Tag Archives: Ebola virus

Algae May Harbour SARS Cure

A protein from algae might help in treating Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) infections, suggests a new study.

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Researchers from University of Iowa have found that mice treated with the protein, Griffithsin (GRFT), had a 100 percent survival rate after exposure to the SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV), as compared to a 30 percent survival for untreated mice.

GRFT is believed to exert its anti-viral effects by altering the shape of the sugar molecules that line the virus‘ envelope, allowing it to attach to and invade human cells, where it takes over the cells’ reproductive machinery to replicate itself.

Without that crucial ability, the virus is unable to cause disease.

“While preliminary, these results are very exciting and indicate a possible therapeutic approach to future SARS or other coronaviral outbreaks,” said Christine Wohlford-Lenane, senior research assistant at the department of pediatrics University of Iowa and the lead author of the study.

GRFT not only stop the virus from replicating, but also prevented secondary outcomes, such as weight loss, that are associated with infection.

“We are planning future studies to investigate prophylaxis, versus treatment interventions with GRFT, in the SARS mouse model in collaboration with Barry O’Keefe at the National Cancer Institute,” she said.

“In addition, we want to learn whether mice protected from SARS by GRFT develop protective immunity against future infection,” she added.

The research was presented at the American Thoracic Society‘s 105th International Conference in San Diego.

Source: The Times Of India

 

Anger Slows Down Healing Process

The adage that laughter is the best medicine has been backed by an unusual investigation which says that people who seethe with anger take longer to recover from injury.

Previous studies have linked ill tempered behaviour, whether brow-beating or road rage, with higher incidence of coronary heart disease, hypertension and stroke, especially among men.

But the new study, published on Wednesday in the British journal Brain, Behaviour, Immunity, is the first controlled experiment that directly measures the impact of ire on the healing process.

Researchers at the University of Ohio inflicted minor burns on the forearms of 98 volunteers who were then monitored over eight days to see how quickly the skin repaired itself.

The subjects had each taken a battery of psychological tests beforehand to assess how easily and often they felt and expressed wrath, and were then ranked on an “anger scale”.

Persons who took certain pharmaceutical drugs, smoked cigarettes or drank excessive quantities of caffeine-laden coffee were excluded, along with individuals who were extremely over- or under-weight.

The results were startlingly clear: individuals who had trouble controlling expressions of anger were four times likelier to need more than four days for their wounds to heal, compared with counterparts who could master their anger.

But the researchers were also surprised to find that anger has its nuances, too.

Subjects described as showing “anger out” (regular outbursts of aggression or hostility) or “anger in” (repressed rage) healed almost as quickly as individuals who ranked low on all anger scales.

Only those who tried but failed to hold in their feelings of upset and distemper took longer to heal.

This same group also showed a higher secretion of the stress hormone cortisol, which could at least partly explain the difference in healing time, the study noted.

Earlier research has shown a clear link between cortisol and anger. Hostile men who yelled at spouses during marital spats secreted more of the endocrine modulator within minutes, as did teachers experiencing high levels of stress in the classroom.

High levels of cortisol appears to decrease the production at the point of injury of two cytokines crucial to the repair process, suggests the study.

Cytokines are proteins released by immune-system cells. They act as signallers to generate a wider immune response. “The ability to regulate the expression of one’s anger has a clinically relevant impact on wound healing,” concludes lead author Jean-Philippe Gouin, a psychologist at the University of Ohio. “Those who has low anger control secreted more cortisol following exposition to this stressor. This individual difference in the response to the blistering was related to longer healing,” Gouin added.

Anger-control therapy could help patients recovering from surgery or injury heal more quickly, the paper says.

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Laughter, the best medicine

Laugh loudly and get rid of many illness

Sources: The Times Of India

Getting the Lead Out

There is no question that lead poses a serious health risk to children. Exposure to lead can lower a child’s intelligence and lead to learning disabilities, hyperactivity, and reduced attention span.

Even though doctors and scientists cannot dispute the harmful effects of lead, they cannot seem to agree on just how much lead is dangerous. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has established 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of a child’s blood as the threshold at which problems begin. About 1.6 % of American children ages one to five have blood lead levels (BLL) above this limit, according to the CDC. However, even levels below the cut-off can cause neu­rological problems, the CDC said in a recent report. Scientific research indicates that there really is no  safe threshold for children’s blood lead levels.

