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Health Bulletin


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  1. #411
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Breastfeeding offers more protection to nonsmoking moms

    Breastfeeding for more than six months protects women from breast cancer. However, this protection works only in nonsmoking women, said a study published online in the Journal of Clinical Nursing.

    The study looked at the medical records of 504 female patients, aged between 19 to 91 years of age, who had been diagnosed and treated for breast cancer from 2004 to 2009 at the San Cecilio University Hospital in Granada in Spain. The university's Emilio Gonzalez-Jimenez and his team looked at factors such as age of diagnosis, how long the women breastfed, family history of cancer, obesity, alcohol consumption, and smoking habits.

    They found that women who breastfed were diagnosed with breast cancer at a later age regardless of their family history of cancer. Nonsmokers, who breastfed for periods of longer than six months, were diagnosed with breast cancer at least 10 years later than nonsmokers who breastfed for a shorter period.

    "The results suggest that for nonsmokers, breastfeeding for more than six months not only provides children with numerous health benefits, but it also may protect mothers from breast cancer," said the press release.


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  2. #412
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Too many soft drinks make child aggressive

    Young children who have more than four soft drinks a day are twice as likely to destroy things belonging to others, get into fights and physically attack people.

    This is the conclusion of a new research by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health that has been published in The Journal of Pediatrics. Stating that Americans buy more soft drinks per capita than people in any other countries, the study said that aggression, attention problems, and withdrawal behavior are all associated with soft drink consumption in young children.

    Shakira Suglia and colleagues assessed approximately 3,000 5-year-old children enrolled in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a study that follows mother-child pairs from 20 large US cities. Mothers reported their child's soft drink consumption and completed the child behavior checklist based on their child's behavior during the previous two months. The researchers found that 43% of the children consumed at least 1 serving of soft drinks per day, and 4% consumed 4 or more.

    Aggression, withdrawal, and attention problems were associated with soda consumption. ``Children who drank 4 or more soft drinks per day were more than twice as likely to destroy things belonging to others, get into fights, and physically attack people,'' said the study. They also had increased attention problems and withdrawal behavior compared with those who did not consume soft drinks.

    "We found that the child's aggressive behavior score increased with every increase in soft drinks servings per day," said Dr Suglia.

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  3. #413
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    This beer doesn’t give a hangover

    Australian scientists have created a beer which they claim can prevent dehydration and may even spell the end of the dreaded hangover.

    While beer has long been known to contain positive nutrients resulting from its plant origins and fermentation process, the alcohol content means it goes out faster than water which increases dehydration. Dehydration is one of the main causes of alcohol hangover.

    Scientists at the Griffith Health Institute (GHI) created the brew by adding electrolytes — minerals that keep the body's fluid levels in balance and are commonly added in sports drinks. They also had to reduce alcohol content in the beer to improve hydration.

    "We basically manipulated the electrolyte levels of two commercial beers, one regular strength and one light beer, and gave it to research subjects who'd just lost a significant amount of sweat by exercising. We then used several measures to monitor the participant's fluid recovery to the different beers," said associate professor Ben Desbrow from GHI's Centre for Health Practice Innovation.

    "Of the four different beers the subjects consumed, our augmented light beer was by far the most well retained by the body, meaning it was the most effective at rehydrating the subjects. The 'improved' light beer was actually a third more effective at hydrating a person than normal beer," Desbrow said. However, researchers warned against drinking beer after strenuous exercise , 'newsmedical.net' reported.

    "This is definitely not a good idea, but what we've found is that many people who sweat a lot, especially tradesmen, knock off work and have a beer. But alcohol in a dehydrated body can have all sorts of repercussions , including decreased awareness of risk," Desbrow said.

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  4. #414
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    ​Decoded: How females choose the right sperm

    Scientists have decoded how females select the 'right' sperm to fertilize their eggs when faced with the risk of being fertilized by sperm from a different species.

    Researchers from the University of East Anglia investigated salmon and trout, which fertilize externally in river water. Since hybrid offspring of the two species become reproductive deadends , females of both species practice selection to avoid hybrid fertilizations.

    The study shows that when eggs from each species are presented with either salmon or trout, they happily allow complete fertilization by either species' sperm. However, if eggs are given a simultaneous choice of both species' sperms, they clearly favour their own species' sperm.

