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Un nouvel antibiotique découvert chez des bactéries

20/07/2018

  Une approche innovante a permis d’identifier des molécules produites par des micro-organismes présents dans l’eau de mer. Voici une découverte rassurante: une équipe de chercheurs du collège de médecine de l’université du Wisconsin, à Madison, a découvert un nouvel antibiotique au mode d’action inédit. Une molécule baptisée «keyicine». C’est en cultivant des protéobactéries du genre Rhodococcus - qui vivent en symbiose avec des invertébrés marins - avec des bactéries Micromonospora qu’ils ont pu faire apparaître cette nouvelle molécule. Cultivées dans des conditions «traditionnelles», les Rhodococcus seules ne fabriquent pas cette keyicine: les gènes qui commandent sa fabrication sont silencieux. Les chercheurs ont réussi à réveiller ces gènes et estiment que d’autres molécules intéressantes sont sans doute encore à découvrir (travaux publiés dans la revue ACS Chemical Biology ). «Nous pensons que les produits naturels restent l’une des plus grandes sources de molécules diverses destinées à traiter les maladies humaines»  Navid Adnani, premier signataire des travaux Parmi les défis qui attendent la médecine et la pharmacie, l’apparition de germes devenus insensibles aux médicaments est un obstacle majeur. Les chercheurs de l’école de pharmacie de l’université du Wisconsin ont fait le constat que, entre les années 1970 et le début des années 2000, la recherche, tant publique que privée, a délaissé les produits «naturels» provenant des bactéries pour s’appuyer essentiellement sur la chimie de synthèse. En effet, on a cru que l’homme avait fait le tour des produits naturels, et que la chimie, via des batteries de tests de dépistage, serait beaucoup plus efficace. «Grâce aux progrès technologiques, à celui de la génétique, de la protéomique, de la métabolomique, etc., nous pensons que les produits naturels restent l’une des plus grandes sources de molécules diverses destinées à traiter les maladies humaines», écrivent Navid Adnani, premier signataire des travaux, et ses collègues. «Une urgence de santé publique» Pour réussir à relever ce défi, les scientifiques se sont dit que la méthode traditionnelle de culture des bactéries - dans une boîte avec un milieu nutritif donné et une analyse de tous les produits issus de cette culture - ne convenait pas. D’ailleurs, on sait que d’innombrables bactéries ne poussent pas dans ces conditions: on estime d’ailleurs qu’on a réussi à cultiver en laboratoire moins de 1 % des bactéries présentes sur Terre! D’où leur idée à double détente. Un, aller chercher dans des réservoirs peu connus, comme les bactéries sous-marines. Un litre d’eau de mer contiendrait 100 millions à 1 milliard de bactéries de 20.000 espèces différentes. Deux, faire des co-cultures d’espèces bactériennes différentes et regarder ce que cela donne. Et bingo, cela a fonctionné. «Cela a l’air d’un joli travail. Et on ne découvre pas tant que cela de nouveaux antibiotiques», reconnaît Élodie Psender, pharmacienne au CHU de Limoges, impliquée dans le grand programme européen Combacte, un partenariat public-privé qui a pour objectif de générer des essais innovants pour faciliter l’enregistrement des nouveaux agents antibactériens. En Europe, la résistance aux antibiotiques est responsable de plus de 25.000 décès chaque année «Les recherches sur de nouveaux antibiotiques continuent mais, au vu des antibiorésistances, la recherche s’oriente vers de nouvelles thérapies innovantes, avec par exemple des anticorps. On travaille aussi à développer des tests précoces d’identification d’infections, ce qui permettra de mieux traiter et de faire de la prévention.» Selon l’Organisation mondiale de la santé, «la résistance aux antibiotiques est en train de devenir une urgence de santé publique en des proportions encore inconnues». En Europe, la résistance aux antibiotiques est responsable de plus de 25.000 décès chaque année. Les chercheurs pharmaciens du Wisconsin ont établi la structure chimique de la keyicine. Elle appartient à une famille d’antibiotiques, également efficaces contre certains cancers, les anthracyclines. Mais son mode d’action est différent. Tandis que les autres anthracyclines tuent les cellules en s’attaquant à leur ADN, la keyicine ne le fait pas. Ce qui pourrait donc rendre l’acquisition d’une résistance bactérienne beaucoup moins facile.

France Surgery Visit to China

19/07/2018

C H E N G D U   H E A L T H   S E R V I C E    C H A M B E R   O F   C O M M E R C E    &      S A N Y I   M E D I C A L    C E N T R E   &   C H I N A   I N T E R N A T I O N A L   M E D I C A L    T O U R I S M   F A I R       O U R    D E L E G A T I O N    The French Medical & Health Delegation, comprised of Dr. Marc Giraud, co-founder of France Surgery and Dr. Jean-Patrick Lajonchère, the President of Hôpital Saint Joseph in Paris, travelled to Chengu, China earlier this month.  They were welcomed by Mr. SHI JUN, President of the Chengdu Health Service Industry Chamber of Commerce, together with representatives of JustGood Health Industry Group, Sichuan Southwest International Medical equipment city and Chengdu Yukang hospital.    This was a good opportunity to bound the Franco-Chinese partnership related to the medical and health industry, that was signed last November in Paris, when France Surgery, together with Mr. Philippe Douste-Blazy and the Hôpital Saint Joseph welcomed the Chinese delegation.   The Chinese tour also comprised a visit at the China International Medical Tourism (Chengdu) Fair and to the Sanyi Medical Center, where we've met esteemed professionals and future collaborators!  

Can heading a football cause long-term brain damage?

18/07/2018

France is still woozy with World Cup fever and rightly so (Allez Les Bleus), which makes today’s blog post particularly topical. That’s because a new study has set out to discover whether repeatedly heading a football can cause damage to the brain and lead to long-term health problems. Involving 300 former professional footballers, the study plans to put the ex-players through a series of tests that are designed to assess their physical and cognitive capabilities. Clinical examinations will be performed on the players, all aged between 50 and 85, while additional data relating to their playing careers and lifestyle choices will also be sourced. This is so the study researchers can differentiate between the players’ former positions and draw more accurate comparisons. The footballers’ results will then be compared to available population data relating to individuals born in 1954 who have had their ageing processes monitored since birth. The researchers hope this will allow them to discover if mild concussions in football that often occur when a player heads the ball can have long-term effects. The study will be carried out by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), Queen Mary University of London and the Institute of Occupational Medicine. Lead researcher Prof Neil Pearce, from LSHTM, said: “This study will provide, for the first time, persuasive evidence of the long-term effects on cognitive function from professional football.”

Evidence suggests potential link between Alzheimer’s and herpes

17/07/2018

Genetics, lifestyle and environmental factors are all thought to play a role in causing Alzheimer’s disease. And it’s now looking increasingly likely that we can add certain strains of the herpes virus to that list too. A study funded by the National Institutes of Health, the results of which were recently published in the journal Neuron, found that people with Alzheimer’s disease had higher levels of herpes strains 6A and 7 – two common forms of the virus, but not the ones responsible for genital herpes or cold sores. Alzheimer’s – also commonly referred to as dementia – causes people to lose their memory and is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States today. The authors of the study hope their research could one day lead to exciting new Alzheimer’s treatments and help better determine just who is at risk of developing the disease. "The hypothesis that viruses play a part in brain disease is not new, but this is the first study to provide strong evidence based on unbiased approaches and large data sets that lends support to this line of inquiry," National Institute of Aging Director Richard J. Hodes, M.D., said in a statement. The findings of the study reignite an old theory that suggests viruses could impact brain functions long term.

