शनिवार, अप्रैल 23, 2016

Dog walking benefit older adults

Researchers at the University of Missouri have found that older adults who also are pet owners benefit from the bonds they form with their canine companions. Dog walking is associated with lower body mass index, fewer doctor visits, more frequent exercise and an increase in social benefits for seniors. "Our study explored the associations between dog ownership and pet bonding with walking behavior and health outcomes in older adults," said Rebecca Johnson, a professor at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine. "This study provides evidence for the association between dog walking and physical health using a large, nationally representative sample," she added. The study analysed 2012 data from the Health and Retirement study sponsored by the National Institute on Aging and the Social Security Administration. It included data about human-animal interactions, physical activity, and frequency of doctor visits and health outcomes of the participants. Results from the study also indicated that people with higher degrees of pet bonding were more likely to walk their dogs and to spend more time walking their dogs each time than those who reported weaker bonds. Additionally, the study showed that pet walking offers a means to socialize with pet owners and others. Retirement communities also could be encouraged to incorporate more pet-friendly policies such as including dog walking trails and dog exercise areas so that their residents could have access to the health benefits, Johnson said

UV-Vitamin B combo cuts malaria risk in blood transfusions

A team of researchers has come up with a new blood treatment technology that could make blood transfusions in high risk malaria zones safer. The new trial suggests that treating donated blood with a cocktail of UV radiation and vitamin B is safe and could minimise the risk of malaria infection following blood transfusions. Lead author Jean-Pierre Allain from the University of Cambridge said that testing for parasites such as malaria is expensive and until now, there have been no technologies capable of treating whole blood, which is most commonly used in transfusions in sub-Saharan Africa. Allain noted thatthis is the first study to look at the potential of pathogen-reduction technology in a real-world treatment setting and finds that although the risk of malaria transmission is not completely eliminated, the risk is severely reduced. The technology is currently in the testing phase, and the authors add that further studies, in larger population groups, and in particular at risk populations such as young children and pregnant mothers are now needed. The study is published ahead of World Malaria Day, 25th April, in The Lancet.

मंगलवार, नवंबर 17, 2015

Having kids worse than illness for couples

Having kids causes more relationship conflicts in couples than illnesses or accidents, according to a new study which also found that relationship quality is restored when the kids grow up and move out. Manuela Schicka, along with Eric Widmer, from the University of Geneva in Switzerland, demonstrated that while the various styles of conjugal interactions generally remain stable along the life course, some critical life events and transitions weigh much more on relationship quality than others, sometimes in unexpected ways. Schicka observed 721 heterosexual couples participating in a survey in 1998 and 2011, which generated information on stability and change among couples living in Switzerland. She looked at normative (ie expected and ordinary) transitions like becoming parents, grown children leaving home (the "empty nest" syndrome) and retirement. Researchers also examined non-normative (ie unexpected and unintended) events like socio-professional and health-related problems. To assess relationship quality, they looked at indicators such as relationship satisfaction, thoughts of separation, conflicts of different sorts, and severity of arguments. The styles of conjugal interactions were identified following the typology based on dimensions like cohesion (fusion vs autonomy, openness vs closure) and regulation (level of gendered role differentiation, level of routinisation). The researchers found that couples with a high degree of fusion resisted better to life hazards. They also found that the style of conjugal interactions change very little over the life course. However, some transitions, especially the retirement phase, tend to result in the growth of fusion. This moment in time and the "empty nest" transition appeared as rather beneficial for relationship quality. By contrast, transition to parenthood and socio-professional problems generated more conflicts and a decrease in relationship satisfaction, researchers found. It is also interesting to note that serious illness and injuries do not affect relationship quality. Almost half of the interviewed couples had been confronted to health problems during the study, whereas only 20 per cent faced socio-professional difficulties. Schicka explained that the difference of outcome between work and health related problems by the fact that people are considered as controlling their occupational trajectory, whereas illness and accidents are seen as linked to bad luck and not personal responsibility. It is therefore ironical that the main purpose of matrimonial union, having kids, is a major challenge to couple stability, whereas transitions to the "empty nest" and to retirement succeed in reuniting couples at an age that is generally not perceived as the most romantic one, researchers said.

रविवार, जून 30, 2013

Regular exercise may cut risk of liver cancer

R egular exercise may reduce the risk of developing liver cancer, according to a first-of-its-kind study in mice. The study carries hope for patients at risk from hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), researchers said. HCC is a cancer originating in liver cells and accounts for approximately 5.4 per cent of all cancers worldwide, causing 695,000 deaths per year. It is the fifth most common cause of cancer in men and the eighth most common cause in women. In the study, researchers fed two groups of mice a control diet and a high fat diet and then divided them into separate exercise and sedentary groups. The exercise groups ran on a motorised treadmill for 60 minutes per day, five days a week. After 32 weeks of regular exercise, 71 per cent of mice on the controlled diet developed tumours larger than 10mm versus 100 per cent in the sedentary group. The mean number and volume of HCC tumours per liver was also reduced in the exercise group compared to the sedentary group. European Association for the Study of the Liver's Educational Councillor Professor Jean-Francois Dufour said the data showed the significant benefit of regular exercise on the development of HCC. Exercise decreased the level of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in mice receiving a high-fat diet. "We know that modern, unhealthy lifestyles predispose people to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease which may lead to liver cancer; however it's been previously unknown whether regular exercise reduces the risk of developing HCC," he said. "This research is significant because it opens the door for further studies to prove that regular exercise can reduce the chance of people developing HCC," he added. "The results could eventually lead to some very tangible benefits for people staring down the barrel of liver cancer and I look forward to seeing human studies in this important area in the future. "The prognosis for liver cancer patients is often bleak as only a proportion of patients are suitable for potentially curative treatments so any kind of positive news in this arena is warmly welcomed," he said. The study was presented at the International Liver Congress 2013, the 48th annual meeting of EASL in Amsterdam.