    "It is actually the ovarian fluid that controls which species' sperm wins the fertilizations... If we put salmon ovarian fluid onto salmon eggs, then salmon sperm win, but if we put trout ovarian fluid onto eggs from that same salmon female, trout sperm now win," researchers said.

    "Ovarian fluid gives a chemical signal to the sperm of its own species, causing changes in the way their tails beat, so that they swim in a straighter trajectory, and therefore guided more effectively towards the site of fertilization. These findings allow us to establish that females have indeed evolved mechanisms of 'cryptic choice' at the level of the sperm and egg," said researchers.

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  5. #415
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Celery, artichokes can help fight pancreatic cancer

    Vegetables such as celery and artichokes contain flavonoids that can kill human pancreatic cancer cells, two new studies have found.

    Researchers from the University of Illinois found that the flavonoids apigenin and luteolin - also found in herbs, especially Mexican oregano - can kill human pancreatic cancer cells in the lab by inhibiting an important enzyme.

    "Apigenin alone induced cell death in two aggressive human pancreatic cancer cell lines. But we received the best results when we pre-treated cancer cells with apigenin for 24 hours, then applied the chemotherapeutic drug gemcitabine for 36 hours," said Elvira de Mejia, a U of I professor of food chemistry and food toxicology.

    The trick seemed to be using the flavonoids as a pre-treatment instead of applying them and the chemotherapeutic drug simultaneously, said Jodee Johnson, a doctoral student in de Mejia's lab who has since graduated.

    "Even though the topic is still controversial, our study indicated that taking antioxidant supplements on the same day as chemotherapeutic drugs may negate the effect of those drugs," she said.

    "That happens because flavonoids can act as antioxidants. One of the ways that chemotherapeutic drugs kill cells is based on their pro-oxidant activity, meaning that flavonoids and chemotherapeutic drugs may compete with each other when they're introduced at the same time," she added.

    Pancreatic cancer is a very aggressive cancer, and there are few early symptoms, meaning that the disease is often not found before it has spread.

    Ultimately the goal is to develop a cure, but prolonging the lives of patients would be a significant development, Johnson added.

    The scientists found that apigenin inhibited an enzyme called glycogen synthase kinase-3 beta (GSK-3 beta), which led to a decrease in the production of anti-apoptotic genes in the pancreatic cancer cells.

    Apoptosis means that the cancer cell self-destructs because its DNA has been damaged.

    In one of the cancer cell lines, the percentage of cells undergoing apoptosis went from 8.4 per cent in cells that had not been treated with the flavonoid to 43.8 per cent in cells that had been treated with a 50-micromolar dose.

    In this case, no chemotherapy drug had been added. Treatment with the flavonoid also modified gene expression.

    "Certain genes associated with pro-inflammatory cytokines were highly upregulated," de Mejia said.

    Pancreatic cancer patients would probably not be able to eat enough flavonoid-rich foods to raise blood plasma levels of the flavonoid to an effective level. But scientists could design drugs that would achieve those concentrations, de Mejia said.

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  6. #416
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Why we suffer from chronic mountain sickness

    Researchers have decoded the genetic basis of chronic mountain sickness (CMS) or Monge's disease.

    Their study provides important information that validates the genetic basis of adaptation to high altitudes, and provides potential targets for CMS treatment.

    More than 140 million people have permanently settled on high-altitude regions, on continents ranging from African and Asia to South America. The low-oxygen conditions at such high altitudes present a challenge for survival, and these geographically distinct populations have adapted to cope with hypoxia, or low levels of oxygen in the blood.

    Interestingly, many humans living at high elevations, particularly in the Andes mountain region of South America, are maladapted and suffer CMS. The disease is characterized by an array of neurologic symptoms, including headache, fatigue, sleepiness and depression.

    Often, people with CMS suffer from strokes or heart attacks in early adulthood because of increased blood viscosity (resistance to blood flow that can result in decreased oxygen delivery to organs and tissues).

    Past studies of various populations show that CMS is common in Andeans, occasionally found in Tibetans and absent from Ethiopians living on the East African high-altitude plateau.

    Therefore, the researchers dissected the genetic mechanisms underlying high-altitude adaptation by comparing genetic variation between Peruvian individuals from the Andes region with CMS and adapted subjects without CMS, using whole genome sequencing.