New type 1 diabetes trial could prevent babies from developing the condition

12/07/2018

It’s thought around one in 100 babies has genes that place them at increased risk of developing type 1, insulin-dependent diabetes. And unfortunately, at present, there is no way to prevent type 1 diabetes. But experts believe a new technique may be able to prevent high-risk babies from developing the condition. The idea is to use powdered insulin to train the immune systems of infants so that they are afforded life-long protection. Pregnant women attending maternity check-ups in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes and Oxfordshire in the UK are being asked to take part in the trial. Trial participants will be split into two groups, with half getting real insulin and the other half a placebo. Neither the participants nor the researchers will know which they received until after the trial. By spoon-feeding an infant insulin powder from six months to three years, experts hope their immune systems will be trained to tolerate insulin and prevent type 1 diabetes.   A lifelong condition, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease which causes insulin-producing cells in the pancreas to be destroyed. As a result, the pancreas doesn’t produce any insulin and the person's blood sugar (glucose) level becomes too high. Speaking about the trial, Dr Elizabeth Robertson, director of research at Diabetes UK, said: "This is a huge endeavour, so we would encourage women living in the South East who think they might be eligible to find out more - research like this can't happen without the incredible people who take part." [Related reading: Diabetes is actually five diseases, not two]

Une maladie sanguine guérie par thérapie génique

11/07/2018

INFOGRAPHIE - Un essai clinique a permis de soigner 22 personnes souffrant de bêta-thalassémie, une anémie d’origine génétique. Une collaboration majoritairement franco-américaine a obtenu un beau succès thérapeutique contre une pathologie sanguine, la bêta-thalassémie. Cette maladie génétique est rare en France, avec environ 600 malades, mais elle est bien plus fréquente au sein de certaines populations dans le pourtour méditerranéen, en Asie ou encore en Afrique noire. Elle est provoquée par un défaut dans un gène qui perturbe la production de l’hémoglobine, et qui se traduit par des globules rouges qui ne font plus assez bien leur travail et provoquent des anémies plus ou moins sévères, qu’il faut compenser par des transfusions. Les premiers résultats d’un essai clinique publiés le jeudi 19 avril dans la revue New England Journal of Medicine prouvent l’efficacité d’un traitement de thérapie génique, où les mutations qui provoquent la maladie ont été corrigées dans les cellules des malades. En 2010, un premier malade avait été soigné avec cette technique, et l’essai clinique qui vient de se dérouler sur 22 malades prouve que ce succès n’était pas un cas isolé. Douze d’entre eux n’ont plus du tout besoin de transfusion sanguine, et trois autres ont pu réduire la fréquence de ces injections de globules rouges. Gène correcteur dans les cellules souches L’idée de la thérapie génique, insérer un gène «réparé» dans l’organisme du patient pour soigner sa maladie, a été très largement mise en avant depuis des années, notamment par le Téléthon, mais les vrais succès sont encore rares. «Pour la bêta-thalassémie, j’ai eu l’idée de ce traitement il y a déjà une vingtaine d’années, mais la mise au point a été très longue, très difficile», reconnaît le Pr Philippe Leboulch, haut conseiller pour l’innovation médicale de la direction de la recherche fondamentale du CEA. Les premiers tests réussis sur des souris avaient été publiés il y a dix-sept ans dans la revue Nature, et le passage à une technique efficace chez l’homme a été long. La bêta-thalassémie était dès le départ une cible intéressante, car elle est provoquée par la mutation d’un seul gène. Mais la grande difficulté a été de réussir à corriger ce gène dans le corps du malade, et plus précisément dans les cellules souches dites hématopoïétiques, les «usines» qui produisent en continu les cellules sanguines de l’organisme. Traitement moins lourd pour le malade C’est ce scénario idéal qui s’est produit pour 12 des 22 patients traités, dont certains dans le service du Pr Marina Cavazzana à l’hôpital Necker-Enfants malades à Paris, en collaboration avec l’institut Imagine (AP-HP/Inserm/Université Paris-Descartes). Les cellules génétiquement corrigées qu’ils ont reçues se sont bien implantées, et ont permis de produire suffisamment d’hémoglobine saine pour qu’ils n’aient plus besoin de recevoir des transfusions sanguines régulières. « J’ai bientôt 24 ans et j’ai bénéficié d’une autogreffe il y a quatre ans, témoigne une patiente du Pr Marina Cavazzana. Grâce à ça, aujourd’hui, je n’ai plus de transfusion mais surtout plus de Desféral, qui était mon traitement afin de descendre ma ferritine.» Le Desféral est un  traitement contre l’effet délétère des dépôts de fer causés par ces transfusions. Dernier avantage, ce traitement est moins lourd pour le malade que les greffes de moelle osseuse, qui ne sont d’ailleurs possibles que dans 25 % des cas.    

Vivre en ville nuit à la qualité de notre peau.

10/07/2018

Une étude coréenne montre que la pollution atmosphérique est néfaste pour la flore cutanée. Depuis quelques années, les études sur la flore intestinale (ou microbiote intestinal) se multiplient. Côlon irritable, maladie de Crohn, 

Babies given solid foods sleep better, study suggests

10/07/2018

Babies who are fed solid food in addition to breast milk from the age of three months sleep better than those who are solely breastfed, a new study has revealed. Publishing their findings in JAMA Pediatrics, the authors of the study noted the following: “The World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months. However, 75% of British mothers introduce solids before 5 months and 26% report infant waking at night as influencing this decision.” Experts say women should still heed WHO’s advice, but that the guidelines are currently under review. For the study, the researchers from King's College London, and St George's, University of London, split 1,303 three-month-old infant into two groups: one that was solely breastfed and one that also had solid foods incorporated from the age of three months. The babies’ parents were then surveyed to see if the addition of solid foods had made a difference to the sleep patterns of the infants and the mothers’ quality of life. The parents of the babies who were given solid foods from three months reported that their children slept longer, woke less frequently and had far fewer serious sleep problems. Prof Gideon Lack from King's College, London, said: "The results of this research support the widely held parental view that early introduction of solids improves sleep. "While the official guidance is that starting solid foods won't make babies more likely to sleep through the night, this study suggests that this advice needs to be re-examined in light of the evidence we have gathered." [Related reading: Bottle feeding is a woman’s right, midwives advised]

VIH/sida : toujours 6000 contaminations chaque année en France

09/07/2018

Un trop grand nombre de personnes sont séropositives sans le savoir et risquent de transmettre à leur tour le virus. En 2016, 5,4 millions de sérologies VIH (virus de l’immunodéficience humaine) ont été réalisées en France par des laboratoires de biologie médicale, dont 300.000 anonymement. Un chiffre considérable qui a conduit à la découverte d’environ 6000 nouvelles contaminations. Un chiffre désespérément constant depuis une petite dizaine d’années. L’une des explications vient sans doute de l’épidémie cachée, c’est-à-dire des personnes contaminées (séropositives) sans le savoir. Ils seraient 25.000 en France selon une modélisation de l’Inserm. On comptait pourtant beaucoup ces dernières années sur l’arrivée de nouveaux outils de dépistage pour réduire ce foyer occulte. Hélas, ni le dépistage communautaire possible depuis septembre 2011 en France par test rapide d’orientation diagnostiques (Trod), 56.300 réalisés l’an dernier, ni les 75.000  autotests vendus en pharmacie en 2016 (disponibles depuis septembre 2015) n’ont amélioré sensiblement la situation. ls ont néanmoins l’intérêt d’atteindre une population particulièrement exposée au VIH, principalement les hommes ayant des rapports avec des hommes (HSH) et les migrants. Ces deux groupes constituaient les deux tiers des personnes dépistées par des tests rapides. «Plus on connaît tôt son statut sérologique, plus le bénéfice est grand» François Bourdillon, le directeur général de Santé publique France Les experts de Santé publique France, qui ont publié un bulletin épidémiologique hebdomadaire entièrement consacré à l’épidémie d’infection à VIH/sida, soulignent deux enjeux de santé publique: le retard diagnostic et la dynamique de l’épidémie dans certains groupes de population (HSH, migrants originaires d’Afrique subsaharienne). Le retard diagnostic reste important, «Plus on connaît tôt son statut sérologique, plus le bénéfice est grand, rappelle François Bourdillon, le directeur général de Santé publique France. Le bénéfice est individuel mais aussi collectif car le risque de transmettre le VIH à un partenaire pour une personne traitée avec une charge virale indétectable est quasi nul.» Même dans le groupe des HSH, pourtant sensibilisé au VIH/sida et bien informé sur les moyens de protections tels que la PrEP (prophylaxie pré-exposition), seulement la moitié des infections font l’objet d’un dépistage précoce et 18 % des infections sont découvertes à un stade avancé. La majorité des nouvelles contaminations concerne toujours les hétérosexuels (3200), devant les HSH (2600). Cependant la découverte de séropositivité diminue d’année en année (-9 % entre 2013 et 2016) chez les hétérosexuels, avec une baisse plus marquée chez les hommes que chez les femmes, alors qu’elle reste stable chez les HSH.  

