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Helmets cut risk of spine injuries

New research from Johns Hopkins suggests that motorcycle helmets, long known to dramatically reduce the number of brain injuries and deaths from crashes, appear to also be associated with a lower risk of cervical spine injury.

“We are debunking a popular myth that wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle can be detrimental during a motorcycle crash,” says Adil H Haider, an assistant professor of surgery.

“Using this new evidence, legislators should revisit the need for mandatory helmet laws. There is no doubt that helmets save lives and reduce head injury. And now we know they are also associated with a decreased risk of cervical spine injury.”

For more than two decades, the researchers say, activists lobbying against universal helmet laws have cited a small study suggesting that, in the event of a crash, the weight of a helmet could cause significant torque on the neck that would be devastating to the spine.

Fructose does not increase food intake or impact weight

Fructose does not increase food intake or impact body weight or blood triglycerides in overweight or obese individuals, according to a new comprehensive review.

The review examined data regarding the normal consumption of fructose and any subsequent development of alterations in lipid or and/or glucose metabolism or weight gain in overweight people.

Researchers were unable to find any relationship between fructose and hyperlipidemia or increased weight.

These findings support the results of a similar review that analysed the role of fructose on blood lipids, glucose, insulin and obesity among the healthy, normal weight population.

Dr Laurie Dolan, lead author of both studies concluded that “there is no evidence that ingestion of normal amounts of fructose is associated with an increase in food intake or body weight (compared to other carbohydrates), when it is not consumed in caloric excess. This is true for both normal weight people and people that are overweight or obese.”

Fructose is a natural simple sugar found in fruits, vegetables and their juices, as well as honey.

Bacteria turned into antiviral gene therapy agent

New studies conducted by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, could one day lead to anti-viral treatments that involve swallowing Salmonella bacteria, effectively using one bug to stop another.

The researchers have reprogrammed Salmonella, the same foodborne pathogen that can cause diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps, to safely transport virus-stopping enzymes into cells without causing disease.

Not only did this technique effectively treat mice infected with cytomegalovirus, it worked as an oral solution that was swallowed instead of injected. “A number of vaccines, including those for polio and smallpox, use live but weakened viruses to build up the immune system. But this is the first time anyone has successfully engineered bacteria for treatment of a viral infection,” said Fenyong Liu.

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