    They identified two genes, ANP32D and SENP1, with significantly increased expression in the CMS individuals when compared to the non-CMS individuals, and hypothesized that down-regulating these genes could be beneficial in coping with hypoxia.

    Principal investigator Gabriel G. Haddad, Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at UC San Diego School of Medicine, and Physician-in-Chief and Chief Scientific Officer at Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego, a research affiliate of UC San Diego, said that while a number of published articles have described an association between certain genes and the ability for humans to withstand low oxygen at high levels, it was very hard to be sure if the association was causal.

    The researchers therefore looked at genetic orthologs - corresponding gene sequences from another species, in this case the fruit fly - to assess the impact of observed genetic changes on function under conditions of hypoxia.

    The study is set to be published online in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

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  7. #417
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    High-flying pilots at increased risk of brain lesions

    Pilots who fly at high altitudes may be at an increased risk of developing brain lesions, a new study claims.


    Pilots who fly at altitudes above 18,000 feet are typically exposed to a type of illness called "decompression sickness" that results from quick changes in environmental pressure, researchers said.

    For the study, 102 U-2 US Air Force pilots and 91 non-pilots between the ages of 26 and 50 underwent MRI brain scans.

    The scans measured the amount of white matter hyper-intensities, or tiny brain lesions associated with memory decline in other neurological diseases. The groups were matched for age, education and health factors.

    "Pilots who fly at altitudes above 18,000 feet are at risk for decompression sickness, a condition where gas or atmospheric pressure reaches lower levels than those within body tissues and forms bubbles," said study author Stephen McGuire, with the University of Texas in San Antonio, and the US Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine.

    "The risk for decompression sickness among Air Force pilots has tripled from 2006, probably due to more frequent and longer periods of exposure for pilots. To date however, we have been unable to demonstrate any permanent clinical neurocognitive or memory decline," said McGuire.

    Symptoms affecting the brain that sometimes accompany decompression sickness include slowed thought processes, confusion, unresponsiveness and permanent memory loss.

    The study found that pilots had nearly four times the volume and three times the number of brain lesions as non-pilots. The results were the same whether or not the pilots had a history of symptoms of decompression sickness.

    The research also found that while the lesions in non-pilots were mainly found in the frontal white matter, as occurs in normal ageing, lesions in the pilots were evenly distributed throughout the brain.

    "These results may be valuable in assessing risk for occupations that include high-altitude mountain climbing, deep sea diving and high-altitude flying," McGuire said.

    The study was published in the journal Neurology.

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  8. #418
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Childhood bullying affects jobs, causes illness

    Serious illness, struggling to hold down a regular job, and poor social relationships are just some of the adverse outcomes in adulthood faced by those exposed to bullying in childhood, a new study has warned.

    The results of the study, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, highlight the extent to which the risk of problems related to health, poverty, and social relationships are heightened by exposure to bullying.

    The research assessed 1,420 participants four to six times between the ages of 9 and 16 years and adult outcomes between 24-26 years of age.

    Psychological scientists Dieter Wolke of the University of Warwick and William E Copeland of Duke University Medical Center led the research team, looking beyond the study of victims and investigating the impact on all those affected: the victims, the bullies themselves, and those who fall into both categories, so-called "bully-victims."

    "We cannot continue to dismiss bullying as a harmless, almost inevitable, part of growing up," said Wolke.

    "We need to change this mindset and acknowledge this as a serious problem for both the individual and the country as a whole; the effects are long-lasting and significant," Wolke added.

    The 'bully-victims' were at greatest risk for health problems in adulthood, over six times more likely to be diagnosed with a serious illness, smoke regularly, or develop a psychiatric disorder compared to those not involved in bullying.

    The results showed that bully-victims are perhaps the most vulnerable group of all. This group may turn to bullying after being bullied themselves as they may lack the emotional regulation or support required to cope with it.

    All the groups were more than twice as likely to have difficulty in keeping a job, or committing to saving compared to those not involved in bullying. As such, they displayed a higher propensity for being impoverished in young adulthood.

    However, the study revealed very few ill effects of being the bully. After accounting for the influence of childhood psychiatric problems and family hardships -- which were prevalent among bullies -- the act of bullying itself didn't seem to have a negative impact in adulthood.

    Although they showed no real difference in the likelihood of being married or having children, all groups showed signs of having difficulty forming social relationships, particularly when it came to maintaining long term friendships or good ties with parents in adulthood.

