Health News

Just 7 days of exposure to air pollution may up heart attack risk

Just 7 days of exposure to air pollution may up heart attack risk Washington, Feb 15 : Short-term exposure (for up to 7 days) to all major air pollutants, with the exception of ozone, may increase risk of heart attack, researchers have warned.

The potentially harmful effect of episodes of high air pollution on health has been suspected for more than 50 years.

Hazrije Mustafic, M. D., M. P. H., of the University Paris Descartes, INSERM Unit 970, Paris, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to examine the association between short-term exposure to air pollutants and the risk of heart attack, and to quantify these associations.


Antibiotics ‘no better than placebo’ for sinus infections

Antibiotics ‘no better than placebo’ for sinus infections Washington, Feb 15 : Antibiotics are no better than an inactive placebo in improving symptoms for sinusitis, a new study has suggested.

Investigators at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis say, in fact, most people get better on their own without using antibiotics.

"Patients don't get better faster or have fewer symptoms when they get antibiotics," said Jay F. Piccirillo, MD, professor of otolaryngology and the study's senior author.

"Our results show that antibiotics aren't necessary for a basic sinus infection - most people get better on their own," he stated.


Sex makes malaria parasite go ‘bananas’

Sex makes malaria parasite go ‘bananas’ Washington, Feb 15 : The malaria parasite (Plasmodium falciparum) changes into a banana shape before sexual reproduction, an Australian research team has found.

The finding could provide targets for vaccine or drug development and may explain how the parasite evades the human immune system.

The team was led by Dr Matthew Dixon and PhD student Megan Dearnley from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Bio21 Institute at the University of Melbourne.

Dr Dixon said the new study solves a 130-year old mystery, revealing how the most deadly of human malaria parasites, Plasmodium falciparum performs its shape-shifting.


Antibiotics of no use in sinus infections

Antibiotics of no use in sinus infectionsWashington, Feb 15 - Antibiotics prescribed for sinus infections are ineffective as they do not reduce symptoms any better than an inactive placebo.

"Our results show that antibiotics aren't necessary for a basic sinus infection - most people get better on their own," says study co-author Jay F. Piccirillo, professor of otolaryngology at the Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis.

Sinus infection symptoms include sinus headache, facial tenderness, pressure or pain in the sinuses, fever, cloudy drainage and feeling of nasal stuffiness, sore throat and cough.


Turmeric-based drug ‘new and exciting treatment strategy’ for Alzheimer’s

Turmeric-based drug ‘new and exciting treatment strategy’ for Alzheimer’s Washington, Feb 15 : Curcumin, a substance extracted from turmeric, prolongs life and enhances activity of fruit flies with a nervous disorder similar to Alzheimers, a new study has found.

The study conducted at Linkoping University indicates that it is the initial stages of fibril formation and fragments of the amyloid fibrils that are most toxic to neurons.

For several years curcumin has been studied as a possible drug candidate to combat Alzheimer's disease, which is characterized by the accumulation of sticky amyloid-beta and Tau protein fibres.


High school kids perform best with 7 hours sleep

High school kids perform best with 7 hours sleepWashington, Feb 11 : 16-18 year olds perform better academically when they shave about two hours off from 9 hours of sleep recommended for them by federal guidelines, a new study has claimed.

The new study by Eric Eide and Mark Showalter from Brigham Young University is the first in a series of studies where they examine sleep and its impact on our health and education.

"We're not talking about sleep deprivation," Eide, the study author said.

"The data simply says that seven hours is optimal at that age," he addeds.


Does air pollution erode mental sharpness?

Does air pollution erode mental sharpness?Washington, Feb 14 - Older women might wonder why they are unable to recall names or places or where they keep their things. Chronic exposure to particulate air pollution might be to blame, says a new finding.

Such women, exposed to higher levels of ambient particulate matter over long term, experienced more decline in their cognitive functioning (process by which one becomes aware of, perceives or comprehends ideas) over a four-year period.

Higher levels of long-term exposure to both coarse and fine particulate matter, usually suspended in air, were linked with significantly faster cognitive decline.