Trois français sur quarte sont favorable à la vaccination !

06/07/2018

Les vaccins destinés aux nourrissons sont très rarement remis en question mais ceux contre la grippe saisonnière et l’hépatite B suscitent des réticences. En 2016, trois Français interrogés sur quatre se sont déclarés favorables à la vaccination en général, selon une étude de Santé publique France rendue publique mercredi. L’enquête, menée en métropole en 2016 auprès de près de 15.000 personnes, montre toutefois que plus de 40% des personnes sont défavorables à une ou plusieurs vaccinations en particulier. Alors que 90% des personnes interrogées étaient favorables à la vaccination selon les enquêtes de 2000 et 2005, elles n’étaient plus que 60% en 2010. La vaccination avait ensuite retrouvé ses lettres de noblesses en 2014, année où 79% des Français étaient convaincus de son intérêt. Cette confiance s’est légèrement érodée dans les deux années qui ont suivi, puisque 75% des personnes interrogées en 2016 ont déclaré être favorables à la vaccination. Seulement 2,4% de la population interrogée est défavorable à la totalité des vaccins, un taux stable depuis 2010. La défiance, héritage des polémiques passées La vaccination contre la rougeole, les oreillons et la <a href="http://sante.lefigaro.fr/mieux-etre/vaccination-depistage/vaccination-contre-rubeole/quand-faut-il-se-vacciner">rubéole</a> (vaccin ROR), le<a href="http://sante.lefigaro.fr/sante/maladie/tuberculose/quest-ce-que-tuberculose-0"> BCG </a>et la vaccination contre la <a href="http://sante.lefigaro.fr/sante/maladie/diphterie/quest-ce-que-cest-0">diphtérie</a>, le<a href="http://sante.lefigaro.fr/sante/maladie/tetanos/quest-ce-que-cest"> tétanos </a>et la<a href="http://sante.lefigaro.fr/sante/maladie/poliomyelite/quest-ce-que-cest"> poliomyélite </a>(DTP) suscitent peu d’avis défavorables (moins de 2% des personnes). «Les réticences concernent très peu les vaccinations pour nourrissons, mise à part celle contre<a href="http://sante.lefigaro.fr/sante/maladie/hepatite-b/quest-ce-que-cest"> l’hépatite B </a>qui cristallise encore des réticences», relève le Dr Christine Jestin de l’agence sanitaire Santé publique France qui publie ce numéro du BEH consacré aux vaccinations. Par contre, la vaccination contre la grippe saisonnière est celle qui recueille le plus d’opinions défavorables (15% de l’ensemble des personnes interrogées âgées de 18 à 75 ans), devant la vaccination contre<a href="http://sante.lefigaro.fr/sante/maladie/hepatite-b/quest-ce-que-cest"> l’hépatite B </a>(13%) et celle contre les<a href="http://sante.lefigaro.fr/sante/maladie/hpv-papillomas-virus-humains/qui-faut-il-vacciner"> infections à papillomavirus </a>(5,8%). «En France, les différentes polémiques touchant certains vaccins au cours des deux dernières décennies - hépatite B en 1998, grippe A(H1N1) en 2009 et, dans une moindre mesure infections à papillomavirus humains (HPV) en 2013 - ont sans doute contribué à faire de la France un pays où l’innocuité des vaccins est mise en doute par la population», notent les auteurs de l’étude. Une confiance variable selon le type de vaccin Les avis défavorables à la vaccination contre l’hépatite B sont plus nombreux chez les 55-64 ans. «Le souvenir de la polémique autour des effets secondaires du vaccin contre l’hépatite B, qui avait notamment entraîné fin 1998 la suspension de la campagne de vaccination à l’école, pourrait expliquer ce résultat», indiquent les chercheurs. Concernant la vaccination contre les infections à papillomavirus humains, les réticences sont plus nombreuses chez les 18-24 ans, qui ont vécu la controverse de 2013. Les 25-34 ans y sont beaucoup plus favorables. «Il est possible que les femmes de cette tranche d’âge, qui ont commencé à bénéficier du dépistage du cancer du col, comprennent aussi beaucoup mieux les enjeux de cette vaccination», analysent les auteurs. L’étude montre que la confiance dans les vaccins diffère selon l’âge. Ainsi, les personnes les plus favorables à la vaccination sont les 18-24 ans, tandis que les jeunes adultes (25-34 ans) comptent la proportion la plus importante de personnes qui y sont défavorables. L’adhésion à la vaccination diffère également en fonction de la catégorie socioprofessionnelle. En 2016 comme en 2010, les personnes les plus défavorables sont celles avec les niveaux de diplômes et de revenus les plus faibles. Selon les auteurs, il est nécessaire de poursuivre «les efforts d’information et de pédagogie auprès de la population générale (...) pour que la vaccination demeure ce qu’elle a toujours été: une des meilleures interventions en santé publique pour améliorer la santé de la population.»  

Eating nuts regularly could improve a man's sperm quality

05/07/2018

A new study suggests that eating nuts regularly can improve both a man’s sperm count and the quality of the sperm produced. Experts say the finding is significant given that sperm counts across the Western world are in decline, a reality that’s been attributed to pollution, smoking and diet. At present, around one in seven couples have difficulty getting pregnant and figures show that 40-50% of infertility cases are attributable to men. For the study, scientists randomly split 119 healthy men between the ages of 18 and 35 into two groups. One group had 60 grams (2oz) of nuts added to their normal diet each day, while the other continued to eat as they always had done. The group that had the nuts added to their diet were found to have improved sperm – 14% greater count, 4% better vitality, 6% better motility (movement) and 1% better morphology (shape and size) – all of which are considered by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to be measures of  sperm quality. Dr Albert Salas-Huetos, from the Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Spain, who led the study, said: "Evidence is accumulating in the literature that healthy lifestyle changes such as following a healthy dietary pattern might help conception”. The results of the study were recently presented at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Barcelona.

