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Jul 17
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 17
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 17
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 17
Consuming raw fruit, veggies boosts mental health: Study
A new study has found that eating raw fruit and vegetables such as kiwis, bananas, apples and dark leafy greens may lower symptoms of depression and improve mental health, more than cooked, canned and processed food.

Consuming raw fruits and vegetables leads to lower levels of mental illness symptomology, such as depression, as per the findings. It also improved levels of psychological well-being including a positive mood and life satisfaction.

Lead author Tamlin Conner, senior lecturer at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand said, "Our research has highlighted that the consumption of fruit and vegetables in their 'unmodified' state is more strongly associated with better mental health compared to cooked/canned/processed fruit and vegetables."

Conner said, when the fruits and vegetables are cooked, canned and processed, they lose their mental health benefits as the process potentially diminishes the nutrient levels.

"Cooking and processing likely limits the delivery of nutrients that are essential for optimal emotional functioning," Conner added.

For the study more than 400 young adults from New Zealand and the US aged 18 to 25 years were surveyed.

Conner says public health campaigns have historically focused on aspects of quantity for the consumption of fruit and vegetables (such as 5+ a day).

However, the new study found that for mental health in particular, it may also be important to consider the way in which produce was prepared and consumed.

"This research is increasingly vital as lifestyle approaches such as dietary change may provide an accessible, safe and adjuvant approach to improving mental health," Conner said.

The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

Jul 17
Using e-cigarettes can harm your liver, says study
For most people, the topic of e-cigarette safety is of constant debate. Is it safer than normal cigarettes or is it more harmful? Does it induce the habit of smoking tobacco or increase the chances of fatality?

Many studies on these vaping pens have shown contradictory results while some say, it reduces the impulse to smoke cigarettes as well as the risk of death, others have said the complete opposite.

Two studies carried out last year, for instance, had contradictory evidence to show. While one said that vaping could reduce mortality rate, the other said that the practice may double the risk of smoking.

Now, as the government continues to caution people against tobacco and e-cigarettes, a new study has suggested that the use of e-cigarettes may lead to an accumulation of fat in the liver.

The study exposed mice to the devices to come to the conclusion.

"The popularity of electronic cigarettes has been rapidly increasing in part because of advertisements that they are safer than conventional cigarettes. But because extra fat in the liver is likely to be detrimental to health, we conclude that e-cigarettes are not as safe as they have been promoted to consumers," said lead author Theodore C. Friedman of Charles R Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles, Calif. "This has important public health and regulatory implications."

E-cigarettes contain nicotine, which Dr Friedman and other researchers have reported is associated with non-alcohol fatty liver diseases. However, the long-term effects of e-cigarettes on liver disease, diabetes, heart disease or stroke are unknown.

In the 12-week study, Friedman and colleagues studied mice missing the gene for apolipoprotein E, which makes them more prone to developing heart disease and fat in the liver. All of the mice were fed a diet relatively high in fat and cholesterol.

One group of mice was put in a chamber that exposed them to e-cigarette aerosol so that their blood nicotine levels were similar to that of smokers and e-cigarette users. The second group of mice were exposed to saline aerosol.

The researchers collected liver samples and looked at genes in the liver affected by e-cigarettes using a technique called RNA sequence analysis. They found changes in 433 genes that were associated with fatty liver development and progression in the mice exposed to e-cigarettes.

The researchers also found that genes related to circadian rhythms (the body clock) were changed in mice exposed to e-cigarettes. Circadian rhythm dysfunction is known to accelerate the development of liver disease including fatty liver diseases.

"Our experimental results will provide support to policymakers and federal and state regulatory bodies to take preventive measures to stop the increasing use of e-cigarettes among both children and adults," Friedman said.

The research was presented at ENDO 2018, the Endocrine Society's 100th annual meeting in Chicago, Ill.

Jul 17
Self-esteem key to treat mental health patients: Study
Improving how mental health patients perceive themselves can be critical in treating them, a first of its kind study has claimed.

The findings of the study suggest that youths with psychiatric disorders, currently receiving inpatient services, reported lower self-concept, particularly global self-worth, compared to those receiving outpatient services.

"This was the first study that examined youth with a psychiatric disorder by comparing what type of service they were receiving and whether that was associated with self-concept," said Mark Ferro, Assistant Professor at the University of Waterloo.

"We know that global self-worth is lower in the inpatient group and we know from other research that lower self-concept is a precursor to other more serious mental health problems," Ferro said.

For the study, published in the Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, researchers examined a group of youth aged between 8-17 years who were receiving inpatient and outpatient psychiatric services.

The participants' self-concept was measured using the Self-Perception Profile for Children and Adolescents.

According to the researchers, self-concept might be an important aspect to consider when implementing treatment programmes to improve the mental health of youth who are hospitalized.

"Because youths who are in the inpatient service have a lower self-concept, therapies within their overall treatment program aiming to improve self-worth might be worthwhile," the researcher noted.

Apr 20
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.

Apr 20
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.

Apr 20
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.

Apr 20
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.