Non-Invasive Down Syndrome Test Enhances Detection Rates

Down syndrome test

The latest non-invasive Down syndrome test in unborn babies would greatly enhance detection rates if it’s available to all pregnant women.

What is Down Syndrome?

Children with Down syndrome tend to have an extra copy of chromosome 21. Down syndrome children suffer from physical abnormalities and intellectual impairment. There is no cure for this chromosomal disorder.

Down Syndrome Test:

Scientists at Curtin University in Perth have discovered the new screening Down syndrome test can enhance detection rates and drastically reduce dependence on invasive diagnostic procedures, which could cause miscarriages.

The latest non-invasive Down syndrome test would have cut down on the number of invasive diagnostic procedures while miscarriages due to such procedures could have been reduced by 88% in women with high risk pregnancies

Researchers from Curtin University reviewed 32,478 WA pregnancies between January 2005 & December 2006.

The results showed that if all expectant mothers recognized as high-risk had opted for this new non-invasive testing procedure, up to 7 additional cases of Down syndrome may have been confirmed. The results show the new blood test gives better outcomes.

Currently, high risk pregnant women can opt for diagnostic testing like amniocentesis but it’s invasive and could cause miscarriage.

The test for Down syndrome is currently available in the private health sector in Australia. Eventually it will be available via the public health system.

Antibacterial Soaps Really Work? FDA Seeks Proof

Antibacterial Soaps Good or Bad?

While antibacterial soaps and body wash products are generally regarded as effective tools in preventing infections, currently there’s no proof that they are more effective in stopping the spread of germs than washing hands with regular soap and water, says the FDA.

Antibacterial soaps and body washes are widely used in homes, workplaces, schools, and public places. Almost all soaps labelled “antimicrobial” or “antibacterial” have at least 1 of the antibacterial ingredients mentioned in the FDA’s proposed rule. Triclosan and triclocarban are most common active ingredients that antibacterial soaps contain. Soaps labelled “deodorant” may also have these ingredients.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, long-term exposure to some active ingredients found in antibacterial products such as triclocarban (bar soaps) and triclosan (liquid soaps) could pose health hazards, such as hormonal effects or bacterial resistance. Triclosan is an ingredient that alters thyroid hormone levels and reproductive hormones such as testosterone and estrogen, according to The Endocrine Society.

Are Antibacterial Soaps Harmful?

After years of growing concerns about the efficacy of antibacterial chemicals used in everyday items such as soap and toothpaste, the FDA wants soap manufacturers to prove that the substances used were safe or remove them from the products altogether.

Public health experts lauded the proposal. It was their long standing demand that the FDA regulate antimicrobial chemicals which carry the risk of scrambling hormones in kids and facilitating drug-resistant infections. Soap producers contend that antibacterial soaps have long been proven to be both safer and more effective than washing with non-bacterial products.

Studies conducted on animals have found that the chemicals triclocarban used in bar soaps and triclosan used in liquid soaps can interfere with the regular development of the reproductive system & metabolism. The chemicals were used originally by surgeons to rinse their hands before surgeries, and their use mushroomed in last few years as manufacturers used them in a range of products such as mouthwash, fabrics, baby pacifiers and laundry detergent.

Antibacterial Soaps Safety Review:

Accumulated scientific data has prompted the FDA to reassess whether long-term exposure to these chemicals is safe. The agency also stated there wasn’t any proof that antibacterial hand soaps were better at fighting germs than just plain soap and water.

This proposed rule doesn’t require soap manufacturers to remove them from the market immediately. The companies have 6 months to furnish data demonstrating that their products are better than non-antibacterial soaps in reducing infection or preventing human illness. If they fail to do so, soap manufacturers should stop using these chemicals in their products. The products should be reformulated or relabelled to remain on shop shelves.

The rule is not applicable to hand sanitizers.The agency recommends the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol in case soap and water are unavailable.

Being overly hygienic could actually end up eliminating good bacterial exposure and raise your chances of developing allergies & asthma.

Lung Cancer Breathalyzer Detects Early Signs Of Cancer

Lung Cancer

The lung cancer breathalyzer can detect pulmonary tumour growth before it becomes too late. Lung cancer is usually not diagnosed until serious symptoms develop.