Vous vous sentez plus jeune que votre âge? C’est un signe positif

03/07/2018

INFOGRAPHIE - À partir de 30 ans, la plupart des gens se sentent moins âgés que leur véritable nombre d’années. Un écart de perception qui peut aller jusqu’à une décennie, et ne diminue qu’après 80 ans. On connaissait les températures ressenties, voilà maintenant l’âge ressenti, celui que l’on a l’impression d’avoir. L’idée n’est pas nouvelle mais les chercheurs s’intéressent de plus en plus à cet âge subjectif, car il serait un bon indice de longévité réussie. Vous n’avez pas l’impression d’avoir votre âge? Vous n’êtes pas seuls. C’est même le cas de la majorité des gens de votre âge. Mais à partir de quel âge se sent-on vieux? La réponse dépend de l’âge… que l’on a! Des psychologues de l’université du Michigan en collaboration avec des chercheurs de l’université du Minnesota et de Stanford (Californie) ont en effet posé la question à plus de 500.000 personnes âgées de 10 à 89 ans, via Internet, entre 2006 et 2015. Les réponses sont fluctuantes en fonction de l’âge de la personne interrogée. Celles qui ont 20 ans placent la barre de la vieillesse autour de 60 ans, mais celles qui en ont 60 la repoussent à 70 ans environ.    Autre question double posée aux internautes, quel âge avez-vous et quel âge avez-vous l’impression d’avoir? Jusqu’à 30 ans environ, l’âge perçu est assez fidèle aux nombres de bougies sur votre gâteau d’anniversaire, même si un nombre non négligeable d’individus se sentent un peu plus vieux que leur âge (environ 3 ans de plus à 20 ans pour la moitié des gens). En revanche, à partir de 30 ans la majorité des répondants commencent à avoir une perception ralentie de leur âge. Et passé 50 ans, la plupart des gens ont l’impression d’avoir dix ans de moins. Cela reste vrai jusqu’aux environs de 80 ans, âge ou la sensation de décalage se réduit enfin. Ces résultats publiés dans la revue Frontiers in Psychology sont finalement assez proches de ceux obtenus il y a une douzaine d’années sur un échantillon de près de 1.500 Danois par David Rubin de l’université Duke, en Caroline du Nord et Dorthe Berntsen de l’université d’Arhus au Danemark. Sauf qu’au Danemark, plus on vieillissait et plus l’écart se creusait entre l’âge ressenti et l’âge réel. Ainsi, le décalage perçu par la majorité des répondants était-il de huit ans de moins à 40 ans, douze de moins à 60 ans, ou encore seize ans de moins à 80 ans (voir tableau). Les auteurs remarquaient cependant que cet écart restait constant proportionnellement à l’âge ; soit une réduction de 20 % de l’âge réel, à partir de l’âge de 40 ans.  

Heat-stable drug could prevent thousands of women dying every year during childbirth

03/07/2018

Each Year, around 70,000 women die due to postpartum haemorrhages, excessive bleeding following the birth of a baby. These haemorrhages also pose a risk to babies, increasing their chances of dying in the first month of life. Until now, there have been drugs available to help prevent these haemorrhages. However, the hot humid conditions found in many of the countries that would benefit from them the most are thought to stop the lifesaving medicines working. That’s why a revamped drug that can withstand extreme heat and remain effective for up to 1,000 days has been hailed as revolutionary by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Experts say the medicine, known as heat-stable carbetocin, should be offered to all women giving birth vaginally across as many as 90 countries around the world. Speaking about the development of heat-stable carbetocin, WHO expert Dr Metin Gulmezoglu said it was “very good news for the millions of women who give birth in parts of the world without access to reliable refrigeration”. He added: “It will help to save many lives of mothers in lower income countries where most deaths occur”. The drug is currently available for other uses ad regulators will now assess whether it can be approved for wider use going forward.

Marital status should be added to the list of cardiovascular risk factors - study

28/06/2018

Doctors should take a person’s marital status into account when assessing their risk of heart attack and stroke, a major study has found. For the study, researchers at Keele University analysed numerous trials involving more than two million people. They found that individuals who were never married, divorced or widowed were 42% more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. They were also 42% more likely to die from heart disease and 55% more likely to die from a stroke. Risk factors such as age, sex, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, and diabetes are usually associated with cardiovascular disease. However, the findings of the new study suggest marital status should also be added to the list. Senior author, Mamas Mamas, Professor of Cardiology at Keele University, in England, said:  “Our work suggests that marital status should be considered in patients with or at risk of developing cardiovascular disease, and should be used alongside more traditional cardiac risk factors to identify those patients that may be at higher risk for future cardiovascular events”. The researchers say the reason marriage could have a protective effect on cardiovascular disease is because of the additional emotional and social support that’s afforded by having a spouse. People with long-term partners are more likely to have symptoms spotted earlier and encouraged to seek medical advice as a result.

Environment not genes responsible for emotional eating in children

25/06/2018

Some of us turn to food for comfort when we are feeling emotional or stressed. Likewise, some of us cut back on food when we are feeling upset. But they are habits that could be influencing our children too. That’s because new research by University College London has found that children who eat more or less when stressed or upset have learnt the behaviour rather than inherited it, suggesting home environments are the primary cause of emotional eating. Parental acts such as giving children their favourite food when they are feeling upset have been highlighted as potential reasons for the habits forming. But UK-based eating disorder charity Beat says parents shouldn’t be blamed for their children’s eating issues. "Eating disorders are complex mental illnesses and never have one sole cause," the charity said. The study, which was published in the journal Pediatric Obesity, analysed 398 four-year-old British twins. Half came from families with obese parents and half from parents with a healthy weight. The parents were asked questions about their children’s eating habits, including their tendencies to emotionally eat. The researchers compared the questionnaire data relating to eating disorders between identical and non-identical twins and found very little difference between the two, which suggests environment plays a bigger role than genes.

Babies are most likely to be born at 4am, study finds

21/06/2018

Expectant mothers should prepare themselves for an early morning birth, as a new study has found that most babies are born spontaneously between 01:00 and 07:00, with 4am being the most likely time for new babies to be brought into the world. Overall, more than 70% of births took place outside regular working hours, according to the analysis of five million births conducted by researchers from University College London, City, University of London and the National Childbirth Trust (NCT). Planned C-sections tend to happen on weekday mornings, which is understandable, while births after induced labours are more likely to occur around midnight. With just 28% of births occurring between 09:00 and 17:00 on weekdays, the researchers said their findings could be used to determine the staffing of midwives and doctors. Dr Peter Martin, lead author of the paper, who conducted the research while at City, University of London, said the fact more births are likely to occur at night or in the early hours “may be part of our evolutionary heritage. Our ancestors lived in groups that were active and dispersed during the day and came together to rest at night. So a night-time labour and birth probably afforded the mother and new-born baby some protection”.

WHO classifies video game addiction as a mental health disorder

19/06/2018

Do your kids spend a lot of time playing video games? If so, have you ever thought they might be addicted to them? A new World Health Organisation (WHO) classification recognises that video game addiction as a mental health disorder and it’s not just kids who are at risk. According to the WHO, the new classification of “gaming disorder” has three main characteristics: Impaired control when gaming Prioritising gaming over other interests Continuation or escalation of gaming despite negative consequences The diagnosable condition will be set out this month in the organisation's reference work of recognised and diagnosable diseases, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). However, many psychiatrists, including the American Psychiatric Association, disagree, saying there is insufficient evidence to consider gaming addiction as a unique mental disorder. As a result, a veil of confusion has been cast over how to approach so-called video game addiction. The mental health disorder classification gives mental health professionals a basis for setting up bespoke treatment plans and identifying risks. But some mental health professionals are concerned that the classification is grounded more in moral concerns rather than science. Speaking about the WHO’s decision, Richard Graham, a specialist psychiatrist in technology addiction at Nightingale Hospital, London, said there was a very important difference between enthusiastic gaming and the new disorder. "What we're talking about - and what the World Health Organisation is talking about - is the people who can no longer stop, no longer control their use. "They're prioritising their gaming above pretty much everything else in their life”.

Travellers risking fines and even imprisonment by taking medications abroad

14/06/2018

How often do you pack to go on holiday and include some prescribed medicines in your luggage? While it might not seem like a big deal, you could actually be breaking the law in the country you’re visiting and that’s why the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is advising British citizens to check the rules ahead of time. Even painkillers that are commonly prescribed in the UK are classed as “controlled drugs” in some countries, which means holidaymakers could unwittingly find themselves in hot water abroad. In Japan, for example, some common cold remedies are banned, while certain types of sleeping pills require a special licence in Singapore.   The FCO warned that travellers could be slapped with a fine or even imprisoned if they break the rules. With nearly half of the UK population currently taking prescribed medication, millions of individuals could potentially fall foul of foreign laws. In China and Costa Rica, visitors are required to show an accompanying doctor’s letter with any medication they bring, while in Indonesia, codeine, sleeping pills and treatments for ADHD are illegal. The FCO recommends that travellers check destinations on its own website’s travel advice pages or the Department of Health’s TravelHealthPro website.

