Home > News

News

Drink coffee and live long

Given that coffee drinkers are less likely to get many diseases, it makes sense that coffee could help you live longer. There are actually several observational studies showing that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of death. In two very large studies, drinking coffee was associated with a 20% lower risk of death in men and a 26% lower risk of death in women, over a period of 18-24 years. This effect appears to be particularly strong in type II diabetics. In one study, diabetics who drank coffee had a 30% lower risk of death during a 20 year study period

An 8-ounce cup of black coffee contains just 2 calories and 0 grams of fat. The same cup of coffee contains tiny doses of calcium for strong bones and potassium to keep your heart beat regular. When you add cream and sugar to a cup of coffee, it increases the fat and calorie content of your drink.

The antioxidants in a cup of black coffee offer you many protective benefits. A 2006 study published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" reports that drinking coffee reduces inflammation levels in your body, which can reduce your risk of heart disease. A 2004 article published in the "Journal of Nutrition" notes that the antioxidants in coffee can help reduce your risk of certain degenerative diseases. The article also reports that the level of antioxidants in coffee is higher than the levels in wine, tea, fruits and vegetables. Coffee might also protect you against Parkinson's disease and Type 2 diabetes, according to MayoClinic.com.

The cancer drug paclitaxel just got more effective.

For the first time, researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have packaged it in containers derived from a patient's own immune system, protecting the drug from being destroyed by the body's own defences and bringing the entire payload to the tumour.

"That means we can use 50 times less of the drug and still get the same results," said Elena Batrakova, Ph.D., an associate professor in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. "That matters because we may eventually be able to treat patients with smaller and more accurate doses of powerful chemotherapy drugs resulting in more effective treatment with fewer and milder side effects."

The work, led by Batrakova and her colleagues at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy's Center for Nanotechnology in Drug Delivery, is based on exosomes, which are tiny spheres harvested from the white blood cells that protect the body against infection. The exosomes are made of the same material as cell membranes, and the patient's body doesn't recognize them as foreign, which has been one of the toughest issues to overcome in the past decade with using plastics-based nanoparticles as drug-delivery systems.

"Exosomes are engineered by nature to be the perfect delivery vehicles," said Batrakova, who has also used this technique as a potential therapy for Parkinson's disease. "By using exosomes from white blood cells, we wrap the medicine in an invisibility cloak that hides it from the immune system. We don't know exactly how they do it, but the exosomes swarm the cancer cells, completely bypassing any drug resistance they may have and delivering their payload."

Paclitaxel is a potent drug used in the United States as a first- and second-line treatment for breast, lung and pancreatic cancers. It can have serious and unpleasant side effects, such as hair loss, muscle and joint pain and diarrhea, and it can put patients at greater risk of serious infection. In their experiment, Batrakova's team extracted exosomes from mouse white blood cells and loaded them with paclitaxel. They then tested the treatment -- which they call exoPXT -- against multiple-drug-resistant cancer cells in petri dishes. The team saw that they needed 50 times less exoPXT to achieve the same cancer-killing effect as formulations of the drug currently being used, such as Taxol.

Unethical medical trials in France

The oral trial was being conducted by a private laboratory in the north-western city of Rennes, Marisol Touraine said. The trial has been suspended and the firm is recalling the volunteers. It is unclear how many people are involved.

Media reports that the drug is a cannabis-based painkiller have been denied by the health ministry. The Paris prosecutor's office said an investigation had been opened. The drug was taken in a licensed laboratory, the ministry said in a statement (in French).The study was a Phase I clinical trial, in which healthy volunteers take the medication to evaluate the safety of its use, the ministry said.

Phase I tests for safety
A small number of people, sometimes healthy, and sometimes with a medical condition, are given a tiny dose of the drug under careful supervision, not to test if the drug works, but in order to check for any side effects

Phase II
Sees the drug given to people who have a medical condition to see if it does indeed help them Phase III Trials are only for medicines or devices that have already passed the first two stages, and involve them being compared to existing treatments or a placebo. The trials often last a year or more, involving several thousand patients

Depressing antidepressants

Antidepressant medication is the most commonly prescribed treatment for people with depression. They are also commonly prescribed for other conditions, including bipolar depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, chronic pain syndromes, substance abuse and anxiety and eating disorders.

The widespread use of antidepressants is a serious public health problem, and it raises a number of ethical and legal issues for prescribers (physicians, nurse practitioners).

Most antidepressants are designed to alter mechanisms regulating serotonin, an evolutionarily ancient biochemical found throughout the brain and the rest of the body. In the brain, serotonin acts as a neurotransmitter—a chemical that controls the firing of neurons (brain cells that regulate how we think, feel, and behave). However, serotonin evolved to regulate many other important processes, including neuronal growth and death, digestion, muscle movement, development, blood clotting, and reproductive function.