Diagnosing lung cancer may soon become as easy as detecting bad breath. The University of Huddersfield-led research team have recently launched a 3-year project aimed at creating a lung cancer breathalyzer device that can detect early signs of cancer.

What is Lung Cancer?

Lung cancer is uncontrolled cell growth in the tissues of one’s lung. If left untreated, the abnormal growth can spread to nearby tissue or even other parts of one’s body through metastasis.

Lung Cancer Symptoms:

The symptoms of lung cancer are:

Raspy cough

Coughing up blood

Difficulty swallowing

Fatigue

Unexplained weight loss

Recurrent respiratory infections

Hoarseness

Shortness of breath

Swelling of face and neck

Intermittent fever, body pain

Lung Cancer Survival Rate:

Due to delayed diagnosis, the death toll from lung cancer remains high. Just like cancer of the pancreas, colon and rectum, lung cancer too does not manifest itself symptomatically until the tumour growth has reached an advanced stage and has spread to the neighbouring tissue through metastasis. At this stage it becomes exceedingly difficult for any surgical & medical intervention.

Lung Cancer Breathalyzer Test:

The lung cancer breathalyzer aims to fix this by spotting biomarkers of lung cancer subtle chemical fluctuations & signatures suggesting presence of cancerous tissue in one’s lungs. Researchers believe that such biomarkers could be detected using a sensitive breath tester. The intention is to detect lung cancer in patients before the symptoms develop. Once patients start experiencing lung cancer symptoms it’s often quite advanced and chances of curing it are low.

Read:

Chitin Microneedle Patch Test For Tuberculosis

Eat Raw Garlic To Cut Lung Cancer Risk By 44%

Pharmacists will soon be able to administer the breath test that holds the potential to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of lung cancer patients. The breathalyser device ensures early lung cancer detection and dramatically increases survival chances.

Eat A Hearty Breakfast To Lower Risk Of Adult Metabolic Syndrome

Teens who skipped breakfast were more likely to develop metabolic syndrome later in life, compared with adolescents who had more substantial breakfasts.

Missing morning meals raises the risk of diabetes & obesity later on in life.

What is Metabolic Syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome is a combination of risk factors that increases the risk for heart disease as well as other health problems. It refers to a cluster of conditions such as high blood pressure, elevated fasting glucose levels, abdominal fat and high triglyceride levels that increases stroke and diabetes risk in later life.

Risk Factors For Metabolic Syndrome:

There are 5 risk factors for the metabolic syndrome, namely:

  1. Large waist size 40 inches or larger for men and 35 inches or larger for women
  2. High Triglycerides 150 mg/dL or higher
  3. Low HDL cholesterol – less than 40mg/dl for men and less than 50mg/dl for women
  4. High blood pressure – more than 135/85 mm Hg
  5. High fasting blood sugar level 100 mg/dL or higher

Umea University researchers found that teens with bad breakfast habits faced a higher incidence of developing metabolic syndrome some 27 years later.

Eating poor breakfasts negatively effects blood sugar regulation. Central obesity and elevated fasting glucose levels are strongly linked with bad breakfast habits in teens.

Read:

  • Exercising Before Breakfast Helps Burn 20% More Body Fat
  • Skipping Breakfast Puts Women At Risk Of Diabetes

Earlier studies have shown that skipping breakfast is especially detrimental to overweight women, in that it appears to temporarily bring about insulin resistance a well-known risk factor for diabetes in this group.

The study by Swedish researchers shows that young adolescents who avoided breakfast or didn’t eat a healthy breakfast faced a 68% higher risk of getting metabolic syndrome in adult years, compared with teens who had taken more substantial morning meals in childhood.

Importance of a Healthy Breakfast:

A health breakfast primes you for the day ahead. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that a healthy breakfast is the key to good health. Eating a nutritious breakfast can improve fertility for women affected with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and reduce the risk of blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.

What’s more, skipping breakfast tends to increase the urge for high-calorie foods in the latter half of the day.

Eating Junk Food Causes Irreversible Memory Loss In A Week

Junk Food

Eating junk food not just makes you fat but also impairs memory. Scientists have found a link between poor diet and a rapid cognitive decline.

