Month: July 2016

Many South Africans have been consuming less salt daily since the beginning of the month and didn’t even know it

This is because the new law regulating salt content in food quietly came into effect from June 30 – with little to no fanfare – but inspiring hope in the Public Health Community of SA which said it was confident the fight against obesity and the high consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) would be equally prioritised by the government. The amendment to the foodstuff regulations was gazetted in March 2013, giving manufacturers a three-year implementation period to experiment with reformulation and produce lower salt products that were still acceptable to consumers. South Africans have been consuming too much salt...

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New Blood Test Can Predict Premature Births With 86% Accuracy

Just one simple blood test can locate the risk of premature births for some mothers, even if they do not show any other symptoms at 18 weeks of pregnancy. This was the conclusion of a team of scientists and experts from The University of Western Australia (UWA). Earlier scientists had developed some tests for women with early contractions, and the current blood test has based some of its findings on that test. It shows an accuracy of 86 percent in locating women who are at risk of early delivery. Most premature births are difficult to predict in the middle...

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Study Finds Vegan Blood Is 8 Times More Effective At Killing Cancer Cells

Yet another study has found that eating a vegan diet is incredibly healthful; scientists found that when compared to the blood of those who follow the Standard American Diet (or SAD), vegan blood is 8 times more effective at killing cancer cells. “In a series of experiments, test subjects were assigned the opposing diets. Their blood was then pitted against cancer cells in a petri dish, in hopes of determining which diet resulted in blood that was more effective at suppressing cancer growth. The results found that the vegan blood (after maintaining a year long plant-based diet) had nearly 8...

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Blood test could pick up Alzheimer’s disease clues long before symptoms show

Scientists are close to developing a blood test to detect Alzheimer’s disease years before symptoms appear. La Trobe University researchers have identified abnormalities in the blood linked to the degenerative condition. Molecular biologist Lesley Cheng said detecting abnormalities with a simple blood test could provide doctors with the definitive diagnostic tool they currently lack. Early diagnosis would mean patients could receive treatment earlier, which could boost the chances of stalling the symptoms. “At the end of the day, what we want is a strong biomarker that will differentiate between healthy patients and Alzheimer’s patients,” Dr Cheng said. Led by Andrew...

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Here’s What Cholesterol Can Do To the Brain

There’s growing evidence that the heart and brain are connected, since both rely on keeping the blood system healthy. Now, in a study published in the journal Circulation, researchers find that changes in levels of LDL cholesterol may be especially harmful to cognitive functions. The scientists, led by Dr. Roelof Smit at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, studied more than 4000 elderly people enrolled in a study involving a statin, a medication that lowers LDL cholesterol. Previous studies showed that LDL levels influence stroke as well as heart disease risk, so Smit and his colleagues wanted to investigate whether...

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Weight Loss Might Reduce Cancer Risk

Reduction in the risk of cancer by losing weight might be due to a reduction in inflammatory factors stored in fat as well as a drop in cancer-linked proteins. Overweight and obese women who lose weight may lower their odds of developing cancer as their levels of cancer-linked proteins drop, a new study suggests. Proteins increase with weight These proteins – VEGF, PAI-1 and PEDF – promote the growth of blood vessels, a process that is necessary to help tumours thrive. The more weight the women lost, the greater the drop in the levels of these proteins, the researchers...

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First Case of Zika Spread by Sex from Woman to Man

The first known case of a woman spreading the Zika virus to a man during unprotected sex was reported on Friday in New York City, health authorities said. Until now, experts were aware only of cases in which men spread the virus to their partners during sex, as well as transmission by mosquito bites. The New York case involved a “nonpregnant woman in her twenties who reported she had engaged in a single event of condomless vaginal intercourse with a male partner the day she returned to New York City from travel to an area with ongoing Zika virus transmission,”...

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Updated ARV and MDR-TB Treatment Guidelines by WHO

WHO releases second edition of consolidated ARV guidelines The 2016 edition updates the 2013 consolidated guidelines on the use of antiretroviral drugs following an extensive review of evidence and consultations in mid-2015, shared at the end of 2015, and now published in full in 2016. It is being published in a changing global context for HIV and for health more broadly. These guidelines provide guidance on the diagnosis of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, the use of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs for treating and preventing HIV infection and the care of people living with HIV. They are structured along the...

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Mental Health Awareness Month – Know The Facts

July is Mental Health Awareness Month, when people with mental problems are encouraged to find the help and treatment they need. It is a frightening fact that around a fifth of all South Africans will experience a depressive disorder at least once during their lifetime. Even scarier is that more than sixty percent will not get the necessary help. The biggest danger of anxiety and depression is risk of suicide. The incidence of suicide in South Africa has soared to 23 a day, reports Cassey Chambers, operations director at the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) – and for...

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Home Testing for Cancer and Heart Disease Soon?

In the era of home pregnancy tests, the obvious question is why easy-to-use self-tests have not yet been developed for life-threatening diseases. We all grew up with the idea that if a woman suspects she is pregnant she can simply pop into a pharmacy and buy a pregnancy test to use at home. Huge impact Conversely, if someone suspects they are suffering from cancer, heart disease, or an infection their first instinct is to contact a GP or call an ambulance. So the obvious question is why easy-to-use self-tests have not yet been developed for life-threatening diseases. The answer...

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