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Sat, 15 Aug 2020
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Vader

Colombia-ECcuador: Studies Find DNA Damage from Anti-Coca Herbicide

U.S.-funded aerial spraying of coca plantations in Colombia near the Ecuador border has severely damaged the DNA of local residents, a new study has found.

Blood samples from 24 Ecuadorians living within three kilometres of the northern border had 600 to 800 percent more damage to their chromosomes than people living 80 km away, found scientists from the Pontificia Catholic University in Quito, Ecuador.

Health

Coffee 'could prevent eye tremor'

Drinking coffee protects against an eyelid spasm that can lead to blindness, a study suggests.

Italian researchers looked at the coffee drinking and smoking habits of 166 people with blepharospasm.

Sufferers have uncontrollable twitching of the eyelid which, in extreme cases, stops them being able to see.

One or two cups of coffee a day seemed to reduce the risk of the condition, the team reported in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.

Arrow Down

U.S. Sees A Decline In The Male Circumcision Rate

A study by the National Health and Social Life Survey shows that there has been a recent drop in the rate of U.S. circumcision rate. A large number of American parents are refusing circumcision, in which the foreskin is removed from the penis.

The circumcision rate peaked at nearly 90 percent in the early 1960s but began dropping in the '70s. According to the most recent year for which government figures available in 2004, about 57 percent of all male newborns delivered in hospitals were circumcised. In some states, the rate is well below 50 percent.

Many experts have attributed this sudden change in circumcision to the immigration patterns. The Western states with large populations from Asian and Latin American countries that have the most decline.

AP quotes Katharine Barrett, an anthropology lecturer at Stanford University as saying, "The rates of drug-free labor and breast-feeding all rose during the 1980s, while the initial declines in male circumcision rates began during the 1980s as well."

Ambulance

How Big Pharma Learned To Seduce You

As recent legislation shows, drug companies and their direct-to-consumer marketing campaigns need diligent monitoring -- especially when it looks like they need it the least.

Health

African twig brushes offer all-day dental care

DAKAR - Brush your teeth every day, dentists say. In Africa, that can mean keeping your toothbrush in your mouth all day long.

Health

Can motion sensors predict dementia?

Tiny motion sensors are attached to the walls, doorways and even the refrigerator of Elaine Bloomquist's home, tracking the seemingly healthy 86-year-old's daily activity.

It's like spying in the name of science - with her permission - to see if round-the-clock tracking of elderly people's movements can provide early clues of impending
Alzheimer's disease.

Comment: Yes, the business of selling gadgets and treating the symptoms is huge.

Another article from last year showed a study that found that a different diet could be the solution.


Question

Jab could beat all types of flu for rest of your life

British scientists are developing a vaccine to give lifelong protection against all strains of flu.

It would deal with everything from a winter virus to a bird flu outbreak.

Current flu jabs are out of date within a year because the virus mutates so often.

The new FLU-v vaccine is also easier to make than traditional jabs, so it could be stockpiled against a global pandemic.

Magic Wand

Gene Responsible For Common Hearing Loss Identified For First Time

A gene responsible for the single most common cause of hearing loss among white adults, otosclerosis, has been identified for the first time, a scientist told the annual conference of the European Society of Human Genetics in Nice, France. Ms Melissa Thys, from the Department of Medical Genetics, University of Antwerp, Belgium, said that this finding may be a step towards new treatments for otosclerosis, which affects approximately 1 in 250 people.

Otosclerosis is a multifactorial disease, caused by an interaction of genetic and environmental factors. The outcome is a progressive hearing loss as the growing bone in the middle ear interrupts the sound waves passing to the inner ear. While the causative factors remain unknown, now one of the genetic components has been identified, Ms Thys told the conference.

"The gene in which the variant is located points to a pathway that contributes to the disease. This may be a lead for better forms of treatment in the future; currently the best option is an operation. However, there is often an additional component of hearing loss which can't be restored by surgery. As the gene involved is a growth factor, and the disease manifests itself by the abnormal growth of bone in the middle ear, it may have a large potential for therapy", she said. Improved understanding may also lead to prevention strategies.

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Male twins 'can reduce fertility'

A twin brother can reduce his female twin's chances of having children, say scientists at Sheffield University.

Women were 25% less likely to have children if their twin was male, the study, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, concluded.

Although other factors could play a part - the women were less likely to marry - the team blamed exposure in the womb to the male hormone testosterone.

Experts have agreed testosterone might potentially damage female fertility.

They said animal work supported this.

But they said more work was needed to look at human mechanisms.

Ambulance

Rate of food allergies an 'epidemic'

HOSPITAL admissions for anaphylaxis have trebled in five years at the [Melbourne] Royal Children's Hospital - and no one knows why.

Unpublished data shows that 71 children were admitted to the hospital in 2005-06 after suffering an anaphylactic reaction, mainly to food. Five years earlier there were 23 admissions.