Junk Food & Memory Problems:

Eating a diet saturated with sugar and fat can lead to memory loss in a week and you may be unable to regain it if you start having a healthy diet again.

A research team from the University of New South Wales put rats on a diet loaded with fat and sugar and compared their functioning with rodents fed a healthy diet.

After six days, the rats which were given the poor diet soon developed impaired memory and performed worse on spatial memory tasks. Eating junk food for just 6 days reduced their spatial recognition or the ability to perceive when an object has been shifted to another location.

Poor Diet Affects Spatial Memory:

Moreover, the animals on a poor diet suffered from inflammation in the hippocampus region of their brain which plays a crucial role in memory forming & storing. Researchers believe that this inflammatory change is probably greatly relevant for the rapid cognitive decline.

The tests found a high sugar diet affected the rats’ spatial memory; however, the rats’ ability to identify objects was unaffected. While it’s a known that obesity causes body inflammation, this survey showed that it also causes changes in one’s brain. The change in the rats’ memory occurred much before any weight increase.

The new study has shown that sugar alone could be to blame for the memory deficit. What was concerning was that the damage to brain due to a high sugar diet isn’t reversed even when the animals were put back on a healthy diet.

In humans, the spatial memory is necessary for navigation and remembering where everyday items such as mobile phones, wallets or car keys are kept.

While it was not easy to project animal data on to humans, there’s evidence that eating junk food can affect human memory.

Eating Red Meat Puts Pregnant Women At Risk Of Gestational Diabetes

Red Meat

Pregnant women who eat red meat or processed meat are at a greater risk of getting gestational diabetes.

There is increasing evidence that shows red meat consumption during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of gestational diabetes.

Red Meat Ups Gestational Diabetes Risk:

Despite red meat being delicious, several studies have linked red meat to a number of health issues including obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease. Now, scientists based at the University of Adelaides Robinson Institute are cautioning women who hope to become pregnant about the dangers of consuming excess red meat.

Researchers warn that pregnant women as well as women looking to have a baby who consume plenty of red meat or processed meat may be at increased risk of contracting gestational diabetes.

What Is Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes occurs when the body is unable to produce and make use of all the insulin that it requires for pregnancy. Without adequate insulin, glucose in the blood cannot be converted to energy. This leads to a high glucose build up in your blood called hyperglycaemia.

Gestational diabetes develops when pregnant women who normally don’t have either type 1 or 2 diabetes get the condition typically during week 24, causing a spike in their blood-glucose levels.

Read:

Eating for Two during Pregnancy Affects Baby’s Health

Sleeping on Right Side Linked to Stillbirths

Poorly controlled or untreated gestational diabetes can harm the baby. In pregnant women with gestational diabetes, the pancreas works overtime in order to make insulin, but the insulin doesn’t reduce the blood glucose levels. While insulin doesn’t go through the placenta, glucose as well as other nutrients do. Therefore, extra blood glucose crosses the placenta, leading to an increase in the baby’s blood glucose levels. This makes the babys pancreas to produce extra insulin to remove the blood glucose. As the baby is receiving more energy than what it requires to grow and develop, this surplus energy gets stored as fat.

Gestational diabetes could result in increased storage of fat by the unborn baby leading to macrosomia or a heavy baby. A fat baby can lead to health complications both during and after birth.

Gestational Diabetes Diet:

While several reports have linked red meat with a heightened risk of developing type 2 diabetes, researchers now reveal this link for diabetes in pregnant women. While this news comes as a shocker, there are also few positives. Latest studies have shown that eating poultry and fish doesn’t raise the risk of gestational diabetes, and eating more non-meat protein and vegetables is linked to a decline in risk.

Women who consume plenty of red meat/processed meat before they get pregnant face a higher risk of gestational diabetes. Red meat also heightens risk during pregnancy. However, changing diets could lower ones risk. For instance, researchers have found that a daily consumption of nuts (half a serving) could cut ones risk of gestational diabetes by 40%.

Pregnant women should change their diet and lifestyle behaviour to prevent gestational as well as type 2 diabetes. Pregnant women or those planning to get pregnant ought to eat more nuts and vegetable protein, and replace some red meat with poultry and fish.