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Saturday, 13 July 2013

New theory uncovers cancer's deep evolutionary roots

Tracing cancer back to the dawn of multicellularity could explain its mysterious properties and transform therapy

A new way to look at cancer -- by tracing its deep evolutionary roots to the dawn of multicellularity more than a billion years ago -- has been proposed by Paul Davies of Arizona State University's Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science in collaboration with Charles Lineweaver of the Australian National University. If their theory is correct, it promises to transform the approach to cancer therapy, and to link the origin of cancer to the origin of life and the developmental processes of embryos.
Davies and Lineweaver are both theoretical physicists and cosmologists with experience in the field of astrobiology -- the search for life beyond Earth. They turned to cancer research only recently, in part because of the creation at Arizona State University of the Center for the Convergence of Physical Science and Cancer Biology. The Center is one of twelve established by the National Cancer Institute to encourage physical scientists to lend their insights into tackling cancer.
The new theory challenges the orthodox view that cancer develops anew in each host by a series of chance mutational accidents. Davies and Lineweaver claim that cancer is actually an organized and systematic response to some sort of stress or physical challenge. It might be triggered by a random accident, they say, but thereafter it more or less predictably unfolds.
Their view of cancer is outlined in the article "Exposing cancer's deep evolutionary roots," written by Davies. It appears in a special July issue ofPhysics World devoted to the physics of cancer.
"We envisage cancer as the execution of an ancient program pre-loaded into the genomes of all cells," says Davies, an Arizona State University Regents Professor. "It is rather like Windows defaulting to 'safe mode' after suffering an insult of some sort." As such, he describes cancer as a throwback to an ancestral phenotype.
The new theory predicts that as cancer progresses through more and more malignant stages, it will express genes that are more deeply conserved among multicellular organisms, and so are in some sense more ancient. Davies and Lineweaver are currently testing this prediction by comparing gene expression data from cancer biopsies with phylogenetic trees going back 1.6 billion years, with the help of Luis Cisneros, a postdoctoral researcher with Arizona State University's Beyond Center.
But if this is the case, then why hasn't evolution eliminated the ancient cancer subroutine?
"Because it fulfills absolutely crucial functions during the early stages of embryo development," Davies explains. "Genes that are active in the embryo and normally dormant thereafter are found to be switched back on in cancer. These same genes are the 'ancient' ones, deep in the tree of multicellular life."
The link with embryo development has been known to cancer biologists for a long time, says Davies, but the significance of this fact is rarely appreciated. If the new theory is correct, researchers should find that the more malignant stages of cancer will re-express genes from the earliest stages of embryogenesis. Davies adds that there is already some evidence for this in several experimental studies, including recent research at Harvard University and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.
"As cancer progresses through its various stages within a single organism, it should be like running the evolutionary and developmental arrows of time backward at high speed," says Davies.
This could provide clues to future treatments. For example, when life took the momentous step from single cells to multicellular assemblages, Earth had low levels of oxygen. Sure enough, cancer reverts to an ancient form of metabolism called fermentation, which can supply energy with little need for oxygen, although it requires lots of sugar.
Davies and Lineweaver predict that if cancer cells are saturated with oxygen but deprived of sugar, they will become more stressed than healthy cells, slowing them down or even killing them. ASU's Center for the Convergence of Physical Science and Cancer Biology, of which Davies is principal investigator, is planning a workshop in November to examine the clinical evidence for this.
"It is clear that some radically new thinking is needed," Davies states. "Like aging, cancer seems to be a deeply embedded part of the life process. Also like aging, cancer generally cannot be cured but its effects can certainly be mitigated, for example, by delaying onset and extending periods of dormancy. But we will learn to do this effectively only when we better understand cancer, including its place in the great sweep of evolutionary history."
Source:Arizona State University 

Broccoli: US President's Favorite Food

US president Barack Obama has said that his favorite food is broccoli. 
He made the declaration at a White House event- 'Kids' State Dinner'- which was organised to recognize children, who recently won a healthy recipe contest, Fox News reported.Some of the winning recipes were 'picky eater pita pizza pockets' and 'sweet potato turkey sliders.' 
The event was part of First Lady Michelle Obama's anti-obesity campaign. 
The president's disclosure places him in direct odds with the culinary tastes of George H.W. Bush, who as president in 1990 declared his dislike for broccoli.
Source-ANI

 
 

Idea of an Italian Scientist to Use HIV to Cure 2 Genetic Diseases Proves Successful

 Idea of an Italian Scientist to Use HIV to Cure 2 Genetic Diseases Proves SuccessfulNew research has indicated that the AIDS virus can be used to treat two severe hereditary diseases.After an Italian scientist's "stroke of genius" in 1996, and after years of promising results in the laboratory, double official recognition by one of the most important international scientific journals has now arrived. And six children from all over the world, after three years of treatment, are well and show significant benefits. The announcement was made in two studies published today in Science* by researchers at the San Raffaele Telethon Institute for Gene Therapy (TIGET) in Milan, led by Luigi Naldini, demonstrating that gene therapy vectors derived from the HIV virus works against two severe genetic diseases, metachromatic leukodystrophy and Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome. "Three years after the start of the clinical trial," says Naldini, "the results obtained from the first six patients are very encouraging: the therapy is not only safe, but also effective and able to change the clinical history of these severe diseases. After 15 years of effort and our successes in the laboratory, but frustration as well, it's really exciting to be able to give a concrete solution to the first patients," explains the director of TIGET. At the origin of both diseases is a genetic defect that results in the deficiency of a protein essential for the organism in the early years of life. In the case of metachromatic leukodystrophy, which currently lacks any effective treatment, it is the nervous system to be affected: babies with this disease are apparently healthy at birth, but at some point they begin to gradually lose the cognitive and motor skills they have acquired, with no possibility of arresting the neurodegenerative process. Children with Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, on the other hand, have a faulty immune system that makes them much more vulnerable than normal to the development of infections, autoimmune diseases and cancer, as well as having a defect in the platelets which causes frequent bleeding. 
After the positive results obtained in the course of many years of study in the laboratory, researchers at the San Raffaele Telethon Institute in Milan tried to correct the genetic defect that causes these diseases with gene therapy. The technique consists in withdrawing hematopoietic stem cells from the bone marrow of the patient and introducing a corrected copy of the gene that is defective using viral vectors derived from HIV (which began to be developed in 1996, thanks to Luigi Naldini's work). Once re-injected into the body, the treated cells are able to restore the missing protein to key organs. 
"In patients with Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, blood cells are directly affected by the disease and the corrected stem cells replace the diseased cells creating a properly functioning immune system and normal platelets. Thanks to gene therapy, the children no longer have to face severe bleeding and infection. They can run, play and go to school," explains Alessandro Aiuti, coordinator of the clinical study on these patients and Head of Research of the Pediatric Clinic at TIGET. "In the case of metachromatic leukodystrophy, however," says Alessandra Biffi, who heads the other study, "the therapeutic mechanism is more sophisticated: the corrected hematopoietic cells reach the brain through the blood and release the correct protein that is 'gathered' there by the surrounding nerve cells. The winning card was to make engineered cells able to produce a quantity of protein much higher than normal, and thus effectively counteract the neurodegenerative process." Eugenio Montini, who coordinated the molecular analysis of patients' cells, adds, "Until now we have never seen a way to engineer stem cells using gene therapy that is as effective and safe as this one. These results pave the way for new therapies for other more common diseases." 
Both trials, which involved a team of over 70 people including researchers and clinicians, began in the spring of 2010, and called for the participation of 16 patients in total, 6 suffering from Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome and 10 from metachromatic leukodystrophy. The results published in Science refer only to the first 6 patients (three from each study), i.e. those for whom sufficient time has passed after administration of the therapy to allow scientists to draw the first significant conclusions regarding its safety and efficacy. In total, the Telethon Foundation has invested 19 million Euro for research on these two diseases (11 on metachromatic leukodystrophy and 8 on Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome). 
Source:Science*

