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Mutation in Gene Could Increase Risk of Alzheimer’s in Blacks Mutation in Gene Could Increase Risk of Alzheimer’s in Blacks

April 10, 2013 - A gene mutation found in African Americans might increase their risk of developing late onset Alzheimer’s. Amongst blacks, the SNPs or single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the gene ABCA7 were linked with increased odds of 79% of the late onset form of the debilitating disease, which is close to the risk with the APOE polymorphism with whites, according to a Columbia University doctor and his colleagues.

Researchers said the new study showed that there are new potential targets for developing treatments, but warned that this study was limited because of a lack of data on how these two genes help to contribute to Alzheimer’s.

One researcher said it is know that cholesterol is an Alzheimer’s disease risk factor and these two genes also affect the metabolism of cholesterol and that could give a new hint that prior was only a suspected one, over what causes the disease.

The authors of the study attempted to give identify to the genetic markers linked with late-onset Alzheimer’s through the meta-analysis of nearly 5,900 participants that were 60 years of age and older. In the study population were 1,968 blacks who had late onset Alzheimer’s and were compared to over 3,925 patients who had normal cognition.

Researchers have followed the patients over a period of 30 years with rigorous phenotyping for the disease as well as following them for disease diagnosis.

Although there is a high association between ABCA7 genes and late-onset Alzheimer’s in whites, researchers noted that effect size was smaller.

The authors have concluded that there must be future studies that attempt to validate the recent findings, as they could help patients who are black.

Dengue Fever Four Times More Prevalent than Originally Thought Dengue Fever Four Times More Prevalent than Originally Thought

April 10, 2013 - A recently published study says that there could be up to four times as many people who have been infected with dengue, the tropical disease, globally than what had been originally believed.

The World Health Organization estimated that between 50 million and 100 million people each year become infected with dengue, which is also referred to as break bone fever. However, new research has put that number at over 390 million. Nevertheless, two-thirds of the people who are infected each year only have a mild illness and do not need any medical treatment.

The new data will not create any changes as to how patients are treated, but could prompt a quicker search for a vaccine for the disease that is mosquito borne. The new study received its funding from the Department of Homeland Security in the U.S., the Wellcome Trust and others.

The numbers, said a WHO representative were not surprising. The spokesperson said the spectrum of the disease is wide and it is quite possible that many cases are being missed. The new study did not include WHO’s participation.

In Vietnam, a director of a clinical research unit and a co-author in the recent study, said the new numbers did not came as a surprise and are not far from what was expected. The figures were derived from analyzing evidence used in the past plus adding factors that help influence the disease.

Those with dengue usually have symptoms such as severe pain in the joints and fever. Areas where the disease is most common included Africa, Asia and most of Latin America. Of recent, dengue has appeared in parts of the U.S. and Western Europe.

There are four types of dengue and being infected by it does not guarantee immunity, with subsequent infections increasing the risk of developing severe dengue that could include hemorrhaging.

Two More Babies hit with Herpes following Ritual Circumcision Two More Babies hit with Herpes following Ritual Circumcision

April 07, 2013 - Over the past three months, two infants in New York City’s Orthodox Jewish community were infected with a type of herpes after they had a ritual circumcision performed, said officials from the health department. The two infants have not been identified.

The part of the ritual that is most controversial is referred to as metzitzah b’peh, where the mohel or practitioner puts its mouth around the penis of the baby to suck out the blood to cleanse the wound made by the circumcision.

One of the infected babies came down with a fever and then developed a lesion on his scrotum only seven days after he has been circumcised. Tests performed on the baby came back positive for HSV-1, said officials at the health department.

In 2012, the board of health in New York City voted to require a letter of consent to be signed by parents that warns of the different risks involved in this practice. The form had not been signed by any of the parents whose sons had been infected recently, said the deputy commissioner at that health department.

Officials said they could not tell at this point whether the infants would suffer any long term problems with their health due to the infections.

Over the past 13 years, 13 herpes cases have been associated with this ritual, including the deaths of two babies and two other babies suffering brain damage. Herpes infections during the neonatal period can cause disability and death amongst infants, said a report by the U.S. Center for Disease Control.

Some rabbis have said that they are against the law, which requires parents to sign a form. They oppose it on religious grounds. They insist the ritual had taken place thousands of times each year across the world.


