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Jul 11
Obesity may put children at increased risk of hip disease, suggests study
A new research suggests that obesity in chilhood may put kids at increased risk of hip disease.

Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis (SCFE) is the most common hip disease of adolescence. The condition always requires surgery, can cause significant pain, and often leads to a hip replacement in adolescence or early adulthood.

"Ultimately this study helps us to better understand one of the main diseases affecting the hip in childhood," said one of the study authors Daniel Perry from the Institute of Translational Medicine, University of Liverpool, in Britain.

Children with a SCFE experience a decrease in their range of motion, and are often unable to complete hip flexion or fully rotate the hip inward.

Early recognition of SCFE is important as the deformity may worsen if the slip remains untreated.

In an effort to identify children at higher risk of this condition, the researchers examined hospital and community based records to explore factors associated with SCFE, and explanations for diagnostic delays.

All of the records examined were of individuals under 16-years-of-age with a diagnosis of SCFE and whose electronic medical record was held by one of 650 primary care practices in Britain between 1990 and 2013.

Using the height and weight of children recorded in the notes at some point before the disease was diagnosed, the researchers were able to identify that obese children appear at highest risk of this condition, according to the study published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.

"This is the best evidence available linking this disease to childhood obesity -- which makes this condition to be one of the only obesity-related disease that can cause life-long morbidity starting in childhood," Perry said.

Jul 11
Eating oranges, grapefruit daily can reduce risk of dementia among the elderly: Study
Older adults who consume orange and grapefruit every day can lower the risk of dementia by 23%, finds a study.

Researchers from Tohuku University in Japan have found that daily intake of any citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons or limes can cut the chances of developing the incurable brain condition by almost a quarter.

The findings suggested that the citric acid contains a chemical nobiletin, which in animal tests has shown to slow or reverse impairment of memory. The team analysed more than 13,000 older adults for up to seven years to see how many developed dementia.

Rates of dementia among those eating citrus fruits at least once a day were significantly lower than in volunteers having them less than twice a week.

"Some biological studies have indicated citrus may have preventive effects against cognitive impairment," the researchers stated."But no study has examined the relation between citrus consumption and rates of dementia. Our findings suggest frequent consumption is linked with a lower risk of dementia," they concluded.

Jul 11
Common disinfectant may cause antibiotic resistance: Study
Triclosan, a common disinfectant present in household products such as body washes may make bacteria resistant to antibiotics, a study published today suggests.

Scientists from the University of Birmingham in the UK and colleagues have discovered a link between a major mechanism of antibiotic resistance and resistance to triclosan.

They found that bacteria which mutated to become resistant to quinolone antibiotics also became more resistant to triclosan.

The researchers showed that the quinolone-resistance mutation altered the way the bacteria package their DNA inside a cell and that these mutants had also turned on various self-defence mechanisms - together these gave triclosan resistance.

Quinolone antibiotics are an important and powerful group of human medicines, and this new discovery raises concerns that the use of triclosan can give antimicrobial resistance.

"We think that bacteria are tricked into thinking they are always under attack and are then primed to deal with other threats including triclosan," said Mark Webber, Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham.

"The worry is that this might happen in reverse and triclosan exposure might encourage growth of antibiotic resistant strains," said Webber, corresponding author of the study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.

"We found this can happen in E coli. As we run out of effective drugs, understanding how antibiotic resistance can happen and under what conditions is crucial to stopping selection of more resistant bacteria," he said.

Triclosan has been the cause for some concern which has led to a ban across the EU and US in its use in hygiene products (hand, skin and body washes), researchers said.

Many other antimicrobial agents are, however, still used in these products, they said.

Jul 11
Diabetes and sleep apnoea may lead to vision loss: Study
Patients who suffer from both Type 2 diabetes and obstructive sleep apnoea are at greater risk of losing their vision within a period of four years, a study has found.

Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a condition where the walls of the throat relax and narrow during sleep, resulting in snoring and interrupting breathing, and it is common in patients with Type 2 diabetes.

Meanwhile, diabetic retinopathy - the most common form of diabetic eye disease - affects between 40 and 50 per cent of patients with diabetes and is a leading cause of blindness in the western world.

Previous studies have shown a link between OSA and diabetic retinopathy.

However, there had been no published studies assessing the impact of OSA on the progression of diabetic retinopathy in patients with Type 2 diabetes.

"Despite improvements in glucose, blood pressure and lipid levels, diabetic retinopathy remains very common," said Abd Tahrani from the University of Birmingham in the UK.

"Meanwhile, OSA has been shown to be very common in patients with Type 2 diabetes, which is not surprising considering that excess weight contributes to the development of both of these conditions," said Tahrani.

"However, most patients who have OSA are not aware that they have the condition and the disease could go undiagnosed for years," he said.

"We have shown that patients with OSA and Type 2 diabetes, compared to those with diabetes only, are at increased risk of developing advanced diabetic retinopathy over a period of three years and seven months," he added.

The study was carried out at two diabetes clinics and involved 230 patients with Type 2 diabetes.