 

Smoking Kills Six Million People Every Year: WHO

 Smoking Kills Six Million People Every Year: WHOThe World Health Organization reveals that despite public health campaigns, smoking remains the leading avoidable cause of death worldwide, killing almost six million people a year, mostly in low- and middle-income countries.
If current trends hold, the number of deaths that are blamed on tobacco use will rise to eight million a year in 2030, the WHO said in a briefing. 
About 80 percent of tobacco-related deaths forecast for 2030 are expected in low- and middle-income countries, the report added. 
"If we do not close ranks and ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, adolescents and young adults will continue to be lured into tobacco consumption by an ever-more aggressive tobacco industry," said WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan. 
"Every country has the responsibility to protect its population from tobacco-related illness, disability and death." 
Among the dead this year, five million were tobacco users or former users, while more than 600,000 died from second-hand smoke, according to the WHO. 
Tobacco use is believed to have caused the deaths of 100 million people in the 20th century. 
Barring dramatic change, the tally for this century could soar to one billion people, the WHO warned. 
"We know that only complete bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship are effective," said Dr. Douglas Bettcher, the Director of WHO's Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases department. 
"Countries that introduced complete bans together with other tobacco control measures have been able to cut tobacco use significantly within only a few years," he said.
Source-AFP

 

Heart Hates Pot Belly

Pot belly or fat around the waist is no good. It spoils the appearance and is bad for the heart as it can up the risk of heart attack. 
New research has also linked abdominal fat to increasing risk of cancer.
Even if one is not overweight, abdominal fat increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. This is because the pot belly is laden with bad fat which makes it a killer. 
There was a connection between location of body fat and risks of cancer and heart disease. Fat around the abdomen meant there was fat around the internal organs and this is linked to risk of heart disease and cancer. 
Maureen Talbot, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: "We already know that excess stomach fat increases your risk of developing heart disease but this research confirms there is a greater risk even if you have a normal BMI. 
"The dangers of abdominal fat can't be ignored and nor can the importance of measuring waist circumference when it comes to assessing heart disease risk. You can help keep control of your weight by eating a healthy balanced diet and getting plenty of exercise." 

Source:British Heart Foundation
 

New Study Make Ordinary Minds 'Genius'

A neuropsychologist from Sydney is working to unlock extraordinary potential in ordinary minds.An acquired savant is a person, who is perfectly ordinary until an injury to the brain, usually to the left hemisphere of the brain, helps them possess a remarkable ability, like photographic memory, a talent for a musical instrument despite no prior training, a sudden propensity for complex mathematical equations, the ability to sculpt or draw scale replicas of objects they've only glimpsed, Stuff.co.nz reported. 
The brain damage sometimes unlocks something in their brains as the right hemisphere compensates for the injury, the result of which, very rarely, is a great skill, which is unfathomable to the ordinary person. 
Founder of the Centre for the Mind at the University of Sydney, Dr Allan Snyder, said that he had an idea that these skills must be latent within everyone. 
He said that unlike savants, people don't have access to them, however, he believed that maybe he could release them himself by decreasing the influence of the left brain hemisphere and enhancing the right. 
Savants are exceedingly rare, and while estimates vary, it is believed that nearly 10 percent of the autistic people have savant abilities, compared to less than one percent of the rest of the population. 
Snyder said that he was inspired by the fact that music, art, mathematics are taken by many to be an exceptional ability in humans requiring laborious hours of study and training but a group of savants are able to do these things. 
His first attempts to bring out the skills of such proportion were not so successful. 
Snyder and his team used magnetic pulses on people's brains to temporarily make the area underneath the pulses less inhibited. 
Then, the team looked at transcranial direct-current stimulation, where non-invasive and weak electrical currents were applied to the brain. 
In this, an electrode is placed on each side of the heads, over the anterior temporal lobes just above the ears. 
A weak electric current then passes between the electrodes. The dose given, Snyder says, changes the behaviour of the underlying neurons in participants for about an hour. 
His experiments have shown during that 60-minute window that people are capable of solving arithmetic problems, which will usually stump them. 
During one experiment, 33 participants of his experiment were asked to solve the difficult nine-dots problem, Snyder says, that about 5 percent of participants manage to solve it, even with hints and added time. In his experiment group, no participant could solve it. 
But after receiving the stimulation 14 of them were able to crack it. 
The results of his study have been published in the journal Neuroscience Letters.
Source-ANI
  

