Selenium deficiency 'endemic' in Malawi
April 15, 2013 08:48 AM - Charles Mkoka, SciDevNet
Low availability of selenium, an essential human micronutrient, in Malawian soils is responsible for its deficiency among the country's population, a study has found. Researchers from Malawi, New Zealand and the United Kingdom sought to establish both whether selenium content in different Malawian soils affects the mineral content of food crops grown in them, and its ultimate influence on the status of human health.
Global Food Prices Continue to Rise
April 12, 2013 08:59 AM - Sophie Wenzlau, Worldwatch Institute
As both climate change and population growth continue to increase, there is reason to believe that food commodity prices will be both higher and more volatile in the decades to come. Continuing a decade-long increase, global food prices rose 2.7 percent in 2012, reaching levels not seen since the 1960s and 1970s but still well below the price spike of 1974. Between 2000 and 2012, the World Bank global food price index increased 104.5 percent, at an average annual rate of 6.5 percent.
Statins and Diabetes
April 10, 2013 04:28 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Statins are a class of drugs used to lower cholesterol levels by inhibiting the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase, which plays a central role in the production of cholesterol in the liver. Statins may slightly increase the risk of diabetes, with higher doses appearing to have a larger effect. A laboratory study has shown for the first time that coenzyme Q10 offsets cellular changes that may be linked to a side-effect of some statin drugs - an increased risk of adult-onset diabetes. Statins are some of the most widely prescribed drugs in the world, able to reduce LDL, or bad cholesterol levels, and the risk of heart attacks or other cardiovascular events. However, their role in raising the risk of diabetes has only been observed and studied in recent years.
mHealth 'could save a million African lives by 2017'
April 10, 2013 08:10 AM - Maina Waruru, SciDevNet
Mobile health (mHealth) applications such as text messages could save more than a million lives in Sub-Saharan Africa over the next five years, according to a report. The report, produced by consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) India, says that mobile phone interventions to ensure patients comply with treatment, medical stock is available and healthcare workers stick to treatment guidelines could save some of the three million lives lost each year across Africa to HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), malaria and pregnancy-related conditions.
World Health Day
April 7, 2013 07:55 AM - Kathryn Pintus, ARKive Text Author, ARKive.org
World Health Day, celebrated each year on the 7th of April, marks the founding, in 1948, of the World Health Organisation (WHO), and highlights a priority area of public health concern. Here at ARKive, we decided to find out more about the links between species and human health, and show you just how important the conservation of biodiversity is to the advancement of medical science. Species and medicine: When was the last time you had a headache and reached for some aspirin to relieve the pain and pressure? Or perhaps you’ve had a bacterial chest infection over the cold, harsh winter and were prescribed some antibiotics to get rid of it? Well, you have the wonderful plant and fungal kingdoms to thank for your recovery.
Air pollution-caused deaths total over one million per year in China
April 5, 2013 07:51 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
In January, NASA revealed satellite images showing dramatic visuals of air pollution over China. Consequently, a new analysis is reporting that more than 1 million people are dying prematurely every year from air pollution in China alone. We reported earlier that air pollution, especially around Beijing has greatly been influenced by coal-fired power stations. However, population growth along with increasing development is causing the nation into an air pollution crisis.
Samoa Air Charging Passengers by Weight. Good idea?
April 5, 2013 05:58 AM - Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit
Should bigger passengers pay more to fly on Samoa Air? Flying has long lost its glamour appeal for a bevy of reasons—among them the pesky charges airlines impose on baggage, meals and pillows—some air carriers charge to pick your own seat ahead of time. Now Samoa Air has stepped into new territory: the tiny South Pacific airline has a new policy charging passengers by how much they, and their luggage, weigh. We road warriors all have our airline stories, including ones of sitting next to someone who is, well, on the portly side. During a 14-hour flight last year my six-foot frame was wedged between an enormous oil rig worker whose mass, well, impinged on my seat. Not that I was going to say anything: it was a long flight, I had a few supplements and prescriptions to knock me out, and anyway he was flying home because his brother "had too much vodka and decided to play Russian roulette with his rifle." Mental amputation, not confrontation, was the better bet for me on that long and very uncomfortable haul.
Want to Reduce Your Risk of Heart Conditions? No need to run, walking will do!
April 4, 2013 05:00 PM - American Heart Association via EurekAlert
Walking briskly can lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes as much as running can, according to surprising findings reported in the American Heart Association journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology. Researchers analyzed 33,060 runners in the National Runners' Health Study and 15,045 walkers in the National Walkers' Health Study. They found that the same energy used for moderate intensity walking and vigorous intensity running resulted in similar reductions in risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and possibly coronary heart disease over the study's six years. "Walking and running provide an ideal test of the health benefits of moderate-intensity walking and vigorous-intensity running because they involve the same muscle groups and the same activities performed at different intensities," said Paul T. Williams, Ph.D., the study's principal author and staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Life Science Division in Berkeley, Calif.
'Waterpod' Turns Desert Well-Water Clean
April 4, 2013 10:51 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
Ever since the construction of a hydro-electric dam in the Draa Valley nearly 40 years ago, Sahara nomads have faced further desertification of the region, taking a heavy toll on water supplies. More than 330 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, or around 40 percent of the population, do not have access to clean drinking water, according to a report published by British NGO WaterAid. While there are wells throughout the region, they often contain undrinkable brackish water that is inundated with salt.
Seasonal allergies may be worse than usual this year
April 3, 2013 01:46 PM - Allison Winter, ENN
Break out those tissues and symptom relief pills, allergy season is upon us. And unfortunately, experts are saying that as the weather warms this spring, allergy sufferers are likely to be more affected than in past years. Seasonal allergies occur when outdoor molds release their spores or when trees, grasses, and weeds release pollen into the air in an effort to fertilize other plants. When we inhale this air, our bodies work to fight off these airborne invaders, which according to the US Food and Drug Administration leads to nearly 36 million Americans suffering each year from these seasonal allergies.