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Archive Health News: February 2008
  Back to 2009 Archives
  Total News For This Month: 6 records

   Birth defects linked to older fathers
  - The New Straits Times, February 24, 2009


Men too have a ticking ‘biological clock’.  Several studies have revealed that as men get older, the chances of fathering a child with serious birth defects and medical problem increases.  It is also found that if a woman and a man were both older than 35 at the time of the conception, the father’s age would play a significant role in the prevalence of Down’s Syndrome.  This effect is most detectable if the woman was 40 or older, with half the incidence of Down’s Syndrome attributable to the sperm.

Other researchers have found that children born to fathers 45 or older are more likely to have poor social skills, and that children born to men 55 and older are more likely to have bipolar disorder than those born to men between 20 and 24 years of age at the time of conception. Children of men aged 40 or older were about six times more likely to have autism.  Another study found that the children of fathers who were 50 or older when they were born were three times more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia.


   Link between depression and neck pain
  - The New Straits Times, February 24, 2009


Persistent neck pain have been found to be closely linked with psychological distress, particularly depression and anxiety.  Researchers at the University of Gottingen, Germany, studied 448 patients who had suffered at least one episode of neck pain.  Fifty-six per cent of the subjects reported neck pain on the day they completed the questionnaire and 26 per cent had constant neck pain during the past year.  Based on their responses to a standard assessment questionnaire, 20 per cent of the subjects were classified as having a depressive mood, and 28 per cent were found to be anxious, the researchers reported.

According to the researchers, the findings underline that neck pain therapies are more likely to be effective if care for chronic patients is not only symptom-oriented but focuses on psychosocial factors that are proven to be central for development and prognosis of neck pain.


   Scientists close in on ‘universal’ vaccine for influenza
  - The Star, February 23, 2009


Paris (France) -   Scientists have unveiled lab-made human antibodies that can disable several types of influenza, including highly-lethal H5N1 bird flu and the “Spanish Flu” strain that killed tens of millions in 1918. 

The antibodies which have been tested on mice work by binding to a previously obscure structure in the flu virus which, when blocked, sabotages the pathogen’s ability to enter the cell it is trying to infect, according to the study.  Because this structure is genetically stable and has resisted mutation over time, the antibodies are effective against many different strains.

The breakthrough “holds considerable promise for further development into a medical tool to treat and prevent seasonal as well as pandemic influenza”, said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which helped fund the study.  Clinical trials on humans could begin within a couple of years, the researchers said.


   Simplicity and memory
  - The Star, February 18, 2009-02-23


Eating less may help older people improve their memory and prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, according to a German study published recently.  The findings suggest that simple lifestyle changes could help treat dementia and confirm benefits previously shown in animals.

In a separate study by Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, researchers reported that keeping a full social calender may also keep dementia at bay.  Socially active prople who were not easily stressed had a 50 per cent lower risk of developing dementia compared with men and women who were isolated and prone to stress, according to the study published in the journal Neurology. 


   Test for detecting prostate cancer
  - The Star, February 13, 2009


Paris (France) -  Researchers have made the first steps towards devising a urine test for detecting prostate cancer, according to a paper released by the British journal Nature.  A chemical fingerprint called sarcosine can be found in high levels in the urine of men with aggressive cancer of the prostate, providing a potential biomarker of the disease.


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