Friday, 12 July 2013

U.S. FDA proposes arsenic limit in apple juice

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, after decades of consideration, has proposed limiting the amount of inorganic arsenic in apple juice to the same level of the potential cancer-causing chemical allowed in U.S. drinking water.Although the vast majority of apple juice that has been tested by the FDA over the years has contained low levels of inorganic arsenic that were considered safe, the FDA has been wrestling whether to set limits because of the cancer risk.The agency on Friday proposed a limit of 10 parts per billion (ppb) for inorganic arsenic in apple juice, the level set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for arsenic in drinking water. (http://link.reuters.com/jac69t)"This action level will keep any apple juice that may have more inorganic arsenic than that out of the marketplace," Michael Taylor, the FDA's deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, said in a blog post.Last year the agency tested 94 samples of arsenic in apple juice and found that all were below the 10 ppb threshold for inorganic arsenic. The FDA is now setting that limit as the allowable future benchmark. It will accept public comments on its recommendations for 60 days.Inorganic arsenic may be found in foods because it is present in the environment, both as a naturally occurring mineral and due to the use of arsenic-containing pesticides.Inorganic arsenic has been associated with skin lesions, developmental effects, cardiovascular disease, neurotoxicity and diabetes. Organic forms of arsenic, also found in soil and ground water, are considered essentially harmless.Some consumer groups said the limit on arsenic is a good first step, but the carcinogen needs to be limited further."The standard they've chosen may not be adequate to fully protect the public," said Caroline Smith DeWaal, director of food safety at the Center for Science in the Public Interest.Juice sold by any one company can be made from concentrate that is obtained throughout the world, including U.S. sources and major suppliers in Asia and South America.The proposal was applauded by non-profit, independent product-testing organization Consumer Reports, which called it a "reasonable first step in protecting consumers from unnecessary exposure to arsenic."This is also a signal that we need to refocus on how we are introducing arsenic into the environment," said Urvashi Rangan, director of consumer safety and sustainability at Consumer Reports. "You want to see that standard get stronger and stronger over time, and we're going to hope to see that with apple juice."
Source:Reuters

Analysis: China case shows war on drug costs in emerging markets

International drug makers are under fire in emerging markets as governments crack down on high prices and corporate malpractice, raising a risk to the price premiums global players enjoy over local rivals.China's probe into pricing by 60 firms, including local units of multinationals, and its dramatic charge against GlaxoSmithKline Plc of widespread bribery to boost sales and prices are the latest salvos.The trend casts a shadow over emerging markets as key growth drivers for Western drugmakers as blockbuster drugs go off patent in the United States and Europe.But Beijing is not alone. India's relations with Western drug firms have deteriorated sharply after it rejected patents on several medicines and this year introduced a new policy of pegging many prices to the average for each drug type.Brazil is stepping up its own price controls and backing local manufacturers strongly, while other fast-growing economies, including Turkey, have imposed steep price cuts."It seems there is an increasing squeeze on Western drug companies," said Simon Friend, global pharmaceutical leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers. "It is not necessarily the same story in all jurisdictions but it all comes back to politics in some shape or form."The shifts may slow growth but are unlikely to derail it for drugmakers in emerging markets, where companies like GSK and Sanofi SA already generate a quarter to a third of their revenues - a proportion that is likely to increase as diseases like diabetes and heart problems fuel demand among middle-class patients.There are questions, however, as to how sustainable current sales strategies will prove.In contrast to the West, where big companies are shifting to more specialized medicines, their emerging market business is focused on primary-care products, with firms typically packaging older medicines under their own label as "branded generics".These off-patent drugs command a hefty premium to ones made by local suppliers, since the Western drugmaker's name is a proxy for quality.That is a growing point of friction for countries like China whose government - faced with a $1 trillion healthcare bill by 2020, according to McKinsey report - is keen to cut prices, at the same time as it looks to provide universal access to cost-effective healthcare.The issue is not confined to medicines, as evidenced by cuts in infant formula milk prices by Nestle SA and Danone SA after Beijing launched a probe into the industry.But booming healthcare demand puts drugs in the front line.
PAYMENTS TO DOCTORS
Details of GSK's latest woes in China remain unclear and Britain's biggest drugmaker, which was only told of the grounds of the corruption investigation this week, says it has found no evidence of bribery of doctors or officials.That leads some industry insiders not involved with GSK to see political maneuvering behind the move - especially with Beijing aiming to build up its own domestic drugs sector.Adding to the confusion is the fact that China has always been known for payments to its doctors, who rely on rewards for writing prescriptions to offset meager salaries.While North America and Europe banned lavish gifts to doctors years ago, financial inducements remain commonplace in many parts of the world.Past improper payouts in China have landed other Western drugmakers in trouble - though with U.S. rather than Chinese, authorities.Pfizer Inc and Eli Lilly & Co have both settled with Washington in the past 11 months over alleged corrupt payments in foreign markets, including China, and more cases under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act are pending.Eight of the world's top 10 drugmakers have warned of potential costs related to charges of corruption in overseas markets, according to a Reuters examination of U.S. filings last year. (http://link.reuters.com/sab69t)
ESSENTIAL DRUGS
Despite the adverse headlines, Mark Clark of Deutsche Bank doubts the bribery case will have an enduring impact on GSK's business in China, where it supplies key products such as vaccines, as well as drugs for lung disease and cancer.What is more, while China is expected to overtake Japan as the world's second biggest drugs market by 2016, according to consultancy IMS Health, it currently only represents around 3.5 percent of GSK's overall pharmaceuticals sales.A bigger concern is the broad drug pricing probe announced last week by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) into prices charged by local and international drugmakers, including units of GSK, Merck & Co Inc and Astellas Pharma Inc.While the commission regularly conducts such audits, the latest probe is larger and wider than usual, in part because of a major expansion of the government's essential drug list to 520 items in May from 307 previously."The state is paying the bills for these drugs, so it wants to know what it's paying for," said one Chinese industry insider. "China wants to bring down the prices of imported medicine through these methods to protect its own companies."The latest NDRC probe may also involve international price comparisons, industry sources believe, as well as a hard look at whether companies are charging Chinese subsidiaries an inflated price for raw materials to make their costs look higher.Last year the government asked multinationals to submit drug prices from nine foreign markets, a move IMS Health said could lead to pegging prices to those in other countries, potentially cutting international firms' revenues by 15 to 45 percent."Enforcement is increasing," said Sebastien Evrard, Beijing-based partner at law firm Jones Day which specialises in antitrust law."They have ramped things up and gained more expertise, and they're getting more confident. Before they felt that educating firms was more important, now they've moved beyond that."
Source:REUTERS
link:http://news.yahoo.com/analysis-china-case-shows-war-drug-costs-emerging-131100295.html

Does diet soda actually make you gain weight?

