Khaama Press (KP) | Afghan News Agency » Health http://www.khaama.com The largest news and information source in Afghanistan Thu, 24 Apr 2014 09:17:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9 Advance in human cloning raises hopes in treatment of diseases http://www.khaama.com/advance-in-human-cloning-aises-hopes-in-treatment-of-diseases-2390 http://www.khaama.com/advance-in-human-cloning-aises-hopes-in-treatment-of-diseases-2390#comments Wed, 15 May 2013 17:59:37 +0000 http://www.khaama.com/?p=25926 Advance in human cloning raises hopes in treatment of diseases
Scientists say they have, for the first time, cloned human embryos capable of producing embryonic stem cells. Methods like those that produced Dolly the sheep in the UK, were used in the study published in the journal Cell. It’s been 17 years since Dolly the sheep was cloned from a mammary cell, howver scientists have Read the full article...]]>
Advance in human cloning raises hopes in treatment of diseases

Scientists say they have, for the first time, cloned human embryos capable of producing embryonic stem cells.

Methods like those that produced Dolly the sheep in the UK, were used in the study published in the journal Cell. It’s been 17 years since Dolly the sheep was cloned from a mammary cell, howver scientists have now applied the same technique to make the first embryonic stem cell lines from human skin cells.

Researchers have unequivocally created human embryonic stem cells using the cloning technique that led to the birth of Dolly the sheep. However, unlike Dolly, the human embryos were destroyed when their stem cells were extracted.

Stem cells are one of the great hopes for medicine. Being able to create new tissue might be able to heal the damage caused by a heart attack or repair a severed spinal cord, and cloned embryos were used as a source of stem cells, which can make new heart muscle, bone, brain tissue or any other type of cell in the body.

Shoukhrat Mitalipov of the Oregon Health & Science University, who led the research, said the success came not from a single technical innovation, but from revising a series of steps in the process. He noted it had taken six years to reach the goal after doing it with monkey embryos.

Mitalipov also said that based on monkey work, he believes human embryos made with the technique could not develop into cloned babies, and he has no interest in trying to do that. Scientists have cloned more than a dozen kinds of mammals, starting with Dolly the sheep.

The new work was financed by the university and the Leducq Foundation in Paris.

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10,500 people die from tuberculosis every year in Afghanistan http://www.khaama.com/10500-people-die-from-tuberculosis-every-year-in-afghanistan-754 http://www.khaama.com/10500-people-die-from-tuberculosis-every-year-in-afghanistan-754#comments Mon, 03 Dec 2012 16:08:36 +0000 http://www.khaama.com/?p=20860 10,500 people die from tuberculosis every year in Afghanistan
By: Ahmad Masoud According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 53,000 people contract tuberculosis (TB) every year in Afghanistan. The available figures indicate that 66 percent of new cases are women and 10 percent are children. WHO has said that more than 670 children younger than 15 were diagnosed with TB last year in Read the full article...]]>
10,500 people die from tuberculosis every year in Afghanistan

By: Ahmad Masoud

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 53,000 people contract tuberculosis (TB) every year in Afghanistan. The available figures indicate that 66 percent of new cases are women and 10 percent are children.

WHO has said that more than 670 children younger than 15 were diagnosed with TB last year in Afghanistan and, of those, the majority of the cases, 465, were girls.

The Afghan Ministry of Public Health has reported that nearly 10,500 people die from TB each year in the country and nearly 650 children succumbed to the disease last year.

Experts believe that poor working and living conditions, poverty, traditional beliefs, lack of awareness about the disease, security, lack of access to proper medications and health facilities for an earlier diagnosis of the disease and intervention are among the reasons for the high incidence of tuberculosis.

The internationally-recommended Directly Observed Treatment Short Course (DOTS), which is believed to be the most efficient and cost-effective tuberculosis control strategy, has been used in Afghanistan with some success.

The implementation of DOTS requires sustained political and financial commitment to ensure that there can be: diagnosis by quality ensured sputum-smear microscopy; standardized short-course anti-TB treatment (SSC) given under direct and supportive observation (DOT); a regular, uninterrupted supply of high quality anti-TB drugs; and a standardized recording and reporting mechanism.

According to available figures, the percentage of people with access to DOTS in Afghanistan has increased from 14 to 97 percent since 2002 and the number of health facilities which apply DOTS has increased from 10 in 2000 to nearly 1,200 in 2011.

