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Exercise can combat fatigue in leukemia patients

Exercise may be a great way to combat the debilitating fatigue in patients suffering from leukemia, say researchers.

The research team from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that physical activity can significantly improve symptoms of fatigue and depression, increase cardiovascular endurance and maintain quality of life for adult patients undergoing treatment for leukemia.

They recruited a total of 10 patients undergoing treatment in the EQUAL (Exercise and Quality of Life in Leukemia/ Lymphoma Patients) study and of them were provided with specially treated exercise equipment to minimize the risk of infection.

The exercise prescription comprised of aerobic and resistance exercises, core exercises, and light stretches tailored to the patient’s level of fitness and leukemia symptoms.

“We found that the patients experienced significant reduction in total fatigue and depression scores, as well as improved cardiorespiratory endurance and maintenance of muscular endurance,” said Dr Claudio Battaglini, assistant professor of exercise and sport science and UNC Lineberger member.

“This is important because of the numerous side-effects related to cancer treatment, and particularly leukemia treatment, which requires confinement to a hospital room for 4-6 weeks to avoid the risk of infection.

“We have demonstrated that these patients not only can complete an exercise program in the hospital but that they may receive both physiological and psychological benefits that could assist in their recovery,” he added.

Source: The Times Of India

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Pregnant Women Should Avoid Eating for Two

Pregnant women should avoid “eating for two” since too much weight gain is linked with complications at birth, according to a new study¬† of 1,300 women.

Alison Stuebe, assistant professor of gynaecology at the Chapel Hill School of Medicine of the University of North Carolina (UNC), found that those who consumed extra calories as well as fried foods and dairy products were more likely gain as much as 35 pounds.

Stuebe found that eating an extra 500 calories daily increased the odds of gaining weight by 10%. Gaining too much weight is linked with complications at birth, such as pre-eclampsia, a set of symptoms that indicate a basic disorder with the placenta, as well as higher odds that both mother and child will be obese later in life.

However, the study found that several eating habits reduced moms’ risk of gaining too much. Women with vegetarian diets in early pregnancy were half as likely to gain an unhealthy amount of weight.

Researchers also found that consuming more monounsaturated fat, found in olive oil and nuts, was linked with a lower risk of excessive weight gain. Stuebe did the research while at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said an UNC release.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Scientists Find ‘Pleasure Nerves’

Scientists say they understand more about how the body responds to pleasurable touch.

Mothers use touch to sooth their babies

A team, including scientists from the Unilever company, have identified a class of nerve fibres in the skin which specifically send pleasure messages.

And people had to be stroked at a certain speed – 4-5cm per second – to activate the pleasure sensation.
They say the study, published in Nature Neuroscience, could help understand how touch sustains human relationships.

For many years, scientists have been trying to understand the mechanisms behind how the body experiences pain, and the nerves involved in conveying those messages to the brain.

This is because people can suffer a great deal.

Neuropathy, where the peripheral nervous system is damaged, can be very painful and sometimes the messaging system goes wrong and people feel pain even when there is no cause.
“There are some mechanisms in place that are associated with behaviour and reward which are there to ensure relationships continue “ Says¬† Professor Francis McGlone
Hairy skin
But the researchers involved in this work were looking to understand the opposite sensation – pleasure.
This research, which also involved experts at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and at the University of North Carolina, recorded nerve responses in 20 people.

They then tested how people responded to having their forearm skin stroked at a range of different speeds.
They identified “C-tactile” nerve fibres as those stimulated when people said a touch had been pleasant.

If the stroke was faster or slower than the optimum speed, the touch was not pleasurable and the nerve fibres were not activated.

The scientists also discovered that the C-tactile nerve fibres are only present on hairy skin, and are not found on the hand.

Professor Francis McGlone, now based at Unilever after an academic career where he carried out research into nerve response, says this is likely to be a deliberate “design”.

“We believe this could be Mother Nature‘s way of ensuring that mixed messages are not sent to the brain when it is in use as a functional tool.”

He said the speed at which people found arm-stroking pleasurable was the same as that which a mother uses to comfort a baby, or couples use to show affection.

Professor McGlone said it was part of the evolutionary mechanism that sustained relationships between adults, or with children.

“Our primary impulse as humans is procreation, but there are some mechanisms in place that are associated with behaviour and reward which are there to ensure relationships continue.”


Sources: BBC NEWS :April-12. ’09

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Nanosilver Use Prompts Worries of Resistant Bacteria

The advent of nanosilver products raises the possibility of new strains of silver-resistant bacteria, although there’s little evidence of that.
Could the use of nanosilver products create another problem for medicine — strains of bacteria that are resistant to silver? Although silver is not used to treat disease, it is used in hospital settings to speed wound-healing, prevent eye infections in newborns and as a coating for catheters, where it can cut infection rates.

Here, too, there is much surmise and not much evidence, although researchers do know there are strains of bacteria that have developed resistance to silver.

“If [nanosilver] is used without restriction, then you’re increasing the chances that a number of microbes will develop resistance to it,” says Andrew Maynard, chief science advisor for the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Maynard says he worries especially about bacteria that develop resistance to the major classes of antibiotics and silver.

But Dr. David Weber, an infectious disease and public health expert at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, isn’t convinced that silver resistance will prove much of a problem. Resistance to antibiotics occurs quite readily in bacteria once prolonged exposure to, say, penicillin, occurs. But there’s little reason to suppose that resistance to silver would develop so easily, he says.

An antibiotic like penicillin works by hitting a bacterium in a limited fashion, at specific sites. Because the killing is done precisely, the bacterium has a good chance of developing a mutation that would confer resistance.

In contrast, silver kills microbes in a broad, unspecific fashion — like tossing a bomb at a bacterium. It hits many essential points such as a bacterium’s entire respiratory system. This makes it much more difficult for silver-resistance to develop.

And even if tolerance did develop, Weber says, increasing the dose of silver the bacterium is exposed to will solve the problem in most cases.

Sources: Los Angeles Times

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