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  9. #419
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Khesari dal consumed as gravy is safe: Study

    Khesari dal consumed as gravy in small quantities is safe. Consuming large quantities, however, may result in lathyrism.

    Lathyrism is a neurological condition in which victims suffer paralysis in the lower limbs.

    With a demand being raised to lift the ban on cultivation of Khesari dal in the country, the Planning Commission got an epidemiological study done. The study sponsored by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India was carried out by the National Institute of Nutrition-Indian Council of Medical Research (NIN-ICMR) based in Hyderabad.

    A pilot study to assess the impact of consumption of Khesari dal on human health was conducted in Gondia district of Maharashtra. The principal investigator of the study, Dr Arjun L Khandare, scientist 'E', Food and Drug Toxicology Research Centre (FDRTC), NIN told The Times of India that the consumption of Khesari dal was found to be minimal and it was primarily in the form of gravy which showed minimal exposure of ODAP/day.

    "The nutrition status of the people residing in the area was good without any major health problems. There were no recent cases of lathyrism except two old cases in the area which were correlated with consumption of Khesari dal as a staple food," Dr Arjun Khandare said.

    It may be mentioned here that due to the presence of a neuro-excitatory amino acid referred to as ODAP, a crippling disease called Neurolathyrism occurs when the legume is consumed. This was the reason why Khesari dal was banned in the country in 1955. However, there is no ban on sale of Khesari dal in Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and West Bengal.

    Despite a ban, the legume is being cultivated in small quantities in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

    Since Khesari dal (Lathyrus sativus) is a high-yielding and drought resistant legume, there has been a demand to lift the ban on its sale. International studies have shown that Khesari dal contains 31 per cent protein, 41 per cent carbohydrate, 17 per cent total dietary fibre, two per cent fat and two per cent ash, on a dry matter basis.

    It may be mentioned here that NIN had earlier done a study on animals feeding goats with Khesari dal. The findings of the study only confirmed that consumption of Khesari dal does result in lathyrism.

    However, following the Planning Commission's recommendation, a study was taken up to assess the status of Khesari dal production, its consumption and to identify cases of lathyrism in two blocks of Gondia district (Tiroda and Gondia) in Maharashtra. In the two cases of lathyrism that were detected, they were found to be old cases in which the victims had consumed considerably large quantities of Khesari dal during critical situations.

    It was found in the study that 61 per cent of the population was consuming Khesari dal and the average consumption was 12-20 gm in the form of gravy and no health effects were observed.

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  10. #420
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Skin cancer death rates 70% higher in men

    Men are 70 per cent more likely to die from malignant melanoma — the most serious type of skin cancer — than women with the same disease, a new study has warned.

    According to research by Cancer Research UK and the University of Leeds, 3.4 men per 100,000 die from malignant melanoma each year in the UK, compared with 2.0 women.

    However, incidence rates are similar with 17.2 men per 100,000 diagnosed compared with 17.3 women.

    This means that, of the 6,200 men who develop melanoma each year, 1,300 die from the disease, while 900 of the 6,600 women who develop it die, researchers said.

    The gap is predicted to widen in the future, with death rates from malignant melanoma on the increase in men but remaining stable for women, they said.

    "Research has suggested the difference between the sexes could be in part because men are more likely to be diagnosed when melanoma is at a more advanced stage," Professor Julia Newton-Bishop from the University of Leeds said.

    "But there also seem to be strong biological reasons behind the differences and we're working on research to better understand why men and women's bodies deal with their melanomas in different ways," she said.

    "We also know that men and women tend to develop melanoma in different places - more often on the back and chest for men and on the arms and legs for women. If melanoma does develop on your back then it may be more difficult to spot - asking your partner to check your back is a good idea," said Julia.

    "One of the reasons for the difference may be attitudes towards seeing a doctor. We tend to be reluctant to 'waste the doctor's time' — men are especially likely to put it off," Sara Hiom, director of early diagnosis at Cancer Research UK, said.

    Since the early 70s, male death rates in men have risen by 185 per cent compared to a rise of only 55 per cent in women, researchers said.

    The key risk factors for melanoma include excessive exposure to UV from sunlight or sunbeds, pale skin colour and a high number of moles, and a family or personal history of the disease, said researchers.

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