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New treatment for hearing-loss

A promising new treatment has been developed for people who suffer from sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL).

Researchers have described the positive results of a preliminary trial of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1), applied as a topical gel.

Takayuki Nakagawa, Kyoto University, Japan, worked with a team of researchers to test the gel in 25 patients whose SSHL had not responded to the normal treatment of systemic gluticosteroids.

He said, “The results indicated that the topical IGF1 application using gelatin hydrogels was safe, and had equivalent or superior efficiency to the hyperbaric oxygen therapy that was used as a historical control; this suggests that the efficacy of topical IGF1 application should be further evaluated using randomised clinical trials”.

At 12 weeks after the test treatment, 48 per cent of patients showed hearing improvement, and the proportion increased to 56 per cent at 24 weeks. No serious adverse events were observed. This is the first time that growth factors have been tested as a hearing remedy.

Alpha-carotene in yellow, green veggies extends life

High blood levels of the antioxidant alpha-carotene, found in yellow and green vegetables, appear to reduce the risk of dying over a 14-year period. Oxygen-related damage to DNA, proteins and fats may play a role in the development of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.

Carotenoids-including beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and lycopene-are produced by plants and microorganisms and act as antioxidants, counteracting this damage.
Chaoyang Li, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, and colleagues assessed the relationship between alpha-carotene and the risk of death among 15,318 adults.

Over the course of the study, 3,810 participants died; the risk for dying was lower with higher levels of alpha-carotene in the blood.

Higher alpha-carotene concentration also appeared to be associated with lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease or cancer individually, and of all other causes.
Yellow-orange (carrots, sweet potatoes or pumpkin and winter squash) and dark-green (broccoli, green beans, green peas, spinach, turnips greens, collards and leaf lettuce) vegetables have high alpha-carotene content.

Pregnant mums’ oral care important for baby too

A pregnant woman’s oral health can have a significant impact on the baby’s health too.
Pregnant women can experience gingivitis, pregnancy tumours, and mild to severe gingival enlargement.

“Although bleeding and inflammation of the gums has been noted in all trimesters of pregnancy, it typically disappears three to six months after delivery, provided that proper oral hygiene measures are implemented,” said Crystal L McIntosh.

Pregnancy tumours, which are not cancerous, appear as a growth in the mouth and usually disappear after the child is born. They typically are painless and purple or red in colour, but they can exhibit spontaneous bleeding.

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