Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Glass of Beer Makes People More Sociable

Glass of Beer

Socializing over Beer

Most of us are already aware that drinking just a single glass of beer can make us sociable than what we are and is now confirmed by researchers in Switzerland. In Basel, a team established from University Hospital tested sixty people who were healthy, having an equal number of women and men who consumed alcoholic and non-alcoholic beer. They took part in a series of tasks, which included an empathy test, face recognition and sexual arousal test. The researcher that led the test said that there had been very little researches done previously in this certain area.

It was explained by Prof Matthias Liechti that even though many people consume beer and are aware of its effects through their personal experiences there is remarkably less scientific data on its effects on the handling of social information related to emotions. The yearning to be with others, in a talkative, happy and an open surrounding amplified in the group which consumed alcoholic beer and was recorded more in women and in those who possessed greater initial inhibitions.

Especially in the participants with lower intensities of initial empathy, they are able to recognise happy faces at a quicker rate as well as emotional empathy is enhanced in the participants by the beer. After the consumption of beer which is non-alcoholic, the participants graded them as not so pleasant as pictures that are neutral – however those who consumed alcoholic beer regarded them as more pleasant.

This was more striking in female participants than men, but scientists found that it did not specifically add to sexual arousal. The government previously this year went through the guidelines of UK on consumption of alcohol. The word spread around is that both women and men should consume an amount no greater than fourteen units of alcohol in a week – which is an equivalent of 7 glasses of wine or 6 pints of a beer which possesses average strength. In arrears to the robust proof available that greater the consumption of alcohol, more is the risk of breast cancer they were revised.

Conventional wisdom

Past chairman of the ECNP scientific programme committee Prof Wim van den Brink commented on the research stating that this study was interesting as it confirms unoriginal wisdom that the adequate amount of alcohol can make people happy, like a social grease, making less inhibited and more social in regards to sexual engagements.

The sex metamorphoses in the results can be either brought to light by the dissimilarities in the concentration of blood alcohol between both females and males having the same intake of alcohol, by factors of culture and society or by changes in forbearance caused due to modifications in prior levels of intake of alcohol.

It was also put forth by him that emotions and perceptions related to alcohol which have been studied can sometimes be inconsistent with real conducts. The study will be circulated in the journal which is called Psychopharmacology and will be offered in Vienna at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology Congress Conference.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Statins Benefits Underestimated

Credit:The Atlantic

Less pain more gain

A major review indicates that the drug statins which is a cholesterol reducing drug has benefits which are underestimated and exaggerated harmful effects. As published in the Lancet and supported by many other health organizations, it suggests that with the help of statins the risk of stroke and heart attacks are lowered. The tests also indicate side effects such as muscle pain in a few people. However critics believe that unnecessary medication is taken by people who are healthy.

Dummy drug effect

The accumulation of fatty plaques which are responsible for the blockages in the blood vessels can be reduced by statins. According to the researchers:

  • In the UK nearly 6 million patients at present are using statins. 
  • Out of those recorded, around 2 million are using them since they have had a heart attack already, stroke or other cardiovascular incident. 
  • The 4 million left behind are taking them due to risky reasons like diabetes, age and blood pressure. 
  • An estimate 2 million more should be taking statins.
The research was led at the University of Oxford by Professor Rory Collins from the Clinical Trial Service. He led the lancet review which looked at the ready made proof for the effects of taking an average dose of 40mg daily of statins over five years in ten thousand patients. It showed that the levels of cholesterol could be reduced well enough to avoid thousand major cardiovascular incidents like strokes, heart attacks and coronary artery bypass to name a few in patients who had existing vascular disease- and five hundred in patients who were in jeopardy because of factors like age or other illness such as diabetes or increase blood pressure.

'It's better than the risk of a heart attack'

Stephen Sangster who is 34 years of age, lives with his wife and two children in Orpington. He explains why he uses the drug. He mentions that he has been taking the statins for approximately 3 months. With the help of a work health assessment he picked up that his cholesterol was high and changes in diet made no effect.

With his father passing away at a young age last year due to a heart attack, statins gave him comfort that they would possibly give him a life much longer. So he could live with a less chance of side effects. To this point he has only experienced little dizziness and he is not aware if it could be related to the drug, but it is better than being at a risk of having a heart attack. Before taking statins his cholesterol was 9.3 and after a month it went back down to less than four.

Cholesterol is an unseen threat. It is not a complex test. Many people should be motivated to take it. He is curious of how many people from the younger generation would benefit from statins, but are not aware that they have a condition.

