Two lung diseases killed 3.6 million in 2015, says study; smoking, pollution, indoor cooking seen as culprits

  Paris, France (AFP) — The two most common chronic lung diseases claimed 3.6 million lives worldwide in 2015, according to a tally published Thursday in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. About 3.2 million people succumbed that year to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), caused mainly by smoking and pollution, while 400,000 people died from asthma. COPD is a group of lung conditions — including emphysema and bronchitis — that make it difficult to breathe. Asthma […]

World’s oldest man, Holocaust survivor, dies in Israel aged 113

(Reuters) — Holocaust survivor Israel Kristal, who last year was recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest living man, died in Israel on Friday (August 11), aged 113, local news media reports said. Guinness said Kristal was born in Poland on Sept. 15, 1903, and survived the Auschwitz death camp, where his first wife, two children and other family members were killed by the Nazis. He married again after the war and moved […]

Moroccan scientists develop machine that milks scorpions for cancer research

  Extracting venom from scorpions can be a dangerous task. The poisonous secretion can be fatal to humans but the venom, when broken down at a molecular level, contains hundreds of components that can be used in cancer research and to develop new drugs. Manual extraction can also be harmful for the scorpions, as there is a risk of puncturing the venom gland. Now scientists at Morocco’s Ben M’sik Hassan II University have found a […]

Australia vitamin ‘breakthrough’ to cut miscarriages, birth defects

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Taking a common vitamin supplement could significantly reduce the number of miscarriages and birth defects worldwide, Australian scientists said Thursday, in what they described as a major breakthrough in pregnancy research. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that deficiency in a key molecule among pregnant women stopped embryos and babies’ organs from developing correctly in the womb, but could be treated by taking the dietary supplement vitamin […]

Pia Wurtzbach urges more HIV tests amid UN report that PHL has fastest growing infections in Asia

  MANILA, Philippines (AFP) — The Philippines’ former Miss Universe conducted a public HIV test in Manila on Wednesday a week after the United Nations said her country had the fastest-growing number of  infections in Asia. Pia Wurtzbach, UNAIDS goodwill ambassador for Asia and the Pacific, took the test in front of reporters as part of her efforts to raise awareness of HIV and remove the stigma surrounding the virus in the conservative nation. The United Nations and […]

Want to learn something? Sleep on it, but not too deeply: study

PARIS, France (AFP) — Scientists fascinated by the idea that humans might be able to learn while asleep — a new language, say, or a piece of music — have long been coming up with clashing experimental results. On Tuesday, a team said it has finally unravelled why. The human brain can learn only in certain phases of shut-eye. Participants in a study were able to memorise sound patterns played to them during two phases […]

Sugar not so sweet for mental health

PARIS, France (AFP) — Sugar may be bad not only for your teeth and your waistline, but also your mental health, said a study Thursday that was met with skepticism by other experts. Researchers at University College London (UCL) compared the reported sugar intake of more than 8,000 people in a long-term British study, to their mood. The study participants, civil servants, were monitored from 1985-1988, and filled out a questionnaire every few years thereafter. […]

Health risk alarm over water rationing in Rome

ROME, Italy (AFP) — Plans to ration water in drought-hit Rome could have serious consequences for public health, Italy’s health minister warned Wednesday. The Lazio region has said that emergency measures to battle the prolonged dry spell could lead to staggered water supply shutdowns in neighborhoods in the capital for eight hours daily, starting from this weekend. Such a move could “seriously compromise sanitary hygiene standards in accommodation structures and restaurants in the capital, as […]

Young people trust less, but still happy: study

NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — Young people’s trust in key figures such as politicians and religious leaders has fallen sharply over the past five years but they remain largely happy, a global study said Thursday. Viacom, the United States media company behind youth-oriented channels such as MTV and Nickelodeon as well as Hollywood studio Paramount, surveyed 28,600 people online in 30 major countries about a wide range of views. In a time of turbulent […]

Promising immunotherapy helps adults with leukemia

MIAMI, United States (AFP) — A cancer treatment that genetically alters immune cells has shown success in 71 percent of adults with the most common form of leukemia, and for whom other medicines had failed, United States researchers said Monday. The treatment, known as experimental chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell immunotherapy, has made headlines in recent years, particularly after it helped beat back pediatric leukemia in the first US child to undergo the treatment. The […]

Small improvements to eating habits may prolong life: study

MIAMI, United States (AFP) — It’s hard to eat right all the time, but making small improvements by choosing healthier foods now and then may significantly boost one’s chances of living longer, said a United States study Wednesday. The report in the New England Journal of Medicine is the first to show that improving diet quality over at least a dozen years is associated with lower total and cardiovascular mortality. Researchers at Harvard University tracked […]

Three cups of coffee a day keep the doctor away: studies

by Kerry Sheridan Agence France-Presse PARIS, France (AFP) — Coffee addicts and aficionados often say drinking the bitter liquid makes life worth living, but the habit may also help them live longer, according to two major international studies Monday. Experts cautioned, however, that the United States and European reports, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, failed to show that coffee was truly the reason that many drinkers appeared to have longer lives. Rather, the […]