Based on the DOTS successes, the WHO developed a six-point ‘Stop TB Strategy’ to address the key challenges faced by TB worldwide. The main purpose of the strategy is to lessen the global TB burden by 2015 and ensure that all TB patients and those co-infected with HIV and drug-resistant TB take advantage of universal access to high-quality diagnosis and patient-centred treatment.

The six-point ‘Stop TB Strategy’ includes sustaining, improving and accelerating quality DOTS expansion; addressing TB-HIV, multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) and other special challenges; contributing to health system strengthening; engaging all care providers; empowering patients and communities; and enabling and promoting research.

Keeping in mind the current threat posed by TB in Afghanistan, experts suggest that more priority should be given to a carefully-designed national TB communication strategy based on the six-point ‘Stop TB Strategy’ in Afghanistan. The communication objective should be clear whether it wants to raise awareness about the danger of TB; promote TB safe behaviour among those who are aware of the dangers of TB or promote TB safe behaviour among a group of people who are at particular risk.

The comprehensive communication strategy needs to be based on the results of  well designed research, using Knowledge, Attitude, Practices and Beliefs (KAPB), Focus Group Discussion (FGD) and Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) research methods.

Specials attention should be given to rural areas where the majority of the population live and where the level of understanding of TB is very low. An overall majority of people in Afghanistan do not know the early signs and symptoms of TB and think that it is an incurable disease.

Meanwhile, any research to be conducted in the country will need to pay special attention to women and girls who make up the majority of the TB cases in Afghanistan and are traditionally responsible, in certain parts of the country, for working in some unhygienic environments such as stables, pens, backyards, and collecting and bringing home firewood, bushes and animal droppings. They are also responsible for cooking, washing and taking care of other household chores and all these could make them more prone to the disease.

Despite TB eradication efforts, Afghanistan has remained one of the 22 TB high-burden countries in the world. The alarming figures indicate that Afghanistan has a long way to go before getting rid of this preventable disease.

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Daily aspirin ‘prevents and possibly treats cancer’ http://www.khaama.com/12687 http://www.khaama.com/12687#comments Wed, 21 Mar 2012 08:33:31 +0000 http://www.khaama.com/?p=12687 Daily aspirin ‘prevents and possibly treats cancer’
Taking a low dose of aspirin every day can prevent and possibly even treat cancer, fresh evidence suggests. The three new studies published by The Lancet add to mounting evidence of the drug’s anti-cancer effects. Many people already take daily aspirin as a heart drug. But experts warn that there is still not enough proof Read the full article...]]>
Daily aspirin ‘prevents and possibly treats cancer’

Taking a low dose of aspirin every day can prevent and possibly even treat cancer, fresh evidence suggests.

The three new studies published by The Lancet add to mounting evidence of the drug’s anti-cancer effects.

Many people already take daily aspirin as a heart drug.

But experts warn that there is still not enough proof to recommend it to prevent cancer cases and deaths and warn that the drug can cause dangerous side effects like stomach bleeds.

Prof Peter Rothwell, from Oxford University, and colleagues, who carried out the latest work, had already linked aspirin with a lower risk of certain cancers, particularly bowel cancer.

But their previous work suggested people needed to take the drug for about 10 years to get any protection.

Now the same experts believe the protective effect occurs much sooner – within three to five years – based on a new analysis of data from 51 trials involving more than 77,000 patients.

And aspirin appears not only to reduce the risk of developing many different cancers in the first place, but may also stop cancers spreading around the body.

The trials were designed to compare aspirin with no treatment for the prevention of heart disease.

But when Prof Rothwell’s team examined how many of the participants developed and died from cancer, they found this was also related to aspirin use.

Halting cancer spread

Taking a low (75-300mg) daily dose of the drug appeared to cut the total number of cancer cases by about a quarter after only three years – there were nine cancer cases per 1,000 each year in the aspirin-taking group, compared with 12 per 1,000 for those taking dummy pills.

It also reduced the risk of a cancer death by 15% within five years (and sooner if the dose was higher than 300mg)

And if patients stayed on aspirin for longer, their cancer death risk went down even further – by 37% after five years.

Low-dose aspirin also appeared to reduce the likelihood that cancers, particularly bowel, would spread (metastasise) to other parts of the body, and by as much as half in some instances.

In absolute numbers, this could mean for every five patients treated with aspirin one metastatic cancer would be prevented, the researchers estimate.

At the same time, aspirin cut the risk of heart attacks and strokes, but it also increased the risk of a major bleed.