The review also stated that there were indiscriminate controlled trials- where in neither doctor nor did the patient know who was administered with the dummy and who was on the real drug- indicated the normal amount of dose led to a comparatively low amount of side effects. In the unchanged ten thousand population, it said that there would be some side effects, together with between fifty and a hundred cases of severe effects like muscle pain to name a few. Observational tests had higher rates where people are aware that they would be taking the drug and are also told of the known side effects like muscle pain.

Question marks

Professor Collins says that the review depicts that the number of people are much larger who dodge heart attacks and strokes by using statins than the actual number of people who have side effects due to it. Besides, whereas maximum of the side effects can be retreated with no remaining effects by inhibiting the statin, the effect of a stroke or a heart attack not being avoided are not reversible and can be distressing. Subsequently, there is a sombre cost to public health from stating misleading titles about high rates of side effects that incongruously discourage people from opting for statin therapy regardless of the benefits which are now proven.

The British Heart Foundation and the Royal College of GPs (also known as RCGP) are a few of the major organizations that support the report. Chairperson of RCGP, Dr Maureen Baker said that they hope this study gives assurance to the patients that in most of the cases statins are harmless and an operational drug. However, in most cases seen where the side effects are severe, these can be reversed by inhibiting the use of statins.

From the medicines and healthcare products Regulatory Agency, Dr June Raine says that the advantages of statins are well recognized and are ought to prevail over the risk of causing side effects in most of the patients. Any latest important information on the effectiveness or security that use of statins will be cautiously reviewed and if need arises action will be taken. On the other hand, critics believe that the review was not the last word regarding statins.

Editor of the British Medical Journal, Fiona Godlee said that this as of yet does not state the calls for a complete, autonomous review of the proof confirmation of statins. This in particular is important in the understanding of the assistance which vouch for large numbers of health people should take one dose of the tablet on a daily basis.

Dr Assem Malhotra, a cardiologist from London mentions that there are stern question marks based on the dependability of studies sponsored by industries on the side effects of the drug, and for all its intents and purposes that is exactly what the review is.

There are a lot of researchers and scientist who have taken part in the original studies and were also a part of the review. As a result it is known that the review alone is not an independent one. The pros and cons lie for the drug and yet further tests can be made. Soon there would be no side effects if possible.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Prostate Cancer Treatment 'Not Always Needed'


Prolonged existence

A new study suggests that by only keeping an eye out on cancer of the prostate gland can result in the very same 10 year rate of continued existence as treating it. Researchers from the UK cautioned too many men were going through procedures that caused harm in a way to their copulatory life and also caused incontinence.

A trial was conducted with around 1,643 men having a small amount of prostate cancer which resulted in the similar 99% rate of survival after ten years for those who had undergone surgery, radiotherapy, or had simply just monitored the growth of the tumour.

Experts declared that the results they found for men were completely reassuring. From the University of Oxford, Prof Freddie Hamdy told BBC that the problem persists globally that patients are always over treated. If a man aged 55 is told he is a victim of cancer and has a family, it is totally understandable they he would not want to take any sort of risks.

Price to surveillance

Inorder to kill the tumour in men where prostate cancer had been found by testing for a chemical prostate antigen specific or PSA in their blood in the trial and then were either were kept on observation or had to undergo surgery or radiotherapy. Supported by the research wing of the National Institute for Health Research (NHS) the study then followed the men for a decade. Although the rate of survival was the same, there was a greater risk of side effects along with the treatment. The risk of incontinence and complications with copulation in those who had the surgery were double.

The risk of bowel problems was increased for those who had radiotherapy. However there was a price to the observatory option- only in one out of five cases the prostate cancer progressed. It was possible to treat these men; however in a long term survival it may still affect them beyond the study of a decade. From the University of Bristol, Prof Jenny Donovan said that for the first time ever have these three techniques of surgery, radiotherapy and monitoring for this form of cancer are being directly compared. The effects and impacts of each technique are different, and longer follow up is needed to see how these work out over a decade.


In the New England Journal of Medicine, the findings only apply for those who have the early stages of prostate cancer. A more aggressive treatment is required for those at a more advanced stage. From the charity Prostrate Cancer UK, Dr Matthew Hobbs said that at present, there are many men with the illness who will not choose the observatory step due to the uncertainty of the influence of that choice may hold and the anxiety caused because of it. It is absolutely reassuring to it be said that, when the procedure is conducted a standard which is high, active observation proposes men to have the same amount and chance of survival as the other have.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Sleep 'Prioritises Memories We Care About'

Benefitted by sleeping

Sleep plays a vital role in a daily human routine whether a necessity or a hobby. It not only helps you replenish yourself biologically but also aids in promoting good health and cleanses your body. It is already known that lack of sleep or sleep deprivation has a harmful effect on memory and learning.