Lead paint is one of the leading sources of lead expo­sure in children, along with contaminated soil, dust, and drinking water. Most homes built before 1960 contain lead paint   that’s about four million homes in the U.S., according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Home remodeling makes up a big part of children’s lead exposure, experts say.

Protecting Your Kids from Lead Exposure:....CLICK & SEE

Regardless of which blood lead level is most dangerous, it’s a good idea to avoid exposing your kids to lead as much as possible. The following checklist, from the book 365 Ways to Keep Kids Safe (Balloon Press), can help you spot potential lead dangers and keep your kids away from this toxic substance.

*Test your children for lead. This is especially important if you live in an older home. A routine lead level test is simple to take an usually costs around $25. Have your children screened for lead once a year until they reach age three, then once every five years.

*Test your home for lead. A home lead test is the only way to determine if you have lead in your home, and if so, how much there is. Don’t try to test yourself, though. Although many companies advertise do-it-yourself tests, these tests are unreliable. You’re better off calling an EPA-certified examiner. To find an examiner, call the National Lead Infor­mation Center (NLIC) at 1-800-424-LEAD.

*Check for lead outside. Contaminated soil is a sig­nificant source of lead, especially when that soil is located close to high-traffic roads or old buildings. Your kids can easily track in lead-tainted dirt when they go outside to play. If you  are concerned about lead near your home, the EPA-certified examiner you call to check the inside of your home can also test the soil outside of it.

*Know where your water travels. Many homes contain lead pipes, which can leech lead into your drinking water. To clean up your water, the EPA advises that you use a NSF International water filter. To learn more about these filters, visit the NSF website at http://www.nsf.org/consumer/drinking_water/dw_treatment.asp?program=WaterTre. You can also contact your local water authority to find out whether or not they are doing anything to reduce lead in the water supply, and to have your water tested for lead.

*Change your wallpaper. If your home contains wallpaper that was made before 1978, it may contain lead. Consider removing it and painting or re-wallpapering your walls.

*Check your blinds. Several types of mini-blinds, especially those made in the Far East, can contain high levels of lead. Ask your lead examiner to check your blinds. If they do contain lead, have them replaced.

*Be aware of playground lead dangers. Metal equipment on public playgrounds may be covered with lead paint, and if the equipment is not well maintained that paint can chip onto the ground and come into direct contact with children. Call your local department of recreation and ask if the playground contains any lead paint.

Source:kidsgrowth.com

Improve Lifestyle to Avoid High BP

High blood pressure toll to boom within 20 years.

Unhealthy lifestyle might bring a boom in high blood pressure, with the sufferers exceeding a billion within 20 years, a new study has found. One in four adults suffer from high blood pressure which increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and death.

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Lifestyle factors, such as physical inactivity, a salt-rich diet with high fatty foods, and alcohol and tobacco use could see the problem spreading from developed to developing economies, like India and China.

According to The Lancet medical journal, the number of BP patients may rise to 1.56 billion by 2025, up from 972 million in 2000. Another editorial has claimed that the rise in BP is due to poor observance of medication by patients.

“Many patients still believe that hypertension is a disease that can be cured, and stop or reduce medication when blood pressure levels fall. Physicians need to convey the message that hypertension is the first, and easily measurable, irreversible sign that many organs in the body are under attack,” the editorial was quoted, as saying.

“Perhaps this message will make people think more carefully about the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle and give preventative measures a real chance,” it said.

Currently, a person in the Western world has a greater than 90 per cent lifetime risk of developing high blood pressure or hypertension.

Dr Isabel Lee, of The Stroke Association insisted that many strokes can be prevented by the control of high BP. “Every five minutes someone in the UK has a stroke — that’s 150,000 every year. Yet, over 40 per cent of these strokes could be prevented by the control of high blood pressure. Whilst it is important to get your blood pressure measured regularly, it is equally important that people who are prescribed blood pressure medication continue to take it even once their blood pressure is back under control,” Lee said.

“GPs need to ensure that patients are made fully aware of the importance of continuing with their blood pressure medication. People can also take additional steps to help improve their lifestyles and reduce their risk of high blood pressure by stopping smoking, having a healthy diet and exercising regularly,” she said.

Source: The Times Of India