One psychologist says non-calorie sweeteners can make you "metabolically deranged"
Are you "metabolically deranged"? According to Susan Swithers, a psychologist at Purdue University in Indiana, you might be if you consume diet foods and drinks. Though one might think that non-calorie sweeteners can satiate our desire for sweetness while saving us from the high cost of sugar — i.e. calories — Swithers contends that this may not be true.Our brains may go, "Hey, I'm digging this guilt-free sweetness," but our bodies might well be responding, "Dude, where are my calories?" In short, our brain connects taste with the actual delivery of energy. If that energy isn't delivered, the means by which taste regulates what we eat — balancing calories in with calories out — is thrown out of whack, such that we end up consuming more energy and gaining weight.Or so goes the theory. Swithers has been pushing it for a number of years, based upon her own research on non-nutritive sweeteners in rodents. She is, in many ways, the go-to academic if you want to write a counter-intuitive story about gaining weight from diet drinks, and she is back in the news because she has reiterated her theory for an "opinion" piece in the journal Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism. Why is it an "opinion" piece? Because it is larded with "coulds" and "mights;" it isn't an actual study or experiment — or even a balanced weighing of the evidence. Trends is up front about that.And yet, the news media and Twitterverse did not trouble its readers with this distinction: "The dark side of diet drinks" was, for instance, the headline used by Fox News; "how diet soda makes you fat," tweeted@DrAseemMalhotra, a cardiologist and "real" food enthusiast.But the distinction is important for the following reasons: Swithers builds her argument mostly from observational studies with animals, and they are the weakest form of evidence to determine cause and effect. In fact, the inability to replicate observational studies on animals is so widespread that last year, the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke convened a workshop to discuss ways of tackling the problem. Its analysis was published in Nature. And Stanley Young, assistant director of bioinformatics at the National Institute of Statistical Sciences, went so far as to say that "any claim coming from an observational study is most likely to be wrong," in a paper for Significance, the journal of the Royal Statistical Society.This doesn't mean that the observational studies cited by Swithers are "most likely to be wrong." It just means that we can't know if they are likely to be right until the results are replicated in a randomized control trial, a much more robust and reliable way of establishing cause and effect (though not foolproof, either).And this leads us to the second problem: Because Swithers is writing an op-ed, she doesn't have to address and counter all the evidence from randomized control trials that disagree with her hypothesis. That's important because a major randomized control trial published last year in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition specifically targeted the issue of whether replacing calorific drinks with diet beverages or water induced weight loss; and it found that both did.The authors — one of whom is a long time food industry scold — went so far as to write, "This strategy could have public health significance and is a simple, straightforward message." Swithers, however, just mentions this study in passing before moving on to say it might not be "always" the case. Another important randomized control trial published last year tested normal versus non-calorie soda in Dutch children and found the latter led to reduced weight gain and lower fat accumulation. Swithers acknowledges this finding but counters it with much older observational, which is to say weaker, study data.This is the kind of argument you expect in an opinion piece; it's polemical. And that is why it is probably better to give more weight to recent randomized control trials showing weight loss in people who consume diet drinks than to a hypothesis about energy regulation based on a small number of rats eating chocolate pudding.
Source:TheWeek.com 

Marital Status Reduces Risk of Death From HIV/AIDS for Men

Augustine KposowaAt the height of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s  men who were married were significantly less likely to die of HIV/AIDS than their divorced or otherwise single counterparts, according to a University of California, Riverside analysis of new mortality data for that era.For women, marital status had little impact on who was more likely to die of the disease. But race proved to be a significant risk factor, with African-American women nine times more likely to die of HIV/AIDS and Latinas seven times more likely to die of the disease than white women. Those mortality rates were considerably higher than those for men of color compared to white men.The study by UCR sociology professor Augustine Kposowa — “Marital status and HIV/AIDS mortality: evidence from the U.S. National Longitudinal Mortality Study” — is the first to examine the effects of marital status on deaths of individuals with HIV/AIDS. It appears in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases, the official publication of the International Society for Infectious Diseases.Using data from a recent release of the U.S. National Longitudinal Mortality Study and the National Death Index, Kposowa tracked nearly 763,000 individuals age 15 and older between 1983 and 1994. A total of 410 of those individuals died of HIV/AIDS in that period of time.“These data capture when HIV/AIDS was approaching pandemic level,” Kposowa explained. “People were very afraid. The perception was that only men who had sex with men were getting infected, so no one was looking at risk factors for people who were married, widowed or separated.”Kposowa’s analysis of 11 years of mortality data found that marital status was a significant risk factor for men, but not women. Divorced and separated men were more than six times more likely to die of AIDS than married men, and those who had never married were 13.5 times more likely to die of the disease than those who were married. African-American men were 2.7 times as likely to die of HIV/AIDS as white men, and Hispanic men were more than twice as likely to die of the disease as white men.“It turns out that the big story for women is race, particularly for African-Americans and Latinos,” Kposowa said. “The question is, why would Latino and African-American women have been more at risk of HIV?”The most logical explanation, Kposowa believes, relates to how little was known in the 1980s about how the HIV virus was transmitted, and a health care system that historically disadvantages the poor.“Those without care are more likely to be minority women,” he said. “It’s really a function of the health care system, who has access, and how soon people seek care. So in the 1980s, poor people and minorities, who often lack information about health care, were at greater risk of death from HIV/AIDS. By the time they presented themselves for health care, the disease would have progressed.”Kposowa said his assertion is supported by other studies showing that women of color typically receive less aggressive treatment for diseases such as cancer, and that African-Americans and Hispanics are less likely to be prescribed narcotic pain medications for back pain than whites even when one takes into account pain severity.  He noted that in the US, post diagnosis cancer survival rates are much lower for people of color than whites.“The elephant in the room is the health care system and the value we put on different people because of their color and background,” the sociologist added. “We don’t say that consciously, but it is why the Obama administration has put so much emphasis on reducing health disparities in this country.”
source:UCR Today