Bottle feeding is a woman’s right, midwives advised

12/06/2018

A lot of stigma faces mothers who choose not to breastfeed and instead raise their children using formula milk from a bottle. And while the phrase ‘breast is best’ is one that’s commonly quoted when talking about raising babies, the Royal College of Midwives in the UK has issued a new position statement making it explicitly clear that bottle feeding is a woman’s right. While breast is still considered best, some women struggle to produce breast milk and have a torrid time breastfeeding, which is why, the college says, an informed choice must be promoted. The reality, though, is that new mothers feel unfairly pressured however they feed their babies. Mothers who breastfeed often feel constrained when it comes to whether, where, how often and how long they breastfeed. Likewise, mothers who go down the bottle route feel judged or guilty. Experts recommend that babies are exclusively breastfeed until the age of six months, after which time solid foods should also be introduced. But compared to the rest of Europe, the UK has one of the lowest rates of breastfeeding. While nearly every new mother attempts to breastfeed at the start, less than half are still exclusively breastfeeding their baby after six weeks. This drops to just 1% after six months. Gill Walton, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said: "The RCM believes that women should be at the centre of their own care and as with other areas of maternity care, midwives and maternity support workers should promote informed choice. "If, after being given appropriate information, advice and support on breastfeeding, a woman chooses not to do so, or to give formula as well as breastfeeding, her choice must be respected.

Voyages : se protéger contre les maladies

07/06/2018

Paludisme, vaccination et trousse à pharmacie, pour éviter les risques de maladies pendant un voyage il est vital de bien se préparer. À l'approche des vacances d'été, il est important de rappeler que voyager n'est pas sans danger. D'après le dernier rapport de l'Institut de veille sanitaire (InVS), paru le 9 juin dernier, le risque de décès dans le cadre d'un voyage est estimé dans le monde à 1/100.000 par mois. Si ce taux de mortalité peut être considéré comme faible, le risque de contracter une maladie est en revanche beaucoup plus important: il varie de 15 % à 70 % en fonction de la destination, des conditions de séjour et des antécédents médicaux du voyageur. Parmi les maladies les plus fréquemment contractées, la diarrhée devance les infections des voies aériennes supérieures, les dermatoses et la fièvre. Quelques précautions comme la vaccination et une bonne hygiène peuvent radicalement diminuer les risques de contracter ces maladies. Selon l'InVS, quelques points méritent une attention particulière pour mieux voyager cette année: • Le paludisme: une maladie importée en augmentation Le paludisme, transmit par les moustiques, se caractérise par la manifestation d'épisodes aigus de fièvre avec des conséquences parfois mortelles. En France, le rapport de l'InVS évoque une augmentation de 8 % du nombre de cas en 2014 par rapport à 2013, avec 2.299 nouveaux malades. Contrairement au reste du monde où le nombre de contaminés a baissé de 30 % entre les années 2000 et 2013. Pour les autorités sanitaires, cette augmentation s'explique en partie par les opérations militaires à l'étranger, mais aussi par le nombre croissant des cas d'importation parmi la population. Le paludisme sévit principalement dans les zones tropicales, subtropicales ou tempérées chaudes d'Asie, d'Amérique latine et du Moyen-Orient. Cette maladie qui, au niveau mondiale, tue plus de personnes que le sida ne bénéficie d'aucun traitement assurant une protection totale. Pourtant, la prise préventive et journalière de médicaments antipaludiques - non remboursés et délivrés sur ordonnance - ainsi que l'utilisation de moustiquaires et de produits répulsifs ou d'insecticides, permettent de réduire les risques de contamination. • La diarrhée du voyageur: la maladie la plus répandue Le risque de diarrhée peut dépasser les 50 % pour un séjour de trois semaines et se guérit en 1 à 3 jours dans les cas les plus bénins. L'origine de l'infections peut être virale (rotavirus), bactérienne (Escherichia coli) ou parasitaire (Giardia intestinalis). En cas de diarrhée, il est recommandé de boire abondamment des liquides salés et sucrés en alternance et/ou d'utiliser des sels de réhydratation orale (sachets à diluer) pour éviter une perte importante de sels minéraux. Les précautions à prendre sont avant tout des mesures basiques d'hygiène : se laver souvent les mains et consommer de l'eau en bouteille capsulée. Pendant un voyage, le corps n'est pas habitué aux produits locaux: les autorités sanitaires préconisent donc d'éviter les glaçons, les jus de fruits frais, les crudités, les coquillages et de bien cuire les aliments. • Respecter les vaccinations: un rempart contre la plupart des maladies La plupart des maladies liées aux voyages peuvent être prévenues par la vaccination. Pour l'administration du vaccin et des conseils, il vaut mieux se tourner vers son médecin traitant ou vers un centre des voyageurs. - Vaccins nécessaires en France: vérifier la mise à jour des vaccins est essentiel avant de planifier un départ pour des maladies comme la diphtérie, le tétanos, la poliomyélite, la coqueluche et la rougeole. D'autres vaccins plus circonstanciels comme la grippe, l'hépatite A et les pneumocoques sont recommandés si l'on doit côtoyer des foules. - Vaccins nécessaires à l'étranger: ces recommandations dépendent des régions du monde, des conditions de séjour et des facteurs de risque individuels (âge, antécédents médicaux…). Les autorités sanitaires du pays peuvent demander un certificat de vaccination pour l'entrée sur le territoire: international pour des maladies comme la fièvre jaune, ou national pour des infections à méningocoques dans les pèlerinages en Arabie Saoudite. • Les comportements à risque: des conséquences parfois mortelles - Risques sexuels : différents types de maladies peuvent êtres contractés par voie sexuelle: qu'elles soient mortelles et incurables comme le VIH et l'hépatite B ou curables mais hautement contagieuses comme la syphilis, gonococcie, l'herpès etc. - Risques du tourisme médical : dans la plupart des pays aux structures sanitaires insuffisantes, les transfusions sanguines présentent un risque de transmission d'agents pathogènes allant des hépatites B et C jusqu'au VIH. Une hospitalisation peut, dans les pays en développement, provoquer des infections nosocomiales à partir de bactéries multirésistantes comme le staphylocoque doré. - Risques liés aux tatouages et piercing : ils présentent un risque majeur de transmission par le sang d'agents pathogènes des hépatites B et C et du VIH. - Risques liés aux drogues : en plus de favoriser une potentielle contamination par le sang, intoxication ou trouble du comportement, la juridiction de certains pays peut entraîner une condamnation à la peine de mort. • Trousse à pharmacie: prendre soins de ses médicaments Même si la composition de la trousse à pharmacie varie selon la destination et les pathologies personnelles, quelques conseils peuvent être appliqués. Ainsi les médicaments doivent être: dans leur emballage pour éviter les erreurs, accompagnés des ordonnances pour les contrôles et un éventuel achat sur place. Mieux vaut éviter des médicaments sous formes liquides ou en suppositoire. Ils doivent être préservés des variations de température dans un contenant hermétique, accompagnés d'un certificat en règle pour être acceptés en cabine sous forme de seringues, d'aiguilles ou de stylos injecteurs. Enfin, il est nécessaire de prévoir des doses pour tout le voyage, à garder dans le bagage à main, afin d'éviter d'acheter des contrefaçons, nombreuses dans certains pays.