Promising therapeutic target for diabetes identified

Promising therapeutic target for diabetes identifiedWashington, Feb 14 : The leading cause of death for millions of diabetes patients is heart disease.

Now, researchers have identified, in a mice study, a potential new therapeutic approach to reduce the prevalence of heart failure and improve the long-term survival of patients with type 2 diabetes.

Although diabetes-associated heart disease is caused by a multitude of factors, it is typified by changes in heart structure and function independent of high blood pressure and disease in the major arterial blood vessels.


Juvenile arthritis quadruples cancer risk in kids

Juvenile arthritis quadruples cancer risk in kids Washington, Feb 13 : Children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) are four times likelier to have cancer than those without the disease, researchers have revealed.

The findings suggest JIA treatment, such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors, does not necessarily explain the development of cancer in this pediatric population.

Children with JIA experience symptoms similar to adults with arthritis including joint pain, swelling, tenderness and stiffness.

JIA is a general term used to describe the various chronic arthritis diseases in children.


Protein knocks out HIV by starving it of raw materials

Protein knocks out HIV by starving it of raw materialsWashington, Feb 13 - A protein knocks out the most virulent form of HIV by starving it of the raw materials it needs to reproduce, in order to protect out immune cells, a study reveals.

"The findings may explain why certain anti-HIV drugs used today are more effective under some circumstances and not others," said Baek Kim, study co-author and professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

"It also provides new insights on how many other viruses that afflict people operate in the body," Kim was quoted as saying, by the journal Nature Immunology.


Overeating may double risk of memory loss

Overeating may double risk of memory lossWashington, Feb 13 - Overeating is likely to double the risk of memory loss, or mild cognitive impairment (MCI), among people aged 70 years and older, a study reveals.

"We observed a dose-response pattern which simply means the higher the amount of calories consumed each day, the higher the risk of MCI," said study author Yonas E. Geda, from the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona. MCI is the stage between normal memory loss and early Alzheimer's disease.


How protein protects immune cells from HIV infection

How protein protects immune cells from HIV infection Washington, Feb 13 : Researchers have discovered a mechanism by which the immune system tries to halt the spread of HIV.

Harnessing this mechanism, revealed by researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center and colleagues, may open up new paths for therapeutic research aimed at slowing the virus' progression to AIDS.


Molecular secrets of ancient Chinese herbal remedy discovered

Molecular secrets of ancient Chinese herbal remedy discovered Washington, Feb 13 : Chinese herbalists have been using a root extract, commonly known as Chang Shan, from a type of hydrangea that grows in Tibet and Nepal, to treat Malaria for roughly two thousand years.

Experts in more recent studies have suggested that halofuginone, a compound derived from this extract's bioactive ingredient, could be used to treat many autoimmune disorders as well.

Now, researchers from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine have discovered the molecular secrets behind this herbal extract's power.


Overeating may double risk of memory loss in older people

Overeating may double risk of memory loss in older people Washington, Feb 13 : Consuming between 2,100 and 6,000 calories per day may double the risk of memory loss, or mild cognitive impairment (MCI), among people age 70 and older, suggest researchers.

MCI is the stage between normal memory loss that comes with aging and early Alzheimer's disease.

"We observed a dose-response pattern which simply means; the higher the amount of calories consumed each day, the higher the risk of MCI," said study author Yonas E. Geda, MD, MSc, with the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.


Blocking DNA repair enzyme could eventually lead to cancer therapy

Blocking DNA repair enzyme could eventually lead to cancer therapy Washington, Feb 11 : Scientists have shed light on what happens in cells when DNA is damaged.

The research group in the Faculty of Medicine `n' Dentistry at the University of Alberta hopes that their latest discovery could one day be used to develop new therapies that target certain types of cancers.

Mark Glover, his graduate student Zahra Havali-Shahriari and post-doctoral fellow Nicolas Coquelle solved the structure of a DNA repair enzyme called polynucleotide kinase/phosphatase, or PNKP.

This allows them to see what is happening when this enzyme is repairing DNA.


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