The patients were assessed for diabetic retinopathy using specialist retinal imaging, while OSA was assessed using a home-based, multi-channel cardio-respiratory portable device.

The results showed that diabetic retinopathy prevalence was higher in patients with OSA (42.9 per cent) compared to those without OSA (24.1 per cent).

The study found that at a follow-up appointment, on average 43 months later, the patients with OSA (18.4 per cent) were more likely to develop moderate to severe diabetic retinopathy compared to those without OSA (6.1 per cent).

It also showed that patients who received treatment for OSA using a machine connected to a face mask that delivers pressure to prevent the blockage of the airways during sleep had a lower risk of developing advanced diabetic retinopathy compared to patients who did not receive the treatment.

"We can conclude from this study that OSA is an independent predictor for the progression to moderate or severe diabetic retinopathy in patients with Type 2 diabetes," said Tahrani.

The study was published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Jul 11
For the first time, vaccine shows protection against gonorrhea
Researchers say a vaccine, originally developed to protect against a strain of meningitis, has been shown to ward off gonorrhea - a sexually transmitted infection.

The findings mark the first time a vaccine has shown any protection against gonorrhea and point to new avenues in the search for a specific vaccine to stop the global spread of 'super-gonorrhea'.

For their study, the researchers at the University of Auckland used data from 11 sexual health clinics for all people aged 15 to 30 who had been diagnosed with gonorrhea or chlamydia, or both, and who had also been eligible to be immunised against meningitis in the 2004-2006 campaign.

They found that those who had been vaccinated were significantly less likely to have gonorrhea.

According to they study, people who had received who had received the meningococcal B vaccine were 31 percent less likely to be infected with gonorrhea than those who hadn't received the MeNZB vaccine.

"This new research could be game-changing," said Linda Glennie, an expert at the Meningitis Research Foundation who was not directly involved in the study.

The findings "provide experimental evidence and a proof of principle" that meningitis vaccines might offer moderate cross-protection against gonorrhea," Helen Petousis-Harris, who co-led the study at the University of Auckland, said.

"Our findings could inform future vaccine development for both the meningococcal and gonorrhea vaccines," she added.

Despite the diseases being very different in symptoms and transmission modes, she added, the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Neisseria meningitidis have an up to 90 percent genetic match, providing a biologically plausible mechanism.

Yet so far, efforts to develop a gonorrhea vaccine have yielded disappointing results: Four potential shots have reached the clinical trial stage, but none has been effective.

Gonorrhea has become an increasingly urgent global health problem in recent years as it is getting much harder and sometimes impossible to treat due to antibiotic resistance.

Because of this, the World Health Organization includes gonorrhea in its list of bacteria that pose the greatest threat to human health.

Each year, an estimated 78 million people are infected with gonorrhoea which can infect the genitals, rectum, and throat.

Complications of gonorrhoea disproportionally affect women, including pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy and infertility, as well as an increased risk of HIV.

The WHO said safer sexual behaviour, in particular consistent and correct condom use, can help prevent gonorrhoea.

The new findings have been published in The Lancet medical journal on Tuesday.

Jul 11
US researchers find way to stop disease spread
US researchers found that cannibalism is a new way to stop the spread of disease and it may be an understudied factor in disease control, according to a statement by the Louisiana State University (LSU).

Bret Elderd, associate professor of LSU Department of Biological Sciences, and his colleagues has found that in the fall armyworm system, cannibalism decreases the rate of disease spread, Xinhua news agency quoted the statement as saying on Monday.

The new study, led by former LSU postdoctoral researcher and current University of California at San Diego (UCSD) postdoctoral researcher Benjamin Van Allen, along with researchers in Elderd's lab and Volker Rudolf's lab at Rice University, will be published in the American Naturalist journal.

The paper contrasts the human agricultural practice of culling livestock to remove sick individuals and prevent disease spread, for example in the case of foot-and-mouth outbreaks in livestock, to cannibalism.

It turns out that cannibalism can be far more effective at culling diseased individuals from a population.

Elderd and his colleagues have provided a first step toward empirical evidence of exactly how cannibalism affects disease spread in insect populations.

Jan 24
E-cigarettes may be luring low-risk youth to tobacco
E-cigarettes - seen as responsible for a decline in cigarette smoking among the youth -- are actually attracting a new population of adolescents who might not otherwise have smoked tobacco products, researchers warned.

The findings showed that the e-cigarettes attract low-risk adolescents who may not have used nicotine at all if e-cigarettes did not exist.

"E-cigarettes are encouraging - not discouraging - youth to smoke and to consume nicotine and are expanding the tobacco market," said Stanton A. Glantz, Professor at University of California - San Francisco.

Several previous studies have reported that adolescents who start with e-cigarettes are more likely to subsequently smoke traditional cigarettes.

According to researchers, they did not find any evidence that e-cigarettes have caused youth smoking to decline. In fact, combined e-cigarette and cigarette use among adolescents in 2014 was higher than total cigarette use in 2009, they stated.

"The study didn't find any evidence that e-cigarettes are causing youth smoking to decline," added Lauren Dutra, social scientist at RTI International - a not-for-profit research organisation based in North Carolina, US.

