Health & Wellness


Chronic stress alters our genetic immune response

Most people would agree that stress increases your risk for illness and this is particularly true for severe long-term stresses, such as caring for a family member with a chronic medical illness. However, we still have a relatively limited understanding of exactly how stress contributes to the risk for illness. In the August 15th issue of Biological Psychiatry, researchers shed new light on one link between stress and illness by describing a mechanism through which stress alters immune function.

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Why do eyelids sag with age? UCLA study answers mystery

©American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
A UCLA study finds that lower baggy eyelids are caused by fat expansion in the eye socket.

Many theories have sought to explain what causes the baggy lower eyelids that come with aging, but UCLA researchers have now found that fat expansion in the eye socket is the primary culprit.

As a result, researchers say, fat excision should be a component of treatment for patients seeking to address this common complaint.

The study, published in the September issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, is the first to examine the anatomy of multiple subjects to determine what happens to the lower eyelid with age. It is also the first to measure what happens to the face with age using high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).


Solution To World's Worst Mass Poisoning Case

A solution to the world's worst case of ongoing mass poisoning, linked to rising cancer rates in Southern Asia, has been developed by researchers from Queen's University Belfast.

©Queen's University, Belfast
Arsenic treatment system.

It is estimated that over 70 million people in Eastern India and Bangladesh, experience involuntary arsenic exposure from consuming water and rice; the main staple food in the region. This includes farmers who have to use contaminated groundwater from minor irrigation schemes.

It is estimated that for every random sample of 100 people in the Bengal Delta, at least one person will be near death as a result of arsenic poisoning, while five in 100 will be experiencing other symptoms.


Michael Phelps shows the way for parents of ADHD kids

But the schools have to be in their corner, helping students cope with the disease

At the same time that Michael Phelps headed back to the U.S. from Beijing this week, with eight Olympic gold medals and seven new world records in swimming, thousands of other young men just like him were heading back to school.

But where he was reportedly looking forward to moving into a luxurious condo and weighing endorsement offers, the school-bound boys were dreading a year of bullying and academic failure.

What Phelps and thousands of other young people, mainly boys, have in common is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a neurobehavioural condition. The three to five per cent of school-aged youngsters who have it are to an extreme degree restless, inattentive, distracted and impulsive.


Australia: Flu outbreak results in 291 off school

Several primary school students and a teacher in Tasmania have been hospitalised by a flu outbreak that has affected almost 300 children and staff from the one school.


Two-egg diet cracks cholesterol issue

Research published in The European Journal of Nutrition this week has finally cracked the myths surrounding eggs and cholesterol. The new study showed that people who ate two eggs per day, while on a calorie-restricted diet, not only lost weight but also reduced their blood cholesterol levels.

A research team from the University of Surrey headed by Dr Bruce Griffin fed two eggs per day to overweight but otherwise healthy volunteers for 12 weeks while they simultaneously followed a reduced calorie diet prescribed by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) - who normally restrict egg intake to 3-4 per week. A control group followed the same BHF diet but cut out eggs altogether.

Both groups lost between 3 to 4kg (7- 9lbs) in weight and saw a fall in the average level of blood cholesterol.

Research leader Dr Bruce Griffin stated: "When blood cholesterol was measured at both six weeks and twelve weeks, both groups showed either no change or a reduction, particularly in their LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, despite the egg group increasing their dietary cholesterol intake to around four times that of the control."

This research provides further evidence to support the now established scientific understanding that saturated fat in the diet (most often found in pastry, processed meats, biscuits and cakes) is more responsible for raising blood cholesterol than cholesterol-rich foods, such as eggs.


US: Scientists switch cells' identity

Scientists say they have transformed one type of cell into another in mice, a step toward the growing of replacement tissues to treat diseases.

The cell identity switch turned ordinary pancreas cells into the rarer type that churns out insulin, essential for preventing diabetes. The report was published online Wednesday by the journal Nature.

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US: Study outcome won't sway company on eye drug

What does a company do when there's anecdotal evidence that two of its drugs are equally effective in treating a leading cause of blindness in the elderly, one costing patients $60 per treatment and the other $2,000?

In the case of Genentech Inc., nothing.

The company declined to seek federal approval for the cheaper drug, Avastin, to treat the wet form of age-related macular degeneration. Nor would it help finance -- or cooperate with -- a National Eye Institute study comparing the effectiveness and safety of Avastin, a cancer drug, and the more expensive eye drug, Lucentis.


Traumatic brain injury: Protecting the brain from spiral of damage

Blows to the head from sports, falls, car accidents and war can cause damage inside the skull and a dizzying array of confusing symptoms that can be strangely invisible to the untrained eye.

So-called traumatic brain injury (TBI) is gaining increased attention lately, thanks to media coverage of the condition and its effects on veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

In recent years, researchers have made significant progress toward identifying what is really going on inside the brain when serious injury occurs. The damage is often undetectable by standard CT scans and MRIs, but new imaging and biomarker tests as well as early-stage injection treatments could help TBI victims and hopefully lead to better public awareness about this surprisingly common disorder.

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Psychopaths unmoved by words

Imagine I show you the word "love" and I ask you to classify it as positive or negative. You'll classify it far quicker as positive, if just beforehand I had showed you another positive word such as "honesty" - a phenomenon that's known as affective priming. Now James Blair and colleagues at the National Institute for Mental Health in America have shown that affective priming is greatly reduced in callous people who score high on psychopathy.