Baldness: Could be sign of Heart Risk Baldness: Could be sign of Heart Risk

April 04, 2013 - Men who are losing their hair might be more apt to have problems with their heart than those men who have a full head of hair said Japanese researchers.

A recent study examined 37,000 people and said that men, who are balding, were 32% more apt to suffer from coronary heart disease. Nevertheless, the researchers were quick to say the risks were still lower than for obesity or smoking.

For a great deal of men, a shifting hairline is something they have had to accept. Fifty percent of men have thinning hair by the time they reach their 50s while 80% experience some loss of hair by the time they reach 70.

The researchers said that hair loss on the crown of the head was linked to coronary heart disease. This association was after researchers had adjusted for other types of risk factors such as family history and age.

A receding hairline however did not appear to affect a person’s risk. The lead author in the study Dr. Tomohide Yamada said that a significant, although modest, link was found between baldness, at least on the crown of the head, and coronary heart disease risk.

The researchers said there is a link although it is not strong like other known links like obesity, smoking, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. They said that younger men, who are losing hair on the crown of their head, should be focusing on improving their lifestyle in order to make sure their heart remains healthy.

However, the researchers said not enough evidence was present to suggest that bald men should be screened for heart disease problems. The biggest killer in the United Kingdom is coronary disease, with one in five males along with one in eight females dying from the disease.

Younger Teens Are Saying no to Sex Younger Teens Are Saying no to Sex

April 02, 2013 - New research has found that younger teens are more unlikely to have an active sex life. The same research also found that older teens are putting off sex more frequently than they had in the past.

The new study was published on Monday and found that only 2.4% of 12-year olds have had sex, while at 16 one third of teens had reported they were sexually active. That number soars to 71% by the time someone reaches 18 or 19 years of age.

The low rates amongst young adolescents of sexual activity has been the same for a number of decades, said researchers, but recently older teens seem to be more apt to take if slower or just say no.

The latest findings match studies done earlier that put the pregnancy rate for teens at a low of 40 years. That report, released during 2012, found that pregnancies involving teenagers had peaked back in 1990 and then declined 42% during the next 18 years. In 2008, the most recent data available showed that 68 of every 1,000 teenagers became pregnant.

The data for the sexual activity of teenagers was taken between 2006 and 2010 from a national survey. Researchers found that within any age group, the likelihood that a teenager is sexually active was lower than at any time over the last 25 years.

They also found that over 80% of teenager who were 16 and having sex for just the first time, used some form of contraception, when they were 17 that increased to 95% of teens using contraceptives.

Teen who are younger showed a pattern that was more troubling. Adolescents who started have sex prior to 14 years of age used contraceptives less frequently and took a longer period of time to start using them.

Researchers found an alarming discovery that of the few adolescents who were young and reported being sexually active, most of them did not do so on a voluntary basis.

No Tie between Autism and Excessive Vaccines No Tie between Autism and Excessive Vaccines

April 1, 2013- A new report in the online Journal of Pediatrics says that vaccines are not tied to an increased risk of a child developing autism. Records were analyzed for over 1,000 children and researchers could find no link between exposure to antigens and later developing form of autism.

The latest study just adds to other research that has been done for years showing that vaccines during childhood years do not cause a child to develop autism, despite the worries of many parents that believe their children are receiving too many vaccines.

U.S. Center for Disease Control researchers concluded even when children reach multiple inoculations during the same day, that they are at no additional risk of developing autism.

The researchers from the CDC conducted their study by examining the histories of vaccines collected from 1994 to 1999 for 256 children who had autism and 752 who did not have autism. They checked the number of different antigens – the substance within a vaccine that stimulates the antibodies that are disease fighting – that young infants are exposed to either on visits to the doctor or during the first full two years.

No relationship was found between the amount of antigens and autism risk. The study by the CDC comes during reports of an increasing amount of parents who are delaying or skipping completely inoculations for their children. The parents fear the side effects or the autism risk is too high.

In 2012, a study of over 97,700 children in Portland, Oregon found a four-fold rise in the amount of parents delaying or skipping vaccinations for their children from 2006 to 2009. Experts warned that by delaying certain types of vaccinations, parents put their own children, as well as those of other parents, at risk of contracting a deadly disease.


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