‘Spectacular’ results seen in prostate cancer immunotherapy trial

07/06/2018

In the UK, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men. It’s also overtaken breast cancer in recent years to become the third most common type of cancer. That’s why any news when it comes to potential prostate cancer breakthroughs is always exciting. Immunotherapy has been revolutionising the treatment of cancer and now a team from the Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden Hospital in London have conducted a trial, the results of which they say are "spectacular" and a "big deal". The trial focussed on drugs that boost a patient’s immune system, saving the lives of some men with terminal prostate cancer. Immunotherapy works by helping a person’s immune system recognise and subsequently attack cancer cells. One of the study participants, Michael English, 72, was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2005. Radiotherapy, chemotherapy and hormone-based therapies did not kill his cancer, however. Then, two years ago, he started taking the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab. Today, he is effectively cancer free, with scans no longer showing any signs of the tumour.   However, it’s an approach that will not, unfortunately, help all men. In fact, only between 10% and 15% of patients had any response to the therapy at all. This is not something that’s unusual for immunotherapy. Nell Barrie, from Cancer Research UK, said: "The next step will be to find out how to tell which men will benefit from taking this drug. "This is important as although immunotherapy is exciting, it can have severe side effects".

Breast cancer gene test could mean no chemo for thousands of women

05/06/2018

Around 70% of women with the most common type of breast cancer could be spared chemotherapy, a new study has found. Following trials of a genetic test that analyses the danger of a tumour, it was discovered that thousands of women could avoid chemo using under a new “precision medicine” approach. The genetic test, Oncotype Dx, gives women a score between 0 and 100. Currently, women who get a low score are advised they do not need chemo. Those with a high score are told they definitely do. However, most women get a mid-range score and generally have chemotherapy. But the new study has revealed that these women have the same survival rates with or without chemo. This was particularly the case for women aged over 50. The nine-year-survival-rate was 93.9% without chemotherapy and 93.8% with chemotherapy. Cancer doctors said the findings would change practice in UK clinics on Monday, while charities said the news, affecting 3,000 UK women a year, was "wonderful". Speaking about the findings of the study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Rachel Rawson, from the charity Breast Cancer Care, said: "Every day, women with certain types of breast cancer face the terrible dilemma of whether or not to have the treatment, without hard facts about the benefit for them. "This life-changing breakthrough is absolutely wonderful news as it could liberate thousands of women from the agony of chemotherapy."

Healthy but obese women still at increased risk of CVD

31/05/2018

Have you ever encountered someone who calls themself ‘fat but fit’? It’s not uncommon to meet people who are clearly overweight, yet not perturbed by their situation because they consider themselves to be fit and healthy. However, a large study conducted in America has found that women who are overweight or obese but otherwise healthy are still at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). For the study, researchers from the German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke tracked the health of some 90,257 women in the US over a 30-year period. They found that women who were overweight or obese, but had none of the typical cardiovascular risk factors, such as high blood pressure, excess cholesterol and diabetes, were 20% and 39% more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than their normal weight and metabolically healthy peers. Speaking about the findings of the study, Prof Matthias Schulze, who led it, said: "Our large cohort study confirms that metabolically healthy obesity is not a harmless condition, and even women who remain free of metabolic diseases for decades face an increased risk of cardiovascular events.” The study also found women who were of normal weight, but metabolically unhealthy, were over two-times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than their peers of the same weight who were metabolically healthy. Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, added: "This large scale study confirms that obesity, even if unaccompanied by other warning signs, increases risk of cardiovascular disease in women."

A million French smokers quit in a year, study finds

29/05/2018

It seems the slew of anti-smoking measures introduced in France have had a dramatic impact on the number of smokers in the country. According to a study conducted by Public Health France, one million people in France quit smoking in the space of a year, with initiatives such as neutral packaging, higher prices and anti-smoking campaigns being praised for attributing to the decline. In 2017, 26.9% of 18- to 75-year-olds smoked every day, compared to 29.4% a year earlier. This equates to a drop of a million smokers, from 13.2 million to 12.2 million over the period. Such a drop has not been seen in a decade and Public Health France says the results are “historic”. The study also revealed a notable decline in daily smoking habits “among the most disadvantaged”, including low-income earners and the unemployed for the first time since the year 2000. French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn welcomed the decline in smoking among those on low incomes, saying that "tobacco is a trajectory of inequality, it weighs particularly on the most disadvantaged and it gets worse". Buzyn plans to raise the price of a pack of cigarettes from around €8 today to €10 by 2020. [Related reading: Cleaning products as bad as 20-a-day cigarette habit for women – study]

An egg a day to keep the doctor away?

24/05/2018

Most people are familiar with the phrase, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’, but what about an egg a day? New research suggests that a daily egg may reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Despite sometimes getting a bad press for their high cholesterol content, eggs, it seems, could help us steer clear of cardiovascular conditions, according to research published in the journal Heart. For their study, researchers from the School of Public Health at Peking University Health Science Centre in Beijing, China analysed survey data relating to more than 500,000 individuals. Of those individuals, 461,213 were free from cancer, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes at baseline. Egg consumption among the study participants was noted and the individuals were followed up with after a median period of 8.9 years. The researchers' found that individuals who usually ate about one egg per day had a 26% lower risk of experiencing hemorrhagic stroke; a 28% lower risk of death due to this type of event; and an 18% lower risk of CVD-related mortality. Current NHS guidelines in the UK relating to egg consumption state: "although eggs contain some cholesterol, the amount of saturated fat we eat has more of an effect on the amount of cholesterol in our blood than the cholesterol we get from eating eggs". So, in other words, it’s not eggs that are necessarily the problem when it comes to cholesterol, but rather how you cook them. Indeed, eggs are a great source of healthful nutrients, such as protein, vitamins, phospholipids, and carotenoids.

Modern, germ-free lifestyles could be responsible for most common type of child cancer

22/05/2018

The modern, germ-free lifestyles many children lead could be responsible for the most common type of cancer in children - acute lymphoblastic leukaemia - according to one of the UK’s most well-respected scientists. Professor Mel Greaves, from the Institute of Cancer Research, has been studying for 30 years how the immune system can become cancerous if it is not exposed to enough bugs early in life. Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia affects one in 2,000 children and is more common in advanced, affluent societies, suggesting cleaner modern lifestyles could play a defining role. Prof Greaves says the disease happens in three stages: a genetic mutation inside the womb, a lack of exposure to microbes in early life and an immune malfunction and leukaemia in childhood. He believes that it could be possible to prevent the condition. Prof Greaves said: "The research strongly suggests that acute lymphoblastic leukaemia has a clear biological cause and is triggered by a variety of infections in predisposed children whose immune systems have not been properly primed." Unfortunately, preventing the disease isn’t as simple as exposing children to dirt. They need, according to Prof Greaves, contact with beneficial bacteria. The best way to do this is to give them a safe cocktail of bacteria, such as in a yoghurt drink, that will help boost their immune system. [Related reading: Thumb-suckers and nail-biters less prone to allergies – study]

Cranberry juice for UTIs: ‘Not enough evidence’ says NICE

17/05/2018

Cranberry juice has long been used by people to provide relief from and even treat urine infections. But new draft guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) say there is not enough good evidence, despite people’s experiences, to recommend it as a treatment. Even though some studies have concluded that cranberry juice may be beneficial for people with urine infections, NICE says people should drink plenty of water or fluids and take painkillers instead. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are caused by bacteria, which is why some people may be prescribed antibiotics to treat them, but these drugs are not always necessary. NICE says that when antibiotics are required, the shortest course possible should be prescribed to reduce the risk of antimicrobial resistance. Prof Mark Baker, director for the centre of guidelines at NICE, said: "We recognise that the majority of UTIs will require antibiotic treatment, but we need to be smarter with our use of these medicines. "Our new guidance will help healthcare professionals to optimise their use of antibiotics. "This will help to protect these vital medicines and ensure that no one experiences side effects from a treatment they do not need."