Stem cell clues uncovered

Proper tissue function and regeneration is supported by stem cells, which reside in so-called niches. New work from Carnegie's Yixian Zheng and Haiyang Chen identifies an important component for regulating stem cell niches, with impacts on tissue building and function. The results could have implications for disease research. It is published by Cell Stem Cell.
Lamins are proteins that the major structural component of the material that lines the inside of a cell's nucleus. Lamins have diverse functions, including suppressing gene expression. It has been difficult to understand how mutations in lamins cause diseases in specific tissues and organs, such as skeletal muscles, heart muscle, and fat.
A group of human diseases called laminopathies, which include premature aging, are caused by defects in proteins called lamins. Zheng and her team, which included Xin Chen of Johns Hopkins University, decided to examine whether lamins would link stem cell niche function to healthy tissue building and maintenance.
To understand the tissue-specific effects of lamin mutations, the team focused on fruit fly testis, one of the best-studied stem cell niche systems. In the fruit fly testis, biochemical cross-signaling between the different types of cells that make up the niche environment ensures proper maintenance and differentiation of the testis system's stem cells.
Using an advanced array of techniques available in fruit fly studies, the team demonstrated that lamins were a necessary component of supporting niche organization, which in turn regulates proper proliferation and differentiation of germline stem cells in fruit fly testis.
"These results could have implications for the role of lamins in other types of stem cell niches," Zheng said. "These findings could contribute to the study of diseases caused by lamina-based tissue degeneration. For example, different lamin mutations could disrupt the organization of different niches in the body, which then leads to degeneration in tissues."
source:Carnegie Institution 

 

Choline-rich Foods Improve Long-term Memory


Consuming choline rich foods like eggs, chicken or beef liver, soy, wheat germ can help improve long-term memory and attention-holding capacity, say researchers.The study, conducted by scientists at the University of Granada (Spain) Simon Bolivar University, (Venezuela) and the University of York (United Kingdom), has revealed that choline is directly involved in attention and memory processes and helps modulate them. Researchers studied the effects of dietary supplements of choline in rats in two experiments aimed at analysing the influence of vitamin B intake on memory and attention processes during gestation and in adult specimens. In the first experiment, scientists administered choline to rats during the third term of gestation in order to determine the effect of prenatal choline on the memory processes of their offspring. Three groups of pregnant rats were fed choline-rich, standard or choline-deficient diets. When their offspring had reached adult age, a sample of 30 was selected: 10 were female offspring of dams fed a choline-supplement, 10 had followed a choline-deficient diet and the other 10, a standard diet, acting as a control group. This sample of adult offspring underwent an experiment to measure their memory retention: 24 hours after being shown an object all the offspring (whether in the choline-supplement group or not) remembered it and it was familiar to them. However, after 48 hours, the rats of dams fed a prenatal choline-rich diet recognized the object better than those in the standard diet group, while the choline-deficient group could not recognize it. Thus, the scientists concluded that prenatal choline intake improves long-term memory in the resulting offspring once they reach adulthood. In the second experiment, the researchers measured changes in attention that occurred in adult rats fed a choline supplement for 12 weeks, versus those with no choline intake. They found that the rats which had ingested choline maintained better attention that the others when presented with a familiar stimulus. The control group, fed a standard diet, showed the normal learning delay when this familiar stimulus acquired a new meaning. However, the choline-rich intake rats showed a fall in attention to the familiar stimulus, rapidly learning its new meaning. The study is published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience and Behavioural Brain Research.
Source-ANI

 

New Method of 'Starving' Cancer Cells Developed

 New Method of 'Starving' Cancer Cells Developed"Almost all cells in the human body contain the same basic components, meaning that to attack one of them in a cancer cell, that component will also be affected in normal cells. This study has identified a specific protein that is not necessary in normal cells but seems to be important to the survival of cancerous cells. A treatment that could block this protein could represent a significant breakthrough in the future of cancer treatment. Traditional chemotherapy and radiotherapy cause damage to healthy cells, and other more targeted treatments are usually only effective for individual types of cancer. Contrastingly, this new development does not damage healthy cells and could also be used to treat a wide variety of different cancers. Professor Proud and the team are now working with other labs, including pharmaceutical companies, to develop and test drugs that block eEF2K, which could potentially be used to treat cancer in the future. Professor Proud is also researching the origins of cancer. He says: "Protein synthesis - the creation of proteins within cells -is a fundamental process that enables cells to grow, divide and function. If it goes wrong, it can contribute to the development of cancer. We are interested in how defects in this process can cause cancers and other diseases." Source:University of Southampton



Mammals Able to Choose Offspring's Sex

 Mammals Able to Choose Offspring's SexA new study that tracked three generations of nearly 2,300 animals from the San Diego Zoo, found that mammals portray an ability to select the gender of their offspring in order to bring gains to their species.Researchers found that females do no exercise conscious choice, yet they possess the inherent capability to evaluate her health, the environment, quality of mate and decide what sex her child should be. 
For instance, the safest bet for a lioness would be to have a girl. Even if her daughter is not the healthiest and powerful she will in all likelihood have at least the average number of cubs.
90 years of breeding records from 198 mammalian species were studied by the team to come out with the fundamental theory of evolutionary biology. This study also suggests the varying capabilities of different species. 
Researchers said that the females appear to be the ones in control of the situation and the egg makes itself more conducive to a certain gender of sperm. This brings us to the question about what happens in human beings. Researchers feel that humans are certainly doing sex ratio manipulation, though research has failed to provide conclusive evidence. 
 Source:
Washington Post‎ 

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Govt to further modify rule on timeline, compensation for injury during clinical trials

The Centre is planning to further modify the newly added clause 122 DAB of the Drugs and Cosmetic (D&C) Rules, 1945 to further relax the norms on compensation in the case of injury or death during the clinical trials. The timeline for reporting the serious adverse events will also be modified in line with the international practices.
This is being done in accordance with the recommendations by a technical committee set up by the Ministry of Health and in the wake of apprehensions raised by different stakeholders, after the Government introduced the rule and added an appendix in Schedule Y. The Apex Committee set up by the Ministry and headed by the Secretary, in the wake of a Supreme Court direction, has forwarded the changes and many of them were cleared by the Drug Technical Advisory Board (DTAB).
As per the clause (1) of rule 122 DAB, in the case of an injury occurring to the clinical trial subject, he or she shall be given free medical management as long as required. The clause will be changed to specify that medical management will be provided in case the injury is due to clinical trial related activities only, as the free medical management may create undue influence for patient to enrol in a clinical trial.
Regarding the clause (2) of rule 122 DAB, the DTAB recommended that a qualifying clause may be further added in the sub-rule that in case there is no permanent injury, the quantum of compensation shall commensurate with the inconvenience, loss of wages and transportation.
Apart from modification in the compensation rules, the timeline for reporting the serious adverse events will also be changed. The requirements of sponsor and investigator to report the serious adverse events after due analysis in 10 days will be changed to 14 days while the timeline to be followed by the Ethics Committee to forward the reports along with their opinion on quantum of compensation will be 30 days, instead of 21 days stipulated now.
The independent expert committee will be given 60 days to examine the adverse events of death and recommend to the DCGI about the cause of death. At present, it is required to report to DCGI within 30 days.
The timelines for the DCGI to determine the cause of the injury or death and decide the quantum of compensation will be two months while there will not be any change in the timeline to pay the compensation (30 days).