मंगलवार, जून 25, 2013

Sugar overload can cause heart damage

Your sweet tooth may be damaging your heart! Eating too much sugar can set people down a pathway to heart failure, a new study has warned. A single small molecule, the glucose metabolite glucose 6-phosphate (G6P), causes stress to the heart that changes the muscle proteins and induces poor pump function leading to heart failure, according to the researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). G6P can accumulate from eating too much starch and/or sugar, researchers said. "Treatment is difficult. Physicians can give diuretics to control the fluid, and beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors to lower the stress on the heart and allow it to pump more economically," said Heinrich Taegtmeyer, principal investigator and professor of cardiology at the UTHealth Medical School. "But we still have these terrible statistics and no new treatment for the past 20 years," said Taegtmeyer. Taegtmeyer performed preclinical trials in animal s, as well as tests on tissue taken from patients at the Texas Heart Institute, who had a piece of the heart muscle removed in order to implant a left ventricle assist device. Both led to the discovery of the damage caused by G6P. "When the heart muscle is already stressed from high blood pressure or other diseases, and then takes in too much glucose, it adds insult to injury," Taegtmeyer said. Researchers said the study has opened doors to possible new treatments. Two drugs, rapamycin (an immunosuppressant) and metformin (a diabetes medication) disrupt signalling of G6P and improved cardiac power in small animal studies, they said. "These drugs have a potential for treatment and this has now cleared a path to future studies with patients," Taegtmeyer said. The study was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

'Good' bacteria can battle 'bad' bacteria in eye infections

Scientists have found a novel way to attack the drug resistant bacteria that cause eye infections resulting in blindness. The study led by Daniel Kadouri, an assistant professor of oral biology at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey had three major components. The first established that isolates of two antibiotic-resistant ocular pathogens, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Serratia marcescens, were all susceptible to being attacked and killed by at least one of two other bacteria, Micavibrio aeruginosavorus and Bdellovibrio baceriovorus. The latter two bacteria act as predators against the pathogens but are believed to be "good," or non-infectious, bacteria when they exist within the human body, researchers said. In the second phase, human corneal-limbic epithelial cells that are native to the eye were exposed in vitro to M aeruginosavorus and B baceriovorus to test whether those "good" predator bacteria would cause either toxicity or inflammation in those cells, which they did not. In the third phase, the two "good" predator bacteria were injected into live worms from the species Galleria mellonella, which is well established as a suitable to test the toxicity of various microbes as well as a live organism's innate immunity to those microbes. here injection of the pathogenic bacterium aeruginosa as a positive control was one hundred per cent fatal to the worms, other worms injected with the two "good" predator bacteria had 11-day survival rates between 93.3 and 100 per cent, a strong sign that the "good" bacteria were not toxic to the worms. In addition a lack of change in larval pigmentation following injection suggested that the "good" bacteria also did not provoke an aggressive innate immune response in the worms. "Taken together, our findings leave us confident that, in isolation, pathogenic bacteria are susceptible to successful attack by predator bacteria, predator bacteria do not appear inherently harmful to ocula r cells when applied topically, and a live organism can tolerate the predator bacteria well," said Kadouri. "The time to test all three phenomena simultaneously in the eye tissue of a live organism may now be at hand," Kadouri said.

रविवार, जून 09, 2013

High heels may cause permanent injury

High heels may cause permanent injury, with most women suffering pain in just over an hour of wearing height-enhancing footwear, a new study has found. Wearing the ill-fitted shoes can cause long-term damage including arthritis, stress fractures, and trapped nerves, which may even require surgery or steroid injections, consultant podiatrist Mike O'Neill warned. Researchers at The College of Podiatry, UK, found that almost half of women have suffered foot problems after wearing an uncomfortable pair of shoes, but 43 per cent will suffer in the name of fashion. One third of women also admitted that they had worn heels they knew did not fit, simply because they "looked nice" - and could not find a pair in their size, The Telegraph reported. On average, high heels start to hurt after 1 hour, 6 minutes and 48 seconds, but a fifth 20 per cent started to feel the pinch within just 10 minutes. As many as 28 per cent women said they have resorted to dancing bare foot in a nightclub or bar when they could not put up with the pain any longer. One third of them admitted to have been forced to remove their shoes and walk home barefoot because they could not bear the pain any longer. The study of 2,000 British adults also found that only 12 per cent of men have put up with stylish but uncomfortable shoes. Researchers said that could explain why women are likely to have more issues with their feet, and are twice as likely to suffer from corns, cracked heels and bunions. A staggering 90 per cent of women have experienced problems and 20 per cent admitted they are "embarrassed" by their feet while 12 per cent are so ashamed they cover them constantly. As many as 19 per cent of women have refused to seek help despite these problems, because they believed their foot complaint was unimportant. Researchers said it appears younger women are more likely to be doing themselves harm as the younger the woman, the higher their heels. 20 per cent of those aged 18 to 24 owned a pair of six inch heels.