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Aug 31
Eating raw oysters ups risk of norovirus infection
Eating raw oysters and shellfish may increase the risk of getting infected by human norovirus that causes stomach pain, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, a study says.

Oysters not only transmit human norovirus but also serve as a major reservoir for these pathogens, the findings show.

"More than 80 percent of human norovirus genotypes were detected in oyster samples or oyster-related outbreaks," said author Yongjie Wang, professor at the Shanghai Ocean University in Shanghai.

"The results highlight oysters' important role in the persistence of norovirus in the environment, and its transmission to humans. They demonstrate the need for surveillance of human norovirus in oyster samples," Wang said.

In earlier research, the examiners found that 90 percent of human norovirus sequences in China came from coastal regions.

The current research said the same is true all over the world, except in tropical regions.

Oysters's status as vectors for human norovirus transmission is likely abetted by their presence in coastal waters, which are frequently contaminated by human waste, Wang said.

Previous research says noroviruses can persist for weeks in oyster tissues, and commercial depuration fails to expunge them.

Wang advised people who eat oysters and other shellfish to eat them fully cooked.

The findings appeared in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Aug 28
Nutrition more important for healthy heart than checking calories, claims Indian scientist
Washington D.C: Researchers have suggested that shifting focus from calorie counting to nutritional value of foods is good for the heart and could curb the chances of obesity.

Aseem Malhotra, a scientist, and other doctors have asserted that simple dietary changes could rapidly improve health outcomes at the population level.

Regular consumption of sugary drinks is associated with a significantly increased risk of type 2 diabetes whereas regular consumption of a handful of nuts (30 g of walnuts, 15 g of almonds and 15 g hazelnuts) or four tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (around 500 calories) is associated with a significantly reduced risk of heart attack and stroke.

According to the Action for Health in Diabetes trial, low calorie diet on top of increased physical activity in patients with type 2 diabetes was not associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular death despite significant weight loss and a monitoring period of 13.5 years.

Researchers insisted that shifting the focus away from calories and emphasizing a dietary pattern that focuses on food quality rather than quantity would help to rapidly reduce obesity and cardiovascular risk besides other related diseases.

They stated evidence has shown that poor diet was consistently responsible for more disease and death than physical inactivity, smoking and alcohol put together, and concluded that it was time to stop counting calories and time to instead promote good nutrition and dietary changes that could rapidly and substantially reduce cardiovascular mortality.

The study is published in the Journal Open Heart.

Aug 25
Some people are truly happier single, study says
Generally speaking, sociologists find that people in relationships tend to be happier and more satisfied than single people. But a new study makes clear that for some, being single is the way to be.

It all depends on how individuals deal with conflict in relationships-those who hate it and try to avoid it at all costs report being just as happy when they're single as people in committed relationships, the New Zealand researchers write at EurekaAlert.

In researcher-speak, such people have high "avoidance social goals," and when they're in relationships, they often end up being miserable. "It's a well-documented finding that single people tend to be less happy compared to those in a relationship, but that may not be true for everyone," says lead researcher Yuthika Girme of the University of Auckland.

Her survey involved more than 4,000 people age 18 to 94. The results show that "you can never say one size fits all," a George Mason professor not involved with the study tells HealthDay.

But before singles start exulting in I-told-you-sos, he adds that people who can't deal with conflict tend to be a little neurotic and might benefit from counseling.

Such studies are important as the number of single people rises, notes Discovery, which says 51% of adult Americans fall in the bucket. It cites previous research showing that people who have a strong fear of being alone often end up in lousy relationships, too.

"Taken together, these studies suggest that not everyone is cut out for relationships," writes Talal al-Khatib. "The single life isn't so bad after all." (Another study finds that for those with depression, having happy friends helps.)

Aug 24
Instant oatmeal breakfast curbs appetite at lunch
Having a hearty portion of instant oatmeal for breakfast enhances satiety and feelings of fullness, thereby helping you eat less at lunch, new research has found.

A bowl of instant oatmeal helps curb food intake at lunch better than a leading oat-based, cold cereal -- even when each bowl provided the same number of calories, the findings showed.

The researchers found that a 250-calorie instant oatmeal serving (with an additional 113 calories of skim milk) enhanced satiety and feelings of fullness, reduced the desire to eat and led to lower caloric intake at lunch, compared to a 250-calorie serving of cold, oat-based cereal, also served with an additional 113 calories of skim milk.

"The satiety benefits of instant oatmeal alone were important findings," said lead author Candida Rebello from Louisiana State University in the US.

"When we took it a step further and evaluated the intake four hours post-breakfast, we found that after consuming instant oatmeal, the participants chose to eat significantly less at lunch compared to those who ate the oat-based, cold cereal," Rebello noted.

