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Category Archives: health

The latest surgeon general’s reporton the health effects of smoking — issued at the 50th anniversary of the pathbreaking 1964 report — offers astonishing new evidence of just how much harm tobacco is causing. Despite the many gains in reducing risks over the past half-century, researchers keep finding new and insidious ways in which smoking is harming the smokers themselves and nonsmokers who breathe in toxic fumes.The report, issued last Friday, finds that cigarette smoking kills even more Americans than previously estimated (about 480,000 a year, up from 443,000), and is a cause, though not necessarily the major cause, of even more diseases than previously recognized, including liver and colorectal cancers. These add to the long list of other cancers caused by smoking, as well as rheumatoid arthritis and other ailments. The report newly identifies exposure to secondhand smoke as a cause of strokes.The report estimates that smoking costs the United States between $289 billion and $333 billion a year for medical care and lost productivity, well above the previous estimate of $193 billion.Most shocking, the report finds that today’s smokers have a much higher risk for lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease than smokers in 1964, despite smoking fewer cigarettes.It reports that the risk of developing adenocarcinoma of the lung, the most common type of lung cancer, has increased substantially over the past several decades because of changes in the design and composition of cigarettes. These include ventilated filters that lead to more puffing of noxious materials and blended tobaccos that contain carcinogenic nitrosamines.There is no doubt who is to blame for this mess, the report says. It is the tobacco industry, which “aggressively markets and promotes lethal and addictive products,” continues to recruit youth and young adults as new customers, and has “deliberately misled the public on the risks of smoking cigarettes.”

As simple as a Brita pitcher is to use for filtering water, who has time to wait for gravity to do its work when you’re not at home? With a little downward force on your end, the Grayl cup will purify 16 ounces of water in just 15 seconds, making it better-tasting and safer to drink. It’s basically a french press that cleans your water, instead of turning it into brown sludge.

Using the Grayl is as simple as filling the outer container with water, and then slowly inserting the inner chamber which pushes the water through replaceable filters as it slides down. The $20 everyday filter is good for about three months or 300 uses and removes 99.99 percent of bacteria. But if you’re planning to fill up somewhere a little more risky, a $40 purifier is also available that removes 99.999 percent of bacteria, protozoa, and viruses.

“Fifteen years ago I was in the lab looking at these cells kill tumor cells in a petri dish and then I saw them kill tumor cells in mice, and then finally in humans,” Brentjens said.

He says he’ll never forget the first patient he treated, who initially had an enormous amount of cancer cells in his bone marrow. Then after the therapy, Brentjens looked under the microscope and, in awe, realized he couldn’t find a single cancer cell.”I can’t describe what that’s like,” he said. “It’s fantastic.”

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HIV has returned in two patients who doctors hoped had been cured of the virus following bone marrow transplants, the Boston researcher who treated them said Saturday.The HIV virus became undetectable in both patients approximately eight months after the transplant. The men remained on antiretroviral therapy until the spring of 2013.

“The return of detectable levels of HIV in our patients is disappointing, but scientifically significant,” Dr. Timothy Henrich, a researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said in a statement. “We have demonstrated HIV can be reduced to undetectable levels by very sensitive research assays and the virus persists.”

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Last year, a French researcher made waves by announcing a study that suggested genetically modified corn could lead to an increased incidence of tumors in lab animals. But the way the finding was announced seemed designed to generate publicity while avoiding any scientific evaluation of the results. Since then, the scientific criticisms have rolled in, and they have been scathing. Now, the editor of the journal that published it has decided to pull the paper despite the objections of its primary author.

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Doctors and scientists have long known that infants have fragile immune systems. They lack a robust defense system against invading pathogens, developing one as they age. In general, this suggested that the infant immune system simply needs time to get stronger. But new research indicates that infants’ immune response is actively being held down by immunosuppressive cells.Some precursors to red blood cells are marked by the protein CD71. Doctors at the Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati found that, in human umbilical cord blood and newborn mice, these cells make an enzyme called arginase-2 that actively inhibits the immune response. When they transferred immune cells from newborns into adult mice, they found that the cells themselves were fully functional and capable of ramping up an immune response in the adult environment. This shows that the key is how the immune cells are regulated, not whether the infant immune cells themselves are immature.

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After exploring one possible compound I was quite relaxed and sleepily inebriated for an hour or so, then within minutes of taking the antidote I was up giving a lecture with no impairment whatsoever.Nutt says the new as-of-yet-undetailed booze compounds work by more specifically targeting subsystems of the neurotransmitter system that produces the familiar relaxing feeling in response to taking in a few cocktails: “So in theory we can make an alcohol surrogate that makes people feel relaxed and sociable and remove the unwanted effects, such as aggression and addictiveness.”

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The FitnessSHIRT captures several cardio-related metrics and sends them wirelessly to a mobile device or PC.(Credit: Fraunhofer IIS)There’s an old Swedish saying that cyclists often like to paraphrase: There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. Now, a new smart shirt seems to suggest that, indeed, clothing has the potential to not only affect how we weather the weather, but how we maintain our health, too.The FitnessSHIRT, which was developed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS in Erlangen, Germany, may be available sometime in the next year. It uses conductive textile electrodes integrated into its material to capture cardio activity — including breathing, pulse, and changes in heart rate. The shirt employs an elastic band designed to sense chest movements associated with breathing.

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A “DIY cyborg” has a surgically implanted chip that reads his body temperature and delivers the data to a mobile device. 

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He points out that recent studies “have not supported any significant association between saturated fat intake and risk of CVD.” Instead, saturated fat has been found to be protective.One of the earliest obesity experiments, published in the Lancet in 1956, compared groups consuming diets of 90% fat versus 90% protein versus 90% carbohydrate and revealed that the greatest weight loss was in the fat consuming group.

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