Health News

Prophylactic use of antiretroviral medications may prevent HIV spread

Prophylactic use of antiretroviral medications may prevent HIV spreadWashington, Jan 17 : Prophylactic use of antiretroviral medications may protect exposed, uninfected persons from acquiring HIV, researchers suggest.

In an Annals "Ideas and Opinions" piece, researchers summarize results of some of the most recent and promising HIV prevention studies.

Evidence has been inconsistent that prophylactic use of antiretroviral medications could protect exposed, uninfected persons from acquiring HIV.

However, the concept is promising.

Effectiveness of any regimen depends on adherence.


CPAP treatment cuts death risk in women with obstructive sleep apnea

CPAP treatment cuts death risk in women with obstructive sleep apnea Washington, Jan 17 : Treatment with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device can reduce the risk for women who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea of dying from heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is more prevalent in men, and is less often recognized in women, affecting only up to 3 percent of middle-aged women.

Studies have shown an association between OSA and risk for cardiovascular death, but studies have focused mostly or exclusively on men.


High doses of vitamin D do not help patients with severe COPD

High doses of vitamin D do not help patients with severe COPD Washington, Jan 17 : Researchers have found that high doses of vitamin D provide no benefit to patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Vitamin D deficiency is present in 60 percent to 75 percent of patients with severe COPD.

The researchers studied 182 patients with severe COPD to determine whether supplementation with high doses of vitamin D could reduce the incidence of COPD exacerbations.

Patients were randomly assigned to receive either 100,000 IU of vitamin D or placebo every four weeks for one year. Researchers then measured time to exacerbation of COPD.


Prenatal alcohol exposure can lead to abnormalities in offspring

Prenatal alcohol exposure can lead to abnormalities in offspring Washington, Jan 17 : Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause a spectrum of abnormalities referred to as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders in the offspring, experts say.

Physical features of the more serious Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) include smooth philtrum, thin vermillion border, short palpebral fissures, microcephaly, and growth deficiencies in weight and height.

A new study has specified how specific quantities of alcohol exposure, patterns of drinking, and timing of exposure can have an impact on each of these features.


La Nina may trigger flu pandemics: Study

La Nina may trigger flu pandemics: StudyWashington, Jan 17 - Influenza pandemics that caused death and illness worldwide in the past were preceded by La Nina conditions in the equatorial Pacific, a study has found.

The study examined weather patterns during the devastating flu pandemics in 1918, 1957, 1968 and 2009, Xinhua reported.

The La Nina pattern is known to alter the migratory patterns of birds, which are thought to be a primary reservoir of human influenza. Experts theorise that altered migration patterns promote the development of dangerous new strains of influenza.


Changing weather patterns may be behind flu pandemics

Changing weather patterns may be behind flu pandemics Washington, Jan 17 : Altered migration patterns of birds due to La Nina weather patterns in the equatorial Pacific may promote development of dangerous new flu strains, a new study has revealed.

Worldwide pandemics of influenza caused widespread death and illness in 1918, 1957, 1968 and 2009.

A new study examining weather patterns around the time of these pandemics finds that each of them was preceded by La Nina events.


New therapies to treat Hepatitis C come closer to reality

New therapies to treat Hepatitis C come closer to reality Washington, Jan 17 : Scientists have now identified a potential new method to block the lifecycle of the Hepatitis C virus, which could lead to new therapies for those affected by the disease.

More than 170 million people worldwide suffer from hepatitis C, the disease caused by chronic HCV infection. The disease affects the liver and is one of the leading causes of liver cancer and liver transplant around the world.

HCV is spread by blood-to-blood contact and there is no vaccine to prevent it. Current treatments for the disease are only moderately effective and can cause serious side effects.


Role of ‘killer cells’ in diabetes identified

Role of ‘killer cells’ in diabetes identifiedWashington, Jan 16 : Scientists have shed new light on the role of `killer cells' in the development of Type 1 diabetes.

They have uncovered that killer T-cells in the human body, which help protect us from disease, can inadvertently destroy cells that produce insulin.

The study provides the first evidence of this mechanism in action and could offer new understanding of the cause of Type 1 diabetes.


How exercise makes your heart healthy

How exercise makes your heart healthy Washington, Jan 15 : Exercise plays an important role in making our heart stronger by improving blood flow and decreasing its workload, researchers say.

According to Joseph Libonati, PhD, associate professor of nursing at Penn Nursing, exercise improves the ratio between the heart's demand for oxygen and its supply through the coronary arteries.

With exercise, the heart gets stronger because it gets bigger and is able to pump more efficiently.


Possible receptor for key breast cancer regulator identified

Possible receptor for key breast cancer regulator identifiedWashington, Jan 14 : Researchers have identified a key protein potentially involved in regulating breast cancer progression.

Researchers at Clarkson University in Potsdam, N. Y. led by professor Costel Darie, worked to identify the binding partner of Tumor Differentiating Factor (TDF), a pituitary hormone that had previously been shown to reduce cancer progression in breast cancer cells.

Earlier studies had shown that breast cancer cells treated with TDF lost their cancerous characteristics and began acting like normal mammary cells, suggesting that TDF had tumor-suppressing capabilities.


Salt’s real role in high blood pressure revealed

Salt’s real role in high blood pressure revealed Washington, Jan 14 : Researchers have debunked the widely-believed concept that hypertension, or high blood pressure, is the result of excess salt causing an increased blood volume, exerting extra pressure on the arteries.

Their research found that excess salt stimulates the sympathetic nervous system to produce adrenalin, causing artery constriction and hypertension.

The research was led by Irene Gavras, MD, and Haralambos Gavras, MD, both professors of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine.


Discrimination may harm your health

Discrimination may harm your health Washington, Jan 13 : Racial discrimination may be harmful to one's health, a new study has suggested.

In the study, conducted by Jenifer Bratter and Bridget Gorman from Rice University, the authors examined data containing measures of social class, race and perceived discriminatory behaviour and found that approximately 18 percent of blacks and 4 percent of whites reported higher levels of emotional upset and/or physical symptoms due to race-based treatment.

"Discriminatory behaviour very well may be a `missing link' in the analysis of racial and ethnic health disparities," Bratter said.


Love fatty foods? Blame your taste buds

Love fatty foods? Blame your taste budsWashington, Jan 13 : Our taste buds can recognize fat and some people may even have a preference for it due to variation in genes that can make certain persons more or less receptive to the taste of fat in foods.

These findings were made in a study by researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Investigators found that people with a particular variant of the CD36 gene are far more sensitive to the presence of fat than others.


Educating women about heart attacks may save lives

Educating women about heart attacks may save lives Washington, Jan 13 : Educating women about heart attack symptoms and early warning signs of the disease may shorten the time to treatment and eventually cut risk of risk of death or grave disability, researchers say.

Women often do not have the same kind of chest pains that men generally experience during a heart attack. They may also have a range of other symptoms, not all of them easy for the typical sufferer to identify and so in many cases, they tend to just ignore the warning signs.


Genes behind common muscular disease identified

 Genes behind common muscular disease identified Washington, Jan 13 : Researchers have now identified the genes and proteins, which damage muscle cells, as well as the mechanisms that can cause a common form of muscular dystrophy.

The discovery made by an international team of researchers led by a scientist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center could lead to a biomarker-based test for diagnosing facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), and the findings have implications for developing future treatments as well as for cancer immunotherapies in general.

The work established a viable roadmap for how the expression of the DUX4 gene can cause FSHD.


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