Night owls face more health risks than early risers

15/05/2018

Are you a night owl or a morning person? A new study suggests that it could make a big difference to your health and it’s not good news for late risers. According to the paper authored by Dr Kristen Knutson and Professor Malcolm von Schantz, of Northwestern University (Chicago) and the University of Surrey (UK) respectively, night owls have an increased risk of early death, psychological disorders and respiratory illness than people who are, so to speak, up with the lark. The paper backs up previous research that suggests people who regularly go to bed late are more likely to suffer ill health. Over a six-year period, night owls were found to have a 10% greater risk of death than larks, according to the paper. This finding held true even after adjusting for expected health problems in people who go to bed late, such as metabolic dysfunction and heart disease. Using data extracted from the UK Biobank, a data store containing medical and genetic information relating to some 500,000 people aged 40 to 69 from across the UK, the researchers were able to determine the effect a lack of sleep has on individuals. While night owls often make up for their lack of sleep during the week by staying in bed longer at weekends – referred to as “social jet lag” - it is seemingly not enough to combat the potential health problems they face. Commenting on the findings of the research, Dr Knutson said that “night owls trying to live in a morning lark world may have health consequences for their bodies. They shouldn’t be forced to get up for an 8am shift. Make work shifts match people’s chronotypes. Some people may be better suited to night shifts.” Being a night owl was also associated with psychological stress, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, eating at the wrong time, and drug or alcohol use. So, if you're someone who regularly goes to bed late and doesn't get enough sleep during the week, maybe it's time to change your habits.

Some cinema drinks contain ‘unacceptable’ levels of bacteria

10/05/2018

If you’re a regular cinema-goer, chances are you purchase some snacks and fizzy drinks to accompany each movie you watch. But our blog post today might make you think twice about ordering that fizzy drink on your next visit. That’s because an investigation by a UK TV programme has revealed that a startling number of cinema drinks in the country contain unacceptably high levels of bacteria. According to the investigation by BBC One’s Watchdog programme, fizzy drinks from seven out of 30 cinemas tested were found to have unacceptable bacteria levels. Even more concerning is that traces of the bacteria salmonella were discovered in two drinks served up by one of the cinema chains. Watchdog also says that ice containing unacceptable levels of bacteria was also found. Less than 1,000 units of bacteria per one millilitre of liquid is considered acceptable, but some of the ice tested in one particular cinema branch was found to contain a staggering 10 million bacteria in one millilitre of liquid. Speaking about the programme’s findings, Mr Lewis, head of policy at the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, said: "Ultimately, it's about people cutting corners and it's also about managers, owners of cinemas, managers of cinemas, not taking their responsibilities seriously and potentially keeping on top of the issues."

Too much fast food could make it harder to get pregnant

08/05/2018

Women who regularly eat fast food and don’t consume enough fruit are more likely to experience problems trying to conceive, a study suggests. The study of 5,598 women in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Ireland, which was published in the journal Human Reproduction, found that women who ate fast food four or more times a week took almost a month longer to get pregnant than those who rarely or never ate it. Furthermore, women who regularly eat junk food were also less likely to conceive within a year. Women who had eaten fruit three or more times a day, on average, conceived half a month quicker than those who had eaten it less than one to three times a month. While experts say the study suggests a good diet boosts the chances of getting pregnant, some limitations - including the participants having to remember what they’d eaten in the month before conceiving - have been highlighted. Prof Claire Roberts, from the University of Adelaide, Australia, who led the study, said: "These findings show that eating a good quality diet that includes fruit and minimising fast food consumption improves fertility and reduces the time it takes to get pregnant." [Related reading: UK hit by weight-related fatty liver disease epidemic]  

Intermittent fasting not only good for significant weight loss, may have additional health benefits

03/05/2018

Intermittent fasting is something that’s become more popular in recent times with people looking to shed a few kilograms and now new research shows that it could actually have ‘profound health benefits’. In addition to helping people lose weight, intermittent fasting, according to the research by a team at the University Of Florida College Of Medicine, can also slow down aging and disease. The human body runs on glucose, which it gets from the food we eat. However, periods of fasting force the body to find an alternative energy source. Our bodies begin to convert body fat into fatty acids which are easily absorbed by our blood. Molecules called ketones are then produced from the fatty acids, which our bodies use as a new source of energy. Stephen Anton, a researcher from the University Of Florida College Of Medicine in Gainesville, refers to this process as "flipping the metabolic switch". He says "this switch can happen after a certain period of time fasting. It's a gradation in which your metabolism overtime shifts to use higher and higher amounts of ketones for energy”. Having reviewed numerous studies that focused on the mechanisms and benefits of intermittent fasting, Anton and his team discovered that not only did intermittent fasters experience significant weight loss, they did not lose lean tissue, such as organ tissue, muscular tissue, and bone tissue, which allow our bodies to continue functioning well and could help prolong our lifespans.

Belief in fake cancer causes 'rife', study warns

01/05/2018

A new study has revealed that many people in England are unsure about cancer risk factors and often incorrectly identify fake cancer causes. The survey of 1,330 people found that drinking from plastic bottles and using microwave ovens are two of the fake cancer causes people often cite. The good news is that 88% of people surveyed correctly identified smoking as a major cancer risk factor, while 80% picked passive smoking and 60% said sunburn were also causes of cancer - all of which have been proven. According to Cancer Research UK, smoking, overexposure to UV radiation and being overweight are the biggest preventable causes of cancer. In fact, the charity says that about four in 10 cases of cancer could be prevented with lifestyle changes and people need the right information to help them "separate the wheat from the chaff". Researchers from University College London and the University of Leeds conducted the survey and discovered that more than 40% of participants wrongly thought that stress and food additives caused cancer. Dr Samuel Smith from the University of Leeds said: "It's worrying to see so many people endorse risk factors for which there is no convincing evidence. "Compared to past research, it appears the number of people believing in unproven causes of cancer has increased since the start of the century, which could be a result of changes to how we access news and information through the internet and social media." Clare Hyde, from Cancer Research UK, said: "There is no guarantee against getting cancer - but by knowing the biggest risk factors we can stack the odds in our favour to help reduce our individual risk of the disease, rather than wasting time worrying about fake news."

Drinking alcohol affects the bacteria in a person’s mouth

26/04/2018

Individuals who routinely drink more than one alcoholic beverage every day have an overabundance of bad bacteria and less good bacteria in their mouths, a new study has found. Compared to their non-drinking peers, drinkers have less good, such as Lactobacillales that help protect your gums, and more bad bacteria, such as certain Actinomyces, Bacteroidales, and Neisseria species that can lead to gum disease, heart problems and even some cancers. [Related reading: Regular excess drinking found to shorten life expectancy] Publishing their findings in the science journal Microbiome, the study authors said the acids found in alcoholic drinks could make the oral environment hostile for certain bacteria to grow, hence the lower number of so-called good bacteria. For the study, a group of more than 1,000 individuals had their saliva tested. The group included 270 non-drinkers, 614 moderate drinkers and 160 heavy drinkers. The results show that the drinkers had more Bacteroidales, Actinomyces and Neisseria species of bacteria, all potentially harmful, as well as fewer Lactobacillales, a family of bacteria associated with a reduction of gum inflammation. Talking about the findings of the study, Jiyoung Ahn, the study's senior investigator and an epidemiologist at the NYU School of Medicine, said: "heavy alcohol intake is a known risk factor for multiple chronic diseases, including cancers (head and neck, esophagus, colon and breast), liver disease and cardiovascular diseases."