Source:Pharmabiz

Hyderabad-based CSIR scientists make breakthrough research to develop new skin cancer drug

In a breakthrough research finding, the Hyderabad based scientists at Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) have a new drug to treat the rare form of skin cancer Melanoma.
The new finding by the scientists is considered to be an important development as they have made positive advancements in developing a possible therapeutic drug that could cure melanoma. Melanoma is a rare form of skin cancer which is more dangerous than other form of skin cancer.
Scientists, from both Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) and Indian Institute Of Chemical Biology (IICB) have been working on a research since long and recently brought to light their research findings where they claimed to have developed a synthetic transcription factor composed of peptide molecule that showed promising results in animals to treat the rare form of melanoma skin cancer.
At present the scientists have conducted clinical trials only on animals and have found positive results. The next step is to check the safety and efficacy of the drug in humans. “Animal testing of these peptide molecules has shown no toxicity. But only after human trial, we can tell if they have any side-effects or not,” explains Prof. Siddhartha Roy, director IICB.
Optimistic Roy also points that the new creation may also prove to be the way cancers are treated in future and felt that it will take a few more years to establish something concrete. While referring to clinical trials of the new drug in humans, Roy said, “Currently IICB has collaborated with the Mayo clinic in Minnesota in the US and we are optimistic that it will happen as soon as patent for the said drug is given.”
Talking about the clinical trials in India, Roy opined that it is difficult to conduct trials in India as the present Indian industry is not so well developed to carry out advanced clinical trials.

Source:Pharmabiz

2 Million Deaths Yearly Worldwide Linked with Air Pollution

Air pollution may be responsible for more than 2 million deaths around the world each year, according to a new study.The study estimated that 2.1 million deaths each year are linked with fine particulate matter, tiny particles that can get deep into the lungs and cause health problems.Exposure to particle pollution has been linked with early death from heart and lung diseases, including lung cancer, the researchers said; meanwhile, concentrations of particulate matter have been increasing due to human activities. The study also found that 470,000 deaths yearly are linked with human sources of ozone, which forms when pollutants from sources such as cars or factories come together and react. Exposure to ozone has been linked to death from respiratory diseases.Most of the estimated global deaths likely occur in East and South Asia, which have large populations and severe air pollution, said study researcher Jason West, an assistant professor of environmental sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill."Air pollution is an important problem. It's probably one of the most important environmental risk factors for health," West said. The study suggests that improving air quality around the world would increase life expectancy for some, he said.While some studies have suggested that climate change can make air pollution more deadly, the new study found that climate change had only a small effect on air pollution-related deaths.Pollution and climate interact in several ways. Climate-related factors such as temperature and humidity can affect the reaction rates of particles in the air, which in turn determine the formation of pollutants; additionally, rainfall can affect accumulation of pollutants, the researchers said.However, in the researchers' analysis, changes in climate were linked with just 1,500 yearly deaths from ozone pollution, and 2,200 yearly deaths from fine particulate matter.The researchers used a number of climate models to estimate concentrations of air pollution around the world, in the years 1850 (the pre-industrial era) and 2000. Focusing on these two years allowed the researchers to determine what proportion of air pollution was human-caused (attributable to industrialization).Then, the researchers used information from past studies on air pollution and health to determine how many deaths are linked with particular concentrations of air pollution, West said.The new study had an advantage over previous work in that it did not rely on just one climate model, but instead included several. However, because the study used information from previous research on air pollution and health, the estimates are subject to the same uncertainties that characterized those previous studies.In addition, most of the studies on air pollution and health were conducted in the United States, so  applying those results globally, as the current study did, introduces some uncertainty, West said.The study will be published in the July 12 issue of the journal Environmental Research Letters.
Source:Live Science

Soy protein supplementation does not reduce risk of prostate cancer recurrence

Among men who had undergone radical prostatectomy, daily consumption of a beverage powder supplement containing soy protein isolate for 2 years did not reduce or delay development of biochemical recurrence of prostate cancer compared to men who received placebo, according to a study in the July 10 issue of JAMA.
"Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed malignancy and the second most frequent cause of male cancer death in the United States and other Western countries but is far less frequent in Asian countries. Prostate cancer risk has been inversely associated with intake of soy and soy foods in observational studies, which may explain this geographic variation because soy consumption is low in the United States and high in Asian countries," according to background information in the article.
"Although it has been repeatedly proposed that soy may prevent prostate cancer development, this hypothesis has not been tested in randomized studies with cancer as the end point. A substantive fraction (48 percent - 55 percent) of men diagnosed as having prostate cancer use dietary supplements including soy products, although the exact proportion is not known. However, no evidence exists that soy supplementation has any prostate cancer-related benefits for these men. Soy contains several constituents, including isoflavones, which possess anticancer activities in laboratory studies."
Maarten C. Bosland, D.V.Sc., Ph.D., of the University of Illinois at Chicago, and colleagues examined whether daily consumption of a soy protein-based supplement would reduce the rate of recurrence or delayed recurrence of prostate cancer in men at high risk of recurrence after radical prostatectomy. The randomized trial was conducted from July 1997 to May 2010 at 7 U.S. centers and included 177 men. Supplement intervention was started within 4 months after surgery and continued daily for up to 2 years, with prostate-specific antigen (PSA) measurements made at 2-month intervals in the first year and every 3 months thereafter. Participants were randomized to receive a daily serving of a beverage powder containing 20 g of protein in the form of either soy protein isolate (n=87) or as placebo, calcium caseinate (n=90).
The trial was stopped early for lack of treatment effects at a planned interim analysis with 81 evaluable participants in the intervention group and 78 in the placebo group. Overall, 28.3 percent of participants developed biochemical recurrence (defined as development of a PSA level of ≥0.07 ng/mL) within 2 years of entering the trial. Twenty two (27.2 percent) of the participants in the intervention group developed confirmed biochemical recurrence, whereas 23 (29.5 percent) of the participants receiving placebo developed recurrence. "Among participants who developed recurrence, the median [midpoint] time to recurrence was somewhat shorter in the intervention group (31.5 weeks) than in the placebo group (44 weeks), but this difference was not statistically significant," the authors write.
Adherence was greater than 90 percent. There were no differences in adverse events between the 2 groups.
"The findings of this study provide another example that associations in observational epidemiologic studies between purported preventive agents and clinical outcomes need confirmation in randomized clinical trials. Not only were these findings at variance with the epidemiologic evidence on soy consumption and prostate cancer risk, they were also not consistent with results from experiments with animal models of prostate carcinogenesis, which also suggest reduced risk," the researchers write.
"One possible explanation for these discrepant results is that in both epidemiologic studies and animal experiments, soy exposure typically occurred for most or all of the life span of the study participants or animals; there are no reports of such studies in which soy exposure started later in life. Thus, it is conceivable that soy is protective against prostate cancer when consumption begins early in life but not later or when prostate cancer is already present. If this is the case, chemoprevention of prostate cancer with soy is unlikely to be effective if started later in life, given the high prevalence of undetected prostate cancer in middle-aged men."
Source:JAMA
 

