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Wed, 22 Feb 2017
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Health & Wellness


Gut Disorder 'Blamed on Leaks'

Ulcerative Colitis
Genetic defects leading to a leaky gut are a key cause of the inflammatory disorder ulcerative colitis, UK research suggests.

The disorder causes ulceration of the rectum and the colon, but its exact cause has yet to be pinned down.

The latest study links the condition to four genes which all play a role in keeping the intestine lining healthy.

The Nature Genetics study is based on an analysis of the genes of 12,700 people.

It is twice as large as any previous study - giving the results far greater robustness.

Ulcerative colitis (Colitis ulcerosa) is a life-long, incurable condition, which can cause diarrhoea, fever, abdominal pain and swelling and weight loss. It affects approximately one in 1,000 people.


Hooked: Canada's Painkiller Problem

© Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail
At a rate of more than 466,000 doses a day, Canadains pop more painkillers (like Oxycontin, shown here) per capita than almost any other country (topped only by the United States and Belgium).
Canadians use prescription pills at a higher rate than almost any other nation. Patients are becoming addicts and pills are taking over from heroin as the street drug of choice. So why are voluntary 'guidelines' for doctors the best the experts can offer?


Chill: A Little Stress May Help You Live Longer

Here's a statement you never hear: "I'm so stressed out - it's awesome!" But the fact is, certain pressure-filled situations - say, the occasional public-speaking gig or cramming for an exam - can be good for your health.

"There are good and bad types of stress. The bad kind is chronic and uncontrollable, like the tension caused by an unhappy marriage or a sick relative," says Edward Calabrese, Ph. D., a toxicologist at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. "But there are a lot of positives associated with short bursts of stress that ease up quickly," such as being stuck in a snarl of traffic or sweating through a presentation at work.

In a recent Ohio State University study, mice that experienced brief but intense stress were better able to fight the flu. And a smattering of research has linked acute short-term stress to a reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's.

Alarm Clock

Breast Cancer Stigma Endangers Poorer Women

In developing nations, two-thirds aren't diagnosed until disease has spread

Washington- Nurses were training women in rural Mexico to examine their breasts for cancer when one raised her hand to object. If she lost her breast, Harvard public health specialist Felicia Knaul recalls the woman saying, "My man would leave me" - and with him, the family's income.

International cancer specialists meet this week to plan an assault on a troubling increase of breast cancer in developing countries, where nearly two-thirds of women aren't diagnosed until it has spread through their bodies.

Adding to the problem, some worrisome data suggests that breast cancer seems to strike women, on average, about 10 years younger in poor countries than it does in the U.S. No one knows why.


Major Schizophrenia Study Finds Striking Similarities Across 37 Countries in 6 Regions

An international study of more than 17,000 people with schizophrenia has found striking similarities in symptoms, medication, employment and sexual problems, despite the fact that it covered a diverse range of patients and healthcare systems in 37 different countries.

The research, published in the November issue of International Journal of Comparative Psychology (IJCP), provides a valuable international profile of the mental health disorder, which is estimated to affect as many as one in every 250 people at some point in their lives. Schizophrenia is the fifth leading cause of years lost through disability in men and the sixth leading cause in women.

"The Worldwide-Schizophrenia Outpatient Health Outcomes study (W-SOHO) was a three-year observational study designed to assess costs and outcomes in outpatients using antipsychotics" says lead author Dr Jamie Karagianis from Eli Lilly Canada Inc.

"It has enabled us to build up a valuable international picture of the demographics and treatment of schizophrenia across ten European countries and 27 countries from East Asia, Latin America, North Africa and the Middle East.


H1N1 "Super Flu" Plague in Ukraine Spark Concern, Conspiracy Theories About Origins

Here's what we know with some degree of certainty about the H1N1 virus in Ukraine right now: nearly 300 people have died from the viral strain, and over 65,000 people have been hospitalized (the actual numbers are increasing by the hour). The virus appears to be either a highly aggressive mutation of the globally-circulating H1N1 strain, or a combination of three different influenza strains now circulating in Ukraine. Some observers suspect this new "super flu" might be labeled viral hemorrhagic pneumonia (meaning it destroys lung tissue until your lungs bleed so much that you drown in your own fluid), but that has not been confirmed by any official sources we're aware of.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has issued emergency quarantine orders for nine of the country's regions and ordered the deployment of mobile military hospitals. He announced that the nation had been simultaneously hit with two different seasonal flu strains plus H1N1 -- and then hinted that all three might have recombined into the deadly new Ukrainian super flu.

In his own words, as reported by Daily Mail, "Unlike similar epidemics in other countries, three causes of serious viral infections came together simultaneously in Ukraine: two seasonal flus and the Californian flu. Virologists conclude that this combination of infections may produce an even more aggressive new virus as a result of mutation."

Red Flag

God, the Army, and PTSD Is religion an obstacle to treatment?

When Roger Benimoff arrived at the psychiatric building of the Coatesville, Pennsylvania veterans' hospital, he was greeted by a message carved into a nearby tree stump: "Welcome Home." It was a reminder that things had not turned out as he had expected.

In Faith Under Fire, a memoir about Benimoff's life as an Army chaplain in Iraq, Benimoff and co-author Eve Conant describe his return from Iraq to his family in Colorado and subsequent assignment to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He retreated deep into himself, spending hours on the computer and racking up ten thousand dollars in debt on eBay. Above all, he was angry and jittery, scared even of his young sons, and barely able to make it through the day. He was eventually admitted to Coatesville's "Psych Ward." For a while the lock-down facility was his home. He wondered where God was in all of this, and was not alone in that bewilderment and pain.

Bizarro Earth

UK: Disease turning 5-year-old girl to stone

Lille Sutcliffe, a 5-year-old girl in the UK is fighting a rare disease called Cysitinosis, which leads to a build-up of amino acid in the form of crystals, causing problems in the kidney, thyroid gland, eyes and liver. Lillie faces a lifetime of medical treatment to stop, or at least slow down the disease, from turning her body to stone.

Doctors discovered crystals in Lillie's eyes, and diagnosed her with the disease in 2006, when she was just shy of her second birthday.

The future does not look positive for Lille and others like her. The disease can be diagnosed around 2-years-old as in Lillie's case and often children die at age 9 from end-stage kidney failure. The disorder causes an excess of the chemical cystine to form in her system, which causes her cells to solidify. It is estimated that only approximately 2,000 people around the world suffer from it.


Over 60s Suffer More Illnesses Caused by Bad Diet and Lack of Exercise

© Alamy
Today's 60-year-olds may face more health problems than previous generations despite a lifetime of free healthcare
They were the first to enjoy free health care, and had the time of their lives in the Swinging Sixties.

But the post-war 'baby boomers' are now paying the price.

Today's 60-year-olds are the first modern generation to be less healthy than their immediate predecessors.

Despite improvements in medicine and standards of living, they are more likely to be blighted by problems from aching knees and creaking hips to diabetes, asthma and strokes.

Even simple tasks such as getting in and out of bed or climbing ten steps without a rest prove a challenge.


Undetected autism in women manifests as anorexia nervosa

According to a leading expert, severe cases of anorexia may be the result of undetected autism in women.

Professor Christopher Gillberg, of the University of Strathclyde, says that autism, characterised by defects in communication and social interaction, also makes many anorexic patients unresponsive to traditional treatments and may be responsible for anorexia's low recovery rates.

Professor Gillberg believes that although autism is thought to be predominately a male problem, affecting up to four times more boys than girls, the disorder has been overlooked in women because their autistic traits present themselves differently.

For example an obsession with counting calories may be an outward sign of autism.