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Health

Sunday, April 01, 2012
Kabul (BNA) Dr. Suraya Dalil Minister of Public Health opened the first public health national association of Afghanistan. 
According to the in charges of the ministry the journal is being prepared with all international standards and it carried scientific and research articles pertaining to health dimensions in Afghanistan and this will help the domestic and international policy makers so that, with usage prepare practical policies for Afghanistan. 
Dr. Ahmad Shah Salehi chairman of the national public health association of Afghanistan said that this association is functioning for bringing improvement in upgrading health services and its members are professional and educated cadres who are proving assistance to the health foundations. 
Dr. Suraya Dalil called opening of the journal another positive step towards provision of better health services and expressed her views for further improvement of activities of this association.

Sunday 25 March 2012

 

CHICAGO: Patients with advanced heart disease who received an experimental stem cell therapy showed slightly improved heart function, researchers said at a major US cardiology conference on Saturday.

The clinical trial involved 92 patients, with an average age of 63, who were picked at random to get either a placebo or a series of injections of their own stem cells, taken from their bone marrow, into damaged areas of their hearts.

The patients all had chronic heart disease, along with either heart failure or angina, and their left ventricles were pumping at less than 45 percent of capacity.

All the participants in the study were ineligible for revascularization surgery, such as coronary bypass to restore blood flow, because their heart disease was so advanced.

Those who received the stem cell therapy saw a small but significant boost in the heart's ability to pump blood, measuring the increase from the heart's main pumping chamber at 2.7 percent more than placebo patients.

Study authors described the trial as the largest to date to examine stem cell therapy as a route to repairing the heart in patients with chronic ischemic heart disease and left ventricular dysfunction.

"This is the kind of information we need in order to move forward with the clinical use of stem cell therapy," said lead investigator Emerson Perin, director of clinical research for cardiovascular medicine at the Texas Heart Institute.

Perin's research, which was conducted between 2009 and 2011 across five US sites, was presented at the annual American College of Cardiology Conference in Chicago.

The technique involved taking bone marrow samples from the patients and processing the marrow to extract stem cells. Doctors then injected the cells via catheter into the heart's left ventricle.

The injections, comprising some 100 million stem cells in all, were specifically targeted at damaged areas, identified by real-time electromechanical mapping of the heart.

"With this mapping procedure, we have a roadmap to the heart muscle," said Perin in a statement released ahead of the presentation in Chicago.

"We're very careful about where we inject the cells; electromechanical mapping allows us to target the cell injections to viable areas of the heart," he added, describing the procedure as "relatively quick and painless."

Heart disease is the leading killer in the United States, claiming nearly 600,000 lives per year, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Thursday 22 March 2012,

LONDON: Three new studies published on Wednesday added to growing scientific evidence suggesting that taking a daily dose of aspirin can help prevent, and possibly treat, cancer.

Previous studies have found that daily aspirin reduces the long-term risk of death due to cancer, but until now the shorter-term effects have been less certain - as has the medicine's potential in patients already diagnosed with cancer.

The new studies, led by Peter Rothwell of Britain's Oxford University, found that aspirin also has a short-term benefit in preventing cancer, and that it reduces the likelihood that cancers will spread to other organs by about 40 to 50 percent.

"These findings add to the case for use of aspirin to prevent cancer, particularly if people are at increased risk," Rothwell said.

"Perhaps more importantly, they also raise the distinct possibility that aspirin will be effective as an additional treatment for cancer - to prevent distant spread of the disease."

This was particularly important because it is the process of spread of cancer, or "metastasis", which most often kills people with the disease, he added.

Aspirin, originally developed by Bayer, is a cheap over-the-counter drug generally used to combat pain or reduce fever.

The drug reduces the risk of clots forming in blood vessels and can therefore protect against heart attacks and strokes, so it is often prescribed for people who already suffer with heart disease and have already had one or several attacks.

Aspirin also increases the risk of bleeding in the stomach to around one patient in every thousand per year, a factor which has fuelled an intense debate about whether doctors should advise patients to take it as regularly as every day.