Antidepressants are most commonly taken orally in pill form. After they enter the bloodstream, they travel throughout the body. Most antidepressants, such as the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are intended to bind to a molecule in the brain called the serotonin transporter that regulates levels of serotonin. When they bind to the transporter, they prevent neurons from reabsorbing serotonin, which causes a build-up of serotonin outside of neurons. In other words, antidepressants alter the balance of serotonin in the brain, increasing the concentration outside of neurons. With long-term antidepressant use, the brain pushes back against these drugs and eventually restores the balance of serotonin outside of the neuron with a number of compensatory changes.

Antidepressants can kill neurons (see our article for a review). Many medical practitioners will be surprised by this fact because it is widely believed in the medical community that antidepressants promote the growth of new neurons. However, this belief is based on flawed evidence—a point that we address in detail in our article. One way antidepressants could kill neurons is by causing structural damage of the sort often found in Parkinson’s disease. This neurological damage might explain why some people taking antidepressant medication can develop Parkinsons symptoms and tardive dyskinesia, which is characterized by involuntary and repetitive body movements. Many prescribers mistakenly think these syndromes only occur in patients taking antipsychotic medications.

Recent research indicates that antidepressants may increase the risk of cancer outside of the brain, such as breast cancer. However, the neuron-killing properties of antidepressants may make them potentially useful as treatments for brain cancers, and current research is testing this possibility.

Depression commonly causes problems in sexual functioning. However, many antidepressants make the problem worse, impairing sexual desire, arousal, and orgasm. The most widely studied and commonly prescribed antidepressants—Celexa, Effexor, Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft—have been found to increase the risk of sexual dysfunction by six times or more. Evidence from case studies suggests that antidepressants may also interfere with attachment and romantic love. Some antidepressants have been found to negatively impact sperm structure, volume, and mobility.

Eat berries for healthy erections

Erectile dysfunction can be one of the most distressing conditions a man experiences. But a new study suggests eating more foods rich in flavonoids - such as blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and citrus fruits - could reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction for middle-aged men by more than a fifth.

It is estimated that around 30 million men in the US have erectile dysfunction - the inability to get or keep an erection firm enough to engage in sexual intercourse. Men over the age of 60 are at greatest risk for erectile dysfunction, though it occurs in around 12% of men under this age.

Previous research has shown that regular exercise may lower men's risk for erectile dysfunction. However, in this latest study, Prof. Cassidy and her team suggest that eating more flavonoid-rich foods is as beneficial for erectile dysfunction as walking briskly for up to 5 hours weekly.

Exercise and flavonoid-rich diet can reduce erectile dysfunction risk by 21%. The researchers analyzed population-based data of more than 50,000 middle-aged men. Information was collected on the men's ability to get and maintain an erection firm enough for intercourse, and dietary data was collected every 4 years from 1986.

High blood pressure, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and heart and blood vessel disease are just some conditions that can trigger erectile dysfunction. Psychological problems, such as anxiety and depression, can also contribute to erectile dysfunction. Around 30% of men aged 70 and older experience erectile dysfunction.

Leukaemia rates highest in countries farther from the equator

The researchers found that individuals living in countries farther away from the equator, such as the US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Ireland, were at least twice as likely to have leukaemia as people living in countries closes to the equator, such as Nigeria, Bolivia, Samoa and Madagascar.

Te study sum it up that vitamin D metabolites in the blood - known as 25-hydroxyvitamin D, or 25(OH) D, which is an indicator of the body's vitamin D levels - interact with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) cells and asserts that Vitamin D deficiency has got direct link to leukaemia.

The individuals who live farther away from the equator are exposed to solar energy that has travelled farther through the Earth's atmosphere, which reduces the amount of UVB radiation that reaches the skin.

Leukaemia is a cancer of the blood cells, most commonly affecting the white blood cells, or leukocytes, that help fight infection. It is a group of cancers that usually begin in the bone marrow and result in high numbers of abnormal white blood cells. These white blood cells are not fully developed and are called blasts or leukaemia cells. Symptoms may include bleeding and bruising problems, feeling tired, fever, and an increased risk of infections. These symptoms occur due to a lack of normal blood cells. Diagnosis is typically made by blood tests or bone marrow biopsy.

Unrestricted marketing fails long efforts against youth smoking

Growing reports indicates that unrestricted marketing has its effects in increased number of young smokers in US. E-cigarette use is soaring among teenagers mainly because of advertisements aimed at their age group.

