceptions of the film (how gory, meaningful, thought-provoking, etc).


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