A recent study has discovered that while sleeping, the experiences that matter to you a lot are more expected to enter your memory for long term. Apparently, during sleep all thoughts and experiences are not treated quite equally.

Language testing

A test was conducted where around 80 participants who did not speak Welsh were taught words in that language right before they sleep or while awake. Those who slept showed an improved knack to learn the words, and the effect was seen the most in those who placed their own value on the language.

This indicated that memories supposed as important go through favoured treatment during sleep by the brain. While it has been long that they established the fact that sleep aids the merging of memories, this has been the first test to show that the effect is subjective by how much the memory matters to you.

The results were talked over at the British Science Festival on Friday and are shortly to be put out in the Journal of Sleep Research. Prof Mark Blagrove who conducted the research with his colleague Elaine van Rijn from Swansea University said that the simple fact that your views about something seem to affect the processing of the brain of things during the night is truly way beyond belief. The study was conducted on university students who spoke native English, and had arrived in Wales with no previous record of living in the country.

These foreign students were all presented with 28 Breton and Welsh translations of words in English, with the help of a tablet computer app. Either after a minimum of 6 hours’ sleep or no sleep, the app verified instant recall of words and then the number of words memorized 12 hours later. The people were also requested to rate the level at which the Welsh language was valued by them. There was a noteworthy correlation between the number of recalled Welsh words and the value that was placed on the Welsh language, but for only the sleep group.

The findings 

According to Prof Blagrove and his colleague Ms van Rijn, this indicates that anything we come across is more expected to be merged in our sleep, especially if it is something we personally value. This test was held in the Swansea sleep lab. It was also here that the group also ran tests based on the happenings and the effects on dreams.Hence in order to be able to memorize things for a long term we must get enough sleep and care about those things. It indeed is mind boggling that a particular memory that we care about so much ensures its importance inside our minds and the prolonged period for which we can recollect it.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Brain Radiotherapy 'No Benefit' for Lung Cancer Spread

Brain Radiotherapy
Science Photo Library

Whole Brain Radiotherapy – Not Beneficial to Lung Cancer Spread to Brain

Research in the Lancet has stated that whole brain radiotherapy- WBRT seems to be of no benefit to individuals having lung cancer that has spread to the brain. The authors state that though whole brain radiotherapy could be beneficial in patients who tend to be younger than 60 years old, it would not be considered as a standard treatment for the majority of patients having non-small cell lung cancer – NSCLC which has spread to the brain.

The results is said to be presented at the European Respiratory Society meeting in London on September 5th. A sample of over 500 patients showed that it did not prolong or improve their quality of life any more than the other types of treatment.

Every year over 45,000 people have been diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK and in a third of cases, the cancer tends to spread to the brain. Secondary brain tumours tend to be usually treated with whole brain radiotherapy together with steroids as well as other treatments to ease the side-effects of the therapies for cancer. However, there can be serious side effect like nausea and extreme tiredness and could cause damage to the nervous system.

Radiosurgery – Precise Type of Radiotherapy

The research, comprising of doctors, researchers and patients from hospitals from across the UK, have discovered that there seems to be no improvement in the quality of life of those patients after a week of whole brain radiotherapy.

These patients seem to already have a poor forecast. The consultant clinical oncologist with Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Dr Paula Mulvenna, has informed that the whole brain radiotherapy had been utilised since it was believed to control tumours. However, in the lung cancer clinics, the expected improvements were not found in the patients.

Survival times seem to be poor which has hardly changed since the 1980s. Moreover, the toxicity of technique could be extensive and could damage reasoning function. As per Prof Ruth Langley, from the Medical Research Council clinical trials unit at University College London, states that radiosurgery is a very precise type of radiotherapy and is preferred as analternate technique that tends to have the least side effects. Nonetheless, some of the scientists state that there could still be a place for whole brain radiotherapy.

Result/Classical Prognostics Factor/Molecular status

Dr Cecile le Pechoux from Gustave Roussy Cancer Campus in France, while writing in a linked comment in the Lancet,had mentioned that they believe that optimised whole brain radiotherapy given at the appropriate time to the right patients could lead to more personalised strategies.

 They have stated that all treatments need to be discussed with the patients considering the result of the trial, classical prognostics factors as well as the molecular status. Whole brain radiotherapy had been adopted in clinical practices built on the assumption that it tends to improve tumour control in the patients suffering from brain metastases.