New prostate cancer test hailed as a breakthrough

24/04/2018

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK, with more than 47,000 new cases diagnosed every year. And up until now, the most widely used tests for the disease had included the PSA blood test, a digital rectal examination (DRE), MRI scans and a biopsy. However, each of these wasn’t without its problems. But now a new ultrasound process, which offers more successful diagnosis and management of prostate cancer, has been identified by researchers at Dundee University. The technique, known as non-invasive shear wave elastography (SWE), offers "much greater accuracy and reliability" than current methods and is less expensive, according to the researchers. It targets the prostate with ultrasound and was evaluated using a study at Dundee University involving around 200 patients. Because cancerous tissue is denser than normal tissue, the shear waves are slowed as they pass through it. During the study, the technique was able to successfully identify 89% of prostate cancers, as well as other more aggressive cancers, including those spreading outside of the prostate. Ghulam Nabi, professor of surgical uro-oncology at Dundee University, said, "Prostate cancer is one of the most difficult to pinpoint. "We are still in a position where our diagnosis of prostate cancer is extremely inefficient, leading to unnecessary treatments for many patients." Speaking about the new test, Prof Nabi said it was “like someone has turned the lights on in a darkened room."

UK hit by weight-related fatty liver disease epidemic

19/04/2018

One in eight middle-aged UK adults is at risk of developing cirrhosis of the liver, liver failure and death because they have a potentially serious form of liver disease. The primary cause of this disease? Being overweight, according to new research. Scans of almost 3,000 people from the UK Biobank research project showed that 12% had inflamed, fatty livers. What’s particularly alarming is the silent nature of this disease epidemic, with symptoms often not presenting themselves until permanent damage has been done. However, the condition is reversible if caught in time. The good news is that a new type of MRI scan is showing lots of promise, offering a non-invasive way to evaluate the nature and severity of liver disease. Developed by Perspectum Diagnositics, a spin-off company from the University of Oxford, the new scan utilises smart health technology called LiverMultiScan. Dr Rajarshi Banerjee, CEO of Perspectum Diagnostics said: "LiverMultiScan is a great example of a smart health technology discovered and developed by UK clinicians and scientists with clear benefits for patients, the NHS, and taxpayers. Until now, needle biopsies have been the gold standard for assessing liver disease, but they are costly, invasive, painful and carry some health risks. Meanwhile, LiverMultiScan can be used in any MRI scanner, but it is not part of routine practice yet. David Breen, associate professor of radiology at University Hospital Southampton, said: "The scan gives a map of the entire liver as opposed to a needle-core biopsy which samples just one area and can be unpleasant. "It also allows us to re-scan patients over time and see if they improve."

Regular excess drinking found to shorten life expectancy

17/04/2018

People who regularly drink more than the UK’s recommended alcohol guidelines risk taking years off their lives, a major new report has found. According to the study of some 600,000 drinkers, having 10 to 15 alcoholic drinks every week could shorten a person's life by between one and two years. People who regularly consume more than 18 alcoholic drinks every week could lose four to five years of their lives. UK government guidelines, which were last updated in January 2016, recommend that both men and women should not drink more than 14 units of alcohol each week (equivalent to 6 pints of average strength beer). Previously, the guidelines advised 21 units for men and 14 units for women each week. The authors of the Lancet study say their findings support the UK government’s revised guidelines. Commenting on the study’s findings, Tim Chico, professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Sheffield, said: "This study makes clear that on balance there are no health benefits from drinking alcohol, which is usually the case when things sound too good to be true. "Although non-fatal heart attacks are less likely in people who drink, this benefit is swamped by the increased risk of other forms of heart disease including fatal heart attacks and stroke."

Large study finds link between brain injuries at a young age and dementia later in life

12/04/2018

People who suffer brain injuries have an increased risk of developing dementia in later life, a new study has found. The large study of 2.8 million people found individuals who had at least one traumatic brain injury were 24% more likely to develop dementia than those who hadn’t. Interestingly, the risk was found to be greatest in people who had the brain injury while still in their 20s. These individuals were found to be 63% more likely to suffer from dementia in later life. However, despite the findings of the study, independent experts have said that other lifestyle factors, such as smoking and a lack of exercise, are actually more important. According to Dr Doug Brown, chief policy and research officer at Alzheimer's Society, these risk factors “are much easier for all of us to do something about". Nevertheless, the research does show a correlation between brain injuries and dementia. Jesse Fann, professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, said: "Our analysis raises some very important issues, in particular that efforts to prevent traumatic brain injury, especially in younger people, may be inadequate considering the huge and growing burden of dementia and the prevalence of TBI worldwide." TBI is the term used to describe a concussion.

UK soft drink sugar tax takes effect

09/04/2018

From Friday, drinks manufacturers in the UK will have to pay a levy on the high-sugar drinks they sell, following the implementation of the ground-breaking sugar tax in the country. While ministers and campaigners say the tax is already driving positive results, with many manufacturers cutting the amount of sugar in their drinks ahead of the change, others say it’s still too early to tell. Indeed, while Fanta, Ribena and Lucozade have cut the sugar content of their drinks, Coca-Cola hasn’t. The UK joins a small handful of countries, including France, Mexico and Norway, which have introduced similar taxes in an attempt to reduce sugar consumption. Manufacturers will need to pay the levy – equivalent to 24p per litre - on any of their drinks that contain more than 8g per 100ml. It is not yet known whether the costs will be passed on to consumers in the form of price increases. Drinks containing 5-8g of sugar per 100ml will be subject to a lower rate of tax of 18p per litre. Pure fruit juices that do not contain any added sugar will be exempt, as are drinks with high milk content (due to the beneficial calcium they contain). The new tax is expected to raise around £240 million a year, which will be invested in schools sports and breakfast clubs.

NHS England to introduce one-stop cancer shops

05/04/2018

NHS England is in the process of introducing ‘one-stop cancer shops’ across the country, the aim of which is to afford quicker diagnoses for patients. At present, patients often face delays as they are sent for several tests to check for different forms of the illness. Despite cancer survival rates having increased over recent decades, patients who do not display obvious signs of cancer often face treatment delays. For example, individuals who have experienced unexplained weight loss, reduced appetite or abdominal pain can be referred several times for different tests, which delays valuable opportunities to begin treatment. The approach NHS England is now adopting was first introduced in Denmark and allows patients to undergo all the necessary tests under one roof. Cally Palmer, national director for cancer at NHS England, said: "Early diagnosis is crucial to saving lives and providing peace of mind for patients, which is why we are driving forward plans to revolutionise our approach to cancer in this country. "These new one-stop shops represent a real step change in the way people with unclear symptoms are identified, diagnosed and treated." The bottom line is that the rapid diagnosis and subsequent fast treatment of cancer is vital for saving lives. Initially, there will be 10 such centres spread across England at the following locations: Royal Free Hospital, London North Middlesex Hospital, London, University College Hospitals London Southend University Hospital Queens Hospital, Romford St James University Hospital, Leeds Airedale General Hospital, West Yorkshire University Hospital, South Manchester Royal Oldham Hospital, Greater Manchester Churchill Hospital, Oxford More centres will be added if the project is a success.

Tuberculosis rates in England have fallen by a third in six years

02/04/2018

New figures show that rates of tuberculosis (TB) in England are at their lowest level in 35 years, having fallen by a third in the last six years. According to data from Public Health England, tuberculosis rates have declined by 38% since 2012. In fact, there was a 9.3% decline in 2017 alone, highlighting how the country’s efforts to eradicate the disease are proving effective. Improved diagnosis, treatment and awareness are being credited for the decline. However, despite the fall, England still has one of the highest rates of TB in Western Europe, with 5,200 people affected in 2017. Dr Sarah Anderson, head of the National TB Office at Public Health England, said: "People often think that TB is a Victorian disease that is no longer a problem in England, but in fact it still affects over 5,000 people a year and there is still a lot to do until the target to eliminate TB is met.” TB is a bacterial infection that primarily affects a person’s lungs and it is spread through coughs and sneezes. But despite its infectious nature, it is actually quite difficult to catch. Nevertheless, it can be fatal if left untreated. Another issue is that TB is becoming resistant to some of the major drugs used to treat it, which is why the BCG vaccine that offers protection against TB is recommended for babies, children and adults alike who are at risk of catching the disease.

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