Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Unemployment: A health risk

Unemployment: A health risk

Unemployment rate in Europe (UE) and United St...

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[Click on image to enlarge, graph caption – Unemployment rate: Europe and the United States : 1993-2009]

From the February 4, 2011 Eureka news alert

Compared to people in employment, men and women who are unemployed suffer more often and longer from both physical and emotional complaints. Why the un-employed should have health problems more often is discussed by Lars E. Kroll and his coauthor in the current issue of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2011; 4: 47-52), along with a report on the findings of the GEDA study. [It is in English]

The GEDA study (Gesundheit in Deutschland Aktuell, or Current Health in Germany) was carried out in 2008-2009 by the Robert Koch Institute. The results showed that unemployed people between the ages of 30 and 59 years are especially often affected by physical, emotional, and functional impairments such as sleep disorders, anxiety disorders, and substance addictions. As a result, the unemployed make more use of the health care system.

The health consequences of unemployment result from loss of income, loss of so-cial contacts in the workplace, or loss of social reputation. Unemployed men and women who are supported by their partners, family members, or friends are less frequently affected by these complaints.

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http://www.aerzteblatt.de/v4/archiv/pdf.asp?id=80529

February 6, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Medical and Health Research News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Review confirms benefits of outdoor exercise

Review confirms benefits of outdoor exercise

 

 

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From the February 4, 2011 Eureka news alert

A systematic review carried out by a team at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry has analyzed existing studies and concluded that there are benefits to mental and physical well-being from taking exercise in the natural environment. Their findings are published in the leading research journal Environmental Science and Technology today, Feb. 4, 2011….***

…The study found that most trials showed an improvement in mental well-being: compared with exercising indoors, exercising in natural environments was associated with greater feelings of revitalisation, increased energy and positive engagement, together with decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression. Participants also reported greater enjoyment and satisfaction with outdoor activity and stated that they were more likely to repeat the activity at a later date.

However, none of the identified studies measured the effects of physical activity on physical well-being, or the effect of natural environments on sticking to exercise.

On balance this review has identified some promising effects on self-reported mental well-being immediately following exercise in the natural environment, as opposed to those reported following exercise indoors. This is a first step towards vindicating the positive effects of programmes such as the Green Gym and Blue Gym, and innovative interventions by medical practitioners that include exercise outdoors as part of holistic treatments for those suffering from depression and similar psychological ailments…..

For information on how to get this article for free or at low cost, click here

 

February 6, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Just in time for Valentine’s Day: UNC researchers identify a gene critical for heart function

Just in time for Valentine’s Day: UNC researchers identify a gene critical for heart function

Hearts from a wild type control mouse (left) and from a DOT1L-deleted mouse displaying dilated cardiomyopathy (right) . In the absence of DOT1L hearts become severely enlarged, compromising heart function.

 

From the February 5, 2011 Eureka news alert

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Everyone knows chocolate is critical to a happy Valentine’s Day. Now scientists are one step closer to knowing what makes a heart happy the rest of the year.

It’s a gene called DOT1L, and if you don’t have enough of the DOT1L enzyme, you could be at risk for some types of heart disease. These findings from a study led by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine appear in the Feb. 1, 2011 issue of the journal Genes and Development.***

The team created a special line of mice that were genetically predisposed to dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the heart expands like a balloon, causing its walls to thin and its pumping ability to weaken. About one in three cases of congestive heart failure is due to dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition that also occurs in children.

These mice lack DOT1L. The big discovery came when the researchers were able to prevent the mice from developing the disease by re-expressing a single downstream target gene, Dystrophin….

***For suggestions on how to get this article for free or at low cost, click here

Some other recent recent biomedical research news items

February 6, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tipping points — the future of the pharmaceutical industry

Tipping points — the future of the pharmaceutical industry

From the February 4, 2011 Eureka news alert

This declining trend is blamed on a failure of innovative drive in the industry, failure of the UK to support basic research, failure of venture capital to invest in early stage research, or failure of the Health Service to provide smart procurement.

A research centre funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) shows that radical reform of the drugs industry regulatory system must be an important part of the solution to ensure a productive and profitable pharmaceutical sector, both globally and in the UK.

Researchers from the ESRC’s Innogen centre have studied the innovation models in the pharmaceutical industry and how the industry has been able to remain sustainable for so long. The results of their research show that the lengthy and expensive regulatory system that now applies to most products of the life sciences is causing innovation failure.

Regulation has a large impact on the kinds of product that are developed by any industry sector: it is designed to ensure that products are safe, effective and of high quality. Innogen’s research demonstrates that the impacts of regulation in pharmaceuticals are more far-reaching: they determine overall company strategies; which types of companies succeed; and ultimately the structure and dynamism of the sector as a whole. Under current circumstances regulation prevents the development of the radically innovative technologies that could provide opportunities for the sector to become more effective in developing innovative products. Innogen research has predicted that the industry is approaching a tipping point in the not too distant future.

Professor Joyce Tait comments “We do not need less regulation, but smarter regulation, that can deliver expected standards of safety and efficacy, are flexible enough to respond to new scientific discoveries and can do so more efficiently than our current systems within a shorter time frame.”

Innogen research also shows that policymakers and governments need an understanding of all the major causes and relevant options available. Radical regulatory reform for the life science industries needs to be a priority in discussions regarding the future of the industry. Reform could provide the lever to profitably unleash the creativity that has been so effectively generated from public funding of basic science, leading to something closer to the innovative performance that we have seen in information and communication technologies over the past twenty years.

 

February 6, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , | Leave a comment

Air pollutants from fireplaces and wood-burning stoves raise health concerns

Air pollutants from fireplaces and wood-burning stoves raise health concerns

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From the February 5, 2011 Eureka news alert

WASHINGTON, Feb. 5, 2011 — With millions of people warding off winter’s chill with blazing fireplaces and wood-burning stoves, scientists are raising red flags about the potential health effects of the smoke released from burning wood. Their study, published in the American Chemical Society‘s (ACS’) journal, Chemical Research in Toxicology, found that the invisible particles inhaled into the lungs from wood smoke may have several adverse health effects. It is among 39 peer-reviewed scientific journals published by ACS, the world’s largest scientific society.

Steffen Loft, Ph.D., and colleagues cite the abundant scientific evidence linking inhalation of fine particles of air pollution — so-called “particulate matter” — from motor vehicle exhaust, coal-fired electric power plants, and certain other sources with heart disease, asthma, bronchitis and other health problems. However, relatively little information of that kind exists about the effects of wood smoke particulate matter (WSPM), even though millions of people around the world use wood for home heating and cooking and routinely inhale WSPM.

The scientists analyzed and compared particulate matter in air from the center of a village in Denmark where most residents used wood stoves to a neighboring rural area with few wood stoves, as well as to pure WSPM collected from a wood stove. Airborne particles in the village and pure WSPM tended to be of the most potentially hazardous size — small enough to be inhaled into the deepest parts of the lungs. WSPM contained higher levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which include “probable” human carcinogens. When tested on cultures of human cells, WSPM also caused more damage to the genetic material, DNA; more inflammation; and had greater activity in turning on genes in ways linked to disease.

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The authors acknowledged funding from the National Research Councils, Denmark; and the Danish Environmental Protection Agency.

DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT ARTICLE http://pubs.acs.org/stoken/presspac/presspac/full/10.1021/tx100407m

 

Related article

Clean Air Agency bans burning in wood stoves

 

February 6, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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