However in the lung cancer clinics, no improvement was seen in the patients with the survival times being poor.In spite of its extensive use, till now there does not seem to be any strong evidence in defining whether whole brain radiotherapy that tends to have considerable side effect is better than the best reassuring care with regards to prolonging life or improving the quality of life of a patient.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Alzheimer's Drug Study Gives 'Tantalising' Results

A study in nature

Scientists say that a treatment that puts an end to the specific protein plagues that gradually accumulate or increase in the brains of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease has managed to show some tantalising ability. Experts continue to remain vigilant as the drug Aducanumab, is yet in the primary stages of process. However, a study in Nature has revealed that it is completely safe and implies that it puts memory decline to a standstill. Greater studies are now being conducted to completely assess the effects of the drug. For many years, the amyloid accumulation in the brain has been the target of the treatment.

Dropped out

This test was intended to check whether Aducanumab was harmless to be used with 165 patients. After a period of one year since the treatment started, it was observed that more the dose, stronger is the effect on the amyloid plagues in the brain. It was after this that researchers carried out certain tests with regards to their memory and could see positive effects. On the other hand, 40 people left the study, half of them because of experiencing side effects like headaches.

This was common along with high dosages. The next part of the research had three phases which had two separate tests. These are enlisting 2,700 people in an early stage of Alzheimer’s disease around Europe, North America and Asia, so as to completely check the drug’s effectiveness on cerebral deterioration. Dr Alfred Sandrock from Biogen, which is a biotech company also worked on the research with the University of Zurich said that the third phase genuinely needs to get done with and he hopes that it will give assurance of what they have seen in the test. One day he can imagine curing people who don’t show the symptoms because if one has amyloid within the brain it is possible to develop the disease in one day.

Significant step

Nevertheless, the drug development has also caused some disappointments and it has been more than 10 years since the drug was licensed for those with the condition. This latest test is welcomed by other researchers but with care. Chief Scientist Officer Dr David Reynolds at the Alzheimer’s Research UK mentioned that the resulted gave tantalising proof that a new set of drug to cure the disease may be made available.

Head of research at the Alzheimer’s society Dr James Pickett added that the most compelling thing is that greater amount of amyloid was cleared when the patients took a greater dose of the medicine. No current treatment for the disease directly hinders its process and hence a medicine that actually decelerates the growth of the disease by cleaning up the amyloid would be an important step.

Conversely, Dr Tara Spires-Jones at the University of Edinburgh of the Centre for neural and cognitive systems said that she is vigilantly hopeful about the treatment, but is trying to not get over thrilled as many drugs can only make it through the early stage of trial and then prove to be a failure in bigger tests.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Singapore Confirms 41 Locally Transmitted Zika Virus Cases


The outbreak

About 41 cases of Zika virus were confirmed at Singapore which was likely transmitted locally. The health ministry stated that majority of those that were infected were not native workers, and all resided or laboured within the same area of the country. None of them had travelled to areas which were affected by Zika recently. While seven are still admitted in hospitals, thirty four patients have completely recovered from the disease.

Generally, Zika has moderate effects but has been related to many birth defects which can be severe. It is alleged of bringing about a condition known as microcephaly, which is condition where deformation is persistent and babies are born with smaller heads than usual. Zika is usually spread by vectors like mosquitoes, but under certain circumstances can be sexually transmitted as well. It was declared by the World Health Organization, commonly called as WHO as a universal public health emergency in the month of February.

The symptoms of Zika

  • The disease could rarely prove to be fatal. Usually out of five only one patient infected by the same may develop and show the symptoms 
  • The symptoms could be anything ranging from headaches, Pain in the joints, rashes, sore eyes or reddening of the eyes also sore eyes or simply a mild fever. 
  • Another rare symptom that is also linked to the infection is Guillain-Barre syndrome, which is an uncommon nervous system disorder, can cause short term paralysis 
  • As of now there has been no form of vaccination or drug developed against the infection by researchers, because of which the affected are instructed to get rest and to consume a great amount of fluids.
In May, Singapore announced it’s very first imported case of Zika. It was a local of 48 years of age who had recently made a trip to Brazil, the place where the outbreak began. As on Saturday, they declared that another Malaysian woman who was 37 years of age had been infected by the virus locally.

So far she is the only female case confirmed. Singapore stands as a home for a hug number of construction workers who are not native to the country, most of them originating from the Southern parts of Asia. Out of the 41 cased that were declared on Sunday, thirty six cases were of overseas workers who worked in the same construction area.

The work at that particular site had come to a halt after they found that the housekeeping was not acceptable with probable breeding habitats complementing to the breeding of mosquitoes. In a statement the ministry said that they could not eliminate or exclude further community spread, since many of those that have been tested positive also reside or work in various other parts of Singapore.

At the end it also added that they expect to recognize more such cases which are positive. All those providing medical services in Singapore have been forewarned to be more vigilant then needed and to instantly report to the health ministry if they find any symptoms associated with Zika.