However this elevated bleeding risk was only seen in the first few years of aspirin therapy and decreased after that.

Critics point out that some of the doses given in the study were much higher than the 75mg dose typically given in the UK. Also, some very large US studies looking at aspirin use were not included in the analysis. The researchers acknowledge both of these points in their published papers.

Prof Rothwell says for most fit and healthy people, the most important things they can do to reduce their lifetime cancer risk is to give up smoking, take exercise and have a healthy diet.

After that aspirin does seem to reduce the risk further – only by a small amount if there is no risk factor, but if there is a family history for something like colorectal cancer, it tips the balance in favour of aspirin, he said.

Prof Peter Johnson, of Cancer Research UK, said it was still a good idea for people thinking of taking aspirin to discuss it with their GP because of the possible side effects.

But he said the work was exciting and suggested aspirin might be beneficial for treating and preventing cancer, which is something the charity is exploring in its own research.

“We now need some definitive advice from the government as to whether aspirin should be recommended more widely,” he said.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), which issues treatment guidelines for the NHS, has not yet been asked by the government to look at the topic but a spokesman for the Department of Health said they were considering how best to advise the public about the benefits and risks of aspirin.

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Drug ‘can greatly reduce risk of HIV infection’ http://www.khaama.com/drug-can-greatly-reduce-risk-of-hiv-infection http://www.khaama.com/drug-can-greatly-reduce-risk-of-hiv-infection#comments Thu, 25 Nov 2010 08:26:11 +0000 http://www.khaama.com/?p=1057 Drug ‘can greatly reduce risk of HIV infection’
A drug used to treat HIV-positive patients may offer gay and bisexual men some protection against contracting the virus, the authors of a new study say. Trials of the combination drug Truvada among nearly 2,500 men suggested it could reduce the chances of male-to-male HIV infection by 44%. Those using the drug regularly could further Read the full article...]]>
Drug ‘can greatly reduce risk of HIV infection’

A drug used to treat HIV-positive patients may offer gay and bisexual men some protection against contracting the virus, the authors of a new study say.

Trials of the combination drug Truvada among nearly 2,500 men suggested it could reduce the chances of male-to-male HIV infection by 44%.

Those using the drug regularly could further reduce the risk of infection, it was claimed.

The study is published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Pills and condoms

Truvada is the trade name of a drug manufactured by the California-based company Gilead Sciences Inc which combines two antiretroviral drugs, used to treat Aids.

But this new study looks at whether it could be used to prevent HIV infection in the first place.

Almost 2,500 gay or bisexual men were randomly selected in Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, South Africa, Thailand and the United States. Half were given the pill, half were given dummy tablets.

All the men were also given condoms and counselling on safe sex.

What the researchers found after about a year of testing was that the drug appeared to cut male-to-male HIV transmission by 44%, when the group taking the pill was compared with the placebo group.

Those who took the pill regularly were deemed to have reduced their risk of infection further, by up to 73%, and blood tests were run to confirm this relationship between pill-usage and protection levels.

The research was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the federal US body, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). The pills were donated by their manufacturer.

NIAID director, Dr Anthony Fauci, conceded more work needed to be done, but called the results impressive.

“This has been done in men who have sex with men. We need to know if we get similar results in women as well as in heterosexual men, which we have reason to believe we will,” he told the BBC.

“We also need to get a long term view of were there any toxicities. We didn’t see anything that was significant but we need to follow that for a long period of time.”

Questions and concerns

The trial does of course raise questions and concerns. Is it possible, for instance, that the results were skewed by greater condom use in the group that took the pill; and won’t such findings encourage some men to dispense with condoms altogether in favour of a drug?

There is also the issue of prohibitive cost of Truvada, which retails in the US for around $36 a day, and which makes the drug unaffordable to many possible users.

Dr Fauci argues that the two groups were fully randomised and says that drugs can only play a complementary role in the war on HIV. Condoms and fewer partners, he said, remain the first line of defence.

“We’re hoping that if this does become a useable tool in prevention, then the associated counselling will complement the effect of the drug and stop people becoming cavalier about it and say ‘now I have a pill I don’t have to worry’.

“That’s exactly the opposite of what we want to happen. We want to add something rather than have it replace something.”

Sir Nick Partridge, chief executive of the Terrence Higgins Trust, called the trial results “potentially significant”.