After an analysis of the types of fibre in each cereal, the researchers suspected that the higher level of the polysaccharides beta-glucan in the instant oatmeal contributed to its satiating effect over the oat-based, cold cereal.

The processing of the cold cereal might lead to changes in the oat fibre that reduced its ability to enhance satiety, the researchers noted.

Researchers presented the participants with a lunch meal of their choice - turkey, ham, roast beef or vegetable patty sandwiches and a calorie-free or calorie-containing beverage, alongside potato crisps and cookies.

The lunches offered ranged from 2,600 to 2,800 calories and participants were told to "eat to satisfaction".

The researchers found that total calorie intake was significantly lower following consumption of instant oatmeal compared to the cold cereal, as were fat and protein intake.

The findings were reported in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

Aug 21
Instant oatmeal breakfast curbs appetite at lunch
Having a hearty portion of instant oatmeal for breakfast enhances satiety and feelings of fullness, thereby helping you eat less at lunch, new research has found.

A bowl of instant oatmeal helps curb food intake at lunch better than a leading oat-based, cold cereal -- even when each bowl provided the same number of calories, the findings showed.

The researchers found that a 250-calorie instant oatmeal serving (with an additional 113 calories of skim milk) enhanced satiety and feelings of fullness, reduced the desire to eat and led to lower caloric intake at lunch, compared to a 250-calorie serving of cold, oat-based cereal, also served with an additional 113 calories of skim milk.

"The satiety benefits of instant oatmeal alone were important findings," said lead author Candida Rebello from Louisiana State University in the US.

"When we took it a step further and evaluated the intake four hours post-breakfast, we found that after consuming instant oatmeal, the participants chose to eat significantly less at lunch compared to those who ate the oat-based, cold cereal," Rebello noted.

After an analysis of the types of fibre in each cereal, the researchers suspected that the higher level of the polysaccharides beta-glucan in the instant oatmeal contributed to its satiating effect over the oat-based, cold cereal.

The processing of the cold cereal might lead to changes in the oat fibre that reduced its ability to enhance satiety, the researchers noted.

Researchers presented the participants with a lunch meal of their choice - turkey, ham, roast beef or vegetable patty sandwiches and a calorie-free or calorie-containing beverage, alongside potato crisps and cookies.

The lunches offered ranged from 2,600 to 2,800 calories and participants were told to "eat to satisfaction".

The researchers found that total calorie intake was significantly lower following consumption of instant oatmeal compared to the cold cereal, as were fat and protein intake.

The findings were reported in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

Aug 20
A cup of cranberries daily can fight off colon cancer too
Not just four cups of coffee, as new research suggested this week, just a daily cup-full of the cranberry super fruit can also combat colon cancer.

To reach this conclusion, researchers fed cranberry extracts to mice with colon cancer and found that their tumours diminished in size and number.

Identifying the therapeutic molecules in the fruit could lead to a better understanding of its anti-cancer potential, they said.

"Colon cancer may offer a particularly good target for a dietary treatment. Cranberry extracts may also afford protection toward other cancers," said Catherine Neto from University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.

Neto and colleagues found that chemicals derived from cranberry extracts could selectively kill off colon tumour cells in laboratory dishes.

This is approximately equivalent to a cup a day of cranberries if you were a human instead of a mouse,"

"We have identified several compounds in cranberry extracts over the years that seemed promising, but we've always wanted to look at what happens with the compounds in an animal model of cancer," Neto noted.

"Cranberry constituents and metabolites should be bioavailable to the colon as digestion proceeds," she added.

However, she is not sure someone could get the same benefits from juice which lacks some of the components in the skin of the cranberry.

Neto is now looking deeper into the cranberry to see if she can isolate individual components responsible for its anti-cancer properties.

The team were set to describe their approach at the national meeting and exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Boston this week.

Aug 19
Aspirin reverses cancer risk in the obese: Study
A regular dose of aspirin reduces the long-term risk of cancer in overweight people with a family history of the disease, new research has found.

The study found that being overweight more than doubles the risk of bowel cancer in people with Lynch Syndrome, an inherited genetic disorder which affects genes responsible for detecting and repairing damage in the DNA.

Around half of these people develop cancer, mainly in the bowel and womb.

However, over the course of a ten year study the researchers found this risk could be counteracted by taking a regular dose of aspirin.

"This is important for people with Lynch Syndrome but affects the rest of us too. Lots of people struggle with their weight and this suggests the extra cancer risk can be cancelled by taking an aspirin," said one of the researchers John Burn, professor of clinical genetics at Newcastle University in England.

"This research adds to the growing body of evidence which links an increased inflammatory process to an increased risk of cancer," Burn noted.

