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Smoking aggravates rheumatoid arthritis

A new research has found that smoking accounts for more than a third of cases of the most severe and common form of rheumatoid arthritis.

 The study has also found that it accounts for more than half of cases in people who are genetically susceptible to development of the disease.

  Blood samples were taken to assess participants' genetic profile for susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis and to gauge the severity of their disease, as indicated by their antibody levels. More than half of those with rheumatoid arthritis (61pc) had the most severe form of the disease, which is also the most common form, as judged by testing positive for anticitrullinated protein/peptide antibody (ACPA).

 Those who were the heaviest smokers  and who smoked 20 cigarettes a day for at least 20 years were more than 2.5 times as likely to test positive for ACPA. The risk fell for ex-smokers and the longer they had given up smoking.  

We spend more time sick now than 10 years ago
A new study has shown that average "morbidity," or, the period of life spent with serious disease or loss of functional mobility, has actually increased in the last few decades.

 While people might be expected to live more years with disease simply as a function of living longer in general, the researchers show that the average number of healthy years has decreased since 1998. We spend fewer years of our lives without disease, even though we live longer.

 A male 20-year-old in 1998 could expect to live another 45 years without at least one of the leading causes of death such as cardiovascular disease, cancer or diabetes.

That number fell to 43.8 years in 2006, the loss of more than a year. For young women, expected years of life without serious disease fell from 49.2 years to 48 years over the last decade.

Compound extracted from tree 'can help fight leukemia'

A new compound is showing promise against some forms of cancer like leukemia. The compound comes from the Aglaia foveolata tree, found in Sarawak's highlands, and has entered pre-clinical trials.

 Scientists at the Sarawak Biodiversity Centre (SBC), which owns the intellectual property rights to the plant, say that the experiments found an extracted compound called Silvestrol offered benefits not found in other cancer-fighting drugs. Dr Yeo, a graduate of the Washington University in immunology, said he was confident of the compound's potential. 

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