16 February 2019

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Thursday, March 1, 2012,



NEW YORK: Coffee drinkers have no more risk of getting illnesses such as heart disease or cancer, and are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, according to a German study involving more than 40,000 people over nearly a decade.

The findings, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, came in the wake of many previous studies that produced conflicting results, with some tying coffee drinking to an increase in heart disease, cancer, stroke and more.

"Our results suggest that coffee consumption is not harmful for healthy adults in respect of risk of major chronic disease," said Anna Floegel, lead author of the study and an epidemiologist at the German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke.

The researchers collected information at the beginning of the study on coffee drinking habits, diet, exercise and health from more than 42,000 German adults without any chronic conditions.

For the next nine years, the team followed up on the participants every two or three years to see whether they developed any health problems, particularly cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart attack, diabetes and cancer.

They found that coffee drinkers and non-drinkers were similarly likely to develop one of those illnesses

WASHINGTON: Some cancer drugs used to treat patients with leukemia may also help stop the Ebola virus and give the body time to control the infection before it turns deadly, US researchers said on Wednesday.

The much-feared Ebola virus emerged in Africa in the 1970s and can incite a hemorrhagic fever which causes a person to bleed to death in up to 90 percent of cases.

While rare, the Ebola virus is considered a potential weapon for bioterrorists because it is so highly contagious, so lethal and has no standard treatment.

But a pair of well-known drugs that have been used to treat leukemia -- known as nilotinib and imatinib -- appear to have some success in stopping the virus from replicating in human cells.

Lead researcher Mayra Garcia of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and colleagues reported their finding in Wednesday's edition of the journal Science Translational Medicine.

By experimenting with human embryonic kidney cells in a lab, they found that a protein called c-Abl1 tyrosine kinase was a key regulator in whether the Ebola virus could replicate or not.

The leukemia drugs work by stopping that protein's activity. In turn, a viral protein called VP40 stopped the release of viral particles from the infected cells, a process known as filovirus budding.

"Drugs that target filovirus budding would be expected to reduce the spread of infection, giving the immune system time to control the infection," the study authors wrote.

"Our results suggest that short-term administration of nilotinib or imatinib may be useful in treating Ebola virus infections."

Imatinib, which is marketed as Gleevec and Glivec, is used to treat chronic myelogenous leukemia in humans, a disease which is caused by dysregulation of c-Abl enzyme.

Nilotinib, also known as Tasigna, has been used in chronic myelogenous leukemia patients who are resistant to imatinib.

Both "have reasonable safety profiles, although some cardiac toxicity has been reported with long-term administration in a small number of patients," the study added.

According to the UN's World Health Organization (WHO), about 1,850 cases of Ebola, with some 1,200 deaths, have occurred since 1976. The virus has a natural reservoir in several species of African fruit bat. Gorillas and other non-human primates are also susceptible to the disease   Thursday 01 March 2012,

Saturday 25 February 2012,

(BNA) NEW YORK: U.S. researchers who followed healthy male veterans for up to 24 years found that older men who ate more high-fiber fruits were less likely to show signs of gum disease.

For more than 600 men participating in a long-running Veterans Affairs dental study, each serving of high-fiber food was linked to an almost 30 percent lower likelihood of lost teeth and a 24 percent lower risk of bone loss associated with receding gums.

The apparent benefit wasn't seen in men younger than 65, and when the researchers looked more closely at the types of foods that made a difference, high-fiber fruits like bananas, apples or prunes were the only ones that seemed to offer protection, they report in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Approximately 10 percent of U.S. adults suffer from moderate to severe gum disease, which can include bleeding gums, receding gums, tartar build-up and tooth loss.

The problem becomes more common with age, and is thought to affect roughly 20 percent of Americans over 75.

Although previous research has demonstrated that dietary fiber can help lower cholesterol, control blood sugar and aid weight loss, less is known about how eating high-fiber foods may impact dental health.

