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Looking older doesn’t imply poor health

A research has indicated that looking older does not necessarily point to poor health. The research found that a person needed to look at least 10 years older than their actual age before assumptions about their health could be made.

“Few people are aware that when physicians describe their patients to other physicians, they often include an assessment of whether the patient looks older than his or her actual age,” said Dr Stephen Hwang, St Michael’s Hospital and an associate professor at the University of Toronto.

“This long standing medical practice assumes that people who look older than their actual age are likely to be in poor health, but our study shows this isn’t always true.” The study found that when a physician rated an individual as looking up to five years older than their actual age, it had little value in predicting whether or not the person was in poor health. However, when a physician thought that a person looked 10 or more years older than their actual age, 99 per cent of these individuals had very poor physical or mental health.

Sweet discovery protects against killer viruses

A purified form of a product modified from simple sugar molecules can eradicate killer viruses by mobilising white blood cells. When a team of European researchers sought to discover how a class of antiviral drugs worked, they looked in an unlikely place: the sugar dish.

A purified and modified form of a simple sugar chain may stop fast-acting and deadly viruses, such as Ebola, Lassa, or Marburg viruses, in their tracks. This compound, called chlorite-oxidised oxyamylose or COAM, could be a very attractive therapeutic option because not only did this compound enhance the early-stage immune defenses in mice, but because of sugar’s abundance, it is derived from easily obtainable sources.

“We modified and purified a safe drug from natural sources and discovered how it can protect against deadly virus infections,” said Ghislain Opdenakker, Laboratory of Immunobiology, Rega Institute for Medical Research and the University of Leuven, Belgium.

Stop grazing, exercising and eat fatty foods to lose weight

Quit vegetables and fruits and exercising — that’s the new mantra for losing weight.
Zoe Harcombe has said that everything that people thought was good to stay healthy — fewer calories and more exercise — only packs on the flab.

“It’s a myth. It’s the carbs that pile on the pounds,” said Zoe in her book ‘The Obesity Epidemic: What Caused It? How Can We Stop It?’

She said we must go back to older dietary rules calling for red meat, fish, eggs, cream and butter, all virtually carbohydrate free. Here are a few myths she busted in her book:
1. Veggies and fruit are more nutritious: Greens are good only if they are slathered in butter in order to deliver the fat-soluble vitamins they contain. Sugar in fruit gets stored as fat in the liver.
2. Losing weight is about reducing calories: “If you cut 500 calories from a 2,000-calorie daily diet, you will lose weight at first.” But the body will compensate and turn down its metabolism to reduce energy and use fewer calories.
3. Starchy foods should be the main part of our diet: Pasta, bread and grains turn into sugar in the blood, which is unhealthy. It forces the body to release insulin, which stores fat, in order to get the glucose levels back to normal.
4. We should exercise to combat obesity: “It will only cause you to get hungry, and your body will crave carbohydrates, which causes weight gain.”
5. Fat is a definite no-no: “Real fat from natural foods is good. Eat only what nature grows.”

“Stop grazing and snacking. Go back to eating three good meals a day and manage your carbs if you want to lose weight,” Zoe said.

Burning pain, itching linked to same nerve cells

A new study has found that itching and burning pain are governed by similar nerve cells.
In the study, performed on mice, the research team led by Klas Kullander at the Department of Neuroscience examined the nerve cells that transfer heat pain.

When these nerve cells had lost its capacity to signal, the mice reacted less to heat, as expected, but surprisingly they also started to itch incessantly.

“These findings link together pain from a burn with regulating sensitivity to itching, which was highly surprising and interesting,” said Klas Kullander. Extreme itching is very unpleasant and difficult to treat. For example, it is a common complication following operations and burns. Eczema and other skin disorders can also lead to general itchiness.

Greater knowledge of the underlying factors paves the way for developing new forms of treatment for itching, for example, activating pain fibres to reduce itching, which is supported by these findings.

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