The "recent declines in youth smoking are likely due to tobacco control efforts, not to e-cigarettes," Dutra noted.

For the new study, the team examined survey data from more than 140,000 middle and high school students who completed the CDC's National Youth Tobacco Survey between 2004 and 2014.

The results showed that cigarette smoking among US adolescents declined during that decade, but did not decline faster after the advent of e-cigarettes in the US between 2007 and 2009.

The study was published online in the journal Pediatrics.

Jan 14
Eating blue maize may reduce BP, cholesterol, fat
Consuming blue maize may help prevent metabolic syndrome -- a cluster of conditions that includes high blood pressure and blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol, a study conducted in rat models has found.

Physical inactivity, genetic profile and a diet with inadequate energy intake are other factors that drive metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome also raises an individual's risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes, the researchers said.

The natural antioxidants present in blue maize may help protect against metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, diabetes as well as cancer, said Rosa Isela Guzman-Geronimoa from the University of Veracruz in Mexico.

In the study, the rats were fed on a high-sugar and high-cholesterol diet for 12 weeks. They were given blue maize extracts during a period of 4 weeks.

The rats showed significant improvement in systolic blood pressure, high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and triglyceride levels compared to those not given the extract.

The findings may raise interest in using blue maize as a component of functional foods and nutraceuticals, the researchers said.

Anti-obesity food materials are always in demand and this study brings out not only the importance of blue maize in controlling adipocity, but also the potential role of cholesterol in the development of obesity, the researchers stated.

The study was published in the Journal of Medicinal Food.

Jan 02
Infant cereals don't have nutritional consistency everywhere
Premixed complementary foods sold in lower-income countries lack consistency in their nutritional content, a global analysis of infant cereals has revealed.

The findings suggest that there is a need for basic quality assurance services to improve nutritional consistency and healthy growth of infants from 6 to 24 months age.

Premixed infant cereals or complementary foods can be a vital source of the solid food needed for healthy child growth after the age of six months, when infants outgrow the nutrients provided by breast milk alone.

This conclusion was reached after researchers from Tufts University in the US analysed 108 commercially available premixed complementary foods from 22 low-and-middle-income countries.

The findings, published in the journal Maternal and Child Nutrition, said premixed complementary foods can be extremely effective at protecting infants against malnutrition and stunted growth.

"In countries where we sampled, some products can readily meet children's needs, but others fall far below requirements for both macro and micro-nutrients," said William Masters from Tufts University.

"Our results are a call to action for establishing and enforcing nutritional quality standards, which would help ensure access to lower-cost, higher-quality products and enable parents to meet their infants' needs more easily," he added.

Researchers said that childhood malnutrition was the main cause of stunted growth, that may lead to delayed mental development and poor school performance -- a serious and irreversible condition that affects individuals with greater risk for illness and death throughout their lives.

According to UNICEF, nearly half of all deaths in children under age five are related to under-nutrition, which is particularly widespread in Africa and Asia.

"A healthy child consuming breast milk alongside the average sampled complementary food would experience zinc and iron deficiency from six to nine months, and dietary fat deficiency at 12 months," the study said.

The study noted that nutritional content claims on packaging labels did not meet their reported caloric content.

"Slightly more than half of the products misreported protein, and two thirds misreported fat content. For zinc and iron, products exceeded labeled values about as often as they fell short," the study further added.

Dec 28
Cutting antibiotics duration bad for kids with ear infections
Reducing the duration of antibiotics can do more harm than good when treating children with ear infections, warns a study.

When treating children between 9 and 23 months of age with antibiotics for ear infections, a shortened course has worse clinical outcomes without reducing the risk of antibiotic resistance or adverse events, showed results of the trial involving over 500 kids.

"Given significant concerns regarding overuse of antibiotics and increased antibiotic resistance, we conducted this trial to see if reducing the duration of antibiotic treatment would be equally effective along with decreased antibiotic resistance and fewer adverse reactions," said Alejandro Hoberman, Professor at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in the US.

"The results of this study clearly show that for treating ear infections in children between 9 and 23 months of age, a five-day course of antibiotic offers no benefit in terms of adverse events or antibiotic resistance," Hoberman noted.

"Though we should be rightly concerned about the emergence of resistance overall for this condition, the benefits of the 10-day regimen greatly outweigh the risks," Hoberman added.

In the current trial, 520 children with acute otitis media were randomly assigned to either a standard 10-day regimen of the antibiotic amoxicillin-clavulanate or a shortened five-day treatment followed by five days of placebo.

Acute otitis media is a common bacterial infection of the middle ear behind the ear drum in kids which causes it to become painfully inflamed.

The risk of treatment failure in the five-day group (34 per cent) was more than twice as much the risk in the 10-day group (16 per cent), according to the results published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

When they tested the presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria through back of the nose swabs, there was no decrease in the 5-day group as might have been expected with a shorter duration of antibiotics.

Also, reduced-duration antibiotics did not decrease the risk of frequent adverse events like diarrohea or diaper rash, the study said.