Monday, 2 July 2012

Medicine stuff from the week 25/6 - 1/7/12

'Swine flu pandemic killed 15 times more than thought'
The number of deaths attributable to swine flu were underestimates all the way. The total figure has now been estimated at at least 284400 deaths - maybe as high as 575400.
At the time, the populist media derided it, almost as if it were fiction. The trouble with comparing summer flu to winter flu, is that winter flu strikes the old, and is often one of many factors to push people over the edge, whereas swine flu, for example, killed people outright.

'Researchers find link between neuritin gene activity and stress induced depression'
An experiment into the role of neuritin genes in neural activity, has revealed a mechanism that could help in treating depression.
The researchers found that rats with lowered neuritin activity grew depressed, and a virus designed to increase neuritin activity had similar restorative effects to available medications, in a second population that had been made depressed by a stressful environment.
Also, they say hippocampal atrophy is associated with long-term depression, which makes it harder for people to recover from it. The virus-caused neuritin enhancement reversed this atrophy, they say.

'New evidence links ozone exposure to potential heart attacks'
Ground level ozone is created through the combustion of fossil fuels, the creation of chemical solvents, and the reaction of consumer products when left in sunlight.
This study has established a short-term effect from a (relatively) large blast of ozone (0.3 parts per million) on health.
Even though the participants reported no ill effects, they were found to have suffered cardiovascular damage.
Other studies have found similar ill effects from lower, long-term exposure, such as that experienced from living near a road or a fossil fuel power plant.
"The World Health Organization estimates 2 million people worldwide, mostly elderly people with cardiovascular disease, die because of acute exposure to air pollution."
And people think nuclear's unsafe! How many deaths attributable to the Fukushima disaster? Zero. How many attributable to fossil-fuel combustion, via ozone alone, every year? In the thousands!

The fossil-fuel pollution emitted by traffic on highways has been shown to correlate with incidences of asthma in people living nearby, according to exposure (proximity)

Also, combusted diesel particulates have been found to penetrate further into the lungs than soot, representing the hazards associated with fossil fuel air pollution.

Good news! A potential alternative to antibiotics, for treating livestock with diseases. Unfortunately, a rather large portion for the problem is that farmers use antibiotics to accelerate growth. Unless these do the same, the dangerous route will be preferred.

For the first time, a synthetic larynx, has been implanted into a patient.
Like the blood vessels mentioned last week, these larynges were made using a frame, and growing flesh over it from the patient's own stem cells.
The same team did a similar operation with a synthetically grown trachea, last year, which seems to have gone well.

An experimental, new drug - enobosarm - could play a large part in preserving the health of people who have lost a lot of lean mass due to cancer.
In trials so far, it seems to be effective at preventing muscle loss in men suffering from low testosterone concentrations.

Wow! 'Indian doc removes 13cm live worm from man's eye'

'Hearing can be permanently damaged, expert warns'
Advice about dealing with loud noise:

'Social issues in teen years can hurt future health'
"The researchers found that problematic peer relationships in adolescence, as measured through teachers' assessments, were correlated with all components of metabolic syndrome, which is a cluster of metabolic and cardiovascular issues including obesity and high blood pressure, in middle age."

The death of a child can have serious health consequences for parents. The effects in this study were found to be a high risk of psychiatric problems in the first year succeeding the death.
"In the first two years following the death of a child, there is a 133% increase in the risk of the mother dying"

'Sleep deprivation effect on the immune system mirrors physical stress'

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