“It’s vital that we expand the ways we can prevent HIV transmission, particularly amongst those most at risk,” he said in a statement. “This trial proves that HIV treatment will have an impact on prevention, but that it’s not ready for widespread use yet.

“Three major hurdles are still going to be its cost, the risks of drug-resistant strains of HIV developing and taking a drug treatment every day.”

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Source: BBC

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Exercise ‘can prevent a cold’, a study shows http://www.khaama.com/exercise-can-prevent-a-cold-a-study-shows http://www.khaama.com/exercise-can-prevent-a-cold-a-study-shows#comments Tue, 02 Nov 2010 04:11:08 +0000 http://www.khaama.com/?p=482 Exercise ‘can prevent a cold’, a study shows
By Michelle Roberts  Health reporter, BBC News  People who exercise regularly are less likely to get a cold, researchers say. A study of 1,000 people found that staying active nearly halved the odds of catching cold viruses and, failing that, made the infection less severe. Experts told the British Journal of Sports Medicine that this Read the full article...]]>
Exercise ‘can prevent a cold’, a study shows

By Michelle Roberts
 Health reporter, BBC News

 People who exercise regularly are less likely to get a cold, researchers say.

A study of 1,000 people found that staying active nearly halved the odds of catching cold viruses and, failing that, made the infection less severe.

Experts told the British Journal of Sports Medicine that this could be because exercise helps bolster the immune system to fight off bugs.

But you may not have to actually do much exercise – those who merely think they are fit enjoy the same lower risk.

Adults can expect to suffer two to five colds per year. This latest research suggests there are lifestyle choices you can make to improve your odds of either avoiding them, or suffering too badly from them.

For their study, US researchers asked the healthy volunteers to keep a record of any coughs and sniffles they experienced over a three-month period during the autumn and winter.

The volunteers were also asked to say how frequently in any given week they would do exercise lasting at least 20 minutes and intensive enough to break a sweat.

And they were questioned about lifestyle, diet and recent stressful events, as these can all affect a person’s immune system.

Being older, male and married seemed to reduce the frequency of colds, as did eating plenty of fruit.

But the most significant factors that cut colds was how much exercise a person did and how fit they perceived themselves to be.

Feeling fit and being active cut the risk of having a cold by nearly 50%.

People who were physically active on five or more days of the week were unwell with a cold for about five days of the three-month period, compared to nine days for those who did little or no exercise.

And even when they were ill, they suffered less with their symptoms.

The severity of symptoms fell by 41% among those who felt the fittest and by 31% among those who were the most active.

Lead researcher Dr David Nieman and his team, from Appalachian State University in North Carolina, say bouts of exercise spark a temporary rise in immune system cells circulating around the body that can attack foreign invaders.

Although these levels fall back within a few hours, each session is likely to provide an immune boost to fight off infections like the common cold.

Professor Steve Field, chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said: “This is yet more evidence for doing exercise. It reflects what we have believed for some time.

“Exercise makes us feel better and now here’s more evidence that it is

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Source : BBC

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Sleep loss ‘worse for extroverts’ http://www.khaama.com/sleep-loss-worse-for-extroverts http://www.khaama.com/sleep-loss-worse-for-extroverts#comments Mon, 01 Nov 2010 03:17:36 +0000 http://www.khaama.com/?p=401 Sleep loss ‘worse for extroverts’
Outgoing people appear to suffer worse from the effects of lack of sleep, US army researchers suggest. They kept 48 volunteers awake for 36 hours, with some allowed to mix with others, the journal Sleep reports. Those defined as introverts did better at staying awake and in reaction tests. And those extroverts who were denied Read the full article...]]>
Sleep loss ‘worse for extroverts’

Outgoing people appear to suffer worse from the effects of lack of sleep, US army researchers suggest.

They kept 48 volunteers awake for 36 hours, with some allowed to mix with others, the journal Sleep reports.

Those defined as introverts did better at staying awake and in reaction tests.

And those extroverts who were denied social contact also did well, suggesting it is “social stimulation” that tires out the parts of the extroverts’ brains linked to alertness.

The study involved 48 people aged 18 to 39, who were divided into two roughly equal groups following personality type screening, which defined whether they were natural extroverts or introverts.

After a good night’s sleep, they remained awake for a day and a half, with various tests each hour to measure the effects of lack of sleep.

Some of the test subjects – both introverts and extroverts – were allowed to take part in group discussions, and play board games and puzzles for 12 hours of the 36. The others were not allowed any such social interaction.