"Obesity increases the inflammatory response. One explanation for our findings is that the aspirin may be suppressing that inflammation which opens up new avenues of research into the cause of cancer," he explained.

The international study involving scientists and clinicians from 16 countries followed nearly 1,000 patients with Lynch Syndrome, in some cases for over 10 years.

The patients began either taking two aspirins (600 mg) every day for two years or a placebo.

When they were followed up ten years later, 55 had developed bowel cancers and those who were obese were more than twice as likely to develop this cancer - in fact 2.75 times as likely.

"Our study suggests that the daily aspirin dose of 600 mg per day removed the majority of the increased risk associated with higher BMI (body mass index)," professor Tim Bishop from the University of Leeds who led on the statistics for the study noted.

However, the researchers noted that before anyone begins to take aspirin on a regular basis they should consult their doctor as aspirin is known to bring with it a risk of stomach complaints including ulcers.

The study was published today in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Aug 18
20-minute walk cuts heart failure risk
Moderate amount of physical activity, particularly walking and bicycling, can significantly lower the risk of heart failure, says a study.

The participants who had the lowest levels of physical activity had a 47 percent higher risk of heart failure while those with highest levels had 51 percent higher risk than men with a median level.

When analysing the different types of physical activity, the study found that walking or bicycling for 20 minutes per day was associated with the largest risk reduction.

"We found that recent activity may be more important for heart failure protection than past physical activity levels. The first incidence of heart failure in men was also later for those who actively walked or bicycled 20 minutes each day," said study co-author Andrea Bellavia from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm.

When enrolling in the study, participants from two counties in Sweden completed a questionnaire about their level of activity at work, home, walking or bicycling, and exercise in the year prior at an average of 60 years old and retrospectively at 30 years old.

Researchers assigned each type of physical activity an intensity score and determined walking or bicycling just 20 minutes per day was associated with a 21 percent lower risk of heart failure.

They found that men who were active at 30 years old but were inactive at the time of study enrollment did not have a decreased risk of heart failure.

Heavy physical activity, such as long distance running, or manual labour may put stress on the body, which in turn has adverse effects on the heart.

The study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Heart Failure.

Aug 17
Low-fat diet leads to more fat loss than carb restriction
Contrary to popular claims, restricting dietary fat can lead to greater body fat loss than carbohydrate restriction, even though a low-carb diet reduces insulin and increases fat burning, new researcher has found.

"A lot of people have very strong opinions about what matters for weight loss, and the physiological data upon which those beliefs are based are sometimes lacking," said one of the researchers Kevin Hall from National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of US National Institutes of Health (NIH).

"I wanted to rigorously test the theory that carbohydrate restriction is particularly effective for losing body fat since this idea has been influencing many people's decisions about their diets," Hall noted.

For the study, the researchers confined 19 consenting adults with obesity to a metabolic ward for two dieting periods of two weeks each.

At the end of the two dieting periods, the researchers found that body fat lost with dietary fat restriction was greater compared with carbohydrate restriction, even though more fat was burned with the low-carb diet.

The study was published in the journal Cell Metabolism.

Aug 14
First human trial of new vaccine for common childhood infection shows promise
Researchers claimed to have successfully completed the first human trial of a vaccine for a common virus that is particularly dangerous to infants.

After fifty years of failed attempts around the world, a vaccine for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), may now be within sight.

The vaccine, developed and initially tested by biotechnology firm Reithera, may help in preventing a leading cause of serious illness in babies, reports the BBC.

The latest vaccine uses genetic engineering to trick the immune system into thinking that it is dealing with RSV.

It is said that the 'viral vector' technology is the similar to one used in the new Ebola vaccines. It contains a harmless virus that cannot cause illness, and which has been modified to produce some RSV proteins on its surface, the journal Science Translational Medicine reports.

Each year RSV kills around 200,000 people worldwide, affecting those most with compromised immune systems - including young infants and the elderly.

RSV also affects two-thirds of babies in their first year and is second only to malaria as a killer of children under one in developing world.

To come to this conclusion, researchers from the Oxford Vaccine Group tested two candidates - one using a chimpanzee cold virus never before used in humans and the other a harmless pox virus - in 42 adult volunteers.

They found both components of the vaccine to be safe and produced an immune response.

While the results are encouraging, this was just the first stage in many years of trials.

Dr Christopher Green, the lead physician for the trial and a clinical research fellow at Oxford University said, "What was particularly exciting about the viral vector technology used in their trials was that similar vaccines, including ones for malaria, had already been successfully used in infants.

"This is encouraging data, he said. "The results of this trial are a positive signal that prevention of RSV is achievable."

The team will embark on tests of another vaccine using the same technology that is being specifically designed for use in children.