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Health Bulletin


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  1. #961
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Coffee can fix eye problems: Study

    Suffering from nagging eye infections. Your daily cup of coffee could fix the persistent eye problems.

    A team of researchers from the school of chemistry led by Prof Ashwini Nangia has found that caffeine, a chemical substance present in coffee, could help in preparation of medicine to fight infections of the eye. They have formulated the medicine by co-crystallizing an antibiotic with caffeine. Rajesh Goud, research scholar, is part of Prof Nangia's team.
    Sulfacetamide (SACT), a medicine commonly used for treatment of eye infections particularly conjunctivitis, is often lost when a person blinks. It is also washed away in tears. This leads to inconvenience and complications of applying larger and more frequent doses of SACT. Various schemes have been investigated, including trapping SACT in bioadhesive microspheres, to slow drug release and prevent its washout. But these either limited the drug's bioavailability (efficacy) or weren't suitable to market.

    To solve the problem, Professor Nangia and his colleagues at UoH, looked to co-crystals. Crystallizing an existing drug with another safe substance can change the physico-chemical properties of a medicine without having to change the drug molecule itself. The team reasoned that replacing weaker hydrogen bonds in the crystals with stronger ones could lower the crystal's solubility and dissolution rate. A selection of molecules were therefore co-crystallized with SACT.

    The identification of intermolecular interactions which can be altered by co-crystal formation is what makes this research noteworthy and stand out among such design strategies.

    Caffeine proved to be one of the most successful, making the drug less soluble and the crystals denser — suggesting the molecules packed tighter together — compared to SACT alone, says Prof Nangia.


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  2. #962
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Hand patterns, prostate cancer possibly linked: Study

    Three doctors from Mangalore have linked hand patterns to prostate cancer after a study.

    In a cross sectional study which measures the index and ring finger length in patients with prostate cancer, they have said that hand pattern might represent a simple marker for prostate cancer risk, particularly in men age above 60 years.

    The authors of the paper were Dr Mohammad Ashraf, Associate Professor of Medicine, Dr Thomas Mohan, Medicine Post Graduate and Dr Edmond Fernandes, previously house surgeon, all from Father Muller Medical College. The paper has been published in the International Organization of Scientific Research Journal of Dental and Medical Sciences (IOSR-JDMS) of March 2014.

    Dr Edmond said prostate cancers have been showing an increasing trend in the elderly age group and is a hormonally driven and a regulated disease, but studies have failed to detect associations between a single measure of hormone levels in adulthood and prostate cancer risk.

    Two recent studies have aimed to assess whether 2D:4D is associated with prostate cancer. Both of these studies concluded that low 2D:4D, and thereby high prenatal testosterone, is a marker of increased risk of prostate cancer. Although its exact etiology is currently unknown, it has been correlated to factors such as age, race, familial history and hormone exposure.

    The study had a sample size of 27 patients between 50 and 80 years and all subjects were diagnosed by clinical and histological analysis who were currently under treatment follow-up. They were subjected to measurement of their index and ring finger after having obtained their prior consent.

    The mean of ring finger being taller than index finger in patients with prostatic lesion allows to infer that, there could be a possibility of exploring the digits length. This will invariably add to the etiological factor of research in prostate cancer and a need for a larger multi centric study which may concretize the etiological finding and necessary education and prevention can be met in an Indian context.

    Dr Edmond said further research is required to clarify any association between 2D : 4D and prostate cancer, especially for younger men under 60 years, he added.


  3. #963
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Vegetarians are less healthy and have a lower quality of life than meat-eaters, scientists say

    Vegetarians are less healthy than meat-eaters, a controversial study has concluded, despite drinking less, smoking less and being more physically active than their carnivorous counterparts.

    A study conducted by the Medical University of Graz in Austria found that the vegetarian diet, as characterized by intake of fruits, vegetables and whole-grain products, appeared to carry elevated risks of cancer, allergies and mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

    The study used data from the Austrian Health Interview Survey to examine the dietary habits and lifestyle differences between meat-eaters and vegetarians.

    The 1320 subjects were matched according to their age, sex, and socioeconomic status and included 330 vegetarians, 330 that ate meat but still a lot of fruits and vegetables, 300 normal eaters but that ate less meat, and 330 on a more meat-heavy diet.

    It found that vegetarians consumed less alcohol and had lower body mass indexes, but were still in a poorer state of physical and mental health overall.

    Participants who ate less meat also showed a tendency to avoid attending doctors appointment for preventative measures such as vaccines, the authors found. It concluded: "Our study has shown that Austrian adults who consume a vegetarian diet are less healthy (in terms of cancer, allergies, and mental health disorders), have a lower quality of life, and also require more medical treatment."

    The study's authors have already defended the research against claims that their work is simply an advertisement for the meat industry.

    Study coordinator and epidemiologist Nathalie Burkert told The Austrian Times: "We have already distanced ourselves from this claim as it is an incorrect interpretation of our data.

