Month: May 2016

Rapid Finger-Prick Test to Tackle Tuberculosis

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2014 over 9 million people contracted tuberculosis (TB), with 1.5 million dying from the disease. Over 95 percent of these deaths occur in developing countries, which is exacerbated by difficulties in diagnosing the disease based on signs and symptoms. A new point-of-care test aimed at use in areas of limited resources could help speed up the diagnosis and spread of TB. The new test is being developed by an international team of researchers led by researchers at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. To carry out the TB test, all the health...

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Obesity Increases Young Adults’ Risk of Kidney Disease

Albuminuria, a sign that the kidneys are not functioning normally, puts one at increased risk for chronic kidney disease. Obesity in South Africa South Africa has the highest overweight and obesity rate in sub-Saharan Africa, with up to 70% of women and a third of men being classified as overweight or obese. A staggering 40% of women in our country are obese, which means they have a body mass index greater than 30 kg/m2. However, this is no longer just an adult problem, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 5 boys between the ages of 2 – 14...

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Chronic use of GERD drugs ages Blood Vessels

Chronic use of some drugs for heartburn and gastro-oesophageal reflux (GERD) speeds up the ageing of blood vessels, according to new research. This accelerated ageing in humans could lead to increased cardiovascular disease, vascular dementia and renal failure. These findings by a Houston Methodist Research Institute team are a progression of the work that Dr John Cooke began more than five years ago, and support recent epidemiological and retrospective studies that observed associations between the long-term use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and an increased risk of heart attack, renal failure and dementia. PPIs like esomeprazole (Nexium) are widely...

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South Africa Seeks Price Cut for Breast Cancer Drug

Swiss pharmaceutical manufacturer Roche said that talks with the Department of Health to widen access to its breast cancer drug trastuzumab, branded herceptin, were at an “advanced stage”. Roche holds the patent on herceptin, which costs about R500,000 for a year’s course in the private sector. Its high price means many medical schemes do not pay for it, or will pay only for a limited course. It is generally not available for public sector patients. Herceptin is used in conjunction with other therapies for a particularly aggressive form of the disease known as HER2 breast cancer. This form of...

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Extensive HIV Vaccine Study Planned in SA

A successful early-stage HIV vaccine clinical trial in South Africa has prompted the expansion of the experimental vaccine regimen into a large clinical trial. The new study, called HVTN 702, is designed to determine whether the regimen is safe, tolerable and effective at preventing HIV infection among South African adults. It will use a new variation of the RV144 shot, an experimental HIV vaccine developed by the US’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (Niaid). The drug will be trialled in South Africa at the end of 2016. The HVTN 702 study will be led by Protocol Chair...

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Diabetes – What Should I Eat?

1.  Diabetes & Nutrition The food that we eat is digested and provides our body with a variety of nutrients and energy measured in kilojoules. Carbohydrate foods are broken down into glucose which is the main source of energy for our bodies. Proteins are broken down into amino acids which are needed for growth and repair of the body. Fats are broken down into triglycerides which are used for energy and a variety of functions within the body for example hormone production and for keeping cell membranes healthy.Following the digestion of food, glucose (from carbohydrates) is absorbed from the...

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Thyroid Problems and Diet

Step 1: Understanding the relationship between thyroid problems and diet The thyroid gland is one gland we cannot do without. We need the trace element iodine to regulate thyroid metabolism. Without iodine the thyroid gland is not able to make thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones stimulate oxygen consumption. This function is also called the calorigenic action which immediately indicates that this hormone increases the use of oxygen in practically all body tissues and helps to burn fuel stores and release energy help to maintain body temperature and prevent us from feeling cold stimulate the heart to beat faster help convert beta-carotene to vitamin A...

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Top 10 Tips to Lower Cholesterol

1. Attain and maintain a healthy body weight Do a simple calculation of your body mass index (BMI) at home: divide your weight (in kilograms) by your height (in meters) squared. A value between 18.5 and 24.9 indicates that you have a healthy weight, where any value above 25 indicates that you are overweight. Overweight people tend to have higher LDL (bad) and lower HDL (good) cholesterol levels and thus are at increased risk. Obesity is indicated by a BMI of 30 or more. 2. Replace saturated (unhealthy) fats in your diet with unsaturated (healthy) fats For example, use soft tub margarine, olive, Canola, avocado,...

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What Runners Need to Know about their Blood Test Results

There’s a message on your voice mail from your physician, saying that you need to set up an appointment to discuss abnormal results from lab work that was performed as part of a recent physical exam. Immediately your mind starts racing. Is something seriously wrong? Could the hilly half marathon that you ran the day before the exam have affected the results? Regular distance running can cause changes to some commonly measured blood values, both in the short term and long term. Let’s look at some of those changes, including both ones that can be cause for concern and...

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