Last year, a study by British researchers questioned the wisdom of daily aspirin for reducing the risk of early death from a heart attack or stroke because they said the increased risk of internal bleeding outweighed the potential benefit.

Other studies, including some by Rothwell in 2007, 2010 and 2011, found that an aspirin a day, even at a low dose of around 75 milligrams, reduces the long-term risk of developing some cancers, particularly bowel and oesophageal cancer, but the effects don't show until eight to 10 years after the start of treatment.

Rothwell, whose new studies were published in The Lancet and The Lancet Oncology journals on Wednesday, said this delay was because aspirin was preventing the very early development of cancers and there was a long time lag between this stage and a patient having clinical signs or symptoms of cancer.

Rothwell and others said deeper research was now needed into aspirin as a potential treatment for cancer in patients whose disease has not yet spread.

"No drug has been shown before to prevent distant metastasis and so these findings should focus future research on this crucial aspect of treatment," he said.

Peter Johnson, chief clinician at the charity Cancer Research UK, said his group was already investigating the anti-cancer properties of aspirin. "These findings show we're on the right track," he said.

In a written commentary on the research in The Lancet, Andrew Chan and Nancy Cook of Harvard Medical School in the United States said it was "impressive" and moved health experts "another step closer to broadening recommendations for aspirin use".

 

Wednesday 14 March 2012,

 

NEW YORK: People who eat a lot of red meat are more likely to die at any given time than those who go light on the burgers and hot dogs, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that the more servings of processed or unprocessed red meat people reported eating daily, the higher their chance of dying over more than a 20-year span.

Red meat and especially processed red meat contains a lot of compounds and chemicals that have been linked to chronic disease risk," said Dr. Frank Hu, one of the study's authors from the Harvard School of Public Health -- and cooking red meat produces more carcinogens.

Research has suggested that the saturated fat and cholesterol in red meat is linked to plaque buildup in the arteries, which increases the risk of heart disease. Eating more meat was associated with an increased risk of kidney cancer in another recent study (see Reuters Health story of December 28, 2011).

Hu and his colleagues used data from two large, ongoing studies of U.S. doctors and nurses who filled out regular questionnaires about their typical eating habits as well as physical activity, smoking and family history.

The current report includes information from about 38,000 middle-aged men followed for an average of 22 years after their first survey and 84,000 women tracked for 28 years.

The lightest meat eaters reported getting half a serving or less of meat per day, while the study's biggest meat-lovers had red meat twice or three times daily.

Three ounces of unprocessed meat, one hot dog or two slices of bacon was counted as a serving.

About 24,000 study participants died over the two-plus decades that researchers followed them. Hu and his team calculated that the chance of dying was 12 percent higher for every extra serving of red meat the men and women had eaten each day.

Each extra serving was also tied to a 16 percent higher chance of dying from cardiovascular disease, in particular, and a 10 percent higher chance of dying from cancer.

That was after taking into account other aspects of health and lifestyle that could influence participants' chances of dying, like weight and smoking, as well as the rest of their diet and various socioeconomic factors.

Substituting one daily serving of red meat with fish, poultry, beans, nuts, low-fat dairy products or whole grains was tied to a seven to 19 percent lower chance of death, Hu and his colleagues reported Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The results are not really surprisingly given that previous studies have found consumption of red meat is linked to diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers," Hu told Reuters Health.

What's surprising is the magnitude... Even a small amount of red meat is associated with a significantly increased risk of mortality," he added.

Hu said that it's probably a combination of chemicals and compounds that are found in red meat, including saturated fat, cholesterol and lots of salt -- especially in processed meat -- that account for increased health risks in meat-eaters, although his study can't prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

Though he doesn't necessarily recommend everyone drop their burgers at once, Hu said it's not a bad idea to try to cut back on red meat, given this and other evidence of its less-than-stellar health record.

We're not talking about everyone becoming a vegetarian -- I think a small amount of red meat is still okay as part of a healthy diet," he said.

We're talking about no more than two or three servings of red meat a week. Basically, red meat should be an occasional part of our diet and not a regular part of our diet."