Saturday, March 2, 2024

Health Updates

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Quitting every 28 days adds 1 week to a smoker’s life

Former smokers can gain an extra seven days of life for every 28 days they refrain from tobacco, a new study has suggested. People wanting to quit smoking are being urged to join the ‘Stoptober challenge,’ which starts on October 1, the Independent reported. According to a government campaign from Public Health England, someone who quits for a month and does not start again could gain an extra seven days of life every 28 days for the rest of their life. (ANI)

Men better at losing weight than women

A new study has revealed that men are better than woman when it comes to dieting and shedding off the kilos. According to the study, which was conducted by Slimming World on 1.2 million dieters, males have less emotional issues around eating than females, the Daily Express reported. The research discovered that unlike women, men are much less likely to deter from their goal by events at home or work and they do not use food as a reward or comfort. Over a 12-week period, men lost an average of 1st 2lbs compared to women, who lost 11lbs. Additionally, men also attended more weight-loss sessions. (ANI)

Avian influenza A virus `potential pandemic threat’!

A new research has found that novel avian-origin H7N9 influenza A virus, has potential for both virulence and transmissibility in humans. The new study found that avian-origin H7N9 influenza A virus, which has recently emerged in humans, attaches moderately or abundantly to the epithelium of both the upper and lower respiratory tracts. In the current study, using virus histochemical analysis, the investigators looked at the pattern of attachment of two genetically engineered emerging H7 viruses (containing the hemagglutinin (HA) of either influenza virus A/Shanghai/1/13 or A/Anhui/1/13) to fixed human respiratory tract tissues and compared the findings to attachment patterns seen with human influenza viruses with high transmissibility but low virulence (seasonal H3N2 and pandemic H1N1) and highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses with low transmissibility and high virulence (H5N1 and H7N7). They found that like other avian influenza viruses, the H7N9 viruses attached more strongly to lower parts of the human respiratory tract than to upper parts. However, compared to other avian influenza viruses, the attachment to epithelial cells by H7N9 in the bronchioles and alveoli of the lung was more abundant and the viruses attached to a broader range of cell types. A third notable finding was a more concentrated attachment of H7N9 viruses in ciliated cells of the nasal concha, trachea, and bronchi, suggesting the potential for efficient transmission among humans. The study has been published in The American Journal of Pathology. (ANI)

Four common genetic variants linked with BP identified

A landmark study has led to the discovery of the four novel gene variations, which are associated with blood pressure. The 19-site meta-analysis, involving nearly 30,000 African-Americans, also found that the set of genetic mutations are also associated with blood pressure across other populations. Co-senior author Xiaofeng Zhu, PhD Epidemiology and biostatistics professor, said that in addition to their disproportionate suffering, hypertension occurs earlier in life for African-Americans compared to individuals of other ancestries. Zhu and his colleagues also confirmed that previous findings regarding other genes whose presence correlates with increased hypertension risk. Zhu said that although it is unknown how the genes regulate blood pressure and that their findings contribute to better understanding of blood pressure pathways that can lead to future development of drug target for hypertension and may guide therapy for clinical care. Experts estimate genetic make-up accounts for roughly 40-50 percent of individuals’ susceptibility to hypertension. Other factors associated with the disease include lifestyle, diet, and obesity. (ANI)

Tests can help detect drug-resistant malaria

Researchers have found two tests, which can discern within 3 days if the malaria parasites in a given patient is going to be resistant or susceptible to drug artemisinin, which is used for treating malaria. The tests were developed by researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, working with French and Cambodian colleagues in Cambodia. In both tests, young parasites are briefly exposed to a high dose of artemisinin, mimicking the way parasites are exposed to the drug in people being treated for malaria, and their survival is measured 72 hours later. The first test is conducted on blood taken from a malaria patient at the same time as the first dose of artemisinin-based combination drug therapy is administered. The test returns results in 72 hours and can predict whether the patient has slow-clearing, drug-resistant parasites. The researchers note that the simple, new test could be used for surveillance studies to monitor and map the emergence or spread of artemisinin-resistant malaria parasites. The second test is conducted on parasites grown in the laboratory. This test requires trained technicians to adapt parasites from a malaria patient to a laboratory culture, synchronize the life-stages of the parasites, and then apply the drug only to those that are three hours old or younger. (ANI)

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