    We did find that vegetarians suffer more from certain conditions like asthma, cancer and mental illnesses than people that eat meat as well, but we cannot say what is the cause and what is the effect.

    "There needs to be further study done before this question can be answered."


  4. #964
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Now, a device to fight drug overdose

    A new handheld device that can quickly deliver a life-saving antidote for opioid overdose, including heroin and prescription painkillers, has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The first prescription treatment can be used by family members or caregivers to treat a person known or suspected to have had an opioid overdose.

    The device called Evzio (naloxone hydrochloride injection) rapidly delivers a single dose of the drug naloxone via a hand-held auto-injector that can be carried in a pocket or stored in a medicine cabinet, FDA said.

    It is intended for the emergency treatment of known or suspected opioid overdose, characterised by decreased breathing or heart rates, or loss of consciousness. Drug overdose deaths, driven largely by prescription drug overdose deaths, are now the leading cause of injury death in the US — surpassing motor vehicle crashes, FDA said.


  5. #965
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Breakfast at this time to lose weight

    A new survey has found that eating breakfast at 7.11am can help people shed off the kilos. The survey, conducted by Forza Supplements on 1,000 people, asked dieters to recommend the perfect time to eat, the Daily Express reported.

    Lee Smith, managing director of the firm, said that the key for many dieters is not how much they eat but when they do it. Smith continued saying that they found that the optimum times were 7.11am for breakfast, 12.38pm for lunch and 6.14pm for dinner.

    Most dieters recommended these meals be supplemented with low-fat snacks when you get hunger pangs in later morning or mid-afternoon, he added.


  6. #966
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Depressed people at 40% higher risk of heart failure: study

    Depression is one of the leading causes of deaths across the world. People suffering from major depression - the prolonged feelings of sadness and helplessness - find it difficult to get back into the rhythm despite medications and intense counselling. Not surprisingly then, American statistics say that depression is the cause for 90% of suicidal deaths.
    Now a Norwegian study shows that depression literally affects the heart. After studying 63,000 Norwegians, it claims that moderate to severe depression increases the risk of heart failure by 40%.

    Lise Tuset Gustad, the study's lead author and an intensive care nurse at Levanger Hospital in Norway, said: "We found a dose response relationship between depressive symptoms and the risk of developing heart failure. That means that the more depressed you feel, the more you are at risk." Gustad presented the findings at EuroHeartCare 2014, the official annual meeting of the Council on Cardiovascular Nursing and Allied Professions of the European Society of Cardiology.

    As a part of the study, the researchers tracked patients who were hospitalised with heart failure or died from it over a 11-year period. They found 1,500 people developed heart failure. Compared to residents with no symptoms of depression, people with mild symptoms had a 5% increased risk of developing heart failure and those with moderate to severe symptoms had a 40% increased risk.

    The Norwegain group spelt out the depression-heart failure mechanism: Depression triggers the release of stress hormones which, induce inflammation and atherosclerosis (buildup of plaque inside the arteries) that worsen a person's existing heart disease.

    While India has no real statistics on depression, it is estimated that 6 to 10% of the adult population suffers from the condition. In India with a total population of 1.2 billion, the affected numbers could be huge. Psychiatrists say the best bet against depression's life-crippling ways is to catch it early. If you notice a friend or family member suddenly losing interest in an activity that previously gave them lots of pleasure, it could be a sign of depression.


  7. #967
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Boys at computers may develop weaker bones

    Hooked to computer or television for long hours? It may put you at the risk of developing weaker bones leading to osteoporosis and fracture - especially if you are a teenaged boy - later in life.

    The findings for boys clearly show that sedentary lifestyle during adolescence can impact bone mineral density (BMD) negatively and thus compromise the acquisition of peak bone mass, a Norwegian research has said.

    The skeleton grows continually from birth to the end of the teenage years, reaching peak bone mass - maximum strength and size - in early adulthood.

    "There is consequently growing concern regarding the possible adverse effects of sedentary lifestyles in youth on bone health and on obesity," said Anne Winther, Arctic University of Norway, Tromso.

    The study explored the hypothesis that greater computer use at weekends is associated with lower BMD.

    The data was obtained from 463 girls and 484 boys aged 15-18 years.

    The associations between BMD and screen time were analysed in a multiple regression model that included adjustment for age, sexual maturation, BMI, leisure time physical activity, smoking, alcohol, cod liver oil and carbonated drink consumption.

    Not surprisingly, the researchers found that boys spent more time in front of the computer than girls.

    As well as high screen time being adversely associated to BMD, in boys screen time was also positively related to higher body mass index (BMI) levels.

    Bone mineral density is a strong predictor of future fracture risk, the researchers said.

    According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), approximately one in five men over the age of 50 worldwide will suffer a fracture as a result of osteoporosis.