The new study, led by Elizabeth Krall Kaye, an epidemiologist at the Boston University School of Dental Medicine, followed 625 healthy men from the Boston area for an average of 15 years.

Researchers first assessed participants' dental health in 1984 and every three to five years after that.

Before each examination, men filled out a questionnaire about their daily intake of certain high-fiber foods -- those that contained more than 2.5 grams of dietary fiber per serving.

That list includes bananas, apples, oranges, blueberries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, spinach, peanuts, oatmeal and other grains.

In men aged 65 and older, the researchers found that each additional serving of high-fiber fruit was associated with a 14 percent lower risk of erosion of the part of the jaw bone that supports the teeth, a five percent lower risk of gum recession and a 12 percent lower likelihood of tooth loss.

Eating high-fiber vegetables and grains did not significantly reduce the men's risk of gum disease.

The study doesn't prove that the high-fiber fruits lowered the men's gum-disease risk. A fruit-filled diet could be a sign of some other factor -- such as high vitamin intake, an overall healthy lifestyle, more frequent flossing, or even less smoking -- any of which could be at work.

Kaye's team is not yet clear about why high-fiber foods, especially fruits, would lead to less gum disease if they are playing a role. One possibility is that foods high in fiber, which often require more chewing, could increase saliva production, which would remove harmful bacteria from the mouth.

Dietary fiber might also help reduce gum disease by controlling blood sugar and lowering blood pressure -- poorly controlled blood sugar and high blood pressure are both risk factors for gum disease.

Eating high-fiber foods should not be a substitute for seeing the dentist, according to Dr. Marjorie Jeffcoat, a gum disease specialist at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine in Philadelphia.

Good oral health is key to preventing gum disease, said Jeffcoat, who was not involved in the VA study.

Kaye agrees that her results are too preliminary to recommend relying on apples and oranges in place of good dental care.

Furthermore, over 95 percent of the study participants were white, non-Hispanic men, she notes. Though the mechanism at work is most likely the same in women and minorities, "we should be cautious in generalizing these results to other segments of the population until there is further research," Kaye told Reuters Health

Thursday 23 February 2012,


PARIS: Scientists on Wednesday said they had uncovered the first molecular proof that the "biological clock" is linked to a type of sudden, fatal heart attack.

Ventricular arrhythmia, or abnormal heartbeat, occurs most frequently after waking in the morning -- and also to a lesser degree in the evening hours -- and causes a high number of deaths.

Reporting in the journal Nature, researchers in the United States said they had uncovered the first molecular link between this risk and circadian rhythm, the term by which biological processes vary according to a 24-hour period.

The finger points at levels of a protein called Klf15, they said.

Previous research has found Klf15 to be a circadian controller -- and, startlingly, is also lacking among some patients with heart failure.

The team created mice that had been genetically engineered to either lack Klf15 or make the protein excessively.

In both cases, the rodents had a much higher risk of arrythmias compared to normal counterparts.

"It is the first example of a molecular mechanism for the circadian change in susceptibility to cardiac arrhythmias," said Xander Wehrens of Baylor College School of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

"If there was too much Klf15 or none, the mice were at risk for developing the arrhythmia."

Klf15 is only one step in a complex molecular cascade, the researchers believe.

It controls another protein, KChIP2, which affects potassium-generated electrical current that flows though heart muscle cells called cardiac myocytes.

When levels of KChIP2 fluctuate, this causes electrical instability in the myocytes.

As a result, the heart muscle's action becomes impaired and it takes longer (or conversely, less time) to empty the ventricle -- the heart's pumping chamber. The heart loses the regularity of the beat and labours to pump blood efficiently.

Co-author Mukesh Jain of the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio said that further work could well uncover other circadian-related causes.

The discovery opens up intriguing paths of research, in pinpointing individuals at risk of nocturnal death and devising drugs to shield them, Jain added