First of all, the test subjects who were “socially enriched” in this way were tested to see if there was any difference between the natural extroverts and introverts.

While there was little difference in one of the tests, in which volunteers had to push a button as soon as possible in response to a light, introverts fared better in a “maintenance of wakefulness test”, which checks whether sleep-deprived people are able to stay awake over a set period of time.

The extroverts in that group did badly in the test, but the extroverts in the second group – those denied social contact – performed markedly better.

Perception

The researchers, from the Walter Reed Army Institute in Maryland, said the results suggested that personality type might not only have a bearing on ability to cope with military tasks which required being awake for long period, but also with shift work.

They reported: “Overall, the present results might also be interpreted more generally to suggest that waking experiences, along with their interaction with individual characteristics, influence vulnerability to subsequent sleep loss.”

One possibility, they said, was that intense social interactions might lead to fatigue in brain regions which also played a role in alertness.

Conversely, they said, it was possible that introverts might always have a relatively high level of activity in parts of the brain affected by social situations.

On a day-to-day basis, it is suggested this could mean that social contact leads to “over-stimulation”, explaining why introverts would withdraw or shy away.

However, the constant activity might also make their brains better placed to fight the effects of sleep deprivation, they said.

One UK academic said that there might be a simpler explanation for the different impact of sleep deprivation.

Professor Mark Blagrove, a neuroscientist from the University of Swansea, has published similar research into effects of sleep deprivation on the mood of introverts and extroverts.

Again, he found extroverts more vulnerable to mood changes driven by lack of sleep.

He said: “We suggested that extrovert people might be more heavily influenced by the sleep-deprived appearance of people in the group around them.

“They found no differences in the objective test of alertness they used, but did find differences in the wakefulness test, which is a slightly less objective measure of how someone is feeling.

“This supports a slightly simpler argument – that the extrovert is more likely to be influenced by a perception of what is going on in the group.”
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Source: BBC

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Heavy smokers ‘at increased risk of dementia’ http://www.khaama.com/heavy-smokers-at-increased-risk-of-dementia http://www.khaama.com/heavy-smokers-at-increased-risk-of-dementia#comments Tue, 26 Oct 2010 06:29:17 +0000 http://www.khaama.com/?p=250 Heavy smokers ‘at increased risk of dementia’
(BBC) – Heavy smokers with a 40-a-day habit face a much higher risk of two common forms of dementia, a large study shows. The risk of Alzheimer’s is more than doubled in people smoking at least two packs of cigarettes a day in their mid-life. The risk of vascular dementia, linked to problems in blood Read the full article...]]>
Heavy smokers ‘at increased risk of dementia’

(BBC) – Heavy smokers with a 40-a-day habit face a much higher risk of two common forms of dementia, a large study shows.
The risk of Alzheimer’s is more than doubled in people smoking at least two packs of cigarettes a day in their mid-life.
The risk of vascular dementia, linked to problems in blood vessels supplying the brain, also rose significantly.
The US study, looking at over 21,000 people’s records, is published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.
The link between smoking and Alzheimer’s has already been suggested – but this is one of the biggest studies looking at how smoking in mid-life affects dementia risk decades later.
Reversible risk
The long-term research, which used records held by a health insurance firm, found clear evidence of the risk in the heaviest smokers.
No differences in risk were detectable in those smoking less than half a pack a day.
But among those currently smoking two or more packs, equivalent to 40 or more cigarettes a day, there was a 157% increase in the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
There was also a 172% increase in vascular dementia risk compared to someone who had never smoked.
But there was good news for people who had given up by middle-age – their dementia risk 20 years later was no different to those who had never smoked.
Dr Rachel Whitmer, who led the research, said the findings show the brain is not immune to the long-term consequences of heavy smoking.
“We know smoking compromises the vascular system by affecting blood pressure and elevates blood clotting factors, and we know vascular health plays a role in risk of Alzheimer’s disease,” she said.
Dr Simon Ridley, from the Alzheimer’s Research Trust, said it came as no surprise that dementia risk was “entwined” with smoking.
He said: “This study will surely add to an ever growing list of good reasons to quit.”
Ruth Sutherland, from the Alzheimer’s Society, said that stopping smoking was one element of a healthier lifestyle which could protect against dementia.
She said: “Research has shown that smoking is extremely harmful, and significantly increases the risk of vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s, with smokers being twice as likely to develop the disease as non smokers.”
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Source: BBC

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