  8. #968
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    First map of fetus brain created

    cientists have for the first time mapped the developing brain in a fetus, capturing the organ during its growing stages in the womb.

    The map gives clues about what makes humans distinct from other animals, and when disorders like autism first take root, researchers said.

    "This is another instalment in our suite of brain atlases to try to map how all genes are used across the brain and across development," said study leader Ed Lein, a neuroscientist at the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle.

    The institute has previously developed maps of the developing and adult mouse brain, the developing monkey brain, and the adult human brain.

    The new map is the first to look at the developing human brain — specifically, the developing neocortex, the seat of higher cognitive functions, Lein told 'LiveScience'.

    The map is precise enough that scientists can use it to study different types of cells at various stages of development, he added.

    Researchers created the map using healthy prenatal brains from a brain bank — a collection of donated human brains. The team used brain tissue with no known abnormalities or viruses such as HIV.

    Researchers took snapshots of brains at two different stages of prenatal development.

    To measure gene activity, the researchers used a powerful tool known as a DNA microarray, which yields a quantitative measurement of the activity of every gene in the human genome simultaneously — about 20,000 genes in total.

    The team compared these gene activity results with data from other species, in particular, the mouse brain.

    Researchers found some genes that were turned on in the developing human brain but not in the mouse's brain, or vice versa.

    For example, the developing human brain contains genes that are more active in the frontal cortex than in the corresponding part of the mouse brain. The frontal cortex is linked to personality and decision-making.

    The map of a healthy developing brain also provides clues to the origin of developmental disorders such as autism, the researchers said. Other studies have revealed certain genes that are active in autism.

    Lein's team saw these genes were turned on in newly generated excitatory neurons (which activate other neurons) in the prenatal cortex, suggesting autism may start in the womb, as opposed to later in life.

    The findings are published in the journal Nature.


  9. #969
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    The weed that causes cancer may well kill it

    Tobacco has been associated with and much maligned for causing cancers. Researchers have now found that the tobacco plant's defence mechanism could well work in humans to destroy invading cancer cells.

    A molecule called NaD1 is found in the flower of the tobacco plant that fights off fungi and bacteria. This compound also has the ability to identify and destroy cancer, the team discovered.

    "This is a welcome discovery whatever the origin," Mark Hulett from La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science in Melbourne was quoted as saying.

    The molecule, found in nicotiana sylvestris (flowering tobacco) plant, forms a pincer-like structure that grips onto lipids present in the membrane of cancer cells.

    It then effectively rips them open, causing the cell to expel its contents and explode.

    According to researchers, this universal defence process could also potentially be harnessed for the development of antibiotic treatment for microbial infections.

    The pre-clinical work is being conducted by the Melbourne biotechnology company Hexima. "The preliminary trials have looked promising," said Hulett.

    The study was published in the journal eLife.


  10. #970
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    New heart valve does not require open surgery

    Doctors in the US have implanted a newly approved aortic heart valve device in a patient that does not require open surgery.

    The device, approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is called the Medtronic CoreValve System.

    On March 28, Loyola University Medical Centre became the first Illinois hospital to implant the device in a patient who was not part of a clinical trial.

    The new device is deployed with a catheter, which is inserted in an artery in the groin and guided up to the heart.

    Once in place, the artificial valve takes over the function of a diseased valve. The system is much less invasive than traditional open-heart surgery.

    Loyola physicians also have implanted the device in patients participating in clinical trials, including a landmark trial.

    The study found that patients who received the device had significantly lower mortality than heart valve patients who underwent open-heart surgery.

    "This is a major breakthrough," said Fred Leya, co-principal investigator at the Loyola site, along with Mamdouh Bakhos.

    The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, included 795 seriously ill heart-valve patients who were randomly assigned to receive the new device or to undergo open-heart surgery.

    After one year, the mortality rate was 19.1 per cent in the group that underwent open-heart surgery, but only 14.2 per cent in the group that received the new device.

    After 30 days, quality-of-life scores improved 19 points for patients who received the new device, compared with 3.7 points for open-surgery patients.

    At the one-year mark, quality-of-life scores increased 23.2 points in the device group and 21.9 points in the open-heart surgery group.

    Quality of life is measured on a 100-point scale, in which 5 points is considered important and 20 points is considered a very large improvement.

    Aortic stenosis occurs when the heart's aortic valve is narrowed, restricting blood flow from the heart to the body. The valve doesn't open properly, forcing the heart to work harder to pump blood.

    Symptoms include fatigue, dizziness, chest pain/pressure, heart murmur, shortness of breath during activity, heart palpitations and fainting.

    Aortic stenosis can lead to heart failure and death, researchers said.

    The FDA approved the device in January 2014 to treat patients with severe aortic stenosis who are too ill or frail to have their aortic valves replaced through open-heart surgery.

    Such patients have a nearly 50 per cent risk of death at the one-year mark unless they are treated.


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