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Health

Tuesday 21 August 2012

 

NEW YORK: People who keep their teeth and gums healthy with regular brushing may have a lower risk of developing dementia later in life, according to a US study.

Researchers at the University of California who followed nearly 5,500 elderly people over an 18-year-period found that those who reported brushing their teeth less than once a day were up to 65 percent more likely to develop dementia than those who brushed daily.

"Not only does the state of your mind predict what kind of oral health habits you practice, it may be that your oral health habits influence whether or not you get dementia," said Annlia Paganini-Hill, who led the study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Inflammation stoked by gum disease-related bacteria is implicated in a host of conditions including heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Some studies have also found that people with Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia, have more gum disease-related bacteria in their brains than a person without Alzheimer's, Paganini-Hill said.

It's thought that gum disease bacteria might get into the brain, causing inflammation and brain damage, she said.

Paganini-Hill and her team followed 5,468 residents of a Californian retirement community from 1992 to 2010. Most people in the study were white, well-educated and relatively affluent. When the study began, participants ranged in age from 52 to 105,with an average age of 81.

All were free of dementia at the outset, when they answered questions about their dental health habits, the condition of their teeth and whether they wore dentures.

When the researchers followed up 18 years later, they used interviews, medical records and in some cases death certificates to determine that 1,145 of the original group had been diagnosed with dementia.

Of 78 women who said they brushed their teeth less than once a day in 1992, 21 had dementia by 2010, or about one case per 3.7 women.

In comparison, among those who brushed at least once a day, closer to one in every 4.5 women developed dementia which translates to a 65-percent greater chance of dementia among those who brushed less than daily.

Among the men, the effect was less pronounced with about one in six irregular brushers developing the disease, making them 22 percent more likely to have dementia than those who brushed daily.

Statistically, however, the effect was so small it could have been due to chance, the researchers said.

Paganini-Hill could only speculate on the reasons for the different outcomes among men and women. Perhaps women wear their dentures more often than men and visit the dentist more frequently. The study has limitation.

Paganini-Hill and her team looked at behavior and tooth numbers as a kind of proxy for oral health and gum disease and didn't carry out any dental exams. While neglecting teeth might be a sign of early vulnerability to dementia, some other factor be having an impact too.

Head injury and malnutrition are also important causes of tooth loss in adults, and either of those might increase the dementia risk, said Amber Watts, who studies dementia at the University of Kansas and wasn't part of the study.

"I would be reluctant to draw the conclusion that brushing your teeth would definitely prevent you from getting Alzheimer's disease," she said. (Reuters)

Tuesday 21 August 2012

 

LONDON: Two fifths of men in developing countries still smoke or use tobacco, and women are increasingly starting to smoke at younger ages, according to a new international study which found "alarming patterns" of tobacco use.

Despite years of anti-smoking measures being encouraged across the world, most developing countries have low quit rates, according to the study in The Lancet medical journal on August 17 - and tobacco is likely to kill half its users.

There are wide differences in the rates of smoking between genders and nations, as well as major disparities in access to effective anti-smoking policies and treatments.

"Although 1.1 billion people have been covered by the adoption of the most effective tobacco-control policies since 2008, 83 percent of the world's population are not covered by two or more of these policies," said Gary Giovino of the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions in New York, who led the research.

Such measures include legislation in some developed nations banning smoking in public places, imposing advertising bans and requiring more graphic health warnings on cigarette packets. The findings come as the world's leading tobacco firms, British American Tobacco, Britain's Imperial Tobacco , Philip Morris and Japan Tobacco lost a crucial legal appeal in Australia this week against the introduction of plain tobacco packaging.

Australia's planned "no logo" laws are in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations and are being watched closely by Britain, Norway, New Zealand, Canada and India, which are considering similar measures to help fight smoking.

Tobacco kills up to half of its users, according to the WHO. Smoking causes lung cancer, which is often fatal, and other chronic respiratory diseases. It is also a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, the world's number one killers. O th er forms of tobacco use include snuff or chewing tobacco.

Giovino said his findings "reinforce the need for effective tobacco control".

Using data from Global Adult Tobacco Surveys (GATS) carried out between 2008 and 2010, Giovino's team compared patterns of tobacco use and cessation in people aged 15 or older from 14 low- and middle-income countries. They included data from Britain and the United States for comparison.

They found disproportionately high rates of smoking among men - at an average 41 percent versus 5 percent in women - and wide variation in smoking prevalence between GATS countries, ranging from about 22 percent of men in Brazil to more than 60 percent in Russia.

Rates of female smoking ranged from 0.5 percent in Egypt to almost 25 percent in Poland. Women in Britain and the United States also had high smoking rates, at 21 percent and 16 percent respectively.

The study found that around 64 percent of tobacco users smoke manufactured cigarettes, although loose-leaf chewing tobacco and snuff were particularly common in India and Bangladesh.

With an estimated 301 million tobacco users, China has more than any other country, closely followed by India with almost 275 million. Other countries included in the study were Bangladesh, Mexico, Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay and Vietnam. The researchers said the rise in tobacco use among young women was of particular concern.

In a commentary about the study also published in The Lancet, Jeffrey Koplan from Emory University in the United States and Judith Mackay from the World Lung Foundation in Hong Kong called for more investment in tobacco control measures, saying current under-funding was "extraordinary".

 

Saturday 18 August 2012,

PARIS: Tobacco use is massively entrenched in developing countries, where one of the biggest worries is the rise of smoking among women, according to a study published on Friday in The Lancet.

A survey of 16 countries that are home to three billion people found that 48.6 percent of all men and 11.3 percent of women are tobacco users, especially in poorer economies, where more girls are starting to smoke early and often at the same age as boys.

The data trawl covered a survey of tobacco habits among people aged over 15 in Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Mexico, the Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay and Vietnam, as well as Britain, Poland, Russia and the United States, from 2008 to 2010.

The surveys covered smoking as well as chewing tobacco -- an oral carcinogenic that is especially popular in India, with 205 million users -- and snuff.

Topping the table was Russia, where 39.1 percent of all over-15s used tobacco, followed by Turkey (31.2 percent), Poland (30.3 percent), the Philippines (28.2 percent) and China, with 28.1 percent.

By comparison, prevalence in Britain was 21.7 percent and 19.9 percent in the United States.

Policies to discourage or restrict tobacco use are few and flawed in many countries, according to the study, headed by Gary Giovino from the University at Buffalo in New York state.

In low-income countries, for every $9,100 received in tobacco taxes, only $1 was spent on tobacco control.

At present, the proportion of deaths from tobacco is greatest in rich countries, where 18 percent of deaths are attributable to tobacco use, compared to 11 percent in middle-income countries and four percent in low-income countries.

But smoking rates have been rising steadily in poorer countries and falling in rich ones, so these positions are likely to change, the study said.

On current trends, as many as a billion people could die prematurely from tobacco use during this century, the study said, citing estimates by World Health Organisation (WHO) experts. (AFP)

 

Wednesday, August 08, 2012
Kabul (BNA) Minister for Public health Dr. Saraya Dalil and French ambassador to Afghanistan laid the foundation stone of the new blood bank in Kabul yesterday.
In her speech during the ground breaking ceremony, the minister for public health said that the project will be completed within a year at a cost some 800,000 US dollars, funded by France.
The new blood bank, constructed in one story will be equipped with necessary equipments, the minister added.
French ambassador in his remarks said that French is committed to assist Afghanistan in different fields especially health.