Artificial Sweeteners Equally Bad for Health, Finds Study

Artificial sweetened beverages are associated with obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, finds recent study. 
More and more Americans are consuming artificial sweeteners as an alternative to sugar, but whether this translates into better health has been heavily debated.But, the new study reports surprising evidence on the negative impact of artificial sweeteners on health, raising red flags about all sweeteners-even those that don't have any calories. 
"It is not uncommon for people to be given messages that artificially-sweetened products are healthy, will help them lose weight or will help prevent weight gain," author Susan E. Swithers of Purdue University, said. 
"The data to support those claims are not very strong, and although it seems like common sense that diet sodas would not be as problematic as regular sodas, common sense is not always right," she said. 
Consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks has been linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome-a group of risk factors that raises the risk for heart disease and stroke. 
As a result, many Americans have turned to artificial sweeteners, which are hundreds of times sweeter than sugar but contain few, if any, calories. 
However, studies in humans have shown that consumption of artificially sweetened beverages is also associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome as well as cardiovascular disease. 
As few as one of these drinks per day is enough to significantly increase the risk for health problems. 
Moreover, people who regularly consume artificial sweeteners show altered activation patterns in the brain's pleasure centers in response to sweet taste, suggesting that these products may not satisfy the desire for sweets. 
The study is published by Cell Press in the journal Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism.
Source-ANI
 

Study Reveals Typhoid's Lethal Secret

 Study Reveals Typhoid's Lethal SecretRecent study has offered an explanation of how typhoid fever marked by delirium and stupor still kills 200,000 people every year - and also suggests the basis of a future vaccine.The culprit appears to be a powerful toxin possessed by Salmonella typhi, the bacterium that causes typhoid fever. Yale scientists for the first time describe the structure of the typhoid toxin and show that it causes disease in mice. The toxin helps explain why typhoid fever has such different symptoms than an infection by its close genetic cousin Salmonella, the common cause of food poisoning. 
"What makes this so exciting for us is that vaccines and therapeutics that target toxins have an excellent track record of success," said Jorge Galan, Lucille P. Markey Professor of Microbial Pathogenesis and senior author of the paper. 
Typhoid fever is believed to have killed Athenian leader Pericles and a third of the population of the Greek city in 430 B.C. during the Peloponnesian War and has perplexed doctors ever since. Untreated, it kills up to 20 percent of those it infects, however many of those who survive remain carriers for life but show no symptoms. This fact explains why fever, illness and death followed from job to job the notorious carrier Mary Mallon, best known as Typhoid Mary. A cook for wealthy New England families, she is believed to have unwittingly infected several dozen people in the early 20th century. 
Although the cause of typhoid fever has been known for over a century, what makes Salmonella typhi so deadly has remained a mystery. Galan and his team showed that the answer to this mystery may be typhoid toxin, a lethal toxin created from the merger of two separate and powerful toxins. The atomic structure of the toxin and its receptor reported in this study, may pave the way to new life-saving therapeutics. 
Source:Yale University 
 

 

Yoga Improves Mental Health Among Prisoners

 Yoga Improves Mental Health Among PrisonersA recent study indicates that yoga can improve mood and mental well being among prisoners.
 
The researchers found that prisoners after a ten-week yoga course reported improved mood, reduced stress and were better at a task related to behaviour control than those who continued in their normal prison routine. 
'We found that the group that did the yoga course showed an improvement in positive mood, a decrease in stress and greater accuracy in a computer test of impulsivity and attention,' say Dr Amy Bilderbeck and Dr Miguel Farias, who led the study at the Departments of Experimental Psychology and Psychiatry at Oxford University. 'The suggestion is that yoga is helpful for these prisoners.' 
Dr Bilderbeck adds: 'This was only a preliminary study, but nothing has been done like this before. Offering yoga sessions in prisons is cheap, much cheaper than other mental health interventions. If yoga has any effect on addressing mental health problems in prisons, it could save significant amounts of public money.' 
The researchers were supported in the running of the trial by the Prison Phoenix Trust, an Oxford-based charity that offers yoga classes in prisons. They approached the Oxford University psychologists about conducting such a study to assess the benefits, though the study was designed, analysed and published independently of the Trust. 
The Oxford University researchers, along with colleagues from King's College London, the University of Surrey and Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands, report their findings in the Journal of Psychiatric Research
Prisons see rates of mental health problems that are many times higher than the general population, and high levels are often recorded of personal distress, aggression, antisocial behaviour and drug and alcohol abuse among prisoners. 
Yoga and meditation have been shown be beneficial in reducing anxiety, depression and improving mood in other areas and settings, so the Oxford researchers carried out an initial exploratory study to look at a range of possible benefits of yoga among prisoners. 
Inmates of a range of ages were recruited from five category B and C prisons, a women's prison and a young offender institution, all in the West Midlands, and were randomly assigned to either a course of ten weekly yoga sessions of 90 minutes run by the Prison Phoenix Trust, or to a control group. 
In sessions with the researchers before and after the yoga course, all the prisoners completed standard psychology questionnaires measuring mood, stress, impulsivity and mental wellbeing. A computer test to measure attention and the participant's ability to control his or her responses to an on-screen cue was also used after the yoga course. 
If yoga is associated with improving behaviour control, as suggested by the results of the computer test, there may be implications for managing aggression, antisocial or problem behaviour in prisons and on return to society, the researchers note - though this is not measured in this initial study. 
Dr Bilderbeck, who practices yoga herself, cautions: 'We're not saying that organising a weekly yoga session in a prison is going to suddenly turn prisons into calm and serene places, stop all aggression and reduce reoffending rates. We're not saying that yoga will replace standard treatment of mental health conditions in prison. But what we do see are indications that this relatively cheap, simple option might have multiple benefits for prisoners' wellbeing and possibly aid in managing the burden of mental health problems in prisons.' 
Sam Settle, director of the Prison Phoenix Trust, says: 'Almost half of adult prisoners return to prison within a year, having created more victims of crime, so finding ways to offset the damaging effects of prison life is essential for us as a society. This research confirms what prisoners have been consistently telling the Prison Phoenix Trust for 25 years: yoga and meditation help them feel better, make better decisions and develop the capacity to think before acting - all essential in leading positive, crime-free lives once back in the community.
Source:Journal of Psychiatric Research