Seven out of 10 middle school and high school students say they have seen e-cigarette ads in stores, online or in other media, according to a new report from the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the "Vital Signs" report published online Jan. 5 in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, more than 13 percent of high school students were using e-cigarettes in 2014 -- more than the number smoking regular cigarettes, and up from 1.5 percent from three years earlier. In middle schools, nearly 4 percent of students were using e-cigarettes by 2014. Meanwhile, spending on e-cigarette advertising jumped from $6.4 million in 2011 to about $115 million in 2014, the study authors noted.

The investigators found that about 69 percent of middle and high school students see e-cigarettes ads from one or more media sources. More than half see ads in retail stores, while about 40 percent see them online. About 36 percent see the ads on TV or at the movies, and around 30 percent spot them in newspapers and magazines.

Currently, e-cigarettes are not regulated in the United States, although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said it intends to regulate them.

Artificial pancreas to control blood sugar levels

For the first time in the history of medical science artificial pancreas will be tested for six months in 240 people with type 1 diabetes at nine sites in the United States and Europe. Researchers will compare this system to current diabetes management with an insulin pump. Then, 180 of those patients will be observed for another six months.

The wearable system developed by University of Virginia and Harvard University researchers with almost $13 million in funding from the U.S. National Institutes of Health supplies appropriate amounts of insulin by detecting changes in the body and predicting blood sugar levels in advance.

In type 1 diabetes, the body's immune system mistakenly destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Insulin is a hormone that plays a key role in regulating blood sugar levels in the body. People with type 1 diabetes patients must replace that lost insulin, either through multiple daily injections or via a thin tube inserted under the skin that's then attached to an insulin pump.

The artificial pancreas is not a replica of a human pancreas. Instead, it consists of an insulin pump with tubing inserted under the skin, a blood sugar monitor with a wire sensor placed under the skin, and a smart phone loaded with software that determines how much insulin is required based on factors such as food intake, physical activity, stress, metabolism and sleep.

Marijuana use increased by 9.5% in a decade

The estimated prevalence of adults who used marijuana in the past year more than doubled in the United States between 2001 and 2013 to 9.5%. Laws and attitudes about marijuana are changing, with 23 states having medical marijuana laws and four of these states having also legalized marijuana for recreational use. The prevalence of past-year marijuana use climbed to 9.5 percent of adults in 2012-2013 from 4.1 percent in 2001-2002, with increases particularly notable among women. The prevalence of a diagnosis of a past-year marijuana use disorder (abuse or dependence) also increased to 2.9 percent in 2012-2013 from 1.5 percent in 2001-2002, which means nearly 3 of every 10 Americans who used marijuana in the past year had a diagnosis of a marijuana use disorder (approximately 6.8 million Americans). Groups with notable increases included individuals ages 45 to 64 and those individuals who were black or Hispanic, with the lowest incomes or living in the South.

Among marijuana users, the prevalence of marijuana use disorder decreased to 30.6 percent in 2012-2013 from 35.6 percent in 2001-2002. Because there was no increase in the risk for marijuana use disorder found among users, in fact there was a decrease, the increase in prevalence of marijuana use disorders can be attributed to the increase in marijuana users between the two surveys, the authors note.

Study identifies genetic mutation in those who behave reckless when drunk

University of Helsinki researchers have identified a genetic mutation which renders carriers susceptible to particularly impulsive and reckless behavior when drunk. More than one hundred thousand Finns carry this mutation. Many Finns know somebody whose behavior becomes excessively strange and erratic when drunk. They are said to be unable to "hold their liquor," and others are surprised at how inebriated they become from just a small amount of alcohol. Since the trait seems permanent, it can be assumed that there are underlying biological factors.

If these results prove significant in larger clinical samples of individual patients who suffer greatly from difficulties in impulse control, several preventive measures could be taken. The most important measure would obviously be controlling the consumption of alcohol. Other measures would include attempting to achieve control over behavior through cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy or medication.

Apart from the putative effect on the health of Finnish population, the discovery of this biological mechanism may be groundbreaking in understanding the role of the serotonin 2B receptor in humans. Novel neurobiological research is becoming increasingly aware of the fact that the expression of a gene -- that is, the gene's production of proteins can be affected in various ways. The findings may elucidate the role of the serotonin 2B receptor in the health of any given population. Moreover, increasing knowledge of the function of the serotonin 2B receptor may lead to new pharmacological innovations, since no medications specific to it are presently available.

The discovery is based on long-term research cooperation between the University of Helsinki Psychiatry Clinic and the Dr David Goldman's laboratory of Neurogenetics at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in the United States.

Preview Room Login

New User? Lost Your Password?