 

Innovative Urinal Helps Save Water

 Innovative Urinal Helps Save WaterThe innovative design of a urinal, named Stand, is an answer to the huge shortage of water in Europe.This design by Kaspars Jursons , a Latvian designer , is already in use in many European countries. The design is an endeavor to save water as well as to improve hygiene in men- it comes with a tap and sink just above the urinal. 
Explaining his innovation and how it can save water, Jursons said, "It's not just a fancy piece of art. The idea is about function and consumption. You are washing your hands in the sink on top of the urinal, and the same water that's running is also used to flush. You don't have to use water twice, like when you use the urinal and wash your hands in separate sink."
This sink urinal is priced at $590 per unit and has proved to save thousands of liters of water. Further, the tap is sensor-activated and hands-free- this is a constant reminder to men to wash their hands after using the urinal. "It is more suitable for hygiene than just a urinal and then guys who don't wash their hands."

Courtesy:Medindia
 
 

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Placenta Face Mask: Most Preferred Anti-aging Treatment Choice for Women

 Placenta Face Mask: Most Preferred Anti-aging Treatment Choice for Women 
Placenta face mask tops the list anti-aging treatments for British women aged 30 and over, show survey results.

The survey conducted by MyVoucherCodes.co.uk surveyed 2,173 British women aged 30 and over and asked them about the unusual treatments that they were willing to try if provided for free. Placenta face mask, topped the popularity poll, closely followed by bee venom and 'vampire' facials, which uses patient's own blood to create a platelet-rich plasma, which is then applied to the face, the New York Daily News reported. 

Top ten unusual anti-aging treatments: 

1. Placenta face masks - 45 percent 

2. Bee venom - 41 percent 

3. Vampire face masks - 39 percent 

4. Leeches - 38 percent 

5. Sperm facial- 30 percent 

6. Bird poo facial - 25 percent 

7. Cryotherapy treatment - 21 percent 

8. Cactus massage - 19 percent 

9. Urine therapy - 15 percent 

Solid gold facial - 14 percent

Source-ANI


 

Cheerful People Less Likely to Suffer Heart Attack, Research Finds

Findings from new Johns Hopkins research suggest people with cheerful temperaments are significantly less likely to suffer a coronary event such as a heart attack or sudden cardiac death.Previous research has shown that depressed and anxious people are more likely to have heart attacks and to die from them than those whose dispositions are sunnier. But the Johns Hopkins researchers say their study shows that a general sense of well-being — feeling cheerful, relaxed, energetic and satisfied with life — actually reduces the chances of a heart attack. 
A report on the research is published in the American Journal of Cardiology
"If you are by nature a cheerful person and look on the bright side of things, you are more likely to be protected from cardiac events," says study leader Lisa R. Yanek, M.P.H., an assistant professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "A happier temperament has an actual effect on disease and you may be healthier as a result." 
Yanek cautioned that cheerful personalities are likely part of the temperament we are born with, not something we can easily change. While some have suggested it's possible that people lucky enough to have such a trait are also more likely to take better care of themselves and have more energy to do so, Yanek says her research shows that people with higher levels of well-being still had many risk factors for coronary disease but had fewer serious heart events. 
She emphasized that the mechanisms behind the protective effect of positive well-being remain unclear. She also noted that her research offers insights into the interactions between mind and body, and could yield clues to those mechanisms in the future. 
For the study, Yanek and her colleagues first looked at data from GeneSTAR (Genetic Study of Atherosclerosis Risk), a 25-year Johns Hopkins project sponsored by the National Institutes of Health to determine the roots of heart disease in people with a family history of coronary disease. They analyzed information gathered from 1,483 healthy siblings of people who had coronary events before the age of 60 and who were followed for five to 25 years. Siblings of people with early-onset coronary artery disease (CAD) are twice as likely of developing it themselves. 
Among other things, study participants filled out well-being surveys and received a score, on a scale of 0 to 110, which gauged cheerful mood, level of concern about health, whether they were relaxed as opposed to anxious, energy level and life satisfaction. Over the course of an average 12-year follow-up, the researchers documented 208 coronary events — heart attacks, sudden cardiac death, acute coronary syndrome, and the need for stents or bypass surgery — in the sibling group. 
The researchers found that participants' positive well-being was associated with a one-third reduction in coronary events; among those deemed at the highest risk for a coronary event, there was nearly a 50 percent reduction. The findings took into account other heart disease risk factors such as age, smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. 
To validate their result, the researchers then looked at similar information in a general population using data from 5,992 participants in the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). In this population, over an average 16-year follow-up, there were 1,226 coronary events (20.5 percent). They found that this group also benefitted from a cheerful temperament, which reduced their risk of a coronary event by 13 percent. 
The findings held whether the participants were white or African-American, men or women. 
Source:American Journal of Cardiology 

Five Portions of Fruits and Vegetables Could Boost Longevity

 Five Portions of Fruits and Vegetables Could Boost LongevityA recent research finds that eating five portions of fruits and vegetables can add at least three years to your life. 
The study at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm into 71,000 studied 71,706 men and women volunteers in the age group of 45 - 83 for 13 years.
They found that people who didn't consumed much fruit or vegetables died about 37 months before people who ate five portions daily, the Daily Express reported. 
Adults who never consumed fruit died 19 months before than those who consumed at least one piece daily and those who never ate a vegetable outlived people consuming three a day by 32 months. 
The study has been published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Source-ANI
 

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